The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God will not protect you.
A warm welcome is extended to all those who join us. It is a joy to gather in the Lord’s name and to break bread in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It is an equal privilege to welcome among us those of other faiths as well as those who search for meaning in their lives and refreshment on their journey.
We hope you will join us at one of our services. You will be very welcome.
May we all catch in this holy place a glimpse of God's glory and to come to know and do His will, now and in all eternity. May God bless you.
EXTRA SERVICES WEEK COMMENCING 20th SEPTEMBER
MESSAGE FROM FR MARK
Our Sunday service times are back to what have been the ‘normal’ times of 9 am and 10 am during the pandemic. Please do note that despite recent announcements, our Covid-19 safe practices will continue for some time to ensure our safety and that of our loved ones. (Therefore, please sanitise hands on entering church, wear a mask or visor and respect social distance.)
Please continue to check our website and Facebook for additional services to be held within the week. God willing these will commence mid to late August. As God’s people we can and must gather together. It is vital that everything that is done within the parish is underpinned with prayer. We must always remember the words of the Psalmist: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain … (Psalm 127:1)
In addition, our gatherings in church allow us to not only give praise and thanks to God, but to have an encounter with Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist also. When we stay at home, we simply can’t serve or encourage or build up Christ’s body. To do that we need to be physically present. And so, please do consider joining us when the additional services are announced and most importantly, join us on a Sunday. Let’s gather together again - in person – and be brothers and sisters in Christ.
Thank you if you have already started making your contribution electronically. It is very much appreciated. It has not been easy having our church closed over the last year and I hope that you will consider paying electronically if you haven’t already done so during this difficult time. There is, also, a card payment machine at the rear of the church should you wish to make your donation via card. Your generosity is very much appreciated and will ensure both our sustainability as a church and also ensure its future.
May God bless you.
MESSAGE FOLLOWING LIFTING OF GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS
Despite recent announcements and the lifting of nearly all Covid-19 restrictions, I still feel it prudent, however, for a while longer to maintain our Covid-safe practices. In a recent communication from Bishop Michael, the Bishop of Lichfield, he wrote: "Although most legal restrictions have now been lifted, churches can still recommend, request and encourage safety measures where appropriate, to keep themselves and others safe, and to help people feel more secure."
In regard to celebration of Holy Communion, the Church of England guidance makes clear that it is still possible for ministers not to offer the common cup at this stage of the pandemic’s existence. Where the cup continues to be withheld from general circulation, it is possible to administer the sacrament to people under the form of bread alone.
Therefore, I hope that you join me in agreement that our precautionary practices should continue for a while until we are all absolutely comfortable and our safety, along with the safety of our loved ones, is assured. This will continue to have an impact upon certain elements of our worship, of course, but the important thing is that we are able to gather and give thanks to God, to pray collectively for each other and for the life of the church and to receive our Lord in the sacrament.
PLEASE NOTE that if you, or anyone you have been in contact with, have displayed any symptoms then PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND CHURCH.
We shall maintain our Covid-safe environment for some time with sanitising, social distancing and face masks or visors being compulsory.
We are a 'Traditional Anglican' church. Our church building is a very large and fine medieval church enlarged and developed by the Victorians. It is a grade II listed building first mentioned in 1088. It has a superb collection of William Kempe stained glass windows and plenty of original medieval furnishings. Sitting on the top of Church Hill, seen for miles around, St Bart's has been at the heart of Wednesbury for centuries. (Click here to find out more about our history.)
We welcomed the appointment of Revd Mark Danks who was licensed on 11th January 2018 as the New Vicar of St Bartholomew's Church. So please make contact with us or come to our regular Sunday services. We would love to help you and get to know you.
Currently our services are 9 am and 10 am (see notice at the top of the page). (Normally our Sunday services are 8.00 am and 10.30 am. We have a Tuesday Service at 10.00 am but that is not offered at the moment.)For more information on services and activities please see this page. When it is possible to do so, we will also offer Home Communion to the housebound. Please contact Father Mark for further information, using the contact form.
We produce a newsletter each month with information regarding past, present and future events. You can find this on the Newsletter page using this link or on the page in the drop down menu.
Church Hill Wednesbury WS10 9DG
We welcome a family who has recently joined our congregation (Rakesh and Liza Gill with sons Bradley and Brandon). This morning, during the preparation of the altar table, we were blessed to have Liza sing a prayer accompanied by her son Bradley on guitar. It was lovely; thank you. Every Sunday, for a few weeks now, Mario Castillo has sung and played guitar prior to the giving of communion and again as we leave church. This morning he sang quietly as we entered church, also. Thank you again Mario. It’s such a joy to have you do this for us each week. It’s so wonderful to have music in church again (socially distanced) although, of course, the congregation is not allowed to sing at the moment.
A rainbow looking as though it has landed on the church (it hasn't, of course). How wonderful. (Thank you to Dave Calloway for allowing me to use this photo. It's fabulous.) During the pandemic the rainbow has been and still is a symbol of hope and it seems appropriate that it appears to be ending at the church. Hope is - faith grace prayer truth forgiveness thankfulness generosity caring listening sharing harmony friendship kindness love peace.
What a difference a week makes. Even more flowers had opened up along the path up to church to greet us on Easter Sunday, our first service since we had to close at the start of this lockdown. Also, tied to the gate of the church, was a wonderful note from Random Acts of Kindness with a crocheted flower. What a lovely gesture.
We had not been able to attend church for quite a few months, following a request from the Director of Public Health for Sandwell. So it was lovely today, on Palm Sunday, to be able to pop in and collect my Palm Cross and stay for private prayer. I was greeted, along the path up to church, by some spring flowers - what a lovely welcome. Nature's sign of hope.
Isn't this a fabulous watercolour painting of our church by Matthew Pritchett, a local man? Matthew has been on our prayer list for a while. Please keep him in your prayers. Get well soon Matthew. Thank you for allowing me to use your painting on here and the website.
WORSHIP DURING A PANDEMIC, AUGUST 2020
(Photos taken just before the 10 am service on 16th August 2020.)
At the beginning of 2020 who would have thought we would not be able to attend church for many months and then only in the Church Hall and following strict social distancing measures, sanitising and wearing face masks? Thank you to Linda Russell for taking the photos. Thank you to Fr Mark for making it possible for us to worship together (albeit a different type of service) and to be able to take communion.
The 5 Marks of Mission - Church Society
To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to seek peace and reconciliation
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and renew the life of the earth.
We pray that all of our congregation and the people in our parish may find this uplifting. We pray that God will be with our PCC members over the coming months. It has been a difficult 6 months so far and we hope that the they will be able to meet soon to discuss matters prior to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting.
ST BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY - 24th AUGUST
The Church of England and other Anglican churches honour our patron saint, St Bartholomew, on this date. Bartholomew (‘God has given’) was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. He has been identified as Nathanael or Nathaniel who appears in the Gospel of John when introduced to Jesus by Philip (who also became an apostle). Saint Bartholomew was a missionary who lived in the first century AD. He is credited with many miracles related to the weight of objects.
When told about Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael was quoted as responding "What good can come from Nazareth?" (John 1:46) Since there are no throw-away phrases in the Gospels, especially in John's Gospel, what could this mean? Was it just that Nazareth was a rural, backwater sort of place? He looked down on Nazareth, but he was shocked that a saviour could come out of such a place. There was no deceit in him and he followed his God, doing the best he could for his Lord.
We meet prejudices all the time. I saw a quote recently that said "Those people who have told you to your face that nothing good can come out of you, or family and friends who have looked down on you, will be amazed by what God will do in your life. Focus on improving your life, cut out negative people from your life and don’t lose hope in God." Such a powerful message to us all. Don’t be put down by people who mock you because of your Christian faith or because of your ethnicity, accent, shape, sexuality or your choice of career, music, books etc.
One tradition has it that Apostle Bartholomew was executed in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to popular hagiography (biography or anthology), the apostle was flayed alive (skinned alive) and beheaded. He is said to have been martyred for having converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity.
This morning's service was lovely. Several of us commented on how nice it was. Despite not being in our beautiful church, the service seemed very personal even though we were all social distanced from each other. Well done Fr Mark.
The Open the Book banner that Marg Wood created during the early part of lockdown was on display on the stage and it looked wonderful. Well done Marg.
Please pass on this information to anybody you think will benefit from it.
BBC Radio 4 If you’re not already aware, Radio 4 is broadcasting each day a ‘Thought for the day’. So if you know somebody who does not have a computer or who is blind, please pass on this information. This is a great way of connecting to faith. ‘Thought for the Day’ is a daily scripted slot on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 offering reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news. It is broadcast at around 7.45 each Monday to Saturday morning. If you prefer to listen to them from your laptop or other device, you can access the daily sound clip and previous sound clips, using the weblink below. They will be available for a year. You will more than likely need to log in but it’s easy if you haven’t registered before. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00szxv6 Diocesan Digest Sound Magazine This service from Lichfield Cathedral gives Church news, local and national; comments and features; Diocesan Bishop’s letter; news and letters from Spotlight; music, organs, bells and choirs; ‘Thought for the month’; recipients' letters; magazines; interviews and events. It is available for anyone who is blind or visually impaired and qualifies for the Royal Mail’s 'Articles for the Blind' scheme. It is produced and run by independent volunteers. If you know somebody who is blind who might benefit from this service can you tell them please? If they would like to receive the Diocesan Digest they need to contact Lichfield Cathedral by telephone or email, as follows: Tel: 01543 306030 | 07986 954 859 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (You can access the May issue using the following weblink): http://www.bwbf.org.uk/player/?url=http://www.bwbf.org.uk/localtns/lichfieldcathedral/TOPD_playlist.pls
CHURCH OF ENGLAND’S DIAL-IN WORSHIP SERVICE LINE
There are a number of churches providing Podcasts (digital audio files) and Videocasts (a podcast with video content) that you can open from their websites but what about if people don’t use a computer? They will not be able to access those or see the service documents, reflections, readings and prayers that we have on our Facebook page and on this website. Also, what about if people are blind and they don’t use screen readers to access their computers?* (Of course, some blind people might not have a computer, anyway.)
Are you lonely, especially from isolation during lockdown?
I am pleased to advise you that the Church of England launched a dial-in worship service at the end of April where you can access hymns, reflections and prayers. You can read about it on the website links lower down. The telephone number is 0800 8048044 (don’t worry, this is a free number so it won’t cost you anything, no matter how long you are on the call). When you are first connected, you may hear The Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. If not press the asterisk key (*). If at any time during the call you want the main menu press 0 for the options (see the information below).
* The Archbishop of Canterbury
0 Main menu
1 Hymns for that day
2 Hymn line (different daily hymns)
3 Prayer line
4 More Options (which then takes you to a list of other options):
5 Church of England's weekly service
6 Morning and Evening prayers
7 Latest Government advice on Coronavirus.
8 Mothers’ Union midday prayers
If you know anybody who is lonely or who doesn’t use a computer or is blind, can you pass on this information, please? Thank you. Please remember that everybody at St Bartholomew’s is thinking about all of you. Thank you to Vera Malton who passed on the above telephone number to Joyce Turner who, in turn, passed it on to me to post something about this service on our Facebook page and website. The following website links will give you more information about the service:
* Blind people use screen readers to access computers. A screen reader is software that accepts the standard output from computers and converts that into voice or Braille.
Here we have a couple of photos from 23rd April 2020 taken by Fr Mark, showing the beautiful display of Forget-Me-Nots growing above the wall along the pathway.
The meanings of the Forget Me Not flower are: * True and undying love * Remembrance during partings or after death * A connection that lasts through time * Fidelity and loyalty in a relationship, despite separation or other challenges * Reminders of your favourite memories or time together with another person * Growing affection between two people * Helping patients with Alzheimer’s Disease * Caring for the poor, disabled, and needy
How appropriate is that at this time, with us not being able to go into church? As you look up the path towards our beautiful church it’s as though God is feeling lonely and is asking us not to forget him. It’s also reminding us to care for others.
As the name suggests, the flowers are given or used to decorate gifts with the hope that the recipient will not forget the giver. Its name came from the German word vergissmichnicht which means 'forget me not’. Another name is Myosotis from the Ancient Greek μυοσωτίς which meant "mouse's ear” and the foliage is thought to resemble that.
Our churches may be closed, but Christ is not quarantined.
"Dear God, when evil darkens our world, give us light. When despair numbs our souls, give us hope. When we stumble and fall, lift us up. When doubts torture us, give us faith. When nothing seems sure, give us trust. When ideals fade, give us vision. When we lose our way, be our guide. We pray we may find serenity in Your presence, and purpose in doing Your will. Amen"
NOTICE FOR OUR REGULAR CONGREGATION MEMBERS A few of you have asked how you can continue to donate your regular weekly giving. May we suggest 3 ways you can do this.
Set up a weekly or monthly standing order.*
Do a weekly or monthly bank transfer.*
Set aside whatever sum you wish to give each week and bring to church once we can resume services.
* If you choose to use Options (1) or (2) please send a private message through Messenger to m.me/StBartsWednesbury and we will let you have the Bank details to enable you to set up a standing order or bank transfer. To enable our Treasurer to recognise the regular giving can you use the reference Collection so that she can ensure that money is accounted for under Regular Giving.
For details regarding Safeguarding please refer to the Safeguarding page using this link or use the Menu bar. For further information you can refer to the Diocese Safeguarding web page, also, using this link.
This banner was presented to the church - it is a joint effort by members of the Craft Club. See more information on the Photo of the Week page.
Thank you to Ryan Brookes who has agreed for us to post the following aerial photos.