ONCE UPON A TIME I was parish priest amongst All Saints (Hale Barns with Ringway, 1996-2001) and the adjacent church was consecrated in the name of the Holy Angels. With affection we referred to one another as “Angels and Saints” – and I dearly loved the notion of interchangeability between saints and angels. Still do. Both are “God-bearers”. Messengers. And their roll is meant to include me and you.
Today – the other way around – I’m parish priest amongst the Angels (St Michael & All Angels Bramhall, 2006-present). My neighbouring parish church, 150 years old this year, is consecrated in the name of All Saints, and we have an affectionate relationship similar to that shared in Hale Barns. Today, after a visit to the Anniversary exhibition at All Saints’ I offer heartfelt congratulations to the clergy, Janet Bacon and David Parker, and to “all the saints”. Their wonderfully imaginative reflection upon the past 150 years of their parish life has been celebrated in these past days by both angels and saints. May their witness and joy continue to thrive – and may the Love they testify to be recognised by all-comers as entirely inter-changeable. Love for all. All ways. Congratulations All Saints’ Cheadle Hulme.
Immortal love, forever full
Forever flowing free,
Forever shared, forever whole
A never-ebbing sea
from the poem “The Master” by J G Whittier, 1856