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

Covid-19 Update

There are still some differences between current church services and the arrangements before Covid measures were introduced. These include:-

  • Services will be shorter than we are used to.
  • For the time being we will only have morning services of Morning Worship or Holy Communion.
You will be asked to: -
  • Enter only by the main door.
  • Sanitise your hands-on arrival and as you leave.
  • Face masks are not mandatory, but you may prefer to wear a face covering as you enter and leave the church, or when chatting with other members of the congregation. You can then remove your face covering once you are seated.
  • Sign-in with a welcomer to enable us to track and trace. This is not mandatory but we have been asked to continue this for the time being.
  • Follow a one-way system as much as possible inside church, avoiding walking in front of members of the congregation already seated.
  • Leave your offering in the collection box as you arrive if you gift either by envelope or cash.
  • The service order will be on the screens.
  • Refreshments are available after the service.

Covid-19 Risk Assessment

To view our risk assessment click here.

Prayer Request Form

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

Renew 2022

For more information email renew@rossendalecofe.church

Renew 14th May 2022


Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011
Draft Pastoral Scheme

The Church Commissioners have prepared a draft Scheme in respect of proposals sent to them by the Bishop of Manchester for:

  • terminating the team ministry established for the area of the benefice of Bacup and Stacksteads;
  • the union of the benefice of Bacup and Stacksteads, the benefice of Saint Anne Edgeside, the benefice of Goodshaw and Crawshawbooth, the benefice of Newchurch, the benefice of Rawtenstall and Constable Lee and the benefice of Saint Bartholomew, Whitworth and Saint John, Facit (their constituent parishes to remain distinct); and
  • the establishment of a team ministry for the new Rossendale Benefice. It also provides for:
  • the cure of souls in the new benefice to be shared by a team rector and two team vicars,
  • the appointment of the team rector and one team vicar;
  • the housing arrangements for the team; and 
  • the future patronage arrangements for the new benefice;

The draft Scheme is on our website www.churchofengland.org/consultation or you may obtain a copy from me. Large print and/or audio copies are available on request. Anyone may make representations for or against all or any part of the draft Scheme (please include the reasons for your views) by post or, preferably, by email to reach me no later than midnight on Monday 20 December 2021. If I have not acknowledged its receipt, please ring or e-mail me. For administrative purposes, a petition will be classed as a single representation and we will only correspond with the sender of the petition, if known, or otherwise the first signatory for whom we can identify an address – “the primary petitioner”.

  • When making a representation, please indicate the nature of your interest in the proposals (e.g. parishioner, member of parochial church council, etc) and whether you would like an opportunity to speak to the Commissioners regarding your representation if they decide a hearing should be held regarding the case.
  • If we receive representations against the draft Scheme, we will send them, and any representations supporting the draft Scheme, to the Bishop whose views will be sought. Individual representors and the primary petitioner will then receive copies of the correspondence with the Bishop (including copies of all the representations) and will be told whether a hearing is to be held. They and individual petitioners may comment further to the Commissioners. Copies of all of the representations received and associated correspondence will be published on the Commissioners’ website if the matter needs to be considered by the Commissioners.
  • If a hearing is held, anyone may attend the meeting of the Commissioners’ Committee that considers the case and representors may have an opportunity to speak to it. Otherwise, if a hearing is not to be held, the case will be considered in private and you will be informed accordingly.
  • When we acknowledge representations we will let individual representors (and the primary petitioner) know the next few dates of our Committee’s meetings. We will confirm the actual date if a hearing is to be held nearer the time.
  • The Committee will decide if the draft Scheme should proceed when it considers all the representations on the basis of a paper prepared by the Commissioners’ staff and any points raised at the meeting. The Commissioners will notify all representors of their decision and give a statement of the reasons for it.
  • If they so decide, any representor or petitioner against the draft Scheme may seek leave from the Privy Council to appeal against the decision.
  • Please see www.churchofengland.org/consultation for further information about the procedure.

Katie Lowe
Tel: 020 7898 1737
Email address: katie.lowe@churchofengland.org
Church Commissioners, Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ

On-line Service

Church Services during Covid-19 Lockdown

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 from Pete

3rd July 2022

As we see an increase in Coronavirus cases in the UK, we are reminded that the virus is still very much around in the UK but even more so in other parts of the world. As of 1stJuly the UK had administered 219 doses of vaccine per 100 people. In the Yemen it’s 3 doses. Afghanistan 16, South Africa 61 and yet in the Netherlands 378. This is a prayer from the Compassion website.

Father God, we pray that you would protect those in our world who are most vulnerable to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We lift up the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions and those without access to good medical care. We pray they would know your peace, comfort and protection. Father, would you bring healing to those who are sick and hospitalised by COVID-19.

Lord God, we pray particularly for countries in our world who have less resources and infrastructure to respond to the Coronavirus. Lord God, in your might and power would you limit the impact of the virus in some of the most vulnerable communities in our world. Give governments great wisdom as they put in preventative measures. We pray for any cases to be identified and isolated quickly.

Lord, would you also greatly bless and protect the vaccination roll-out programmes happening across our globe. May you multiply their effectiveness in protecting and saving lives. We pray against vaccine inequality and ask that countries collaborate and serve each other, working together to fight the virus. Lord, help all of us to understand what it means to love our global neighbour as ourselves.

We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Father, we bring before you the Team Vicar interview on Tuesday. We pray for the candidate that they will have a good understanding of the role of Team Vicar in Rossendale and will be able clearly demonstrate where they meet those requirements. We pray for your wisdom and insight for those on the interview panel that they will be able to reach the right conclusion on the suitability of the candidate for the role. We pray that the period without a Team Vicar will not lead to undue pressure to appoint if that is not your will. Amen

As we approach the end of the school term, we commit to you the activities that will take place in schools as students celebrate the year’s achievements. We pray especially for those year 6 students who will leave their primary schools ready to move to high school, for the friendships they will leave behind and the new ones they will form. We pray for the distribution of the year 6 packs, including the “Its your move” booklets, that students will find them helpful, and we pray that next year we will once again be in a position to bring the schools together for a Year 6 day in church.

Lord God, we give thanks for the opportunity to invite young students from Balladen to visit the church, and also the opportunity for some forest school sessions at the school itself. We pray for Claire as she prepares for these activities. Amen

Gracious God, we know that your love is infinite and that you care about all areas of our life. In this time of economic insecurity, help us to trust that all of our security is in you. 
Keep us mindful that you always have and always will provide for our needs.  
Apart from you we can do nothing. 
We ask that you give our leaders the wisdom to guide our nation and the world
out of the current economic difficulties.  Help us to protect the poor and all those who are struggling during this difficult time.  Provide for their needs and give them hope. 
Open new opportunities for them and furnish the resources they need to live with dignity.  Encourage those who have enough to share essential resources with those who lack the necessities of life, and to do so with humble, grateful, and loving hearts.  We ask this through Christ, Our Lord.  Amen.

Father, we ask for guidance for the PCC as we prepare for a new Mission Action Plan and as we consider other outreach activities at our meeting tomorrow evening. May your Spirit guide us in our deliberations that we may identify those areas where we can be most effective in meeting the needs of our community. Show us those areas where, in cooperation with the other churches in our town, we can demonstrate your love through our actions. Lord, help us not to lean on our own understanding but in everything acknowledge You so that You can direct our words, thoughts, and actions. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Finally, Lord, we bring before you those members of our congregation and those known to us who are suffering through illness or bereavement at this time. Please be with them and the family members caring or supporting them. Let your peace surround them and may they soon recover. Amen.

Worship Songs/Service

Talk from Steve

3rd July 2022 (Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20)

The kingdom of God has come near to you


This morning I would like to focus on Luke 10:1-11 and 16-20.

Here Luke has recorded the conversation, as Jesus prepares, commissions and motivates seventy-two missionaries to go out and proceed ahead of Jesus as he plans to embark on the next phase of his own ministry.

Again, there is an introductory phrase at the beginning of this passage, “After these things” (10:1a) this phrase deliberately ties this episode to what immediately came before, the passage this morning works as an application of the conditions for discipleship set out in Luke 9:57-62. As we heard last week about the cost of following Jesus, Luke 9:62, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”

The mission of the seventy-two repeats this on a “grander scale” the mission of Jesus “sending” the Twelve; in this passage Jesus publicly commissioned seventy-two others.

The language Jesus uses in this passage also indicates the “public recognition of an appointed official”. The reference is similar to the public presentation of John the Baptist to Israel as he begins his ministry.

Like John the Baptist who was sent “before the face” of Jesus, so Jesus “sent them before him in groups of two to every city and place where he himself was about to go”. So, the seventy-two are “publicly commissioned” to continue the fore-runner role of John the Baptist. They go out “in groups of two,” which mirrors the missionary pattern in Acts.

In this reading, Luke explains the rationale for the mission: “He had been saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’” (10:2a).

References to the “harvest” in the Jewish Scriptures allude both to end times judgment and preservation. The emphasis here is on the ingathering of God’s people and the lack of workers to assist in this task. The disciples, then, are to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers (10:2b).

The “Lord of the harvest” clearly refers to God, but in this context, we can see that Jesus who sends out the seventy-two is also “Lord of the harvest.”

We see Jesus then instructs the seventy-two regarding the danger of their assignment: “Go! I am sending you like lambs surrounded by wolves” (Luke 10:3). To the ancients, the wolf is a greedy animal, cantankerous, deceitful, bold, violent and men of this type are crafty, wicked, blood-thirsty, quick to anger, vicious to the extent that they refuse what is given or offered them but steal what is not given.

Rather than equipping the disciples for “Holy War” against infidels, Jesus “de-equips” them of the necessary travel equipment: He says “Do not carry a wallet, a travel bag, or sandals; and greet no one along the way”. The absence of standard traveling equipment indicates the total dependence of the disciples on the Sender. The instruction to “greet no one along the way” is a time-saving measure and underscores the urgency of the mission. The message echoes Luke 9:57-62: Be single-minded in purpose and do not be distracted!

Jesus gives further instruction regarding the disciples’ behaviour when entering a house: “Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if a peaceful person happens to be there, your peace will remain on him. If that is not the case, it will return to you” (Luke 10:5-6). The command to greet householders with “peace” is not only adopting common Jewish practice, but it characterizes the message of Jesus’ good news.

The pronouncement of peace will find fulfilment, if within the house there is a “peaceful person,” literally, a “son of peace.”

What does the phrase mean here? Jesus “when he asked his disciples to go out to gather the sons of peace, was sending them out to identify with those in Galilee who were bent on pursuing peace”. With such as these, peace will reside. If there is no one “worthy of peace”, Jesus warns, the peace will return to the sender.

Jesus gives further instructions: “Stay in that same house, eating and drinking what they provide; for the worker is worthy of his wage. Do not move from house to house. And whatever city you enter, and they welcome you, eat what is placed before you” (Luke 10:7).

The social context is hospitality. The command to eat and drink what is provided is standard etiquette for a guest in the hospitality context; such activity is an act of table fellowship and “seals the acceptance of the messenger and gospel by the household”. Furthermore, Jesus’ followers are not to beg for money (as Cynics and others did); their wage is hospitality and shelter.

Nor are they to move from house to house, becoming a “parasite at large with no fixed place”. Beyond guest etiquette required in hospitality, the second reference to “eat what is placed before you” may allude also to setting aside strict food laws for the sake of sharing the Good News,

Also, when the followers find a hospitable reception, they are to “heal those who are sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10:8). Emulating Jesus, his followers are to respond to these acts of hospitality in deed (heal the sick) and word (preach the kingdom).

Jesus came to proclaim the nearness of the kingdom of God, and in Luke 10 he is authorizing a wider band of disciples to go out and do the same thing. 

He’s not sending them out to be door-to-door salespeople, selling magazine subscriptions or double glazing.

He doesn’t want them to look like scroungers or give off even a whiff of being profiteers.  He is telling them to go and bring peace, Shalom, to all who will receive it and the rest of their message is pretty straightforward and simple: “The kingdom of God is near you.”

They are proclaiming a whole new way to live, a whole new way to look at life and this world, a whole new way to orient not just bits and pieces in their lives but the whole package, every single bit of their existence.

Because at the end of the day you cannot be in the kingdom of God just sort of or kind of.   You don’t dabble in the kingdom.  You don’t treat the kingdom like a buffet at which you’re free to choose just some items to put onto your plate but leave all the things that look not quite to your liking (or those items that might challenge your palette to experience something new—something new but perhaps also something necessary and good for you).

Shake to dust off your feet

Jesus prepared the seventy-two for times when the response to them and their message would be one of rejection rather than reception: “And whatever city you enter and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust that stuck to us from your city on (our) feet we shake off against you. But know this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, in those days it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that city” (Luke 10:9-12). Jesus has replaced the knee-jerk vigilante vengeance of James and John (9:54) with a powerful, prophetic gesture.

The shaking of the dust from their feet is an appropriate symbolic act for those who have not acted hospitably, for if they had been proper hosts (who washed the feet of their guests), there would be no dust to shake! Regardless of their response, the kingdom has still come near and the judgment against them will potentially be more severe than that experienced by Sodom, whose wickedness was legendary and whose great sin was inhospitality.

In short, the kingdom of God and proclaiming the message of that kingdom are serious matters. Matters of life and death.  And in the middle of the first part of Luke 10, Jesus makes the significance clear by saying that the consequences of rejection of that kingdom are serious.

The gospel message is good news, but Jesus reminds us we cannot be selective.

The Bible isn’t a ring binder to add or remove selected scriptures and so just because in the middle of Luke 10 Jesus begins to sound some definite notes of judgment and condemnation for those who reject the message of the Kingdom’s approach, that doesn’t mean we can edit that out, skip it, pretend it’s not there. 

At this point in Luke’s Gospel Jesus has now made his famous turn toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) and toward all that awaited him there.

The cost of following Jesus was just detailed at the end of Luke 9 and there it is clear that we are dealing with matters of eternal significance and importance. 

He did not come to this earth to make suggestions for self-improvement or provide tips on how to grow your own business prospects.

The kingdom is serious business, rejecting it has consequences. The simple fact is that those who had long been part of God’s covenant community—those, in other words, who had been given a gracious advantage in anticipating the kingdom and understanding its contours based on everything God had been revealing to Israel for so long—may well be held to a higher standard of judgment on such matters than people without those grace-given advantages.

It’s not pleasant.  It’s definitely not what people in the twenty-first century want to hear when the preference of many—including not a few inside the church—is to assume that getting saved is easy, that God tends toward being a softy, that we humans should never presume to know whether God has any particular standards when it comes to faith and so do we assume that any faith is good and that even those with no faith—but who are good people—may well be just fine, too?

“Woe to you” is something only fanatics on the fringe of the church ever say anymore. So, if we happen to catch Jesus saying “Woe to you” to or about anybody or a place, do we prefer to pretend it didn’t happen.

But listen just beyond this section of scripture we find Jesus being full of the joy of the Holy Spirit as he rejoices in the grace of God that has revealed his truth to the disciples and to so many others. 

Soon after that he tells everybody’s favourite parable of the Good Samaritan. 

Take away the prospect of judgment and the need, perhaps, to say the word “Woe to you” now and then all you’re left with is shallow and generic Gospel.

Now with all that said . . . it’s true that we must not be hateful and spiteful people, and if some of the people most prone to say “Woe to you” today tend to come off that way, most of us in the Church are right to want to put some daylight between them and us. 

But we can still be morally, theologically, and biblically serious enough to know that there is judgment, there is a difference between right and wrong, between being in the kingdom or living outside of it and we can still be radiant with grace and mercy and love. 

We don’t have to check out the ethnic, moral, or religious credentials of the robbery victim at the side of the road before reaching out to him in love.

Even when Jesus tells his disciples to wipe the dust of the rejecting town off their feet, he still tells them to conclude their comments with yet one more reminder that “the kingdom of God is near” and who’s to say that we cannot speak those words through eyes filled with love and compassion for the lost? 

Jesus does not tell these people to write their message on signs that say, “God Hates You!” but to speak the truth in love and to do it urgently and perhaps emotionally knowing how high the stakes are.

But remember we can’t get to the truest and deepest joy of the good news of the gospel by bypassing the cross and in Luke you cannot get to the fullness of Holy Spirit-induced joy by bypassing some of the more difficult things Jesus has to say.

The question for us is whether we believers today still have the courage to say just that.

Remember, The Kingdom of God has come near to you.


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