Here is footage from the first ever Diocese of Leeds Lay Conference, Together in Faith, that took place at the Harrogate Convention Centre on Saturday 9 June. The day was packed with inspirational talks and workshops with a team of national speakers travelling to Harrogate to lead around 24 different seminars. Some 40 stalls filled the vast ‘Market Place’ hall where refreshments were served and delegates could find out about the work of the diocese. Leading the main sessions were inspiring key-note speakers, Mark Russell, CEO of the Church Army, and the Bishop of Dorking, the Rt Revd Jo Bailey Wells.
A new series of videos profiles life across the diocese. Please note: If you are unable to see embedded videos, it is probably because you are using on older version of Google Chrome. To view - either use a different web browser or update your version of Chrome (via Help + About Google Chrome)
This is the final film in our year-long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds and this week we visited Ripon Cathedral on Boxing Day morning as the Dean was preparing for the annual traditional pilgrimage to Fountains Abbey. This is an important day in Ripon Cathedral’s calendar and last year over 1,000 modern day pilgrims followed in the footsteps of those thirteen monks who, on the day after Christmas Day, in 1132 set out from Ripon and walked the four miles to a deserted valley by the River Skell and started their own community. That community was Fountains Abbey and the annual Boxing Day Pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to the atmospheric ruins has become a Christmas tradition for many. Said the Dean, the Very Revd John Dobson: “Today many people will come because they want a Boxing Day walk for their family, but others will come as pilgrims to follow in the footsteps of those monks in 1132. “We, as a cathedral, have a ministry to all people across the whole region. This Cathedral is here for everyone. God is here for them, “ he added. This year the walk will be led by Dean John and the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs. The event begins with a Eucharist in the cathedral at 9.30am and the pilgrimage will leave from the forecourt around 10.15am. The route leads out of the city along the River Skell and through the Studley Royal Deer Park and on to the National Trust site at Fountains Abbey where it ends with a carol service by the Stray Brass Ensemble and a glass of mulled wine in the cellarium of the ancient monastery. The walk and entrance to Fountains Abbey is free to pilgrims and all are welcome to join in.
This week’s film in our year long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds visits the United Parish of Keighley and looks at how they responded as a church when crisis came to their community. Last year 12 Keighley men were jailed for more than 140 years between them for the sexual abuse of one child in the town. It blew the lid on child sexual exploitation in the town and led to the formation of United Keighley - an initiative bringing together different organisations and communities committed to working together to make the town safer for children and young people by raising awareness and tackling the sexual exploitation of children in their town. There was a United Keighley Week of Action which included a distribution of teal-coloured ribbons representing opposition to sexual violence, and, opportunities to sign the United Keighley statement which condemned all acts of criminality against young people, especially sexual abuse. There were presentations at local school assemblies highlighting the threat posed by child sexual exploitation, art installations and awareness raising at Keighley College and in the Airedale Shopping Centre and a sermon in the Shah Jalal Mosque. The town chaplain, the Revd Dr Jonathan Pritchard, part of this ongoing campaign, said: “I can’t do anything about what’s happening in Nigeria, the Sudan or the Middle East, but I can do something about here in Keighley about that work of reconciliation that Jesus calls us to be engaged in.”
As we begin to get ready to share the magical, musical, miracle of the season upon us, I wanted to remind you of This Christmas - a short, joyful film for you to use, celebrating all that we do in our parishes across our diocese at Christmas. Please share it and spread some of the magic of Christmas here in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds.
Revd Mark Harlow has now moved to St Paul’s Ireland Wood, from his role as curate at St George’s, Leeds - recently designated as the diocese’s first Resource Church. In this video Mark explains his excitement for this new post. The church plant at St Paul's, Ireland Wood, is part of an exciting initiative for church growth and part major funding bid for the Diocese to be considered by the Church Commissioners. The new Diocesan Strategy aims to create a total of five Resource Churches across the Leeds Episcopal area, including St George’s. Resource Churches are backed by the Church Commissioners as part of the nationwide Renewal & Reform programme as they “intentionally resource mission across a city, by planting and revitalising churches, developing leaders and providing other resources for mission”. Committed teamwork is key to success and 45 members of St George’s go with Mark and his wife Kathryn (who will be Associate Priest) to swell the St Paul’s congregation, where Sunday attendance is currently some 25 worshippers. Read more here.
This latest film in our campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds, takes us behind the scenes at St Paul’s, Birkenshaw as they prepare for the latest concert in their month long Music Festival.It was the first of its kind for St Paul's, and the vicar, the Revd Danny Walker, wanted to create something to appeal to all tastes and bring people in to church to hear some fantastic music. And that’s exactly what he did. His rich and varied programme included a Reggae Mass, an evening of Opera North, jazz, a film night; a Good Old Days event performed by the congregation; a Swing Band; Choral Evensong from the Men and Boys choir of Bradford Cathedral, and a Songs of Praise. It proved to be a huge success with well over 2,000 people attending, most of the events sold out, and the church even made a healthy profit. Said Danny: “It just built and built as the month went on. It brought out some real talent and gave people the chance to experience something special right here in Birkenshaw." And one year on - its legacy continues with numbers well up on most events. Plans are already in the pipeline for a similar event next year themed around the end of the anniversary of the First World War with local Big Band Artist, Paul Stone already signed up! “But more than that, “ said Danny. “ It has created a buzz in the community and buoyed up the congregation. They are much more confident now. "And it’s put the church at the heart of the community. That’s worth much more to me than what we raised,’ he added.
For this week’s film, we travelled to Nidderdale in the Ripon Episcopal Area to find out about ministry in some of our more rural areas as part of our year long campaign to tell the story of all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds. In the unspoilt rural cobbled village of Middlesmoor, eight miles out of Pateley Bridge, it was nothing short of a miracle when they were given the funds to erect an internet transmitter on top of their local church of St Chad’s as part of a wider project of connectivity across the Nidderdale Valley. And for farmer and church warden, Stuart Ramsden, it has truly changed his life allowing him to check the weather, prices, sales and do his banking online. He now does email - which he was never able to do before. And he is not the only one who benefits from broadband connectivity. But rural ministry is more than looking at how best to serve your community, it’s the personal touch for some of those living in the more isolated villages as the vicar of Upper Nidderdale, Darryl Hall, now Area Dean of Ripon Deanery, tells us.
For this week’s film, we spent a day at St Catherine’s Church Centre in Wakefield as part of our year long campaign to celebrate all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds. It has been running an emergency food store for those in the city and beyond for over five years – and has regular arrangements with a variety of local supermarkets and other businesses and organisations. Since the start of this year up to October 20, it had given out 1,852 food parcels. And with winter just around the corner, St Catherine’s Church and Centre is asking for donations to boost its emergency food store.(see main story on news for shopping list) But St Catherine’s is much more than just a food bank. It has its own café which runs five days a week; it offers holiday clubs to stop the hunger gap some families might experience during the schools holidays; a day centre offering arts, crafts and a meeting place for the elderly; a community choir which is open to anyone for free choir and music singing every Thursday; a gardening club; creative writing sessions and a Recovery Café every Thursday for anyone aged over 18 with mental health issues where they meet and share a meal together. And every Christmas it opens its doors for a Christmas dinner for those on their own and more vulnerable families which includes a visit from Father Christmas and presents for all the children.
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.