About Us

St Mary's remains Biblically orthodox in its Christian faith (as defined in the '39 Articles of Faith and the historic formularies of the Church of England).  Jesus is Lord of every area of our shared and private lives.

We're all on a journey of repentance and transformation, it would be great to share with you on the same journey

Our Vision

Our vision is:
"To reveal Jesus as we love God and serve others in the power of His Spirit."

Our Purpose

To enjoy fellowship as we worship in Spirit and Truth, grow in discipleship, develop in ministry and deploy in mission

Our Values

Faithful to the Message - Focussed on Ministry - Flourishing in Mission

Prayer Request Form

Please submit your prayer requests by completing the box below and clicking Prayer Request

Soup & Sandwich

Soup and Sandwich - Thursday 4th August, Thursday 18th August, Thursday September 1st

Renew - 12 Sep 2022

For more information email renew@rossendalecofe.church

Renew 12th September 2022

No notices at present

On-line Service

Church Services

All service Readings and Prayers will be posted here and on our Facebook page. We are keeping this under regular review. Please take care and stay safe.

Prayers Lef by Nigel

31st July 2022

Let us pray, Father we pray that this day may be holy, good and joyful. That we may offer to you our worship and our work. That we may strive for the well-being of all creation. That in the pleasures and pains of life, we may know the love of Christ and be thankful. That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit in communion with all your saints, entrusting one another and all our life to Christ. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, we pray for people of every race, and in every kind of need: make your ways known on earth, your saving power among all nations. We especially pray for the Ukraine as we join all the churches around the world praying for peace and justice. We pray for all the people affected by this conflict. We pray for peace among the nations, that God may rid the world of violence and let peoples grow in justice and harmony. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Lord we pray especially for our families, friends, neighbours. Lord we pray for our health and well-being, praying and giving thanks for our marriages, our relationships, our family, our friends, our safety and security, for your guidance in our lives. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Almighty and Everlasting God, who alone workest great marvels, send down on our Bishops and curates and all the congregations committed to their charge, the healthful spirit of thy grace, that they may truly please thee, pour on them the continual dew of thy blessing, grant this o lord, for the honour of our advocate and mediator Jesus Christ Amen. Lord, we pray for our Church and the preparation of our Mission Action Plan. Lord we pray your will be done in carrying out your mission to all people. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Father, we pray for our local community, help us all to know your love, to love our neighbours and to support one another, may the local churches service the people. We pray for the schools and teachers, praying for St Mary’s our church school. We pray that all the children will strive from their good education, we pray for all to be refreshed during the summer break, we pray that their hopes and dreams will come true, we pray the children will seek you Jesus, Lord in your Mercy Hear our Prayer.

We commend to your fatherly goodness all that are anxious or distressed in mind or body; comfort and relieve them in their need; give them patience in their sufferings, and bring good out of their troubles. We pray for members of our congregation that are suffering at the present time.

Edith Wogden, Janice Casey, Trevor Lang, June Howarth, Brenda Whipp, Judith Nuttal, Abbie Longden

And others known to us personally. We ask that they feel your presence and support.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

O God our maker and redeemer We pray for those who mourn we remember all who have recently died and those whose anniversary of death occurs at this time

Especially praying for those who have lives in the Ukrainian war

Bring comfort, dear Lord, to all those who mourn. Lord in your mercy

Father as we gather up all of our prayers, our prayers spoken today, the unspoken prayers of our hearts, our prayers of yesterday and our prayers over the weeks and months to come our prayers for whom we love, and for those whom we pray this day and forevermore. Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and all creation to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father Accept these prayers for the sake of your son Our saviour Jesus Christ


Worship Songs/Service

Peter Talk

31st July 2022

Colossians 3:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21

Over the previous three weeks our readings have come from Colossians and Luke. Today is our final reading from Colossians before the lectionary moves on to Hebrews. There are only four chapters in Paul’s letter to the church in Colosse. If I summarise the introduction to Colossians from the Life Study bible, it tells us Paul’s purpose in writing the letter was to combat errors in the church there and to show the believers that everything they need is in Christ. It was written by Paul whilst he was in prison in Rome. The church at Colosse had been infiltrated by false teachings whereby ideas of paganism and secular philosophy were being combined with Christian doctrine. Paul explains how the world’s teachings are totally empty compared with God’s plan and he challenges the Colossians to reject them. In chapter 3, Paul turns to the practical considerations of what living in Christ should mean.

Luke’s gospel was written around the same time that Paul was writing his letter, AD 60, and possibly from Rome also. Today’s passage continues the period of Jesus teaching both his disciples and the crowd. At the start of chapter 12 we read that a crowd of many thousands had gathered, and it is someone in that crowd that asks the opening question that leads to the parable of the rich fool.

Having put myself on the speaking rota for today, without looking at the set readings, when I did come to look at the readings, I thought how ironic that the talk on accumulating wealth should be given by an accountant, and someone who specialised in Corporate and Personal insolvency, a process by which businesses and individuals lose their wealth, or at least lose control of it.

Whilst the parable in our reading from Luke concentrates on the perils of greed and storing things up for oneself rather than being rich towards God, the reading from Colossians warns against a much wider range of issues that we may face in our lives:

Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed.

Anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language.

 Paul explains how we can change our moral and ethical behaviour by letting Christ live within us, so that he can shape us into what we should be. Paul says, “Seek the things that are above” and “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”.

It's important that we remember that it’s not that earthly things are unimportant. God has given us many gifts and talents which might be as an employee or an employer, an entrepreneur creating work opportunities for others, a teacher, a carer, a mother. Whatever our skills or circumstances, we are a channel for God’s blessing to others. It’s the same whether we are wealthy or poor, it’s how we use what we have that matters. We have seen recently how Team St Mary’s have used their individual talents to combine and perform an important role in our church and wider community. And whilst we are at it let’s not forget the developer of the What’s App that makes it all possible!

But why does Paul use the phrase “set your mind on things above”. When you look at the list of things to put aside, they all start in the mind but then play out in our lives as wrong behaviour. What starts in the mind proceeds to the deeds we do and that’s where we need to be aware of them and stop them before they become actions. Actions that can hurt people and relationships and eventually ourselves. Doing the wrong things can interfere with our spiritual growth, as can doing the right things for the wrong reasons. But let’s remember we do not do good to be saved. We do good things because we are saved and in a new relationship with God and we want to please him.

The issue as presented in our passage from Luke is not about ownership of possessions but ownership by possessions. As it says in 1 Timothy 6:10 it is not money that is the problem, but love of money.

The passage starts with a question from the crowd about inheritance. How often do we read in the newspapers about cases that have gone to court as family members argue over who gets what from a relative’s estate? The Jewish law had set rules about inheritance, for example the first-born son received a double portion. So, if there were two sons, the first would receive two thirds and the second one third. Rabbis were expected to arbitrate disputes as the courts do today. What is clear about the question is that the man wanted something he didn’t have, presumably coveting what his brother had received. Jesus sees this and takes the opportunity to teach the crowd about the dangers of greed. In verse 15 he says, “for a man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things he possesses.” Jesus wants the man, the crowd, to look at their whole life and put possessions in perspective. He wants them to take the opportunity to become “rich towards God”.

Jesus makes this point elsewhere in his teachings:

  • “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone'” (4:4).
  • “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his own self?” (9:25).
  • “Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing” (12:22-23).
  • See the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31).
  • “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!” (18:24).

Jesus now tells the parable of the rich fool.

The first point is that the man was already rich, the current harvest just makes him richer. The way it is portrayed though is as a windfall, not something he had planned for.  A harvest that is a gift from God. We all know about windfalls for oil companies or currently energy suppliers where unplanned circumstances lead to super profits. There are calls for windfall taxes. But what about us, what responsibility do we incur when we acquire more than we need. How often to we read of Lottery Winners, or the Pools in old days, losing all their money, their marriages and families as they struggle to cope with how best to use it.

The passage tells us that the rich man reasoned with himself. He didn’t go to his investment or pension advisor. He certainly didn’t seek God’s guidance. He was inwardly focussed not needing the counsel of others.

Years ago, I managed the insolvency of a group of businesses involved in transport distribution as well as UK and International coach travel. The owner of the business was a self-made man. He didn’t take much advice and eventually lost most of his businesses that were either sold or broken up to meet his liabilities to the bank. After a while though he managed to persuade some leasing companies to lend him the money to acquire a couple of international standard coaches and he started trading again. His greed got the better of him and he tried to expand too quickly so that he once again faced insolvency. He wasn’t a client of mine, but he rang me for advice and because of the prior connection I tried to give him some. He called me one evening at home and as the call progressed, I became more and more forceful, and loud, in the advice I was giving him. When I came off the phone my wife said, “do you speak to all your clients like that” to which I replied, “No, only those who won’t listen”. Needless to say, he went bust again.

It's interesting that in Jesus’ parable the rich man only thinks about the problem of an excess harvest in terms of himself. “What will I do because I don’t have room to store my crops”. There is no sense of family or community to whom he might make his excess available. The story is one of self-absorption. I and me are the common terms used by the rich man. When considering what to do with his additional wealth he thinks in terms of enjoying that wealth -eat, drink and be merry. There is no concept of sharing his good fortune with others.

And then of course we move to the rich man’s comeuppance. All his plans for enjoying his wealth come to a sudden end - tonight your soul is required of you. The man is a fool because he failed to take account of his own mortality.

The more we love what we have, the more we are likely to guard our possessions. But notwithstanding any plans that we have made, we have limited control over what happens to those possessions once we die. We may set out the distribution of our estates in our wills and in trusts but how the next generation will spend our money we cannot control. We know the phrase rags to riches and back again in three generations.

The main mistake of the rich man though is that in laying up earthly treasure he is not rich towards God. And it’s not the absolute level of wealth that matters, it’s the mind set of focussing on whatever we have or desire, rather than focussing on God. It’s the act of selfishness rather than generosity towards others. The lack of stewardship for the benefit of others and a failure to recognise that we owe everything we have to God, including the skills that we have and how we use them.

So that’s the message in Luke and its Paul’s message to the Colossians. If we focus on earthly desires, whether it’s the wealth of the rich fool or the sinful things that get into our minds that Paul writes against, then we fail to seek the things above.

In this week’s paper there was a reference to a quote from the 18th century economist Adam Smith that Rishi Sunak used in a speech he gave. It went:

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it”

And when you think about it, given we are made in the image of God, it’s hardly surprising that looking to the interests of others should give us pleasure.

The Lord will again take delight in prospering you.” (Deuteronomy 30:9) 

(Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; {24} But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

So, whatever our wealth, great or small, whatever our skills, or talents, let’s ask God how he wants us to use them, let’s combine them with talents and resources of others, let’s seek God’s will for us, individually and collectively and then let’s get on with the task of helping to build God’s kingdom here is Rossendale. And if we remain focussed on that then we should have no problem setting our mind on things that are above.


Communion Reflection

This is a short Communion Reflection that you can join at any time. There is a quiet period within it that you can pause if you want a longer period of reflection

Safe Guarding Policy

St Mary’s, along with all parishes within the Church of England, seek to take the safeguarding of all people who are part of our congregation very seriously.
To that end we have appointed two persons who are designated as the Safeguarding Officers within our Parish:
Vicky Rhodes for Children & Young People Jay Dempsey for Vulnerable Adults

A hard copy of the ‘Manchester Diocese Safeguarding Handbook’ and the ‘Church of England – Parish Safeguarding Handbook’ are available for inspection in the vestry at St Mary’s.

View Policy C of E Handbook

If you have any concerns whatsoever about safeguarding issues then please contact the PCC who will be more than happy to listen and hear your concerns or address any questions.

"The Diocese of Manchester partners with thirtyone:eight in relation to Disclosure (i.e. DBS) services and accessing their safeguarding Helpline when required. For DBS related queries, please contact them on 0303 003 1111 option 1.

In the event of the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser being unavailable due to being on holiday or other absence, you will be advised to contact thirtyone:eight for safeguarding advice on 0303 003 1111. This also includes any emergency safeguarding queries outside of office hours on weekdays and weekends. An Information Sharing Agreement between the two organisations will allow fhe Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser to receive a copy of the advice thirtyone:eight may offer the parish church/caller.

The Diocese of Manchester also uses thirtyone:eight as its approved Listening Service provider, supporting anyone impacted by abuse. Should you be interested in this service, please contact he Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser in the first instance and we will offer you more information. You can read more about thirtyone:eight's Listening service here: https://thirtyoneeight.org/media/2392/listening-service-leaflet.pdf


Some interesting facts about St Mary's Rawtenstall (when I speak to Chris Cotterill)


Average Congregation


Books in Bible


Year Opened


Number of Weddings


  • All
  • Adults
  • Scouts
  • Guides

Mothers Union

3rd Monday, 7:30pm


Monday, 5:30pm

Ladies Fellowship

Alt. Wednesday, 2:00pm


Wednesday, 6:15pm


Monday, 6:30pm

Mens Breakfast

1st Saturday, 8:15am


Tuesday, 7:00pm


Thursday, 7:30pm


Monday, 7:30pm

Our Churches/Friends


Meet the team of people at St Mary's who keep the building functioning, but the real church is not the building but the people who use the building.

Julie Barratt

Julie Barratt

Associate Minister

Julie Barratt

Pete Terry

Pete Terry

Church Warden

Pete Terry

Jean Lang

Jean Lang

Church Warden

Jean Lang

Nick and Suzanne

Nick and Suzanne

Childrens Work

Suzanne & Nick


Message from the Church Wardens - The interregnum

At the moment St Mary’s is in a period of Interregnum. That means we have no Vicar!

It is the responsibility of the church wardens, together with the Area Dean, and acting as the Bishop’s Agents, to ensure that the church functions normally during the interregnum.

If you have any questions or concerns, or need to contact the church about any matters, please use the contact form on this site. You can phone the vicarage number, and calls will be forwarded to the church wardens, but the contact form is a better option.

Contact Us

Please contact us if you need any further information, or clarification of services/times. We will try and get back to you as soon as possible.


St Mary's Terrace, Rawtenstall, Rossendale, Lancashire, BB4 8SQ, United Kingdom

Phone Number

+44 1706 215585