For this week’s film, we were invited to the launch of Saturday Gathering West as part of our year long campaign to celebrate all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds. After four years of the Saturday Gathering, that fresh expression of church that grew out of a food bank in Halifax, the organisers, Christians Together In Calderdale, realised it had grown too big so a second site, Saturday Gathering West, was set up across the other side of town, at St Hilda’s church. That was 12 months ago –they have had their first baptism; a young man named Daniel who has now made the Saturday Gathering West his church – and are confident that, while there have been highs and lows as with any new church plant, St Hilda’s is in the right place to grow and continue to reach out to the community in the area. Chris Butler, a trustee explains: “ Since we opened we have looked a different formats to capture people’s imaginations and look at new ways to engage. For the past couple of months we have found that using skits along with a brief explanation works really well and we now are nick named “The Skit Church.” Saturday Gathering West meets every Saturday at 7pm in St Hildas, Gibraltar Road, HX14HE. Happy Birthday Saturday Gathering West -Saturday 21 October, 7pm. An evening of fellowship and food. ALL WELCOME
This week we turn the spotlight on a new family heritage project in Wakefield Cathedral as part of our year long campaign to celebrate all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds. The Discovery Arcade is an interactive space that tells the story of Wakefield Cathedral’s rich and varied heritage through giant jigsaws, interactive games and window rubbings. The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener said: “We have always said Wakefield Cathedral is here for the whole community and by opening up the building to new and younger generations, this is a positive step towards making that a reality. “We have worked hard to reimagine the space we have, so children can engage with the building and learn more about its rich history and heritage,” he said.
This week we find out what happens when a town centre church takes a pop up shop in a nearby arcade for a week as part of our year long film campaign to celebrate all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds. This will be the third year that Huddersfield St Peter’s will take over an empty stall in the Packhorse Centre in town selling bric a brac to raise funds – but more importantly - ensuring they have a visible and engaging presence in the town. Last year they raised over £2,000 from the stall in the week which was split between church funds and the local food bank and homeless charity. This year they open shop on Monday September 25 until Friday September 29 – and are currently welcoming any donations! Churchwarden at Huddersfield Parish Church, Mike Benbridge said running the pop up shop “captured everyone’s imagination.” And the vicar, the Revd Canon Simon Moor said it had enabled them to reach out and connect with those they might not have done otherwise.
This week we celebrate creation in our year long campaign to beat the drum for all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds with a film that brings us a lovely example of that regular event in the church calendar; the flower festival. We travelled to the further reaches of Upper Wensleydale, to St Matthew’s Church in Stalling Busk, to film them as they opened their doors for their annual August Bank Holiday flower festival. Who would have thought that that tiny church could have created so much beauty and shared so much love that day with hundreds coming through their door from 10.30am until 4.30pm. The theme then was based loosely around the children’s novel, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - and one of the only stipulations was that no flowers should be bought – but cut from your own gardens or foraged from the hedgerows.
For 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, we followed the Church About the Dale ecumenical trailer taking welfare and worship to some of the further reaches of our diocese. It is this vision of welfare and worship that saw the Anglican churches in the Deanery of Wesley and the local Methodist chapels come together to source, fund and plan to get a mobile church trailer on the road. It took 18 months but in August 2015, it was launched with a service of blessing from Ripon Cathedral before making its own pilgrimage through Wensleydale taking faith on the road and providing active support to isolated areas of the Dale. Since that time it has been a regular feature at local agricultural shows including the Gargrave Show and the Wensleydale Show, in market places and every August Bank Holiday, it can be found beside Semerwater for a special lakeside service. The Revd Chris Lawton who looks after six parishes between Leyburn and Bedale, said: “We wanted to reach out to people and to those in need in this isolated rural community by taking the trailer out into the market places, onto the showfields and be able to signpost people to food banks, debt relief, farm crisis, suicide prevention helplines; helping those most in need and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Welcoming new members into our church family is the theme for our two films this week in our year long campaign to tell the story of our rich and varied life here in the Diocese of Leeds. Here, we travelled up to Bedale and had the privilege to be invited to join Archie and his family and friends as he was baptised by the Revd Ian Robinson, Rector of Bedale with Burrill, Thornton Watlass and Leeming. Said Ian: “Conducting baptisms is a highlight in the church calendar, enabling us to welcome new members into the church family, it offers a wonderful opportunity to engage with families in a deep and meaningful manner. “ “Baptism is the starting point of a journey of discovery together, parents and godparents, children and the church family. “And it’s always a joy to welcome the parents and children back to further worship in the church and to be able to conduct services that are designed to help families fulfil their baptism promises.
Welcoming new members into our church family is the theme for our two films this week in our year long campaign to tell the story of our rich and varied life here in the Diocese of Leeds. The Parish of Seacroft, East Leeds has three churches; St James’s, St Paul’s and St Richard’s and together they serve a community of 35,000 people across Seacroft, Swarcliffe and Whinmoor - home to one of the largest housing estates in the country. The church has over 100 baptisms a year – and serves its community in a variety of different ways – often in partnership with other community groups and organisations. And the message of the church is simple: “God loves this place and its people.” And here in this short film, we get a glimpse of the love it shares with its weekly Little Angels group. So called because this special group of under 5s “uplift the life of the church”.
God cares for people in the farming communities is the message of 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. Up in the Craven Area of North Yorkshire, St Andrew’s Church, Gargrave and St Peter’s Church, Coniston Cold have been reaching out to farmers and those working the land in different ways over the years with late afternoon services at Harvest and Christmas to fit the farming day. And to make more connections their vicar, the Revd David Houlton, joined the Gargrave Agricultural Show organising committee, and in 2015 Gargrave PCC created the "St Andrew's Cup" for the champion Blue Faced Leicester sheep at the Gargrave Show which runs every August. As a result of that connection, both David and his wife, the Revd Heather Houlton, now steward the Exemption Dog Section at the show - which has rounds such as dog with the best eyes and the waggiest tail! Said David: “It’s really important to be connected into the community. Many out there find it difficult to get involved in church events as they work long hours – we have to take church to them to show that God cares for people in the farming communities of Craven. Gargrave Show 2017 is on Sat 19 August at Eshton Hall just off the A65 near Gargrave.
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.
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