Mid-May saw variety in the music of two Yorkshire Dales churches which both received visits from very different sets of Christian musicians
Bolton Abbey rang with the sound of African singing as it was visited at the weekend by forty three Congolese refugees who came on a day trip from Bradford where they have found shelter with the Anglican churches of St Clements and St Augustines.
The African families who have escaped from fighting and slaughter in the Democratic Republic of Congo, enjoyed a day exploring the beauties of the area. Parish priest, the Revd Dale Barton said, “We visited the church, had our picnic in the hall, played by the river - one person fell in and had to be rescued by our Tanzanian visitor - and practised a few songs.”
Bolton Abbey became a rehearsal studio for a Sunday evening of African music back at St Augustine’s Church, Otley Rd, Bradford, which, says Dale was a joyful occasion with around 100 people attending. “On Sunday evening the newly formed choir shone, singing songs in Swahili about redemption in Christ with passion and colour”, said Dale.
“There was a testimony to God’s love recognised in the flight from fighters, villagers ending up on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, paddling across the lake, and with nothing on the far shore, people dying of cholera before a refugee camp was established.”
He added, “Thanks to Simon Cowling and Paul Middleton at the Abbey who hosted us, to Pastor Ken and his church for their input, and to Kongosi Mussanzi from St Augustine’s Bradford for facilitating this event. Africans are key players in the renewal of the church in inner city Bradford with their passion and prayers and desire to communicate the love of God in Jesus Christ.”
The Salvation Army squeeze into Fewston church
Meanwhile, along the A59 road at Fewston, villagers were being treated to a concert by the Leeds Central Band of the Salvation Army. They played a diverse range of music, as well as inviting the audience to join in with some well-known hymns.
Based at The Salvation Army’s Leeds Central Hall in Nile Street, the twenty five serving members are all dedicated Christians and their time is given voluntarily. A wide variety of occupations are represented, including teachers, retirees and managers and students.
PCC secretary Pat Anderson said, “It was an uplifting performance, rounded off with tea and home-made cakes – enjoyed by all - our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the concert. Fewston with Blubberhouses PCC are donating the surplus raised, £300 to the Salvation Army - ‘A force for good in today’s world’.”