St Chrysostom’s People: Mrs Warhurst

Mrs Warhurst (Mtr Kate) tells of her sons, lost in war

It is now 1916 and I am Mrs Elizabeth Warhurst of 48 Langdale Road, Victoria Park, Manchester.

Mr Warhurst and I have lived there for several years with our sons. Mr Warhurst works in the print department of a shipping warehouse.

Our son Harry was a clerk in an office when he was called up. He went to war with the Black Watch, the Royal Highlanders and we were so proud of him. 2144 Private Harry Warhurst. He fought in the Battle of the Somme but he never came back. He died on 9th August 1915 aged 24 years and he is buried in Becourt cemetery.

Then young Harold our second went. He’d left school at 14 and worked as clerk in a cotton mill. He joined the Royal Scots. 18180 ‘B’ Company 15th Batallion, Royal Scots.

We got the terrible news that he was killed in action on 1st July 1916 he was only 19 years old. He is remembered on the Thiepval memorial but we don’t know where his body lies.

Detail from the King Alfred window at St Chrysostom’s in memory of the Warhurst brothers

Mr Warhurst and I came to this church. Mr Warhurst was on the Church Council and he took the plate around in worship. We were not alone at church in losing sons. Mrs Womersley who came to church lost sons too.

We saved up money and we gave a stained glass window in memory of my two sons and you can see them etched in the glass. It’s a lovely window and I hope it will always be there to help everyone remember how terrible the war was.

I look at the window and think of my lost sons. God bless them.

This is the third in our series of posts on St Chrysostom’s People from our recent celebration in church. The posts reproduce the texts said at the celebration.

We have produced a book giving the stories of over 50 different people connected in some way with the church. Copies, £4.50, are available from Church.

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Pioneering support at Church for the trafficked

400 Trafficked people helped – through friendship, English classes, walks, cinema, art sessions, court attendances, help with forms… this is our work at St Chrysostom’s helping survivors of human trafficking.

We are so pleased with how our work with trafficked people has developed. We have been told we are pioneers in this form of care and support for the trafficked. More than this we have found our church life enriched by  a very vulnerable section of the community.

The Clewer Initiative of the Church of England, working to highlight issues of modern slavery, tells us that “More than 200 years after the abolition of the slave trade there are still an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children trapped in modern slavery, and up to 136,000 potential victims in the UK alone.”

Twice a week church is open for our language classes for trafficked people. We also welcome others locally, including the homeless, who benefit from the classes. The ‘classes’ are much much more than learning English. Here those who come find friendship and affirmation, they recover self respect and worth.

At the weekend walks are arranged, or visits to the cinema or café meals to help immerse people in English language, and culture. A special initiative recently has involved work with an artist at the Whitworth Gallery, who has helped some of the men create their own works of art. The images here show some of the artwork on display in church.

Such work is a blessing for our church as we serve our community, as well as being enriching for those who volunteer. We are pleased to have a small but dedicated group of volunteers, led by Alan, one of our churchwardens. The volunteers include members of our own church, and more – we have Roman Catholic sisters helping, and people of Muslim or no faith too. In addition we welcome a group of sixth formers from Manchester Grammar School to help – they recently won a special award for their work with us.

Of course we’d love more volunteers – so get in touch if you can help in any way!

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St Chrysostom’s People: Walter Carroll

Euan (1st right), and The Renaissance Consort enriching our celebration of St Chrysostom’s People

Maurice Duruflé‘s choral setting of Ubi Caritas was wonderfully performed, and filled St Chrysostom’s Church with glorious music during our celebration of St Chrysostom’s People. Euan Au conducted the singers, The Renaissance Consort, and when the piece came to an end he turned to the audience.

Speaking for a ‘St Chrysostom’s Person’ of the past Euan said:

“What beautiful music. Breathtaking – awesome.

Walter Carroll in his doctoral robes, 1900

I speak as Walter Carroll. On Easter Day 1886 as a young office clerk I stepped through the door of this church for the first time. I had gone to a Baptist Sunday School and knew nothing about the Church of England. I was overwhelmed by the music. I had not heard such wonderful music before.

I stayed and asked to join the choir, I asked to play the organ and I was told ‘Yes!’ That coming through the door set me, an office clerk on a new path.

I studied music with the organist here, and I was confirmed here. I studied and studied and in 1900, wonder of wonders, I received the first Doctorate in Music ever given by Manchester University.

I began to teach music to students but my main love was teaching and composing music for children. I am delighted to say that my musical compositions for children remain popular to this day. I worked hard for Manchester and became the first ever music adviser to children in a British city.

As a young man I had heard such beautiful and inspiring sounds here in this Church.

Thank you St Chrysostom’s and may God bless this Church and the Church of England with fine inspiring music today.”

This is the second in our series of posts on St Chrysostom’s People from our recent celebration in church. We have produced a book giving the stories of over 50 different people connected in some way with the church. Copies, £4.50, are available from Church.

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Saint Chrysostom’s People: Emmeline Pankhurst

Mrs Pankhurst was among those celebrated in our lovely St Chrysostom’s People celebration at St Chrysostom’s. The Pankhurst family at the time they were in Manchester were not church attenders yet Mrs Pankhurst supported and worked with the church at our church school, St Chrysostom’s, being one of the governors appointed by the church. 

We’re posting scripts used on the celebration evening togwther with photographs. Mrs Pankhurst (Sandra Palmer) began the evening with great aplomb!

The Bishop of Manchester had just finished speaking when a loud voice called out: 

‘What about the women?’

(A suffragette lady came forward to the lectern, with assistant holding a banner)

I speak as Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst who lived just 100 yards away from where we are sitting.

“I would rather be a rebel than a slave. I campaign for equal rights for women. I campaign for justice for all. If it is right for men to fight for their freedom, and God knows what the human race would be like today if men had not, since time began, fought for their freedom, then it is right for women to fight for their freedom and the freedom of the children they bear.

I campaign for women and for the well being of the poor and weak of our society. I support all efforts to help the needy, especially children and the next generation.

Mrs Pankhurst details in the Managers list in the School log book

For this reason, I, Emmeline Pankhurst, serve as a school manager at St Chrysostom’s school along with the Rector and church members. Together we will improve education, together we will work for Justice.

“Trust in God – she will provide.”

A book, St Chrysostom’s People, telling the stories of over 50 different people connected in some way with St Chrysostom’s has just been published and is available for £4.50 from Church.
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A boat anchored in our community

Phiz’s illustration of Peggotty’s house in David Copperfield

” Yon’s our house, Master Davy !”

I looked in all directions, as far as I could stare over the wilderness, and away at the sea… but no house could I make out. There was a boat, not far off, high and dry on the ground, with an iron funnel sticking out of it for a chimney and smoking very cosily, but nothing else…

“That’s not it ?” said I, ” that ship-looking thing ?”

” That’s it, Master Davy,” returned Ham.

So Ham Peggotty introduces David to his home on Yarmouth beach in Charles Dickens David Copperfield. A cosy upturned boat, the Peggotty’s home, becomes for a while Davy’s home.

When a class of children from the school come into St Chrysostom’s Church I often say ‘Look up!’ and often they are surprised by the height of the church and also by the roof. ‘What is it like?’ and often a child replies ‘A Boat.’

The nave roof at St C’s

This is our spiritual home, a boat anchored here in our community. It has been anchored here for 142 years and it is our spiritual home, and a place of welcome for all. God dwells among us and our church, our ‘upturned boat’ is a sign, a sacramental sign, of home, God’s home, our home here.

This church has weathered many storms. There was a struggle to build it. Then it suffered a great fire. For a while support dwindled. It remains anchored here, a place of spirituality, wonder, welcome and prayer. Some come and stay for a long time here, some pass through, some work hard to keep things ‘ship shape’ and ordered, others go out renewed in faith and serve others.

Today we are joyful in our thanks to God for this church, and for ourselves too – part of this church. We encourage one another as companions, travellers together. ‘Make out’ this upturned boat to be your home. Delight to be here.

When Davy enters the house Mr Peggotty welcomes him: “Well, Sir, if you can make out here … we shall be proud of your company”

Look around, at one another “we are proud of your company…”

To us here, welcomed by God into this house of prayer, God too says ‘I am proud of your company.’

This is a summary of the sermon given by Fr Ian at High Mass on the Feast of Dedication of St Chrysostom’s, October 13th 2019.
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St Chrysostom’s People: Lucy Marian Lomas

Milverton Road in the 1950s. Miss Lomas’ house was half way down the street.

Lucy Marian Lomas was born on January 3rd 1891 in Moss Side and all her life lived in the South Manchester area, indeed for the last sixty years of her life she lived in St Chrysostom’s parish. She died on 7th August 1965.

‘It was a great shock to hear that Miss Lomas had collapsed and had been taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary’ wrote Hubert Field, Churchwarden, in 1965. He continues: ‘She died twenty four hours later without regaining consciousness. A shy, retiring and somewhat nervous individual, few of her many acquaintances were able to penetrate to the sterling qualities and scholarship she possessed. At the age of twenty Miss Lomas gained her MA and became the youngest of her day to achieve this distinction, having secured many outstanding prizes during her classical studies.  She devoted her life to teaching in Manchester and there are many of her old scholars who remember her with affectionate gratitude.’

‘She was a regular and devoted member of St Chrysostom’s Church. During the last few months she had caused many of her friends to be anxious for her well being but with her customary independence she rejected all offers of help and struggled to the last to be self sufficient.’

Church magazines of the past record the names of many whose names are now forgotten, and yet their quiet faithfulness strengthened and supported the church, enabling it to move to future generations. She had lived in the 1930s in Darbishire House, not far from St Chrysostom’s Church. It was then a hostel for professional single women. From there she moved to the house which was to be her home for the rest of her life – 25, Milverton Road, close to church.

Miss Lomas most probably belongs to that group of unmarried woman whose strong mindedness, independence and brilliance of mind were both a blessing and at times an affliction. Her personal devotion and regular attendance at church would, quietly, add much to the church, whilst personally, because of her nature, she may have withdrawn from many  aspects of church life.

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about people connected with our church which we are posting in conjunction with a book we are publishing: St Chrysostom’s People telling of some of the people who, through the church’s 140 or so years, have had a part in making St Chrysostom’s what it is today. Here on our church blog we are adding a few more people to those of the book.

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“Forgiveness is a gift; it is about grace and freedom.” Admos Chimhowu, a member of our congregation and senior lecturer in International Development at Manchester University writes on Forgiveness – he continues…

Forgiveness is a gift, because not all can forgive. Being able to forgive is received from Jesus Christ, who on the cross, spoke the words “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” It is up to us whether we accept this forgiveness or not. When we don’t forgive, we remain in captivity; imprisoned with invisible bars. It entraps us.

In Nelson Mandela’s biography he spoke of why he embraced forgiveness; it was because he spent most of his life in a physical prison, deprived of his family and friends, unable to share in their lives. He did not want to spend the rest of his life imprisoned by anger, hate, bitterness and resentment. He wanted to live a life of freedom. It is notable that Nelson Mandela always wore brightly coloured ‘Freedom’ shirts.

Forgiveness is at the heart of what our Christian faith is about. Forgiveness brings freedom; freedom from anger, resentment and frustration. Forgiveness is about being Christ-like, it is an act of love: Christ’s love in action.

Nelson Mandela with Christo Brand, his prison guard on Robben Island

When Nelson Mandela met his jailer, Christo Brand, from Robben Island, after he became president of South Africa, it was an awkward meeting. The jailer represented the face of Apartheid to Mandela, yet he forgave, and they became lifelong friends. The jailer felt liberated from his conscience. He felt guilty about his excessive behaviour during of his time as a jailer. Knowing he was forgiven, Christo Brand spent his life preaching forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the essence of our Christian faith. It demonstrates the core value of love for God’s creation. Then why is it so hard? Forgiveness is a journey, started within ourselves. It is an act of free love; it is unconditional, not dependant on others being sorry, or even accepting our forgiveness. Jesus said “Father, forgive them”. He said this unconditionally, entirely because of his nature, rather than because of humanity’s repentance, or willingness to accept his forgiveness.

Thank you to Admos for this blog post, written originally as a contribution to the Manchester Diocesan #MoreThanSunday initiative.

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