This Week 24th – 30th June

Mon 24 Jun @11-2 Rainbow Junktion Cafe – closed for cleaning, volunteers welcome!
Tues 25 Jun @ 5-7.30pm Leeds LGBT+ Forum launch at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Lower Briggate
Tue 25 Jun @7-9pm PCC Meeting
Tue 25 Jun @7:30-9pm
Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 26 Jun @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 27 Jun @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 28 Jun @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 28 Jun @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sun 30 Jun @10.30am Sunday morning worship – Love in action: Reconciliation
Sun 30 Jun @12 Environment Group Meeting

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

Sunday 23 June 2019

This coming Sunday, our morning meeting is at 10:30am and we are excited that there will be a baptism! Heston will also be sharing his thoughts on “Responsibility” in part two of our series on Love in action.

Sermon by Dr Jan Betts 16 June 2019

Notes from the sermon by Dr Jan Betts 16 June 2019

Last week we heard about the roaring flaming energy of the Holy Spirit which came to the disciples so dramatically at Pentecost. It just filled them with life in every way, and they went on to pour their hearts and lives out filled with that amazing energy of love of Jesus come back to them.

Today I want to think about another way in which we spend energy, the darker side, and how that dark side can be baptised in the energy which filled the disciples that day.

Very often the bad things people do are so much more interesting than the good ones, aren’t they. What sells newspapers? Crime and scandal, wars and hate. Michael Gove taking cocaine. Happiness and goodness, peace and reconciliation appear as ‘features’ but not as the main diet.

Two of the things I suspect are attractive about crime and scandal are firstly that it’s something hidden which has come into the light, so there’s a sense of being in the know about something which someone didn’t want you to know about – we may gloat a little and point the finger and feel indignant. The second thing is that we just may think silently that the bad things we do or have done are nothing like as bad as that. Someone else deserves blame more than I do.

I want to explore something of what he had to say about the things we do that we regret and which I grew up thinking of as ‘sins’ but which now I think of as ‘ disorderly places in my life’. It’s very clear that such disorder is a common wound: no one escapes doing something against their neighbour and themselves at some point. Jesus meets the way we put our energy into being disorderly and out of touch with Him head on, and it’s quite sharply challenging.

How did Jesus deal with this? Our tendency to see the minor crime in someone else’s life and not the major crime in our own?

We have two stories to listen to about his reactions to what were seen and felt as sins.

The first is that of the New Testament chap I have a lot of sympathy for because he was short!

His name was Zacchaeus and you may well know the story but let’s hear it again.

READING Luke 19 1-10

This man was a wealthy tax collector, a man who was able to rip people off with out rebuke because he had bought and continued to pay for the right to collect taxes. He was hated, totally unacceptable. This is the equivalent of some of the stories we hear of many oppressors who can do what they like: it’s the stories we are hearing about in Sudan at present and it also reminds me of stories I have heard of some G4S guards in detention centres, able to do what they please without rebuke or redress. There are many more examples of such group brutality. Zacchaeus lives today. He knows he’s hated but the money and the power mostly make up for the hatred and some of the other oppressors will talk to him even if no one else will. Maybe he thinks he’s just smarter than those he rips off too.

So when Jesus comes to town Zacchaeus hauls himself up a tree away from and above everyone else – how symbolic! . He’s curious about Jesus, – I wonder why? Has been having some of those uncomfortable nudges that we so easily ignore saying to him that he really can’t go on like this? Whatever, there he is, at the back, craning his short little neck and clinging on to his branch until Jesus hikes into view.

At which point there is a terrifying moment. He is greeted by name. Maybe Jesus teased him lovingly a bit and paused a moment after he called everyone’s attention to him. Did they hope he would tell him off? Zacchaeus must have been wetting himself, with everyone looking at him. Is he going to be publicly shamed? Then Jesus says he wants to break all the taboos of Jewish society and enter his house and break bread with him. When we meet Jesus and he says ‘I want to come and be with you’ it is a terrifying moment. It’s life changing and that’s why we avoid it. But what an invitation. Jesus is daring people to say that he can’t go to a tax collectors house, that he would defile himself: as on another occasion Jesus is saying let the ones who are totally sinless speak first because I want to meet this man.

Jesus, like the Holy Spirit, works by gentle invitation and encouragement. Jesus is always and always about relationship and his invitation is always to put ourselves in a right relationship with him, to offer him hospitality. Life changing and terrifying but wonderful.

The rest of the story is not inevitable as we know from our own lives. We can hear the invitation but we don’t have to respond. Zacchaeus could have fallen out of his tree and run away or said no I don’t want that I only wanted to see you passing by and I might think about it for tomorrow or the next day ….but he doesn’t. He dances home maybe thinking ‘aha that’s one in the eye for all those snooty Jews’ who think I’m so unacceptable.

But when Jesus has finished with him he gets the message that he is finally acceptable as the person God has made him. The energy of God’s love replaces the energy of self love. He shows this by radiantly saying he will make recompense for the things he has done wrong to others. He realises that he can’t be in a right relationship with God and not do the same with his neighbour. If we meet the challenge of Jesus to have our eyes and ears opened to how we can be in a good relationship with God, then we will also be challenged about having the courage of the consequences.

The disorder in our lives may be hidden but it is never ever private. What we do when out of touch with God affects others in many ways both obvious and subtle. In the roman catholic church the confession begins ‘I confess to you my brothers and sisters..’ We are never alone in our prayers or our sins but always part of the body of Christ in the world. When we listen and respond to the invitation of Jesus, we are not so much redeemed from our sins as restored fully into the body of Christ.

What God wants first last and always is for us to be included in the marvellous work of love which is God as trinity, mother and father, redeeming and restoring brother Jesus and energising and guiding Holy Spirit. What lasts is not our sins but faith hope and love. The trinity encapsulates this, the ever flowing love between the three aspects of God which we are included in. God doesn’t want grovelling, she wants us to be full of life in relationship with her.

Our second reading underlines this.

READING John 21 15-17

Peter had really really screwed up his relationship with Jesus, saying three times at that awful moment when Jesus was on trial, that he had nothing to do with him. How that must have haunted him but how much more does Jesus’ response restore him. The question Jesus asks isn’t ‘Peter are you sorry?’ He asks ‘Do you love me? Do you want to be in a relationship with me? Do you want the faith hope and love in me to be in you and flowing through you to the world too?’ being restored is not about cleaning up our lives but waking up to the invitation which Jesus offers. It’s not about sin management or whether God has enough love to go round for all of us, it’s about getting over our terrible preoccupation with ourselves and focusing on the light and love of God. Jesus says to Peter, ‘’ if you mean that you love me, go feed my sheep because I want you to show others what you know and have received from me.’ That’s the invitation to us as well. Jesus names us as he did Zacchaeus and Peter. Restoration and the consequence of joyfully and often at a human cost, sharing the love of God. Peter was crucified. Many others are dying for their faith in God today.

We live in a fallen world. We make mistakes and we pay for them and so do other people. We make the same mistakes over and over. That’s a matter for sorrow, but Jesus says come to me all who are burdened with the things which get in the way of our relationship, and I will give you rest from them. I once heard someone say that it felt like killing something in themselves as they turned away from an addiction. To which Jesus says yes, and I killed your death, the wound we all share, the wound of exploiting ourselves and others, by my own death and brought you all back to life with my resurrection.

Mistakes are transformative. Mistakes are where we grow, where any relationship grows. When we confess or forgive or are forgiven we release ourselves and others from the awful focus on our pride or our fear, or our shame or desire to shame them. All God is interested in is restoring us and she longs for us to want that restoration.

The invitation to restoration from our disorderly sins and the promise of the energy of the Spirit in the hard work of dealing with the consequences can happen now.. and now… and now.. and always.

Refugee Week

This week is Refugee Week, the UK’s largest festival celebrating the contribution of refugees and promoting understanding of why people seek sanctuary.

The theme of this year’s festival is “You, me and those who came before” and we are invited to find out more about the lives of refugees – and those who welcomed them – through the generations.

There are lots of events happening throughout the week and you can find out more here.

Do you have ancestors who were refugees or welcomed refugees? Do you know their stories? Why not find out more?

Clean Air Day – Thursday 20th June

This Thursday is Clean Air Day. Leeds is one of the worst cities in the country for air pollution and it severely affects our health and the health of the natural environment around us. We can do our part in reducing air pollution. Clean Air Leeds has a web page suggesting ways that we can all help in reducing air pollution and making Leeds a more beautiful place to live.

Why not have a look and see what you can do?

This Week 17th – 23rd June

Refugee week
Mon 17 Jun @11-2 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 18 Jun @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 19 Jun @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 20 Jun Clean Air Day
Thu 20 Jun @11-3
 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Thurs 20 June @ 7pm Harehills Great Get Together at the Infinity Centre, Bilal Mosque, Conway Road, LS8 5JH
Fri 21 Jun @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 21 Jun @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sun 23 Jun @10.30am Sunday morning worship

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

PRESS RELEASE: The Time is Now, not 2045!

Press release from Green Christians 9 June 2019

Aiming to reach net-zero carbon emissions after 2025 is ‘complicit in violence’, warns Green Christian.

The charity finds the deadline of 2045 promoted by the Climate Coalition for the Mass Lobby of Parliament on 26 June 2019 ‘troubling’. Green Christian argues that in continuing to feed climate breakdown for so long the UK would cross a ‘moral threshold’ and hold future generations to ransom. They call for courageous political leadership at a time when public demand for action on the crisis is surging.

In its statement published today, Green Christian say that the disruption to the UK of aiming for net zero by 2025 will pale beside the violence to poorer nations and today’s children which is implicit in delaying it to 2045, let alone 2050. The charity says the UK has ‘no right to slough off this responsibility, and the vicious consequences of doing so, on those who have no voice and no power’.

In May 2019 the independent Climate Change Committee advised the government that it was ‘feasible’ that the UK could stop its contribution to global warming by 2050. The Climate Coalition, which is led by larger charities and civil society organisations, has shown that it can be done by 2045. The Coalitionencourages the public to lobby MPs to enshrine this deadline in law, to be brought forward ‘if the science demands swifter action’.

Green Christian argues that it is political choice, rather than scientific evidence, that determines what is ‘feasible’. Since the actions of Extinction Rebellion over the Easter period this year, there has been an upsurge in public concern on climate change, and a declaration of ‘environment and climate emergency ’ in Parliament*(See note 2). The charity argues that the mandate exists for immediate, focused, co-ordinated and equitable action across society, on a scale last mobilised in World War II.

Chair of Green Christian, Paul Bodenham, said, ‘Scientists have been warning about global warming since the 1980s. Now it’s too late to avoid making sacrificial, disruptive choices. A 2045 deadline for net-zero, let alone 2050, should trouble everyone’s conscience. With every year we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, more lives will be lost and the risk grows of catastrophic breakdown. 

‘If the UK is serious about international leadership we must acknowledge the debt our country owes to poorer nations and to the young and unborn. The profound insecurity they now face is mainly due to the privilege, power and indifference of today’s industrialised societies, of which the UK has the longest history of all’.  

In its guidance for the Mass Lobby Green Christian advises its members to ensure MPs understand the risks of the Paris Agreement failing to limit warming to 1.5C, and ask the government to ‘identify national pathways to achieve net-zero emissions in 2025’.

Ends

Notes:

  1. Green Christian called for churches to declare a climate emergency on 29 April 2019.  Further advice for members of denominations and representatives on governing bodies is available atwww.greenchristian.org.uk/emergency.
  2. The phrase “a declaration of ‘environment and climate emergency’ in Parliament” has now been substituted for the phrase used on 9 June in the first edition of this press release, “a declaration of ‘climate and ecological emergency’ in Parliament”.
  3. Green Christian was formed in 1981 to share green insights with Christians, and Christian insights with the green movement. The charity produces resources, campaigns and events to help people relate environmental issues with their faith, and integrate environmental action into their mission.www.greenchristian.org.uk

Ceilidh for Nicaragua

On Saturday 15th June at 7pm we are hosting a

Ceilidh for Nicaragua

With the Captain Bullhead Ceilidh Band “playing music you want to dance to and showing you how to dance to it – even if you’ve never done it before in your life!”

Entry £6 / £4 concessions
Food and bar available
Children welcome
All funds go to support Community Projects
in La Concha, Nicaragua

leeds.laconcha@yahoo.co.uk 
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ceilidh-for-nicaragua-tickets-62885703833

This Week 10th – 16th June

Mon 10 Jun @11-2 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 11 Jun @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 12 Jun @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 13 Jun @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 14 Jun @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 14 Jun @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sat15 Jun @7pm Ceilidh for Nicaragua
Sun 16 Jun @10.30am
Sunday morning worship
Sun 16 Jun @ 12-3pm All Hallows Picnic and Rainbow Games on Woodhouse Moor

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

Sunday 9 June 2019

This coming Sunday is Pentecost and in our morning meeting at 10:30am it will be the last in our series of JOY IN ENOUGH. Heston will be sharing with us his thoughts on God’s generosity and self-giving, how we can be inspired and sustained by God’s Spirit – the source of life – and how we can channel that life and Spirit into our world. One of our traditions is to wear red on Pentecost Sunday so do come dressed in something red if you are able!

This Sunday also sees road closures due to the Leeds Triathlon so you may find that you have to swim, cycle and run to church!