About our minister
Rev. Julian M. Pursehouse
I arrived in Otley in August 2007, with my wife Jean and our newly adopted daughter Chloe, to be the new Methodist Superintendent Minister of the Otley and Aireborough Methodist Circuit. My specific duties involve the pastoral charge of Otley Methodist Church and Pool in Wharfedale Methodist Church.
I am a son of the manse and therefore it is difficult to say where home is, having travelled the length and breadth of the country during my Father’s ministry. I am however glad to be back up north, after having been born in Derbyshire and doing my schooling in Castleford West Yorkshire.
I entered the ministry in 1995 after completing my theological training at Lincoln Theological College in the company of many Anglican students. At the time this institution was an Anglican Training College that also trained Methodist Ministers. I still maintain to this day that it was this spell in an Anglican College that convinced me of the ‘rightness’ of my place in the Methodist tradition. I have always valued Methodism’s emphasis upon fellowship and accountable discipleship underpinned by its natural affinity with Armenian grace.
My move to Otley represents my third appointment, having served in Long Eaton & Peterborough and I will be resuming my responsibilities as Superintendent of the Circuit in which I am placed. Although we are living in difficult times, when the church finds itself increasingly marginalized in a secular society, I passionately believe in the importance of belonging to a Christian community. It is important for us to have a discernable place in which we can gather with others to celebrate the love of God and be empowered to live out our faith in the world. The church is the ‘body of Christ’ as Paul says in the New Testament, for that reason it is a community of grace in which a group of people hold themselves accountable to God for their ongoing formation as Christian disciples. Within that community we travel together as pilgrims, sharing our joys and sorrows, our hopes and disappointments, our experiences of life and death, knowing that the God revealed to us in Jesus and in the life-giving presence of the Spirit is with us.
Otley Methodist Church occupies a central position at the heart of the community and boasts a wonderful heritage. The present building was completed and opened for worship on September 8th. 1875 and was originally designed to hold a capacity of 1000 people. Since then the building has been altered and transformed in a number of ways to make it accessible and user-friendly. For this reason it is now able to open its doors to many different users and community groups from round the town. We value this inter-face with the community because it gives us a unique opportunity to contribute towards the greater enrichment of its life and ethos.
Today the church has a membership of 165 and offers a wide range of mid-week activities and has a strong tradition of nurturing young people through the work of uniformed organisations and two youth clubs. We also have house-groups and a variety of different formats for worship, either on a Sunday or mid-week. In all that we do we seek to share the love of God in Christ with the whole community of Otley.
In my spare time I enjoy mountain-biking and there are plenty of hills to go up and down here and I also enjoy a good curry. I am more than happy to play the fool with my three year old daughter Chloe and I usually find space during the day to have a visit to the local park so that she can go on the swings and feed the ducks.
It is a great privilege to be the minister of this church in Otley, with its wonderful Methodist heritage but also to work with the present-day congregation as we discern the best way of sharing in God’s mission. I warmly invite you to be a part of this community and look forward to meeting you in person when you come to share in our events and our worship.
Rev. Julian M. Pursehouse