Christmas Services and Events at St Michael’s – dates for your diary

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Join us in celebrating the greatest news of all this Christmas – God with us!

These are our Christmas Services and Events:

Tuesday 13th December, 7.00pm – Light of Life Service 

A service to remember loved ones and dedicate a light on our Christmas tree

Wednesday 14th December, 7.00pm – Gilpin Singers Christmas Concert

£3 entry, enjoy a varied concert of music old and new, get in the Christmas spirit!

Saturday 17th December, 11.00am – Carol Singing in the Wild Boar Pub

Meet us in the Wild Boar for some carol singing – wear a Christmas jumper!

Sunday 18th December, 3.00pm – Christingle

A magical family service – all proceeds to Children’s Society

Christmas Eve

3.00pm Interactive Family Crib Service – a chance to take part in a nativity play and sing some carols

7.00pm Our Traditional 9 Lessons and Carols Service

11.30pm Midnight Mass

Christmas Day

8.30am Eucharist

10.00am Festival Eucharist

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Local MP visits our mission project Space4

On Friday 10th August our local MP Bridget Phillipson called in to Space4 to view the Votes for Women Exhibition and chat with service users and volunteers. The exhibition has been running all week and was the brainchild of Jorgie Carmichael (pictured below with Bridget) who originally came to Space4 as a service users; she is now a volunteer and a vital cog in the running of the project along with being a member of St Michael’s congregation, the choir and the Gilpin Singers!
Bridget enjoyed looking at the varied exhibits which celebrate struggle and achievement of local women including herself, local Councillors, artists, members of our congregation, women clergy, learners from the Kepier School and many more. She also took the time to chat with volunteers and service users.
There’s still time to call in to view the exhibition as it will be running until Saturday 18th August 2018.

St Michael’s Summer Club at the Kepier Hall

We have just completed week two of our Summer Club for local children and our sessions have been very well attended and a lot of fun with a splash of hard work for the grown ups! We began both session with a healthy and tasty cooked lunch which the children made short work of. Week one we had a visit from Bryan Lee from the Coalfields LAF Team who did some great physical exercise games with our 60+ children split into two groups. We also enjoyed some fun games with music lead by Rev Judith Howes and the Kepier Halls Dawn Wright. The children were sent home worn out but happy with a healthy packed tea.
Week two and another healthy cooked lunch this time followed by some fabulous craft activities lead by Denise Hepplewhite from Apextra Family Learning and the wonderful leaders of our Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. The children made some fantastic sea related items and then we had games lead by Rox Nicholl. Some of the children were very good and not doing the actions during a game of ‘Rox Said’ and they took a long while to be whittled down to a winner! Huge thanks to all the very hard working volunteers who slaved in the kitchen cooking and washing up, helped with the craft activities and made sure all the children were safe and had fun. This project was funded by a Community Chest Grant from our ever supportive local Councillors

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The Installation of Rev. Canon Sue Pinnington as the first Archdeacon of the Gwent Valleys and Diocesan Director of Mission

On Saturday 7th July some intrepid members of St Michael’s congregation attended a wonderful service held at Newport Cathedral, having navigated a rather sweltering 6+ hours trip from Houghton. It was a real delight to share in this special service with Sue’s family and friends from all over the country and we were all made to feel very welcome. Newport Cathedral, St Woolos is a beautiful light and ancient building that was full of amazing flower displays as the week preceding had been a flower festival. The service itself was a real celebration of Sue’s achievements with reflections of her time at Houghton alongside welcoming her warmly into her new post. There were lots of good conversations during the refreshments following the service and some of us were able to gather the following day for a celebration lunch.

Bishop Paul Presides and Preaches

It was a delight to welcome Bishop Paul this morning to preside and preach. Bishop Paul reflected on the fact that we have had two significant ‘goodbyes’ in recent times and encouraged us to work together as we begin our vacancy. Bishop Paul preached on all three of this mornings readings – Job 38.1-11, 2 Corinthians 6.1-13 and Mark 4.35-41.
He observed God’s message to Job that God is far bigger than humankind, bigger than our imaginings and our understanding so trying to make sense of what may or may not happen can be futile. We need to trust in God and have faith.
When we find ourselves in the storms of uncertainty and challenge that life throw at us we need to remember, as the disciples were reminded in Mark, that God is always with us. God is there with us in all the mess and muddle and he is guiding us to calmer waters.
And finally, this amazing all knowing all powerful God wants to work with us in this dysfunctional world. He is our co worker not our boss. We are encouraged to have our hearts open wide as we work with God. Bishop Paul suggested that we might want to draw on the text from the passage when putting together our person specification for the next incumbent. He noted that he hadn’t seen any of the more negative things that Paul listed on recent person specifications but reflected that all life experience shapes us.
It was good to have time after the service to share coffee and conversation with each other and Bishop Paul.

Rector Sue’s last Sunday Service

It was an emotional service with a full church this morning as Rector Sue conducted her last Sunday Eucharist with us. Rector Sue did a very rousing sermon based around Bernard Gilpin which gave us all lots of encouragement to carry on with the good work we are already doing and keep her legacy alive. She spoke about Generosity, Inclusion, Love & Laughter, (fighting)Injustice & Nurture. Distributing holy communion to the gathered congregation was very moving for both Sue and those who received and there were a good few tears. However, there was also celebration and thanks in speeches from church warden Simon, Councillor Juliana Heron, the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and the Lord Lieutenant. Young church had been working on a marvellous farewell gift which you can see in great detail in the photos below. We ended our farewell in true St Michael’s style with tea, coffee and a gorgeous cake baked by Simon and decorated by Damien.

Farewell Lunch at the Kepier Hall

We had a marvellous turn out at the Kepier Hall today for Rector Sue’s farewell lunch. As usual the Next 900 team cooked up a fabulous meal for everyone to enjoy and there were lots of memories shared. John Lambton produced a wonderful presentation of Sue’s life history and time spent with us and there were gifts and thank you speeches. It has been a 10 year period packed with all sorts of amazing events and achievements for St Michael and All Angels under the inspirational leadership of Rector Sue and we wish her every

happiness and success as she moves on to new adventures and challenges in Wales.

Space4 says ‘Goodbye & Good luck’ to Rector Sue

On Thursday 14th June Space4 hosted a special lunchtime event to say a fond farewell to Rector Sue before she heads off to be an Archdeacon in Wales. Old faces and new gathered to share memories to wish the woman, without whom, there would be no Space4. An idea on the back of an envelope, vision and drive made our church community project a reality nearly 5 years ago. More recently when our position in our current home came under threat, it was Rector Sue who negotiated with the powers that be to secure us a lease and three years security. We are very sad to see her go but happy that she will be sharing her many talents and taking on new challenges. No one every imagined the success that Space4 has been, probably not even Rector Sue and we will carry on the good work as part of her legacy to Houghton le Spring.

Bryony’s Licensing

On Monday 30th April 2018 a group from church and Space4 boarded a coach and headed for the delightful village of Barlborough in Derbyshire to be part of Bryony’s licensing service.  We received a warm welcome from Bryony’s new parishioners and some absolutely delicious home baked cakes.  The service was full of history and tradition and we all felt a huge sense of pride to have been part of Bryony’s formation.  We will miss her but send her out to do God’s work as the Rector of Barlborough and Clowne with every blessing.

Bryony’s Farewell

Bryony had her last Sunday in Houghton on Sunday 8th April.

It was with heavy hearts and fondness that we sent her off after her last Eucharist with a fantastic lunch, generous gifts and really delicious cake! 

We all had a great time (and plenty of tears) and hope Bryony and Paul enjoy their new parish as much as we did having them in ours.