This week we celebrate creation in our year long campaign to beat the drum for all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds with a film that brings us a lovely example of that regular event in the church calendar; the flower festival. We travelled to the further reaches of Upper Wensleydale, to St Matthew’s Church in Stalling Busk, to film them as they opened their doors for their annual August Bank Holiday flower festival. Who would have thought that that tiny church could have created so much beauty and shared so much love that day with hundreds coming through their door from 10.30am until 4.30pm. The theme then was based loosely around the children’s novel, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - and one of the only stipulations was that no flowers should be bought – but cut from your own gardens or foraged from the hedgerows.
For this week’s film in our year long campaign to tell the story of our rich and varied life here in the Diocese of Leeds, we followed the Church About the Dale ecumenical trailer taking welfare and worship to some of the further reaches of our diocese. It is this vision of welfare and worship that saw the Anglican churches in the Deanery of Wesley and the local Methodist chapels come together to source, fund and plan to get a mobile church trailer on the road. It took 18 months but in August 2015, it was launched with a service of blessing from Ripon Cathedral before making its own pilgrimage through Wensleydale taking faith on the road and providing active support to isolated areas of the Dale. Since that time it has been a regular feature at local agricultural shows including the Gargrave Show and the Wensleydale Show, in market places and every August Bank Holiday, it can be found beside Semerwater for a special lakeside service. The Revd Chris Lawton who looks after six parishes between Leyburn and Bedale, said: “We wanted to reach out to people and to those in need in this isolated rural community by taking the trailer out into the market places, onto the showfields and be able to signpost people to food banks, debt relief, farm crisis, suicide prevention helplines; helping those most in need and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Welcoming new members into our church family is the theme for our two films this week in our year long campaign to tell the story of our rich and varied life here in the Diocese of Leeds. Here, we travelled up to Bedale and had the privilege to be invited to join Archie and his family and friends as he was baptised by the Revd Ian Robinson, Rector of Bedale with Burrill, Thornton Watlass and Leeming. Said Ian: “Conducting baptisms is a highlight in the church calendar, enabling us to welcome new members into the church family, it offers a wonderful opportunity to engage with families in a deep and meaningful manner. “ “Baptism is the starting point of a journey of discovery together, parents and godparents, children and the church family. “And it’s always a joy to welcome the parents and children back to further worship in the church and to be able to conduct services that are designed to help families fulfil their baptism promises.
Welcoming new members into our church family is the theme for our two films this week in our year long campaign to tell the story of our rich and varied life here in the Diocese of Leeds. The Parish of Seacroft, East Leeds has three churches; St James’s, St Paul’s and St Richard’s and together they serve a community of 35,000 people across Seacroft, Swarcliffe and Whinmoor - home to one of the largest housing estates in the country. The church has over 100 baptisms a year – and serves its community in a variety of different ways – often in partnership with other community groups and organisations. And the message of the church is simple: “God loves this place and its people.” And here in this short film, we get a glimpse of the love it shares with its weekly Little Angels group. So called because this special group of under 5s “uplift the life of the church”.
God cares for people in the farming communities is the message of this week’s film in our year long campaign to tell the story of our rich and varied life here in the Diocese of Leeds. Up in the Craven Area of North Yorkshire, St Andrew’s Church, Gargrave and St Peter’s Church, Coniston Cold have been reaching out to farmers and those working the land in different ways over the years with late afternoon services at Harvest and Christmas to fit the farming day. And to make more connections their vicar, the Revd David Houlton, joined the Gargrave Agricultural Show organising committee, and in 2015 Gargrave PCC created the "St Andrew's Cup" for the champion Blue Faced Leicester sheep at the Gargrave Show which runs every August. As a result of that connection, both David and his wife, the Revd Heather Houlton, now steward the Exemption Dog Section at the show - which has rounds such as dog with the best eyes and the waggiest tail! Said David: “It’s really important to be connected into the community. Many out there find it difficult to get involved in church events as they work long hours – we have to take church to them to show that God cares for people in the farming communities of Craven. Gargrave Show 2017 is on Sat 19 August at Eshton Hall just off the A65 near Gargrave.
This week’s film in our year long campaign to tell the story of our rich and varied life here in the Diocese of Leeds, looks at a very special project in Bradford Cathedral. Stitch in the Cathedral is designed to bring people together to share a unique moment in that sacred space at the top of the city. Together they are stitching kneelers for the high altar. As Canon Missioner, Mandy Coutts, says, this project pulls in people from all over the city. “This is a sacred space and for a lot of people there’s a real healing moment in having that space to talk, to reflect - it's a real therapeutic moment for all concerned." But this story goes to the heart of Bradford's rich history. During WW1, Bradford woman, Louisa Pesel, a traveller and collector, was at the family home in Manningham. She was a skilled needlewoman - she would become the first president of the Embroiderers' Guild - and recognised needlework's therapeutic qualities. She got involved with the Bradford Khaki Handicrafts Club, set up in 1918, to provide occupational therapy and employment for men returning from the war. She taught many shell shocked soldiers embroidery - and helped them embroider the Khaki Altar Cloth - a cross stitch superfrontal - now part of the Cathedral's collection.
Leeds Festival Angels have just launched an appeal for volunteers for this year's Leeds Fest, the three day music event over August Bank Holiday which attracts over 85,000 young people. This film gives us a glimpse of life as a Festival Angel. Festival Angels have become a regular feature since they first started in 2011 when volunteers from the local church in nearby Thorner, Leeds set up a prayer café. The Revd Andy Nicholson, vicar of Thorner and Festival Angels Coordinator, said: "It is great to be at Leeds Festival. The care and compassion that the team of volunteers offer, with conversations around faith and spirituality, help the church in this region to connect with hundreds of people who are otherwise not part of our community." Volunteers come from right across the Diocese. As well as the Prayer Cafe, they run Lost Property and this year have teamed up with West Yorkshire Police to offer protective security marking to valuables. To become involved in Festival Angels visit www.leedsfestivalangels.org.uk
Volunteers is the theme for this week’s films in our year long campaign to tell the rich and varied story of our church and community life here in the Diocese of Leeds. In Pontefract, Wakefield, a birthday party is being held to say thank you to all the volunteers who have helped to run Lunch With Us, a project run out of St Giles’s Church, in the Market Square, which offers a warm meal and companionship to more vulnerable members of the local community.It has been one year since Lunch With Us was first launched at St Giles’ and in that time they have served over 3,000 meals. The volunteers prepare and serve a hot meal every Wednesday afternoon and unlike a café, the customers don’t have to leave as soon as they’ve finished, the volunteers make sure they are around to chat to those who want to and they can signpost them to other services available from the church centre and locally.
Serving our communities is the theme for this week’s films in our year long campaign to tell the rich and varied story of life here in the Diocese of Leeds. And we portray two churches in very different contexts; both of whom are serving their communities where they are and give us a glimpse into the wide range of church and community life lived out here in the diocese. In Leeds, All Hallows in Hyde Park is situated in a densely populated inner city suburb its neighbours include three big mosques, a big Hindu temple, the two Universities of Leeds and Leeds Beckett and a huge amount of social housing. Connecting the church with the parish is the overriding mission of All Hallows – and prayer and love is at the heart of everything they do. They run a Real Junkfood café made from food destined for landfill every Monday lunchtime; Syrian refugee friends run a Syrian Kitchen there every Thursday lunchtime and a Friday bistro-style menu once a month. During Ramadan they will offer weekly Iftars. And the church is used for training other clergy who may not have had much interfaith experience in the Faithful Neighbours programme. The vicar, the Revd Heston Groenwald said: “This church makes space for people to encounter each other across divides; whether that is students and non-students; Muslims and non-Muslims; refugees and non refugees, or our LGBT friends. “The church and our café allows people to engage with each other and be surprised by each other’s humanity,’ he added.
Serving our communities is the theme for this week’s films in our year long campaign to give us a glimpse into the wide range of church and community life lived out here in the diocese. And our second film this week takes us down the M62 motorway from Leeds to Normanton, in the Wakefield Episcopal Area, and to All Saints Church, a vibrant church serving the former mining communities and big housing estates of Normanton where prayer is at the heart of all they do. In the last few years they have prayed long and hard about the community they serve and realised that young people and older people were both social groups they needed to meet. Seven years ago they set up The Well Project designed to tackle anti social behaviour by young people and offer them positive action and more recently they decided to target social isolation. They signed up to the Fairtrade Scheme which delivers them a pallet of food every week destined for landfill, which they use to make fresh, tasty meals for the weekly Meet and Eats group – thanks to volunteers like Debs who you see in this film. They also run a food bank and a clothing bank.