From Westminster to West Yorkshire
The trauma in Westminster this week has happened quite faraway, and yet it is a national agony which we feel even in the “North”. The Apostle Paul used the metaphor of a body to describe the church family when he said, “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it…” And so, in the same way that a wound to the abdomen inflicts sharp pain there - but awareness of pain everywhere, so the immediate piercing damage done in London is also felt in Leeds.
Familiarity exacerbates the fear and distress. Many of us have walked Parliament Square and I still remember the shiver down my spine, waiting for a train at Kings Cross 12 years ago, and reading the headline, “bombers from Leeds” just a couple of days after that particular horror.
Leeds has, so far, escaped direct involvement in this attack but London is not so far away and we must not anaesthetise the pain. What can we do? One thing we can do is to pray. If you are not sure how to pray, here is how I am praying. I hope it may help you:
Sovereign God, hear my cry of “Why, why, why?” I know it is the work of the enemy but still the answers never really satisfy.
Lord, accept my questions.
Sovereign God, I don’t want to forgive but you have been merciful first and foremost so release forgiveness in my heart too.
Lord, accept my intent.
Sovereign God, comfort the broken-hearted. Those who, without warning have lost severely and are thrown into unprepared grief.
Lord, accept my plea.
Sovereign God, repair and heal the injured, in mind, body and spirit. Foil the plan of the enemy to destroy these lives and bring sweet miraculous restoration.
Lord, accept my portion of faith.
Sovereign God, enable the authorities to pursue righteousness and justice, uncovering the danger and thwarting further atrocities.
Lord, accept their efforts.
Sovereign God, for the sake of those who praise you and seek your face, sustain your overwhelming protection of this land.
Lord, accept our worship.
Sovereign God, cast light into the darkness so all may find a way to hope and freedom.
Lord, accept all of our stumbling.
Sovereign God, forgive my preoccupation with the pain that is nearest to home when, not so far away across the seas, many are in constant fear and hunger and many, many more have died. Grant them your mercy and comfort too.
Lord, accept the many prayers of those close to their own tragedies and my prayers for them too.
New People on Staff
In case you weren’t with us last Sunday morning: I was glad to introduce Phil Hicks as the person we have invited to take on the role of Project Manager as we set about the Project of buying a new building, refurbishing it and putting it to good use. Phil has a passion for buildings and as a property developer has great experience in managing projects like this. We are absolutely delighted that he has accepted this challenge!
If you have ideas about what you think God is calling us to do in this building drop him an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you would like to offer skills and energy he would love to hear from you too. In due course I will be coming to you to explain how to give financially towards this project. But please be thinking and praying about it now.
As you will know Molly Ovenden, our finance administrator, is returning to her homeland in Minnesota (with her husband Max!). We are taking the opportunity to redefine the staffing needs within the financial governance of the church (and for Harrogate and Sheffield Vineyards). Therefore we have appointed an excellently qualified Business Manager. Adrian Howe worships at South Parade Baptist Church and is committed to Headingley and a friend of the Vineyard. You may not meet him on Sunday but you will see his face on the website and his name on financial documents!
New People for Dinner
Our next Welcome Dinner for new(ish) people is on Monday evening. If you or any of your friends in the church haven’t joined us before please extend a warm invitation to them and ask them to sign up on-line or on Sunday.