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Showing posts from 2018

July Prayer Column

Whither next? I was sitting enjoying the sunshine and breeze of a summer afternoon, and the view on the edge of rolling countryside, when a couple out on a walk stopped nearby and the man stared at his mobile phone on which he apparently had a map. Eventually, they inclined hesitantly towards a choice of direction, and then they spotted me. “We’re looking for the station,” he said. I was on home ground and certainly knew the way, several, in fact, but it would have been well-nigh impossible to give clear enough directions by any of them, so, as it was on my route home anyway, I said, “I’ll show you.” And I walked with them there, taking them by interesting footpaths they would never have found on their own, leaving them gratefully on the platform studying timetables.

There’s an awful lot of us staring at maps in one form or another at the moment, wondering about the way forward. This is true for all the Churches in the Circuit, pondering plans for growth or decline and how to co…

A year in the life of Baildon Methodist Church

The snippets below are taken from Baildon Methodist Church report to the Charity Commissioners for the year ending August 2017.

Church membership increased to 187 by the end of the year.As a further development of the Jesus Shaped People programme, which we found so inspiring, ( a five-week teaching programme entitled ‘Parables For Baildon’ again took place in the New Year, studying the relevance of the Parables in relation to living today.A ‘Family Focus’ leaflet, updated seasonally, was produced listing all activities and events available at Baildon Methodist Church for children and young families.Events during the year included a harvest supper and entertainment, a Gilbert & Sullivan evening, a comedy night, a Church Anniversary social, Action For Children Christmas Fayre and concerts by Village Voices, Aire Valley Male Voice choir and Woodhouse Grove School. In the autumn, the Church hosted a visit by a group of young Palestinian dancers.New g…

Pancakes and Poems at Thornton

Pancakes and Poems, what a great evening we had on 13th February (Shrove Tuesday), in aid of 2nd Mile Project.

People were invited to come along for tea/supper and enjoy a variety of pancakes both savoury and sweet.

The selection was most tempting with fillings such as chilli. chicken and avocado, mushroom or cheese and onion. The sweet fillings were too many to mention, but my favourite was fresh fruits with ice cream – yum, yum.

Throughout the evening, many people had brought poems to read to everyone. The genre of this was amazing with funny, romantic, knowledgeable and even a little bit naughty.

It was good to be together with laughter and smiles all round. A special thank you to everyone who came and all who helped.

Elaine B, Thornton

Methodist Women in Britain

Ladies of the Bradford North Circuit, welcome to an introduction to MWiB!

Methodist Women in Britain is a movement within the Methodist Church, which seeks to resource individual women and women's groups in a variety of ways. It came into being in July 2011, formed through the coming together of Women's Network and other women's meetings within Methodism.

MWiB is more than a meeting. Many women may feel that it is not for them, because they do not already attend a women's meeting. The movement is there for ALL women in Methodism. There are opportunities for meetings within circuits, and at District and Connexional levels, which are all held on a regular basis.

MWiB seeks to offer a broader menu for women today. There are many opportunities to meet locally, nationally and internationally. Resources are available for individuals to use at home, at work or within their families.

MWiB is very active nationally; details of events can be found in the Methodist Recorder …

United Service for Girlington, Heaton and Manningham Churches Together.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.”

This was the theme of our one-church, all-age service which, as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, was held this year at St Phillip’s Church in Girlington on Sunday 21st January. The service had been designed by churches in the Caribbean for united services held by churches throughout the Christian world and was but one of the events organised during this designated special week.

The church was full to overflowing and the tempo was lively. Participation by a congregation of all ages and all branches of Christianity from most of the churches in Girlington, Heaton and Manningham was enthusiastic. The young people of the churches played a significant part by establishing areas of oppression through the creation of links of a chain and then, by using their own words and ideas, showed how the chain could be broken in ways that led to freedom - of both mind and spirit. The younger children in their own, sometimes noisy but always lively, w…

Church Building at Thackley!

How would a gingerbread church with icing doors and chocolate finger organ pipes appeal? Junior Church at Thackley had been busy building such an edifice for a couple of weeks, before the part-completed church was creatively used as the basis of an inspired service, put together by worship leader, Gill Dobson.

Using the Lectionary readings and carefully chosen hymns, poems and prayers, Gill gave us a timely reminder that our churches are the people, not the building, and that we are all part of God’s Church – all our churches belong to Him – not us!

We considered how the children were building their gingerbread church on the groundwork of the Junior Church leaders and how in a similar way we were building Thackley Church, in the sense that the church is who we are and what we do. We were asked to think how we might describe Thackley - a busy church? A traditional church? An ageing church? A lively church? A tired church? A caring church?

“Anything Betty’s can do………”

Sitting in Lidl car park at 9.30am with a chopping board and knife, sampling their quiche, just to make sure it was good, the thought ‘how do I get myself into these situations?’ crossed my mind. I had a busy two days ahead, before our fundraising lunch. Time to buy the final shopping, collect the profiteroles, decorate the cakes, make sandwich fillings, set up and decorate the tables and chairs in the church hall. I wanted the event to be St Andrew’s answer to Betty’s!

On the day, I knew I would have plenty of help at 10.30am, when the youth and Jennifer arrived and by 11.45, all was good. The girls, looking very professional, were ready to wait on our supportive and generous church members. Jennifer and I poured teas and coffees and then busied ourselves, along with the girls and a few helping hands, in the kitchen and afterwards, in the hall clearing up. Of course, that meant ensuring that all the cakes were consumed (well, we did work up quite an appetite)!

There were two reasons …

Holiday at Home on 24 January at St Andrew’s

I wonder what the weather’s like?
Oh, no! Snow and ice. I will have to call off Holiday at Home; no-one will get out of their homes. Hold on! It is only Wednesday 17 January. We have a week to go!

I wonder what the weather’s like? Oh, good! Rain and wind. At least the guests will arrive, now the ice has gone.

10:00am and most people have arrived and the buns and cakes are disappearing fast.

Chris Ellerton transfixed everyone with his painting skills and his artistry with a paintbrush.

Lunch was a fun affair, with lots of chatting and good food to eat. After lunch we were entertained by Stevie Long, who sang songs and had some people dancing.

After the entertainer, we held a simple communion service to finish.

We welcomed 54 guests and helpers to St. Andrew’s. We had a wonderful day of fun and companionship with each other. Our guests represented at least 7 Churches out of 15. I long to see all 15 churches represented.

As well as our regular guests, we were glad to welcome new guests fro…

Message from the Ministry Team - March 2018

At the Circuit Meeting at Allerton on 6th March I challenged our circuit churches to be honest with themselves about their mission and ministry, and the obstacles and opportunities they face in fulfilling their calling to serve God in today’s world. Two factors led me to do this.

Firstly, the fact that a number of our churches are facing difficulties, with various combinations of the following factors making life challenging:
ageing congregations and a lack of people able to take on leadership roles;the continuing state of austerity in society, leading to reduction in groups wanting to use our buildings with subsequent loss of income; changes in demographics, bringing questions of how ministry and mission should be exercised in areas where the majority of residents are Muslims;suites of buildings that are either not fit for purpose or unsustainable financially;a cumulative tiredness in those carrying the burden of leadership.  Secondly, the request from last year’s Methodist Conference…

St Arnold’s

St Arnold is known as the patron saint of brewers and hop pickers. Often depicted holding a mashing rake, many of the miracles attributed to St Arnold involved him encouraging people to drink beer, due to its ‘gift of health’. Certainly during his time as The Abbot of St Peter’s monastery in Oudenburg, beer would have been far safer to drink than water, due to the boiling of the water during the beer-making process. It seemed natural then, that a Mission and chaplaincy project working primarily in breweries, public houses and licensed premises should bear the name of that revered Abbot.
Over the next year, we are expecting the work of the St Arnold’s project to continue to grow in our city. We already partner with several businesses based around the North Parade area of the city, to run a number of events such as ‘Beer and Hymns’ and ‘Film and Faith’. There are also regular chaplaincy sessions on Monday evenings and Friday mornings amongst the bars on North Parade, where bar staff and …

Allerton Friday Fellowship

In March last year, we started a conversation with the young people at Allerton about whether they wanted a chance to meet up together during the week, and what sort of group they might like.
They had a think and came up with some suggestions, and so in June we launched the ‘First Friday Fellowship’, a group which meets monthly on the first Friday evening of the month. We had a month off in August, but otherwise have met every month since.

The young people come together for a mixture of food, fellowship, fun and games and faith conversations. The young people involved are regular attenders and there is a good atmosphere amongst the group. As we go into the new year, we are looking at different activities to get involved with, including encouraging links with other groups in the local area and across the circuit.

If you have any young people in your churches, who might like to get involved, in either this group or the Thursday evening group at St Andrew’s, please get in touch.

Laura T, …

Asian Christmas Party

The Asian Christian community arranged a Christmas party on 9th December at Ebenezer Methodist Church, Dudley Hill. This party was attended by people of different backgrounds, including Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. Christmas carols were sung and a message was given regarding Jesus’ birth. Also we prayed for world peace at this time of the year.

Saleem thanked everyone for attending the party, also gifts were given to the people who work within the community. Pastor Joel organised a raffle and Aneeq M and Arsala A organised gifts for all the children.

Asian food was also served which was enjoyed by everyone. This programme was covered by Asian TV media. The whole purpose of this party was to promote peace and unity.

Foot note:-
On 17th December, there was a terrorist attack on a Christian church in Quetta, Pakistan, during a special Christmas carol service. More than 400 people were present in the church at the time. Firstly, there were some gun shots. One man killed himself with a suicid…

Trinity Methodist Watchnight Service

Trinity Methodist Church on Lilycroft Road, Bradford held their annual Watchnight service at 11.30 on New Year’s Eve, led by Rev. Albert Gayle, minister of the Church.

These services (as in past years) are of an ecumenical nature and we are able to welcome folks from other local churches in the area and not purely from the Methodist persuasion.

Following the service, fireworks and refreshments were enjoyed by all. A lovely way to celebrate both the end of the old and the beginning of the new year.

Ian B Trinity 

Christmas Wreaths at Aldersgate

The practice of attaching a wreath of evergreens to the outside of the front door is an indication of welcome during the festive season. The Christmas theme for 2017 at Aldersgate was ‘Christmas Wreaths’ and the church was decorated with over 50 Christmas wreaths.

The wreaths had been made by church members, groups within the church, organisations who hire the premises, the local Hill Top Primary School, Messy Church and the Brigade. Whilst some wreaths were made with evergreens, others showed wonderful creativity, with dog biscuits, paper craft, brussels sprouts, baubles, Christmas crackers, feather boa and knitting. The originality was amazing, and the decorated walls were a wonderful sight, saying: “Welcome - let’s celebrate Christmas”.

We already have the theme for 2018. You will learn more nearer the time and please come along during Advent 2018 to see the display.

Jenny H Aldersgate

Life for Christians in Iraq

I have spent the last three years in Iraq, working with Christians in that war-torn country. Some of that time was spent with Father Aram, a priest in the Catholic Chaldean Church. He guided me round the Christian communities, particularly on the Nineveh plain about 30 miles north of Mosul. Aram introduced me to many beautiful Christians, including Yusuf, an orphaned boy, five years old.

Yusuf’s parents were killed when ISIS (the so-called Islamic State) invaded Iraq in June 2014 and captured his home, the Christian town of Batnaya. Yusuf was taken byneighbours to the relative safety of nearby Kurdistan, northern Iraq. In all the towns and cities captured by ISIS, Christians were given three options: convert to Islam; pay jizya, a “protection tax,” or be killed.

Although Batnaya was liberated from ISIS in 2016, only a few Christians have returned. It is nothing but a ghost town empty and derelict.  Father Aram drove me through the town. We saw buildings – homes, shops, workplaces - red…

Asians share the spirit of Christmas

On Christmas day, we went to the Khidmat Centre in Spencer Road, where several groups had joined together to give gifts to homeless people and to provide Christmas dinner for the elderly. 

Present at the event were: Rafiq Sehgal ( Ex-President of Bradford Council for Mosques, and currently, Chairman of Bradford Independent Advisory Group, which advises the Police); Amjad Bashir (Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber)), and the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Abid Hussian. This was a very uplifting occasion, and we have added a few photographs.

Saleem & Joyce D, St Andrew’s 

Sharing Christmas with others at Haworth Road

Once again Christmas started on 10th November when, in our Sunday service, we were able to dedicate 36 Shoeboxes before their long journey to children & families in Eastern Europe, who otherwise would receive nothing. We held a Coffee evening for Action for Children, an event shared with Trinity Church, Wilsden. The first Saturday in December was our Christmas Market when so many people from the area enjoyed looking at various stalls and fellowship during refreshments.
The next event was to sing carols with the Stroke Group who used to meet at Church but now meet at Café West in Allerton. They were so delighted to share with us once again.

Our annual Senior Citizens’ Party for the local community, organised by Church and Sports Club members, took place with entertainment following an excellent meal, as always.

The annual Ecumenical Community Carol Service led by Rev. Christine felt special.

We once again prepared an evening meal for the homeless, through the Inn Churches Project. …

3Generate 2017

This was by far my favourite 3 Generate. There were so many good memories made, fun had, and a lot learnt. The new festival feel to the layout of the weekend and how laid back it was helped people to have a rest when needed, and allowed us to wander and make new friends – as I and my friends did on the Saturday night. It also allowed us to wander into sessions that we didn't even think we'd be interested in.

The TED talks were a great addition this year. They are very popular with teenagers and these talks were very informative, relaxed, fun and engaging for everyone.

The accommodation was great, although in a way I'd like it to go back to the old system, where we'd share a room with people from other areas of Britain, so that it's easier to make friends. The worship sessions and activities were better this year, although some would have been better indoors, because of the cold and rain. The food wasn't the best (because it wasn't cooked, just cold), but th…

Bradford Youth Fellowship Group

The fellowship group is a great way for the youth of the church to get together, share what they believe and discuss what Christianity as a whole teaches us. It's a place where we are all fully comfortable to be ourselves, share our opinions and know we won't be judged by others.

The fact that the fellowship group is currently running as a combination of both North and South Bradford has allowed us to meet new people, make new friends, have a good laugh, all at the same time as learning from each other. It's also a good place to go to when things are getting tough in life as we're likely to talk about matters and issues that are personal and relevant to our age group. 

There's been numerous times when I have walked in with an issue on my mind and leave with an action plan or new perspective on how to tackle the issue. I feel the way that we ease into every session rather than diving straight into the deep end is extremely beneficial for us and the "Table talk&q…

Ping Bradford at Clayton Methodist Church

I was contacted by Ping Bradford, in the summer of 2017, to be part of the national launch for Table Tennis. They would provide us with free table tennis tables and all the equipment we needed.
This has been a good opportunity to draw people into the church building to strengthen and encourage people in the life of the community. There are people in the community who feel isolated and lonely and providing the space to help people to know that the church cares would be a good thing.

We have been really blessed in having about twenty people who belong to the table tennis group, which started in September 2017. The group is going so well, that we have had to request another table, which Sport England readily provided. We now have three tables, which are in use all the time from 10.00 am to 12.00 Noon.

Because of the success of this venture, we are now in a position to extend the times when we meet, so that we can accommodate more people and extend the hand of pastoral care to people who s…

Christmas at Thackley

Our Christmas activities started in early November collecting donations for Christmas hampers for Bradford North Foodbank. Our Christmas Fair swiftly followed on a very chilly late November morning with the first snow of winter! The Fair raised over £600 and we are grateful to Monday Mums for serving refreshments, to the Ladies Group for their yummy cake stall, to the Brownies for their chocolate tombola, the Guides for their tombola and for making lip balm and to everyone else at Team TMC for the many varied ways in which they contributed to the success of the morning.

For several years we have shared one big Christmas card and given the money we would usually spend on cards to charity. The charity is Caring for Life which changes lives by sharing Jesus' love with the vulnerable; if you've not visited their wonderful coffee shop, make it a New Year's resolution to do so - This year's fabulous Christmas card was made for us by Junior Chu…