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Showing posts from May, 2015

June Prayer Column - Prayers shaken (and stirred)

I tried a new kind of drawing the other day: buspics. When I’m on a bus I hold a pen over my sketch book and let the shaking of the bus make the movement, while I direct my hand slowly this way or that, as a picture emerges – I really don’t know what it will be to start with. It could be a house, or a river in a field, or in this case roadside trees. Things are a bit approximate, but something always appears. It’s fun, because I used to think I couldn’t draw on buses or trains.

What’s this got to do with prayer? After all you can pray well enough on a bus can’t you? Yes, of course, and what you see may very usefully trigger your prayers. But I was thinking of when your thoughts fly all over the place, like the point of my pen as the bus lurches round corners. We tend to think we need to be quiet and still to pray properly, but perhaps shaky-about prayers sometimes have a place too. If the Holy Spirit can handle groans too deep for words (Rom 8:26), surely he can equally wel…

Wrose United!

It’s a sad fact that one of the main things that hinders us from effectively spreading the good news of Jesus’ love, the miracle of His resurrection, and his promise of eternal life, is that we are divided – which confuses people.   We are all Christians, yet we all hang on compulsively to our differences as the reason we cannot spread the gospel united!   When in reality it is Jesus who unites us!

At Wrose we have 5 churches in close proximity to each other, but all individual and of different denominations.   Recently the leaders of the five churches – Colin at St. Cuthbert’s, Ashley at Bolton Villas, Kevin at Wrose Hill Chapel, David at Church on the Way, and me from Wrose Methodists - met to talk and pray about how we could rectify this.   We came to an agreement that we will share together working on various projects throughout the year, the first one being Lenten breakfasts on Saturdays in Lent at each of the 5 churches.

We began at our Methodist church, with people from the ot…

“Care for Kaleo” Charity

Kaleo is a village in the Upper West of Ghana, Africa. Chris and Barry E learned of it, when their youngest son was employed by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in the village, as a Maths teacher at the secondary school. He attended the local Baptist Church and was there when a terrific storm hit the village which destroyed the Baptist Church building. He consoled Pastor Solomon Bagonluri, saying that something good would come out of it and then telephoned Chris and Barry and asked “Can you pray and help?”

Tony and Jennifer C came on board and together we registered “Care for Kaleo” with the UK Charities Commission (Register no. 1119385).

We asked the friends in Kaleo Baptist Church, “Do you want us to build a new church, or to provide building machinery and a technician, so that you can learn how to build?”  They asked for the machinery, for they saw the potential in learning new skills.

They now have a wonderful new church building about 3 times larger than the original and so well …

Northcliffe Links the Community

At the recent Open House and Community Fair held at Northcliffe LEP, community groups from across Shipley came together in the chapel to meet, network and showcase their work to the public. The groups included the Heaton Woods Trust, Friends of Northcliffe (local park & woodland); a neighbourhood residents group and representation from Bradford Council. The Cellar Trust (a local mental health charity) sold items made in its woodwork shop, as well as excellent cakes. The Saltaire Canteen, that works in the area of food waste and food poverty, came along and made plenty of useful contacts, including the Prince’s Trust who work with young people developing employment skills and who are based at Northcliffe Church. We also had representatives from the Community Policing Team and the Bradford Court Chaplaincy Service and we ran a book stall, on behalf of Cornerstone Bookstore.  Groups who meet at Northcliffe were able to publicise their activities including “Fiddle and Feet”, an Appal…

“Spirit-filled Church” at Baildon

“The Spirit-filled Church” has been a ten-week challenge to our church to examine the adventures of the Early Church; the success that they had in becoming Jesus-shaped people and the mistakes that they made and corrected, in their successful attempts to bring the message of Jesus worldwide.

A preparation session in November ensured that all preachers and group leaders understood their roles. After each of the five themes, we held a conversation in church after the morning service, attended by an average of 35 people and led by someone who had not previously taken such a prominent role.  These conversations, together with the deliberations of the existing cell groups and the two new groups set up for the duration of Spiritfilled Church, have ensured that the lessons we have taken from the Early Church are better understood by a wide range of our membership and community roll.

One new group - Jesus-shaped Parenting - allowed parents of toddlers and young people to discuss the challenge…

How are things in Haiti 5 years after the earthquake?

During the St Andrew’s Church weekend at Scarborough, in November, we held our usual fund-raising auction. Each year, we donate the proceeds to charity, and this year we were asked by John and Jean W, who were at the weekend with us, if we would support missionary work being undertaken in Haiti by Methodist friends of theirs, Dr John and his wife, Sharon. John is a GP with specialist knowledge of AIDS; Sharon is a teacher and local preacher, and she trains new local preachers. Along with the proceeds of John’s ‘special’ birthday party, we were able to send £500 to Haiti.

John and Sharon are due to come home to UK on 3 June for three months furlough and they would like to meet with the circuit, to say ‘Thank you’ and to tell of the work they are doing, including a report on the restoration of Haiti, following the devastating earthquake in January 2010. They will be in the north of England in mid-July and we have invited them to break their journey home from Newcastle-on-Tyne, by callin…

May message from the Ministry Team

Dear Friends

At the time of writing this letter I am aware how difficult it is to get away from the forthcoming General Election on 7th May. Sitting in the waiting room of a garage, waiting for the two front tyres to be changed on my car, I passed the time reading the newspaper and watching the television news on the screen provided  for customers. Nearly everything I read and watched seemed to be election-related. Back at home, leaflets continue to fall regularly onto the mat below the letterbox, although we have yet to have a knock on the door.

For some, religion and politics do not mix. The two together is simply not a topic for conversation. For others, their faith is strongly connected to exercising a particular political point of view. Most of us probably find ourselves somewhere in the middle of these two positions.

At the very least, it is surely a good thing that churches contribute to the political process by encouraging people to use their vote. So, for example, churches ha…