Serving our communities is the theme for this week’s films in our year long campaign to tell the rich and varied story of life here in the Diocese of Leeds. This week we show you two churches in very different contexts; both of whom are serving their communities where they are and give us a glimpse into the wide range of church and community life lived out here in the diocese. In Leeds, All Hallows in Hyde Park is situated in a densely populated inner city suburb its neighbours include three big mosques, a big Hindu temple, the two Universities of Leeds and Leeds Beckett and a huge amount of social housing. Connecting the church with the parish is the overriding mission of All Hallows – and prayer and love is at the heart of everything they do. They run a Real Junkfood café made from food destined for landfill every Monday lunchtime; Syrian refugee friends run a Syrian Kitchen there every Thursday lunchtime and a Friday bistro-style menu once a month. During Ramadan they will offer weekly Iftars. And the church is used for training other clergy who may not have had much interfaith experience in the Faithful Neighbours programme. The vicar, the Revd Heston Groenwald said: “This church makes space for people to encounter each other across divides; whether that is students and non-students; Muslims and non-Muslims; refugees and non refugees, or our LGBT friends. “The church and our café allows people to engage with each other and be surprised by each other’s humanity,’ he added.
This week our latest film in our year long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds gives us a glimpse into a day in the life of a school chaplain at one of our 245 church schools and academies. Marcus Bull is chaplain at Trinity Academy, Halifax, a co-ed school for pupils aged 11-19. For Marcus, his presence in the school - which achieved Outstanding in all areas from OFSTED in 2013 – means that faith is a visible daily presence and offers a real possibility for all its students - many of whom have little or no connection to a religion or a regular faith. The school has its own prayer, the Academy Prayer, which is prayed daily. It was written by former students with the help of Marcus some years ago and he wants the current students to rewrite it for their own time, to help them have a sense of ownership of it.
Building bridges between communities is an important part of mission and ministry across our diocese. This week our latest film in our year long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds is a cricket match – between clergy and imams on both sides of the Pennines. Called, Love of the Roses, it was the idea of Kumon Y’All- - a Dewsbury based community group working since 2008 to do whatever they can to bring people of different faiths, cultures and communities together to create a better understanding between them. And at the heart of all they do is young people. Leader, Farook Yunus said: “Whether it is sport, food, talking, issues, problems, clean ups; whatever it is that brings people together naturally. We empower young people to take on the planning and delivery of projects.” As he says in the film: “It's not about the winning, it's about making friends: showing the world that we can do it; it’s so important."
This week we get a glimpse of the mission and ministry of the church in Skipton for our film in our year-long campaign to tell our story here in this new Diocese of Leeds. Holy Trinity, Skipton, one of two parish churches serving the town, is known as the parish church on top of the high street – and is open every day to welcome the local community and the thousands of weekly visitors who flock to the Gateway to the Dales on day trips and holidays. It is also home to a large rural community – with pockets of social deprivation – and vicar, Veronica James is proud to be the vicar in the community and the chaplain at the local Auction Mart with its regular cattle, sheep and lamb sales. This she says allows her to be part of the community, be alongside people where they are, see how people live their lives and give them support if they want it. Said Veronica: “Just having the presence of being the vicar in the community is so important for people. I am around with people where they are; they can see there is a representative of the church who lives here and works here.”
‘In Christ there is no foreigner, in Christ we are all kin’ underpins the ministry at St Aidan’s, Harehills, Leeds. Situated in a deprived area just out of the city centre, this is a demanding, challenging and exciting parish in a richly diverse part of Leeds. Home to the Brangwyn Mosaics –1,000sq ft of mosaics telling the story of Aidan’s life, this is a church where people of many different backgrounds, cultures and languages seek to live out the gospel of love and reconciliation by serving the local community, especially those living on the margins of society. It offers twice weekly English classes, a weekly food share, a regular community meal which feeds 70 to 100 people, a Drop In for Asylum seekers and refugees and a weekly Eritrean church service, and Bible study classes. And at the heart of all that it does, is the daily Mass.
We are the Diocese of Leeds at the start of the day.....In this season of Lent, it seemed appropriate to remember the daily office, to remember that when we pray, there are millions of Christian people all around the world also praying; daily in churches, in their own homes, in their cars, at work and those prayers are joined to the prayers of the saints and angels in heaven. You might not hear them. You might feel very alone in your prayer; but you are not alone. There is no “my” prayer. It is, as the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer states, “our”. We have around 1,000 bellringers across the diocese who regularly call worshippers to church every Sunday and who usually practise once or twice a week. If you want to know more or are interested in bellringing, contact your local church to find your nearest group. Volunteers are always welcome.
Making bread together is a special project to prepare children from Masham CE Primary School for their weekly Holy Communion Service in the church. The vicar, the Revd David Cleeves introduces pupils in Year 5 to the stories of Holy Week and Easter and its links with Communion. To make it more memorable, he bakes a loaf of bread with them using it to link with the last hours of Jesus’ life. For example, he tells them you are rough with the mixture when you knead the bread, like people were rough with Jesus and, you have to wait for the yeast to do its job, just like people waited for Jesus to rise. The loaf they make together is then used in the service and is the start of Year 5 regularly attending the Wednesday Holy Communion service with Year 6 and local people.
Scores of our churches find Messy Church a good way of reaching community and especially connecting with those who might be reluctant to come to church on a Sunday – and St Margaret’s, Frizinghall is no different as this short film in our year long campaign, We are the Diocese of Leeds, shows. St Margaret’s is a parish near Shipley on the outskirts of Bradford, home to many Muslim families. They found that Messy Church was a really good opportunity to be able to welcome people from different faiths into the church in a non threatening, fun way. They now run Messy church on the second Sunday of every month from 3-5pm with a range of games, activities, songs, a Bible story and a meal to share at the end. You can find out how Messy church could work for you in your context with free training workshops by its creator, Lucy Moore from the Bible Research Fellowship. The first, will be held at Ripon Cathedral on Sat March 4 from 10am with creative ideas and inspirational training, including the basics of Messy Church, Messy discipleship, and open space creative discussion. NEXT: 15th July 2017, 2-4pm Bradford Cathedral 25th November 2017, 10-3pm Wakefield Cathedral To book a free place, please contact Sammi Tooze in the Church Growth department on: firstname.lastname@example.org 0113 3530266
St Stephen’s Bowling is situated in an area of great need in the centre of the city of Bradford. Its vicar, the Revd Jimmy Hinton and his wife, Sarah both have a heart for the poor and their church has become a hub for the local community with its Shine project which includes a weekly Craft club, a CAP Job Club, access to computers, a gardening club, wellbeing activities and a Children’s Clothing Bank. Around the church building there are football nets and spaces for local youngsters to play. The film shows a day in the life of St Stephens. The weekly Refugee welcome group is run in partnership with Refugee Action. There are activities for children to meet with others who understand their situation, and, as well as general support, the adults can receive advice on their status and other wellbeing activities. The creative group is Creative Threads. It meets once a week and provides a supportive social group for those from the church and community - encouraging friendship as well as teaching new skill.
This is a short promotional version of We are the Diocese of Leeds film – no longer than 20 seconds designed to share on social media to signpost people to our website to find out more of who we are and what we do.. Feel free to share it.