For Otley Methodist Church

March 2006


Understanding Dementia 

Mothering Sunday



Nigeria and Sierra Leone





Michael Townsend







Works of Shakespeare




A message from Michael Townsend (Chairman of the District)

Dear Friends,

A local radio station in Birmingham recently ran a wedding competition in which listeners voted to chose a couple of complete strangers to marry each other. The lure was a honeymoon in Bermuda and the use of a flat and a car for a year. The radio station ran a similar competition in 1999, but on that occasion the couple did not need the flat and car for as long as a year because the marriage failed after three months.  Nobody ought to be greatly surprised by that, but perhaps what might be thought surprising is that this latest competition attracted 250 contestants.

The Christian Church believes in the importance of marriage for the couple concerned, their families and for wider society. We celebrate marriage as a gift of God. In the words of our current Marriage Service, “No one should enter into this lightly or selfishly, for marriage involves the giving of a man and a woman wholeheartedly to each other.” 

If marriage as an institution is in deep trouble in western society, that is all the more reason for the Church to encourage and support it and to help people to treat it with deep seriousness.  The breakdown of a marriage is rarely the casual pain-free thing it appears to be from the TV soaps. It usually causes real agonies to those involved and it has consequences for children, other family members and wider society. 

Perhaps it is simply a measure of how shallow our society has become that a marriage could be the subject of a radio competition with the bride and groom being chosen by popular vote. But we should make no mistake: this is not funny or entertaining, it is an utter disgrace.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Townsend



It was brought to my attention last year that the lectern we now use in church was becoming inadequate for regular use at the services for which it is used. This piece of historical furniture has served our church well over many years but is now ready to be ‘retired’.

A new one is, I feel, required that has a shelf, to hold extra books and a glass of water. The lectern itself should be adjustable for height as its preachers and readers vary in height from five feet to six foot five, and be capable of holding larger or more books than at present. Also the ‘lip’ needs to be approximately 2 inches high to secure the books as the current one is only about half an inch.

I have taken it upon myself to secure a new one. Such a one as I have described has been sourced. It is a wonderful piece of furniture and is priced, in oak, at £920. Using a different wood may reduce the price.

Over the past few years I am aware that we have asked for a lot of money for the refurbishment but I feel that if some of the congregation could make ‘gift aided’ donations to either myself or our minister, Alistair, then I could order the lectern quickly. An encouraging start has already been made of 30 per cent of our requirements.

I will place a photograph of the lectern seen but not decided, on the reception notice board.  Howard Chaplin.



Cynthia, Rosalind and Grand-daughter have been productive over half term making Easter, (only 50p) & other Greetings cards.

Please speak to Cynthia if you require cards or look out for her at some of the Saturday Coffee Mornings


Understanding Dementia 

Wednesday 8th March 10-4pm Guiseley Methodist Church

A day for all those ministering to people with dementia, their families and carers.

Tickets £6 Soup & Roll provided Take own packed lunch   Contact Viv Morrisey, on 0113 268 7267



Sunday afternoons in February have been an interesting time of sharing together as we have explored and discussed the topic ‘Time to Talk of God’.

When and to whom do we talk about our faith and why do we find it such a difficult thing to do? Each week we were led by a local preacher and it was good to share with different people including a young man who joined us before travelling home to Carlisle. He was a total stranger but well able to share something of himself and the love of Jesus.

We often think of ‘Mission’ as applying to far off places and people in other countries. Indeed this is true but, as we were reminded by our Minister in last month’s Focus, it is not enough. ‘Mission’ and ‘Outreach’ start just where we are – it is about listening and getting alongside and we are all responsible. It begins here with our conversations with each other – we are all part of this sharing and we all do it individually in our own way.

These weeks have helped us examine ourselves and in some small way prepare us for ‘Mission’ and ‘Outreach’ in our own lives. We were asked the question, ‘What has God done in your life?’ – not just 30 years ago but this year – this week and the answers were amazing and inspiring.  Gill Chaplin.


Mothering Sunday

10.30am Preacher Mrs S Jeffries Sunday 26th March

The children will present daffodils to the ladies of the Congregation  This is when we think of motherhood in general.

Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life –Sophocles

What’s done to children, they will do to society-Karl Menniger

For a wife, take the daughter of a good mother-Fuller

Simply having children does not make mothers.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed –Proverbs 31:28



Thank you to John and Cynthia Hastings.

Surround Sound.

We would like to thank John & Cynthia Hastings for all the preparation and organisation of the Surround Sound Evenings. Many people have appreciated these evenings over the years. They have brought friendship and fellowship as well as providing a place to appreciate a wide variety of music to all who came.

Bible Study Group.

A few years ago John was asked to be a small group leader with an Alpha Course and from that time he has led a Bible Study Group. John feels that it is time to step down from leading that group. Thank you John for all your preparation and leadership.

Many thanks again to John and Cynthia for all their contribution to the church, no doubt they will continue to find different avenues of service in the church. Alistair Newton.

The Focus Team wish to thank all who have contributed to the Focus by way of gifts amounting to £33 to help with our production costs. We are very appreciative of this and the encouragement it gives the team.

Please note we are also grateful for all who have contributed articles this month and would ask you to be aware that all items for April/Easter edition will be required a little early by Sunday 12th March ready for the Focus Meeting on Tuesday 14th March at 1.30pm. Thank You.

Many, many thanks to everyone for the cards and messages of sympathy and concern which we received at the time of Roger’s mother Annie’s illness, and funeral. We felt really blessed and uplifted by the loving care expressed by our church family.  Janet & Roger Whitworth.

We express our Condolences to the family of Herbert Rigg who died in February. Many will remember his devotion and work for our Lord.



Last summer there were severe floods in Romania. The Popescu family lost most of their home. One of the walls of their house collapsed and they feared for the rest of the house as they had to sleep outside on straw. They were very poor and didn’t know how they would manage through the winter. They were prepared to rebuild the house but had no funds for building materials. The money we raised at the Strawberry Tea provided them with the funds they needed, and the above is the letter they sent me along with photographs. We couldn’t have done it without all your love, support and prayers and I do appreciate all the support you give me for Mission Without Borders.

I am paying another visit to the orphanages in May. This time we are going to Moldova which is a very poor and neglected country.

Pauline Dobson.

Could you rebuild your house if a wall fell down?

Further pictures are displayed on the Reception Area Notice Board.

Note, First the walls are built….then the roof goes on…then the ceiling is plastered….then the family enjoy the warmth of their home – all in time for Christmas.  See how they huddle under a rug to keep warm amid their Christmas decorations.    Please remember them in your prayers.

Letter sent to Mr & Mrs Dobson,

We, Popescu Family in Leu village, Dolj County, would like to thank you for helping us fix our roof and the wall, which both collapsed because of the flooding this summer.

We purchased tiles for the roof and some cement and materials to plaster the walls on the interior and the exterior. We would have never been able to repair them and recover the damages. It has been a great joy to us, because we will have a roof above our head during the winter, when it is so cold.

We love you so much and we ask God to give you much health

The Popescu Family.



On the 10th March there will be a Coffee Morning for Mission and on 31st March for Rev Steve Wild – to support his Cliffe College Evangelistic work.

Reception Coffee Point.

This has been running since the end of November each Wednesday evening from 7-8pm, providing us with an opportunity to make contact with some of our premises users. For this Outreach initiative to continue successfully we need more helpers to supplement the small group who are at present on the rota for manning the coffee point. If you can spare a “good” hour occasionally on a Wednesday evening please contact either.   Irene Greenwood or Fred King.

This Venture has the full backing of the Church Council.


At the start of the school summer holidays we are to welcome a group of young people from Lille in France who together with a Youth Cell Group from Leeds are to run a Youth Mission in Otley. For part of their stay they will be using our Church premises, (when they will need shower facilities) and part of the time home hospitality. This is an exciting Mission opportunity and nearer the date we will be looking for hosting volunteers but your prayer support is requested as of now.

Be a Mentor – Make a Difference

Education Leeds need mentors to work with children on a one to one basis to provide support for primary and secondary school children who may be experiencing problems in achieving their potential. If you think this is something you could be involved in or want more information please contact Fred King – training will be provided.

The Wrights in Nepal

Paul, Sarah, Jack and Asha returned to Nepal at the beginning of January. Jack has settled into his new school, Asha is completely at home and Paul is easing his way into his new job with U.M.N. Sarah says they are all fine in spite of the problems with the country. The Maoists have called off their cease fire, violence has escalated, an election candidate was murdered and there have been strikes and demonstrations. The monsoon rain was not as heavy as usual, since which there has been virtually no winter rain. Throughout Nepal electricity is generated by hydro-power, consequently there are increasing power cuts and water supplies are also a cause for concern.

Please hold Paul, Sarah, Jack and Asha and the situation in Nepal in your prayers. Fred King.

Knock Knock.. A conscientious minister decided to get acquainted with a new family in his congregation and visited them one Spring evening. After his knock on the door, a lilting voice from within called out, “Is that you Angel?”  “No”, replied the minister. “But I’m from the same department.”



A Literacy Programme sponsored by Bible Society is sowing seeds of hope in the old “killing fields” of Cambodia.

The initiative has given many adults and children the opportunity to learn to read…that is an important step forward for Cambodians.

The terrible legacy of 30 years of civil war left a once thriving country in tatters as, one by one, the transport, health, education and administration system collapsed.

The Bible Society in Cambodia is one of several agencies running literacy classes.

Garbage Hill Village, one of the poorest areas of Phnom Penh, has trailed the programme. The aim was to teach adults. But their deep poverty meant that the grown-ups could not afford to give up hunting through rubbish piles for objects to sell. So the children learn to read instead. Now the programme is rolling out to areas that are more rural and the opportunity is grabbed with both hands.

Twelve year old CROCH  is benefiting from the scheme. He never had the opportunity to go to school. His family are too poor and he has  always had to work in the family rice fields or look after the oxen. His happy story is one of many now shared in Cambodia.




All welcome on Fridays 12noon to 1.30pm – except on 10th March.

3rd March @ The Salvation Army Citadel Speaker Rev A Gardiner-“Setting Out”

10th March @ Our Lady & All Saints Roman Catholic Church “Water – a Symbol of Life” – (offering for CAFOD) [Please note: we meet in the church itself at 11.30am

24th March @ The Methodist Church Speaker Mr E Black-“Surviving the Holocaust”.

31st March @ The United Reformed Church Speaker Dr A Sawers-Acting Medical Director of Wheatfields Hospice.

7th April @ The United Reformed Church Speakers Mr & Mrs Raoul and Joanna Guise– “A Final Reflection”.(Lunches soup, rolls,& tea or coffee)



On the one hand, we have had complaints that the Church has not been warm enough recently; on the other hand we are all to be faced with a huge increase in Gas Prices.

Are we going to be able to afford to be kept warm in the future?

The Services team is determined to do its best, but it needs us all to help ourselves much more than we do at present.

Please try to keep the heat in; Keep doors closed when possible, particularly from the Foyer, stairs and back corridor into the Church; also the ground and first floor doors of the Wesley Hall.

In general we need to reduce our energy consumption as much as possible. Do we really need so many lights on? Do we need to use the gas hob when we can use the microwave instead? How much water do we really need to heat? Do we use the dish washer as much as we should? Have you any suggestions for energy saving?

The team feels that we can and must be more careful with our energy use without compromising our comfortable, welcoming and friendly atmosphere.


The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)

Tickets will be available in early March for:- ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) to be given by the Members of the Follow Spot Theatre Company on Saturday 22nd April at 7.30pm in the Wesley Hall.

Tickets cost Adults £5, Students £2 and are obtainable from either David Burland, Jeremy Pullan or Howard Chaplin, or pay on the door.

This is the world amateur premier of this particular show.

Don’t miss it!!




Fairtrade Fortnight is the 6-19th March 2006. The aim of the Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign is to show how a small change in shopping habits can make a real difference to poverty and to raise awareness of the vast numbers of Fairtrade products now available.

Locally the Fairtrade group (OFFER) has tried to raise awareness by taking part in the Carnival procession, remember our banana group – it won 1st prize. We have had give away stalls at two Victorian Fayres. We also had a display at Waitrose last March and intend having another on the 18th March between 11am and 2pm. Come and see, there could be free samples!

On Sunday 12th March at 2pm on the slope to the cricket field near Grove Hill Park we would like to spell out FAIRTRADE with people. (Have you seen the Talk Talk advert?)

We need at least 40 people, adults and children. PLEASE COME AND HELP. We have ordered 40 white disposable boiler suits so hopefully clothes should stay clean.

The aim of the group now is to make Otley a Fairtrade town. We are targeting cafes, retailers and employers. We need churches to use Fairtrade products. We need cafes and shops to offer Fairtrade products and employers to offer Fairtrade products in their canteens.

You can help by asking for Fairtrade coffee or tea when you go to a café.

Little old lady seeks handsome young man…..An advert appeared in a student newspaper of a university: “Sweet little old lady wishes to correspond with good-looking university student – six-footer with brown eyes wanted, answering to initials J.A.D. Signed: his mother.

Notice in a cemetery:

Any day above ground is a good one.


Nigeria and Sierra Leone

An Invitation from Tony & Shelia Jeffries at Guiseley Methodist Church

Our close friends Rev Gilbert & Mrs Sylvia Hall have worked in both Nigeria and Sierra Leone for the Methodist Church. The President of the Methodist Conference in Sierra, The Rt. Rev. Francis Nabieu, lived with the Hall family as a boy.

During the terrible civil war a few years ago, many of our Methodist Churches, hospitals, schools and manses were completely destroyed.

In 2004 & 2005 Gilbert and Sylvia were invited by Francis Nabieu to go back to Sierra Leone to encourage the church there to rebuild in every sense of the word.

In 2005, they noticed a considerable air of hope and determination to start again. They were asked to help a school in Kenema to build a new classroom and our members in Guiseley donated over £1,000.

In March this year, Gilbert & Sylvia are going again to Sierra for 3 weeks to run training courses for Ministers, Local Preachers and Lay women.

On Saturday 1st April, they will be coming to Guiseley to tell us about their visit. (7.30pm in the church). On Sunday 2nd April they will lead the morning service at Guiseley. You are warmly invited to join us on the Saturday or on the Sunday.

Hear how the people of Sierra Leone are rebuilding their lives and their churches.

We send Greetings to those of our friends who for whatever reason cannot attend our fellowship. We lift in prayer all who may be feeling sad at the loss of loved ones. We pray for those awaiting results of tests, those who are ill, particularly any who have suffered the dreaded ‘flu’. We remember too those who care for loved ones at home. May the Lord bless and keep you in His care. You are remembered in our Church prayers. Please remember to include our Minister in your prayers.



At our follow up Church Council meeting in early February, there were fewer people present, but the response was more positive and enthusiastic. An event in May will be advertised around the village and the Circuit. It will be by the Wetherby Singers, entitled Songs from the Shows in our Church Hall on Saturday 13th May at 7.30pm.

In the Church and fellowship room we are looking into the costs, and feasibility of installing a sound amplification, and loop system. Partly to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, and partly to overcome the noise of traffic on summer Sunday mornings.

The possibility of a Stitch and Craft Group to meet on the premises was being looked into, and also in the autumn an early evening Taize service. Our full range of special services and events were arranged taking us up to Christmas 2006. We are moving forward in faith, and we are pleased to notice a small increase in numbers attending Sunday morning services, especially when Rev Alistair Newton has used the Powerpoint system.

Please pray and support our endeavours as we continue to work in the community of Pool.



An item that is slightly different, is a chance to have your antiques valued.

NCH have arranged an Antique valuation day on Thursday 30th March at Ripley Castle from 10am-4pm.

A suggested entry donation is £5, all proceeds going straight to NCH and your donation allows you to wander around the grounds of the castle.

Why not make this a different day out and tell your friends or arrange a small group to go.

Further information is available from Vicky Thaxter on 01937 849382.


Theological Reading Residential

Wed 15th-Thur 16th March at Hinsley Hall, 62 Headingley Lane, Leeds. Organised by United Reformed Church Yorkshire Synod 

Rev.Dr. Richard Kidd, Principal of Northern Baptist College, will lead discussions on the book “LIFELONG LEARNING Theological Education and Supervision” by Frances Ward. Residential fee including meals £95.



The Shoppers Friday Morning Services will take place throughout March in Room 2 at 10-10.30am Anyone most welcome

Saturday Coffee Mornings continue throughout March at 10-12noon. Any support or help would be appreciated

The Monday Bible Fellowship continues at 7.30pm during March at 8 Cambridge Grove, Otley

Wed   1

7.30pm Ash Wednesday Service @ Parish Church – Followed by Refreshments. All welcome

Thu    2

12noon Soup & Sweet Lunch

7.15pm Services Team Meeting

Fri     3

10-12noon Coffee Morning Vacant

12noon Churches Together Lent Lunches details inside

10am Women’s World Day of Prayer Devotions @ Catholic  Church, Speaker Mr John Parkin

2pm Women’s World Day of Prayer @ U.R.Church.

Sat    4

8am Prayer Breakfast @ Parish Church

7.30pm Concert by Harrogate Male Voice Choir for Church Funds. Tickets £5 Concessions £3 from Pauline Dobson or pay on the door. Please support this Choir it is well worth hearing.

Sun   5

10.30am Worship & Communion – Rev A Newton

6pm Joint Evening Service @ Parish Church for Songs of Praise

Mon  6

Fairtrade Fortnight begins – details inside

2.30pm Monday Afternoon Fellowship Market Towns North & South, Speaker Mr P Clarke  Anyone most welcome

Wed  8

10-4pm Understanding Dementia – details inside

Thu   9

12noon Soup & Sweet Lunches

1.30-2.45pm Toddlers Club

Fri  10

10-noon Coffee Morning for Missions

12noon Lent Lunches – details inside

Sat 11

10-12noon Sharing Faith Effectively @ Colton Methodist Church with Rev Bev Hollings District Evangelism Enabler

Sun 12

10.30am Church Family Parade Service-Rev A Newton

6pm Circuit Service @ Menston

Sun  12

Please note early date for items for April Focus to C Hastings

Mon 13

2.30pm Monday Afternoon Fellowship-Rev A Newton

Tue  14

1.30pm Focus Team Meeting

7.30pm Circuit Meeting @ Rawdon

Wed 15

8pm Church Stewards Meeting

Thu 16

12noon Soup & Sweet Lunches

1.30-2.45pm Toddlers Club                                                                                               

7.30pm Essence Fellowship @ Salvation Army

Fri   17

10-noon Coffee Morning for NCH

12noon Lent Lunches details inside

Sat   18

1812 Circle Dancing Everyone Welcome Faith Supper

Sun  19

9.30am Communion – Rev A Newton

10.30am Worship Rev B Hollings followed by Lunch

1.30pm Circuit Conference

6pm Worship – Mr N Moffoot

Mon 20

2.30pm Monday Afternoon Fellowship Members Afternoon Favourite Hymns  Anyone most welcome

Tue  21

7.30pm Churches Together in Otley @ Parish Church

Wed 22

 8pm Uniformed Support Group Meeting

Thu  23

12noon Soup & Sweet Lunches

1.30-2.45pm Toddlers Club

Fri   24

10-noon Coffee Morning for the Pre-School

12noon Lent Lunches details inside

Sun  26

10.30am Mothering Sunday Preacher Mrs S Jeffries

6pm Worship & Communion – Rev T Jeffries

Mon 27

2.30pm Monday Afternoon Fellowship – Whose Power? Whose Glory? Magnet Service

Thu  30

12noon Soup & Sweet Lunches

1.30-2.45pm Toddlers Club

Fri   31

10-noon Coffee Morning for Cliffe College

12noon Lent Lunches details inside

April 1

8am Prayer Breakfast by the Society of Friends                    Cross Erection on the Chevin

Sun     2

10.30am Worship & Communion – Rev Fiona Spandler

12noon Church Annual General Meeting