February 2015

Dear Friends,

I would like to begin this month’s letter by offering a belated happy New Year to you all. I hope that you had a peaceful time over Christmas – although I know that for some it has been a difficult time for one reason or another. It is amazing how quickly time passes, and already it feels like Christmas was a long time ago. There is so much going on in the life of our Church – pastorally as well as our usual Church business. In addition the recent theft of lead from the roof at Albion has brought extra challenges, not forgetting that the season of Lent is rapidly approaching.

Of course our concerns seem to be small when compared with the horrific terrorist attack and subsequent loss of life which took place in Paris. In the midst of all this, my thoughts returned to Christmas as I recalled the message of good news given to the shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours.” It is a sad fact that Jesus came into our world as the Prince of Peace, and yet that peace seems to elude us.

In this regard, it was encouraging to see the response to this atrocity from world leaders who stood shoulder to shoulder with the French President and the masses who turned out. This gave a very visible sign of the outrage felt towards those responsible. At the heart of this act of violence was the issue of ‘free speech’ and I have to admit that I struggle with the issue of how far we should go in relation to this. Whilst I am totally in favour of people being permitted to air their different views (which in itself is healthy and all people need to have a voice), even so deliberately mocking people’s beliefs by portraying the prophet Mohammed in such disrespectful caricatures has been offensive. It is rather like hearing the Lord’s name taken in vain – it is offensive to us as Christians. Even so, no-one could possibly condone the actions of those who committed the outrage at the Charlie Hebdo offices. What I am asking is where do you draw the line between satire and offence? It seems to me that on the one hand we are very fortunate that we  have freedom of speech but equally, on the other hand, we also need to respect one another.

Jesus entered our world to bring peace. At the heart of that peace is love – love for one another. The hymn writer Fred Kaan expresses it thus:  Put peace into each other’s hands, with loving expectation; be gentle in your words and ways, in touch with God’s creation.


Your friend and Minister,


3rd February7.45pmBible StudyManse
4th February7.30pmQuizHurst Nook
5th February7.30pmAlbion Pastoral Elders MeetingAlbion
7th  February10- 4pmElders Training DaySt Andrew and St George Bolton
14th February11-1pmCoffee MorningCharlestown
17th February7.45pmBible StudyManse
21st February10-4pmLent Quiet DayWhaley Hall
24th February7.30pmLent Bible StudyHurst Methodists
26th February2.30pmWomen’s GuildCharlestown

During the time spent thinking and preparing my report for today, I have chanced upon several articles about leadership whilst in work. I hope you forgive me and the authors too, if I have misunderstood their meaning, as I was usually reading while trying to eat amidst interruptions from people and phone calls.

One was called ‘Sum up your Leadership in Six Words by John Baldoni and the other was an article from Zenger Folkman called ‘Leadership under the Microscope’.

Before dismissing them in the abundance of leadership material and their relevance to me, it got me thinking about parallels with Christian discipleship.

The Sum up your Leadership in Six Words article began by saying Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words which some thought impossible. Hemingway came up with ‘For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.’

The article concerned how does anyone sum up the impact you have had or how effective you are. It asked questions such ‘what gets you up in the morning, how can you help, what is your influence? The sentence could easily have been prefaced with the word ‘as a Christian …….’ . The article then continued to expand on the idea of Leadership in Six Words. The message was you can use the six word summary in all sorts of circumstance and gave the example of a team challenge summed up as ‘Tough job. Committed people. Keep working’. The six word summary encourages brevity in summing up a particular situation, whether it be an aspiration or a reflection of a life. 

If you apply the words in a Christian context, the ‘team challenge’ six words equally apply to us. We could also sum up our ‘Leadership in Christ’ with one word – Love. Love for one another and a desire to spread the Good news is what should get us up in the morning, make us want to help, and encourage others by our influence and example to do the same.   

The other article called ‘Leadership Under the Microscope’, article talks about evidence from analysing a data base of 200,000 360° feedback reports. For those of you who are not aware, 360 Degree Feedback is a system or process in which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. It showed the most effective leaders weren’t the ones who had a long list of what they could do well, but 3 or 4 things they excelled at. It also showed those receiving feedback tended to ignore their strong points in favour of in depth analysis of their weaknesses.

This again caught my eye because we have a natural tendency to be self-critical about what we haven’t achieved, rather than celebrating what we have. This could apply to you personally and us collectively as the church. We can be guilty of overstretching ourselves trying to do more than we can realistically achieve, rather than concentrating on tackling one or two key issues and congratulating ourselves on our progress.      

With this context I would encourage you to look behind the events of the year, at dedication, commitment and passion of those involved.

I mention but a few of the highs and lows:

We have shared fellowship with others during worship at Lent, Christmas, First World War Commemoration Service, Covenant Sunday with Rev Karen Hilsden and our friends at the Methodist church, Willow Wood Light up a Life service, Bible Study, Church Family weekend, Bible Study and mid-week services.

We enjoyed being together during Charlestown’s closure, Whit Walks, Picnic in the Park, Christmas Tree Festival and Heritage Day and trip to Llandudno.  

We have discussed emotive and sensitive issues on Same Sex Relationships and worship.  

We have supported each other through the loss of many dear friends.

We have shared our concerns for the health and wellbeing of our Fellowship, particularly Alan during his surgery and chemo and are thankful we see him today looking so well.

We have young and not so young people whose ideas have come to fruition to entertain us with music, song, drama with Charlestown’s You can’t stop the beat’ and ‘Hurst Nook’s Evening soiree before Christmas.

We have encouraged prayer and new ideas to promote change and development of ‘established’ activities e.g. Sunday Worship and the Forum.

We have learned more and been kept informed about our Heritage, First World War, General Assembly and Synod from articles and events.

We have supported each other to raise money for good causes such as Christian Aid, Reuben’s Retreat, Francis House, Cystic Fibrosis, at coffee mornings Lent lunches, afternoon teas, Garden Parties and Arts and Craft Fairs.

We have enjoyed concerts and recitals in magnificent surroundings Help for Heroes Concert, Nigel Ogden, and Saddleworth Male Voice Choir.

I was looking back at the minutes from the AGM 19 January 2002 and the report I prepared expressed my concern that Barbara Plenderleith would no longer be our serving minister from October that year and also that Norman Riley was looking towards semi-retirement 18 months or so after that. We know things didn’t quite work out as we thought they might with Norman’s untimely death, nor did we anticipate Alan joining us. The challenge then was as now for people to respond and act, not to leave to someone else. 

The point is nobody knows what the future holds and as Barbara Robinson referred to at Elders last week about beatitude, not just the blessings given on the Sermon on the Mount, but the ‘be’ in being in the right attitude to deal with the here and now with what we have.

I have carried out the role of Secretary I think for 15 years this year and I feel the time is right now to give the church notice of my intention to finish this time next year. I want to give time to allow the church to advertise and hopefully fill the vacancy.

I want to thank Alan for his love and support of the Fellowship, the strength of the Eldership and our concern for each other, which shouldn’t be taken for granted. I will finish with a verse from Hymn 580 in Rejoice and Sing –  Lord you give the great Commission.

Lord you call us to your service:
‘In my name baptise and teach’.
That the world may trust your promise,
life abundant meant for each,
give us all new fervour,
draw us closer in community;
with the Spirit’s gifts empower us for the work of ministry.

As I said at the beginning in the six word team challenge;
We have a tough job. We need committed people. We have to keep working.
Pauline Taylor Albion Church Fellowship Secretary 17 January 2015


The next mid-week Communion Services are on Wednesday 11th February at 11am in the Choir Vestry.


The Bible study group will meet on Tuesday 3rd and 17th February at the manse at 7.45pm. All welcome.


The ecumenical Lent study group will meet at Hurst Methodist Church at 7.30pm for 5 weeks commencing Tuesday 24th February


The Lent Quiet Day will be held at Whaley Hall on 21st February from 10am till 4pm. We haven’t used Whaley Hall for a number of years, and with Loyola Hall having now closed, this would seem to be a good alternative. The cost is £25 which includes a 3 course lunch and refreshments morning and afternoon. If you would like to come and share in this special time please let Alan know as soon as possible.


The theme of our Lent joint service is ‘Visions of the Good Society’ and will use resources prepared by Church Action on Poverty. The material is designed to coincide with Action on Poverty Sunday which is on 15th but we will share it when we are together as a fellowship.


Belatedly, but no less sincerely, I would like to thank everyone for the prayers and support I received from the Albion Fellowship on the occasion of Dave’s death. I am most grateful for the many cards, ‘phone calls and flowers I received and thank sincerely all who attended Dave’s funeral and for the generous donations received. Dave would have been pleased to know that I had the support, thoughts and prayers of so many people at a particularly sad and difficult time.

My grateful thanks to Alan for conducting the lovely service, to Derek for his wonderful organ playing and to Colin for his work and preparation of the Church.

Barbara D


Conducted by the Revd. Alan Wickens
21st December
Kevin Norman NICHOLSON and Amy Louise WOOD


Conducted by the Revd. Alan Wickens

1st December           At Dukinfield Crematorium
Dorothy CONNOR (88 years)

3rd December          At Albion & Hurst Cemetery
Maurice (Dave) DAVIES (92 years)

31st December        At Albion & Dukinfield Crematorium
William (Bill) HALLIWELL

14th January         At Albion & Hollinwood Crematorium
Jean PERRY (80 years)

22nd January           At Dukinfield Crematorium & Albion
Margit BOJCZUK (85 years)

27th January            At Dukinfield Crematorium
Vera HAMMONDS (95 years)

Albion URC, Stamford Street East, Ashton-under-Lyne    Tel. 0161-343 7054
Charlestown URC, Alexandra Rd., Ashton-under-Lyne
Hurst Nook URC, Nook Lane, Ashton-under-Lyne
Albion Website:    www.albionurc.org.uk

Janet H
Eileen G and family
Barbara D
Gillian Lewis and family
George J Birthday
Sandra W


In memory of Margaret Bojczuk
Loving memories of Dad, James Holt
Loving memories of a dear sister and our mother Mrs Nokes
Birthday memories of Irene Kinder, mum and grandma “our Duchess”
Memories of Sally “as always”
Fond memories of Bryan

Our thanks for your gifts and memories shared.


Thursday 5th February at 7.30pm


Albion Tots group will meet at Albion Church on Friday 9.30am till 11.00am


May W
Jan A
Hurst Nook fellowship
Frank and Jackie W
Marilyn P
Kathleen S


Memories of Elitho, a loving sister
Memories of a lovely Mum and Dad
Memories of past members
Memories of loved ones
Memories of Mum and Dad
Memories of dear Tom

There will be a quiz on Wednesday 4th February at 7 30pm with Peter.


Thank you to everyone for your used Christmas cards. Jennifer J has donated £10 to Hurst Nook.

Well done.


Every Thursday 10am – 11.30am during term time £1 per family.


Pat B and congratulations to Carole and Roy W on your special Birthdays. May god bless you al


Money received from this project is considerably less this year. If you do not collect small change and want to know about the scheme, please have a word with Barbara H


Doris W, Eva H, Flo J, Mavis D,  Oliver,  Rita K, Marten B and anyone who need our special prayers at this time. What a terrible world we live in, we should pray for peace. May god watch over us all



Larraine Wray
Christine and Tom
Helen and Dave
George Jolly


For Loved Ones
For Matthew’s Birthday
For Rosie’s Birthday and 25th Wedding Anniversary
Birthday memories of Sally- as she said “As Always”    


The Guild will meet on Thursday 26 February at 2.30pm. Any ladies who might like to come along would be very welcome.


The Christmas charity collection raised £224 for Commitment for Life.


We raised £180 at our Christmas Coffee Morning and £112 at the January Coffee Morning. Many thanks to everyone who supports us. If you can spare time to help or attend at Coffee Morning we would love to see you. The February Coffee Morning is on Saturday 14th February and will be in aid of Carpenters Arms. If you can help in any way please see Barbara Plenderleith.


Special thanks to GIG, Pilots and their leaders for the family worship they led so beautifully at Christmas. We thoroughly enjoyed the service and congratulate you all.


Many thanks to everyone who helped to make the Christmas Party a huge success, once again we had a special visit from Father Christmas and Barbara Robinson kept everyone entertained with games. It was lovely to see all the young people back together; home from university.


The annual cost of the messenger is £6 regardless of whether you receive an electronic copy via email or a hard copy. If you have not yet paid for your 2015 messenger please can you let Gill have your money as soon as possible.


The Treasurer wishes to acknowledge two generous gifts. A donation of £500 from one of our members towards the cost of the new boiler in the extension.  Also a gift from the family of Mary P in memory of our dear friend. Many thanks and God bless. 

Susan, Alan and Family would like to thank most sincerely our friends at Charlestown for the lovely cards, flowers, kind words of sympathy and for coming to celebrate the life of Mum. Thank you to Barbara for her lovely service and to Helen for playing the piano.

Alex, my grandson would like to say a big thank you to all those who donated to his cycle challenge for breast cancer.



Our prayers and thoughts are with Susan Travis and family on the death of our dear friend Mary Penkey who passed away just before Christmas. Please continue to pray for Cyril, Barbara and Judith, also Larraine W, Denise P mum Irene and Nancy H who are all not well at this time. We also pray for Lesley, Francesca, Antonia and John on the sudden death of John’s father.


I thought I would take this opportunity to give a tribute to Betty who was loved by all and who will be sadly missed.  Whilst I was interviewing people about their Sunday school experiences, Betty also took part and below are only some of her contributions  which are just as she said them, so through the following we can actually hear her speak as well as share her memorise of Sunday school.

     “My name is Betty Cotterill,  I was Betty Stott before I was married.  I was taken to Ryecroft congregational Church when I was three years old by one of my mother’s friends and I stayed there more less a long time long time.  I had two brothers and a sister and my parents attended to whatever we were in at concerts, choirs or whatever. ….

I got quite a few Sunday School prizes for attendance I can’t remember them all but I’ve still got my bible and that was in 1947, I got my bible for attendance and it was the Old English bible and it’s quite bigger print than what they are today.  They used to be presented to us at a Church service.  It was a big day and always took part on  Sunday morning in church….. 

…I was a Sunday School teacher from being about 14 years old in the primary along with four more ladies and we used to have some jolly good times together, especially when we told the children stories of the bible and the children started to draw, and one particular time one child asked me to draw an elephant, well there was an uproar among the other teachers because all you could tell this elephant by was its trunk cos I was no artist at all so it was a huge joke that for a long long time…. I continued teaching until I was married and I had my eldest son Ian and I used to go then even though when I got married we moved up to Hazelhurst…  Another speciality was the Whit Walks and the primary teachers and myself we used to go round to all the children’s houses and ask, because a lot of people had no money, but they helped in whatever way they could to give us an idea of what colour their child was going to wear, and with that we eventually were able to decide what colour flowers we were going to have and we used to be at Sunday School on  Whit Friday morning at half past six making all the bunches of flowers for the children to walk with to match each of the dresses or whatever…..

We had lots of pantomimes each year and did different show….I can remember being a chicken in one of the pantomimes, my brother was a Baron in one but my other brother and sister were too young then, it was just my eldest brother and me…..

We had what was known as the Arts and Crafts.  There was all sorts of different things that you could enter, handwriting, poems, choirs, all different things like that and all the churches in Ashton were involved.  We always wanted to beat Albion and we had a choir and we had one choir master, Frank Hall and a lady Miss Lodge and they were so very very strict with us and we just wanted to beat Albion, and we did once I think – Oh we were in our element.  I won prizes for handwriting and a lot of people won some sort of prize, whether writing a poem, or reading scriptures, there was all sorts of different things to enter and this used to take place in the PSA rooms in Ashton and it was a full day out for all the churches….

We had a Flower Stall at Christmas fairs and Mrs. Sykes was always the secretary and Mrs. Sykes was Lesley Sykes’ mother, he went to Albion, and we used to have some laughs, our crowd were a daft lot, we used to laugh and laugh, we probably shouldn’t have laughed when Mrs. Sykes called us, but there we were, we just couldn’t help it because it was a bit of devilment I think because we all got on so well you know, we always laughed and always did for years and years…..

We used to go rambling in them days, we used to catch the train at Guide Bridge Station and go to Marple or somewhere like that.  We didn’t have Sunday school trips because they were such poor families who couldn’t afford to do anything a lot of them so we may have taken them into the park because the park was opposite the church, but as for going out it never seemed to happen.  We used to go to the Circus once a year, they arranged trips to go to the circus and that was a good day out, we enjoyed that …..

Sunday school taught me the beginnings of being a Christian and I hope that I am a Christian because I still go to church regularly and get involved in quite a few things which I enjoy because I am now a widow but I just don’t enjoy it because I’m a widow, but because I have always enjoyed going to church, because it’s been my life and as I say, I hope I am a good Christian and I think Sunday School has served me very well from being so young to what I am like now.” 

Mary W 


Friends of the community,

We are a small family business,

located in the Old Albion School Building, at the lights on Penny Meadow.

Whether you are looking for a cheap fix or a luxury Axminster or Wilton, we have the options to suit every budget.

Our premises have an historical relationship with Albion Church and it therefore gives us great pleasure to offer all persons related to the Church a 5.00% discount upon presenting this leaflet.

Have a lovely day,

           Albion Mill Carpets

Albion United Reformed Church

Stamford St E, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 6QQ