Rushbearing 2013

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undefinedA church in a hamlet near Macclesfield - St Stephen's Church, known locally as the Forest Chapel - held its annual rush-bearing service earlier this month (August). The church stands on the hills just off the A537. Bishop Robert is pictured preaching outside, as is customary for part of the service.

The Vicar of Rainow with Saltersford and Forest, the Revd Stephen Rathbone, stands alongside the bishop in our photo.

The Vicar said: "Our service was, as usual, well-supported, witha congregation of almost 200. Bishop Robert's message of our need to have more fun in worship went down well."

The tradition of using rushes for covering floors and other parts of church buildings symbolises spiritual renewal, and it was in centuries past a big occasion among some rural parishes in North-West England.

Rush-bearing is still practised today in an unbroken tradition at the Forest Chapel. Flowers are also used to decorate the church.

Below part of the church dressed in rushes and flowers. Pictures by Denis Bagley.