Please find the link to our June 2021 church magazine. The paper version is available in both of our churches, St John with St Mark in Bury and Christ Church Walmersley. So, we’d love to see you if you want to pop in and pick up a copy.
During June we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, which was a day first proposed by Thomas Aquinas for Christians to focus on the Holy Eucharist.
The magazine includes news and updates on what’s going on in and around the Benefice plus a piece on Stewardship. In addition, our June 2021 church magazine contains an update on the new Manchester Deaneries. There is also this letter from Elizabeth Binns…
4 extra days?
On the May Day bank holiday, I had Jeffrey (the lovely American priest who has taken over from me in Radcliffe) round for tea. He is settling in really well and now knows what “tea” means round here. However, there are still some things about life in the UK which puzzle him. He recently got a car and is learning to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. He asked me about roundabouts! I am not the best person to ask to be honest. Then we moved onto bank holidays, and he had a lot of questions; what was the May Day thing all about, why would you get an extra day/not get an extra day for New Year depending on where you live? I spent the next hour or so trying (without cheating) to remember the ones that we have and why.
Of course, come the end of May there is another bank holiday, officially nameless but often called Spring or Late Spring. It was actually linked to Whitsuntide but was moved in the seventies. Bank holidays, at any time and for any reason, are generally very welcome but I did wonder with the enforced time-off so many have experienced over this last year if they are still as special/full of promise? I know that since I retired, they don’t quite have the same meaning to me.
Maybe this coming (insert name of your choice) bank holiday will be different because we are almost back to normal (yes, probably jinxed it now)! The problem with bank holidays is that we expect a lot from them; we want to get the most out of this precious free time. Some will put an awful lot of planning into the day but quite often they will build their plans on the weather (always a mistake) and when the day dawns as a ‘typical bank holiday’ the plans are in ruins.
Other folk will have an alarmingly full schedule: an early trip to the supermarket; gardening after that other bank holiday staple the garden centre; decorating; cleaning the car; sorting out the attic etc. Whilst others will just decide the day is about doing nothing, have a lie in and just relax. Great, until you realise you have done diddly squat and feel racked with guilt. I have not forgotten all those people who have to work (with or without additional pay) and don’t really want to think about bank holidays at all, thank you very much.
Everyone has more than us
Perhaps it is as well that in the UK we do not have as many bank holidays as many other countries do. Cambodia has 28, Sri Lanka has 25 and a good number of countries have between 21 and 12, in fact everyone seems to have more than us. Even the USA, which Jeffrey felt was badly done to, has 11. We are right at the bottom with 8. But before you get too indignant, if the Labour Party ever gets in power, they promised to give us 4 more bank holidays. The plan is that they will honour the patron saints of Great Britain. To save you thinking/googling: St David’s Day (1 March); St Patrick’s Day (17 March); St George’s Day (23 April) and St Andrew’s Day (30 November).
So, what would we do with those 4 extra days? You have probably got quite a lot of time to think about it but perhaps the saints themselves might give us a clue as to what to do.
St. David became a monk and a great teacher. So perhaps we could spend some of our day learning something – even getting to grips with one or two things from the bible that have always puzzled us. And, as in Wales many of the celebrations centre around food, maybe some time cooking could be fun (leeks optional).
St. Patrick had a significant role in introducing Christianity to the Irish (and more recently increasing alcohol sales). So, how about spending a little time thinking about how you might tell someone about your faith – and even doing it? After that, and after would probably be better, spend a bit of time relaxing with family and friends, enjoying a glass or two of your favourite tipple.
St. George – no actual dragons for us to slay but how about tackling that job you have been putting off for ages and then going to your own particular “royal” family to seek your reward by doing something you enjoy together.
St. Andrew – one of the first disciples who carried out Jesus’ mission. It took over a 1000 years for Scotland to recognise him so why not use his day to recognise someone who has helped you. Is there something you could do for someone else?
Well, whether we get those extra bank holidays or not I hope you enjoy the ones we have, balancing work with enjoyment and remembering that, whatever the weather, these are precious days: This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Yours in Christ, Elizabeth