Isobel Worthingtonfaith journeyLoose Connections    “You will still visit us won’t you?” These were the parting words to me as I left my last service at Bosley Chapel, before marriage and a move to pastures new. I cannot remember my answer, but the truth was, I never did return for 41 years, apart from the odd funeral.

This stage in my life was over. But the memories I would take with me, Good Friday concerts, the Easter Service choir singing “All on an April Evening” and rousing harvest hymns at the Harvest Festival would remain.

Goodbye also to Hollin Lane Chapel and its monthly service which we could walk to over the hills and dales. Goodbye to Sutton Church where Dad was on the warden’s rota to ‘take the collection’, and the C.o.E. school which I attended, which stood at the foot of its drive. I remember distinctly the Sutton vicar giving our headteacher a ticking off in front of his class of 9 and 10 year olds. Without the vicar’s permission he had walked us up to the church, to climb ladders and along planks in the belfry, to have a lesson on the bells, on a level with them.

After my marriage in Sutton Church my loose connections with all three places of Christian worship came to an end.

Firm Connections    After a few years of marriage, I became involved with Prestbury Chapel. Our children attended Prestbury C.o.E. school, and the chapel was just across the road. It was here that I became a full member of the Methodist Church, here that I met, worshipped, worked and journeyed with amazing Christian people that I have kept connections with ever since. Also of course there was the connection with Prestbury Church and many friends who attended there.

Renewed Connections    With retirement to Bosley, my life turned full circle. I returned to worship once more at the chapel, the place where I was baptised as a baby, and am now senior church steward. I will be ever grateful to the loyal congregation that have continued to worship there and keep the faith. Bosley Church also is still there, again with a loyal congregation. What a debt we owe to stalwart congregations all over our country!

Disconnected Connections    March 2020, Covid 19 lockdown restrictions put a stop to all regular church services, and our church doors were locked for worship and pretty much anything else. Not in our time has this been known.

Connected Connections    At the time of writing, in February 2021, to join in a communal act of worship we have to get connected - electronically. Our chapel, Circuit and church Benefices have each week organised services which we can connect to on any of our devices. It is not the same. We miss the social connection and support of our fellow Christians. But it is the best that we can have in the circumstances, and we thank the Ministers for the work that they do. Some day soon we hope to return to normality.

To conclude, I will quote the verse of a popular funeral hymn, in fact I think I would like it at mine please.

“O love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee:
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.”

[Reproduced from an article in Congleton Contact magazine,
by Isobel Worthington]