Have you seen a Viking?

If you would like a mysterious novel with mermaids, mermen, ministers and land barons set in the wild western Isles and with some difficult questions of faith weaved throughout, I recommend the Secret of the Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford (an old friend from SW London Vineyard). A great read. And last Thursday I went to the dress rehearsal for Peter Grimes at the Grand Theatre. It’s an excellent watch & listen (if you like Benjamin Britten). Directed by Phyllida Lloyd of Mama Mia fame. Again, it presents a deep challenge to the church (and the communit
viking-on-a-white-background-v
y) about how we deal with the outsider.

As soon as you spot a Viking warrior or a Smurf wandering down the Headingley mile you know that the students are beginning to drift back to Leeds after their long summer sleep (just kidding!). Many are coming to Leeds for their first year away from home. Indeed some of our parents are taking their children off to other cities. So last weekend Andy and Anna went to Hull for some training with John Clarke and have come back with a host of ideas. When we are based in Headingley we will have a responsibility to look after students. We are planning some ways of doing this and if you would like to help please let us know.

 
HEADINGLEY METHODIST
In 4 Sundays’ time we will be meeting for weekly worship at Headingley Methodist. As I keep saying this is going to involve change – mainly for each of us, personally, dealing with different ways of doing church. Here’s another two changes for you to think about and prepare for.

Firstly: (for those who are driving) we have not been very successful in arranging car-parking spaces so, unless something turns up soon you will need to find somewhere to park in the vicinity of the church. It’s not quite as bad as people sometimes make out – it is a Sunday so some restrictions are removed. The car park of the Taps Pub is public and there is usually on-street parking within ¼ mile or so. It is a matter of allowing an extra 10 minutes to find somewhere to leave your car and then walk.

Secondly: we have decided not to serve food before the service (I’ve just dived under the desk to protect myself … is it safe to come out yet?). People who are serving on teams will have some sustenance provided of course but our pre-service welcome will include good quality coffee, tea and cold drinks but not food. There are several reasons for doing this, not least the need to avoid crumbs falling down the gratings and food damage to the pews.

GOD SPEAKS, WHO’S LISTENING?
At Ashburnham Alison and I led a seminar series on listening to God. How to hear Him and then how to share what He says with others. It was great! Someone who was there rang me today and I want to share her story with you. During one of the seminar exercises she felt God gave her the words, “I accept you for who you are and I am sorry for the way the church has treated you.”

As she dwelt on these words she felt that they were for someone back home. So when she got back she took an opportunity to share them with him, a gay man who isn’t a Christian and who has been living with AIDS for 10-15 years. He is someone who, through his job, is exposed to senior, international, religious figures laying down the law on homosexuality.

When he heard these words he was tremendously affected. He said how much he wished some of the people close to him who had rejected him could hear them. And since then he has been very friendly and appreciative of our friend’s support. God has opened up a really healthy channel of communication and compassion (just like Pete taught us last week – this is God’s way for all of us).

UNITED LEEDS
Last Sunday we joined with hundreds of people from many churches around Leeds to be inspired and challenged by Tony Campolo. He reminded us that the church is the greatest success the world has ever seen – and that God wants to continue to do His work in the world through each of us.

As examples of what the church in Leeds is doing, Laura from Kidz Klub told us how they reached 248 Leeds children in 2000 and are now reaching 9,000 children. “I want to see a Christian within walking distance of every child that goes to Kidz Klub in Leeds” she said, “and did you know that children in Harehills have 10 years less life expectancy than children in Alwoodley. What a difference 10 mins make".

John Casey told us about the remarkable growth of the Foodbank. 9 tons of food already donated in Leeds. The North Leeds site is already up and running and he is hoping that four sites will be operating around within a few months. Apparently demand for foodbanks has trebled in the last year around the country.

These are both ministries we have supported financially and with people.

WEEKLY WORSHIP
This Sunday James Garvican is teaching about being a Gospel Church and we will get to hear stories from several people who have come to know Jesus.

Last Sunday the children seemed to have a great messy time – read more here.

And Peter Sammons inspired us to be compassionate and to be a compassionate church. And next week, our last at Ralph Thoresby, Kate Newman will be teaching about being a Serving Church.

Today, Saturday, the young people have gone to Saltburn to surf!

Peace

David

David Flowers, 14/09/2013
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