St. James Hope, 3 Vicarage Close, Salford, M6 8EJ
07771 558 058

Midweek Musings – Dropping Off During The Sermon

As a church, we said that we want ‘to pay careful attention to one another’. In these days, especially, this is vital. Don’t assume things are ok, don’t let people edge away, don’t forget people. Take the risk of looking like you’ve overreacted by calling the folk who come to mind. You might just stop someone falling.

I was so warm.

The room was heaving with people. More than usual. Lots of strangers. Men with different accents, from places that I’d heard of but never visited. Men with stories to tell.

It had been a long day. I’d been up at dawn as usual, collecting the water, carrying the washing away, buying the wine, cleaning the house and paying the bills we owed for meat and fish.

I wouldn’t have missed going out again that night though. It was the first day of the week. Our day. One of the highlights of my week. I met friends along the road and was glad to be welcomed into the big house we were meeting in again. We sat at the table and were served bread, meat and wine. Such a luxury after a week of fetching and carrying for others.

After a while, one of the visitors called for our attention, and after he had prayed, we sang a hymn while we passed the bread to one another and drank the local wine. It was that moment in the week when it all came together again, when everything made sense, when the past and the present coincided.

When everything was cleared away we all tried to get a place to listen to him. Children were squirming on the knees of their mothers, some of the men stood, others sat where they could. I’d been smart though. The room was getting warmer and I knew that if I could haul myself up to the window I’d get the fresh air. And if it got a bit boring I could look out towards the theatre and the running track.

I wasn’t bored. But I was tired and I could feel myself drifting away.

I don’t know what happened next, but suddenly I was on the ground outside and everyone was around me. Lots of anxious faces. Not least my master. He looked particularly anxious. It was only later that they told me that I’d fallen and that the visitor had hugged me and prayed. Only then had my eyes opened.

We went back upstairs, had something else to eat and carried on listening to the preacher, Paul. To be honest I was sitting there just feeling completely confused.

That was twenty years ago, and now I am one of the church elders. Sometimes when I’m just about to preach, people remind me not to take too long, after all I know the dangers of falling asleep in church.

But I also know how it feels to come back to life when a preacher prays for you.

This is from Scattered & Gathered, and reimagines Acts 20: 7-12, but it’s not just about the power of a preacher’s prayers!

It’s all of our prayers.

It’s yours.


This week you get the chance to meet Julian. In church he leads one of the home groups, but his day job is as a sales manager for IVP, a publishing company. In this film he talks with Neil about life and books that have changed him. They could have gone on all day … but you’ll be glad to hear they didn’t!


1. Sunday Gathering

The link to this Sunday’s Gathering is here:
Meeting ID: 836 810 848

Or you can join us live on YouTube.

2. Coffee Morning – Wednesday 10.30-11.30am

A Wednesday morning is the ideal time to catch up with people, have a brew, even involve yourself with a quiz. So, whilst it’s not as good as being together in person, there’s an opportunity to do it all online.

Meeting link:

3. On Thursday at 7.45-9.00 Home Groups

You might not have been before – you are always welcome. You might be interested to know what we talk about. The groups discuss the issues raised by the sermons – if you want to receive the questions we send to everyone – just let Neil know and he’ll add you to the mailing.

The link is here:
Meeting ID: 998 857 193

4. WhatsApp Prayer Meeting

On Friday 10.30-12.00 there’s a prayer meeting using WhatsApp. Contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.

5. Looking Ahead

We are planning a Christmas Carol Service on Sunday 20 December at 4.30-5.30. This will be held at St James, Hope, (The church at the crossroads of Lancaster Road and Eccles New Road, M6 8EJ.) Holding it there means we can do a socially distanced service that will accommodate us all.

There will be lots more details to come but hold this date in your diary.

6. Message from Morag about Kids Resources

Hi All, just to let you know that after reviewing the feedback from parents/carers and thinking things through,  Kid’s Resources will be going out once a month, rather than weekly.  Those with children under 11 should have had a message about a Zoom Service we are going to trial, if you haven’t heard by text or email from Morag, please get in touch. With thanks 🙂

If in doubt

All the links to the meetings are in Church Suite and on the ‘Calendar’ section of our church website:

You’re not alone

If you need help and don’t know where to turn, you are always welcome to contact Neil on 07771 558058.


1. Stories of Hope with Patrick Reagan

Patrick Regan leads a Christian charity, Kintsugi Hope, that gets alongside people who are suffering from mental health issues or the brokenness that we all face from time to time. He’s a great speaker and on 1 December is leading an online event. This is how he describes what it is about:

This Christmas season join Patrick as he tells stories of inspiration, encouragement and hope from his 30+ years of ministry, travelling around the world and working in some of the most extreme places. Patrick will be telling stories of those whom he has the privilege of meeting and also his own personal story.

This Christmas might not look the same as other years, it’s hard to tell at the moment. But despite what is happening in the world or in our lives, we believe it is always better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

It’s free to book in, this is the link to book your ticket:

2. Have you ever been to Jerusalem?

I know it’s a random question but we have received this request from Philip Booth, a researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University, who is currently looking to develop partnerships with local religious communities for a project which examines the history of travel and pilgrimage to Jerusalem. For more information, you can visit the project’s website here.

For the project, he’s conducting a survey and interviews with willing participants who have been to Jerusalem. His hope is that the information gathered will allow him to run some public talks about the history of travel to Jerusalem and the role of the people of Greater Manchester in that history.

If you’d be happy to be involved, the survey can be accessed directly via the following link:

3. Do you want to help?

Sam Pratt is part of Langworthy Christian Community, a friend, and works for Salford CVS.

He has asked if anyone can offer them some help.

As we enter Lockdown 2.0 many individuals and families are going to struggle like they did in April. Job losses, self-isolation and illness are some of the main factors contributing to the daily struggle that our community is living through – not to mention the mental health impact of this pandemic.

At Salford CVS we are seeing an increase on the demand of the voluntary sector, as I’m sure many of you are who run food banks or similar will also be experiencing.

I am calling out to the Salford Churches in my area (Langworthy, Ordsall, Claremont and Weaste) to rally volunteers once more to get us through winter. I know we’re all tired and fed up of this virus but our community needs us now more than ever.

Below are the volunteering roles available and ones that we foresee to be needed over the coming Winter months.

Volunteer Roles available (but not limited to)

Drivers. Every week schools and organisations need drivers to drop off food parcels for isolating families. We are also now delivering Oximeters for Salford CCG to those with Covid to monitor their oxygen levels. These tasks are all low risk but are ad hoc so you may get a call last minute for availability. Expenses will be paid.

Dog walkers, shopping, general tasks. These are regular assistance for those who are shielding. A love for dogs and shopping lists is a must!

Trusted Voices. The easiest role available! We will send up to date local Covid information for you to share on social media and in other forms. We recognise that trust local voices are extremely powerful in combatting conspiracy theories and sharing Public Health facts.

To sign up and for more information on volunteering opportunities click below.

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