For Otley Methodist Church

March 2007

Deputy Chairman’s Pastoral Letter

Dear Friends
One of the objectives of my last sabbatical was to sort out my study, and by that I mean shredding minutes and notes taken at Church Meetings, and also downsizing on the number of books in my library. What does one do with the Minutes of the Methodist Conference kept intact since 1967?  What about the rather battered copies of Mr. Wesley’s Journal referred too occasionally, and sadly gathering dust!
I write this letter in my final year of active ministry and at this time Betty and I are in the process of ‘ house hunting’ in preparation for retirement. Downsizing is a vibrant topic in our conversation, and I sense that I am losing the argument of what I regard essential and must keep. The process of downsizing is common within the church family for which I have pastoral charge, and there is indeed a sensitive pastoral ministry to be exercised in facilitating decisions of what must be kept and what can easily be let go.
Downsizing is a reality we face in the life of Methodism, and at Connexional level the twenty five percent cut in the budget from 2008 will impact on people and on the work we do. Such a process brings with it heavy pastoral responsibilities, and rightly we prayerfully remember those charged with such profound levels of ministry. It also brings with it a focus in what the core business and being in ministry is all about.
In debating what books I should keep, there is no argument about biblical theology and biblical commentaries. There is no argument about books dealing with spirituality and worship, and books on modern theology perceiving the reality of God in Christ within the context of our complex world. Downsizing is reminding me of how easy it is for ministry to be overwhelmed by the superficial and trivial. Could it be that a living Lord is in the pressures we all feel, urging a refreshing focus on what lies at the heart of vocation within the church we love.
Jesus travelled light. Disciples were charged: carry no purse, no bag, no sandals.
Paul reminds us to ‘ lay aside every weight….all that clings let go. ’ Perhaps the experience of downsizing is a creative challenge to be grasped in the dimension of the sufficiency of grace.
With every good wish,     John Sadler.

1812 Group Programme for 2007

The Group held their planning meeting in January and came up with an exciting and innovative programme for the forthcoming year, with a range of activities and speakers – as listed below….

The group is open to anyone over the age of 18 and meets on the 18th of each month – hence our name. We would welcome any new members to the group. Most of the meetings are held at various members’ homes, but also at Church, particularly when we have a speaker, in either room 2 or room 7.
Our March meeting is a quiz evening at Elizabeth & Martin Campey’s house. In April, Andrew Edwards, breakfast presenter on BBC Radio Leeds, will be talking to us about his life in journalism. This will be in one of the rooms at Church.
In May, Mairi Devlin is leading an evening walk and in June we have a games evening at The Manse. In July we are visiting the Jewish Synagogue on Street Lane in Leeds and August’s meeting (Saturday) will hopefully be an afternoon meeting at Harewood house. In September we are going 10 Pin Bowling whilst October’s meeting is an evening with Greg Mullholland MP, talking about his first two years as our local MP for North-West Leeds.
In November, Supernumerary Minister Rev Keith Reed, who was Secretary to Conference for a number of years, will be coming to speak to us and our final meeting of the year in December is a Theatre visit to see Peter Pan at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.
As you can see, there is plenty of variety to our programme for the year and we look forward to an exciting time of fun and fellowship.


On behalf of the Church family we send Greetings and very grateful thanks to Miss Yvonne Warburton who for many years has faithfully and considerately served our Church in her capacity of our Pastoral Secretary. Her dedication to this role has been heartfelt and we give thanks for her work.

We thank Mrs Susan Pullan who has volunteered to serve as Pastoral Secretary for one year until this role can be filled. Please keep this ‘vacancy’ in your prayers.

The Focus Team wish to acknowledge with grateful thanks the kind donations amounting to £21 which have been given to help with our production costs.

All items for the April Easter edition of Focus should be handed in to Mrs Joan Monte by Sunday 18th March. Please share you copy with friends and neighbours, or use it to invite anyone to our services over Easter and beyond.


On behalf of our Church friends, the Church Council wish to say a big thank you to the ladies who week by week bake for and organize our Saturday Coffee Mornings. The work they put in is most valuable on two counts, 1) their opportunity to reach out to their regular and visiting ‘customers’ and 2) the money they raise is helping to keep our church financially solvent.
However we cannot expect the same two ladies to work each and every Saturday. They must be allowed a rest time, or time to visit relatives or just go shopping!
We are therefore appealing for helpers who could relieve the current two ladies from time to time. It would be good to see representatives from different groups within the church taking a turn, as they have done in the distant past.
Do you feel you could offer to serve in this way? Please give your name if you can help to Margaret Peel or Betty Grayson. Your offer will be gratefully received.


During the last few months numbers have declined at Wednesday Morning Badminton to the stage where we frequently do not have sufficient people to play a doubles game. We have therefore decided to close for the time being but hope to recommence after Easter.
Cost of playing is £1.00 per week for one and half hours play – Games are for fitness rather than being competitive. We commence playing at 10am.
If you would like to join us, or know anyone who would like to participate, please contact Vivienne Burland on 466884.


1807-2007 The Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade

2nd March at Our Lady & All Saints R.C.Church The Lenten Family Fast Day Worship 11.30 Lunch at noon in Clitherow House

9th March at The Bridge Church (URC) Speaker Rev Albert Gayle ‘Slavery – A Black Perspective’

16th March at The Bridge Church Speaker Eva Pinthus ‘Slavery – Contemporary Global Issues’

23rd March at The Salvation Army Speaker Hilary Wilmer ‘The Slavery of Sexual Exploitation’

30th March at All Saints Parish Church Speaker Anne Parker ‘Ask the Question – Make the Connection’

Lunch of soup & roll, tea or coffee, will begin at 12noon



There will be a Lent Lecture at 5.30pm on Tuesday 27th March at Leeds Methodist Mission at Oxford Place Leeds LS1 3AX entitled…..‘Respect for Privacy in the Twenty-first Century’ when the Speaker will be The Right Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy – HM Commissioner for Interception of Communication, Former Lord justice of Appeal and Vice-President of the Queen’s Bench Division.   All welcome.


Advance Notice:  On 27 May at 2.30pm Open Air Celebration at Mow Cop, Home of the Primitive Methodist Movement, with the President & Vice President of the Methodist Conference and the North Shropshire Methodist Youth Choir.

Leeds Methodist District Learning Events for March

21 March “Safe & Sound” the essential Safeguarding Course for children’s youth workers & others at Tingley Methodist Church 7.15-9.30 Bookings to Viv Morrissey 0113 268 7267 Free

21-24 The Challenge of Christian Muslim Relations in a Cold Climate. Study event led by BCDD at Heaton Mount, University of Bradford, £250 residential or non-residential. Christian and Muslim speakers, visit to a mosque, looking at resources, time for biblical & personal reflection. Perspectives on leadership, youth, gender & Asian cultures. Enquiries to Sharon Bavington, Bradford Churches for Dialogue & Diversity 01274 488144 

24 March Church Stewards Awayday an opportunity to reflect on the joys and challenges of the role in peaceful surroundings £5 Led by Viv Morrissey, Revd Jonathan Sharp and Alan Spurr. West Wakefield Methodist Church 9.45-3.30pm Booking to Viv Morrissey.

Sport & Faith Conference ‘Body & Soul’

An event to bring the communities from sport & faith together  20th March at the Megacentre, Sheffield 10am-3pm

Download Flier

It is recognised that organisations from the sport & faith sectors are successful at bringing people together from all backgrounds, ages, abilities, cultures & communities. The event will provide you with more information about the role of sport within faith communities. From the event, we hope to understand what faith communities and groups need from sporting organisations: How can we work more closely together?  Further information contact


On the 3rd of March at 7.30pm the Men’s Fellowship are giving a concert in the main hall of the Grove Chapel, New Street, Horsforth. Cost £5 at the door, includes refreshments. Sketches, Fun, Great Songs, Comedy. All welcome.


Advance Notice: The Wetherby Singers Chorus with their new program of popular songs will perform on Saturday 21st April at 7.30pm at Pool Methodist Church. On show too is an Exhibition of Art by Pool Art Group. Tickets £3.50 including refreshments.

Reports from the Church Council Meeting held 14th Feb 2007.

Mid Year Finance Report….

This report is a summary of the church’s financial position 5 months into the church year.
The church’s finances remain in a stable condition; however, there is an ongoing need to remain vigilant to ensure that our income remains sufficient to meet our outgoings.
I am sure that we are all aware of the rising costs of energy, especially electricity. As lighting is the biggest consumer of electricity in the church I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all users of church facilities to switch off all lights and appliances when not in use.
Maintaining a 130-year-old property does make considerable financial demands on us and whilst we have managed to complete the planned and budgeted works on the buildings as detailed in the property report we must always be prepared for unforeseen expenditure such as the £1500 required already this year for roof repairs. The proceeds from the Saturday Coffee mornings make a very significant contribution to the Buildings Fund and the Services Team would like to express their considerable appreciation for the hard work put in every week to generate this.
Regarding the Church’s giving to Home & World Mission I propose that our current annual donation to each be raised from £300 to £350 for 2007/08 and that an extra payment be made to each of £50 within this financial year.
Copies of the accounts year to date are available in the Church Foyer and if anyone has any questions regarding the accounts or this report or have concerns about the Church’s finances I would be very happy to discuss them.
Mrs Louise Bullen, Church Treasurer.

Services Team Report…

During the first 5 months of this year property repairs & maintenance have been continued. All actionable items raised in the Quinquennial Inspection have been completed or will have been completed in the current year. Unforeseen repairs continue to arise and this is not to be unexpected in a building of this age. Those works that can be tackled within budget will be attended to in the year and others will be considered by the Service Team for budget in future years.
Works completed 2006-07…Planned repairs/replacements to windows in Wesley Hall; Planned repairs to heating system in Wesley Hall; Planned refurbishment of toilet on first floor; Unforeseen roof repairs over hall between Wesley Hall and Sanctuary; Unforeseen replacement of water heater for disabled toilet; Window cleaning (2 x yearly contract). 
Works planned 2006-07….Re-plastering associated with damp proofing in room 2; Works arising from fire risk assessment (full report due to next Service Team Meeting); Refurbishment of the Foyer – subject to funding as an individual project; Investigation of ventilation queries raised in Quinquennial Survey; Replacement of luminaries and lamps for “low energy” types to reduce running costs; Inspection of gutters & repairs if required.
The Services Team has recorded its gratitude for the voluntary work undertaken by its members and others to undertake specific projects and ongoing maintenance routines to enable property costs to be minimised.
Geoff Adamson, Property Steward.

Church Life Committee….

Sunday Feb 18th the Rev Steve Wild will lead the service. There will be a Soup & Sweet lunch followed by 2x1 hr sessions on Evangelism for the Faint Hearted concluding at 3.45pm with worship and communion.
Sunday Mar 18th, Mothering Sunday service will be taken by Mr Matthew Wright and daffodils will be distributed to all ladies.
Shrove Tuesday 20th Feb at 6.30pm there will be a pancake party for young people from all the Churches in Churches Together as held last year.
Ash Wednesday 21st Feb we are invited to share with the Parish Church for their service which will be led by Rev Alistair Newton.
Lent – A booklet entitled LOVE LIFE, LIVE LENT will be given out to the congregation adults and children to inspire us to perform acts of generosity to encourage kindness to our neighbours friends and ourselves. The book costs £1 and donations would be welcome to defray the costs.
Arrangements were made for Easter. Devotions are still to be finalised but the time will be shared with the other Churches in the town as Churches Together and the theme will be Journeying. When final details are known it will be publicised. The Good Friday worship will be here at 11am. There will possibly also be an event on Easter Saturday.
Easter Sunday April 8th events:…- 7am Service at the Cross on the Chevin.
8.30am Communion followed by the Easter Breakfast. 10.30am Parade Service with Communion led by Rev Keith Reed.
Churches Together – it was reported that there is a new worker in schools – Adam, and they need a new secretary for the meeting.
Young People’s work – Howard Chaplin needs help with the group ranging from 8-18. It needs someone to either take the younger group or the teenage group. Also Joyce Walls will require help with the little ones when Carol Newton moves to Baildon in September.
On 24th Feb there will be a meeting held at the Bridge Church to hear about the situation in Israel reported on by Independent Observers who go out to Israel and will give an up to date report on the situation there. There is no cost, just bring your own packed lunch 9.30-4.30pm.

Mission & Outreach..

The service held Sun 18th Feb already reported elsewhere.
We have been allocated a Norwood Refreshment Day on Easter Monday. As in the past monies raised are to be split equally between The Church & Paul & Sarah Wright in Nepal, Paul is to advise us on what project it will be used for and similarly the Services team for the Church. Previous occasions have seen considerable support from the body of the church both in baking cakes & in helping to serve on the day and we would ask for and need that support again.
KAAZ – Kids Ashfield Action Zone – the follow up to French Connection, being run for primary age children monthly at Ashfield school, has been a great success with 3 sessions being help up to Christmas and a further 4 planned up to summer. Not only is it establishing relationships in the area, it is forming a bond between people from different churches in the town.
The coffee point initiative continues on a Wednesday evening as a means of Outreach to our midweek premises users, a few more volunteers to occasionally man the point would be much appreciated.
As well as Norwood future fund raising efforts are a series of Coffee Mornings, a Poverty Lunch in May, and the Circuit Missions Sponsored Walk, a date for which has yet to be decided. FRED KING. 


Will you help? As leader of the older group of children and young people I have run into a problem. You may have noticed that when we leave morning service that the age range covers from 8 to 17. This age gap is too stretched. If my teaching is aimed at the younger end then it isn’t sufficient for the over 12’s and if it is aimed at the older group the young ones are ‘lost’.
I am seeking help for someone to teach either the 8-11 or the teenagers. It may be on a rota basis but help is required every week. 
Looking into the future I am also asking for someone to help Joyce with the ‘up to 8’s’ as Carol will be leaving for ‘pastures new’ in August.
According to ‘Safeguarding Children’ recommendations there should always be two people in charge of young peoples groups. This is to protect the leaders as much as the children.
Without this help Discoverers will have to close.  PLEASE HELP!
Please speak to Howard Chaplin for further information.


Over recent years as we have approached the General Church Meeting, The Stewards have scratched their heads wondering who they can approach to be a Church Steward. Sadly nobody wants to volunteer.
At this year’s meeting we should be looking for two volunteers to bring the team up to full strength.
Perhaps you would consider ‘job sharing’ as Gill and I have done for the past four years. From our experience it works. You don’t have to be a wife and husband, just someone committed enough.
It helps to share the work and it is just as rewarding. You halve the time that you are on duty. In our case it meant that there were two and half people sharing the work. What an unfortunate word duty is. It reminds me of being on guard in the army but in effect that’s what it is, taking care, protecting and preparing.
This position is essential to church life and the ongoing ministry of God’s work ‘in this place’.
Please consider what you can offer. Don’t reject it out of hand as a job that you cannot do.
Howard Chaplin.


As already mentioned, we have been allocated a Norwood Refreshment Day on Easter Monday 9th April. As in the past the monies raised are to be split equally between The Church and Paul & Sarah Wright in Nepal, Paul is to advise us on what project it will be used for and similarly the Services Team for the Church.
Previous occasions have seen considerable support from the body of the church both in baking cakes and in helping to serve on the day and we would ask for and need that support again this time. If you can assist with baking, or sandwich preparation on the morning please contact Pauline Dobson on 466751, or if you can assist at Norwood on the day please contact Fred King on 464151.
It has been agreed that the amount of money raised which is given to the church will be used for the re-furbishment of the church foyer.

The Kings with the Wrights in Nepal – Part 2.

Jai Mashi
In Nepal the normal form of greeting on all occasions is ‘Namaste’ – ‘I salute the god within you’. Nepali Christians wanted something more specific for our God so they greet fellow Christians with ‘Jai Mashi’ – ‘Hail Messiah’.
Nepali workers and Nepali schools normally only have one day a week off which is Saturday so Nepali church services are held on a Saturday (Christmas Day was not a holiday in Nepal so Christians wanting to go to a Christmas Day service would need to get time off from their boss). On the Saturday when we arrived at church at 10.30am singing was already going on. We removed our shoes and sat on thin cushions on a carpet, the women on the left and the men on the right, the carpet was purchased from monies sent to Paul and Sarah from one of the refreshment days we ran at Norwood, this money also helped towards redecorating the church. Worship songs, prayers and Bible readings continued until 11.55am when the sermon started and the children went out for their lesson. The children were called back in at the end of communion and the service finished a 1.10pm. Quite recently the pastor asked Sarah and Paul to help with the Sunday School, they have introduced participative lessons and are encouraging the Nepali teachers to plan similar lessons. After the service very sweet tea was served and people exchanged greetings.
On Saturday afternoon we visited Sahara Children’s Home, another recipient of Norwood refreshment day money, there is a carving in the church foyer – a thank you gift from Sahara to our church for its support. Paul is an advisor to the Board and utilised our visit for discussions with Nirmal, who runs Sahara together with his wife Jogni. Nirmal, an ex employee of U.M.N (United Mission to Nepal), works to support the running of the children’s home, all other support comes from donations. At a coffee morning in January we raised £108 to send out to them. Sylvia particularly enjoyed the visit as she had not been before, it was far more relaxed for the children than my previous visit, and we were again entertained to a simple meal. There were 16 children at Sahara when we visited, 3 had returned home to their villages because of the relatively much improved political situation, but the intention was to take in 3 more. The children had recently received Christmas Shoe Boxes. Jack and Asha both took a simple toy each to play with, it was obvious from the interest the Sahara children showed and eagerly played when they had the opportunity that they have little access to toys.
On Sunday we visited the Nepali church pastor, Kamel and his wife Himukala for a traditional Nepali meal dall, bhat, and rice (but they didn’t eat with us). We completed the meal by candlelight due to an unscheduled power cut. Rotared power cuts were introduced the following week at peak evening times because of lower than average monsoon rains.
On Monday I went with Paul and his assistant Suresh on a 3-day visit to Sunsari one of U.M.N.’s cluster groups. Each ‘cluster’ is based in a specific geographical area, and seeks to work areas such as – Education – Enterprise Development – Food Security – HIV/AIDS – Women & Children. Paul is in charge of Disaster Management for U.M.N. and Nepal is on an earthquake fault line, but there are many other smaller situations that occur that can also be classed as disasters. This was Pauls first visit to Sunsari but more of that next month.  Fred King.


We were privileged to have Rev Steve Wild from Cliff College to lead our service on Mission in Britain Sunday.
We were treated to a wonderful puppet show as Steve inspired the children to listen to his frogs telling them about the love of Jesus. Later in the service we were moved in to a deeper presence of God as we reflected on the mystery and wonder of our faith. We were encouraged to share our concerns as we lit night lights and placed them on a wooden cross.
After a soup and sweet lunch the afternoon workshop was well attended. One hundred people from round the Circuit and District joined us. Bev Hollings joined Steve in leading the afternoon.
We often think of ‘Evangelism as being only for those who train at Cliff College or who are called to greater things’. Evangelism begins with us – you and me – right here where we are. The simple things we say and do can show the Father’s love to others. There is no scheme, plan or video that can win someone for Christ as effectively as a loving action or a caring word or deed.
‘Your greatest sermon is your life’. We were encouraged to focus on love as the centre of our evangelism as we try to welcome people into our church. ‘Am I a person who shows love?’ ‘Is our church a centre of love?’ We hope and pray that we can answer ‘Yes’ to these questions as we thank Steve for a truly inspiring day.
The afternoon closed as we shared communion together.   Gill Chaplin.


You may have noticed 3 bags hanging on pegs in the church foyer. These are toy bags with quiet toys for children’s use during the services.
Please feel free to offer a bag to any children you feel would enjoy their contents.


Easter & all kinds of Greetings cards all hand made are available on most Saturday Coffee Mornings from Cynthia. Please speak to her if you would like a special occasions card making. All money raised is for the church.
Please come along, enjoy a coffee and browse through her new stock of cards. There is bound to be something to suit most folk or occasions.


I have recently read a book by Vikram Seth entitled “Two Lives”, which is largely based on the authors relationship with an Aunt and Uncle.
Following their deaths, Seth describes his Aunt and Uncles relationship in such a way that I would like to share this as many readers may well find sympathy in the sentiment.
“There was a great deal they did not understand about each other. They were not soul mates. Theirs was a companionship based on mutual confidence rather than confidences.

They believed in each others abilities, in each others character and in each others love. It may not have been a requited passionate romance, but it was a deep and abiding concern. Beset by life, isolated in the world, in each other they found a strong and sheltering harbour.
What is perfect? In a world with so much suffering, isolation and indifference, it is a cause for gratitude if something is sufficiently good”

Poem – The Coming of Spring by the late John Standley  of Bedford.

Spring comes in on tiptoe, (Like a dancer on a stage),
With soft and gentle movements, She tempers Winter’s rage.

Spring comes playing music: The golden trumpets mute.
Her silver strings a-quiver; A soft-voiced husky flute.

Spring comes sprinkling colour: Golden yellows, whites so bright.
Blues like sawdust-powdered sky – Grey Winter’s put to flight.

Spring comes warm and vibrant, Creatures stir and thrive.
Nature turns to welcome Her – 
It’s good to be alive!


We start this month with advance news of an evenings musical entertainment to be given by the WETHERBY SINGERS in our Church Hall on Saturday 21st April 2007 at 7.30pm. Further details will appear in due course in Focus and as posters, but please book this date in your diary and come along and help support the work of Pool Methodist Church as we try to reach out to the community.
We are grateful for the help of Otley friends so far, and report that our Sound and Loop System is now working. The first main service that it was used at was Morning Communion on Sunday the 17th February when Rev Alistair Newton was preaching and John Hastings our mentor, advisor and electrician was on hand to check the various sound levels, microphones and speakers. Once more many thanks to John for all his hard work and expertise for us over the past two months. The bonus of the system is that it can be used in the fellowship room for various meetings being held there, and of course for the regular meeting of the Women’s Fellowship held on Wednesdays at 2.15pm.
If you have not heard the system at work then why not pop into the Fellowship on Wednesday afternoon, or come to the morning service at 10.30am on a Sunday. You will be made most welcome. Please let any of your friends who may be a little hard of hearing know that we now have this facility to assist in the hearing of the services etc.

Cynthia & John would like to thank friends at Pool for their warm welcome when they attended a couple of their services recently. Any other friends from Otley who may like to attend Pool church now and then would also receive a warm welcome.


During February and March we have two store collections at Morrisons for NCH. By the time Focus is printed the Yeadon collection on 17th Feb, will have already taken place, but Guiseley will be the venue for the collection on 17th March. Along with the publicity material and boxes for these two collections I received a number of small handy booklets entitled ‘Welcome to NCH’. If anyone would like one of these little booklets I will willingly let you have one. After I wrote the February Focus article I found out that Burley had also had various efforts for NCH at Christmas which raised a total of £388.28. So the money keeps coming in to help the various projects.
Thanks for your help, support and prayers and keep those old coins, phones, bank notes and used ink jet cartridges coming in. God Bless. Roger Bareham. 


 – A Bi-centenary Remembrance

Sunday 25th March this year marks a very important date in British history. On this date in 1807 a Bill was enacted in the House of Commons in London that outlawed the transport of slaves in British ships anywhere on the high seas. It was an important legal milestone on the road that led to the final and total abolition of slavery in the British Empire 26 years later in 1833. The leading part played in the anti-slavery campaign was by evangelical Christians.

Origins of the British Slave Trade:

Britain and her empire became joined in the slave trade in the 16th century. This involved taking black African men and women from their homeland against their will and selling them to work on sugar plantations in the Caribbean and cotton plantations in America. The journeys to the West Indies and America were horrifying ordeals. Herded like cattle in stifling conditions in the over-filled holds of the ships, they were subject to indescribable squalor and prey to typhoid, dysentery and other diseases. It has been calculated that in the 2 hundred years from 1600 to 1800, no fewer than twelve million black men, women and children were forcibly taken from Africa and sold as slaves. What cannot be computed is how many of these 12 million died at sea and were unceremoniously tossed overboard. Many merchants in Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow grew very rich because they bought, owned and sold slaves.
The first legal action in Britain against the slave trade was taken in 1772. At that time many of those who owned plantations in the Caribbean and America continued to live in Britain. They brought many slaves to work in their homes and estates and by the 1770s there were as many as 12,000 slaves employed by these plantation owners in England and Scotland. In the famous Somerset Case, heard before Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice, in London in 1772, it was ruled that owning and employing slaves in Britain was illegal. Lord Mansfield delivered a landmark verdict. ‘Let justice be done though the heavens may fall’.
This ruling put an end to the employment of slaves in Britain but not in her colonies. That legal and humanitarian battle was yet to come. 



Lyndon Bowring, Executive Chairman of CARE for the Family, writes in his recent letter , that a few minutes walk from CARE’s Westminster offices, near to the Houses of Parliament, is a very special monument, commemorating the work of Thomas Fowell Buxton and his friends in their fight against slavery in the British Empire. March 25th has been designated ‘FREEDOM DAY’.
The way in which a group of Christians took on the British establishment to achieve the historic Act of Abolition in 1807 is an incredible inspiration for us today and so I highly recommend the film Amazing Grace, due in the UK shortly, that recounts the story of those times. I was privileged to meet fellow Welshman Ioan Gruffudd, who plays William Wilberforce, on the set at Syon House in West London where a number of scenes were shot. Do look out for this brilliant film and encourage your friends, family and fellow church members to see it!
The truth and compassion of the Christian Gospel shines through, and it’s a powerful reminder to me how God graciously works through those who are dedicated to do His will. One of the most arresting characters in the film, played by Albert Finney, is the Rev John Newton. This legendary slaver-turned-clergyman wrote many stirring sermons and hymns, including the much loved Amazing Grace’, and was mentor and spiritual guide to William Wilberforce. Humanly speaking, without Newton’s support Wilberforce may not have had the faith and courage he needed through his long struggle against the slave trade, along with men and women such as Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp, Oladah Equiano, Hannah More and many others.
In a corner of Olney churchyard in Buckinghamshire lie the remains of John Newton – this man who gave so much of his life to bring hope and new life to those in bondage. Carved on his gravestone are these words:
‘Here lies John Newton, clerk. Once an infidel and the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ preserved, restored, pardoned and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy’
In the past I have been on a number of prayer retreats at John Newton’s old vicarage in Olney. This remarkable man is a powerful reminder to me of just how much all of us owe to Christian leaders who have encouraged us in our spiritual journey. Please pray for your local church leaders, their spouses and their families. I know they appreciate every expression of our spiritual and practical affirmation and support.
The Riding Lights Theatre Company have a new production marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade entitled African Snow. It premieres in York’s Theatre Royal from 30th March to 21st April (01904 623568) before going on national tour. It tells the story of two men from opposite sides of the slave trade – Olaudah Equiano, an African stolen from his home and English sailor John Newton – brought together by William Wilberforce to testify before parliament.  More details ring 01904 655317 or



The Shoppers Friday Morning Service 10-10.30am will continue to be held throughout March. Anyone most welcome.
Saturday Coffee Morning 10-noon will also continue. Please support.
Monday Bible study will continue as usual.

Thur   1 St David’s Day
1.30-2.45pm Toddlers Club

Frid    2
Women’s World Day of Prayer
10-noon Coffee Morning for Tradecraft & Greeting card stall
11.30am The Lenten Family Fast Day  at Roman Catholic Church
12noon Lunch in Clitherow House

Sat     3
8am Prayer Breakfast @ Salvation Army

Sun    4
10.30am Worship & Communion – Rev A Newton

Mon   5
2.30pm Afternoon Fellowship Rev A Newton All welcome
7.30pm Publicity meeting @ 23a Prince Henry’s Road

Thur   8
1.30-2.45pm Toddlers

Fri      9
10am Worship LOVE LIFE-LIVE LENT Service for Pre-School age in church.    Anyone most welcome
10-noon Coffee Morning for Monday Afternoon Fellowship
12noon Lent Lunch speaker Rev Albert Gayle, Halifax ‘Slavery a Black Perspective’ @ Bridge Church

Sun  11
10.30am Church Family Parade Service – Rev B Hollings
6.30pm Worship @ Bramhope – Rev B Hollings

Mon 12
2.30pm Afternoon Fellowship ‘Origins of the Primitive Methodist Church’ Speaker Rev T Jeffries
7.30pm Churches Together in Otley @ Bridge Church

Tue  13
7.30pm Circuit Meeting @ Guiseley

Wed 14
8pm Uniformed Organisations Support Group

Thu  15
1.30-2.45pm Toddlers

Fri    16
10-noon Coffee Morning for Mission Without Borders
12noon @ URC Slavery Contemporary Global Issues – Eva Pinthus

Sun  18 Mothering Sunday
9.30am Communion – Rev A Newton
10.30am Worship Mr Matthew Wright
1812 Quiz Evening
Items for the Easter edition of FOCUS to Mrs Joan Monte please

Mon  19
2.30pm Afternoon Fellowship Primitive Methodist in Otley-J.Calverley

Tue   20
1.30pm Focus Team Meeting

Wed  21
7pm Church Prayers anyone welcome

Thu   22
1.30-2.45pm Toddlers

Fri     23
10-noon Coffee Morning for Foyer Refurbishment & Card Stall

Fri  23
12noon Lent Lunch @ Salvation Army ‘The Slavery of Sexual Exploitation’ Speaker Hilary Wilmer

Sat 24
9am for 9.30am on the Chevin for the Raising of the Cross

Sun 25 British Summer Time begins
10.30am Worship – Rev Fiona Spandler followed by the General Church Meeting – please try to attend
6pm Service @ Guiseley with the Wesley Singers

Mon 26
2.30pm Afternoon Fellowship Transports of Delight-Sister R Savage

Wed 28
7.30pm Stewards & Warden’s meeting @ our church

Thu  29
1.30-2.45pm Toddlers
7.15pm Services Team meeting

Fri   30
10-noon Coffee Morning for Over 55’s Fitness Club
12noon Lent Lunch @ All Saints Parish Church ‘Ask the question – Make the connection’ Speaker Anne Parker
6.30-8pm Uniformed Organisations Disco

April 1 Palm Sunday
10.30am Worship – Rev A Newton

On Good Friday 6th April at 7.30pm there will be a performance of ‘Crucifixion’ by John Stainer at St Oswald’s Leathley Church by the Washburn Valley Church Choir. If anyone would like to join to augment the choir (especially tenors) please contact Mr Bob Baker on 01943 466484. 

Through our pages we send greetings of love to all our friends in Otley or elsewhere. You are remembered in our prayers, particularly those who are ill, or recovering from illness, those who are looked after by loved ones and their carers. In this month of March we remember Mothers everywhere and those who have taken on the role of Mother in certain situations. Perhaps you are going through troubled times and we pray the Lord will be with you always. 

From the pulpit of a Methodist Chapel in West Yorkshire the following advice was given; 
‘And so my friends, whenever I am up against it, I just take my courage in both hands and the grace of God in the other’.

When asked what are some of the things you could do without during Lent, one little boy replied, “Soap”!.