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

St Matthew’s School Remembers

posted 9 Nov 2020, 12:04 by admin saintmatthews

As an act of remembrance, the school has been circled with poppies which the children have designed with their own artwork or poems. Their remembrance display is a powerful reminder of the incredible sacrifice made by the brave men and women who have lost their lives for our freedom. 
Lest we forget.

Christmas Dinner on Jesus

posted 4 Nov 2020, 14:17 by admin saintmatthews   [ updated ]

Update 25/11/2020...
Many thanks for all the donations which have been received and please continue to support this project.
Our new target is 50 Selection Boxes, 21 bottles of Shloer and 29 packets of custard.
The last day for the collection of donations is Sunday 6 December.

We will once again be supporting the "Christmas Dinner on Jesus”, which is an
initiative run by our friends at Urban Outreach.
We have been asked to provide, if possible:
  • 100 bottles of Shloer
  • 100 cartons (1kg) of Custard
  • 100 Chocolate Selection Boxes (100-200g)
Donations should be left at the Vicarage porch, in the box provided.
Thank you for your support.

Open Day for New Starters At St. Matthew's School

posted 17 Oct 2020, 02:28 by admin saintmatthews   [ updated 17 Oct 2020, 02:28 ]

This year the school are unable to hold their usual Open Day. Instead, from Wednesday ( 21 October ) next week they will be uploading a film onto the school website. If you know anyone who is considering applying for a place in September please let them know this is where they will find the information.

Please pray for Zimbabwe

posted 8 Aug 2020, 01:44 by admin saintmatthews

Pray for Zimbabwe 2 - Northside Community Church

This was sent to Fr Nicolas at the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield from Zimbabwe this weekend and is written by a female Lawyer, Fadzai. Please read it and then pray for Zimbabwe. It seems Covid-19 is taking hold there and part of this process concerns the collapse of medical facilities as government spends money on Security and cars for themselves.

Before reading the letter, from here is a bit of background on what is happening in Zimbabwe, written by a hospital doctor, which is really quite harrowing:

  • ·         Zimbabwe’s public hospitals are now human abattoirs
  • ·         Working as a frontline worker in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at a tertiary hospital has been a living hell. Every day I wake up dreading being on call, hoping that the horrors I witness will be less traumatic than the previous night.
  • ·         The end of every shift is filled with sorrow and depression; you are exhausted by the cries of mothers in pain, mothers dying, the faces of all those dead babies you could have saved only if the system was functional.
  • ·         Your arrival at work is marked by a long wait for personal protective equipment as the only matron and nurse in the whole maternity ward runs around to try and get you something.
  • ·         As you enter the ward, you are met by pregnant women in distress telling you that local clinics are closed because of the nurses’ strike and you are their only hope because private hospitals are charging US$500 and above for normal delivery.
  • ·         A team of four exhausted and overwhelmed doctors and one nurse (a matron) are running a group of 40 plus labouring women. There are not enough beds and some end up delivering in the corridor while waiting for their chance to be admitted into the labour ward.
  • ·         During that shift you make a list of 20 women with pregnancy emergencies who need caesarean sections. You get to the theater and find that there are no theater nurses (they are also are on strike). You eventually secure a theatre nurse, but she only agrees to do one since she is needed in another operation. Out of the 20 emergencies, you are now looking for one super emergency.
  • ·         You get into the theatre and the anaesthetist is told that there is no anaesthetic, no gases, no propofol and no ketamine. The anaesthetist improvises and you just manage to do that one, leaving 19 women with emergencies stranded and helpless.

They look at you in pain and tears and ask you: “saka chiremba ndichaita sei” (So doctor, what will I do?) What can you say?

Now, here is the letter from Fadzai, a female lawyer from Zimbabwe:

“Before we set out, I made a telephone call to my trusted long-time mentor, friend and lawyer - David Drury. I told him that we were about to go on a peaceful walking protest in the neighbourhood. I told him we had taken every precaution in the book tricho ensure we were compliant with the law. We wore face masks. We were walking within the permitted radius. We carried sanitizer. We were going to respect social distancing. There were 7 of us. Our actions were peaceful.

We had written placards that read "No Violence," "I am protesting peacefully," Babies' Lives Matter," "Covid Kills, So does corruption," "FreeZimbabwe," "I have a dream," and "EndHunger". When we were making these placards, we joked that each placard represented each person's little prayer or wish for Zimbabwe. It was a gloriously sunny, blue-skied day but the air was thick and ominous. We had been online and seen that the army and riot police had barricaded all entry roads to the central business district. I had been advised earlier by phone that a case that I am acting in had been postponed because the magistrate had failed to get to Rotten Row from out of town. I had been turned back at Churchill Ave while trying to get to work myself.

"No problem, Fadzayi. Don't hesitate to call," David Drury said. "I promise we will stay safe," I replied.

Moments after we left the house, a vehicle without a number plate was following us and taking pictures. We continued walking. Courage does not mean you're not afraid. It means that you face your fears and choose to act in spite of them. What sort of society criminalizes a placard written "Save the Babies?" Who does not know that just a week earlier, 7 out of 8 newborn babies had died at Harare Hospital because nurses and doctors are striking against their deplorable working conditions. In 2020, those levels of infant mortality cannot be accepted as normal. A day earlier, I had turned 35. I was born at the hospital where the babies died. I had suffered from foetal distress. Had there been no healthcare workers, I would be a statistic like those babies. Those babies lost their lives because of our failed healthcare system.

We continued walking. As we walked down the road, people stared at us in shock. As we passed a vendors' flower market, everybody stopped talking. Some looked to the side. One could slice through the thick fog of fear with a knife. Several threats had been made earlier in the week by the state and "ruling party". Anybody who dared to participate in the protest on 31 July would be severely dealt with. As a believer in the Constitution, it remained more important to me that the Constitution is supreme. It guarantees the right to peaceful protest. How could the government run roughshod over that? Why was the State at war with citizens making peaceful demands for a better life? What is freedom if you cannot ask, speak or act? I had haggled over these questions practically and philosophically for weeks as the number of abductions, arbitrary arrests and assaults on journalistic freedom had escalated.

Nobody wants to live in a police state.

We continued up a main road, peaceful and socially-distanced. We continued chatting. The conversation was rambly and stilted, mostly because we were now conscious that we were being tailed by a car full of people in a strange car but in plain clothes. Sensing danger, we managed to get a lift into a car where we established for certain that we were being followed. For what reason? We had not done anything wrong. We had not committed a crime. Firm in the conviction that we were innocent and had nothing to hide or run away from, we went to a coffee shop at a shopping centre. They followed us there too.

We observed from a distance that the persons in plainclothes were now changing into police uniforms. We telephoned David Drury who arrived with Emma Drury. As they arrived, riot police had flooded the shopping centre, armed with AK rifles. This scene was unfamiliar in this part of town. We remained seated until they started pointing at me "uyo, uyo." They charged at us. I asked why and what the charge could possibly be if we were under any sort of arrest. "Inciting public violence!" the officer yelled as another leapt over the barricaded entrance to the coffee shop.

"What are you doing? This is ridiculous. Why do you find it necessary to jump over the entrance?" Mr Drury asked the police in an attempt to de-escalate their disproportionate advance towards us. "We want to see the placards in your car."

The placard at the top when they inspected the car was the one that read, "No Violence" followed by the one that said "I am protesting peacefully."

Of course, they bundled all 7 of us up into the back of a police truck and charged us with inciting public violence anyway. We lay and sat on top of each other as we drove through a menacingly silent CBD to the Harare Central Police Station. When it comes to enforcing repression, all semblance of wanting to respect Covid 19 is thrown out the window.

At the police station, the inefficiency, underfunding and undignified state of the justice system was again laid bare. We were asked our ID numbers so many times that I ended up drawing a blank. The interrogation methods are outdated. The Constitution is not paid regard to in the slightest and our police officers did not have a copy of the Criminal Code. We were blessed to be surrounded by a team of competent lawyers who did everything in their power to defend our rights.

In my individual police interview, one of the questions struck at my core. "Did you not think that because of the position you hold and party you belong to, people would be incited to join your so called peaceful protest and become violent.?" Looking at Mr Drury, half in shock, half in anger, I said, "I did not know that my constitutional rights are suspended due to my political affiliation. I thought that as a citizen of Zimbabwe, I had the same rights as everyone else."

At the police station we met Tsitsi Dangarembwa, Julie Barnes and other protesters had been arrested for protesting peacefully - most had been holding up placards in their neighbourhood with peaceful demands. Tsitsi and Julie also narrated an ordeal of having been tailed and photographed before their arrest. At the holding cells, we also saw Terrence and Loveridge who had been abducted, beaten and tortured. They had bleeding head injuries and were dazed. Their clothes were soiled in dirt. They said they had been blindfolded, told they were at Lake Chivero and threatened. Their abductors kept saying they were going to feed them to the crocodiles. The condition of the State, afraid and at war with citizens making legitimate demands was indeed a Nervous one.

As night fell, we were taken upstairs to our cells. There was no water, just an overflowing pit latrine. There were puddles of urine everywhere. There was no sanitizer and no soap. One of the women among us was on her period. Bloody hell. At first we looked at the pile of dirty blankets and figured we could not use them because they were so dirty. By the end of the night, we had used every blanket in sight and huddled up very close to each other as the cold coursed through our veins.

After what felt like a millenium, morning came. Further inefficiency, confusion and slowness of the wheels of justice meant that we only got to court after lunchtime. We were granted bail with the strange condition that we had to hand in our passports. My little brother Simon Drury was taken to remand prison because they say his passport has expired and was therefore not competent fulfilment of his bail conditions. On hearing this, I wanted to scream. The ridiculousness, the injustice and the madness know no end.


For as long as we have to remain silent with no rights and remedies in the face of grave injustice, I assure you, we are not yet free. A free society is my wish for Zimbabwe. Anything less than that is an existence I will not enjoy being a part of. They must Free Hopewell and they must Free Jacob. Tawanda Muchehiwa must be delivered back to his family in one piece.

What society is this where people cannot be free?

When things like this happen, the best of the Zimbabwean spirit is also placed on full display. Thank you to my beloved parents, Stephen and Winfrida. They want someone to be speaking out but they do not want it to be their daughter. It is normal for us to feel this way. It is sometimes the cost of freedom. Thank you to my siblings for their eternal support. Thank you Tafi for coming to court and praying. Thank you Tawi for the calls. Thank you Mudiwa for being my second brain and being the qeen logistician during the crisis. Thank you Lenon for getting me pain and headache meds and showing up. Thank you to Emma Drury for showing up this and every time and taking charge. Thank you for standing up to that police officer who nearly manhandled you to get my phone. Thank you Vikki Drury for being a second mum and breakfast maker. Thank you Dr Gede for attending to us medically and to my beloved friends Cheryl and Zam. Thank you Rebekah for the warm clothes and care pack. Thank you Namatai for the food at the police station. Thank you to my work colleagues David and Fran for showing up. Thank you to our amazing legal team - Chris, Paida, Alec and Andrea. Thank you to MDC Alliance officials including Tendai Biti and Miriam Mushayi for showing up at court for solidarity. Thank you to Ibbo Mandaza for showing up. Thank you to everyone for the support online and offline. I am so grateful.

To Nyasha, Tino, Jess, Jossee, Simon and Tinashe - I am so proud to know you and call you my friends. One day, we will look back on this with a deeper understanding of why things worked out the way they did, for better and for worse.

At a personal level, I am on a journey that some may not understand. That's okay. My aspiration is that we live in a nation where there is freedom, fairness and opportunity for all. The journey is going to be long and often arduous. However, we must never stop fighting to win Zimbabwe for change. I will never stop imagining that Zimbabwe can be better than it is now. Save the babies - the unborn ones who deserve a brighter future than the crisis-filled nation.



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 

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