July & August 2008
|Pastoral Letter||Word Alive - Update||Evening services||Stewards Meeting||Future Events|
|Thanks||Congratulations||Prayers & condolences||Appeals||Mission & outreach|
|Two Reflections||News from Pool Methodist||NCH report|
A pastoral letter from our District Chair
Walking in the footsteps….Few things can be such a visible reminder of walking in the steps of those who have gone before us, than the act of placing ones own feet upon the worn stones of the Monks Trods in North Yorkshire. These ‘paved’ footpaths, making their way through the glorious landscape of the Esk valley, continue to mark the path for present day walkers. Very often however, it is easier to get a grip with walking boots on the soft mud next to the stones, whose very smoothness can make them slippery in wet weather. On the other hand, when the ground around them turns to a quagmire, the stones are a welcome refuge for the walkers feet.
Walking in the steps of those who have gone before us can mean that we do not necessarily walk (act/worship/sing/pray/live) in identical ways, but that we value the guide that their path offers us. This is not only true when we are in danger of ‘sinking into a quagmire’. By far the hardest surface to walk on along the Esk valley is where the path has been remade and widened around a farm residence, with packed crushed stone. Whilst this path looks clean, clear and well defined, it is actually very difficult to walk upon (but fine for farm vehicles). For the walker there are no imprints or footholds to cradle the feet, and every step jars joints and muscles. Returning to the stones worn smooth by countless feet through the centuries can feel like a welcome home-coming. Maria Hare, in the nineteenth century, wrote:
O Lord, this is our desire, to walk along the path of life that you have appointed us, in steadfastness of faith, in lowliness of heart, in gentleness of love.
Her words are a reminder to us that our concern is not only for the path that we take in life, but for how we walk it. We might also reflect upon the words of Pope John XXIII:
Do not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage.
The monks, after all, left us more than a trail of worn stone slabs. In our own day, let us continue to walk in faith, hope and love, possibly transforming the landscape for future generations.
Word Alive - Update
‘Word Alive’ (held on the 1st June) aimed to encourage people to think about becoming involved with a house-group or Bible Study group. During the meal and time of fellowship, we discussed the positive aspects and benefits of belonging to a fellowship group, personal experiences of groups and creative ways in which the Bible may be brought to life. The discussions were lively and people contributed with great enthusiasm.
The main benefits of fellowship groups were stated as: friendship & support, time to talk, get to know others, learn about the Bible, discussion & debate, prayer support, trust, stimulus, Christian growth, caring & closeness, share knowledge and experience, commitment & continuity, build relationships, ask questions, give & receive and a sense of belonging. If we look at the way the first disciples lived their lives, we should be encouraged by these responses. The early church grew because it was focused on the risen Christ and because the fellowship was meeting the needs of the people. It is our hope and prayer that we will be able to do the same in our church.
At the close of ‘Word Alive’ people were encouraged to complete a questionnaire to provide feedback and to indicate if they would like to be involved with new or existing groups within our church. Thank you to all those who have completed a questionnaire. The stewards and the minister have spent time looking through the responses and trying to come up with suggestions for a way forward. The following are all possibilities and if you have not yet completed your questionnaire, we would encourage you to do so by the end of August. (You do not need to have attended the ‘Word Alive’ day to be able to complete a questionnaire). Questionnaires may be found in the foyer of the church, the reception room or may be obtained from any of the stewards. Possible courses include:
21st Century Parent (Build a Stronger Family)
An eight session course to help you be an even better parent. Come on your own or with your partner. The course is by Rob Parsons (Christian author and international speaker) and includes issues such as: setting boundaries, the testing child, living with teenagers, building a sense of value, plus many others.
Alpha/Come As You Are (Introduction to basic Christianity courses)
A course along these lines will hopefully be run once the Parenting Course has been completed.
Bible Study/ Fellowship Group for the under 30’s
Will hopefully start in Autumn 08.
An in-depth 34 week Bible study course – further details are being obtained and will appear in future editions of Focus.
New Monthly Fellowship Group
Interest has been expressed by a number of people for a new monthly fellowship group. This could include discussions, fellowship, an element of Bible study, opportunities to ask questions, nurture, support and care etc. We will be contacting those who have expressed an interest, to find a way forward together.
Fellowship & Support for Single People
Hopefully, occasional meetings will be arranged to provide fellowship and allow discussion / consideration of specific topics relevant to their situations.
If you would like further information on any of the above, please contact our Minister – Rev. Julian Pursehouse (01943 462308) or Senior Steward – Jill Pullan (01943 872615).
Please remember to hand in completed questionnaires by the end of August, thank you.
Forthcoming evening services
Circuit Welcome Service – Sunday 31st August at 6p.m.
We will be hosting a Circuit Welcome Service at Otley Methodist Church, for two new ministers – Rev. Tim Perkins (Burley, Norwood & Timble) and Rev. Nick Baker (Guiseley & Hawksworth). Please support this special service. Refreshments will be served afterwards.
Circuit Farewell Service
We announced in the June/July edition of Focus that there would be a Circuit Farewell Service on Tuesday 29th July, at Guiseley Methodist Church, for three ministers who will be leaving our Circuit – Rev. Tony Jeffries (Guiseley), Rev. Marcus Bull (Rawdon Trinity) and Rev. Helen Harrell (Burley). Following further discussion with Circuit staff, it has been decided that farewells to these ministers might more appropriately take place within their own churches. The Circuit Service on the 29th July will not therefore take place. Should anyone wish to send a card or letter to any or all of these Circuit Ministers, they may be handed to Jill Pullan (Senior Steward).
Many of you will know that our regular evening worship at 6pm ceased in December 2006. However, there are opportunities to share in evening worship. On the second Sunday in each month, there is a Circuit Service in the evening. Additionally, when there are five Sundays in the month, there will be a joint evening service with friends from the United Reformed Church. These services are held alternately at our church and at the URC – please refer to the weekly notice sheet and the quarterly plan for further details. Evening worship provides opportunities for rich fellowship and reflection and you are warmly invited to share in these services.
Joint stewards meeting
A joint meeting of all the door, communion and vestry stewards has been arranged for Monday 21st July at 7.30p.m. It is now just over four years since the last joint meeting was held. As we have had a change of Minister, new responsibilities have arisen and certain roles have changed. The time has come for us all to meet together again to discuss and agree the way forward, to enable us all to continue to serve the church and allow things to run smoothly.
There are a number of important points for discussion and I would be grateful if as many of you as possible are able to attend. (Any apologies to Jill Pullan please).
Many thanks in anticipation of your support.
Various forthcoming eventsBy appointment - Mr Wesley
In this dramatic presentation ‘An Evening with John Wesley’, 'John Wesley' shares stories of his childhood, his search for faith, his field preaching, mob violence, his horseback adventures and his single-minded drive to "advance the kingdom of Christ".
You will not only be entertained with gripping tales from 50 years of field preaching, but challenged with a message which is as relevant now as it was in Wesley's day. The evening also features Wesley's outspoken opposition to the slave trade and is designed not simply as 'good entertainment' but as an opportunity to experience a challenging message.
Tickets £5-00 per head. Ring 01943-466884 and ask for John or Matthew.
1 free ticket in every 10 for parties of 10 or more.
Heritage weekend open days
Friday 12th September
Wesley Exhibition (in the Wesley Hall) with visitors from local schools, 1.30-2.30pm
Saturday 13th September
Our usual Coffee Morning and Cynthia’s handmade card stall (come & buy your Christmas Cards early), exhibitions, light lunches, refreshments 2-4pm, talks in the sanctuary 11am, 2pm, music in the Sanctuary - both in the morning and afternoon. In the evening is the talk by Rev Mark Topping, details as above.
Sunday 14th September
A Victorian Church Parade (don’t forget to come in your Victorian costumes). Talk in the Sanctuary at 2pm.
In addition there will be Wesley Walks around town, a Town Trail and Children’s Quiz.
We already have offers of help for Friday PM, Saturday AM and lunches. We still need stewards for the Sanctuary Sat PM & Sun PM and help with refreshments Sat PM. Please see Christine Pratt or call her on 01943 461424 if you can help in any way with this Heritage Event. We have a great opportunity to “show off” our wonderful church and continue our “Outreach”, but we need YOUR help.
27th and 28th September
This year, we will once again be celebrating Harvest with our friends from All Saints’ Parish Church. The theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Harvest Through the Senses’. There will be a joint Harvest Supper on the Saturday evening, which will include a 2-course meal, a quiz and the opportunity to explore ‘Harvest Through the Senses’ – five different areas where the ideas of ‘Creation’ (God’s World) and ‘Harvest’ (God’s Provision) will be explored through all five senses. Come and be creative as we look, hear, taste, smell and feel things from creation and from around the world! Tickets for the Harvest Supper will be available from the stewards, priced at £2 – Adults, £1 – Children and £5 – Family. Admission will be by ticket only.
Harvest Festival services will be held in both churches on the morning of the 28th September and a joint Harvest Celebration will be held in the Parish Church at 6pm. We will again be supporting ‘Caring For Life’ at Cookridge, with donations of tins and packets (as detailed below). You may also choose to give financially through MRDF (Methodist Relief and Development Fund).If you are able to help with the catering or assist in the kitchen for the Harvest Supper, please contact Jill Pullan (01943 872615).
Suggested Tins and packets for Harvest collection
Drinks: coffee, cordial, long-life fruit juices, long-life milk.
Jars: ketchup & brown sauce, salad cream, salt & pepper, tomato puree, bisto – beef/chicken/lamb, cook in sauces, golden syrup & jam
Tins: vegetables & potatoes, tomatoes, custard, ready meals, rice pudding, stewed steak, curry meals, assorted soup, fruit & fruit jelly.
Dried: cereals, oats, muesli, plain & self raising flour, sugar & sweeteners, instant meals, dried apricots/dates etc.
Treats: biscuits & chocolate
Cleaning products: washing up liquid, washing powder.
Once again we are inviting singers and musicians to join the music group for a series of rehearsals prior to performing at our Harvest Festival on the 28th September. Following the success at the President’s visit and at Pentecost, we have again been asked if we will provide the music for this particular service. Rehearsals will again be on a Friday evening at 1930, lasting around 45 minutes. The first practice will be on Friday 5th September and then the following three Fridays.
If you can sing or play an instrument, you will be more than welcome. Please advise David Burland, Martin Campey or Rev Julian Pursehouse if you are intending joining us for rehearsals.
ThanksMrs Edna Clough wishes to thank friends for prayers and flowers. We remember Edna & family in our prayers.
Pauline & Bob Dobson would like to thank everyone who supported the Strawberry Tea which raised £338 for Mission Without Borders.
Sylvia King writes, “May I say a very heartfelt thank you to the church family. Your prayers, cards, flowers, and visits during my recent stay in hospital and recuperation have been very much appreciated. God Bless.”
The Focus Team are very grateful for the kind donations amounting to £7 given to help with Focus production cost. Please remember to share your copy of Focus with friends and neighbours. All items for the September issue should be handed in to Mrs Joan Monte by Sunday 17th August ready for the Focus Team meeting on Tuesday 19th August.
We were delighted to welcome into the family of the church James William Brian Simpson on the 29th June and Maximiliam Graeme Gifford on the 6th July. We ask God’s blessing on both of these little boys and their families.
We offer our sympathy and prayers to Rev Leslie Wyatt on the death of his wife Joyce.
Appeals and noticesMethodist Prayer Handbooks (2008-2009)
Wednesday morning Badminton has closed on 3rd July for the summer but will re-open on Wednesday 3rd September at the new time of 10am. If any queries please contact Vivienne Burland on 01943 466884.
Friday coffee mornings
Please can you help to keep these going throughout the summer time? Coffee Mornings are vacant from 18th July to 15th August. Could you use a morning to help ease the situation? If you can Ian Baguley would be glad to hear from you as soon as possible please.
We are currently seeking to appoint a new church steward, to join our team. Full training and support will be provided. Christian growth and development guaranteed! If you feel you could offer to serve in this way for a year and you would like to find out more about the role, please speak with our Minister Rev. Julian Pursehouse or Senior Steward Jill Pullan.
Mission and OutreachKaaz – Hope 08
Circuit Missions Walk.
Of the 36 walkers, from 4 churches in the Circuit, 11 were in the Otley team. The walk varied from woodland, open moorland, and farmland. Although the sun was noticeable by its absence the weather was clear with some fine views, ideal walking weather except for the odd shower. Friends at Timble provided a welcome lunchtime drink and toilet facilities. After lunch the walks split with 22 continuing on the longer walk the rest taking the shorter route. The heavy rain two days earlier had made one or two places a little ‘soft’ underfoot but this did not detract from an enjoyable walk, good fellowship and we raised over £300 in sponsorship for missions.
The June coffee morning for missions raised £106.
Leeds District Children’s Holiday
Each year the Leeds Methodist District sponsors a holiday for children from the Leeds area, who, because of their circumstances, would not otherwise enjoy a time away from home. This year, twenty-two children are going to Ashville College, Harrogate, from the 9th – 16th August, where they will enjoy a range of activities and trips.
Churches across the Leeds District generously support this scheme and we are hoping you will wish to help again this year. You can help by baking a cake; collecting suitable clothing for 7 – 11 year olds, especially underwear, t-shirts, swimwear, jeans and shorts; collecting toys, books and games or making a financial contribution (the total cost of the holiday is approximately £6,500).
Financial donations should be sent directly to the holiday treasurer: Mrs G. Wigham, 1 Benton Park Avenue, Leeds, LS19 5LZ (Cheques should be made payable to Leeds Methodist District Holiday A/C). Toys, books, games, clothing etc. may be passed to Jill & Jeremy Pullan, no later than the 1st August. Please support this worthwhile cause if at all possible. Thank you to those who have already responded.
The Wrights in Nepal.
The children have broken up for the holidays so Sarah has no further commitments at the Bible School but is continuing with her Nepali Bible study class and helping in the Nepali church Sunday School. Paul has been working with church leaders in the western Terai on how helping at disasters can also be an opportunity for sharing the Gospel.
It’s over three months since the elections yet a new government has not been formed. The Maoist (communist) is the largest party but doesn’t have an overall majority so they need to form a coalition. The parties from the Terai want to form their own autonomous region so progress is very slow in establishing a working assembly. In this already extremely poor country the ever increasing price of oil is having an enormous impact not only on fuel but also the price of paraffin and gas for cooking.
Two reflectionsWhat does God want me to do?
Over the course of a couple of months, each time Jyoti came to our Thursday morning group, she was asking for prayer about her decision about whether she should go to work in Norway. She had previously been in Norway working for a family as an au pair. Eventually with some degree of uncertainty, she made a decision and off she went. At the time, there were a number of others applying for visas, their visas were denied but Jyoti’s was granted. It seemed surprising at the time. Arriving in Norway, Jyoti found herself wondering why she was there; shouldn’t she be ministering to Nepalis? She fasted and prayed for two days; praying that she might know how to meet Nepalis and what she should do while in Norway.
Just two weeks later she met a Nepali in a bus station. This young woman asked Jyoti whether she was a Christian. When Jyoti asked ‘Why?’ she said she thought she must be because of the way she spoke and her attitude. Jyoti’s new friend lived in a Nepali refugee camp in Norway and offered to introduce Jyoti to other Nepalis. This was the first answer to her prayers. Together they prayed about starting a Bible Study.
Jyoti was living in a small room in her non-Christian host family’s house so that would be a difficult place to meet. They decided to look to rent a room in which to meet. They were offered a room in a Pakistani restaurant but it would cost them 40,000/- rupees each meeting (more than £300) – far more than they could possibly afford. They offered to work in exchange for the room rent. In Nepal, work like cleaning toilets is only considered reasonable work for the lowest castes. Jyoti and her friend worked as cleaners in the restaurant (even cleaning the toilets) for five evenings a week. In return, the restaurant provided them with a room free of charge every Thursday evening. They prepared snacks and invited Nepali friends to join them. To start with just 7 or 8 came but numbers gradually increased until, at its biggest, the group had 25 members. They read the Bible, sang and enjoyed doing Nepali cultural things together. Three group members asked for baptism and 10-15 started to believing in Jesus.
Joyti left Nepal wondering whether she should go to Norway, with hindsight it seems clear that God had a purpose in her time there. By her hard work and determined dedication she was able to reach out to Nepalis in Norway and made a difference in the lives of many there. A year later she left Norway wondering whether she should return to Nepal or not. Her friend decided to stay and a Philipino offered to help to support the ministry.
So with a peaceful heart Jyoti has returned to Nepal. She’s now praying and wondering what door the Lord will open for her next. Please pray with her.
As a young pupil at a C of E School, I had on occasions to attend services at Otley Parish Church. I vividly remember skipping along Walkergate in my pixie bonnet, pointing across the road and saying cockily, ‘That’s my Church and I don’t have to wear a hat there!’ Not really a valid reason for being a Methodist in 2008 – few women wear hats anyway!
I rejoice in the beauty of Cathedrals and the Anglican liturgy, the plainsong of monks and the quiet devotion of a Quaker Meeting, so what am I doing in a Methodist Church? Like many of you I am a ‘cradle’ Methodist, ever grateful to devout parents and long-suffering Sunday School teachers and Youth Leaders who set my feet on the right path. So many of my memories centre round this building and its worshipping members.
I am proud of our Methodist history, of the Wesleys, Whitfield and the early ‘field preachers’ who took the gospel out to the poor and forgotten. From their ranks came the early social reformers, speaking out against injustice and social deprivation. They built Chapels, lived godly lives and left us a fine inheritance. Our Church still welcomes all, from “gay, young friskers” to “grave old plodders”. Our call to Communion is still ‘All who love the Lord.’ We count as individuals. Topics for discussion come down from Conference to grass roots level, and local concerns, through correct channels, can reach the Conference table. Our Churches are solid and plain with the pulpit in the centre. From it God’s Word has been faithfully preached by Ministers and laymen.
‘Methodism was born in song’ and how good it was to have a choir on Pentecost Sunday. Methodism still speaks out for justice and peace – at times, I wish, with a clearer voice! We work to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters abroad as well as maintaining our work and witness locally. Whenever I come to worship here I am warmed and uplifted by God’s presence. Strengthened and challenged by His Word. I feel part of a loving, supportive family, for whom I give thanks with a grateful heart.
Why Methodist? This is why.
News from Pool Methodist Church
Now we have reached the summer time season our Women’s Fellowship meetings have ceased except for a monthly get together. On June 11th they had a trip to Morley and Dewsbury, and shared in a wonderful fellowship meal at Morley Methodist Church. Some had misgivings going to the park in Dewsbury, but a very pleasant afternoon was held, looking in the Museum and enjoying the park gardens.
In August our regular monthly meeting will take a rest and return again in September.
However during July and August our regular pattern of 1st Sunday a 45 minute children’s and family service will continue, as will the 3rd Sunday family communion.
We wish all readers of Focus a very happy and pleasant summer and as we say goodbye to three ministers in the Circuit we look forward to welcoming the Rev Tim Parkins and his family to Burley, and the Rev Nick Baker and his family to Guiseley.
We will have the opportunity to share with them, and welcome them during the Circuit Welcome service to be held at Otley at 6pm on Sunday the 31st August, which will be led by the Rev Dr. Liz Smith, the Chair of the District.
Roger Bareham at Pool.
Action for Children
For those of us who have grown up with the initials NCH, there is a big change coming along on the 10th September this year. The charity doing the same work as it is doing now, will be renamed simply Action for Children, the old NCH will be dropped, and a more modern logo introduced.
The launch date already announced in the Methodist Recorder, will be highlighted at Conference at Scarborough, and the new materials will be available from mid-September. It has been decided that the old NCH meant nothing to the general public – but that Action for Children spoke for itself, as a children’s charity that was able to act where needed.
The cost of all the change has been covered by anonymous sponsors and it is hoped that the new name will appeal to more people. Watch this space – for those of us who have grown up with NCH all our lives it will be a sad moment when the old name goes but I hope and pray that Action for Children will go from strength to strength – and be a children’s charity that we will continue to support.