Harvesting the Radish
Congratulations to Alison for surviving 34 years of married life with me as we celebrated our wedding anniversary on Yorkshire Day (1 August to you non-Tykes). We took a couple of weeks’ holiday and fried in the searing heat on the southern coast of Spain in a smashing little apartment which opened up to the beach and where we were able to sleep (most of the time - no air-con!) and read and rest. Thankyou to the church family for keeping an eye on Alison’s Dad while we were away – it meant we were able to relax in the knowledge that he was being cared for.
Prior to that we spent the weekend in Hamburg visiting the wonderful Vineyard there and established an immediate and deep friendship with the pastors, Ralf & Gitti Miro. We checked in on Dirk who came to faith through our debt advice centre a couple of years ago. He is doing well as he grapples with difficult issues from his past but is being well looked after and discipled by Ralf and the church.
I then spent a surreal week on a “Greek Refresher Course” at St John’s College in Nottingham. I must tell you about that sometime – a bizarre experience but one which did improve my Greek!
Look around you
Do you have a lawn? How neat is it? I read recently that 17% of people look after their lawn purely in order to impress the neighbours. A similar number admit to trimming the grass with scissors to get the perfect finish! Is that what it is all about? Please God, no!
But although we don’t have to impress our neighbours it is important that we know who they are – where we live, at work and, let’s not forget, in our church. We’ve just started a new series called, “Look left, look right, look around you” where we’ll be looking around us to discover how we can love, serve and care for each other and experience this extraordinary thing, so often taken for granted but so craved by the world in which we live. This hope for the world – community through Jesus Christ.
This prepares us for the new Small Groups which we will be launching on September 13 and starting a week later. All sorts of groups which you can join where there’ll be fun and doing life together and opportunity for discipleship and learning too.
One of our fantastic housegroups has been running for 5 years under Roman and Shona’s leadership. They now feel it is time to take a rest. So a couple of Sundays ago the young people in T4:12 prayed for Roman and Shona, to mark the end of “Radish”.
Roman and Shona commented, "A few years ago, after completing servant leadership school, despite being scared, we felt prompted to start a house group for 11-14s. Our aim was to create a welcoming, relaxed, safe place - a refuge from the pressures of teenage life and secondary school - a place to make long term friendships, to gain confidence in expressing honest thoughts and listening to others.
The origins of the name came from a talk by Maggie Gee at a youth retreat - 'Radish' spoke of 'roots' or 'radical' - getting back to the basics of the faith. We saw a need for a place without the constant draw of mobile phones, music and TV. Bringing together housegroup elements - food, worship, bible study and prayer ministry, phones and other devices were collected at the door (to encourage everyone to be 'present' in the room). The young people constantly surprised us by coming back, week after week.
We have enjoyed sharing in the lives of all these young people, seeing them grow and develop with members of our first group now leading worship bands and heading for university."
We are hugely grateful to Roman and Shona, they have been brilliant, opening their home and their lives to these young people. This is how we see the kingdom come amongst us.
We’re well into August and the second year in which we have continued to run weekly worship without a break over the summer. It is a marvellous thing to be able to offer the time and space to worship together on a Sunday morning, and to be able to welcome visitors too.
It is however rather demanding on the Sunday morning teams. So if you aren’t serving on a Sunday this would be a great time to step forward and volunteer - whether it be for set up or refreshments or welcome or working with the children (for which a DBS check is required).
In addition, because our numbers are a bit lower, it works better on Sunday mornings if we sit in the central aisles (rather than spreading out to the back and sides).
Tomorrow a whole host of people from Leeds Vineyard will be heading south for a week of fun, refreshment at Ashburnham. So things will be a bit quieter this Sunday where Matt and Anne will be leading an all-age service at Headingley Methodist at 11.00am (from what I’ve seen of their plans there will be much chaotic fun as well as learning and worship and prayer).
We share communion on Sunday 23 August, Jonathan & Aimee will be dedicating Abigail on 30 August.
Andrew & Sally (who oversee small groups and pastoral care) launch the Small Groups on 13 September.
We are planning the next Baptism service on 20 September (with the baptism up at Ilkley as usual – let me know if you would like to be baptised).
A great resource for families which we would endorse is the Care for the Family Parentalk events. The next one in Leeds is on 17 November and you can book here.