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

Midweek Musings – Why I Always Lose At Cards

Growing up in the Salvation Army gave me lots of things, but it never helped me to play cards. I think they thought that you would start with solitaire and before you knew it you would have lost your house betting on a five card stud. (See: those last three words run together well, but I have no idea if they actually mean anything.)

However, any teenager worth their salt will push against the rules. So, far away from prying eyes, me and my brother played Pontoon – feeling remarkably sophisticated as we ‘Stuck’ or ‘Twisted’ trying to get to the elusive 21.

It’s a good metaphor as you think about what is ahead for yourself. Will you stick or twist?

If you stick you need to find or regain your mojo for all that you are doing at the moment. That can be tricky and doesn’t happen automatically. Similarly knowing how to make the changes, which we have been exploring over the past few weeks, needs planning.

Here are some final questions that might help you.

If it’s time to:

Twist – make a changeStick – stay in the same situation
Be clear about what needs to changeBe clear about why no changes are needed
What can change?What limitations are you able to live with?
Is now the right time for change? Why?If you need to be resilient, what helps?
What are you running from?What do you need to accept?
What are running to?What would reinvigorate you?

Here’s a prayer to join in with as you contemplate the future:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton

Songs and Stories – ‘Long Road in the Same Direction’

This week, Ian shares a song he’s written that was inspired by Eugene Peterson’s classic book, accompanied by a video produced by Frank Walsh.

Coming Up


During June we will be introducing some changes to church life on Sundays:

  • The service times will be 11.30-12.40.

Why? We hope this helps children not get so hungry that they meltdown or eat siblings!

  • We will have a new monthly pattern. We won’t have communion every week, that will be once a month.  Each month we will also have a focus on prayer and ministry, time for testimonies and to reflect on the sermon. This won’t be a straitjacket for us but will give a shape to each month.

Why? With a shorter service this will mean we won’t feel rushed each week trying to focus on too many things at the same time.

  • For the month of June, we will all be together. They will not be all-age services, but there will be activity sheets for children to work on during the sermon time (more in that below). You might want to bring some quieter activities for them to use if they get bored.  

Why? Two reasons. It’s been around 15 months since we last met and now we are in a new building. We felt that children might feel more secure getting used to the new space before being separated from families. And (practically) they are working on the hall of the minor hall and it’s not finished yet.

Onsite and Online worship

For those worshipping onsite at St James, this is what you will need to be aware of:

  • There is parking onsite – but come early – the car park might get congested. If you want to park on the road, you can on Lancaster Road near the playing fields. If the car park is full you can use the hospital one round the corner on Stott Lane.
  • We need to wear face masks in church (hopefully only until 21 June)
  • We need to be sensitive with one another’s personal space – don’t get too close and don’t hug one another
  • We will use QR Track & Trace – or take a note that you were with us
  • We won’t be able to sing out (hopefully only till 21 June)
  • The church will be cooler than you are used to – wear layers!
  • It’s better to chat outside with one another (in the sun hopefully!)
  • Use the sanitisers that will be there
  • And, obviously, don’t come if you feel unwell

For onliners. From Sunday 6th June we won’t be using Zoom on a Sunday morning any longer. From that Sunday onwards, if you want to join us online then go to We’ll open the chat there 10 minutes before the service for us to greet each other, and you’ll be also able to share your thoughts and comments with us throughout the service.

You can also ‘catch up’ on our recorded services at

For the kids…

June 6th approaches! For those planning on coming along to meet in the building, please remember to bring colouring pens/pencils/crayons for your children aged 11 and under. There will be several activities ready for them to do in their seats while Neil preaches, but bringing your own colouring tools helps us minimise any Covid risks.

For those not able to meet in the building just yet, we’ll make the printables available to you to print off from our website, so your children can join in from home.

Launch Sunday

We wanted to take the pressure off ourselves in June by giving us space to get used to being in a new space together. That’s one of the reasons we will have our Launch Service on the 27th June, which will be our 4th Sunday in the building. By then we are praying that masks will no longer be required and we will be back to singing as a congregation together.

After the service we want to invite everyone to come prepared to have a picnic together. We think it will be best for us to all bring our own food rather than a bring and share as we normally do. But please come prepared to be envious at what the person next to you is eating!!!

In June and July:

We will have a series entitled:  The Return of the Church. For this series we will be reading the book of Ezra together. This book is the story of the return of Israel to their land after 70 years in exile.  Then, out of the blue, they were able to return and had to find out what it meant to be the people in their own land again. They would encounter times of provision, of disappointment, of resistance, of breakthrough and joy and compromise.

The link between Ezra and our situation seems to connect well. As we change the place where we worship to St James, there is also the sense that we are about to begin a new story together. The lessons that people learned in the period of Ezra will prompt us to chart our new course together.

Exciting New Plans for our Children and Young people

High on our priorities is the work we do with children and young people.

During the months we have been separated, Morag and Ian and Andrew and Alex have continued to do brilliant work online with all their different groups. This has largely been unseen by most of us but they have done a great job.

Going forward, this will be the rhythm of our children and young people’s work:

  • Twice a month, they will have their own services  in the minor hall – with competitions, scripture, prayer and worship.
  • Once a month there will be supervised games and spaces for them to build friendships together, the 15-18s will meet in The Vine with adults offering safety and a listening ear.
  • Once a month they will be in their age-appropriate groups.

Through all this there will be a safe space for creche.

If you’d like to know more or be involved, contact Morag.

Getting Involved in the New Phase of Church

Moving back to onsite worship means that we will have lots of opportunities to be involved in the ministry of the church.

You might be wondering where you fit into the church after all this time of scattered worship. You might wonder where your gifts and passions fit in. Or you might just want to know how you can serve generally.

Please talk to us – we want to help you feel confident in knowing how your gifts can be a blessing to us all.

Going forward, we will need help to form these teams:

  • Welcome Team
  • Prayer Team
  • Worship Band
  • Readers
  • Operating the PA System
  • Operating the streaming (we’ll show you how)
  • Operating EasyWorship to project words
  • Cleaning Team

The teams will have their own leaders, but in the first case if there are areas you would be willing to be involved with, can you let Neil know. Most of the teams will ask you to be available around once a month or so.

If you are already involved in any of these teams it will help if you confirm that you will carry on.

The Vine Community Hub

As we gradually approach the reopening of The Vine as a space for community on the 21st of June, we want to get the word out to as many local people as possible. Could you spare a little time to distribute leaflets around the local area? If so, please let Ian know asap.

Also, if you would like to explore the possibility of getting involved in the ongoing ministry of The Vine, do let Ian know.

Is it time you took the plunge?

We are planning to hold a baptismal service on Sunday 11 July. If you have been waiting for this moment, or are wondering if this is the next step for you in your discipleship journey, please talk with Neil.

You might have seen the new branding…

As we prepare to move into St James and as The Vine transitions from being a cafe into a community hub, we felt the time was right to update the logos of both of these, to signify this new chapter in our story.

We’ve adopted a pair of logos that we feel complement each other, creating a direct visual link between the church building and The Vine, which will work well both online and offline. This is more important than ever given the increased distance between two locations, while our new location sharing a building at St James presents an opportunity for us, as the more prominent location gives greater visibility of our church.

You’ll see these new logos appearing across our website, social media, emails and our other communication, as well as at St James and The Vine buildings…

An Offer of Counselling Support

One of the ministries we have as a church is the Community Counselling Service. During this Covid crisis we have continued to offer Counselling remotely via zoom or telephone. There are however, limitations with remote sessions.

We are now offering Walk And Talk Counselling to anyone from church who would benefit from counselling or those known to church members. We would agree a time to meet at the Tea Kiosk in Lightoaks Park and would walk at a slow pace for the 50 minute session.

If you feel you would benefit from this please don’t hesitate to contact Judith Thompson, Neil, or Ian or fill in the form on the church website.

Looking for Help

Yvonne and Martin run a food-poverty programme, Salford Food Parcels. They would be grateful if there are any of you available to deliver parcels to people who are unable to get to their offices on Langworthy Road. Please contact them if you are able to help.

Holiday Hunger Projects @ the Life Centre, Langworthy Road

This a message from Sam Pratt from the Life Centre:

We have a new Summer Project for the school holidays!

You may know that the Lifecentre runs the Holiday Hunger projects in the school holidays and this summer we are aiming to get 20 schools on board all over the city. 

We are putting a call out to all Salford Churches for volunteers to come and help out.

The clubs are open to children on free school meals and they will be provided a hot meal and loads of games and activities. The clubs are run by the school staff and other paid staff so your role will just be helping with games, crafts and general support.

It’s really good fun, although quite tiring as children can be a handful sometimes!

Each club will run 9:30am-3:30pm Monday to Thursday

w/c 26th July
w/c 2nd August
w/c 9th August
w/c 16th August

Full training and DBS will be provided by the Lifecentre.

Now obviously none of us can do it every day! I’m putting a call out for volunteers who could commit to 1 week in a school near you. I appreciate that you may already have holidays, work or volunteering commitments so you may only be able to do a few days in that week.

But if you are interested please could you get back to me with dates that you could do.

Our Regular Gatherings

Sunday Service

Sundays at 11.30am

Join us onsite at St. James or online at

Coffee Morning

Wednesday at 10.30am.

A Wednesday morning is the ideal time to catch up with people, have a brew, even involve yourself with a quiz.

Meeting link

Home Groups

Thursday at 7.30pm

These small groups meet twice a month on Zoom and give s a chance to reflect on the questions that have been raised by the sermons. We catch up with one another, pray for one another and create a  place where we can grow together. If you would like to be part of this, please contact Neil.

Prayer Meeting


Contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil Hudson and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.

If in doubt

All the links to the meetings are in ChurchSuite 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.

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