Ashton Churches Together

 

Hello Friends and Parishioners of St Oswald’s parish. My name is Catherine Henthorn and, so that you can put a face to a name, those of you who attend the 10:30 Sunday Mass will know me as one of the regular readers. I’ve also sung with the choir in past years (and still do from time to time).

In the summer of last year our church was approached by the Ashton Festival Committee to host a Songs of Praise in our beautiful church as part of the festival celebrationsI was pleased, along with several others from the parish, to play a part in organising that event, and I found it to be a joyful and uplifting evening, not least for the spiritual nature of the service itself, but also for the social aspect in the Canon’s Hall afterwards where members of the Ashton community wereable to meet each other in a relaxed atmosphere, people from many of the other churches around the Ashton areaof course not all of them Catholic, but all of them Christian. We raised about £200 that night, which we donated to Christian Aid.

In order to gather together contributions to the event I was able to draw on an existing network between the churches, known as Ashton Churches Together. This forum includes members of St Thomas & St Luke, Our Lady’s at Bryn, the Salvation Army, Bryn St Peters, Downall Green Holy Trinity,St Wilfrid’s, and Queens Road Methodist Church, but it was short of a representative from St Oswald’s. My need for an easy way of communicating with other Christians in our town married quite easily with the need for St Oswalds to be represented in the community, and so I became the (unelected!) representative of St Oswald’s parish on the Ashton Churches Forum.

The main aim of the forum is to unite Christians of all denominations in the Ashton area, with a view to spreading the Good News and making praise and worship synonymous with friendship and community and mutual support. We meet quarterly to discuss how best to encourage non-churchgoers and non-believers to join our merry band as followers of Christ, and the forum organises community events such as the Ashton Christmas Lights Switch-On in the winter, and the Praise in the Park events that happen in Jubilee Park in the summer. How else should we spread The Word and include all members of our town community? If you have any ideas, we could use your help!

If you have any questions, or suggestions, please do get in touch. In the meantime, watch out for appeals for help and advertisements for events happening that you might enjoy or can offer your skills to. My own aim is for the parishioners of St Oswald’s to play a much more active role in the local religious community, to make ourselves known as active Christians whether we’re the ‘quiet disciple’ type or the full-on evangelist; after all, when Jesus said, “Go, and make disciples,” he meant both telling unbelievers the Good News as well as helping those who already believe to grow in their faith.  At the end of each Mass we are dismissed to carry on our mission – to be missionaries – to take the Christ we have received in Word and Communion out with us into the world. Let’s follow that directive!

 

Catherine Henthorn