July / August 2015 Newsletter


Dear Friends

In the many Newsletters we receive from other churches, I often admire the quality, variety and content of many of the Pastoral Letters they include and read with interest the messages and challenges they contain. Without having any news about a change in our vacancy situation, and as the supply of volunteer pastoral letter-writers appears to have become dried up, I sought inspiration from some our own previous editions and, in particular, the first edition the current editors produced, exactly eight years ago, after Margaret and Ben Edwards who previously produced our newsletter, had moved to Manchester.  It was definitely a case of “déjà vu”.

The July-August 2007 edition included a farewell to the previous NW Moderator, Rev’d Peter Brain and arrangements for the Induction of the new NW Moderator, Rev’d Richard Church at Manchester Cathedral. We included a report on the Farewell Service for Richard and Sheila in our last edition and our new NW Moderator Rev Andrew Mills is to be inducted on 12th September at St Peter’s Chaplaincy, Manchester.

This same edition included a letter of welcome to the Rev’d Helen Higgin-Botham and her husband Colin and a message from Helen beginning the process of packing up their belongings before moving from Cambridge to Fulwood.

We also printed a letter expressing delight that Helen had accepted the call to joint pastorate of Fulwood and Christ Church Longridge and greetings to members and friends from the Rev’d Walter Ford, the former minister of Grimshaw Street and Christ Church. Sadly, Walter passed away last year but we are pleased to include in this edition, the tribute to Walter printed in the Celebrated Lives section of the United Reformed Church 2015 Yearbook

Sadly, there is no welcome letter to a new minister, as yet we have no news of a response to the call to fill the vacancy in the Central Lancashire Pastorate. We must continue to hope and pray that the vacancy will not last too much longer.

In the weekly Bible Study course at Penwortham URC which we enjoyed attending, we have been looking at ten passages of the Book of Genesis with guidance from Rev’d David Coaker and the use of an interpretive handbook. This week’s study passage is Genesis 18: 1-33 which includes God’s appearance to Abraham and Sarah, who knew more than a little about waiting, through the visit of the strangers:
“Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.” (Genesis 18:1).

There were three that came to Abraham. He was very hospitable to them, offering them shelter and food (Genesis 18:1-8). The Lord and two angels are the guests, though it appears that Abraham does not know that at first (see Genesis 18:16, 17: 22, 23; 19:1). He is just being hospitable. The New Testament tells us to be likewise (Hebrews 13:2).

As the guests were eating they inquired about Abraham’s wife, Sarah. They promised that by this time the following year, despite her extreme age, she would have a son. Sarah overheard, and laughed at such an unlikely event. But the Lord responded, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

We would all do well to always remember that question when we have doubts or are dismayed. “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?”

Mac Dunsmore



The meeting opened at 7:30 with Duncan taking the chair, alongside our secretary Mac and treasurer Viv. Eight other members, mainly elders, were present. Duncan continues to cover for Ian Ferguson, who is unable to resume the role for a while longer yet.

We fondly remembered our dear friend Peggy Williams whom we lost on 23rd April; a sad loss of another faithful member of our church family. Mac also informed the meeting of the recent passing of Colin Biggs from Longton Methodist church.

We all shared news of members who are currently suffering, ill or convalescing and shared a prayer for them and the rest of our congregation.

Following the minutes of the February AGM being agreed, the agenda moved onto Church Fellowship meetings. We will be having another visit from guest speaker, the globe-trotting Pat Ascroft on 10th September and we intend to invite along, members of the three other churches in our new pastorate. Margery will see if we can arrange a visit later in the year from Howard Roscoe who can tell us all about his trip to see the Northern Lights. Another idea is to hold a coffee evening in aid of MacMillan cancer care.

The church has had representation at both the Moderator’s Farewell service and the recent ecumenical service to celebrate Christ Church Fulwood’s 150th anniversary.

Viv presented an update on the accounts for the quarter with the continuing good news that our income exceeded our spending by a substantial amount. This was due to various factors, the manse rental and hall lettings as well as a drop in church maintenance costs.

Our recent Christian Aid lunch raised about £90 and ‘gift aid’ is helping both church funds and our charitable collections. The use of our premises for polling at the recent election has also brought extra income for the church.

Following a meeting of church secretaries of the new Central Lancashire Pastorate with David Coaker in April, it has been agreed that each of the four churches in turn hosts a Joint Elders’ meeting quarterly. The first of hopefully many joint church services is planned for 2.00pm on the 26th July at Leyland URC. With no news on a new minister, we are all reminded of the need to think and pray about how we proceed with this challenge.

Jean gave her report on Churches Together in Fulwood & Broughton who will meet quarterly from now on. There is a pilgrimage to Warrington churches on 19th of September and a Songs of Praise service at Broughton at 3pm on Sunday 4th October, for which we need a representative to introduce a hymn.

Duncan gave an update on pulpit supply, and he happily assured us all of a full pulpit diary well into next year.

Our next Quarterly Meeting is already set for Thursday 27th August at 7:30pm. The meeting was closed by the sharing of the Grace just after 9pm.

Craig Millar



A minister, known for his lengthy sermons, noticed a man get up and leave during the middle of his message. The man returned just before the conclusion of the service. Afterwards the pastor asked the man where he had gone. “I went to get a haircut,” was the reply.

“But why didn’t you do that before the service?” the minister asked.

“Because,” the gentleman said, “I didn’t need one then”

                       Thanks to “The Wesley News”, Stourport-on-Severn




5th      2 Samuel 5: 1 – 5, 9 – 10; Psalm 48 or Ezekiel 2: 1 – 5; Psalm      123; 2 Corinthians 12: 2 – 10; St Mark 6: 1 – 13

12th    2 Samuel 6: 1 – 5, 12b – 19; Psalm 24 or Amos 7: 7 – 15; Psalm 85: 8 – 13; Ephesians 1: 3 – 14; St Mark 6: 14 – 29

19th    2 Samuel 7: 1 – 14a; Psalm 89: 20 – 37 or Jeremiah 23: 1 – 6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2: 11 – 22; St Mark 6: 30 – 34, 53 – 56

26th    2 Samuel 11: 1 – 15; Psalm 14 or 2 Kings 4: 42 – 44; Psalm 145: 10 – 18; Ephesians 3: 14 – 21; St John 6: 1 – 21


2nd     2 Samuel 11: 26 – 12: 13a; Psalm 51: 1 – 12 or Exodus 16: 2 – 4, 9 – 15; Psalm 78: 23 – 29; Ephesians 4: 1 – 16; St John 6: 24 – 35

9th      2 Samuel 18: 5 – 9, 15, 31 – 33; Psalm 130 or 1 Kings 19: 4 – 8; Psalm 34: 1 – 8; Ephesians 4: 25 – 5: 2; St John 6: 35, 41 – 51

16th    1 Kings 2: 10 – 12; 3: 3 – 14; Psalm 111 or Proverbs 9: 1 – 6; Psalm 34: 9 – 14; Ephesians 5: 15 – 20; St John 6: 51 – 58

23rd    1 Kings 8: (1, 6, 10 – 11), 22 – 30, 41 – 43; Psalm 84 or Joshua 24: 1 – 2a, 14 – 18; Psalm 34: 15 – 22; Ephesians 6: 10 – 20; St John 6: 56 – 69

30th    Songs of Songs 2: 8 – 13; Psalm 45: 1 – 2, 6 – 9 or Deuteronomy 4: 1 – 2, 6 – 9; Psalm 15; James 1: 17 – 27; St Mark 7: 1 – 8, 14 – 15, 21 – 23


6th      Proverbs 22: 1 – 2, 8 – 9, 22 – 23; Psalm 125 or Isaiah 35: 4 – 7a; Psalm 146; James 2: 1 – 10, (11 – 13), 14 – 17; St Mark 7: 24 – 37

13th    Proverbs 1: 20 – 33; Psalm 19 or Isaiah 50: 4 – 9a; Psalm 116: 1 – 9; James 3: 1 – 12; St Mark 8: 27 – 38


When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.

REV’D WALTER FORD   1924 – 2014: A seed planted which later bore fruit

Walter Ford went off to Blackburn     Technical College to study electrical   engineering and joked about falling in love with electrical motors. More important, Walter fell in love with Joan, one of the secretaries in the principal’s office, who became his wife of nearly 60 years.

Walter was born and educated in the Wirral. He was eleven at the outset of World War Two and recalled the blitz in Liverpool and Merseyside and the horror of the sounds as something which made a lasting impression on him. Members of his extended family were killed by a direct hit to their home.

It was after national service that Walter studied electrical engineering. His firm, Brook Motors, sent him to Swansea, where he acquired his intricate knowledge of South West Wales as he drove around remote farms, repairing farm machinery.

Joan and Walter were married on St. David’s Day in 1953 and Joan joined him in Swansea, living by the sea in Mumbles. Their children, John and Susanne were born during that time.

In 1967, Walter moved to the Leeds office where he was promoted to the area sales manager and the family moved to Follifoot, near Harrogate.

Two people who greatly influenced Walter’s journey of faith were a missionary called “Annie” and Sammy Jones, pastor of the chapel Walter attended in Swansea. They planted the seed which came to fruition some years later, while Walter was church secretary at Knaresborough. He candidated for ministry and was accepted for training at Northern College. This would not have been possible without the immense support and encouragement of Joan.

Walter served at Grimshaw Street, Preston, and Longridge before returning to West Yorkshire, to the Spenborough Group of Providence Place, Norristhorpe and Grove. He oversaw a building programme and amalgamation of two of the churches

In retirement, Walter and Joan became members of Moldgreen, which enabled them to renew their friendship with me and my wife, Doreen. I had been minister at Knaresborough, where Walter had been church secretary. At Moldgreen he conducted worship on a regular basis until his health began to fail. The death of Joan was a great blow, and it was necessary for him to receive residential care.

Walter will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched. Many people benefited from his pastoral skills, and his gentle compassionate nature endeared him to all those to whom he ministered.

Walter was born on 26th October 1927 and died, aged 86, on September 2014.

George Courtney

Walter ministered at Grimshaw Street, Preston & Longridge 1979-88, Spenborough Group 1988-92

                     Thanks to URC Yearbook “Celebrated Lives”



A man was decorating his new den and decided it was a good place to display all the awards he and his two sons had won at various athletic competitions. When he had filled two whole walls, he remarked to his wife that it was a shame she had no awards to contribute.

The following day, she produced, neatly framed, the birth certificates of their two sons, and added them to the display.

With thanks to ‘New Life’, the magazine of the Parish of Dalton-in-Furness, Newton, and Ireleth with Askham



Our annual Church Lunch will be held on Tuesday 21st July at Ferrari’s restaurant, Longridge at 12noon for 12:30pm. The cost is 2 courses for £9.00, 3 courses for £12.00, Coffee £2.00.

If you would like to attend please sign the list in the foyer.


On Sunday 26th July we will again be joining with the other three churches in the Central Lancashire Group for a service at Leyland URC. The Service starts at 2:00pm but if you would also like to share a time of fellowship, take a packed lunch and tea & coffee will be available before the service.


We are pleased that Mrs Pat Ascroft will be speaking at our Church Fellowship on Thursday 10th September. The talk is about about her latest adventure – Arctic Dog Sledding. As usual, a collection for Mencap will be taken at the meeting. Come along for an entertaining evening. We are also inviting members from the other churches in the Central Lancashire Group to this meeting.


KILOMETRES FOR KENYA: Virtual sponsored walk for Christian Aid

Our Quiz for Christian Aid in February which raised the excellent sum of £320 was in support of a project to provide better maternity and child health care in Narok County in Kenya. This is the project which the Preston Christian Aid Group has signed up to provide £5000 in support.   The money raised will be match-funded by the EU threefold, making each pound raised worth £4.00. See: www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/communitypartnership/kenya.aspx

Kilometres for Kenya” – a virtual sponsored walk

To further support this project the Preston Group are holding a virtual sponsored walk.   We are looking for as many volunteers as possible to take part to help us raise money towards our target of £5,000.00.

You may ask what a virtual walk is – well the answer is one that you do in your own time and at your own pace while undertaking your daily activities over a period of a month. This could be walking the dog, playing golf, walking upstairs at work instead of using the lift or any other activities you are doing. It could also be running, swimming or cycling. You will record each day exactly how far you have gone towards your individual target for the month and ask friends and family to sponsor you for the distance you cover. You might for example pledge to walk the 60 kms that represents the distance from one end to the other of the area that nurse Monica Asikuku covers visiting clinics and training traditional birth attendants, or you may prefer a lesser distance such as the 15 kms both Gladys and Doreen walked just to get to the clinic, or 30 kms to represent the round trip they made. Whatever distance you choose, and however much you raise doing it, you will be showing your solidarity with and support for these women and the money you raise will help fund improved clinics, motorbikes for Monica and her colleagues to get around their area, and ambulances to bring emergency cases to hospital even at night when it isn’t safe to walk.

For an information pack and to sign up please see Mac or contact Anne Garsed (07813 870641). To measure your activity, you could buy a pedometer. Otherwise you can gauge your distances from maps or the Internet.

The walk is to be completed between Thursday 17th September and Saturday 17th October. There will be a collective walk of the last kilometre through Preston City Centre on Saturday 17th October. You can still participate even if you can’t join the final kilometre.



Early in June, I accepted an invitation to the Preston and South Ribble Fairtrade Group at Fulwood Methodist Church, not least because the speaker was Arton Medd, well known to our members through the Christian Aid Choir.

Arton and Christine have recently visited the Fairtrade projects in Ghana and Arton was speaking about their experiences. They both looked well and just the same as the Choir days, except that Arton was wearing a non-characteristic multicoloured tie.

It was instructive to hear of their visits to a palm oil plantation (Fairtrade palm oil is used in Traidcraft cleaning products); to meet farmers producing Fairtrade bananas; to meet cocoa farmers and learn more about cocoa, how it is grown and dried; to hear about how waste plastic wrapping is being re-used and sold as Trashy Bags and lots, lots more.

What was most re-assuring was to hear first hand, from someone known to many of us, firm evidence of the significant difference the Fairtrade premium made to the lives of the ordinary people.   Oh, and of course Arton’s technicolour tie came from a Ghanaian market!

For further information see Fairtrade website, or better still, buy a Divine chocolate bar and read inside the wrapper!!

Mac Dunsmore


REJOICE & SING HYMNS                                                          

We have now being using the URC hymnbook for thirteen years.

How much better do you know the hymns than when we first held this quiz eight years ago?

All these lines are from hymns that we have sung regularly. ….but do you know the first line?

  1. Unseal the sacred book
  2. God’s banquet to share
  3. Sun and moon bow down before him
  4. The purple valleys flecked with silver rills
  5. Let me turn and follow you
  6. And as you teach the world your name
  7. Then shall I bow in humble adoration
  8. With the dawn of redeeming grace
  9. Jesus the judge shall come
  10. Pray, and praise thee without ceasing
  11. Look people warmly in the eye
  12. We feebly struggle, they in glory shine
  13. The light of the world is risen again
  14. God with you is now residing
  15. We ask you now, complete your image in us
  16. Bearing the lamp of grace
  17. The world in solemn stillness lay
  18. But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory
  19. And may sweet sleep mine eyelids close
  20. My daily labour to pursue
  21. That my whole being may proclaim
  22. Hands that flung stars into space

Answers next time



My friend and I had a few days on the Furness peninsula in April and were really lucky with the weather – sunshine and blue skies every day so the views were really good. As usual we visited several places en route and walked along the end of the Ulverston canal where it used to join the Leven channel of Morecambe bay. The canal’s claim to fame is that it is the shortest, widest, deepest, straightest canal in Britain.

One of the main reasons for going to this area was to visit Conishead Priory. The site started as an Augustian Priory in the 12th century and later became a private house, a hydropathic spa, convalescent home and then a military hospital after which it started to fall into disrepair until it was bought by a Buddhist community in 1976 to be made into a meditation centre. The main building is only open for guided tours on Sundays and Bank Holidays but we were able to walk through the woods to the shore, along the estuary and back through the woods by a lake (where we saw and heard herons nesting) back to the gardens to look round the Kampada World Peace Temple. The whole place felt very peaceful and is in a beautiful setting (and has a nice cafe too).

The following day we went to Furness Abbey and stopped at Dalton-in-Furness on the way. The church was just being opened prior to a midweek service so we had time to look round and buy one of their newsletters. In the main street we came across the Forget me not Tea Room and charity shop which raises money for the St Mary’s hospice. Furness Abbey doesn’t have a cafe so we decided to have a coffee in Dalton and support the hospice and, as we weren’t sure of the facilities at the abbey, took advantage of those at the Tea Shop. Entering the Ladies, the curved roof and tiled walls reminded me of the cells at Preston Prison (I worked in the library there). When we left the building I noticed that in the stonework above the windows were carved the words “Police Station” so perhaps the heading should be “former Police cell”. In the visitor centre at Furness Abbey I was surprised to see that it was originally set up by the Savignac order in 1125 after moving from Tulketh Priory in Preston. The Savignacs later became part of the Cistercian order and Furness was the second richest Cistercian monasteries in England. Our drive home the next day took us via Cartmel where we visited the Priory to complete our ‘church crawl’.

In June we were off on our travels again, this time to Stourport-on-Severn. We were made very welcome at Wesley Methodist Church in Stourport and over coffee after the service one of the Stewards recommended places to visit where we could be guaranteed good cakes in the tea-shops! Hartlebury Castle, Witley Court and Harvington Hall were all very interesting places. Harvington Hall was a Catholic household at a time of persecution and we were shown several priest holes and were told about one of the priests who had lived there before being sent to Worcester jail accused of conspiracy. John Wall was born at Chingle Hall and the Guide was surprised when I told him that we lived near there, even though he had previously commented on our Lancashire accents.

Stourport is a good area for walking and we had leaflets on a couple of trails, one which went past the cottage where we were staying and along the river Severn to Stourport, then along the canal and back via Hartlebury Common, and another which explored the canal basins at Stourport which used to be very busy with cargo but are now full of leisure boats. Another leaflet was headed “Wilden to Witley, a country church trail”, a list of 12 churches in the area judged to be worthy of a visit. As many of them could be described as on our way to or from places we had already decided to go to, we managed to look round seven of them, walked round the outside of another as it was closed and saw the tower of another over the tree tops – I even managed to collect a few more magazines in the process so my co-editor will get a few more space fillers.

The weather in Worcestershire was as kind to us as that on the Furness peninsula and again changed as we were coming home – it looks like the key to good weather this year is for Sheila & I to go on holiday.

… and in case you are wondering, we did find some very nice cakes!

Margery Pitcher



A little boy always walked with his mother when she went to the altar to take Holy Communion. On every occasion, he tugged at her arm and asked, “What does the priest say when he gives you the bread?”

Mum would always lean over and whisper something in his ear. Imagine the shock many years later when he learned that the priest doesn’t say, “Be quiet until you get to your seat.”

With thanks to ‘New Life’, the magazine of the Parish of Dalton-in-Furness, Newton, and Ireleth with Askham.



The biggest lie I tell myself is “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”

Thanks to “The Wesley News”, Stourport-on-Severn


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