Parish Magazine

CONTACT is the Parish Magazine. It contains details of all services at both St Saviour's and St John's churches on a monthly basis, plus news, information from local groups, and interesting articles. 

Annual subscription (including delivery) covers 10 issues and costs £6 if you live in Hagley and £10 if you live outside. If you would like to subscribe please contact the parish office on 01562 886363. 


PARISH LETTER                                                                                                                                                

When I was upstairs in one of our bedrooms the other day I found a cross that Peter was given for his Confirmation.  It reminded me of something I’d completely forgotten, that I too was given a cross when I was confirmed, many years ago.  It was a simple silver cross which I wore around my neck on a very thin silver chain.  Being very thin, it wasn’t very long before the chain broke, and I remember getting another one, which eventually broke as well.  I gave up with crosses at that point, until I was ordained and bought one to put on my desk.

The cross that Peter was given was rather different - it was a “holding cross”, which was given to him by one of his godparents.  I’m pretty sure that it was the first holding cross I’d ever seen, and I thought it was a lovely idea to have something so tactile.

I expect that most of you will know what a holding cross is, and some of you will possibly have one and use one - but, in case you don’t, let me explain a little.  It’s designed to be a cross that you can hold easily and comfortably in your hand as you pray.  A good one will fit snuggly into your hand - hence it’s not quite symmetrical, and will have smooth and rounded edges. 

Holding crosses can be made out of all sorts of different types of wood, but they’re often made from olive wood, and many are made from the area around Bethlehem, in the region where Jesus was born.  Olive trees have a not insignificant place in the Christian tradition, and are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments.  The olive’s first mention comes in Genesis, as providing the leaf brought back by the dove and given to Noah, and green olive trees are mentioned positively by both the psalms and Jeremiah.  Jesus often visits the Mount of Olives in the Gospels, a mountain range named after the olive groves that used to cover its slopes.  There are poignant references to it regarding the night of his passion, with the garden of Gethsemane being situated at the foot of it.  In the life of the church, olive oil is what is traditionally used to anoint the sick.

The origin of the holding crosses that are produced in some abundance today is a bit vague, but people are known to have been carving branches thinned from olive trees since at least the fourth century.  Of the plethora of websites advertising holding crosses - including our own retreat centre at Holland House - many are made from olive wood, and many come from the Bethlehem area, which gives a lovely connection with the origins of our faith.

A holding cross can be used to give focus to our prayers, or simply as something meaningful to hold on to in times of need.  For someone who may be going through a hard time, it’s a powerful reminder that we are not alone in our suffering.

As the Cross has a particular focus in our worship on Good Friday, I’ve bought a bag of small holding crosses made from olive wood, and handcrafted in Bethlehem, for our services on Good Friday this year.  Those coming in the morning will be invited to take one home, and those coming in the afternoon will be invited to hold one during the service as we focus on Jesus’ last words from the cross, and also to take that same cross home.  I hope these will give a focus to our worship and to our remembrance of what Jesus went through out of his love for us.

                        Richard Newton                   


Dear Readers, Contributors and Deliverers

Thank you for your support, since September 2000, whilst I have been editor of your Contact, Parish Magazine; it has been most appreciated.

I also want to thank those on the small editing committee who have inspired me. These include Margaret Rankin, Revd. David Blackburn, Evelyn Morrison, Linda Jordan and the late Jacky Smith.

This is my final copy as Editor, having written to our Rector Richard in December giving him my decision to stand down. The magazine will continue. At present, no new permanent editor has been found, but if anyone would like to volunteer, the offer would be gratefully received.

In the short term Richard who has desktop publishing skills will take the helm, so I hope that you will give him your support.

I have enjoyed my time as editor but  feel it is time for me to have a break from my monthly commitment after twenty years.

Toni Allison    


Hagley Parish - Goodbye and Welcome

I remember with fondness the day I started work in the Parish Office – 28th February 2011. It was the day after I had been at Wembley Stadium to watch my team Birmingham City beat Arsenal 2-1 in the League Cup Final. So, as you can appreciate, I was on a high! It was also the day after the annual wedding tea took place and Jane, the then current Administrator, announced that, although I should have been at the wedding tea, I was in fact at Wembley. 

I have been fortunate to have been able to serve you whilst in the Parish Office and the job itself has seen many changes, some of which have been introduced by myself. In particular it has been good to have had so many visitors, phone calls and emails from you all. Thanks must go to Richard and our Churchwardens, past and present, for all their help and guidance over these past years.

So, it is with some regret, but with a joyful spring in my step, that a new chapter begins. Ann and I do intend to spend a great deal of time travelling in the UK, in particular down South to Dartmouth where our boys live and also to the North West – Southport and The Lakes where relations live and where our family roots are. No longer will we have to travel on a Monday afternoon whilst being mindful that we have to be back in Hagley on a Wednesday evening ready for work on Thursday morning.

As you may be aware a new Parish Administrator has been appointed. The position was advertised in Contact and the Village News from which we had eight applications. Richard, Barbara and John whittled these down to a final shortlist of three and interviews took place on the 14th February in the Church Hall.

Following these interviews Sue Priest was offered the position, and I am pleased to say she has accepted. Sue and I will be doing a handover week commencing 30th March and my final day will be Friday 3rd April.

Finally, and once again, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be your Parish Administrator and I know that you will all continue to support Sue in her new role.    


    Tony Battersby                                                                     Sue Priest

Parish Administrator 2011 – 2020                          Parish Administrator April 2020