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.
We are the Diocese of Leeds
A new series of videos profiles life across the diocese.
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.
This week our latest film in our year long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds gives us a glimpse into a day in the life of a school chaplain at one of our 245 church schools and academies. Marcus Bull is chaplain at Trinity Academy, Halifax, a co-ed school for pupils aged 11-19. For Marcus, his presence in the school - which achieved Outstanding in all areas from OFSTED in 2013 – means that faith is a visible daily presence and offers a real possibility for all its students - many of whom have little or no connection to a religion or a regular faith. The school has its own prayer, the Academy Prayer, which is prayed daily. It was written by former students with the help of Marcus some years ago and he wants the current students to rewrite it for their own time, to help them have a sense of ownership of it.
Building bridges between communities is an important part of mission and ministry across our diocese. This week our latest film in our year long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds is a cricket match – between clergy and imams on both sides of the Pennines. Called, Love of the Roses, it was the idea of Kumon Y’All- - a Dewsbury based community group working since 2008 to do whatever they can to bring people of different faiths, cultures and communities together to create a better understanding between them. And at the heart of all they do is young people. Leader, Farook Yunus said: “Whether it is sport, food, talking, issues, problems, clean ups; whatever it is that brings people together naturally. We empower young people to take on the planning and delivery of projects.” As he says in the film: “It's not about the winning, it's about making friends: showing the world that we can do it; it’s so important."
This week we get a glimpse of the mission and ministry of the church in Skipton for our film in our year-long campaign to tell our story here in this new Diocese of Leeds. Holy Trinity, Skipton, one of two parish churches serving the town, is known as the parish church on top of the high street – and is open every day to welcome the local community and the thousands of weekly visitors who flock to the Gateway to the Dales on day trips and holidays. It is also home to a large rural community – with pockets of social deprivation – and vicar, Veronica James is proud to be the vicar in the community and the chaplain at the local Auction Mart with its regular cattle, sheep and lamb sales. This she says allows her to be part of the community, be alongside people where they are, see how people live their lives and give them support if they want it. Said Veronica: “Just having the presence of being the vicar in the community is so important for people. I am around with people where they are; they can see there is a representative of the church who lives here and works here.”
‘In Christ there is no foreigner, in Christ we are all kin’ underpins the ministry at St Aidan’s, Harehills, Leeds. Situated in a deprived area just out of the city centre, this is a demanding, challenging and exciting parish in a richly diverse part of Leeds. Home to the Brangwyn Mosaics –1,000sq ft of mosaics telling the story of Aidan’s life, this is a church where people of many different backgrounds, cultures and languages seek to live out the gospel of love and reconciliation by serving the local community, especially those living on the margins of society. It offers twice weekly English classes, a weekly food share, a regular community meal which feeds 70 to 100 people, a Drop In for Asylum seekers and refugees and a weekly Eritrean church service, and Bible study classes. And at the heart of all that it does, is the daily Mass.
We are the Diocese of Leeds at the start of the day.....In this season of Lent, it seemed appropriate to remember the daily office, to remember that when we pray, there are millions of Christian people all around the world also praying; daily in churches, in their own homes, in their cars, at work and those prayers are joined to the prayers of the saints and angels in heaven. You might not hear them. You might feel very alone in your prayer; but you are not alone. There is no “my” prayer. It is, as the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer states, “our”. We have around 1,000 bellringers across the diocese who regularly call worshippers to church every Sunday and who usually practise once or twice a week. If you want to know more or are interested in bellringing, contact your local church to find your nearest group. Volunteers are always welcome.