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The Bible - Essential Reading
The Bible Society and Scripture Union teamed up to produce an initiative called E100. Study and discussion sessions will be held at church, when 50 essential passages from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament will be read this year.
A group from church attended sessions at Holy Trinity, Stalybridge, on Growing Churches. The PCC discussed what had been learnt and thought about what actions could be taken to help St Mark's grow. One initiative planned is a Sunday School.
On Saturday, 12 February 2011, we watched the Sing-a-long version of the film Mamma Mia! so that we could join in singing the music of Abba. After supper we had the judging of those who came in the Abba era fancy dress and the winner was Janet Carrington; she looked so flamboyant in her assortment of bright colours.
Our second Sing-along Film night was on 2 March 2013 in the hall and what a fabulous event it was. Lots of people came in fancy dress - the nun outfit was very popular. The singing was great, the food excellent, the sound too - it was like being in a cinema; so professional. The next Sing'along Film Night will be 'Grease'!
Family and friends were invited to the unveiling of a blue plaque dedicated to Kathy Staff at Dukinfield Town Hall on Friday, 11 March 2011. The entertainment was provided by The Tame Valley Ensemble and Hyde Festival Theatre Youth Group after which light refreshments were provided. The plaque was placed on the wall of St Mark's Church Hall on Monday 14 March.
Photo: Kathy's Blue Plaque, Jackie Turner,The Revd Alison Cox. Kathy's widower, John, Organist, Stella Leigh and Treasurer, John Bowker
After weeks of training, St Mark's launched its own Puppet Team, the first appearance of which was at the Messy Church Service on 20 March 2011. Led by Alan Knott, it was planned that the puppeteers would be appearing regularly at Baptism services and Messy Church. They would also support special services aimed at children and families and special events such as the Summer Fair and Christmas Tree Festival.
On a beautiful Easter Day, The Priest-in-charge, Alison, lit the Easter Candle from wich we then all lit our own candle whilst singing the first hymn 'Jesus Christ is risen today.' The service was all about the love of God who holds us all in his hands and to help us to feel this love. Alison gave everyone a beautifully decorated stone heart. What a change from Easter eggs!
This summer during May 2011, we talked about the welcome and integration of newcomers in our church and where better place to start than installing a new church notice board outside the church porch to tell people about all our regular services. The new sign is in our church colours and will definitely help to inform all those who visit the site or walk through it.
Launch of the Little Lions Sunday School
Little Lions, the name for our new Sunday School provision for children aged between 3 and 12 years, is now running officially. At our launch, in November 2011, 12 children attended, which was great start. We are really looking forward to developing this important work with children and getting to know them and their carers better in the coming months and years. It was lovely to see the new Little Lions banner out for the first time on Whit Sunday in 2012, and they celebrated their first birthday on 18 November 2012. They performed a nativity play at the carol service on 23 December.
The last six months of 2013 were very busy for the Little Lions. The children's corner for younger children (birth to 3 years) which youngsters and their parents are welcome to explore was completed. The den under the stairs is very popular with bean bags and a kitchen with lots of toy foods. There are also plenty of books and toys for the under- and over-threes.
Our programme follows a Scripture Union publication called "Bubbles" for the younger children and "Splash" for the older ones. The children are taking a more active part in the services: acting as welcomers, delivering bread and wine, as sidesperson and carrying a small Crucifer.
We entered a Christmas tree for the Festival over the Advent Sunday weekend, and our second Nativity Play was staged at 5:00 pm on 22 December 2013 in conjunction with the puppets. It was called "This is how it happened". As usual there were plenty of angels, stars and shepherds and some catchy tunes to sing along.
We have a dedicated group of leaders and helpers who are very friendly and able to answer any questions parents may have. We are delighted to welcome Emma, our new children's worker, onto the Little Lions rota.
Emma Peake has been appointed to the part-time Families and Children's Worker paid position for one year to develop our connections with families at St Mark's and in the parish.
Dedication of Memorial Screen - Advent Sunday, 11 November 2011
Alison welcomed the Archdeacon of Macclesfield, the Ven Ian Bishop, to lead our service and dedicate and bless the new Memorial Screen installed in memory of Kathy Staff. The church was full of relatives, work colleagues, including Roy Clark the writer of 'Last of the Summer Wine'; other friens of Kathy and many other people. Also in attendance was the Tameside Lady Mayor and her husband, local Councillors Jacqui Lane and Brian Wilde; Linda Walton from Design Lights who had created the glass picture screen and our church architect, Alan Hurst, who had overseen the project from its beginning two years' ago.
The choir, with help from friends and family sang the anthem from Stainer's Crucifixion 'God so loved the World'. Everyone was delighted when the screen was revealed. It is absolutely beautiful and is a wonderful addition to our church.
After the service, a buffet lunch was provided by John Staff and his family, which put a lovely finishing touch to this special day.
Sadly, John Staff died suddenly on Christmas Day 2011.
In April 2012, it was lovely to walk into Church and see the beautiful clean and repainted walls especially that the Chancel had been finished. The deep red of the east Wall which has been done to match the background of the Memorial plaque looked superb.
We had a marvellous sunny day for our joint Palm Sunday service with the Dukinfield Methodists this year, we were delighted to be oined by Souffle the donkey from the donkey sancturary at Debdale Park. Over 80 adults and 20 children followed the donkey from the Methodist church to St Mark's for the celebration.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee
The congregation wrote on paper crowns.
A special service was held on Sunday, 3 June, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
A "Bring and Share" lunch was held afterwards in the Church Hall when over 60 people joined together, the highest number attending since our shared lunches began.
Sunday Lunch Club
After church on the first Sunday of the month, we share lunch together at an advertised venue. People can spend as much or as little as they like on food and drink. A meal is not booked, just the venue.This means company and a chance to get to know our fellow Christians from St Mark's whilst enjoying a Sunday lunch to our individual tastes.
Church Lounge completion
On 29 July 2012 the church lounge, complete with kitchen, a disabled access toilet facility, flower preparation, sink and storage facilities in the tower room and new storage space on the balcony, was dedicated. Jack Schofield from the Little Lions Sunday School carried the cross and Evie Bates carried the water used to sprinkle over the new facilities as a sign of God's blessing. Everyone then enjoyed refreshments of scones and cake served from the new kitchen. The church lounge is being used to host courses, study and lunches.
Community Lunch Club
The official launch of the Community Lunch Club - a joint project with Dukinfield Methodist Church - planned for October 2012 was trialled in the church lounge in September. Because of the illness of the Methodist Minister, the formal launch was postponed but St Mark's continued to welcome everyone to lunch each week, which is followed by a simple social activity. Lunch is served in the refurbished church lounge using the facilities of the new kitchen.
Our Priest in Charge, Alison Cox, was commissioned as the next Rural Dean of Mottram Diocese on 21 October 2012. The Bishop of Stockport conducted the service and the Archdeacon of Macclesfield preached.
The Archdeacon presented Alison to Bishop Peter to be commissioned. From early times, bishops have chosen wise and respected priests to share with them the pastoral care of the clergy and the general oversight of the parishes, and she vowed to care for thepeople of the deanery, offering leadership, support and encouragement for the welfare and witness of God's Church, as well as working for the unity of God's people in the deanery and diocese.
A marvellous spread of food and champagne was laid on for all the guests afterwards. A proud day for St Mark's.
New lighting has been installed in the church, with the bulbs expected to last for 20 years. Spotlights have also been added to the balcony so that the area at the back of church which contains a lot of information for parishioners and visitors will make items easier to read.
Open Faith Group
The Open Faith Group started to meet at 11:00 am every Thursday in 2012 in the church lounge, and recently celebrated their first anniversary, when members spoke at a special service about their experiences of being part of a discussion where they are able to talk honestly about their faith journeys. The Group went on its first trip in October 2013, taking a look round the Fairfield Moravian Settlement.
Children and church
At our PCC Away day in September 2013, how we can help the children at St Mark's grow in their faith was discussed. We came up with some ideas, one of which was to involve them on the Sunday Duty rota. We decided on four safe key ways the children can participate in with our worship that we believe will enhance our joint worship and give the children a sense of responsibility. They are:
Families and Children's Worker
We appointed a part-time Families and Children's Worker (Emma Peake) to develop our connections with families at St Mark's and in the parish. This was a paid position for one year. Amongst other activities, Emma joined the Little Lions rota at Sunday morning services. She also joined parish members at the Christmas Lunch at Joshua Bradley, Hyde, on 14 December 2013. (Pictured) In 2014, Emma started a Parent Support Group.
Emma became an ordinand in September 2014 when she started training to be ordained a priest in the Church of England. She attended Mirfield College of the Resurrection near Hudderstield one evening a week and some weekends during the academic year.
Emma moved away to the Wirral after she was ordained on 12 July 2016.
Commemoration of the First World War
A Service of the Word was held on Sunday 3 August 2014, led by our Reader in Training, Chantelle Tunnicliffe. A display had been created from Sunday 20 July so that we could share our stories and information from our lives and families. The display remained in place until Remembrance Sunday.
There was a large congregation at the morning service on 9 November, when we processed to the church war memorial for the two minutes silence at 11:00 a.m. on the 100th anniversary of the start of the 1st World War.
After years of training, Chantelle Tunnicliffe was licensed as Reader at Chester Cathedral on Saturday October 2014. Supporters travelled in a car and minibus to join hundreds of other worshippers for the service.
Christmas 2014 was very successful with good attendances at the nativity play and carol service.The turn out for the Crib service on Christmas Eve was the highest ever, and Chantelle preached at Midnight Communion this year for the first time. Another first this year was the Travelling Nativity which went from house to house encouraging us to prepare for Christmas by making room for Jesus
A new curate for St Marks
Jenny Dunlop was ordained a deacon in Chester Cathedral on Sunday 5 July, 2015, and will be joining us at St Mark’s as our curate. Then a year later, if everybody is happy with how she has fulﬁlled this role, she will be ordained a priest in the summer of 2016.
Jenny and her husband, Alex, come to us from Holy Trinity, Gee Cross. Jenny did her training at Mirfield on the Yorkshire Ministry Course.
Jenny will be leading the daytime bible study on Wednesdays.
There had not been a curate at St Mark's since the middle of the 20th Century.
Jenny Dunlop was ordained Priest at Chester Cathedral on 18 June 2016 and presided over her first communion service on Sunday 19 June 2016, when the Revd Gill Goodwin (an old friend) gave the sermon. The photo shows (from left to right) Revd Jenny Dunlop, Revd Alison Cox and Revd Gill Goodwin before the service.
Jesus Shaped People was launched on 24 April 2016. It contained one programme, with 5 priorities and 15 sessions over a six month period. The priorities were: Prayer; Teaching; Team Building; People and Prophetic Challenge.
We started a Kid’s Choir Club in September 2015 to teach children how to sing, how to read music and give them the opportunity to perform in church. Stella, our organist, started coaching children who come to church; the hope is that more local children will come along and enjoy singing in church. Stella passed her Grade 7 organ exam with distinction recently. The children sang at the harvest festival on 4 October.
We were excited when the new choir uniform for children arrived and were presented with their official St Mark's choir hoodies on Sunday 6 March 2016.
New members have joined the choir and have received certificates for their progress in singing. Some of these were awarded by Stella on Sunday, 18 June, 2017.
In January 2017 a new style of worship once a month was introduced, which is a more informal style of worship that doesn't include Holy Communion. Along with some prayer, storytelling and craft activity, the congregation sang an action song:
and the Children's Choir sang a two-part song:
Alison was installed as the Vicar of St Annes, Sale, at 7:30 pm on Monday 29 October. Her last Sunday service was on 7 October, 2018.
REMEMBRANCE - 100 YEARS COMMEMORATION OF THE END OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN 2018
The Knitting Group, Purls of Wisdom, displayed knitted tableaus of stories from the bible, and also decorated the pulpit with a shower of poppies. The names of all the fallen on the church war memorial were on ribbons at the bottom.