Welcome to All Hallows Church, Leeds

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This Week 24th February – 1st March 2020

Mon 24 Feb – 8 Mar Fair Trade Fortnight
Mon 24 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 25 Feb @6:30-8:30 Carbon Conversations Taster Session at LCI
Tue 25 Feb @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 26 Feb @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Wed 26 Feb @7pm Ash Wednesday worship
Thu 27 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Thu 27 Feb Archdeacon’s visitation
Thu 27 Feb @6:30-8:30pm Climate and Travel
Thu 27 Feb @7pm PCC
Fri 28 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe – CLOSED for cleaning
Fri 28 Feb @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Fri 28 Feb @7-9pm Live At All Hallows – Beccy Owen & The Refuge
Sun 1 Mar @10.30am Sunday morning worship – First Sunday in Lent

See our calendar for more details of what is happening at All Hallows’

Carbon Conversations Taster Session

The Leeds Faith for Climate Action Group are running a Carbon Conversations Taster Session. If you are concerned about your own personal carbon footprint but find it difficult to make a change then why not come along to the Leeds Church Institute on Tuesday 25th February at 6:30pm. Please book by emailing events@leedschurchinstitute.org

Climate and Travel

Leeds Methodist Mission and is hosting an evening of learning and reflection on Thursday 27th February about how we can all make more sustainable travel choices.

From our daily commute to our summer holiday, we all make choices about how we travel and this has an impact on the planet.

We are invited to an evening discussing the challenges and joys of trying to make more sustainable, carbon light choices. Everyone is welcome, whether you fly weekly or haven’t flown for 10 years.

As part of our everyday activism events we always take some small positive actions to encourage systemic change and this will be no different.

There will be food from 6pm and content from 6.30pm, finishing by 8.30pm. Please book here.

This Week 17th – 23rd February 2020

Sun 16-Sat 22 Feb Random Acts of Kindness Week
Mon 17 Feb Random Acts of Kindness Day
Mon 17 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 18 Feb @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 19 Feb @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 20 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 21 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 21 Feb @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Fri 21 Feb @7-9pm Rainbow Junktion Cook Book Launch Bistro
Sun 23 Feb @10.30am Sunday morning worship

See our calendar for more details of what is happening at All Hallows’

Sermon by Dr Jan Betts 16 January 2020 – Calling (Part 3)

Notes from the sermon by Dr Jan Betts 16 January 2020 – Calling (Part 3)

If you could spend your week doing anything you like what would it be?  Watching your favourite box sets? Climbing mountains? Sleeping..I wonder..

I’ve just had a lovely holiday and when I got back what did I find? Two kinds of jobs to be done. One set was lovely, contacting friends, and family, gently pottering in my garden. The other set were not so nice – tough emails to answer,  bills to pay, the hoover has packed up, the car needs its MOT, the last light bulb has gone in the bathroom… lots and lots of jobs need doing and they have to be done or there will be consequences.

One of my solutions to getting jobs done is to get someone else in to do stuff which I really can’t do.   We have jolly chats, and I go about what I can do cheerfully while someone else does what I can’t do or haven’t time to do properly. I feel so much better for the company and the sense of parallel working which it gives me.

I have slowly come to recognise that I can’t do it all in my life at home and am comfortable with that. But what I struggle with and have struggled with all my life is how I find a balance in my ‘working’ life with God.

I know God is not interested in how much I ‘do’. I’m not ‘paid’ with eternal life for being a good worker, thank God. I have a relationship with Jesus which asks me to be wholehearted and utterly committed, as he asked the rich young ruler to be, as he asked Nicodemus to be. Despite that I have struggled with a feeling that I need to be constantly saving the world on all fronts!  As if I could!  

But in a recent sermon on the reading we have today of the five loaves and two fishes I began to join up the dots a bit differently.

John 6:1-15

What hit me between the eyes was that ALL there was in the basket which fed everyone was five loaves and two fishes. That was all.

I thought about this little lad. He was probably running about half listening to Jesus, being with his mates and his family, looking forward to lunch and his little pack up. They would taste so good and he was hungry. And maybe he was standing close to Jesus when Jesus felt sorry for this hungry crowd.

Jesus says to Philip ’where can we buy some bread’? Not where can they buy bread but where can we buy bread? The disciples were knackered and in fact Jesus had brought them to this place to rest but hey ho, the people just wouldn’t leave him alone and he felt sorry for them.

So Andrew takes the hint and goes round asking if anyone had any food with them? There wasn’t much response that we hear of. I imagine the boy is puzzled. Is he the only one who has a pack-up? But he looks at Jesus and he looks at the crowd and he says honestly and simply ‘I’ve got some food’.

The straightforwardness of children is delightful. You’re asking if anyone has any food to share -well yes he has and maybe he could spare some of it.  What were his feelings if no one else was willing to share?

So he offers Jesus his basket thinking Jesus might take a roll and be grateful. And Jesus takes the lot!!! No half measures. He just picks up the whole basket. Hey that’s my lunch says the boy. And watches with amazement while Jesus feeds everybody with it. Did other people bring out their loaves in shame? It really doesn’t matter at one level but I hope so!

Jesus asks us for all of our five loaves and two fishes. We hear this over and over again. If you want a relationship with me you have to be all in. Be born again, be willing to sell those worldly goods which you feel so responsible for, leave your fishing career, stop worrying about impressing your neighbours, or filling your barns full of corn. Come and be part of my Kingdom totally whole heartedly.

What really really struck me was Jesus wants my five loaves and two fishes but I can’t offer more than that. I don’t have olives or cheese or cake. I truly believe that Jesus would never ever ask me to be a treasurer because spreadsheets are not in my basket.  But he does ask for the things I have got such as they are, because they are part of our relationship. I can use them to feed others as well as feeding you, he says. Give me your ability to write or to organise and you will get joy out of it and so will others. And if you give me those and others give me their gifts, their financial skill, their large hospitality, their love for children, why then you’ll get that too because it will be share around for you.

Jesus wants the lot, and he wants the lot the lot from all of us but he wants only what we’ve got. I am thrilled that others care so passionately about climate change that I can hear from them and do small actions. This church punches way above its weight in terms of loving actions in the world.  I am thrilled that Hannah and others love children so much that I can share in the delight of seeing them grow as young Christians and young people.  I am thrilled that people do so much for asylum seekers here and I can contribute what I can to their work. I love the way we affirm people of every sexual orientation. I share in the loaves and fishes which other people have in their baskets to do this caring work, and we are very committed to it as a church community.

Our community is first and foremost this  Gospel-shaped caring. But is it more than that?

Let’s read Acts 2:42-47 and Philippians 2:1-11

We hear in these passages about the way in which the early church worked together, in humility, sharing the love of Jesus among themselves, being Gospel shaped caring. But they also shared  their resources. They fed each other and they took care of the widows and orphans. Lucky people they didn’t have buildings to look after or minutes to take at meetings but we do! What they did do was to give what they had and to support the community of believers.

So I am equally and perhaps even more thrilled that there are people here who share their five loaves and two fishes of talent and energy with us all when they do the chores which need doing  or there will be consequences! I am thrilled that there are people who put the bins out, clean out the chapel, work so hard and with such frustration  to find a way of getting us a new roof, write policy documents to keep us in good standing with the Diocese, who check that the fire alarms are serviced, who notice when there is litter and pick it up, who write contracts for our staff  and  serve with cheerfulness on PCC and do Health and Safety checks.   When I was on PCC we used to say that changing a lightbulb was a holy act of service and it is – it’s a loaf or a fish, and we need to see that as cause for celebration as much as anything else we do.  It’s something we do together, and we get joy out of doing it together and feeding each other. Buddying up to do stuff is so much more fun than doing it on your own. No one can do it alone.

So now I want to give you the challenge which I find so hard, and which reduces me to tears sometimes.

At least 10 years ago we looked at our small community here and our leaky church and our tired faces and we had a whole church discussion and then a vote,  praying and thinking  through whether we stayed in this building or moved out into a school or joined with the Methodists or whatever.  We committed ourselves to staying, which was a momentous decision, and we have worked and prayed to that end ever since. We turned down quite a lucrative contract because it would mean the building wasn’t available for the community during the week. We were trying to live the Kingdom and to live for the love of God together in this community. Those years since have been a long time to be working this through and we still have leaks in the roof, but we’ve done an awful lot else as well, by the grace of God.  We also – and Heston told me to put this bit in – have some tired people who have been working for that long time and need rest.  Giving your lunch, your little bit which grows to feed everyone is not a one day event, but neither is it a life sentence and what we do this year may not be what God asks of us next year.

What he didn’t tell me to put in is to share with you how many people have said they are worried about him when he goes green with tiredness. He also has five loaves and two fishes and while he gets paid it doesn’t give the rest of us leave to not share ours.

So what might be the bit of the loaves and fishes which you could offer in the next five to ten years to keep the vision of our community alive? Every little bit of offering can be transformed when we do it together in the love and praise of God as the early church did.  If we all do it together we get to have a great picnic all the time, others see how much we love each other and no one feels overloaded.

At home as I said I employ someone when I can’t do things. Do we need to think about that? Life has been transformed by having our administrator and thank God for the money that has let us employ lovely Dee to do that role. Some of our loaves and fishes may be more money rather than time, or skills.

Thinking about my five loaves and  two fishes has left me so much more thankful for what I can actually offer, willing to give God back what I have been given and to share it with the saints around me but also clear that I don’t have to offer what isn’t there.  Someone else will share their oranges – in other words do the spreadsheets. I offer what I have to my relationship with God and rest in the hope that we all share together in the harvesting  of the Kingdom.  

An evening of celebration, protest and solidarity on Valentine’s Day

”My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep. The more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite…”
Romeo & Juliet Act 11 scene 2

Love (c) Jessica Hische

Following our response to the bishops’ Pastoral Statement, a few members of the congregation decided to get together at church for an alternative Valentine’s evening yesterday as a symbolic protest to insist that love is far more diverse than the Church may be ready to recognise.

It was a beautiful evening: we prayed through a liturgy of celebration and blessing, we lit candles to remember a dear friend, recently lost, Kye, and to pray for the church to become more compassionate and diverse. We also shared some delicious food. Adriaan had us in stitches with food/sensuality allusions and metaphors from Song of Songs (on hearing this, you’d never look at a pomegranate the same way again!) and Nicola shared a powerful and wonderful poem, which she has just written… and left not one dry eye in the room: 

This is my church, your church and our church, 
a church of unity, sanctuary, asylum, a whole church

Those who have travelled whether willingly or not,
those white or of colour, those with all those who’ve not got

The upwardly mobile, middle roaders and oppressed,
those who’s assigned gender doesn’t meet the way they’re dressed

Those of native language, those with words that helped form it, 
those whose emotions run so deep no words we need, 
those so deeply hurt they can no longer bleed. 

Those who can sing it and shout it that Jesus died for them, 
those scared to even whisper for the weight of silencing from men

When I walk through the doors, oh hi so glad you are here,
not what do we do it’s her, you know her, the queer. 

My name resounds in joyful muse 
never feeling my sexuality, anyone does confuse, 

we are there gods people, 
God’s children worshipping in his image, 
holding up the hearts of those broken whilst they heal, 
holding those so broken they can no longer feel, 
those who had once given up on mankind. 

But here in my church, in your church, in ours, 
all hearts are thrown open and arms wrap tightly 
with the words of our beautiful all inclusive lord, 
we are but people all formed in his image 
so we go forth with strength and rise to the challenge. 

We may have less rights be frowned on by many 
but together we have faith not experienced by any, 
we are the few sent to make us the many. 

Together we grow, divided we fall, 
if you hurt one you will hurt us all, 
but we will take that pain and make it a gain 

For this church is my church is your church is ours, 
our sanctuary, our breath our infinite love divine, 
I am so proud to with these people entwine. 

My church your church ours we conquer, 
ever carried forward by the strength of our father
— Nicola Edmonds, 2020

Here too is an excerpt from the liturgy we used:

An affirmation of Faith and Hope 

O God, Giver of Life, 
Bearer of Pain, Maker of Love, 
affirming in your incarnation 
the goodness of the flesh: 
may the yearnings of our bodies 
be fulfilled in sacraments of love, 
and our earthly embracings be enjoyed 
as a foretaste of the glory to come, 
in the light of the resurrection of Jesus, 
our Companion, our Lover and our Guide. 

May the outrageous welcome of God 
accept us for who we are; 
May the incarnation of the Word 
touch and hold us close; 
May the wandering of the Spirit 
help us risk ourselves for love. 
May God drive us out with power 
to fill the world with her justice. 

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Get Ready for Random Acts of Kindness Week (Feb. 16-23) and Random Acts of Kindness Day (Feb. 17)

Sunday 16th February 2020

Friday was St Valentine’s Day and Monday is “Random Acts of Kindness” Day – on Friday we thought about our nearest and dearest, on Monday we are encouraged to think about anyone and everyone around us.

So what will happen on Sunday?!

Our very own Dr Jan Betts will be sharing her thoughts on “Calling”, as individuals and community with readings from John 6:1-15, Acts 2:42-47 and Philippians 2:1-11.

Our Calling – practising the presence of God

This morning, as part of our current series on “Calling” Heston shared with us about “practising the presence of God”. Here are some notes from Heston’s talk:

We seek to live in an atmosphere of praise and prayer. We aim to be constantly aware of God’s presence, so that we may indeed pray without ceasing. Our ever-deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ’s love that inspires us to service, and strengthens us for sacrifice.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I said to the almond tree, ‘Sister, speak to me of God.’ And the almond tree blossomed. – Nikos Kazantzakis

A prayer of St Anselm
Now, my whole heart, say to God:
‘I seek your face; your face, O Lord, do I seek.’
I will seek you by desiring you,
and desire you in seeking you.
I will find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.

The holiest and most necessary practice in the spiritual life is that of the presence of God. It consists in taking delight in and becoming accustomed to God’s divine company, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with God all the time, at every moment, without rule or measure. We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner, but coming from the purity and simplicity of our hearts. — Brother Lawrence

Spirit of God, come afresh on us…
Open our eyes, that we may recognise you walking with us;
Open our ears and our minds, that we may hear your word;
Open our hearts, that your love may flow through us
and bring the blessing of new life to all we meet;
For you are the God who makes all things new,
and surprises us into understanding.
Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever. Amen.

Practising God’s presence in beauty

The world is charged with the grandeur of God – Gerard Manley Hopkins

Practising God’s presence in the desires of our hearts- opening our lives to God’s grace

Song Purify my heart

Practising God’s presence in self-giving

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45

Jesus calls those who would serve him to follow his example and choose for themselves the same path of renunciation and sacrifice. To those who hear and obey, he promises union with God.

Song Brother sister let me serve you

Practising God’s presence in our daily work (calling)

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
— Matthew 5:13-16

Song Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee

Practising God’s presence in prayer and silence

A prayer of St Anselm
Come now, little child.
Turn awhile from your daily work;
hide yourself for a little time from your
restless thoughts,
cast away your wearisome distractions.
Give yourself a little leisure to talk with God,
and rest awhile in him.
Enter the secret chamber of your heart,
shutting out everything but God,
and that which may help you in seeking him.
And when you close the door, seek him.
Now, my whole heart, say to God:
‘I seek your face;
your face, O Lord, do I seek.’
I will seek you by desiring you,
and desire you in seeking you.
I will find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.
I praise and give thanks to you
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you,
think of you, love you.

Practising God’s presence in bread and wine (on Sundays) and fellowship (every day)

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. –– C.S. Lewis

Like it or not, heaven is other people.
Did you think it was God?
You are right; but it is God in people, just as it is God in you.
— John V. Taylor

Closing songJesus Christ is waiting in the streets

Heston challenged us to spend at least a minute a day in silence, listening and waiting in God’s presence.

Heston recommends reading ‘An Altar in the World’ by Barbara Brown Taylor

This Week 10th – 16th February 2020

Mon 10 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Mon 10 Feb @11am-12:30pm Introduction to British Sign Language – Rainbow Junktion Cafe – Part 3
Tue 11 Feb @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 12 Feb @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 13 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 14 Feb St Valentine’s Day
Fri 14 Feb @11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 14 Feb @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Fri 14 Feb @7-9pm Valentine’s Day Evening Meal – A Pastoral Statement! Church Cafe
Sun 16 Feb @10.30am Sunday morning worship

See our calendar for more details of what is happening at All Hallows’