Tuesday, 6 December 2016

December Prayer Column

Asking in faith

A thing that has bothered me for many years is why Jesus didn’t explain his parables to the crowds when he spoke, but only later to his disciples (when they asked: Mt 13:36; 15:15; Lk 8:8). Was he leaving the stories to do their own work with most people in some way? Did they have to ponder them to get the full meaning? Or perhaps, as I heard a story teller once say, even if people don’t ponder them, or actually forget them, the stories they hear can be exploded into life at the right moment by the Holy Spirit, the meaning and application suddenly made clear, and all the more powerfully for the wait.

But without denying either of those reasons, I wonder if there was another possible thread as well: the disciples were ready for the explanations. They had committed themselves to follow Jesus in faith, and so they were prepared to accept his teaching – and that made all the difference, because obviously not everyone was in that relationship with him.

So commitment would be a necessary part of hearing and understanding; and that seems more than a bit true for prayer as well. We are much more confident in prayer when we’re fully committed to faith in the Lord, and thus able to accept whatever answer the Father God chooses to give. In faith we’re prepared to wait, if necessary; and even to look searchingly for the answers which we know must come because he has promised to hear and act when we pray. Does that seem plausible?

Roy LS


A prayer for each week


Heavenly Father, as the man said, “I believe; but help my unbelief.” Please give me faith to pray confidently about all difficulties facing me. Amen.

Heavenly Father, please boost my faith in your power to cope with the problems I want to bring before you, and in your love as you answer. Amen.

Heavenly Father, waiting for late buses is hard. Please give us the faith that your answers always come, even if we don’t know the timetables. Amen.

Heavenly Father, you love to surprise us in ways we don’t expect or can’t imagine, so please help us search confidently for answers to our prayers. Amen.

The Story of Light Advent Candles & Christingle

The Story of Light Advent Candles & Christingle – Bradford Methodist Circuits, North and South.




This year during December we'd like to invite you to pray for a little light in our city. 

During our services through advent some of our churches are handing out candles (well, battery powered LED tea lights to be more precise), to each person present as a sign of God’s light, for them and their community.   As we give them out to people in our congregations or at our Christmas fairs or Carol services we invite people to pray for the City of Bradford.

We are also inviting people to bring their tea light into a special Story of Light Christingle service at 3pm on Christmas Eve in The Wild Woods (the former M&S building on Darley Street). After a 30 minute service we can either make our way down to the mirror pool and stretch out our lights around its perimeter, adding our lights to the lights of the city, or head back to add our lights to the Christingles that are happening at 4pm in some of our churches.

Then (for those who want to) it's off to the Made of Bradford bar on Ivegate for refreshments and carols around the Christmas tree! 

Please do be creative with the way you use your tea lights in prayers. Maybe they could become the focus of your intercessions during services? Perhaps you could encourage people to carry them to all their Christmas events? 

However you decide to use them we hope they will focus our prayers on the whole city of Bradford, and help us all to point towards the coming light of Christ this Christmas.

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Looked for, the light of Christ surrounds us. It pushes back the darkness and points us to the promise of God with us, Immanuel.     

May the light of Christ be in all we do
May the light of Christ be in all we say
May the light of Christ be in our every thought

Looked for, the light of Christ draws us. It calls us to pray for our families, friends and communities.

May the light of Christ be in all we do
May the light of Christ be in all we say
May the light of Christ be in our every thought

Looked for, the light of Christ transforms us. It changes our homes and our cities into places of joy and peace. 

May the light of Christ be in all we do
May the light of Christ be in all we say
May the light of Christ be in our every thought         

Amen

Rev’ds Nick Blundell, Lyn Gregg & Graeme Dutton, on behalf of the joint staff of our two circuits.

For more information on The Story of Light go to www.westyorkshiremethodist.org.uk/mission-enabling-team

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Wilsden Trinity Somme Tribute – souvenir

I suppose it started with the Tower of London poppies. Somewhere in the dim recesses of my mind, I lodged a thought; “You could do that on a small scale with knitted poppies”.

It surfaced again at the beginning of this year in which we would see the Somme centenary. The first day of the Battle of the Somme was a critical event in Bradford’s history. In 1916 everybody knew someone who was there. An estimated 2,000 Bradford men, mainly in the ‘Bradford Pals’, were thrown into the big push that day. 1,770 of them were killed or wounded, that was nine out of every ten men.


“1,770 poppies” I thought, “that’s achievable”. So I went to the Stewards and Elders and said “I’ve been thinking”. This tended to make them roll their eyes a bit, but they agreed we could go ahead.

The first call for poppy knitters went out to Wilsden residents in the Easter edition of “Village Voice” magazine. Not much happened. I needed help, someone as organised as I am disorganised. Sharon! Thankfully she said “Yes” and the call for poppies went circuit-wide and there was definitely some interest but so far only about 100 poppies. Then they suddenly began to appear – left under my seat on Sundays, in buckets at Wilsden Pharmacy and the Village Hall, and in bags delivered to my work.

Sharon suggested a WW1 post-Sunday-service lunch to enrol volunteers for the event. We put on a lovely spread of jam, dripping, sardine and corned beef sandwiches. It went down a storm.

I must have been a great trial to Sharon, but she kept me sane. I had so much of this in my head and knew how it would vaguely look, but articulating it into a vision she could share must have been like getting blood out of a stone. She was incredibly patient even when I was still making magic lantern slides with just three hours to go before a paying public arrived. I do like a deadline.

Poppies kept on coming. With about ten days to go we reached our target. Now there was another problem – it was like trying to stop a super-tanker!
It didn’t matter though, as the British Legion said they’d be delighted to take as many poppies as we knitted.

On the day before the centenary, Thursday, we set up the display inside the church. We had hired a box of WW1 items, usually used in schools, from a company which Sharon had found, in Leeds. It included a Mills bomb and replica rifle. Was it appropriate to display them in church? The Leadership Team said “Yes, it’s all part of the horror of war”, and it felt right.

Friday morning, July 1st, seven of us arrived in the churchyard at 6am. It took us an hour to plant the poppies. It was very emotional process;  “This was a man, and this, and this….” Then at 7.30am, zero hour, I blew a blast on the whistle and we held two minutes silence. The century’s span seemed to contract to an instant in the hush.

In the prayer of remembrance which broke the silence we thought of all soldiers who have died in the cause of upholding our rights and freedom and we made that solemn promise  “We will remember them”.

And the doors opened, and people came. And they said kind things about what we had done. And they gave generously to the British Legion.

To everyone involved in any way, knitters of poppies, visitors, helpers, every single one of you, thank you so much for being part of this Somme tribute.

“When you go home tell them of us and say
For your tomorrows we gave our today.”
We will remember them.

Jane C, Wilsden Trinity

Celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday

St Andrew’s Luncheon Club received an invitation from Peel Park Primary School to attend their celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday. We were advised that Steve would come to collect and return all who wished to attend. There was to be tea and cakes, followed by entertainment from the children, and then flag-waving and cheers for the Queen, outside in the playground, weather permitting!

We accepted the kind invitation and so had a slightly earlier lunch. We were collected by Steve at 1.00 pm and driven down the hill to school, where we were received by our very courteous designated staff. They were really caring and helpful. We were treated like royalty!


The school hall was decorated with an abundance of red, white and blue. The student ‘king’ and ‘queen’, complete with crown, robes and throne, sat at the head of the top table, alongside the Lord Mayor, Cllr Rev Geoff Reid and the Lady Mayoress, the headteacher and other dignitaries.

We were seated in front of the top table and the staff waited on us, producing a delicious array of sandwiches, cakes, trifles, yoghurts and other wonderful fancies, which we enjoyed in small amounts. We could not do justice, as we had just eaten a two-course hot lunch! But we tried, so as not to appear ungrateful.

Next came the entertainment, so off we went to the other end of the vast hall. We were escorted to our seats, and then in came 700 – yes, 700! – children, class by class, Each child carried their own Union Jack, to be waved at the appropriate time. They did extremely well to sit patiently for the time it took for the whole school to assemble for the concert; we were impressed by their good behaviour.

Each singing group, choir and glee club was introduced and sang so tunefully and expressively. A visiting choir from Greengates Primary School also performed for us. All the choirs performed so well in front of a large audience. I am sure the staff were very proud of them all.

The afternoon’s festivities ended with a whole-school rendition of ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Happy Birthday, your Majesty’, followed by flag-waving. Can you imagine 700 flags waving? It was a very impressive, and a quite moving sight.
 
Last but not least, our very own Vera W was also celebrating her 90th birthday, and the children and staff sang to her too. What a joyous moment and one to treasure, especially having her photograph taken with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress.

We had a lovely afternoon and enjoyed great hospitality from all at Peel Park Primary. Steve, our trusty driver, delivered us back to St Andrew’s after a busy, eventful, different and super Friday afternoon.

Thank you, Peel Park Primary School!


Jean B, St Andrew’s

Christian Aid at Thornton Methodist Church

On Sunday 15th May, our service was an own arrangement conducted by Geoff B. His service was about Christian Aid and he gave a very interesting talk about the work that they carry out, which gave us all an insight into the work of Christian Aid.

This was followed by a delicious lunch organised by Patricia Francis and Margaret Allan with the proceeds going to Christian Aid.

Elaine B, Thornton

Wilsden Somme Commemoration

On the weekend of 1 – 3 July, Wilsden Trinity Church presented a wonderful display to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

All the churches in the circuit were invited to knit 1,770 poppies, equivalent to the number of Bradford Pals who died on the first day of battle. There was a marvellous response, and more than the required number of poppies were produced. Members of Trinity, guided by instigator Jane C, got up early on 1 July (before 6.00 am!) and planted the poppies in the church grounds. They stopped at 7.30 am, for two minutes silence to coincide with the exact time the battle started.


Inside the church, an amazing exhibition of mementos, artefacts, books, articles and pictures had been assembled, which brought home the horrors of that awful event, in many cases bearing testimony to the experiences of local men, from letters and personal accounts.

On the Friday evening, Gordon B read extracts from the memoirs of a Wilsden soldier, to the accompaniment of a picture show put together by Jane C.

Thank you, Wilsden Trinity, for teaching us so much about our history.

A roving reporter

Holiday at Home 2016


July the 4th is Independence Day in the USA. It was also Independence day for the people of Bradford North Circuit. Holiday at Home descended once again on St. Andrew’s Church. This year, we had more guests than ever before.

We had new guests from Baildon, Saltaire and St. Andrew’s.


Monday 4th July

The day began with everyone getting to know one another. The Agape area was soon buzzing with conversation. Vast amounts of cakes, buns etc. along with gallons of tea were consumed.

Shortly after we moved into the church for lunch. Once again our food providers at St Christopher's did us proud. The word DIET was banned for these three days. The fresh cream trifle was to die for. We also care for our helpers!

After Lunch we enjoyed games. Believe it or not, Snakes & Ladders was popular.

Tuesday 5th July


This was the day of the adventure. Off we went to Helmsley. Were we interested in this historic town? No. What we wanted were Fish & Chips!
After Lunch we headed to the North Yorkshire Moors for a ride on a steam train.

Wednesday 6th July

We were entertained in the morning by Carol W, who took us through an adventure in poetry, which involved humour, caving and other events. We were challenged, as she asked us to shout out words about how we felt. Over lunchtime, she made up a poem about Holiday at Home, using our words.

After lunch Ken Romano entertained us wonderfully. Then we finished Holiday at Home for another year with a short communion service.

Throughout the day Jenny H and her daughter brought much needed relief to the guests with their pampering (massage).

I would especially like to thank all the wonderful helpers and drivers without whose help Holiday at Home could not take place. This year was our largest year for numbers and new guests, for which I am truly thankful.

There will be a celebration day in January 2017, and the full Holiday at Home will be in July 2017 (both dates are to be advised later). We are still looking for new guests and drivers to bring the guests. So if you can help, please contact me.

Thank you for coming and making this Holiday at Home so special. See you next Year.

John W
Circuit Pastoral Co-ordinator