Newsletter for May & June 2012


 On Good Friday BBC1 broadcast the Preston Passion live from Preston bus station.  The writers were given the brief to ”tell the story of Christ’s Passion in a way that’s fresh and universal, and set it in Preston”.  They spent six months in Preston talking to local people who shared stories of quiet, personal heroism and sacrifice.  These linked with the gospel accounts of Christ’s Passion which has at its heart an act of gratuitous, self-giving love that somehow turns the world upside down.  The result was three pre-filmed dramas linked by live music from a 500+ strong choir, Leyland Brass Band, the live dramatic performance and dance movements involving 1000+ participants.  Pilate’s story was shown through mayor Samuel Horrocks in 1842 wondering whether to show the rebel mill worker George Cleasby leniency or make an example of him.  The story of three mothers who volunteered in the tea room on Preston Railway station in 1916 while their sons were at war and the night when one of them heard of the death of her son but carried on serving tea to the other soldiers reflected the love of Mary for her son.  The final film, inspired by the love of Jesus showed a young girl caring for her younger siblings because their mother was alcoholic and giving up her savings to buy food for them.  The events of the story were linked to the Stations of the Cross and concluded with the girl declaring her love for her mother despite everything.

 In the programme for the event there is a statement from Aaqil Ahmed, Commissioning Editor Religion and Head of Religion & Ethics for the BBC:

“I am really proud of the unique partnership between Preston Guild and the BBC that has enabled us to deliver a contemporary take on the universal story of The Passion both to the audience here today and live to those watching on BBC One. This stand-out programme is the centre-piece of our religious output this Easter and promises not only to be must-see television, but also offers people here today a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a fantastic live event, whether as a performer or a spectator”

What was it like to be part of it?

Margery, Jean and Brian and Mac were members of the 500-strong choir. There were two Sunday afternoon rehearsals at English Martyrs Church. How inspiring and uplifting it was to sing traditional Holy Week choral music with so other singers, many of them friends, in a packed (we mean packed!) church!!  It was interesting to meet the BBC production team and witness the conductor Paul Leddington Wright, who we regularly see on “Songs of Praise”, moulding so many voices into a cohesive choir.

On Thursday evening, we rehearsed at the bus station for the first time with the Leyland Brass Band and saw something of the live dramatic performance and dance movements, the moving portrayals of the crown of thorns, the human cross on the ground and the three crosses appearing on top of the bus station, together with glimpses of the pre-recorded drama on the large screen. 

On Friday morning we had to be at the bus station by 8:30am for the final run-through to get the timings right for the live broadcast at noon.  Throughout the event, we could see some of the action unfolding in front of us but also other views on the giant screen.  As each of the films was shown, a huge cross was raised on top of the bus station and at the end a length of red fabric ran down from each of them.

It was very moving to be part of such an event and we are grateful for the opportunity. It was also fascinating to see all the work that goes on in the background.  If anyone missed the programme and would like to watch it we have a DVD which you can borrow or perhaps we can arrange a presentation if enough if there is interest.

In reality, we were only able to fully appreciate the whole programme when we watched a recording later and then watched it again and more fully appreciate the skill and detail with which the BBC team had related the familiar story from three different points of view – Pilate’s, Mary’s and Jesus’ and woven into events in Preston’s past and present history to movingly show how Christ’s sacrifice it still relevant to each one of us today

On the BBC web-site, the  writers tell about their six months in Preston talking to local people and they conclude ;  “And most importantly we both feel enriched by our encounter with the Passion and with the people we met in Preston”.

Margery Pitcher & Mac Dunsmore

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PRESTON GUILD   Plans are progressing for our “Bread of life” float in the procession and we now have a list of items and expertise required from either Fulwood URC or St Clare’s church.  If you can help in any way, please let any of our Guild committee know (Jean Dunsmore, Duncan Farquhar, Margery Pitcher, Kerry Whittall).                                   

Items needed:

Crockery – to use on a tea table, coloured rather than white

Large circular stainless steel plate/tray

White pinafores

Chef’s hat & white coat

White mob caps

Hessian sacks

Old white double bed sheets

Old plain coloured umbrellas

Large safety pins


Bright, plain coloured fabric (minimum size A3)

Things to be made:

“Silver” cross – approx 15” tall to stand on table (wood or card either painted or covered in foil?)

 “Silver” chalice – 10”–12” tall (painted papier-mâché?)

Letters to be cut from fabric (stencils will be provided)

We will also need help later to put some of the items together and in September help to transport the items to Longridge Rd, people to decorate the float ready for the procession and dismantle it afterwards.     Thank you.

Margery Pitcher

When you read God’s word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, “It is talking to me, and about me “

Soren Kierkegaard

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An old Gaelic Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you,

may the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

the rains fall soft upon your fields,

and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of his hand.



One day, a man went to visit a church.  He got there early, parked his car and got out.  Another car pulled up near the driver got out and said, “I always park there!  You took my place!” 

The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down.  A young lady from the church approached him and stated, “That’s my seat! You took my place!”  The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.

After Sunday School, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, “That’s where I always sit! You took my place!”  The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still he said nothing.

Later as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood up, and his appearance began to change.  Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet.

Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, “What happened to you?”   The visitor replied, as his hat became a crown of thorns, and a tear fell from his eye, “I took your place.” 

When you read this, say a prayer. Maybe, just maybe, we can get the world to start thinking of who took our place.

Thanks to Sheffield Central Magazine

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When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place.  Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there.  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.                                  

(GNB: Acts 22: 1-4)



A young clergyman, fresh out of training, thought it would help him better understand the fears and temptations his future congregations faced if he first took a job as a policeman for several months. He passed the physical examination; then came the oral exam to test his ability to act quickly and wisely in an emergency. Among other questions he was asked, “What would you do to disperse a frenzied crowd?  ”He thought for a moment and then said, “I would pass round an offering plate”.

He got the job.

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The sum of £20 for the Bible Society was raised at our March meeting when Rev’d Helen spoke about her recent visit to Egypt and included a DVD about the relocation of the Temple of Isis at Philae which she and Colin had visited.

The illustrated talk by Veronica Frost – Singing Safari – at our April meeting was a wonderful balance of the experience of being part of the Really Big Chorus singing in Capetown, glimpses of the changing culture and every day life in modern day South Africa, and  excellent close-up photos of the animals and birds on a real-life safari. The sum of £36 was raised for Vine House, Veronica’s chosen charity.

On Thursday 10th May, our speaker is Ruth Bruce, a friend of Kath Farquhar’s who will give an illustrated talk entitled “My long walk from Thurso to Preston “.

At our June meeting on Thursday 14th June our speaker will be another friend from Fulwood Methodist, Anne Garsed who will be presenting an illustrated talk entitled “Cycling for Christian Aid“ including her ride from London to Paris.

 As usual, a collection will be taken on behalf of the speaker’s chosen charity.

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CHURCHES TOGETHER IN LANCASHIRE – AGM AND ANNUAL FORUM – Tuesday 12th June at Fulwood Methodist Church.

7pm – AGM, 7:30pm – Forum: Chaplaincy Together across Lancashire.

“Local, congregation led chaplaincy is one of the most effective ways to collaborate in God’s mission in the world; local people responding to local needs over time can change the world!”

We’re delighted that our contributors on this evening will include Kevin Duffy, the Methodist Connexion’s Chaplaincy Development officer, who has been working in the Lancashire District over this past year, and encouraging churches to work together across denominations in local chaplaincy projects. Everyone Welcome – Come and be inspired to be “church without walls”!

Debbie Peatman (CTL)

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In each sentence there is the name of a clerical appointment or office hidden away in the text.


  1. Beelzebub is hoping that someone will make a difference
  2. How can one make a difference?
  3. The clergyman made a considerable difference
  4. It is an unusual thing to make a difference.
  5. You will incur a terrible penalty if you make a difference.
  6. Such a difference may have a direct or indirect effect on others
  7. The difference should be recorded on a scorecard in a large book
  8. “Making a difference does not make me a spiv” I carolled.
  9. Being good at the Cha Cha plainly does make a difference on “Come Dancing”
  10. “Divide and conquer” That will clearly make a difference

 Can you find them all?

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 Pentecost Service – A joint CTFB will be held at St Martin’s at 6.30pm on Pentecost Sunday 27th May.

 Evening Stroll ­ The annual evening stroll will be on Wednesday 27th June. Meet at Haslam Park gates at 7.15pm. (Followed by CTFB Council meeting at  Fulwood URC)

 Annual Pilgrimage This year, a special Guild Pilgrimage (mostly by coach) to Preston Churches including St Walburge’s, Lune Street Methodist, St George’s Lune Street, St Wilfrids and St John’s Broughton.  We will attend Evensong at St John’s followed by an evening meal at “Dog & Partridge” at Chipping.

Cost (including coach and meal) £22.00.  More details from Jean Dunsmore – please book early.



On Sunday 20th MAY we are holding our usual Fellowship Lunch  after the Morning Service.  There will also be a Traidcraft stall and Christian Aid envelopes will be available for donations.  We plan to repeat our successful Christian Aid Quiz in September.

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What a wonderful way to explain it:

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said,

“Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

“I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing…

“I know my Master is there, and that is enough.”

Thanks to Beaconsfield URC Magazine

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Thy way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be.

Lead me by thine own hand, choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough, it will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it leads right onward to thy rest.

Choose Thou for me my friends, my sickness or my health;

Choose thou my cares for me, my poverty or wealth.

Not mine, not mine the choice in things of great or small;

Be thou my guide, my strength, my wisdom, and my all.



STOP PRESS: Advent FairMany thanks to the Heather Fitchett Dancers who have contributed a further £157.85 to the Advent Fair from their own face painting and tombola events.  We have now sent a total of £580 to both St Catherine.s and Derian House Hospices.

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