At the Friday Get-together Julian Carr spoke about the work of the St Augustine’s Centre in Hanson Lane, Halifax, a voluntary organisation supporting asylum seekers. Newly arrived asylum seekers are allocated to different areas of the country, and those arriving in Calderdale are usually housed in the Hanson Lane area, and are directed to the centre. Here they receive emotional support, and practical help with registering with a GP, money, shopping etc. Lunch is provided daily, and there are English language classes. The centre is run on a voluntary basis. Mr Carr works as an advisor. Afternoon tea was served. The collection was for the St Augustine’s Centre. The next meeting is on Friday, February 28 at 2.30pm. Margaret Whiteley will give a talk about her holiday in Canada, and everyone is welcome.
Maria Glott of Saltaire was the speaker, and her subject was ‘Titus Salt through the eyes of the people living there’. Miss Glott is involved in a dialect project, and addressed the audience as fellow workers, in the language of the time. Titus Salt spent his early years working in his father’s mill in Bradford. In 1830 he discovered Alpaca, which at the time could not be processed. Over the next 20 years he experimented, and found a method of processing Alpaca to produce a very fine fabric, suitable for making ladies dresses, and on this he built his fortune. He became one of the richest men in Europe, a personal friend of Queen Victoria, and all the crowned Heads of Europe; Mayor of Bradford, Justice of the Peace, and MP. In 1851 he commissioned the building of Salts Mill, in the style of an Italianate Palace, situated between the River Aire with its clean water, and the Leeds Liverpool canal, and by the Midland railway, and subsequently built a village for his workers with a school, a library, a hospital, a park, and a church; no Public Houses or pawn shops. It opened in 1853 with many innovations, and is now a world heritage site. He lived at Crow Nest in Lightcliffe, which he purchased from Ann Walker, when she moved to Shibden Hall as Ann Lister’s partner. Afternoon tea was served. The collection was for the Saltaire Church restoration fund. The next meeting is on Friday, January 10 at 2.30pm. Julian Carr will give a talk about the St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax
Friday Get-together - October 2019
The speaker was Ian Slim, and his subject was ‘The Burma railway, truth versus Hollywood fiction’. Mr. Slim has visited Burma, and the site of the railway, built by Japanese prisoners of war in World War 2, and said that the film ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’ was a hugely fictional account; the suffering of the prisoners was so much more severe. There were no questions at the end; just a very quiet and reflective audience. Afternoon tea was served. The next meeting is on Friday, November 15, at 2.30pm, and Maria Glott of Saltaire will give a talk about Titus Salt, seen through the eyes of the people living there. Visitors are welcome.
The speaker was Miriam Asquith, and her subject was Jane Austen. Mrs. Asquith studied Jane Austen as a student, and has a life-long enthusiasm for her novels. Amusing extracts from various books were shared with the audience, and a brief outline of her life, and the inspiration for her works. Afternoon tea was served, and the collection was for the Parkinson’s Disease Society. The next meeting is on Friday September 13th at 2.30pm. The speaker will be Judith McLean, and a warm welcome is extended to everyone.
Message from our Minister
As you read this article Christmas will have been and gone and even the New Year celebrations may only be a distant memory! Some spend all year planning for that time of year and it’s soon over and done with. I hope that there was something in the celebrations that made it a special time for you and those precious to you.
Christmas is one of those times when people who don’t normally share in the worshipping life of a church slip in to sing the carols and to hear the familiar story, or even to watch the children perform a nativity play. One of the reasons many people give for not being part of a church any other time of the year is because of the differences we don’t seem able to sort out amongst ourselves. In some ways that is true but in many ways it isn’t. For instance, I am a Methodist Minister but was raised as a Roman Catholic. Over the years I have been responsible for a URC congregation and shared in the ministry team of an Anglican Methodist LEP.
In the third week of January the churches throughout Britain meet together for what is called the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity”. During this week congregations will gather in other places of worship to pray and worship together. It isn’t easy working together, even those within the same church would say so, but we endeavour to do just that throughout the year. In some ways it is the differences that enable people to worship in a place that connects with them. Maybe 2020 is the year when you reassess your opinion of church and find out what is happening.
May 2020 be a year of challenge, excitement and blessing to you all.
Rev Terry Keen
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Have you ever noticed how waiting for something to happen can seem to take longer as the event draws nearer? It’s a bit like a child waiting for Christmas – each day seems like an eternity! As you read this article, we will have begun what is called the season of Advent. Advent means the time of waiting and preparation. Waiting is not always popular these days in a culture of if you want it you can have it now.
In the world situations we have going on around us as the moment, the appalling stories we see daily on our TV and read about in the papers and along with the effects that they are having on individuals and families within our communities, many will have difficulty looking positively and with excitement to the future. For many the expense of Christmas and the dread of families gathering together, or the fact that some spend time alone, will not be something they are looking forward to.
The Christian Church celebrates at this time of year the hope that came into the world through the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Jesus was born at a time when, for the people of Israel, all seemed lost and the times hard. Israel had been conquered by the mighty Roman Empire and taxes were being imposed to fund the Empire and its vast army – there’s nothing new under the sun, as they say!
Through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection Christians have an example of how to look at life and all that it throws at them. However difficult your circumstances are as this moment in time, know that as well as a time of celebration, Christmas is also about a message of hope. A message of hope helps you look beyond the situations you face and the circumstances you are in to somewhere over the horizon.
May this time of waiting and preparation enable you to catch a glimpse of the message of hope for you and those you cherish. And as you prepare to start a new year in 2020 may you experience that hope in a new and refreshing way.
Yours in Christ
Rev. Terry Keen
Dear Brothers and sisters,
November is a difficult time for many people. We turned the clocks back at the end of October. This means that the evenings get dark earlier and for many this means that for them they are shut in for longer. It is also a month when the world spends time remembering those who are no longer with us. We hold Services of Remembrance on the 11th November to remember those who gave their lives so that we can live in peace. For those who have lost loved ones Remembrance Sunday will be no more special than any other day, it will be just as painful as memories of times spent together will come flooding back.
God was always encouraging the Israelites to remember all that he had done for them, so remembering is OK. God told them to remember how he had been with them in the past whenever they faced difficulties, God also told them to remember the Covenant they had made to be his people, which we do when we share the bread and wine in Communion.
Once in a while our lives are touched by someone very special. Someone who looks at life through different glasses but also has the gift of enabling others to see something of what they see. Some of those special people may have been members of our families, some of them may have been colleagues, others are people we just happen to have met. They challenged us, encouraged us and held us when times were hard. Now they are no longer there, for whatever reason, and we miss them terribly.
Jesus had the same ability. He looked at the world through his Father’s eyes and saw deep inside the person to the passion that was within, to the hurt that was breaking their heart, to the wrong thing they had done that they regretted so much, and he healed them. The loved ones who are no longer with us have left a legacy behind, you and me, to pick up the things that they taught us and to carry them on. This encourages us to try as hard as we can to continue to see the world they way that they did.
As you spend time this month remembering those loved ones, remember what it was that made them special to you and honour their lives by trying to do the same. Have the courage to allow Jesus to show you the world through his eyes and may you be blessed by this time of remembering and may you be a blessing to your loved ones now and throughout the coming year.
Rev Terry Keen
In August as we are between ministers I wrote a report on the Methodist Conference.
Methodist Conference 2019, Birmingham.
I was privileged to be a guest of Rev Dr Barbara Glasson at her induction as President of the Methodist Church 2019/20. The conference was being held at the Hilton Hotel at the NEC, in the past when it moved around the country District by District, it now meets in one central location. An extra duty for me was take two of the Methodist Women in Britain tables for Communion on the Wednesday. I just managed to get them into my car! On the Friday evening I went to the Methodist Women in Britain (formerly Network) service and the induction of their new President. Over 200 people were there to celebrate.
Saturday morning on the hottest day of the year so far we welcomed Barbara to the finish line after her 121 mile walk from Huddersfield to Conference. There was only a short time for her to recover and get ready for her induction service. As a guest I was seated centrally on the third row therefore had a wonderful view of proceedings.
Rev. Ruth Gee, formerly of the Calderdale circuit welcomed everyone and past Presidents of Conference paraded to their seats.
Finally Barbara and Clive Marsh (new Vice President) were welcomed into the room.
Rev Michaela Youngson transferred her cross to Barbara and then, reluctantly handed over Wesley’s Bible. The two then changed places. Bala Gnanapragasam then presented his cross to Professor Clive Marsh and handed over his Wesley Prayer Book, they too changed places.
This was a really moving ceremony, one President handing over to another. Barbara then went to sit in Wesley’s chair, normally kept in the basement of
Methodist Church House.
Barbara’s message to us all is: So What’s Your Story? We heard about how Barbara came to faith through Sunday School, a wild woman on a pink moped wearing a yellow crash helmet (who is now a supernumerary in our circuit) and listening to stories whilst baking bread in Liverpool. She would like us all to listen to other peoples stories.
Representatives of other churches, Young Methodists and International Methodist Churches were introduced and welcomed Barbara and Clive. Some wore traditional costumes of their countries and were very colourful.
Following refreshments Prof. Clive Marsh gave his address, the theme The Three P’s. Pleasure, Piety and Politics from music (pleasure), on being routed and grounded (Piety) and on Raging Righteously becomes politics.
There was such a diversity between the two styles, Barbara’s relaxed and humorous, Clive’s academic and informative.
I have placed a copy of Barbara’s address on the notice board for everyone to read, or if you contact me I will email it to you.
The next morning I attended worship before driving home for our evening service. How wonderful to be in the middle of a thousand Methodists singing, we truly are “Born in Song”.
All the new presbyters and deacons were introduced and welcomed to their new roles. Following the service they went off to various churches around Birmingham for their ordination services.
Over the year I will try to keep you updated on Barbara’s journey.
As you may be aware Rev. Francis has been going into St. John’s Primary School each half term to take an assembly. Rev. Francis, Stephen Fisher and I had a meeting last week in the school with the teacher responsible for RE to see how we might continue to have a presence in the school after Francis leaves. Stephen also goes into Ripponden School to take an assembly every other week.
We believe it is important to have this Christian presence in our local schools and Francis has suggested using the Open the Book scheme (openthebook.net) which provides a modern re-telling of Bible stories designed to be read to children. This might also involve dressing up, using props, singing a song….
It is our intention to go into the school once in each half term. In order to do that we need a team of people who would be willing to be involved as narrators, makers of props and costumes when necessary, singers (simple songs) etc. If you think this would interest you, please see me for more information.
Francis's leaving service
There was a full church to celebrate Francis’s ten years as Minister in the Calderdale Circuit. People came from all his past and current churches to share in the service of praise and thanks. A big thank you to everyone who took part preparing the service, music and contributions from other ministers and staff. Not forgetting the wonderful food provided for the refreshments afterwards.
July from our Minister - his last.
In preparing for our impending move, I am in the process of deciding which of the books I have acquired over the years to keep and which can be moved on. In doing so, I am coming across those that I have not had the opportunity to read for quite a while. One publication from a few years ago was from an event held at Skegness where we attended the annual ‘Spring Harvest’ at Butlin’s. Each Easter Spring Harvest attracts large numbers of people of all ages and it is an opportunity to meet with new friends and familiar faces during the week. The theme that year and captured in the book invited us to follow Jesus and to ‘see the world through different eyes’.
The call to follow Jesus daily, to see the world with His vision and to share the Good News of Christ, was meaningful. The themes of journeying, meeting folks along the way, and as a result, having a new and different perspective brought into focus for me, the biblical account of two friends journeying towards a village called Emmaus. They were travelling with deep sadness and then were unexpectedly joined by a third person on the journey whom they at first did not recognise. This person spoke with them and opened the scriptures for them and when he broke bread with them ‘their eyes were opened and they recognised him’ [Luke 24: 13 – 35]. These two friends had met with the risen Jesus:
‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us? That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.’ As they met with the risen Christ they now could see the world through different eyes and the truth that through Christ and his life, death, resurrection and ascension; through His-story, nothing would ever be the same again.
As we prepare to leave Calderdale, I’d like to take this opportunity to give thanks to God for his calling. We are grateful to Him for bringing us as a family to this wonderful place. I can hardly believe that we have been here for 9 years and I want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for the love, support, wisdom, insights, friendship and fellowship, acknowledging the joys and sorrows, that we have shared together throughout our time here. We as a family have seen with our eyes the light of the love of Christ in the people we have had the privilege of journeying alongside here, in the churches in the Calderdale Circuit, the now Yorkshire West District, with ecumenical colleagues and congregations and the wider community. It has been a real and genuine joy to have served here in this beautiful part of the country with special folks where we have been deeply blessed.
We have a plaque displayed in our hallway that is a reminder that ‘The Lord is with you everywhere you go [Joshua 1: 9]. As we all journey on in the certain knowledge that Christ goes before, with and ahead of us, I offer a prayer for us all:
Talk with us, Lord, thyself reveal,
While here o’er earth we rove;
Speak to our hearts, and let us feel
The kindling of thy love.
Charles Wesley [1707-88] alt
To God be the glory,