150th Anniversary
Celebration Dinner Dance (5th June 2004)


Held at the Sale Masonic Hall, Tatton Road, Sale

"... Despite us serving the Lord in different places and in different ways, the simple fact of us being of one Church never changes. Whether priest, deacon or lay person we are all one in Christ in this one Church. We serve the Lord in different ways with our different gifts ..."

Revd. Dr. Stephen Foster, Vicar

Sermon, 150th Anniversary Eucharist
27th June 2004


Preached by the Revd. Dr. Stephen Foster, Vicar

"... Suffice it to say that this Church has faithfully worshipped Almighty God in this place in a variety of ways, reflecting a variety of cultures, and with a variety of congregations over the last 150 years. The beginning of the next 150 years is actually our responsibility... and nobody else’s but ours."

150th Anniversary

Church Plans to Celebrate ('The Messenger', 10th June 2004)

St Anne’s Church in Sale celebrates its 150th anniversary with an open-to-all Victorian service this month.

There will also be a £300,000 appeal launched to upgrade the building.

Sylvia Edwards, chairman of the fundraising committee, said: “In the early days, rich people paid pew rents for the posher pews and the rest were for poor people with a restricted view because of the pillars.”

“We want to replace the pews, which don’t have much leg room, with seating.”

There are also plans to install toilets, a kitchen and access for the disabled.

Sylvia added: “We would like to make the building more accessible to the community. Churches should not be museum pieces.”

Metrolink travellers who enter St Anne’s, completed in 1854, will notice that five pairs of cast iron pillars supporting the roof are similar to the columns at Sale and Brooklands stations.

This year, church members raised more than £80,000 for roof repairs, which had been a long-standing problem.

An incendiary bomb hit the building in 1944. Fortunately, it lodged in the rafters and quickly burned out.

Another near-disaster, again involving the roof, occurred in 1955. Men working on it left just as the part above the gallery - installed, along with the west aisle, in 1863 - began to smoulder.

Sylvia continued: “If it hadn’t been choir night and discovered quickly, the fire could have been a disaster.”

The water used to tackle the blaze saturated the gallery, which had to be removed.

Legend has it that the first vicar, the Rev Jonathan Johnson Cort, was a familiar figure as he rode his black pony around the then rural parish. He was in office for 30 years and was succeeded by his son, the Rev John Patchett Cort. Between them they served for 63 years. In all 12 vicars have ministered over the years.

The present vicar, the Rev Dr Stephen Foster, said: “We are very excited about the anniversary and the prospect of the continued renewal of the church into the future.”

The 150th Anniversary Victorian Service is being held at St Anne’s Church, Church Road, Sale on Sunday, June 27 at 10 am.

150th Anniversary Celebration Dinner Dance (5th June 2004)
Held at the Sale Masonic Hall, Tatton Road, Sale

Grace

For times long past and for times ahead,
For times of hardship and for times of bread;
For times of meeting and for times of story,
For memories of praise, and for visions of glory;
We thank you Lord for ever and ever. AMEN.

Response to Speech (Revd. Dr. Stephen Foster, Vicar)

Thank you John [1] for your kind words. Of course I am only one of a great whole called the Church of God.

Despite us serving the Lord in different places and in different ways, the simple fact of us being of one Church never changes. Whether priest, deacon or lay person we are all one in Christ in this one Church. We serve the Lord in different ways with our different gifts.

It actually doesn't matter if we are honorary Canons in wonderful parishes, Residentiary Canons in those strange places called Cathedrals; people waiting to be ordained; or simply people serving the Lord in the infinitely more important laity of the Church. The Church of God of which St Anne’s is so special a part, not least on this occasion of her 150th Anniversary, at this time reaches the end of one chapter in her history only to open another. Soon there will be a continuity of vision, a new incumbent, a new flourishing into a new future, God’s future, but with each of us remaining part of the one Body, the Church, wherever we happen to be.

St Columba:
My dearest Lord,
Be thou a bright flame before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a smooth path beneath me,
Be thou a kindly shepherd behind me,
Today and for evermore.

Note:
[1] Revd. Canon John Sutton, Rural Dean and Vicar of Timperley (and former Vicar at St Anne’s) who, with Mrs. Freda Sutton, were the Guests of Honour.

Invitation

St Anne’s Church, Sale – 150th Anniversary – 1854 – 2004

You are most cordially invited to a Service of Holy Communion, to be
celebrated in the manner of the mid nineteenth century, in order to commemorate the
opening of St Anne’s Church, in the parish of Sale, in July 1854.

The Service will take place at 10 a.m., on Sunday, 27th June, 2004, and the
Celebrant will be the Revd. Dr. Stephen Foster. The Choir will sing the anthem
“Lead me, Lord” by Mr. S. S. Wesley.

Afterwards, please join us for coffee in the Parish hall, and a Faith Lunch. You
are most welcome to bring with you any Victorian Artefacts or memorabilia, on this
very special occasion.

Sermon, 150th Anniversary Eucharist, 27th June 2004
Preached by the Revd. Dr. Stephen Foster, Vicar

Trying to recreate a Eucharist which may have taken place here 150 years ago is quite a difficult exercise. At first sight it might seem rather an odd exercise as well. After all, the Church has moved. We should be forward-looking we might say, rather than looking backwards. The Church is not a village church in a cornfield anymore with pony and traps bringing people to worship. Astoundingly, an automobile has actually replaced the vicar’s horse. Also, not many of us will have brought our servants with us today in order that they can sit in the side aisles, and as you can see, they could “see” very little from the free pews. The kind of dress which was around then and represented here in part for all to see might provoke comment from those outside our walls today. It might provoke comment from those inside our walls who might feel that bustles and hooped skirts may not have been the most comfortable way of dressing in order to worship Almighty God, especially in these seats.

The exercise we are doing is actually fascinating, in that it is far from clear what sort of Church St Anne’s was when it first came into being. History and relevant documents don’t give us much of a clue either. By 1854, the Evangelical revival had happened partly with the Clapham Sect in the early 1800s, swiftly followed by the influence of Charles Simeon and his followers in the same guise. But in reaction to this movement as one might expect, the High Church Oxford or Tractarianism Movement began in 1833 with people like Keble and Newman. This came to be just in time for such a movement to have an influence on more local churches like St Anne’s only twenty odd years later. Certainly, the dedication of a Church to St Anne suggests a more High Church infancy despite the building being within a more rural community then man now. It is far too general an idea to suggest that all country parishes were and are Low Church ... look at Bishop Willi in Gawsworth as a prime local example of a catholic parish today within a village community.

If St Anne’s was fairly High Church one might expect an early Holy Eucharist where most would communicate, and then a further Solemn Eucharist later on in the morning when only the priest and the infirmed would receive. To receive communion, you would have had to have given your name to the Curate, who actually is the Vicar, at least by the night before as per the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer. However, those who had received communion earlier would return to this later service as an act of thanksgiving. The service would have been very long and the sermon at the very least half an hour ... so hang on! Please note that unfortunately choirs and servers were always wholly male, as of course were the clergy. I can remember as late as 1978 when I was first ordained that in my first curacy parish there had been quite a to-do because a church-warden had been elected who was a woman ... perish the thought!! There would have been no vestments, no aumbry, both of which came about in the Church of England during the Lux Mundi movement of Gore and Freer later in the 19th century.

But returning to the Sunday round ... there was Sunday School, probably in the afternoon followed by Evensong, Evensong often rather earlier than we have it today ... all to do with lighting. This in itself is a far cry from Cranmer who suggested that Matins was there in order to prepare for Holy Communion and Evensong was there to give thanks for receiving, die Eucharist being at the heart of Tudor spirituality. This is the reason why the Holy Communion Service is actually in the middle of the Book of Common Prayer, a central place even in that book’s geography. If St Anne’s was more Low Church, it is probable that there was an early communion with Sung Matins as the main service on most Sundays and again followed by afternoon Sunday School and Evensong. What is perfectly plain in Victorian times is that Sunday Observance was absolute and an all day affair. Any sort of manual labour was generally severely frowned upon. After all, the Ten Commandments had said so that very morning.

However, when I was thinking of today, the liturgy we are using and the way we are using it, it does give us an insight into how people saw both God and themselves, and the place of the one with the other. You will notice that I am facing eastwards at the High Altar pushed back especially for today. In some sense the priest is in between his people and God and the representative of the people to God. Eastwards, the direction most churches geographically face as buildings, and the direction from which the second coming of Christ as Judge is to be expected ... that is why we have just faced East for the Creed. The Victorian Church was afraid of judgement, and looked fearfully towards the Day of Judgement, a great feature of Victorian spirituality. If this subtlety is lost on you, the Vicar would have left you in no doubt as to the reality of judgement, and also the pains of hell in what he might have said from where I am now. God was, and in truth still is, almighty, all powerful, some great being out there somewhere, totally other, but who has a claim on our lives and the direction of our destiny. Certainly from the Prayer Book, we can feel the sense that we are all sinners of one sort or another, needing the forgiveness of the Cross of Jesus, the Cross of Good Friday being mentioned so many times in this rite. This in part characterises the religious feeling of people at the time of St Anne’s beginnings and indeed for many centuries before.

In modern liturgy, the closeness of God or His immanency is emphasised, and therefore the altar is placed in the middle of the people with all gathered around. Actually, it is a lot harder to communicate the sense of the “direction” of worship as being towards God in that normally we are usually not all facing in the same direction. Also, the emphasis on judgement seems to have all but disappeared in modern theology, and the emphasis in the more modern rites is not wholly centred on the Cross and the redemption of our sins, but on the empty tomb and resurrection. I think that in some sense we have thrown babies out with bath-waters, but that will have to do for now or a typical Victorian address in terms of length might ensue.

Suffice it to say that this Church has faithfully worshipped Almighty God in this place in a variety of ways, reflecting a variety of cultures, and with a variety of congregations over the last 150 years. The beginning of the next 150 years is actually our responsibility... and nobody else’s but ours.