Why do you enjoy coming to St Chrysostom’s?
This is a good question to think about and it was great to hear four different people’s reasons when they spoke at Sunday Mass recently. We’d like to share their words. We begin with Edward, our Church Treasurer who was the first to speak:
People here at St Chrysostom’s have become, over a period of years, part of my ‘Manchester family’. I remember the first time I came to Saint Chrysostom’s in the September of my first university. I was welcomed by people I still remember; Liz and her mother Mary Greatorex, the Ofoce family and numbers of others. Over they years, people in the congregation have continued to welcome me, in an unconditional way. Whether smartly dressed in a suit coming from work, or having hastily got up on a Sunday morning, still recovering from a student Saturday night out. We don’t judge people on appearances, or what they say or do, and we try to see the positive in everyone who comes through the door. It’s a nice place to come to.
I like and enjoy being part of a successful and growing community: when I first came, the building looked shabby, was rarely open in the week, the rector didn’t appear to be a full time appointment, and the church had a difficult relationship with the local bishop. Now the congregation continues to grow, there are 5 or 6 clergy among us, two parish assistants and nuns to help out. There are always things going on, and the church is known to the diocese and bishop in a positive way. The place is active, and incomparable to the position of 25 years ago: it’s busy, growing & vibrant.
I enjoy the style in which we hear Mass each week; favourite hymns & incense provide me with a degree of stability in an otherwise constantly changing world. Whatever else is going on, political elections, changes at work, moving house, weeks overseas with work, there is a steady constant of coming to hear Mass that’s reassuringly familiar.
The fourth, and final, element that I’d highlight is one that, perhaps, might surprise the Rector. Some weeks we hear a sermon that pricks our social conscience. The Anglo-Catholic church has a long tradition of reminding us, sometimes through difficult messages in the sermon, of how to help our fellow neighbour. Rev Giles Fraser, from London, does a good job of that too on the Today programme at 7.45 in the morning. But it’s great to hear it here too, and I hope we continue to hear those tough messages.