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A Message from the Wardens – 25th June 2020

Dear Friends,

I’ve spent a very happy hour browsing through our church’s magazines which run from 1922, when our church was still at the planning and fund-raising stage, up to 1967. They can be found on the Totley History Group’s website (click on Documents/Parish magazines/All Saints Totley). The Totley Church of England Mission had ‘broken away’ from Christ Church, Dore and was raising money to establish its own parish, with a church. The magazines give a fascinating insight into church and village life at the time, especially in those early days when the church committee organised the majority of all the social events that happened in Totley, mainly to raise funds for the building and furnishing of the new church. Concerts, whist drives, dances, coffee mornings, jumble sales, lectures, were organised, most of which took place in the church school hall (as did church services at that time).

‘The Sunday School Social on Thursday, December 29, 1921 was a very enjoyable function. After a substantial tea, games were played, lantern slides were shown, including the story of the Nativity, and several humorous stories. On Sunday afternoon, January 1, 1922, Mrs. Milner, O.B.E. (of Totley Hall) kindly presented prizes to sixty-eight children, who had made regular attendance during the year’.
And who would have wanted to miss this event!
‘The Congregational Social on New Year's Eve was a good success. Commencing with a ham tea, followed by a social whist drive, and a splendid concert, given by local talented friends, viz., Mr. H. Andrews, bass ; Miss Hall, contralto; Mr. E. Longley, monologue; Mr .R. Wells, elocutionist; Masters Parkin and Close, solo choir boys Dore Church; Mr. 0. Swift, gramophone selections; Mr. A. F. Farnsworth, accompanist. The artistes were heartily thanked for their kindness. About eighty people were present, and spent one of the happiest socials held in connection with the Mission. A Watch-night Service was afterwards held, conducted by Mr. A. J. Foulstone, Lay Reader.’

‘In July 1922, Totley New Church and Parish.-There is every hope and reason to believe that in November the new parish of Totley will be constituted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It will be carved out of the parishes of Dore and St. John's, Abbeydale. The sum of £1,200, which represents the local effort, has been sent to the Commissioners towards the Totley Incumbent Endowment Fund.’
The Vicar’s letter in the October 1939 issue has poignant echoes of the ‘war’ we are currently engaged in today:
‘This letter is not a sermon, but as it is my first message to you all since the outbreak of war. I will begin it with a text which may very well sum up our duty as Christian people at this time. "Though all this be come upon us, yet we will not forget Thee". For most of us our normal life is interrupted and dislocated. We have new duties, new anxieties, new problems to fill our thoughts, but we must not let anything cause us to forget God and our duty to Him. Surely it is at such a time as this that our religion is put to the test and if it is true and real and sincere it will survive the trial. War is "hideous evil” but at least it provides unusual opportunities for the exercise of faith and hope and charity and brings us all face to face with those deep things that matter most of all. Our need of God's supernatural help is greater than ever and therefore our devotion to Him -our prayers - our communion - our worship, are of supreme importance. More than ever we must "cast all our care upon Him". More than ever we must "seek His kingdom and His righteousness.’
By 1967, the last magazine on the website shows that All Saints church was holding four services each Sunday, with an extra Communion service on the first Sunday of the month, and plans for the new church hall were under way. The new Garden of Remembrance had just been dedicated by the Bishop of Repton (we were in Derby diocese then); and I found it fascinating to see all the adverts for the numerous shops and businesses that flourished back then.
So, times have changed, Totley has changed, and the role of the church has changed; but God hasn’t changed, and we are still required to love our neighbours as ourselves. The pandemic has shown that we have been able to do that in all sorts of ways, aided largely by modern technology, which would be beyond anything the 1922 congregation could comprehend, but I like to think they’d approve of our efforts – ham tea and a whist drive anyone?!!!
You will be aware no doubt that from 4th July churches may open for the purpose of worship. The operative word here is may not must. The acts of worship that will be permitted will look very different to normal too, no hymn books, no singing, no sharing of the chalice, masks to be worn by anyone serving communion, shortened services and no congregating for a chat afterwards!!! We indicated last week that the Bishop has made it clear that no church should feel under any pressure to open until they are satisfied that this can be done safely. Liz has spoken to our insurers and they have said that we must ensure we have taken all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of anyone entering the church buildings. When the PCC has had the chance to discuss the implications of this, we will let you know but would stress at this stage the church will be closed for some time to come. We have also heard that Totley Rise Methodist Church will also remain closed.
Lockdown conditions are gradually easing but we all know that that does not mean that the virus has gone away. We must remain vigilant and continue to take whatever steps we feel we need to stay safe and also to follow the advice we are given. We have come a long way but the journey continues. It has been difficult in so many ways and we urge you to continue to support one another as we each try to work out what the lifting of restrictions might look like for our own situations. It will be different for every one of us so please be understanding that many people are very wary and may not feel ready to re join society.
One answer to prayer that we are pleased to share with you is that Neil’s finger is healing very well. It is still swollen and this may take some considerable time to go down but the hospital has said that it is incredible that he has regained so much movement as many people with such serious injuries struggle to regain any movement. This is down to lots of prayer and a team of skilled surgeons. So, thank you all for your prayer support.
Sheila Parkin celebrated her 90th birthday on 23rd. Happy birthday and congratulations from everyone at All Saints. Maurice Snowden celebrates his 95th birthday on June 25th so we send best wishes to him as well.
Ken and Viv Filleul are planning to prayer walk around Totley Grange and Totley Mead estates. If anyone would like to join them, please contact them .

Attached is a poem based on Psalm 23 which we thought you might enjoy as well as this week’s dingbats quiz ( a rather difficult one we think, all the answers have a gardening connection) and the answers to last week’s quiz too.

Don’t forget to join us for virtual worship on Sunday from 10am. There are resources available specially for children too at https://www.allsaintstotley.church/

Have a good week. Stay safe and take care.

With love,

Angela and Liz

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