St. Mary's Church
News 2003

News Articles:

Winter 2003 News

Rector’s Message

Dear Friends,

Harvest, Remembrance and so now we begin to think about Advent & Christmas. The yearly cycle moves us on and as a village we gather and mark these events. Harvest raised nearly £500, partly for the Church and partly for the charity giving of the church to others. Remembrance saw the church full [over 300 people] in the morning to remember the Fallen in War and in the evening over 200 people came to remember loved ones at our memorial Service. There we also acknowledged, with a plaque on the tower screen, the gifts of Veronica Sheppard and Alan Woodbine in enabling us to gild the tower Clock face. 

Advent and then Christmas will soon be with us and a list of services is on the next page. However, for Advent this year, I am proposing something a little different, taken from the church in South America. POSADA is an event played out in many South American villages and communities. In it two children are chosen as Mary & Joseph to visit homes throughout Advent and ask for room. The story of Mary and Joseph searching for a room invites us to consider if there is room in our Christmas this year for Jesus. Instead of choosing two children however, we will have two figures of Mary and Joseph who will travel about Rolleston, into people homes, in the days of Advent leading up to Christmas before then coming into church on Christmas Eve at our 3pm nativity Service. You will be most welcome to have Mary & Joseph for a night, if you wish, or to join us for any of our events over the Christmas celebrations. 

From all at St Mary's Church may I wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Ian Whitehead, Rector.

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The Rolleston Screen

A special Service of Dedication at St Mary's Church on Sunday 12th October was attended by Gilbert and Ann Elks, Daphne Elks and Joy Hulme. Gilbert preached the Sermon, and Ann said a few words about her father, Jeffrey Hulme, who painted the screen, before unveiling a plaque to commemorate Ann's gift of the screen to St Mary's in memory of her parents, who were well-known pottery designers and decorators in South Derbyshire before moving to Rolleston. Ann and Gilbert were married in St Mary's, Rolleston, in 1958.

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St Mary's History Book

"The History of St Mary's Parish Church, Rolleston on Dove" by Arnold Burston was launched at a very successful book-signing evening on 26 September 2003. This is the first new history of the Church since that by a former Churchwarden, Frank Slaney, in 1960, and its publication coincides with the hundredth anniversary of Rev. Edwin Wardle's history. The new book, lavishly illustrated in full colour, contains many previously unpublished pictures, including some private Mosley family photographs. As well as a descriptive history of the church, churchyard and Old Grammar School, there are sections on the Rolleston Parish Documents and the many members of the Mosley family who lived and were buried in the village. The book, priced at £10 (£10.80 by post) is available from the Rector, Starbuck News, Adnams Original Antiques (The Mews, Tutbury), or from Burston, 9, Twentylands, Rolleston on Dove, DE13 9AJ (telephone 813457). Cheques should be made payable to "St. Mary's P.C.C." All proceeds from sales will go to St Mary's Church.

With the help and support of Councillor Frank Bather, St Mary's Church has received a generous grant of £500 towards the production and distribution costs of the new book (under the County Council's Local Member Initiative Scheme). The Parochial Church Council are very grateful for his continued interest in, and help with, the preservation of this ancient church.

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Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust Bike Ride
Friday 12 September

This year Ian Whitehead, the Rector of Rolleston, once more undertook a bike ride for this event. Instead of cycling between Anslow and Rolleston, he cycled twice around the 12 rural churches of the Tutbury Deanery on Friday 12 September, a distance of 66 miles (not including the hills!). This year he was joined by PC Dave Lear, our Community Policeman, on the ride and there was no borrowed bike, either, as a 40th birthday present now equips him with a gel seat and suspension! Last year nearly £3,000 was raised - split between our churches (St Mary’s, Rolleston and Holy Trinity, Anslow) and the Historic Churches Trust. Photographic evidence of some of the ride can be seen here.

A Rotary watch worth £100 was the prize for whoever guessed the correct time (or the nearest) it would take Ian to complete the course. Guesses cost £1. Both riders completed the two circuits in 4 hours and 41 minutes.

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Autumn 2003 News

Rector’s Message

Dear Friends,

Over the summer months an amount of work has been taking place on the Church building. The clock was electrified, paid for partly through a grant and partly from the church fabric fund. In addition to this the clock face was repainted and gilded in memory of Alan Woodbine and Mrs Veronica Sheppard - we have plans to commemorate this with a plaque in church in the autumn. Following hot on the heels of this, work started on the bell frame, much needed painting and guards at the windows against the pigeons trying to ring the bells! Whilst up there the entire spire was checked out [everything OK there!] and the weather vane repaired and gilded. This needed a good head for heights!

All of this work certainly makes the church shine now, the light hits the weather vane as it turns in the wind and the clock hands tell out the time to the whole village. It catches the eye; it makes you stop if just for a moment. The painting on the bell frame will never be seen except for the occasional bellringer doing maintenance or learning how the bell works, yet both sets of painting reflect our care for the building and for God’s place here in the village - one seen in all its brightness and the other unseen.

In the same way work progresses at St Mary’s, work both on the Fabric and on the Spiritual. What is one without the other? Without the Spirit the building becomes just a historical building with no reason. Without the Fabric there is no constant reminder that God is here amongst us in Rolleston: the Church is there for you at the times you need it and it is there for you, praying for you, at all times. You are always welcome to be a part of this spiritual ingredient of the village and it’s life every Sunday at worship and every Thursday morning at leisure.

Ian Whitehead

Many thanks to all of you who supported us yet again on Gardens Sunday – we raised over £3,500 for the fabric of the church. If you would like to help by opening your garden next year (July 18th!!) please let me know.

Sylvia Martin

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St Mary's Spire

Residents and visitors passing along Church Road in July (2003) may have noticed an intrepid steeplejack on the very top of the spire of St Mary's Church. He has been covering the openings in the spire with guards against the pigeons and putting netting over the louvres to the bell chamber. He is also replacing the old weather vane and will shortly be shot-blasting and painting the bell frames, so listen for strange sounds, as well as looking for unusual sights! The clock has already been renovated and the clock-faces repainted and gilded. (Read more about it in the 5 August 2003 issue of the Burton Mail).

The Rector, Rev. Ian Whitehead, had an unusual fund-raising idea at the weekly Thursday Coffee Morning. Many of the coffee-drinkers gave a donation so as to be able to say in future that they had touched or even stood on the highest point in Rolleston, the arrow of the weather vane. Ian would love to replace the weather vane himself, but doubts that he would be covered by the Ecclesiastical Insurance policy.

At the last meeting of the Parochial Church Council, which was attended by their architect, it was unanimously agreed to go ahead with an ambitious access project, which will enable wheelchair users to get into the Church and to reach the Altar rail. This is the next phase of an ongoing scheme to make the Church more accessible to all. They have already taken the first steps by improving the lighting and by installing a hearing loop and public address system, as well as providing large-print hymn books and leaflets. It is hoped that a future phase will include a toilet with disabled access, and possibly a tea bar.

As part of the fund-raising effort, Arnold Burston has been leading a series of historical walks around the Church. (Back to News Articles).

Not Another Wind Up! 

St Mary’s Church mission to keep a village timepiece ticking for another 150 years has been successful. Villagers in Rolleston have used the church clock to set their watches for more than 150 years, but it requires winding three times per week to keep it in time. The winding process involves a 75-step, 40ft climb up the church’s 13th Century spire by volunteers and so a fund-raising mission was launched to electrify the clock and repaint the face, which will cost around £5,000. The fund has been boosted by a legacy left by Rolleston resident Mrs Veronica Sheppard who wanted the clock to be repainted because she could not see it when she tended her husband’s grave. Villagers have also donated money and Councillor Frank Bather successfully applied for £1,500 from Staffordshire County Council’s local member initiative scheme. Work started on 19 May 2003. (Back to News Articles).

Summer 2003 News

Rector’s Message

Dear Friends,

On the Internet there is a lot of things that are good, informative and very useful. There is also a good deal of useless, time consuming and degrading out there. There is also the funny stuff, and in our lives we need laughter and humour. In the last Rollestonian there was a cartoon of a Vicar on the clock tower – nothing to do with me – I assure you! Many weeks there is a cartoon of church life on our weekly newssheet in St Mary’s Church. On the Internet this week my daughter found the following to give you a wry smile.

The Church for Dummies

AMEN: The only part of a prayer everyone knows.
HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.
JONAH: The original ‘Jaws’ story.
PEW: Medieval torture device still found in some churches.
SIDESPEOPLE: The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew.

We all need to be able to laugh at ourselves at times, sometimes this in the strangest of circumstances and yet the Bible has its share of humour in different places. The book of Jonah is full of ‘in’ jokes about size and greatness. The book of Ester has audience participation of boo’s and hiss’s by tradition. Jesus used humour to teach, a speck of dust in the eye or a log! A camel through the small city door called the ‘eye of the needle’. Even at the wedding in Cana of Galilee when Mary his mother asks him to help when the wine runs out uses a curious phrase; ‘My time is not yet come’, or ‘It’s not my wedding day yet, mother!’

Don’t be afraid of laughter or humour, it can heal, it can soften, it can bind us together but used unwisely it can hurt, it can wound and it can break apart.

Rev. Ian Whitehead

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Spring 2003 News

Rector’s Message

Dear Friends,

As I write this in spite of the snow flurries the sun is shining, the snowdrops have appeared and the crocuses are threatening to show their colour. It doesn’t take many cold dark days to make us long for the warmer weather and it doesn’t take many sunny days in winter to give us hope that summer is on its way!

In the church’s year we have just celebrated Candlemas, the pivot point between Christmas and Easter the two great celebrations within the Christian faith. Candlemas invites to look back to Christmas and the birth of Jesus the saviour and then forward to Easter and the death and resurrection of the Saviour Jesus. Not too unlike the feelings I referred to at the start of this letter. 

Looking back Christmas was a lovely time within the village both celebrations within the church and within the village, at St Mary’s we were privileged to welcome many of you to our services. There were complaints though, at Carols by Candlelight, the ‘Church was too hot and there was nowhere to sit!’ A nice complaint to hear in any setting! In spite of what you may hear of the Church closing down, our demise has been greatly exaggerated! There are financial problems with the Lichfield Diocese, of which we are a part and that will mean a balancing of ‘Finance and Ministry’. In short clergy losses and reorganisation – I hope to keep you informed through Rollestonian. At St Mary’s, however, we look forward with hope and plans.

This year we are to modernise the church clock by electrifying the winding mechanism and at this point I need to thank all the villagers who have been a part of winding the clock in the past. We are also carrying out necessary works on the tower – painting the clock face, netting the windows against pigeons, painting the bell frame and repairing the weather vane. All need funds and we are grateful to a legacy from Mrs Sheppard for the clock face, funding is still required. In addition to this our work on providing Access to the church and school room for the disabled continues – albeit very slowly – with numerous bodies needing to be consulted at every turn. I hope that we will have something a little more definite to report later in the year with the, hopefully warmer weather!

Rev Ian Whitehead

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Evangelistic Web Site

A massive English web site all about Jesus Christ is supported by all the main denominations in England and runs to 900 pages, including pictures, testimonies, bulletin boards, gospels to download and even the Jesus video on line! The aim of the web site is to provide a reliable and mainstream source of information about Jesus for those who want to explore the Christian faith. (Back to News Articles).

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© Richard Bush

Last updated: 13 September 2004