Special services of worship
On 5th June the congregation of St Paul’s were delighted to share in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Bishop Nigel’s ordination as Deacon at Chester Cathedral. Thirty of those years have been spent as a bishop in various parts of the country, the last of which was at Manchester. He was also chaplain to the British Legion. Supported by our curate Andrew, Bishop Nigel officiated at the parish Eucharist and his wife Celia preached the sermon, the theme of which was “Arise, go, serve”. It was an uplifting occasion, and after the final blessing Bishop Nigel announced that our worship had ended, but our service was beginning.
Parishioners gathered afterwards at the back of the church for a glass of sherry. Team Rector Nick Ash presented Bishop Nigel with a card of congratulations, and proposed the toast to him. The Bishop expressed his thanks; he then formally opened the Queen’s 90th Birthday exhibition in the church and the National Anthem was sung.
Civic service to mark the Queen's 90th birthday
The Civic Service on 12th June was led by the Rev Canon Nick Ash who began by introducing the beautifully illustrated tribute to the Queen produced by the Bible Society, Hope and LICC, "The Servant Queen". It describes the Queen's remarkable life which revolves around her faith in Jesus Christ. The book is not for resale so Nick encouraged the congregation to take a copy, read it and pass it on. He passed his copy to Tricia Thomas, the town's mayor, who already had one so she passed it on to Jackie Bailey immediately, illustrating his point.
Pupils of Grange Primary School interviewed Penny Ward, who had received the Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977. Cedric Robinson was also due to be interviewed as working for the Queen but, ironically, that work prevented him from attending, as a cross-bay walk was underway.
In their after-schools club the previous week, pupils at Grange Primary School had decorated a plate in honour of the Queen's birthday, and they processed around the church proudly displaying the results.
We gave thanks for Her Majesty, offered praise for her unstinting devotion to duty and unswerving commitment to the service of her people. We remembered her declaration, on her 21st birthday, that her whole life be devoted to our service and that of the great imperial family to which we belong. We prayed for God to continue his loving purposes in her.
Amos Rand, a pupil at the school, led us in an act of dedication by reading an extract from the Queen's 1975 Christmas Speech in which she reminded us that kindness, sympathy, resolution and courteous behaviour are infectious. Even small pebbles thrown into a pool change the whole pattern of the water.
Having around a hundred people in the congregation meant for resounding singing of the well-chosen hymns and, of course, the national anthem to close the service.