urban mission

We are the Diocese of Leeds: celebrating our volunteers at Leeds Fest

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      

We are the Diocese of Leeds: celebrating our volunteers

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.      

We are the Diocese of Leeds: Serving the community

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.

We are the Diocese of Leeds: Serving the community

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.