Sunday 3rd March 2019

This weekend is the Patronal Festival of St Chad’s so we will NOT be having a normal service at All Hallows this week, we will instead be joining with St Chad’s at their 9:30am service.

Visit My Mosque

This Sunday is Visit my Mosque Sunday, a national initiative facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain encouraging 250+ mosques across the UK to hold open days to welcome in their neighbours from all faiths and none and building bridges across communities. In Leeds we are invited to the following Mosques:

This is a great opportunity to find out more about our neighbours and their faith. If you are visiting a Mosque we are asked to respect their culture and faith by dressing accordingly ie long trousers or long skirt and women to wear a head covering.

Sermon by Angela Coggins 24 February 2019

Notes from the sermon by Angela Coggins on 24th February 2019, the third and final part of our series “building a house / church / lives where love can dwell”

Readings are from

Its lovely to be here and to be given the privilege to preach. Thank you to Tony for letting me pinch his sermon slot at late notice. A little bit about me as I am new to All Hallows, and I’m sort of passing through. I am in my third-year training to be a Reader, which is essentially a lay minister. I was encouraged to find a church placement that was different to my own church setting, and so I grabbed the opportunity to come here as I’d heard so much about All Hallows and my church, St Michael’s East Ardsley, donates our harvest festival produce to the Rainbow Junktion Café. You may have seen me dotted about the place taking notes, as there are so many wonderful things happening here that I don’t want to lose count. This sermon will be assessed by a variety of good folks in the congregation, and if you have any comments, observations, please do pass them on, as I’m learning and need to know!

This brings me to the theme at the end of this 3-part sermon series on Building a house/church/lives where love can dwell. There is so much already been covered by Jan, and Anthea and the readings also lend themselves to further explorations, so I’m just scratching the surface. There’s so much I want to bring in, but I’m going to try and be focussed and disciplined!!!! The 3 themes of construction connectedness and community came to mind. – how do we build, how do we keep going and how do we relate to each other? Using the parable of the two builders and the passage in Ephesians describing being built together with Christ as Cornerstone.

Construction. The story of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew is so well known, some of us can probably remember the Sunday school song -the wise man built his house upon the rock ……and sometimes when we hear a parable so often we might not be fully attuned to its dramatic reception for those original hearers.

The gospel reading from Matthew 7 comes as the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount,
Let’s just pause a while – the Sermon on the Mount, the radical humanifesto of kingdom values – Jesus’s call to moral and ethical living, confronting social injustice and the abuse of power, seeking the restoration of human dignity and honour otherwise known as “entry requirements of the kingdom”. The call to be not only hearers but doers. Jesus said “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
Construction – Jesus knows about construction, the importance of foundations, He was a carpenter and therefore in the building business. Living in first century Jordan valley, sudden flash floods, sandy river beds, were features of the landscape. We have all seen enough on our news screens to have an idea of the damage effects of extreme weather, rain, streams, winds. So obviously good strong foundations are vital. Digging the foundations requires effort, application and patience. Perseverance even. Digging right down to the bedrock.

It’s fascinating to see how many times the imagery of rock, of foundations, of cornerstones are used in connection with Jesus. There are huge amounts of study to be done looking into connection with the Temple but not time here this morning to pursue. Certainly, throughout the New Testament Person replaces Building. Peter declares Christ as the living stone, Paul in Corinthians Christ as the Rock, Jesus, himself, refers to the stone which the builders rejected becoming the chief cornerstone. The cornerstone, the precious stone, in construction terms – the stability of the whole building, depended upon it. Being lined up, using it as a measure – “the Holy Spirit level” as it were.
All Hallows is facing a time of construction, the building to be repaired, refurbished. So looking at foundations and what makes up the precious cornerstone, is rather apt. Jesus as our cornerstone, by which we measure all our actions, words, doings.
So the challenge to us is to hear and do – to be like the wise man building on the rock. All Hallows leads the way!
But this has a cost – This can appear so overwhelming, can’t it, to live a life of complete integrity, living by the standards presented in the beatitudes, loving enemies, not judging, not serving two masters, not worrying, always producing ‘good fruit’? Being tested, by the storms of life, utterly exhausting after a while in our own efforts. We soon come to the end of our own resources when faced with these enormous challenges. But Person replaces Building.
Jesus replaces the Temple.

So that leads us onto Connectedness (a bit of a clumsy title – but it begins with C!) Thankfully the foundation is built on our relationship with Jesus. We are not about following some specific ethical formula but attending to a specific living person in Jesus. Who brings, through the Spirit, in union with the father and mother of us all, renewal and refreshment, who energises and replenishes. We are called into a relationship of intimacy and mutual affection, radical grace, and unconditional love. Which we live out in the power of the spirit.
Our daily challenge is to attend to this relationship, through prayer, through reading through being still before our Maker.
My weekday life I am an adult education tutor, teaching parenting, mindfulness and emotional well-being. Mindfulness is very much in vogue at the moment, learning to live in the present moment, being intentional, and paying kind attention to oneself and others. Where unconditional positive regard, non-judgemental acceptance, are recognised as vital for health, healing and wholeness. This is lots of counselling-speak for love. Where we are encouraged not to not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Sound familiar?
Our challenge is to be more mindful /still before God, to give space in stillness, to hear the Word of life, to be transformed into those Living stones where God the author of Love, can dwell. Some people find icons helpful, particularly this one representing the Trinity painted around 1410 by Andrei Rublev
The image is full of symbolism – designed to take the viewer into the Mystery of the Trinity.
Look at the colours, the gestures, the shapes,
Figures arranged with a space for viewer to complete the circle.
Hospitality, invitation, spiritual unity, mutual love, shared communion.
Come follow the Spirit up the hill of prayer.
Come, live in the shadow of the Son of God, rest yourself beneath his tree of life.
Come, journey to the home, prepared for you in the house of your Father.
The table is spread, the door is open. Come.

To connect and be made welcome. As the letter to the Ephesians says “and in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

So we move on to our final theme, Community.
The life of such a vibrant and eclectic RAINBOW community as All Hallows is amazing to behold. Have you any idea how exhilarating it is to be around such an affirming and loving and creative community??? Where one of your church wardens is 22 and chairs PCC’s with great flair? Where you provide a space for children to learn trapeze skills combined with knitting! Where your welcome and hospitality set the standard, and are what Henri Nouwen reminds us essential for healing and wholeness. The list goes on.

As an observer, there is so much to see and give thanks for. A community of ‘Living Stones’ where all are welcome, (the refrain from that beautiful hymn we sang a few weeks ago ‘All Are Welcome’ – which is like a pleasant ‘ear worm’ – I can’t get out of my head). An activist church, which hasn’t got a traditional congregation like other congregations, it has groups of friends meeting up together, so Jean described to me. A bunch of friends who meet up to share Jesus’s love. A rainbow group of friends drawn together to live out that humanifesto of Jesus, calling for social injustices to be righted, to proclaim better stewardship of this beautiful planet we call home. A safe place – just to be. A touching place. All Hallows, creating spaces where we can be reminded that we are made in the image of God, a son a daughter, never strangers but fellow citizens. Where hospitality is deeply embedded in your DNA .In community, in communion, sharing bread, sharing wine, sharing lives. Setting the table for the whole world.

What makes up community? I’ve just returned from Denmark after visiting my daughter who is studying there. I was reflecting on the description of Denmark being one of the happiest countries on earth and what constituted such a title. Something about the value and worth they give to people. Smallest pay differential in the world- from carer to doctor just over2x salary. Peoples roles are valued more. Families are supported way beyond we could ever imagine. Students are paid to go to university – because why wouldn’t you want to support young minds being stretched and challenged? The emphasis is on people meeting up around the table, sharing food and friendship amongst stylish furniture! (Even the students) Everything is ‘hyggeligt’. The land of lego and construction, Lego means to play well. Community -value -worth -sharing around the table. All Hallows has it in shedfuls. The challenge ahead as you grow and numbers increase, is to be able to sustain/maintain/ encourage this Christ shaped community to continue. All-inclusive worship, every member ministry, Rainbow groups and house groups, the Junktion café, the quiet conversations, the practical support, go a long way to establish this. Through Christ we are all intrinsically linked, we are all embraced by grace, and our prayers, like those of the Ephesians with Christ as our corner stone. “The whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit”. That we may continue to be a community, connected and constructed Where love can dwell, and we can be fully human, remade in God’s image. Amen.

This Week 25th February – 3rd March

Mon 25 Feb – Sun 10 Mar Fair Trade Fortnight
Mon 25 Feb @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 26 Feb @5-8pm Leeds University Union Culture Cooks with LUU’s Chinese Society
Tue 26 Feb @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 27 Feb @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 28 Feb @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 1 Mar World Day of Prayer
Fri 1 Mar @11-3
 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 1 Mar @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Fri 1 March @ 6pm All Hallows BIG NIGHT IN! Movies games pizza and sleepover for all ages
Sun 3 Mar Church Action on Poverty Sunday
Sun 3 Mar @9.30am All Hallows goes to St Chad’s for Sunday morning worship to celebrate St Chad’s Day
Sun 3 March Visit my Mosque Sunday:
@ 2-4pmBaab ul Ilm, LS17
@ 3-6pm Iqra Centre, LS17
@ 4.30-7.30pm Leeds Grand Mosque, LS6

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

Sunday 24th February 2019

This Sunday we are delighted to welcome Angela Coggins, fresh back from a trip to Denmark, who will be sharing her thoughts on the third and final part of our series “building a house / church / lives where love can dwell” You can read notes from the previous two parts here and here. The readings will be Matthew 7:24-29 & Ephesians 2:19-22

After the service there will be an opportunity to see the Urban Angels do a performance of what they have been working on this week – that should be very exciting! Do join us at 10:30am, everyone is welcome.

A prophet of our time?

This Week 18th – 24th February

Mon 18 Feb @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Mon 18 Feb @10am-4:30pm Urban Angels Circus
Tue 19 Feb @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 20 Feb @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 21 Feb @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Thu 21 Feb @10am-4:30pm Urban Angels Circus
Fri 22 Feb @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 22 Feb @10am-4:30pm Urban Angels Circus
Fri 22 Feb @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sat 23 February @ 9-2pm Big Spring Clean up – church work morning followed by lunch
Sun 24 Feb @10.30am
Sunday morning worship – Building lives and church where Love can dwell part 3
Sun 24 Feb @12.30pm Urban Angels Circus
See our calendar for more details of what is happening at All Hallows’

Just another brick in the wall!

On yesterday’s wander around Fountains Abbey this weathered multi-hued wall caught my eye. Today’s Sunday message took in Pink Floyd’s bleak “just another brick in the wall” along with Isaiah’s call to be rebuilders and overcomes of injustice. #beautifulstones #uniquelyshaped #weathered #acidrain #fountainsabbey #sundaymessage #radical #renovation #nofilter

Janet Lindley

Sermon by Rev Anthea Colledge 17 February 2019

Notes from the sermon by Rev Anthea Colledge 17 February 2019

Isaiah 58:6-12
6 Is not this the fast that I choose:
   to loose the bonds of injustice,
   to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
   and to break every yoke? 
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
   and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
   and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
   and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
   the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. 
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
   you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. 

If you remove the yoke from among you,
   the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 
10 if you offer your food to the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
   and your gloom be like the noonday. 
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
   and satisfy your needs in parched places,
   and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
   like a spring of water,
   whose waters never fail. 
12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
   you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
   the restorer of streets to live in. 

 

Matthew 16:13-18

 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

 Sermon

Thanks Heston for inviting me here today. It’s been a while but I always enjoy being around All Hallows folk. I work at the four central Leeds universities as their Anglican chaplain, but mainly at the University of Leeds. I’m also a part-time student at the University, so I’m really pleased to be here speaking today on Student Sunday. And of course it’s lovely to have faces I know from the University here today. And only very very slightly worrying that one of those faces belongs to one of the academics from the department where I’m a student…

So this is student Sunday, but I believe you’re also in a sermon series on the theme of building. So I had a think about how to bring those two things together, and what I came up with was – Pink Floyd. Anyone want to hazard a guess why?

The song – another brick in the wall. I was going to play it at the start of the sermon, and then I listened to it, and thought no, that’s going to depress everyone. But can anyone remember the lyrics?

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall

Round where I grew up, all the schools had been built at the same time, and they all looked the same, and were all built out of those small red corporation bricks. So when I hear Pink Floyd’s song about a particular kind of rigid and oppressive teaching that’s what I imagine – walls of those red bricks, all looking the same, no creativity, just dull.

Of course, today’s students have decided that they do need education. And university education definitely isn’t intended to squeeze everyone into the same boxes, and it has nothing at all in common with the negative kinds of teaching Pink Floyd were talking about. But that fear of conformity, a fear of being all the same, of just having to accept the status quo – that fear still exists.

The stage of being a student is often a time of transition for people, maybe because they’re young and starting out in adult life, maybe because they’re older and changing career, maybe they’re not able to work and they’re studying part-time as part of their recovery. That kind of transition encourages you to think about your place in the world, and students often express that kind of fear that they might somehow end up becoming just another brick in the wall. But I don’t think it’s exclusive to students – from time to time we can all share those feelings.

So for anyone who shares that horror of being just another brick in the wall, there’s good news from our two Bible readings, both of which touch on this theme of building.

– Isaiah 58 is a text of dissent, an internal critique of the prophet’s own religious community that leads to an image of the community as creative and restorative builders

– And part of Matthew 16, that talks about being known and named by God as an individual, specifically Simon being called Peter the rock

Isaiah 58 was most likely written during what’s called the exile – at this point Jerusalem has been destroyed, the holy place, the Temple has been destroyed, and the people of God have been scattered, forcibly sent away from the places they call home. They still have a strong sense of being the community of God though, and twice a year have periods of fasting and prayer, setting aside time to give up some of the comforts of life and focus on praying and worshipping God. In fact it’s probably more accurate to say that the fasting wasn’t just a kind of spiritual discipline, as people might think of it today. The fasting was part of their worship of God and part of their life together as a religious community, part of being in a right relationship with God, not just as individuals but also as a community. They had lost their home, their sacred place, and their king, and they brought this before God in their fasting and prayers, looking for God to help them in their troubles.

For these people of God, everything had been broken down. The city of Jerusalem and the holy Temple have been reduced to piles of rubble.

In the verses just before our reading started, we hear them complain to God:

‘Why have we fasted,’ and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’

In other words, come on God – have you seen this mess? We’re trying our best here, we’re fasting, we’re praying, we’re worshipping in exactly the way that you told us to… We’re trying to rebuild this people, this community, and we’re being really careful as we do that we follow the rules for building – look, all the bricks are the right size and shape, the regulation size and shape, and still there’s no sign of you.

God doesn’t say, yes I’ll rebuild this for you. Instead, the prophet Isaiah offers quite the criticism of his own community. Isaiah points out that while the people are careful to fast and pray in the way that they’ve been commanded to do, they aren’t so careful about the rest of their behaviour. Even on the day of fasting they’re exploiting their workers and behaving violently to each other. Is that the kind of fasting God is looking for? Isaiah says not. Instead, we have the words that we heard just earlier:

THIS is the kind of fasting I have chosen:
loosening the chains of injustice and breaking the yoke of oppression, sharing your food with the hungry and not turning away from your own flesh and blood.

And then a promise to the community: IF you do this kind of fasting, then your light will rise in the darkness.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
   you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of broken walls,
   the restorer of streets to live in.

The Matthew reading is a different kind of dissenting text. In Caesarea Philippi, a town named after the emperor Caesarea Augustus, Jesus asks his disciples, “who do you say that I am?” It’s Simon who dares to step forward, answering, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Quite a political claim to make in that place of empire.

And Jesus blesses him, and then calls him Peter – sometimes translated as Cephas, or in Greek, Petros, the rock. “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Jesus sees something in Peter and names it, with a joke – you are Rocky and on this rock I will build my community. Tradition tells us that Peter was initially an unlikely candidate for a nickname implying stability and solidity – he rushed in impetuously, spoke before thinking, and denied Jesus. On the other hand, a rock might crush some things on the way down but once it’s in place it’s not likely to move… On another day perhaps we would want to think about what Jesus might see and name in us as he builds us into the church. But for today it’s enough to see that the kind of bricks that God uses to build God’s church are never ‘just another’ brick in the wall.  We are individually known and named.

Far from the oppressive red brick wall of my imagination, these readings are about liberation. A life-giving and generous community in which food is shared, injustices are challenged, and heavy burdens lifted becomes known as the builder and restorer of broken walls. Peter recognises Jesus as Messiah and in turn Jesus recognises Peter as a rock, one that will be built into the church.

So having talked about red brick walls, I want to leave you with a different image. This isn’t one where all the bricks are the same and a wall can be put up in a day if you know what you’re doing. Think instead of a dry stone wall where all the irregular shaped stones are carefully chosen, and then fitted together, and a wall takes weeks even when you know what you’re doing. I’ve known more than one person going through a divorce take themselves off on a dry stone walling course. There seems to be something about the process of choosing and then fitting stones into just the right place that’s almost like meditation. And of course, the walls will withstand the wind and rain for what, decades, if done well. When we talk about building and being built by God, that’s the kind of building we’re talking about.

Amen.

 

“We have one life. Let’s not waste it on hate. Only love!”

”You show me a fighting aged male and I will show you a man who can work. Show me the man that you’re frightened of and I will show you a gentle soul who is scared. You show me an economic migrant, an invader or a crook, and I will show you a mirror. For we are all the sons and daughters of migrants. We, as the human race, have always moved. And we have all benefited from their misery.

In order for us to be rich, to buy cheap clothes and to talk on our phone, someone will slave for us. It is our ease of living that has made them poor. It is our exploitation that makes them run. Not just the West, but the rich all over the world. We are the creators of migration, the benefactors and the blind. We turn away our eyes to their suffering yet expect them to take all that comes. We buy brands that exploit, and expect everything for cheap, cheap, cheap.

But when a boy, or a man cannot see how they can survive, we expect them to drown silently in their poverty, whilst we book our holidays in the sun. And we will use our passports to fly to almost any destination on this earth. We, the rich can seek employment wherever we like, and we can just pop to Paris for a weekend away. But when the man who suffers for our opulence wants to do the same, we say no, don’t come, you should stay.

We, the creators of their misery, define ourselves as the victims of their pain. We cry and complain that someone steals the job that we’re too lazy to do. We take their oil, their minerals, their produce and their lives, yet it is ‘we’ who call ‘them’ the crooks. And it is we that call ourselves the victims of their pain. Some say that they come for our welfare state, yet we’ve met lots of people crossing this sea, and every single one of them wanted to work and to know safety.

Some talk of losing our culture but when we can turn our backs to the poor, then I think it’s a culture that we can lose. Some say that we should help our homeless first, yet when we see the destitute man on the streets, we may walk by. We each live in a blanket of self righteousness, myself included, stating that others should do something to change. Be it the homeless, the lonely or the displaced, we form our opinions from the warmth and comfort of our homes.

But unless we have walked one mile in their shoes, then don’t tell them where they should go. For we are their reflection. We were all made the same. It is by chance that we were born with opportunity, as it is by chance that they were born in the dust. And it could be by chance that our choices are taken away. Their struggle is our struggle, for if it was not them, it would be us. Do we think that leaving all that they have known is easy? Do we think that crossing that sea is a choice? We don’t know how many are lost on this journey. We don’t know the pain that they take. And if we want to talk about choices, then you should acknowledge that it is only us who can choose!

“We have one life. Let’s not waste it on hate. Only love!”