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Church Magazine

Compass is the name of St.Mary's Parish magazine. It is published at the beginning of every month and is distributed throughout the Parish by a band of volunteers.

If you would like to receive a copy of the magazine nearly every month (there are  combined issues for July/August and December/ January), it is available for an Annual Subscription of £6.00

If you live outside the Parish and would still like to receive a copy, arrangements can be made to post it for an additional charge
For more information about the magazine, please contact either:

Editors                          Robert Pearson
                                     Mary Norris 
                                     Ed Sands    
Distribution Manager    Vacant
Some articles from our Compass Magazine

Arnold Food Bank

A Big Thanks From The Food Bank

You are so kind and generous! Very many thanks to the people of ARNOLD, and especially of SAINT MARY’S CHURCH for all you have donated towards the work of the Food Bank in the run-up to Christmas. The amount of donations which have been given so freely and kindly has been astounding. At times during the two weeks before Christmas it was difficult to keep pace with the boxes and bags of donations arriving at the Food Bank; we almost ran out of space to store it all.

The churches and schools in Arnold are all consistently generous. But so too are shops and many firms, and organisations like councils, and meeting groups and many individuals. Here, in the porch at Saint Mary’s, after a week-end it has become quite normal to find a large number of bags spilling over onto the floor beyond the collecting boxes on the bench. Thank you so much for this.

The Trussell Trust, which is the organising authority for Food Banks, estimate that in the last six months of 2019 over 8,200,000 emergency Food Parcels have been distributed in the country to people in crisis, and that this figure has leaped by 23%. This figure actually believes that more than a third of the parcels went to people with children. 36% of the people requiring emergency aid have been because of low benefit income; 18% due to delays in providing benefit, and 16% because of changes to benefits being paid. The average weekly income of households at Food Banks is around £50 after paying rent; one in five families have no money coming in at all before being referred for emergency food; and it is thought that 94% of people who come to Food Banks are estimated to be destitute. At the moment, people moving into the Government’s benefits system have to wait at least five weeks before obtaining benefit. It is to be hoped that our new Government will appreciate these difficulties and do something positive about the situation.

In the meanwhile, much appreciation to you all for your support.
Alan Langton

Medicine for the heart

Over 80 years ago I sat next to my mother at a pantomime – ‘Cinderella’, I think. It was alright, if a bit too full of dancing for my taste.  But suddenly we were in a kitchen where the royal supper was being prepared. And wonderfully and gloriously, everything went wrong. Food took to the air, custard pies ended up on heads and faces. Apparently, I laughed so much that I fell off my seat. I had encountered the magic of comedy; the sheer joy of laughter. What we call a ‘sense of humour’ is a priceless and unique gift of our creator to the human race.

The Bible tells us to ‘weep with those who weep’, true – but also to laugh with those who laugh. In modern times that has often meant an experience shared with millions of others on radio or TV.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python’s ‘Flying Circus’ which was a landmark event in broadcasting comedy. It wasn’t situation comedy like ‘Dad’s Army’ or ‘Are You Being Served.’ Monty Python was a true child of the 1960s, a confident, cheeky reflection of contemporary society. No, it wasn’t ‘Dad’s Army’ but it was just as funny in its own way.
Some of our favourite lines from Monty Python:

“He’s not the Messiah – he’s a very naughty boy.”

“Alright, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

“What did he say?”
“I think it was, ‘blessed are the cheesemakers’.”

“This parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late parrot! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies! It’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This is an ex-parrot!”

“Have you got anything without spam?”
“Well, spam, egg, sausage, and spam – that’s not got much spam in it.”

Black Knight: “Tis but a scratch.”
King Arthur: “A scratch? Your arm’s off!”

Maybe you also have some favourites!

Like all of God’s gifts, a sense of humour can be misused. Satire can be cruel and negative. Just as the laughter of seven-year-olds in the playground teasing a boy they claim has got, say, big ears.

Humour should be about or with, but never at people.


                        The Canadian psychologist and best-selling author, Jordan Peterson, doesn’t believe we should be pursuing happiness.  That could be a disappointment to 328m Americans, who have been taught for nearly 250 years that the pursuit of happiness is their God-given right.  The same pursuit might describe the quest of others who, despite being educated, well-fed, secure and sexually liberated, still feel deprived and unfulfilled.

Professor Peterson, who himself is finding his way towards God, has just published ‘Beyond Order’, which embodies his second list of ‘12 Rules for Life’*.  He analyses various characters in ancient myths, modern literature and the Bible to demonstrate the direction we need to take if we want to make the most of our potential today. Happiness isn’t on the agenda.

The Old Testament figure of Abraham, who abandoned all that was familiar in order to fulfil God’s command to establish a new nation, is a model for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Was Abraham’s divine commission pleasant?  Peterson says it was,
“… no call to happiness . . . what calls you out into the world - to your destiny - is not ease.  It is trouble and strife . . . That is where the life that is worth living is to be eternally found - and where you can find it, personally, if only you are willing.”

The Bible has little to say about happiness and when we do encounter the word, as in Jesus’s Beatitudes (Matthew 5, 3-12), we are disturbed to find it focuses on God’s will rather than what we want and is more about giving than getting.

Men and women initially followed Christ because they felt He had got something they needed. Those who thought it would bring them a pain-free, trouble-free life were disappointed.  At one point a number of His disciples left him.  The first chapter of St John describes the mixed reaction to Jesus like this:

“He came to what was His own, and His own people did not accept Him. But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God …”
In place of the interminable pursuit of happiness, Christ reveals an eternal destiny.  
*Professor Peterson’s earlier book, ‘Twelve Rules for Life - An Antidote to Chaos’ was first published in 2018 and is now available in a Penguin paperback @ £10.99. ‘Beyond Order’, has just been published by Allen Lane @ £25.
A Brighter Tomorrow

There is much we can do just to brighten  
This world of all take and no give,                                                                                                                   
There's a great deal that we can contribute                                                                                                      
Through the everyday lives that we live.

By supporting one's elderly neighbours                                                                                                                                            
Or through lending a hand in some way                                                                                                                       
It's by taking a bunch of spring flowers                                                                                                                                                     To someone to brighten their day.

It's by sparing a few precious hours                                                                                                                                
In the service of those most in need                                                                                                                                      
It's all about setting a standard                                                                                                                                      
And trying to give others a lead

It’s the way that we tend to treat others                                                                                                                             
And help and aid folks in distress                                                                                                                                          
It’s the care and assistance we offer                                                                                                                            
That will set us apart from the rest.

The choice that we face is quite simple                                                                                                                   
The rewards plain for all men to see                                                                                                                            
‘As you did all of this to my brother                                                                                                                           
Then’ said Christ, ‘you did it to Me.’    
By Colin Hammacott
Last altered on 21 November 2021
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