September 2007


Pastoral Letter Pursehouse welcome Events resuming Harvest weekend Origins of Harvest
Thanks Congratulations Prayers & condolences Mission & outreach Upcoming events
Christmas tree festival  News from Pool Methodist  NCH report     


A pastoral letter from our District Chair

New Beginnings
The month of September always marks a new beginning in our Methodist calendar, and of course for everyone whose lives are shaped by the academic year. This includes a wide spectrum of people of all ages, from those who will step across a school threshold for the first time this autumn aged 4 years and a day or two, to those young adults taking tentative steps of independence in Higher Education, and of course the huge number of teachers, lecturers, and those who work in supportive roles in every educational environment. Many families will be acutely aware of the challenges and new opportunities that loved ones will be facing this September.

September also marks a new beginning for this District as a whole, and in significant ways for many circuits and churches who will be welcoming new ministers and their families. It is also, of course a radical new beginning for those of us who are moving into the Leeds District to take up new appointments, and for those family members and friends affected by our moving.

The Christian faith has much to say about new beginnings! The message of the Gospel is that we must be willing to experience nothing less than a ‘new birth’ in our ways of seeing and thinking. At the same time, however, we face each new challenge and opportunity drawing upon the faith story of all those who have stood in this place, and other places, before us. Unlike the world of politics (perhaps), we will understand our role and presence in this particular place as building upon and complementing all that has gone before, rather than blazing our own new trail. Nevertheless, each one of us who comes to exercise our ministry in this District will be bringing the ‘newness’ of ourselves which, when shared, becomes a new beginning for everyone.

Our faith is in God who lays claim to the Alpha and Omega of life, who is present in all our beginnings and endings. Each new challenge takes us not beyond God’s grace, but rather invites us to step more deeply into the stream of God’s life and grace promised to us.

I look forward with a sense of excitement to all that will unfold in this new beginning for all of us, as I become your District Chair.

With all good wishes, Liz

The Pursehouse's welcome weekend

What a great weekend it has been in the life of our church. It began on Saturday 1st, with a welcome tea for Julian, Jean and Chloe at which many of our fellowship came to meet our new Minister and his family. As Julian moved around and introduced himself to as many as possible a lovely family atmosphere pervaded the Wesley Hall. It was very pleasant to be able to meet Julian’s charming wife Jean and Chloe soon became familiar with the extent of the Wesley Hall as she ran joyfully up and down, as most toddlers love to run in the hall. What a lovely little girl, we shall all become very fond of her.

On Sunday 2nd, if you had managed to arrive in good time and came in by the front door of church, you would have been greeted by our new Minister. It was good to see that many had come along to support Julian in his first service. At the commencement the church life Chairman, John Burland, introduced the new Minister to the congregation. Julian explained he liked to be known as Julian; he demonstrated his lovely dimples and I think we shall be seeing quite a lot of them as he is such a smiling chap. He had taken the words, ‘They were watching him closely’ as a base for his sermon. Well, we were – but Julian was also watching us!! Julian spoke of his passion for the importance of gathering together, urging us to look beyond our concerns and seeing concerns of others, building up a sense of community, a community of hospitality, inviting the strangers, welcoming them into the richness of God’s grace and building a relationship with God. Communion was shared by all at the close of a lovely service. We look forward to future services.

In the evening at the service of welcome for the Rev. Julian Pursehouse and the Rev. Dawn Saunders, the preacher was the new Chair of the Leeds Methodist District, the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Smith.

It was good to see the church so full. The call to worship was led by the Rev. Fiona Spandler with the singing of the hymn ‘Born in Song’. Roger Bareham, Circuit Steward and Jean Richardson, Senior Circuit Steward gave the readings. This was followed by an excellent sermon from Rev. Dr. Smith with the Presentation, Promises and Welcome of Rev. Julian Pursehouse and Rev. Dawn Saunders. The congregation responded as both of them made their promises.

Thanks to all who had prepared such a moving service and helped with the refreshments.

We hope the welcoming service for Alistair at Baildon was as well received as ours was. We have received the following note of thanks from the family:

Thank you for a fantastic send off from Otley and Pool. It was a truly memorable end to our time in the Otley and Aireborough Circuit. We will treasure our “Memory Book” for a long time to come, and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of your gifts to us which are matched only by the love and support you have shown to us as a family over the last 10 years. From Alistair, Carol, Sarah and Tim.

Events resuming after the summer break

Monday afternoon fellowship will begin on 24th September with an opening meeting & Holy Communion led by Rev. Julian Pursehouse. All are most welcome.

Badminton recommenced on the 5th September. Anyone is most welcome to join. Sessions are from 10.30am to 12noon. Cost £1 per session. Further details available by ringing 01943 466884.

Harvest Weekend
Sat. 29th & Sun. 30th September

As mentioned in last month’s Focus we invite you to share in our Harvest Meal between 6 & 8pm on Sat. 29th. Come and join in our first ever Harvest Wheat Drive. What’s one of those? Well, come along and find out! Tickets available from the stewards, Adults £2 Children £1 or Family £5.

The church will be decorated with flowers. Please bring your flowers on Thursday evening (27th) or early Friday morning (28th). Any gifts can also be left then, or brought on Sunday morning. The flowers will be distributed after the Sunday morning worship, which will be conducted by our new Minister, Rev. Julian Pursehouse. If you can help with the distribution of the flowers at the close of the service to the sick and elderly this would be much appreciated.

Envelopes for the Methodist Relief & Development Fund will be available if you wish to use this way to make your Harvest donation.

Your gifts of foods for Caring for Life will also be appreciated. They say they are absolutely vital to them as the food makes an enormous difference to their food bills and for their two homes, right throughout the year. It enables them to give out 100 hampers each Christmas and individual food parcels each week. They would welcome drinks of coffee, cordials, long life fruit juices or milk, or instant hot chocolate. Jars of ketchup or brown sauce, salad cream, bisto, cook in sauces, syrup or jam. Tins of vegetables, ready meals, salmon or tuna, stewed steak, or ham. Puddings, jellies, rice puddings, tinned sponge or custard. Dried goods of cereals, oats, muesli, flour, sugar, dried fruit. Treats such as biscuits or chocolate. Washing up liquid or washing powder is also appreciated. They ask us to please note they do have a lot of rice, pasta and tea in store at the moment.

On the Sunday evening at 6pm there will be a joint celebration at the Parish Church with an offering for charity.

Our Harvest Festival morning service will also include ‘Back to Church Sunday’ which is a series of opportunities for you to invite back to church those who have been here to worship with us in the past and no longer do so. It is an opportunity to bring friends who haven’t been to church for a period of time and who will welcome the experience to come along. Perhaps you could invite a family or youngsters who used to come to Sunday School or our Youth Groups but have moved away to college or university or have married and moved away.

Blank invitation cards are available in the church foyer. Please use one to invite a friend, relative or former member of any of our groups. Please try and see the person or persons individually to invite them, maybe arranging to bring them along with you, or arrange to meet them outside church at a given time so they have a friendly face to bring them into the building and to sit with them.

On Back to Church Sunday we will need to ensure that the door stewards and other members of the congregation make everyone welcome. Look out for the posters going up around the town announcing this event and don’t be surprised to see balloons at the front and rear of the church on this Sunday.

More than 17,000 people are expected to return to church at the end of this month as Back to Church Sunday expands to take in 1700 churches across England. In all, more than one in 10 of the Church of England’s churches are taking part across 19 dioceses. On past records, participating churches welcome back an average of 10 former worshippers each, meaning that 17,000 people could come back to church in one day in September; equivalent to one per cent of the total monthly attendance of the C of E. Recent research revealed nearly three million people would consider going to church with ‘the right invitation’. The Bishop of Manchester said: “Inviting people into church is as important as taking the Gospel out to them. The growth of Back to Church Sunday could prove one of the most effective aspects of the Church’s witness”

The origins of harvest

Our Harvest Festivals have very ancient origins. Festivals that celebrate the harvest by giving thanks to God have been held right back in time to hundreds of years before Jesus. You can read about them in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 15 & 16. In Old Testament times, the first thanksgiving of the year was Passover, with the sacrifice of the first spring lamb and presentation of the first sheaf of wheat. The wheat harvest went on for fifty days and ended with the Festival of Weeks, Shavuot, (Pentecost, meaning ‘fiftieth’). Later there was the Feast of Tabernacles, a celebration of the wine harvest.
These were all offerings of the first fruits at the shrine, or Temple, to thank God for liberation from Egypt and the desert and for the gift of the Law, as well as for the provision of food. Thus they linked thanksgiving for that year’s food with Israel’s historical faith in being the chosen people of God.

Some produce was to be left on the vine or in the field for ‘the alien, the fatherless and the widow’ because: ‘Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt therefore I am commanding you to do this’. Deut. 14 v.21.

In Deuteronomy it says if it is not possible to transport the animals and grain, they could be converted into money and taken to the shrine, where other animals and grain could be bought with the money, offered and eaten.

In Britain, for many years, there were unofficial religious festivals of thanksgiving for the harvest. By the mid-nineteenth century it was common to hold an annual parochial festival, which linked the gift of the fruits of the earth with our responsibility to God to use them to his glory, for our own well being and for the relief of those in need. The emphasis thus became less on ‘first fruits’, and more on thankfulness for the ingathering of the harvest.

So this autumn’s Harvest Festival is still a reminder to give thanks to God. And we bring gifts of food and money to help God’s work of feeding other people, near and far.


THE FOCUS TEAM are grateful for the kind donations received of £25 to assist with our production costs. May we respectfully remind you that it is our endeavour to distribute the Focus magazine free of charge. However costs are rising all the time for paper and printing, so donations of any size to help us defray these costs are always very much appreciated. Please remember to share your copy with friends and neighbours, use it to invite them to our Harvest.

We gratefully acknowledge the donation of £5 kindly given for the Tape Ministry. Tapes of our services are available each Sunday. Requests for a tape should be given to Mrs Christine Hodgson.

It was lovely to see the church full for the occasion of Alistair’s last service. It was a busy service with an adult baptism, a new member, and a number of transferred memberships. Dr & Mrs Gerald Wilson gave testimony to their life’s work to the church. Almost all the congregation joined in the communion. At the close of the service, the Senior Steward, Mrs Jill Pullan, invited the Newton family to have a rare opportunity to sit together in a pew as a family. Jill spoke of their time with us over the last 10 years, presenting them with gifts from the church family and thanking them for their parts in the life of our church. The congregation responded with applause for the Newton family. We wish them well and God’s blessings in their futures.


We offer our congratulations to Edward & Myrle Brear on the occasion of their Diamond (60th) Wedding Anniversary. It was a lovely photograph and ‘write up’ about them both in the Wharfedale Observer. We send good wishes to them both.

'We would like to thank all our friends at our Church Fellowship who sent us cards and greetings on the occasion of our Diamond Wedding Anniversary. We were overwhelmed by the good wishes and friendship. Thank you all, most sincerely.' Edward & Myrle Brear.

We offer congratulation to any of our young people who have had encouraging examination results lately.

Prayers and condolences

We were very sad to learn of the passing of one of our older members, Mrs Margaret Tyerman at the end of July. A thanksgiving service for the life of Margaret was held at our church led by Rev Tony Jeffries. We offer our condolences to George and the family, remembering them in our prayers.

Please remember in your prayers Alistair and family as they settle into life in Baildon and our new Minister, Julian, his wife Jean and daughter Chloe as they too settle into life amongst us here in Otley.

We lift those of our fellowship going through stressful times, remembering those who care for loved ones at home, any who may be ill at home or in hospital.

Please pray for anyone known to you who may be going through a time of loss, be it a family member or a pet.

We pray that God will protect and be with all who will be starting new schools or going back to school.

Mission and Outreach

The Wrights in Nepal.
As a result of the monsoons in southern Asia over 2,000 people have died so far and they are not yet over. In Nepal there are over 100 dead and a further 9 died in separate landslides in one day. Of the 47 Districts in Nepal 32 have been affected, the worst area being all along the Terai, the narrow band of flat lowland bordering Northern India. In Biratnagar in the Eastern Terai NINE inches of rain fell in 24 hours. So far the capital Kathmandu has escaped flooding so Paul, Sarah, Jack and Asha are unaffected as a family and for that we give thanks, but Paul through his role in Disaster Management for UMN has been deeply involved. In quick response to the need Paul went to Nepalgunj in the Western Terai, where he met Diya Ram for Nepal Christain Relief Services (NCRS), Diya Ram is NCRS's only full time worker. The local churches around Nepalgunj had requested NCRS’s support to help those around them in most need. Having first assessed the number and size of families needing help they were assisted by teams of volunteers from the local churches to distribute rice, lentils, oil, and other basics. Distribution was made in Nepalgunj town and some villages in Bardiyua, and getting to these was a bit of an adventure at one point having to dig the truck out of the mud. Paul had the opportunity to explain to the people that it was through God’s love that they wanted to help them.

In the flood affected areas of Nepal the main priorities are to provide shelter for the hundreds of thousands who have been made homeless, there is immediate need for food aid and to deal with diseases spreading through the dirty water. Many crops have also been destroyed so the suffering will continue for many months to come.

You can read more on Paul & Sarah in their latest News Sheet on the notice board in the Welcome Area.

A new session of KAAZ will start at Ashfield school on 13th October, please hold this in your prayers, and look out for HOPE 08.

Circuit missions walk
The final total raised from circuit missions walk including gift aid was £274. The coffee morning for Sahara children’s home in Nepal raised £125, which will be very welcome as they have just started building a needed extension to the kitchen. There will be a Coffee Morning for Mission on 21st September.

Sunday October 14th is World Mission’s Sunday. Speaker will be Margaret Newton.

A PowerPoint Presentation on “Leprosy Control in South Korea and Nepal” is available for any interested groups.
Please contact new member Dr. Gerald Wilson on Tel: 01943 464988.

Appeal for material
Edna Carr is continuing to make hand-sewn cot quilts for ‘Children in Need’. During the past two years, several quilts have gone to Nepal for Sarah Wright to pass on to needy families, and each year about a dozen have gone with the ‘Mission Without Borders’ team for their work in Romania, Moldova and the Ukraine. Edna has been most grateful for the response to her appeal in Focus around two years ago. Most of the material donated then has now been used up, and so she is renewing her appeal for odd pieces of material – cotton or polycotton (including good parts of old sheets, pillow cases, shirts, blouses, etc.) – to help in continuing this work. Also welcome would be any old reels of sewing cotton or tacking cotton (any colour). Any size can be used provided it is enough for a 10cm square. If you can help, please see David at church or telephone Otley 466830. We can arrange to collect, if necessary.

Upcoming Events

An evening of serendipity
At Menston Methodist Church on Wednesday 19th September at 8pm. Otley and Aireborough Network invites everyone to join in this evening.

Illustrated talk by Derry Brabbs
Saturday 13th October in the Wesley Hall at 7.30pm.
Tickets: Adults £6, Concessions £4 available from John Burland on 01943-466884

Christmas tree festival

The church life group have asked members and groups to decorate the windows on the theme of Christmas trees from around the world. Could you or your group volunteer to do one?

The church Christmas tree will be put up on 6th December but will only be decorated with white lights until Sunday 15th December when we are asking all organisations within the church to decorate it as a “Christmond” Tree with various white decorations. These will be hung on the tree at the Church Family Parade Service on 15th December.

If you are willing and eager to help us make this Christmas tree festival a success when we can reach out to the Otley community and show them something of the real meaning of Christmas, then ring John Burland; he is waiting NOW to hear from you. Please ring him as soon as possible on 466884.

Open Church
We want to open to the community on Saturday 1st December from 10-12noon and on the following Advent Saturdays, offering Christmas refreshments to visitors in the Wesley Hall at the Coffee Mornings.

Please will you volunteer? We need 2 people each Saturday morning to welcome people and show them around the church and invite them to coffee & refreshments. We need helpers at the Coffee Mornings and also help to bake mince pies, a Christmas cake for slicing or to make Christmas biscuits.

Cynthia & Rosalind have begun making Christmas and other greeting cards again and these will be on sale in aid of church funds. Cynthia will be at some of the Saturday Coffee mornings from now until Christmas with her card stall. Please ring her on 462647 if you require a special card making. We have some great new designs to be constructed, so come along to browse, even if you don’t purchase.

News from Pool Methodist Church

At the end of July we said our farewells to Alistair Newton and family, and now as we approach September we offer a warm welcome to Rev Julian Pursehouse, his wife Jean and little Chloe.

During the month of August many of our weekly meetings have had a months rest, but one notable exception was on Sunday 5th August when we had a baptismal service to welcome RORY THOMAS JAMES into our Church Fellowship. Along with his Mum Kerry and Dad Steve, we welcomed over 20 of the family and friends to a special family morning service – on a lovely warm summer Sunday morning. It was a joy to see so many folks in church and to extend a warm Yorkshire welcome to visitors from Portsmouth and Lincolnshire.

Now that the Autumn Session is upon us we look forward to the regular weekly meetings starting again.

Monday 1.30pm Bridge Club
Wednesday 12.30pm Over 60’s Luncheon Club
  2pm Women’s Fellowship
Thursday 10-12noon Police Forum
Every 4th Thurs 10-12 noon Over 60’s Coffee Morning
Friday 10-12noon Art Club

We look forward to the New Methodist Year at Pool with hope, faith and love – knowing that we share many challenges and problems – but take comfort in the knowledge that we are a small part of a great Circuit fellowship.

NCH report

The past few months have continued to be busy for NCH. Each month this summer I have been across to NCH Regional Office at Harrogate with the usual delivery of used mobile phones and used computer ink cartridges. Whenever I go to a Circuit meeting or service I always come home with a bag or two. Thank you very much for all the support you give to the work of NCH.

We still collect old coins and banknotes as well, but the supply of these has been a little limited recently. However collections of money have been made at Hawksworth, during the July Circuit Service, and also at Menston on NCH Sunday which this year was on the 8th July. There may be other churches that have taken collections, that have sent the money to NCH directly, so Thank You to everyone for your support, and for Prayers offered up on behalf of the work of NCH.

Every Blessing to you all as we continue the work of NCH in the new Methodist Year.
God Bless – Roger Bareham.