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Showing posts from 2015

November Prayer Column

Greater works (John 14:12)
I read a really good book on holiday.  It argued that we should seek more healing in our churches with the aid of the Holy Spirit.  Healing and deliverance was what Jesus did all the time, and what the early church continued to do (as Jesus had promised they should), as in the book of Acts, and for the next few hundred years.  But then from the time of Constantine such good works were discouraged and declined.  Some said that only the holiest saints were fit to do it; others that is was presump-tuous to try and copy Jesus.  Later, some claimed that miracles such as healing has ceased with the apostles; and nearer our own time many have declared that today we should know better than to believe that such supernatural things ever happened at all.  Thus, by one means or another, acts of healing and wholeness, once the lifeblood of the Christian faith, have been all but throttled – despite the occasional outbreaks of Pentecostal-style spiritual blessings at vari…

Harvest Festival at Thackley

We celebrated our Harvest Festival on 4 October and what an amazing service it was. Many of our community groups had decorated our windows with Harvest displays and the church was almost full, with lots of mums and tots from See and Know, mums and Brownies, and Guides. As is the way at Thackley, there was an air of flexibility about the service, with many last minute additions/deletions to accommodate various traditions, which included parading the flags, offering Harvest Gifts for CAP UK, our jam pan clatter for Water Aid and our monthly birthday box.

It was a delight to have the little ones from See and Know sing one of their songs and empty their Smarties tubes of change into the clatter.

What is this clatter? In the run up to Harvest, we collect jam jars of change and make a “clatter” as we pour them into the metal jam pan. Last year the jam jars that clattered into the Water Aid jam-pan added up to £134.63. Gift aid tax recovery at £6.66 increased the total to £141.29. This year we…

Calverley Community Weekend

Calverley Church was a hive of activity on the weekend of 25/27 September.

It all began on Friday morning, when a group of local schoolchildren arrived to bake bread. Another group came in the afternoon – total of 57 children! As the pictures show, they really got ‘stuck in’!

On Friday evening, Christian comedian, Andy Kind, had people rolling in the aisles, with his unique brand of humour. (For those who missed Andy, he is due to make another appearance in the circuit, at Baildon Church on Saturday 14 November. For tickets, see the Baildon web site).
On the Saturday, local community groups were encouraged to come and display what they have to offer to the people of Calverley. A broad range of activities on offer were viewed by an excellent turn-out of people, as the photos show:-

The weekend continued on Sunday with the Harvest Festival service at 10.30 am and a special Harvest Songs of Praise in the evening, featuring The Wesley Singers. The services were linked to Back to Church Sun…

St Andrew’s invests in a ‘green’ boiler

St Andrew’s Church has had a new heating boiler installed during the Summer months. It is an environmentally-friendly biomass boiler. (No, I had no idea what that meant, either!) It is a boiler which burns little wooden pellets, and it is ‘green’ because the fuel is renewable. As trees are felled to make the pellets, more trees are planted, which take only a few years to grow, enabling more pellets to be produced. The source of the fuel is ‘renewable’.
The boiler has only recently been commissioned, so we don’t have enough information to comment on its efficiency or how economical it is. This story is about its installation.
We are using a Christian heating company from Manchester, named HeatinGlobal. They have a wealth of experience in fitting heating systems into churches of all sizes and ages.

The boiler room at St Andrew’s is in the cellar, down a very narrow stone staircase. It was obvious when the boiler unit, and its related water-tank, were delivered to the church, that they …

Calverley Dementia Friendly Day

A lovely time was had at Calverley Methodist Church on our Dementia Friendly Day on Saturday 10 October. One of the memory displays was a seaside theme (see the photo).
Some of the ladies really loved Joey, our adopted donkey, who had come from the Leeds Donkey Sanctuary to add his personality to our seaside theme! A special ‘Thank You’ to the sanctuary and their volunteers for bringing Joey and supporting our day.
Thank you to all our volunteers, and I must mention: Emma and Attitude Dance; Sami from Calverley Cutting Room; Deborah from Purity and Lyn from Leeds Library Services, for their generous support.
Well done to Julie S, for having the vision and making it happen!
Kim A,

October message from the ministry team

Dear Friends,

Autumn is the time of mists and mellow fruitfulness. It is a time of harvest and cropping. It is also the precursor to preparing for winter. After the harvest, comes the shedding of leaves and plants returning to their basic condition.
This made me think about our lives in Jesus Christ. Have we had a harvest in our lives? Has each of us shown the ripe fruits of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet? Have we been laden with the fruits of the Spirit, to attract people to Jesus, as creatures are drawn to the fruit trees and plants? This is a wonderful time of year to share Jesus with people. (As well as the rest of the year.)
Also, at this time of year, nature is preparing for the onset of winter, and plants and trees are shedding leaves and retreating back into bulbs, so they can survive the winter. Are we as Christians doing the same? Have we parts of our personal lives and church lives cluttered up, so that we need to get rid of things? Do we allow Jesus, the gardener, to p…

Craft Fair at Thornton

At Thornton Methodist Church, a Craft Fair was held in July. This was an opportunity for the community to get together and enjoy a wonderful day. There were lots of stalls, including cards, hand-made goods and home grown produce.

Refreshments were available throughout the day and lunch was also on offer.

Elaine B, Thornton

Firm Foundations – a new mission project

Firm Foundations UK is a Christian organisation, born out of 2 men’s visions from God.  Lewis Haynes (Chairman) has been involved in ‘Recovery’ and Food Programmes over the last 8 years.  God gave him the vision to take ‘Recovery’ to the people and to help those struggling to fulfil ‘Recovery’ in their current environment.  John Mercer (Treasurer) previously had the God-given task of building a ‘safe haven’ for the vulnerable.  When that task was completed, God told him ‘Don’t sit on your hands – build me a hostel’.   Celebrate Recovery and Prodigal House are the two arms of Firm Foundations UK.  We currently run 3 Celebrate Recovery courses in the community and will be ‘launching’ Prodigal House, our 12 month Residential Discipleship Course on 19th September, taking our first residents in October.  The Celebrate Recovery courses are based on the Beatitudes and encourage us to look at the hurts, habits and hang-ups we carry from our past, together with fears and worries for our futur…

The Gazebo visits Calverley

It is always a problem using the church itself for the baby group, the babies being so small and the church being such a huge Victorian barn of a place, and the only time we take the group into church is at Christmas time, when we can sit round the tree.

So the Isaiah tent was such a blessing; it created a baby-sized church within a church. We held two baby group sessions in the tent: during the first session, the babies created a banner with a little help from their mums. Their theme for the banner was the baby group song ‘Our God is a great Big God’. In the second session, we had our song and our poem and then finished with tea and cakes. The tent created such a warm friendly safe place - the house of God, within the house of God! We cannot wait for it to come again.

Rodney D, Calverley

Haworth Road Methodist Church Children’s Holiday Club

At Haworth Road Methodist Church, we celebrated our 19th annual children’s holiday club, during the last week of July, based on a theme of Frozen Fun. 26 children (aged 5 – 10) took part and enjoyed activities for 2 hours each morning, linking the film of Frozen to various Bible stories.  
Two story-tellers related stories from both the film and from the bible and the main link which developed was one of friendship, identifying the friendships which developed in the film, the friendships which the children developed with each other throughout the week’s activities, the friends Jesus had during his ministry and teaching that Jesus is a friend to us all.

Lots of fun was had making model fishing nets (complete with fish), making beautiful snowflakes using only sheets of paper and scissors, building (flat topped roof) houses out of paper and also making little Trolls (film characters) out of marshmallows and cocktail sticks. Lots of ingenuity was evident in all of the various designs!


Marian says ‘Farewell’

At the end of the summer term, Marian led her final session at Hall Royd Playgroup. Marian, a member at Saltaire Methodist Church, has run the playgroup at Northcliffe Church in Shipley for 37 years and has seen many of her earlier playgroup children return with children of their own.

Friends, colleagues, church members and parents turned up at Marian's last playgroup session to show their appreciation for all Marian's hard work and commitment.  We, at Northcliffe, thank Marian for all that she has done for the children in her care and the friendship and support she has offered to all the parents.

We wish Marian well in her 'retirement' and, at the same time, thank those who are now 'taking up the reins' to secure the future of the playgroup.

Jean K

Circuit Communion is for everyone

Within the circuit, we have a team of people who take communion to anyone who is housebound, in hospital, or cannot attend church services for a short time. This ministry is really appreciated by our people.

Once a month we hold a Circuit Communion in a different church each time. This is so that the team can have a time of communion together and re-supply themselves with consecrated bread and wine.
We would also ask that as many people from the church that we are at should come along. It is not exclusively for the team who take out communion. It is a special time of worship for everyone in the church where we are at. Please do not feel that this is not for you - it is!

The dates and locations of these services are on the back of the Circuit Plan. Do come and join us. It is a precious time, and John Wesley wanted the Methodist societies to take communion as often as they could. You may have been away from your own church when it was communion, this could be a wonderful opportunity t…

Visit of Methodist Mission Partners

On Tuesday 14 July, Dr John and Mrs Sharon Harbottle, Mission Partners working in the Caribbean island of Haiti, visited the circuit and gave an illustrated presentation about life in Haiti following the earthquake of 2010 and their work amongst vulnerable people. The event was attended by around 50 people, who enjoyed afternoon tea, before the presentation, courtesy of members of Northcliffe Church.

Sharon is a teacher and she spoke about her role in education on the island and in recruiting and training local preachers, with which she has made a significant impact. John is a GP, with specialist knowledge of AIDS and he spoke of the major contribution of the Church to medical care, including the relief of malnutrition. It was fascinating to hear of a preparation made from peanuts, which can dramatically turn round the fortunes of malnourished children within less than a week!

2017 will be the 200th anniversary of a Methodist presence in Haiti. It is interesting to note that the Met…

It’s a snip at Wesley’s

Everyone who’s ever dined at Wesley’s knows what a "snip" it is, but the snip went a stage further in June when the Gents Quarter Barbershop took over cosy Room 2, while their Baildon Westgate shop was being refurbished.

A few from Baildon MC have been regular customers since they opened and a couple of months ago, whilst in one of their three chairs, they said they’d be having to close for three weeks to do up their shop.  We said "why don’t you open a pop-up barbershop in the Methodist Church...? "

To cut it short, they came and looked and they liked.  We talked to Lindsay (Lettings) Sykes, who managed a tweak of the room rota.  One of the Cell Groups was a bit disconcerted that they had to move from their usual room, but they now prefer Room 3's intimacy.

We pointed out to the folk in Wesley’s that any males they didn’t recognise were likely to be customers of GQ; and we encouraged Wesley’s staff to engage with them.  When the oldies in Wesley’s kitchen saw…

Traidcraft Needs Our Help

Many of you will be familiar with Traidcraft.  It is the UK’s leading fair trade organisation, founded in 1979 on Christian principles and dedicated to fighting poverty through trade.  But you may not be aware that Traidcraft has been running at a trading loss for four consecutive years and is now telling the Church and wider community that it urgently needs their help.

Traidcraft feels that there are two general misconceptions. The first is that the Fairtrade battle has been won. Chocolate, tea, coffee and many more products with the now familiar Fairtrade Mark are stacked high on our supermarket shelves. However, the job is not done. Injustice in trade and its resulting poverty is as much of a scandal now, as it was 36 years ago and Traidcraft is still doing everything it can to tackle it directly. The second misconception is that Traidcraft and Fairtrade are the same.  They are not. Traidcraft is an independent trading company, with a linked development charity. It does not benefi…

Message from the Ministry Team

Dear friends

In this letter I offer some musings about ministerial availability, own arrangement services, and circuit communion services.

The ministerial team as currently formed is a year old, with Christine and Andrew having joined Phil and myself last September, and Andrew growing into full-time, long-term ministry, after helping us cover sabbaticals the year before.   We are hopeful that we will be able to work together for some time.   This gives us opportunity to develop the ways in which we work as team, and hopefully enable individual minister’s gifts to be used to the full.  We will continue to work particularly with those in leadership in the churches to which we are ‘link’ ministers, but will also be looking for opportunities to develop new work, building on skills and experience.    There will always need to be a pragmatic balance between responding to existing needs and developing new work, but we do believe that ministry is not simply about maintaining existing structur…

October Prayer Column

Help with prayer
If you have decided to do a prayer leaflet for your church, perhaps following the suggestions of the last few months, you may have told people what prayer is, why it matters, how your church prays, how visitors can make a prayer request, and how they themselves can pray for others – briefly, of course!  But one more topic it may be wise to include is how they can get help on how to pray, if they feel they need it. The Bible is the primary source of help and guidance, in this as in so much else.  You could suggest they read the Psalms, and see how it’s done.  If you have a place of prayer in your church accessible to visitors (give directions), you may also have provided a few booklets, leaflets and other prayer resources there, which people can use if they want.  And perhaps a few written prayers to start them off. But even if you don’t have a place for such resources, you could point to where help and guidance may be found.   If you have a prayer meeting you could i…

September Prayer Column

Getting and giving prayer help Visitors to your church may want to be prayed for. How can a prayer leaflet help? Well, first it can offer reassurance: we certainly can pray for one another – we can ask anyone we trust to pray for us, or with us. But your church may offer something more. For instance:

Some churches have someone available to pray with people after services. If yours does, say where they can be found.You may have a regular (weekly?) Prayer Meeting. When, where?If you invite prayer requests, e.g., through a steward; or in a prayer book, notice board, prayer tree, etc., give details.Or they can email requests to or go to Those who’ve had prayers answered may then want to pray for others, and your leaflet could give some tips about that too, like:
Be a good listener when people talk to you, and pray about what you hear. If you feel led to do so, offer to pray with them.You can pray (for anyone) at any ti…

August Prayer Column

Church prayer and private prayer
If you’re doing a Church Leaflet on Prayer, as suggested last month, it may be good to start with a bit about what it is and why it matters (p1), but you may also (p2) want to draw attention to how your Church prays: e.g., public prayer during worship services,  and the normal practice of brief prayer at the beginning and end of Church meetings.  If you hold any prayer meetings, obviously list time(s) and venue(s), and perhaps what they’re like and how long they last.  If you make this monthly prayer column available (in some form) you might mention it.  And you could even include information about the Bradford North Circuit prayer letters emailed out each week to those who’ve asked for them – to find out more, contact: Besides saying how ‘the Church’ prays, you may also want to offer some guidance for novices or the nervous about how they themselves can pray.  You could reassure that we can talk with God anytime, inside or …

Evening services in August

During the holiday month of August, we have established a pattern of shared evening services, with the aim of maintaining a healthy congregation in those churches which have a regular evening service.
An invitation is issued to all in the circuit to join with us, and experience evening worship at one, or all, of the churches. Each service will be led by a member of the ministry team and two will include Holy Communion.
Here is the programme:-
  2 August        Crag Road                   Rev Andrew Taylor   9 August        Baildon                        Rev Christine Crabtree (HC) 16 August        St Andrew’s                 Rev Andrew Taylor (HC) 23 August        Calverley                     Rev Nick Blundell
30 August        St Andrew’s                 Rev Phil Drake

Holiday at Home 2015 - We're Back !!!

Holiday at home has returned - bigger and better than ever before! On the 6, 7, & 8th July 2015, St Andrew’s Church was confiscated by over 35 wonderful people, (of Tender Years).

Our Staff were working hard to prepare for the arrival of our guests on Monday 6th July. I never cease to be amazed at the amount of food these seniors can put away!

Monday started gently with everyone having a get-to-know you natter, over tea, coffee and cakes. There was much chatting and much catching up on all the news.  After lunch, there were some very serious gaming sessions. All too soon it was the end of day one.
Tuesday 7th July started early and at 09:44 (one minute  early), our coach set off to visit the Cathedral City of York.

Thornton Sunday School Anniversary

Thornton Methodist Church celebrated its Sunday School Anniversary on Sunday 21 June. It was an ‘OA’ on the Plan and the Sunday School led a wonderful service. The children received gifts for attendance.

After the service, we shared a faith lunch.
Elaine B

Laudato Si

Pope Francis issued the Laudato Si encyclical in June 2015, saying it was for all humanity. ‘Laudato Si’ is how St Francis began his great paean of praise to God. ‘Praise be to you, my Lord’.
Here are a few extracts from Laudato Si. It can be read in its entirety on the web:-
“St Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically.  He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast.  He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. He would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of brother or sister.
If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate…

What I bring to the Ministry Team

As part of the Circuit Leadership Team Away Day recently, our minsters were asked to describe what they felt were their strengths, and so what they bring to the Ministry Team. In the last edition of The Link, we heard from Nick and Phil. This edition is the turn of Christine and Andrew.
Rev  Christine Crabtree “I bring a passion for spirituality, for people coming to God direct and being built up in faith and in the knowledge that God loves them, however flawed they may perceive themselves to be; A sense that each person has a calling and this can get buried under what the church demands of them; A wish for people to accept who they are, individually and as congregations, rather than strive to be something they are not; A sense of dislocation with church and an understanding of those who are searching but not finding it here; A desire to see people freed from busyness and burden, and able to relax in God’s love; A desire to connect with people and not merely administer; Creativity in …