Parish News


After four months of non-publication, I am hoping to issue the September edition of the Parish News. If you have any copy - regarding either current news or commentary on events/non-events during lockdown - the deadline is Sunday 23rd August 2020. Please could anything be sent to me via email.

Christine Richards - Parish News Editor


Welcome to Reverend Peter Ennion, his wife Christine, and his son Peter, who are now living in the Rectory. Hopefully, Peter's licencing will take place by Zoom on 28th July, after which he will be able to take our services.

Please note that St. Bertoline's is open for individual private prayer daily from 10.30am until 4.30pm, but at this point, Sunday services are not recommencing.

Thank you to the amazing lads and lassies who strimmed the church banks, emptied the grass bin, cut the hedges, swept the drive, and all the other jobs I've failed to mention: you did a fantastic job, and it is most appreciated. Also thank you to Steve and June Hawthorn, Tom Bailey and his Gran, who worked incredibly hard to restore the Rectory wilderness into a very attractive garden. Peter was amazed by the transformation.

The final good news this week is the reopening of The White Lion on Saturday 4th July. Please give them all the support you can.

Slowly, the 'new normal' is emerging - stay safe, and enjoy our delightful village.

Chris Bailey - Churchwarden


As I write this, Rogation Sunday is approaching: May 17th. Remember when we used to beat the bounds of our parish? This year, we give thanks to our farmers, who keep the land in good condition, look after their stock, and, hopefully, provide us with food for the coming year.

Thank you also, to Jo Hollins and family for providing a market stall outside their pub during lockdown. Now that people are more mobile, this service has ended, but it was most appreciated while it lasted.

We are also sorry that, due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the Barthomley Fun Day 2020 has been cancelled.

The number of people parking up at church has been impressive: many walkers, cyclists, motor-cyclists and picnickers have been enjoying our glorious village, whilst observing social-distancing. We welcome you all, and hope that you will visit our beautiful church again, once we are permitted to reopen. One thing is certain: St. Bertoline’s will still be here.

For those of us who are residents, I think we really do appreciate our wonderful, tranquil setting: we have so much to be grateful for.

Chris Bailey - Churchwarden


BIG BIRTHDAYS TO CELEBRATE - Jackie Edge recently turned 70, and Charlie Bennion celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday (9th May). Sadly, any parties were constrained by Covid-19 restrictions, but we hope that they enjoyed their special birthdays.

VE Day - Sadly, we were not able to ring the church bells to mark this special occasion due to the Coronavirus restrictions. We remember the sacrifice made by so many so that we may enjoy our lives today. We hope that you have been able to commemorate this special occasion in your own ways.

SAD NEWS - On 6th May, Frank Rockey passed away at home. He was 77. As a child, Frank lived with his family in Tunstall, where the family owned a painting and decorating business. Frank went on to be a highly-respected floor manager at ICL, in Kidsgrove. Frank and Jackie were married at Christ Church, Alsager in 1966. Frank was a chorister throughout his life: he started as a boy chorister at Christ Church Tunstall, and sang at Christ Church Alsager and St Mary Magdalene Alsager, before joining St Bertoline's. Frank had a superb tenor voice, and this was showcased for the final time at the 2019 Christmas Carol concert. Frank (a former Churchwarden) did so much for St Bertoline's, and was an ever-willing volunteer when odd jobs needed doing: painting, sanding, weeding, help at social events. Sadly, Frank's health deteriorated, and his final months were spent in and out of Leighton Hospital.

Our love and sympathy goes out to Jackie and their family. St Bertoline's has a very special place in their hearts, and Frank will be fondly remembered by everyone at St Bertoline's.


Around this time of year, it was customary for Canon Darrel to write a letter to those involved in the church's planned giving scheme. Since last year's letter, much has changed: Darrel and Angela have been retired for nine months, the interregnum is ongoing, at least for the short-term, and we are all engulfed in the Covid-19 crisis.

Your generous and on-going support over the last year is so important, not just for the short-term upkeep of services, but also for the long-term future of St. Bertoline's. It has helped accomplish major restoration projects over the last decade, which will benefit the community for years to come. During the last ten years, these projects have cost over £484,000 - an incredible sum for a small rural parish to have raised.

Despite the current crisis, for this year we should be able to meet known commitments from anticipated cash resources. Projecting ahead always involves making assumptions, and this includes not only an anticipated sharp drop in dividend income, but also that the majority of planned givers will continue supporting St. Bertoline's. A bonus for this year's cash flow is that, for the first time in a decade, we have no major projects in progress, or any known projects in the pipeline.

A problem area, during the lockdown, is the potential loss of revenue from collections and services, which averages over £200 weekly. Some of you who utilise the blue envelope scheme have been sending cheques to the Treasurer, which is most appreciated. Those familiar with online banking may wish to consider paying direct, or setting up a standing order. Please contact the Treasurer, or the Churchwarden, for the banking details, should you wish to do so. Alternatively, you may wish to store up your usual donations until services recommence.

Beyond the short-term future, we cannot ignore the adverse financial trends facing us. The largest expense by far, diocesan parish share, is rising inexorably, while the largest source of revenue, planned giving, is declining. Sadly, given the age profile of our supporters, we have lost some very generous donors in recent years, who are difficult to replace. There is never a good time to ask people, who are already giving what can be afforded, and possibly more, to review their giving. During the last year, some of you have very generously increased your giving, which is most appreciated.

During these difficult and challenging times, it seems distasteful to be raising financial matters when many are suffering so grievously. As trustees, however, we have an obligation to manage the church finances, especially over difficult periods. Despite the current despair, we must believe that some good will emerge from the crisis. Perhaps Covid-19 might just spark a renaissance in church attendances. We can but hope.

With best wishes,

Chris Bailey - Churchwarden and Len Griffin - Treasurer


Ted Gibbins

The Gibbins Family worshipped at Barthomley for several years, and it was with deep sorrow that we heard of Ted's recent death. Canon Darrel Speedy was able to take service at Crewe Crematorium with limited numbers.

Our sympathies go to his wife, Irene, and sons, Simon and Julian, and their families.

Keith Rowley

Those of us who have lived in Barthomley for over 50 years will remember Keith as the organist from 1965 to 1992. He also taught the Sunday School to play the handbells, and, with Brian Whittaker, was responsible for the Boxing Day football matches. He presented the choir lights to the Church, and helped with the wonderful music festivals which were held in the 1970s.

Keith had a graveside commital on 6th April. Our sympathy goes to his wife Lynn, and children Sarah and Adam.

Mike Elkin

Very sadly, Mike Elkin died on March 27th at Leighton Hospital. Although he had not been well, his death was unexpected.

The Parish News has recently recorded both a message from Mike, and a special thank you from Canon Darrel Speedy. We shall all miss Mike, but in particular, the Balterley congregation will remember his Wednesday morning communion services with affection.

The cremation will take place on 15th April at Bradwell, but with a restricted attendance. A Memorial Service will be planned for a future date at St Mary's, Alsager.

Very sadly, Mike's wife, Pat, died in New Milton House, Alsager, four days after Mike's funeral. Pat had been a resident at New Milton House for many years. Our love, thanks, and sympathy go to their daughter, Jane.

To download the Parish News please click on the links below

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