New things are coming our way

Alison and I took our holidays over Easter so we have been at work these last few weeks. Nevertheless we had a wonderfully replenishing time at Ashburnham,  we've been able to spend some precious time celebrating family milestones (not least my father's 80th!), we were amazed at the quality of Sarah Wallace's Yorkshire Children's Choir performance, we amused ourselves watching Pete Sammons and Ed Rotherham (literally) fall over themselves playing rounders at Picnic in the Park, celebrated England winning the Ashes, and now we are looking forward to inviting Elton John to my birthday party at the Leeds Arena!

I read some great novels over the summer. Amongst them, an old one - Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, “We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us. We were always more or less miserable, and most of our acquaintances were in the same condition.”. Not for nothing is it reckoned to be one of the best English novels, I was suprised how much it made me laugh.

And a new one - Aftermath by Rhidian Brooke, “But this is the wrong way. It'll take longer." "Trust me. It's a better way. " A moving account of coming to terms with the horrors of war once peace has been declared. A grown-up read. Rhidian goes to SW London Vineyard and often does Thought for the Day on Radio 4.

And I have just finished a rather challenging read about the nature of alcohol and its effect on us (High Sobriety, by Jill Stark). It's her diary of 12 months on the wagon after two decades of binge drinking. Moving and thought-provoking, “I thought that not drinking was going to be hard for me. I never expected it to be hard for everyone else…. I must admit I do miss the liberation of drunkenness; you have to work a lot harder to feel bulletproof when you’re sober…”).

Despite many calls on her time Alison seems to be able to keep turning out paintings that people want to buy. She sold another couple at the Ilkley Art Exhibition the other week (and Molly has begun to sell her art work too).

We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Ralph's next week. A lot has been happening and many of you are drifting back to Leeds after holidays and trips all over the place. I have a picture in my mind of lots of little lights scattering all over the planet as the Leeds Vineyard disperses over August and then they all come scurrying back together to make a big bright light again.

I know many of you will have stories to tell of God speaking to you and changes you have experienced in your life as a result. We would love to hear them - please, please, reply to this email or post them in "My Story" on the website forum.

Many new things lie ahead: new jobs, new schools, new babies, new Sunday venue for weekly worship, new opportunities, new challenges.  But whilst things around us might be shifting and uncertain our feet stand on solid ground. God loves us, Jesus died for us, the Holy Spirit fills us and we will continue to do what we have always done as a church: worship, learn the bible, pray for each other and serve our communities to show them the love of Jesus too.

We have 4 Sundays left at Ralph's and during September we will be making preparations for the move to our new Sunday venue in Headingley. To start with, each Sunday we will think about some key priorities for the Vineyard: a worshipping church, a compassionate church, a gospel church, a serving church.

This Sunday we also kick off this new season with a week of prayer and fasting at MORE on Sunday evening – more information to follow soon.

One new thing we will be doing is Reach Out to the students in Headingley during the two freshers' weeks in September. If you would like to get involved with this please let us know asap. You can reply to this email or call the office.

On Sunday 6 October (the last weekend in September is a 5th weekend) we will meet for weekly worship at Headingley Methodist at 10.30am for a 11.00am start - you might like to do some research into "where am I going to park my car"!



David Flowers, 26/08/2013
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