'Believe in Shipley' Festival launched with rugby league star and Archbishop

LogoCHRISTIANS from across the town of Shipley in West Yorkshire have come together this week for a festival of events to celebrate why they Believe in Shipley.

The ten-day festival of Christian faith started last weekend and hads involved everything from muppets to gladiators, rugby league stars to archbishops and pampering to picnicking.

This Saturday (pictured left, courtesy of the Bradford Telegraph and Argus) a free picnic will be held in Roberts Park, Saltaire. “Picnics give us a chance to relax and enjoy the company of others in the great outdoors. We want to help everyone to do this on October 1,” said event organiser Debbie Skowronski, a member of  St Peter’s Church, Shipley.

Tonight (Thursday September 29), the Bishop of Bradford, Toby Howarth will speak at a curry evening held at the local Aagrah restaurant in Shipley. 

“Lots of people can still get the impression that being a Christian is somehow dull, boring and means you never do anything interesting except go to church!” said Rev John Rainer, vicar of St Peter’s Church and chair of the steering committee for the event. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. We believe God created us to celebrate life and everything that’s great about where we are – and that’s what Believe in Shipley will be all about.”

Mr Rainer and a group of ministers from churches across Shipley have been working together with their congregations to organise a range of events during the week aimed at helping the whole community to come together and celebrate.

Highlights of the programme have included:

  • A free exhibition of work by Christian artist Elizabeth Gray King running all week at Saltaire Methodist Church. Elizabeth will also be in town throughout the week, creating artworks at the various events.
  • An evening with the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Dr John Sentamu, at the Victoria Hall in Saltaire on Monday 26 September.  (He is pictured left with friends from Shipley Masjid and Bishop Toby Howarth (right))..
  • Rugby games and a chance to meet Leeds Rhinos star Jamie Jones-Buchanan and some of his colleagues at Hirst Wood recreation ground and St Peter’s Church on Tuesday 27 September
  • A ladies’ pamper evening, organised by St Paul’s Church, at the Mercure Hotel on Tuesday 27 September
  • An exhibition of flowers and photography – Linking our Community – all week at St Peter’s Church
  • A special event for young people in Roberts Park, Saltaire, after school on Wednesday 28 September
  • A residency every evening Tuesday 27th – Friday 30th September at the Ring o’ Bells pub in Kirkgate with John Froud and Stewart Henderson providing music, poetry, laughter and faith
  • A curry evening hosted by the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Rev Dr Toby Howarth, at the Aagrah Restaurant in Shipley on Thursday 29 September, organised by St Paul’s Church
  • An evening with ‘Ace’ from TV show Gladiators at Costa Coffee in Shipley on Friday 30 September
  • The Big Picnic, entertainment, events and enough free picnics for 2,000 people in Roberts Park, Saltaire, on Saturday 2 October.

In addition, Christians from across Shipley will be coming together to form a Scratch Gospel Choir that will perform around the town during the week and two professional puppeteers from the United States have travelled to Shipley for the event. They have worked on shows including The Muppets and will be bringing some of their puppets along to events and appearing around town during the week.

“The Christian faith has long played a significant part in the development of our town, right back to the days when faith motivated men like Sir Titus Salt to build Saltaire village and treat his workers well,” Mr Rainer said. “Today, Christians of all traditions in Shipley   still seek to serve and bring transformation to our community today as we express a living faith in Jesus Christ.

“Believe in Shipley” is a time to celebrate together, and to share all that is good about Christian faith. All are welcome, from all faiths and none, and we just encourage you to come and join us!”

Entry to all the events except the pamper evening and curry event is free and no tickets are required, except for the evening with the Archbishop of York, for which free tickets are available from St Peter’s church office.

More information about all the events can be found at the website:


Facebook page: www.facebook.com/believeinshipley

Or by following the event on Twitter: @believeshipley

Scroll to Top