Making 150 oranges into Christingles

A Farewell Concert by Charles as he retires from St Paul’s


As we approached the end of the coronavirus lockdown which closed places of worship from March this year, and thought about re-opening our churches for Sunday worship, Carol Rhodes, our Sacristan for a great number of years, advised us that, after careful consideration and prayer, she wished to give up this position in order to devote more time to her husband, Martin, and their respective parents, as well as to her full-time job. Her intention is to continue to come to church at St Paul’s whenever possible but without the responsibility that the position of Sacristan entails.  This includes monitoring and ensuring that there are sufficient quantities of wafers, wine, candles and other consumables for the various services in St Paul’s and the Fell Church; supervising the dressing of St Paul’s with the appropriate colour of lectern fall, offertory plate centres and altar linen; setting up the altar at St Paul’s with everything necessary for the officiant at services of Holy Communion; and generally overseeing everything within the sanctuary of the church building.

Carol has done all this with great diligence and care, often coming into the church on her way home from her day job or on Saturdays as well as early on Sundays, and we have all felt relaxed and confident that everything would be in good order – even on those Fridays when we have realized that an important church festival would be celebrated on the next day but one and did we have the necessary candles or other supplies? There was never any need to worry – Carol had thought about it and ordered whatever was needed.

Carol also kept an eye on the church silver – objects of some considerable value donated to the church perhaps 100 years ago in memory of loved ones but now very rarely seen except on the rare occasions when we withdraw them from their haven in the Vestry safe and display them to public view. Carol knew what we have and where to find it – the wardens duly checking their safety once a year as required by canon law – and perhaps suggesting that one platen, chalice or similar should be introduced for more general use.

Carol did all this with a cheerful smile – even when the bulky, awkwardly shaped and unwieldy altar frontals needed lifting from their storage chest in the old Meeting Room and placing in front of the altars (thank goodness they have now left us) – and she has been a veritable ray of sunshine to us all.  We look forward to seeing her in church whenever she can make it.  She was presented with a rose plant and a voucher in church on 25th October, as a mark of our thanks to her and of our esteem.

And a response from Carol

A huge thank you for the lovely card with such kind words written in it, voucher and plant (now on my desk) presented to me yesterday in church.

Not only did I want to send my thanks for the very much appreciated gesture.   I wanted to say how wonderful the service was yesterday morning, sleek, friendly engaging and Mike a wonderfully delivered Shakespeare performance! Who needs Clergy?

I echo Rosemary sentiment, that when time allows I can reengage, it’s a privilege to serve.


The picture shows Carol with Rosemary, her sponsor at Confirmation


Because we are living in such strange times and were unable this year to celebrate Harvest in our usual way, the Pastoral Committee felt that some extra thought should be given to how we should mark this festival.  What should we take to our home communicants who previously have received a posy of flowers or a parcel of fruit.  By some strange coincidence (God-given!) Gemma Mitchell, daughter of Judith and Eric, is currently waiting to take up a graduate post; having just completed her degree in Mechanical Engineering at Leeds University, and with time on her hands and a flair for baking, asked whether there was anything she could contribute.  She presented us with her baked biscuits and attractive bags.  We divided them up, added a suitable prayer, and delivered them to those of our parishioners whom we knew could not get to church.

A thank-you from Rev Sue

What a fabulous and tasty surprise!  Gemma, thank you so much for the delicious biscuits- what a lovely and generous idea.  They were not only scrumptious, but beautifully wrapped and with a prayer attached.  

For those of us who, for various reasons, are not able to join you all to share in worship, the gift was a much appreciated demonstration of love.  Thank you so much!

And from Sue and Tony Simpson

We received this Harvest Gift in Christian love from St Paul’s acknowledging God’s love for humanity at Harvest time. We photographed and shared its sentiment with some elderly friends living in a Nursing Home in Glasgow, our Christian Brothers and Sisters known to us at Holy Trinity Sliema in Malta, and sent loving thoughts to family and friends in Nottingham.

We hope to be able to return to attending Sunday Services at St Paul’s soon.  In the meantime we send Christian love.  Keep well,  keep safe.

And for those who were in church we prepared a bit of light relief in these dark days when all the news seems to spread doom and gloom.  We came up with the idea of a Harvest Mouse, inspired by the delightful poem by John Betjeman, and made up 52 parcels to be given on our way back from receiving Communion.  Five of us had much fun (a) learning to tie a Celtic love heart following Youtube, (b) making up sprigs with cuttings from the garden, (c) deciding on a suitable prayer to suit the mouse theme, and not least (d) sourcing chocolate mice!

Another thank-you from Margaret Caseley

What a lovely idea of four (actually five!) special ladies to produce an original Harvest gift which was given to members of the congregation last Sunday. It consisted of a beautifully arranged spray of lavender, heather and spruce in a cellophane wrap, tied up with a Celtic heart and an appropriate prayer – plus a little added bit of humour with 2 small chocolate mice.  We are going through difficult times and this was such a thoughtful gesture to cheer us all up.

Thank you to Rosemary Hoyle, Penny Driver, Penny Ward, Sue Fleetwood & Pip 


A very generous donation has since been taken to the Barrow Foodbank and we are still receiving monetary donations for the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal for our neighbours in Israel and the Occupied Territories, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.   All in all, another good Harvest celebration led this year by our former Archdeacon Penny Driver, who gave us a meaningful service with much food for thought!

Charles Edmondson is giving the first of four ‘Farewell’ concerts on Wednesday, 16th September, at 11 am in St Paul’s.

St Paul’s opens its doors

Trev, the Rev