Click on a news headline link to read more or click here to read this weeks News Sheet.

From Mrs Hallows - Chair of Governors

posted 16 May 2020, 07:54 by admin saintmatthews

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all keeping well during this time of lockdown and are managing to keep sane ! For me, the most difficult part of all this, apart from the obvious, of missing family  and friends, is going from being busy to being confined at home and instead of being able to help others I am the one being helped! It is a complete reversal.

Mrs Ryding, our headteacher keeps me up to date with matters appertaining to school.  The whole of the staff have continued to attend school every day, even during the Easter holidays, to ensure that children of key workers are taken care of. The staff have also ensured that children who receive free school meals continue to do so.  Packed lunches are prepared everyday and the staff distribute them to the children.  This also ensures that children, especially those who are vulnerable, are being monitored. School work is distributed via the internet and over the last few weeks school packs have been taken to the children at home, delivered by staff and governors.  They have all worked really hard to ensure our children continue to be educated. Their commitment and dedication is very much appreciated.

From a parish perspective, I want to extend my personal thanks, and I am sure you all do, to Canon Anthony and Judith, for the steaming of  mass at 9 o’clock on Sunday’s from their home.  It was even more poignant last Sunday when mass was steamed from church, it was good to be back if only virtually!  It is also reassuring that we are sharing mass together, if not in person, but in thought and prayer.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time and I hope it will not be too long before (paraphrasing the Queen) we will meet again.  Till then, take care, keep well and safe. Love and blessings.

Pat x

Lockdown thoughts ... from Fr John

posted 30 Apr 2020, 14:23 by admin saintmatthews

Some thoughts during this time of lockdown.

Acts 4: 31-32

“While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.

The whole congregation of believers were united as one – one heart, one mind!”

Who could have guessed that when Fr Anthony steered us into looking again at “Prayer” this Lent that that would have been so absolutely key to these days of lockdown and coronavirus? (I know that we intend to restart the Course hopefully in Advent.)

To try to be the church without prayer and the continual empowerment of the Holy Spirit is like trying to breath without lungs.

We need prayer and the power of God’s Holy Spirit working in our lives to equip us to powerfully proclaim that message of hope – central to our faith – that is so needed in our World, our Country and our Village today.

One thing I noticed about my hospital stay this time was that the Doctors, Nurses and Support Staff wanted to talk, however briefly, about the strength they were receiving from their faith and from the prayers, love and support of their families. That was quite new.

I remember Maria, a Muslim Charge Nurse saying “It is the prayers of my husband and family that is getting me through this.” (She was only early twenties). “That’s how I keep smiling,” she said. And she did!

The Bishop of Salford has been amazed at just how many people have been watching the streamed Messes from Salford Cathedral. He stated “There is no comparison between our virtual numbers (much higher) and our usual attendance numbers both for Sunday Mass and Weekday Masses.” And Fr Anthony has said of our own streamed Masses that they have connected with people, not only in Little Lever, but from other parts of the world.

I am a total numpty with Facebook, but even I have noticed that a really good number of people who have watched our streamed services are not usual members of the congregation. I think that that outreach is wonderful – God Bless them and Fr Anthony, Judith and Mark.

Spring Harvest this year has focused on the Acts of the Apostles and the Early Church.

I found some of the thoughts raised extremely interesting. I’m not saying that they are totally right but, in my opinion, merit giving serious thought to.

“We do not need to replicate the Early Church, but in the words of St Paul, we need to be reminded that

“the same power lives in us” as lived in those early believers.

The Spring Harvest leaders, among whom numbered Archbishop Sentamu (York) put this out for thought – what do you think?

“We do not need more big plans, or ideas, or strategies if we are able to see the kingdom extended. We do not need ‘more of anything.’

But perhaps God needs more of us.”

We know that in this desperate situation, above all, we all need hope.

The resurrection of Jesus powerfully gives that hope and the Holy Spirit empowers us to bring hope and joy to the world – even – no – especially in these dark times.

The “Acts” Church is about people, each and every individual all empowered differently, but working together as the “Body of Christ” to carry hope into the community, into their homes and everywhere they found themselves.

The Early Church focused on prayer, family and community. They discovered that the key ingredient they needed to be effective was cooperation with the Holy Spirit through prayer.

Let’s use some of this lockdown time to renew our life of prayer and perhaps re-read the Book of Acts.

God Bless you all,

Fr John

Activites for Children - 3rd Sunday of Easter

posted 25 Apr 2020, 08:37 by admin saintmatthews

3rd Sunday of Easter

Here is a selection of activity sheets for children based on this Sunday’s readings. If you know any children who might like to work on them, then please download them or forward them to the children who may be interested.  They have also been emailed out with the weekly pew sheet, please get in touch if you would like to receive the Pew Sheet by email.

An Easter Message from Fr John

posted 25 Apr 2020, 08:32 by admin saintmatthews

From Fr John


Just a note to let you know how I’m doing.

 I’m so glad to be able to tell you that I’m actually doing very well, thank you. I had an outpatient’s appointment at Royal Bolton Hospital on Thursday 9th April and all of my obs were fine. Oxygen levels back up to 98. Like you, I’m in lockdown and following a G P telephone consultation on Wednesday 15th April will remain off duty on sick leave until 25th April giving my body a month to recover from the date of my hospital admission 25th March. I am not infectious or contagious since 48 hours after the fever left me, which is now may days ago.

I’ve been cleaning, hovering, doing a bit of DIY and from Tuesday started my walks again with Teddy and Andy. It’s been lovely seeing people again and having a brief chat, obviously observing social distancing. So, once again, many thanks for your continuing prayers, love and support. I’m well on the mend.

Thank you also to Fr Anthony and Mark for their splendid work during lockdown. The streamed celebrations of Mass and Stations and the colourful, informative News Sheets are first rate. We are very blessed to have their ministries in our parish.

Many thanks also for your best wishes and Get Well Cards. They have been a great support to me in all of this.

And very many thanks to the ‘Messy Girls’ who through the Messy Church App were able to keep in touch with me all through my hospital stay and from my return from hospital. Your love, kindness and fun have been first rate!

One of the important passages of scripture that has kept me going through all of this is from Genesis 1 verse 31. “God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!

As I valued the other three patients in my bay on D3, and the love and care from the Doctors, Nurses and Support Staff, some who had a very deep Christian faith,  some who had a very deep Muslim faith and some with no faith and yet the same genuine care and concern for us – that verse very much became my daily prayer and reflection. “God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!”

Although closed for worship, although all of our normal structures (apart from the texts and structure of the daily offices and Mass, for which I am grateful) have vanished – yet St Matthew’s is still very much here at the centre and heart of the community. People caring for and looking after one another, people praying for one another, still teasing and having fun with one another. Making sure, through telephone calls and social media that people are not forgotten.

The theme for this year’s Spring Harvest which is going on in a virtual way this week is ‘unleashed’.  In a sense, the fact that we are unleashed from normal structures has been imposed upon us. But, as your Parish Priest, I am proud to see that St Matthew’s is making the very most of this situation.

Yes, there is the worry of finance which is important. But that hasn’t made this situation fearful for St Matthew’s.

St Matthew’s has demonstrated itself as a praying church, as a caring church, as a church reaching out into the community, indeed as a church unleashed.

In the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday, the second reading is “from an ancient homily”.  The preacher puts these words into Our Lord’s mouth,

“Awake sleeper, I have not made you to be held prisoner in the underworld. Arise, work of my hands -you who were fashioned in my image.

Rise, let us go hence, for you are in me and I am in you, together we are one undivided person,”

God Bless you all,


Fr. John

Bolton Council - Urgent Request for Staffing Resouces

posted 14 Apr 2020, 00:54 by admin saintmatthews

We have received the following from Bolton Council:

As you know, the country is in a national emergency, the likes of which we have never experienced before.

Bolton Council urgently requires staff to support our Adult Service Users in the homes and in the Community. If you are currently not a key worker and have not received a shielded letter please consider joining our workforce or volunteering  to support our front line services during this difficult time in any of the roles listed below.

On the job training will be provided for all roles (except for cook where Food Hygiene rules apply) and appropriate PPE equipment and guidance will be provided.

The roles require you to work shifts, the details of which are provided below and can be discussed to meet your personal needs.

Parish Mass

posted 5 Apr 2020, 00:43 by admin saintmatthews   [ updated 5 Apr 2020, 00:43 ]

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and following the Prime Minister’s directive, the church building will be closed until further notice.
Alternatively Parish Mass is offered on our behalf by Fr Anthony via streamed video from own home.
Please visit 

The Prayer of the Church over the next few weeks

posted 18 Mar 2020, 11:28 by admin saintmatthews   [ updated 18 Mar 2020, 11:39 ]

Dear Friends, 

The Prayer of the Church over the next few weeks 

After much prayer and consideration our archbishops and bishops have given us new instructions concerning the safety of all with regard to public worship. 

Our usual pattern of Sunday Masses 8.00 am and 10.00 am have had to be cancelled with immediate effect. However, as always our doors will be open and church will be open on Sundays between 10.00 am and 11.00 am for private prayer with the Blessed Sacrament exposed as a focus for our prayer. Do feel free to spend as much or as little time as you want in church. You may of course simply wish to remain at home and pray there. 

Our weekday pattern of  worship has also had to be suspended with immediate effect. There will be no public Masses on Monday to Saturday. 

I want you to be encouraged however knowing that the clergy will be saying Morning and Evening Prayer daily and that Mass will be offered daily (albeit privately) for the needs of the world, the church and our community. If you have particular people or concerns you want us to pray for, please email, telephone or call at the vicarage. The clergy very much want to keep in touch with you all at this time even if it is by modern channels of communication. 
Notices will be published on the Church doors with updates as happened during our building works last year. 

We will, as ever, be available for Funeral Rites, Weddings and Baptisms. 

These are extremely difficult days for us all. I’m sure that over the next weeks and months many of us will need to support one another in sad and tragic circumstances.

Be assured of our prayers, concern and support at all time and remember that we are always available.

With every blessing,

Fr John

Fr John Wiseman
Churchwardens, Fr I Anthony, Fr S Haworth

Christmas Fayre

posted 9 Nov 2019, 04:03 by admin saintmatthews   [ updated 30 Nov 2019, 12:46 ]

A Christmas Fayre Weekend is being held on Saturday 14  December ( 10:30 am -4 pm) and Sunday 15 December ( 11.30 am - 2.30 pm ) in Church House. Lots of stalls, Secret Gifts, Craft Stall, Chocolate Tombola, Toy Stall, mouth watering refreshments and special guest appearance of Father Christmas who will be tying up his sleigh on Saturday 2 pm till 4 pm and Sunday 12 pm till 2 pm.

Don't miss the fun  and games

Christmas Dinner On Jesus

posted 9 Nov 2019, 04:01 by admin saintmatthews   [ updated 9 Nov 2019, 04:02 ]

This is the third year we're supporting Urban Outreach in their project Christmas Dinner On Jesus.                                            They have already had a fantastic response this year but would would like us to pledge :-
  • 50 Bottles of Shloer
  • 100 Cans of Soft Drinks --- Sprite,Coke, Fanta
  • 100 Packets of large Sharing Crisps (150g)  
Donations can be left in Church.

Thanks for your support.


posted 7 Mar 2019, 16:07 by admin saintmatthews   [ updated 7 Mar 2019, 16:08 ]

1-10 of 58