Find here reflections written by bishops, members of clergy and laity from across our diocese. Many of these reflections are produced for Leeds Diocesan News, which is released the first Friday of every month.
You can imagine my surprise when I saw on a billboard the following headline: ‘Satan’s Coming to Town’. I always thought he had more important bad things to do. Of course, I had mis-read it. It actually said that the story was about ‘Santa’. Far less exciting, but probably more appropriate to the season of Christmas. But, it did make me think also about why my mind replaced Santa with Satan. Just an anagram? Or something deeper and darker?
The Advent season is one of waiting. How do you wait? Be honest - do you ever wait in the hope of escaping our reality, or in despair watching the world around us in conflict?
On a glorious October day, I was privileged to accompany Archbishop Stephen on a walk from South Ossett to Dewsbury Minster for the launch of Faith in the North; an initiative to celebrate the faith stories of the province.
I think I’m pretty good at getting other people to do things, or maybe I’m just so useless that other people give up and end up doing the jobs themselves, usually much better than me. I suppose the positive spin to put on it, is to say that I’m a facilitator, even a facilitator of rural mission and evangelism.
I must admit that I have found these words of Jesus more than a little troubling at times. St Catherine’s Church in Wakefield, where I serve, has been at the forefront of emergency food provision for well over a decade. Telling people whose biggest anxiety is whether they can afford a summer holiday next year not to worry, is one thing.
I have only been on a few short pilgrimages in my life, but when I have they have been a rich blessing. I am always grateful for even just a few hours walking along paths where others have trod before and alongside those who walk with me now. And on any pilgrimage, or even a good hearty walk, what we experience, see and hear can speak to our souls.
Do you ever find the church calendar unhelpful? Or feel stuck in a church season? Ritual and rhythms help our spiritual journey. Anniversaries give opportunities for remembering. But sometimes, I feel a frustration, almost a play acting whilst we wait to celebrate Christmas or Easter morning.
Later this month we will be embarking on Generosity Week as Stewardship teams across the Church of England remind us of the generosity of God and of our own call to be generous with the gifts He gives to us.
As I prepare to leave the Diocese to take on a new role as rector of St Giles West Bridgford, I look back with great thanksgiving for the last 17 years and for each of the different roles I’ve held and communities I’ve been a part of. Reflecting specifically on the last five years and my role as Diocesan director of interns I give thanks that the programme is now established and has seen over 64 interns and 16 mission apprentices take part.
Summer’s here! I know that joyful shout may have been rare in recent wet weeks, but as I write…the sun is shining.