November 2009

Contents

Pastoral Letter Foyer redevelopment Remembrance Day Christmas 2009 When God Calls
Coffee Mornings Harvest Thanks Weekend Away General Announcements Thanks
Prayers Mission and Outreach      

 

A pastoral letter from our District Chair

Who is my Neighbour?

As November comes around again, we are gifted with two significant reminders of the challenges that Christian faith brings to our ways of seeing the world. The first is the complexity of issues that cluster around Remembrance Day. It is good that we remember the sacrifice made by those in each generation in service of their country and fellow human beings. However, we do not remember them in a vacuum. Around the act of remembrance we also take note of all the questions around this country’s involvement in those conflicts – especially the most recent and current ones. We also remember that we are called to be peacemakers in every aspect of our own lives – private, public and political; and we are then challenged even more deeply by Jesus’ own command, that we love our enemies. For those involved in leading others in worship, this occasion can also bring the additional challenges and opportunities of involving significant numbers of children and young people through the involvement of uniformed organisations. Challenging indeed!

The second challenge is that the first ever Inter Faith Week will take place from 15th-21st November 2009. The Inter Faith Network for the UK and the Department for Communities and Local Government are facilitating the Week but the activities at national and local level remain the responsibility of the Faith communities. This presents a challenge to every local church, where often we struggle to engage in meaningful partnership even with other Christian traditions. One ray of hope in this is the work currently being undertaken by both the Leeds Methodist District and the Ripon & Leeds C of E Diocese, to create with others a joint Inter Faith Strategy to be adopted in 2010. Whilst it may be too late to participate in Inter Faith Week this year, it is not too late to begin to address the challenges of ‘building community’ and to seek to work in partnership with those of other faith traditions. The recent report Grace and Generosity produced by the Yorkshire and Humber Faiths Forum celebrates the contribution of all faith communities to the fabric of common life in this region. The stories highlighted, and presented in imaginative ways, are a welcome reminder of so much that we share.

Enjoy a challenging November!

Rev Liz Smith
Chair of Leeds Methodist District.

Foyer Redevelopment

I know this is 7 months away but I am delighted to inform members of the Church that our Community Development Project has been approved by the Carnival Committee as one of the recipients of the 2010 Carnival.
However, as a recipient we have to be involved with some of the fundraising for the Carnival, but obviously the more the Carnival raises the more we will receive as a beneficiary!

At the Victorian Fayre on 11th December, the committee are manning a gift stall for children. They have asked if we could collect prizes from our members for this stall – prizes must be suitable for children and can be of any value from 50p up – as you can imagine they make more money from lots of small prizes rather than one very give on – indeed they have found that something as simple as a bag of sweets or a bar of chocolate is greeted with great delight.

If you can help by donating something for this, please see either myself or one of the other Foyer committee members – Jim Monte, John Hastings, Jill Pullan or Matthew Burland.

John Burland – Foyer Redevelopment Fundraising Chairman.


Remembrance Day

Our morning worship at 10.30am on Sunday 8th November will be a Church Family Parade Service led by Mrs Joan Bosomworth and Mrs Jill Pullan.
The Civic Remembrance Day Parade and Service will assemble at the bottom of Station Road at 2pm, moving off at 2.15pm along Kirkgate, into Manor Square on through Clitherow House grounds for the Service at Our Lady & All Saints RC Church at 2.30pm. After the service the Parade will re-form in Clitherow House Grounds and proceed to the Garden of Remembrance in Bondgate for the Tributes and Laying of Wreaths.


Christmas 2009

There is to be a Church Lunch on Sunday 6th December at 12.15pm. The cost is £7 and £2 for small children. A list will be displayed in the reception area for you to place your name if you would like to have lunch.

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal - Leaflets regarding this Shoebox Appeal can be found in the Church Foyer and on the table in the Reception Area. If you need an empty shoebox to fill please get in touch with me. The last date for completed shoeboxes is the 16th November. Many thanks. Joyce Walls 01943 465505.

Mr Keith Rawling will be pleased to receive your donations of £1 to help with the purchase of the Church Christmas Tree.

We hope to have our usual Nativity Scene in the Church Foyer for the first Sunday in Advent. Our theme this Christmas is Light and Hope and we are grateful to those who have responded to decorate the windows in the church. As already mentioned the Christmas Card Board will be in place for those wishing to place one card for their friends in church. The Church Christmas Box will also be in place at the beginning of Advent. Please remember that this is a service provided only for those who are able to attend church and please write your envelopes clearly to assist those who are dealing with putting out the cards.

Christmas Services are as follows:

Sunday 13th December is Church Family Parade entitled Messy Church
Sunday 20th Nativity will be a Drama written by Mr Michael Fawcett
20th 6pm Carol Service with the music group……
Rehearsals for this group will be on the three preceding Thursdays 3rd, 10th & 17th December at 7pm each week. If you are a singer or an instrumentalist, please come along and join in. Instrumentalists should contact Martin Campey as soon as possible with details of their instruments so he can adapt the music accordingly for your key prior to the rehearsals commencing.
Sunday 24th at 4pm Everyone invited to the Family Communion Service
Monday 25th Christmas Day Service at 10am in our church with friends from the Bridge Church.

CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS HOPE WITH ASYLUM SEEKERS
@ Bridge Church Saturday 28th November
10-11.30am Talk by RETAS (refugee education, training & advisory service) representative and stories by asylum seekers – coffee and tea available. 12noon RETAS coach arrives with many of them asylum seekers/refugees. 12.30-1.45pm Lunch with food from different continents provided by RETAS, Dessert provided by Otley people.
2-3.45pm entertainment, African drumming, songs, carols and more stories.
More information re helping and catering please contact Peter & Jean Wilkinson on 01943 465033, email peterwilkinson2237@yahoo.co.uk.


When God Calls

On the 29th March this year, the clocks had just gone forward to signal the start of British Summertime. We could enjoy longer days and, as I got ready to go to church that morning, I had no idea that the words ‘Living with more Light’ were to take on a whole new meaning. I was on duty as a steward and helping Rev. Leslie Holmes in the service with all of the readings.

Throughout the whole service I was acutely aware of the presence of God and His touch upon me, as He spoke to me in a deeply personal and profound way through His Living Word in Scripture. The fifth short reading that I did was from John 17:1 - ‘Now is the time.’ Now, I am not one for taking Scriptural texts out of context, but as I read those words out loud, I can only describe the feeling as that of being struck by lightening. The overwhelming sense of God’s presence and purpose was totally incredible.

I knew very simply that God was speaking to me about Local Preaching and that He wanted a response from me.

The background to this ‘call from God’ goes all the way back to when I was about 15 or 16 and a member of the youth fellowship at the church where I was brought up. We regularly took part in Youth Services and the group of young people involved naturally seemed to be allocated the same roles over a period of time; mine being to give the talk. This encouragement led me to be accepted on to the Circuit Preaching Plan when I was only in my very early twenties. However, for a number of reasons, I did not complete the training.

Although the time was not right, I still felt a ‘call to preach’ and that touch upon me did not diminish over the years. As the next twenty years passed, God used many, many people, occasions and events to continue to nudge and prompt me to think about Local Preaching. I can look back now and see that this was all part of God’s nurture and preparation.

God has certainly been 'preparing the way' as I have received numerous affirmations and encouragements since March and I have renegotiated my contract at work to free up some time for studying.

Following two ‘interviews’ with our Minister, my name was taken to the Circuit Preachers’ Meeting, the Circuit Meeting and our own Church Council, where overwhelming support was given, from all three meetings, for me to be offered a ‘note to preach.’

Seven months on from the 29th March, the clocks were being altered again and I was preparing to participate in my first service ‘on-note’ as a Local Preacher. The last seven months have been an incredible journey of faith, trust and obedience. It has also been a time when I have been completely overwhelmed and daunted by the enormity of the call and the responsibility of the task. However, the over-riding feeling of the last seven months has been one of indescribable joy – joy unspeakable; as with a mounting sense of excitement, I have prayerfully sought God’s will and purpose.

I could give a hundred reasons for saying ‘No’, but the conviction of the call is so strong and the confirmations I have received over and over again mean that my response has to be a ‘Yes’. I do firmly believe that ‘Now is the time.’

I am hugely grateful that my family and friends are so supportive and I would like to thank all those in the church family for all their love, support, encouragement and prayers, not just over the last seven months, but over the years as well; all of which have played a significant part in enabling me to reach this point and respond to God’s call. The on-going support, prayers and encouragement from the Church Family will continue to mean such a lot.

The other text from the Bible that has travelled with me over the last seven months is 'He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.' (Philippians 1:6). I hope and pray and trust that this will be the case.

Jill Pullan


Coffee Mornings

Thank you to all those who have already offered to help on the rota for our Saturday Coffee Mornings. Your support and encouragement are a wonderful response to our appeal. We are endeavouring to provide support each week and the more who volunteer, the easier the task will become. We have two gaps to fill on the 2009 rota and the rota for 2010 is now available. Could you give of your time to help at one of the Saturday Coffee mornings? Could you bake twice a year? The coffee mornings are an integral part of the mission and outreach of our church and the fellowship we provide; but we need more groups and individuals to respond to the challenge of ensuring this work continues.

If you feel you could host one of the Saturday Coffee mornings or assist someone else, or if you are able to bake for one or two of the Saturdays per year, please contact Jill Pullan on 01943 872615.


Harvest Thanks

We offer our heartfelt thanks to all those who made our Harvest Festival Weekend so thought-provoking and inspiring. For those who catered for the Harvest Supper, the stewards and Martin Campey who led ‘stations’ and helped us to explore ‘The Parable of the Sower’ the music group who enriched worship on the Sunday morning, the hugely talented flower ladies for their magnificent and stunning contributions with the flowers and the decorations, all those who contributed to MRDF and/or ‘Caring for Life’; those who served refreshments after morning worship and also to Julian who skilfully held the weekend together, led the epilogue at the harvest Supper and preached passionately on ‘The Parable of the Sower’ and ‘The Mystery of Growth’ at the Harvest Festival Service.


Weekend Away

Our Church Weekend Away to Willersley Castle will take place on the 25th-27th February 2011. Bookings are being taken for our church family weekend. Full details are available in the Boroughgate Foyer and the Walkergate Reception room. Please see the Minister Rev Julian Pursehouse or any of the stewards if you would like further information.


General Announcements and pleas for help

Safeguarding Training - If you have been invited to attend a training course on ‘Safeguarding and Creating Safer Space’ and you have not yet booked a date, please contact Jill Pullan as soon as possible. The two remaining dates for training in this Circuit are Saturday 7th November 9.20-12noon and Wednesday 25th November 9.30-12noon.

Leadership in Discoverers - We are still urgently seeking to appoint additional leadership with the under 8’s and with the teenagers in Discoverers. As mentioned in September’s and October’s Focus, Howard Chaplin is seeking to retire as soon as possible. We are also hoping to provide additional support for Joyce Walls, with the under 8s. The leadership in Discoverers is a vitally important part of our church family life and we would ask that you hold these areas of need in your prayers. If you are interested in finding out more about either role, or would be willing to offer leadership in Discovers on a rota basis, please speak with Howard or Joyce.

‘Fresh Expressions’ – A New Way of Being Church - ‘Fresh Expressions’ is coming to our Circuit on Saturday 14th November – names and numbers to Rev T Perkins by 7th November please.

1980’S Drama Group Called ‘ACTS’ - ACTS was a youth group back in the late 80’s early 90’s based in the Methodist Churches of Otley & Aireborough who toured all over the place, performed everywhere, were published and were responsible for the Marks and Spencers sketch! They were brill and want to hold a 20 year reunion! They have a FaceBook Group called – I was in “ACTS – Christ in Drama”. People can email Ian Bell at ianbell@btinternet.com.

Otley Townswomen’s Guild are holding a Coffee Morning in the Wesley Hall on Friday 27th November 9.30-11.30am. All proceeds will go to the Church Foyer Development Fund, which is the Guild’s Charity Drive for 2009. They will be pleased to serve you refreshments that morning if you are able to support their efforts.

The Focus Team wish to express their grateful thanks for the kind donations amounting to £25 given to help with the production costs of our magazine. It will help us purchase a colourful cover for our Christmas issue next month. Please note that all items for the next issue which will cover December and January 2010 should be handed in to Mrs Joan Monte by Sunday 22nd November ready for the Team meeting on Tuesday 24th November at 1.30pm. Please pass your copy on to friends or neighbours to keep them in touch with our Good News items.


Thanks

Cynthia and John Hastings and their daughter Rosalind wish to thank all friends for their concern, love, prayers and cards following Rosalind’s surgery. We are thankful for the skill of the surgeon and nurses and are grateful that Rosalind is making a steady recovery.

Gillian & Peter Holmes would like to thank the church family for the beautiful flowers, the prayers, scriptures, encouragement and support given to them over the past few months. At present the treatment is working well thanks to a dedicated nursing team looking after our best interests at the Bexley Wing and Wharfedale hospital.

From Yvonne Warburton - 'Thank you for the lovely Harvest flowers. They have been a delight to see and they bring back many happy harvest memories. Time was when we ran out of vases and had to go back home and borrow some! I was thankful to take them back without accidents. We younger ones were allocated the job of polishing the apples ready to go on the ledge on the front of the gallery. I wonder whether they tasted of polish?
I’m glad I have been able to attend a couple of events during the summer. It has been so nice to see my friends and interesting to see how many had to look twice before they realised who I was. With the coming of winter and its germs, I shall have to take care of myself and look forward to the spring and hope to be more mobile.
Once again, many thanks. Love & God bless.'

Mrs Peggy Raftery wishes to say thank you for all the cards and good wishes she received on the occasion of her 90th Birthday. Many Congratulations to you Peggy.

From Simon, Sarah, Amelia & Chloe Monte - 'We wanted to write a note to thank you so much for the wonderful service we had for Amelia & Chloe’s Christening. It was a wonderful day with our family and friends and everyone was made to feel very welcome. Thank you also for your prayers during this difficult time -–the support has been overwhelming. We are very proud of our beautiful girls and the service could not have been more special.'


Prayers

Roger writes to tell us that he was able to bring a sleepy, slightly woozy Hilda home from hospital following her operation and she was glad to be home. We do remember Hilda in our prayers for her recovery as well as for John and Cynthia Hastings's daughter Rosalind.

In our prayers let us remember those recovering from operations, those who are not as well as they would like to be and those who have lost loved ones recently or in the past. Now the dark nights are with us please remember to think of those around you who live alone, keep an eye open in case they need help or just someone to chat to. Please remember in your prayers those who work to keep our lovely church buildings in working order. Pray for our Minister and those who have answered the call to preach. May God Bless and be with you all.


Mission and Outreach

Margaret LeBeau from Bramhope led our World Mission Service. Margaret shared with us some of her experiences of the nine months she spent in Ecuador working with ‘Life in Abundance’, which was both interesting and informative. It was so good to hear of what is being done in the Lord’s name in Ecuador. The Poverty Lunch after the service raised £77.05 for Missions and Margaret was given a cheque for £94.15 for ‘Life in Abundance (Ecuador) Trust’ from the coffee morning held the previous Friday.
There will be a Coffee Morning for Mission Without Borders on Friday 13th November.
The ONE FOR ALL ‘Christmas Card Board’ will again be available in Foyer for anyone wishing to display one card for all their friends at church. Any donations (for Missions) please give to Gill Chaplin or Fred King.
Missions Collecting Boxes – in December please hand to Gill Chaplin for counting. Anyone who would like to take a collecting box either World Mission or Home Mission please see Gill.

The Wrights in Nepal

Very heavy end of monsoon rain has caused extensive landslides and floods in western Nepal with 60 people killed and considerable damage done. 23 Christians were killed and many injured when a bamboo structure collapsed at a regional conference in Dharan in eastern Nepal. Over 1,000 Christians were attending the conference.
Paul & Sarah are now on 12hr’day power cuts which in Sarah’s words is 50% more than when they were on 16 hr’day cuts. Their garden well water level is now quite healthy but they are not receiving any mains water, so if the winter rains again fail they could be in for hard times next spring.

Please note that on Thursday 12th November after the 12noon Soup & Sweet Lunch an illustrated talk will follow at 1-1.15pm given by Fred on his visit to Paul & Sarah in Nepal. Anyone most welcome.

News from Ecuador

Mrs Irene Greenwood writes in to say Thank You to all who continue to support Mission through our regular Friday Coffee Mornings. The proceeds last month went to Quito, Ecuador, helping to improve the lives of the Minda family. Beatriz continues to work very hard in the Prawn Factory. She and her 4 children live in a single story breeze block house (no rendering) with holes where the door and window should be – she has worked hard to pay for this, £1,250. Not much to us but a huge amount for her.
The following is an excerpt from Linda, Irene’s missionary friend. Hopefully some of our money will help to pay for a window as this little family would be warmer and safer with proper windows and doors.
God bless you all.

Minda family…Hello, ladies! How are things in the UK? We here in Ecuador have been declared in a “state of exception”…meaning the military can work with police closely and do routine stop checks in order to help stop crime, thefts, etc. It doesn’t seem a very new thing but means we just have to keep our censors/visas handy on our persons when out of the house in case we’re stopped.
I had a good visit with Beatriz a week or so ago. She is doing pretty well, had a bad cold but is better now. She wondered if it was the H1N1 as she had a fever for a few days but hard to know as they are not testing here. She mentioned one thing about Luis that I thought might interest you. He is working at the restaurant again “Los Ceviches de Ruminahui” and in a family council they had recently, he decided that each one who is earning money should put in a bit each month in a “pot”. He thinks they should get windows put in the house and each month do one window. He has gone to the place that does the window frames and asked about cost, etc. I am quite proud of his initiative and trust they follow through with this plan! Gisella is quite happy as she has found a perfect job for her...working in a pet shop, (she wants to be a vet some day), in the morning and getting lessons on how to take care of animals in the afternoon. She doesn’t make much but is very happy there. The younger two are at school of course. Well, have a good week and the Lord bless you and yours.
Linda.

News from Uganda

Thank you to Margaret Peel for organising the Friday morning coffee in aid of the Fielder’s mission to Uganda. To update people the following is their first email to us, Marjorie & Ray Dunn.

Hi Mum & Dad. Great to hear from you. As I write Adam is in Kampala at the International Deaf Conference and he is so pleased to be there. You will be pleased to hear that he has helped finance two women to go. Had he not done this there would have only been 9 male representatives from the North of Uganda. There is a lot of sexism here even in the deaf world. He has since been discussing this issue with the men.
Laurence is recovering well from malaria and Maria and Jerome are doing OK. Jerome has found a tennis court. Praise God.
Food is predominantly beans and rice with a few other pulses namely cow peas and cow peas! Not to mention pcho or ugali. Uuurgh yuk!. They say we will grow to love it. Already it’s a bit of a struggle but soon we will do our own catering.
Next Monday we move into the house. No hot water, electricity or gas but we are working on it. We hope to have solar power very soon. The house itself is lovely and has good grounds where we can grow vegetables. Jerome wants to have chickens.
Saturday we go to a unique wedding. The only deaf blind pastor in Uganda is getting married locally and we have been invited. It should be so interesting. I think Adam is already making quite a big impact. I’m sure that his own deafness helps enormously. Well lovely to chat but must go. Take care and please keep in touch. Adam has found some alternative malaria tabs. Please pray that they work for us. People are falling ill with malaria all the time but at least there is a cure. Love to you both. Helen. (Helen & Adam Fielder, Missionaries in Arua, (NW) Uganda – Deaf Connections. Developing partnership to release the potential of isolated deaf people.)