This Week 9th – 15th September

Mon 9 Sep 11am-3pmRainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 10 Sep @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 11 Sep @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Wed 11 Sep @7:30pm Licensing of Rev Hannah Lievesley as the new vicar of St Chad’s, Far Headingley
Thu 12 Sep 11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 13 Sep 11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 13 Sep @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sun 15 Sep @10.30am Sunday morning worship – Part 3 of our Creation Season series – Fire
Sun 15 September @ 4pm Green plans for Headingley and Leeds: Q & A with local MP and councillors (at St Michael’s, Headingley)

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

Sunday 8th September 2019 – Creation 2

This Sunday will be the second Sunday in Creation and we will be thinking about Air in our series on Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Graeme Hay will be leading our thoughts.

The Canticle of Creation (by Saint Francis of Assisi)

O Most High, all-powerful, good Lord God,
to you belong praise, glory,
honour and all blessing.
Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun,
who brings us the day and the light;
he is strong and shines magnificently.
O Lord, we think of you when we look at him.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon,
and for the stars
which you have set shining and lovely
in the heavens.
Be praised, my Lord,
for our Brothers Wind and Air
and every kind of weather
by which you, Lord,
uphold life in all your creatures.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water,
who is very useful to us,
and humble and precious and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom you give us light in the darkness:
he is bright and lively and strong.
Be praised, my Lord,
for Sister Earth, our Mother,
who nourishes us and sustains us,
bringing forth
fruits and vegetables of many kinds
and flowers of many colours.
Be praised, my Lord,
for those who forgive for love of you;
and for those
who bear sickness and weakness
in peace and patience
– you will grant them a crown.
Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister Death,
whom we must all face.
I praise and bless you, Lord,
and I give thanks to you,
and I will serve you in all humility.

Starting the week

It’s easy to feel despairing with all these crazy political goings-on going on. So here’s a little reminder about our Great Big God who is LOVE. and just in case Love doesn’t sound like a match for Mr Johnson….

There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer,
no disease that enough love will not heal,
no door that enough love will not open;
no gulf that enough love will not bridge;
no wall that enough love will not throw down;
no sin that enough love will not redeem.
It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble,
how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake.
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.

(Emmet Fox)

God invites us to spend our lives ‘putting love where love is not’ (St John of the Cross) – and right now there is MUCH love needed in this land.

So pray for the UK in love. And ‘put love’ in as many little and large ways as you possibly can. which includes being ready to protest and registered to vote!

Sermon by Toby Parsons 1st September 2019

Notes from the sermon by Toby Parsons 1st September 2019

Creation Season (Earth)

Readings:
Psalm 139:13-16
Luke 8:22-25

Can I invite you to close your eyes, and to start forming a picture in your mind of somewhere on this earth that you find beautiful?
It might be the rugged coast of Northumberland, with long windswept beaches and an endless sea.
It might be a gentle piece of nature much nearer to home – a corner of your garden, or an open park, where you can sit and just be.
Or it might be right within the bustle of Leeds itself – or a panorama of skyscrapers in a megacity; beauty in busy-ness.
You may or may not have been there; perhaps you’ve only seen pictures.
And as you hold that image in your mind, try to see some of the detail – maybe the birds and insects that move along that windswept coast, or the ornate decoration on one of the buildings in the background. [brief pause]
If you can just hold that image in the back of your mind, we’ll return to it in a few minutes.

So, this is the start of Creation Season at All Hallows. Over the next month we’ll particularly celebrate God as Creator – the fountain of life, to use the words from the start of our Creation Season liturgy. Over four weeks, we’ll focus in turn on earth, air, water and fire as the themes for our sermons.
So today, we’re thinking about the earth – although apologies in advance for straying a little from that theme! But the earth… the incredible place God has created for us, and to which we are so fundamentally connected. One of the Hebrew words for ground or earth which is used in the book of Gensis is Adamah. The link to Adam as one of the first humans in the creation story reinforces that connection between humankind, Adam, and the earth, Adamah. We originated from the earth, and in a physical sense we’ll return to it – “dust to dust, ashes to ashes”, as we hear at funeral services.

We heard a version of the first chapter of Genesis at the start of our service today, and many will know the biblical creation story very well. Whilst most Christians today are comfortable with not taking it literally, there are many points we could draw out. We could look at the fact that God created humans last, not first. Or we could focus on the example of resting and reviewing work well done, as God did multiple times. But for now, I just wonder why it took seven days?
God didn’t rest at the end of each day because of tiredness. There wasn’t that Friday-feeling of “thank goodness it’s all over for another week”, or an exhausted flomp on the sofa. God wasn’t tired.
And it’s not that God couldn’t have summoned everything into being in one go. Creation could indeed have been described in the bible as a big bang: an explosion of God’s creative power.
Amazing. Immediate.
But instead we have a six stage journey – seven, if you include the day of rest. And perhaps we should take from that a suggestion, a reminder, that creation isn’t a single event that happens and finishes.
Later on in our service today, we’ll be invited to join in saying the affirmation of faith(1) together. The opening line of the version we use during Creation Season is “We believe that God creates all things, renews all things, and holds all things in love”. At other times of the year, our liturgy uses the phrase “We believe in God, who has created and is creating”. It’s an on-going process, not a one-off event.
As individuals, we‘ve been created – individually and specially, not accidentally. Just as the earth is the sum of so many different parts, we are each a unique combination of our skills, our personalities, our experiences. If we call to mind again that image of somewhere in the world we find beautiful, it will surely have many parts to it. Even if it’s a mighty river, it’s perhaps got a
backdrop of clear blue sky, or lush vegetation on the banks. And that’s before we get to the subtle detail – the swirling eddies, the shadows, the reflection of the sun. Whatever our image, it will be made complete by many different things, and removing one of them – even the supposed least; even the most painful, if we think now of the experiences that form us – will diminish the whole.
And so, we are individually made; our completeness being in our complexity. And to hear again the opening words of the affirmation of faith, “We believe that God creates all things, renews all things, and holds all things in love”.
If creation is a journey, a process that doesn’t stop; if we believe that God does indeed renew all things; then we haven’t just been created, but we – and the whole of humankind – are continually being re-created, renewed.
Let’s go back again to the image in our minds – the place that you find beautiful. Maybe close your eyes again, if that’s helpful. And now try to picture it if we gradually turned back time: a day; a year; a decade; a century; or right back to Jesus’s time. Depending on your image, it might be very obviously different when you get to the Victorian era, the middle ages, the time of Christ. Certainly any stamp of human activity will have changed. But it may initially feel much the same – hills or coastline would still be there. They would change, however – beaches vary with both the daily tide and the effect of the currents over the years; even rivers change their course… if my vague memories of secondary school geography are correct, a river’s course meanders in curves, which can then separate to form distinct ox-bow lakes. This leads to a part of the river that had been a swirling churning current becoming a still, calm lake. And then later in time, it perhaps rejoins the main river.
Some of the changes we see in our world are accelerated at the moment by human actions, through climate change and the abuse of our environment. Some changes will naturally happen anyhow. Whatever the cause, creation is an on-going process.
So what does that mean for each of us?

I wonder if, for most people, life is a mixture of regular, routine, repeated experiences, and the specific events that stand out much more. We might have that combination of nerves, excitement and refreshed interest when we start a new school, begin a different job, or commit to a new relationship. We don’t know at that point exactly how those steps will shape our lives in the future, although we may have a plan as to how we see things developing. But we can’t be sure what will happen, even if we do know that these are moments of creation, of new opportunity.
Some of these events won’t be positive. There are times when our individual world will be turned upside down; when an unwanted intrusion of grief, anger or hurt punctures our routine of life. Sometimes that will be in ways everyone else can see; at other times it may be much more hidden. Sometimes we’ll wonder why this should have happened to us; at other times we might devalue the pain we feel because of all the headlines of suffering we see in the world.
These events, and the potentially long and slow journey of healing that follows the most painful ones, are important moments in our very own creation story; our journey of renewal.
So where does that journey lead? If we turn back to the bible – and resist the temptation for our fingers to flick to Genesis at the mention of creation! – we can see in the gospels how Jesus himself embodied those concepts of creation and renewal.
We can read the practical accounts (which, unusually, are found in all four gospels) of Jesus creating meals for thousands from a few loaves and fishes. We can see in many emotionally charged verses that he created excitement and fervour in the crowds. Conversely we read of Jesus calming the storm in Luke 8 – creating physical stillness and removing the disciples’ fear. And Jesus created peace around many who were troubled – think of John 8, verse 9, when Jesus is left alone with the woman caught in adultery, after her accusers have withdrawn one by one following
Jesus’s challenge to throw the first stone. John may not have said it, but you can imagine the stillness, the relief, but also the remaining pain, with Jesus waiting quietly for the woman to digest what’s just happened.
Jesus creates, in so many different ways. But even he is also renewed by God throughout his earthly life. He comes to his active ministry over time; he gradually teaches his disciples; he struggles in the garden of Gethsemane with the knowledge of his coming death (Mark 14, from verse 32). And then comes the cross, the moment when it might all have stopped; the ultimate test of destruction versus the on-going power of creation.

There are many fantastic Easter hymns, resurrection hymns, that abound with joy and promise, and I love that rejoicing on Easter Sunday. But some of the words can feel so triumphalist, so certain of victory, that they don’t always match our life experiences throughout the year.
But the middle lines of Thine Be The Glory say “Lo! Jesus meets us, Risen from the tomb; Lovingly He greets us, Scatters fear and gloom”. Again, we have the present tense – meets us, greets us, scatters fear… not once, I’d suggest, but many times throughout our lives, as part of that process of creation, re-creation, renewal. And the meeting doesn’t have to be at those massive moments, but in the routine times too – Jesus rises to greet us each and every day. And whilst the now scattered gloom probably does reform at another point in our life, Jesus will again offer to meet us there, creating and renewing.
Our affirmation of faith today starts “We believe that God creates all things, renews all things, and holds all things in love”. It concludes “We believe that with Jesus Christ we too will rise and take our place in a new creation, reconciled, restored, and renewed”. There may be a long and often painful journey before we reach that final statement, but each step – whether big or small; whether forwards, backwards or sideways; however painful – is part of our own creation story, which God writes with us, in love.

1 Affirmation of faith in Creation Season
We believe that God creates all things, renews all things, and holds all things in love. We believe Earth is a sacred place filled with God’s presence, a home for all its creatures to share. We believe that God became a man of Earth, Jesus Christ, who lived and breathed among us, suffered and died on a cross, for all human beings and for all creation, and rose again to fill all things. We believe the Spirit renews life in the world, groans together with every suffering creature, and waits with us for the whole universe to be reborn. We believe that with Jesus Christ we too will rise and take our place in a new creation, reconciled, restored, and renewed.

This Week 2nd – 8th September

Mon 2 Sep CLOSED Rainbow Junktion Cafe volunteer drop in
Tue 3 Sep @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 4 Sep @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 5 Sep CLOSED Rainbow Junktion Cafe volunteer drop in
Fri 6 Sep 11am-3pm Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 6 Sep @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Fri 6 Sep @7-10pm Rainbow Junktion Bistro
Sun 8 Sep @10.30am Sunday morning worship – Part 2 of our Creation Season series – Air

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

Sunday 1st September 2019 – Creation 1

The first Sunday of a new month and of a new season! This Sunday sees that start of Autumn and is also the start of Creation Season in the church’s liturgical year. Over the next four Sundays we will be looking at Creation under the four topics of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Toby Parsons will be leading us this Sunday as we reflect on “Earth”.

As this is the first Sunday of the month we will also be having a bring and share lunch together so do please, if possible, bring some food to share as we celebrate the abundance of God’s Creation and His love for us all.

The first day of September has also been set aside as World Day of Prayer for Creation and here is a prayer written by Pope Francis that we can use to guide our thoughts and prayers, today and throughout the year in this time of ecological and social crisis:

A Prayer for Our Earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe

and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love,

that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live

as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,

help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,

so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives,

that we may protect the world and not prey on it,

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts

of those who look only for gain

at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,

to be filled with awe and contemplation,

to recognize that we are profoundly united

with every creature

as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle

for justice, love and peace.

For further prayers and resources see https://seasonofcreation.org/

Sermon by Rev Angela Birkin 25 August 2019

Notes from the sermon/meditation by Rev Angela Birkin on 25 August 2019

Luke 13:10-17

The woman who was bent over.
The last eighteen years had been hard, very hard for me.
I was only a young woman, little more than a girl really, when I began to suffer back pains and stiffness. It became more and more difficult to straighten my back until I could not straighten it even a little.
Eighteen years of being bent over, unable to see the sky, unable to see the road ahead or the faces of people, seeing only dusty feet and shadows.
I was unmarriageable of course, so a burden on my family, my parents first and then my brother. They were kind to me and of some importance in my village so people mostly treated me with kindness, or at least tolerated me, although a few did mutter that I or my parents must have sinned for me to be so afflicted. I knew that wasn’t so. We are no worse nor better than most other people in my village.
I was treated best by the children of the village who thought of me as a playmate. I was happy to play with them as I could do little else, and they accepted me, showed me the beauty of wildflowers and pebbles, and described birds and clouds and stars in the sky which I could not see.
It was a child who took me by the hand to the synagogue. I went every sabbath, but I particularly wanted to go this sabbath because Jesus of Nazareth was teaching in the synagogue. It made me chuckle that he came from Nazareth, as my father was born there and when my mother was annoyed with him, which was often, she would repeat the old saying, “can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Despite the old saying I had heard lots of good things about Jesus, about his teaching and his healings. He was stirring up a lot of interest and opposition particularly from those in authority who were becoming afraid that the Romans, who are occupying our land, will use Jesus as an excuse for further violent oppression of our people.
So, I went to the synagogue to hear Jesus teach and with no expectation of anything else. I am not special, and many people are ill or injured or afflicted in some way. Why should Jesus heal me? How could he heal me after eighteen years?
The child led me to the synagogue, and I went to the area where the women were. Sitting is very difficult, so I remained standing tucked away in a corner, and suddenly I heard a voice which I knew somehow was Jesus’s voice calling me over to him. I hesitated, thinking that I was mistaken, but he called again and the little girl who was with me led me to Jesus.
“Woman, you are set free from your ailment” he said, and then he gently laid his hands on my head and immediately my back felt free and I could stand tall again!
There was a sharp intake of breath from the crowd. I don’t know what shocked them more, that Jesus had healed me on the Sabbath, that Jesus had touched me, a woman, or that I was actually healed!
Then there was uproar, people surrounded Jesus asking to be healed while the leader of the synagogue shouted at the people to go away and come back on another day, not a sabbath, to be healed.
I think he realised how silly he sounded even before Jesus pointed out that animals are led to water on the sabbath and how right it was to free me, to heal me, to save me, on the sabbath.
That sabbath was truly, in the words of Isaiah, “a delight and the holy day of the Lord honourable.,” and I could not stop myself praising God using the words of one of my favourite psalms,
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Who forgives all your sins and heals all your infirmities.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness.
(Psalm 103:1-3,8).
Now I must decide what to do with the rest of my life, this gift which has been given to me by Jesus.
I have spoken with the women who follow Jesus, some of whom, like Mary of Magdala, have also been healed by him. He is going to Jerusalem. It is a dangerous road, and no one knows what will happen there, but they know that Jesus has the words of life, and that where he is the Kingdom of God breaks though.
I think that I will follow Jesus on the way too. I am no longer the woman who was bent over, I am a daughter of Abraham, and I believe that my God is acting in and through Jesus of Nazareth. I am healed. I am saved. I am blessed. I am loved by God. I always was.
That is my story. Now tell me yours.

This Week 26th August – 1st September

Mon 26 Aug CLOSED Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 27 Aug @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 28 Aug @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 29 Aug CLOSED Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 30 Aug CLOSED Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 30 Aug @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sun 1 Sep @10.30am Sunday morning worship – Start of Creation Season – followed by a shared lunch, please bring some food to share if you can

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

Sermon by Rev Heston Groenewald 18 August 2019

Notes from the Sermon by Rev Heston Groenewald 18 August 2019

Luke 12:49-56
49 ‘I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
54 He also said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain”; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat”; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Jesus came to bring division to the earth! Which sounds like the LAST thing we need in our times. But let’s compare Jesus with another JC to make some sense of this. From a Facebook wit: If only Corbyn would forget about Palestine, austerity, poverty, inequality, crime, education, public services, housing, workers, the environment, young people and a nuanced Brexit position, and just did exactly whatever Murdoch wants, the press and the BBC might stop demonising him.

In a world where there is any imbalance of power and resources, there will always need to be a challenge to the status quo. Jesus and the Jewish prophets consistently challenged the powers that be, from the margins of power- from the perspective of the marginalised (orphans, widows and refugees). So no surprises that Jesus got into deep trouble, as he offered God’s way of self-giving in challenge to human self-seeking, pride, power and greed. And no surprises that his followers have been getting in trouble with the rich and powerful ever since.

The imagery in this gospel reading is the language of the prophets. Amos uses fire imagery to talk about judgement, and Isaiah to talk about purification. And fires of judgement and purification and justice are a bad thing if you are the 1% but very good news if you are the 99%. We might like to imagine God’s refining fire burning through tax havens and immigration policies and austerity and universal credit.

God’s kingdom is good news for the Margins. Theo Sheridan is going to tell us about Leeds School of Theology’s work equipping Christians for Ministry on the Margins…

A word of affirmation for All Hallows, and the ways you have been prophetic ‘troublemakers’ within the church for many years. It’s funny isn’t it? That you can preach a judgemental and vengeful and angry God and nobody will mind. But you start preaching a God that is too accepting, too loving, too forgiving, too merciful, too kind.. and you are in trouble! (Gene Robinson)

We agitate and make trouble because, with Jesus, we are longing for a better world- the kingdom of heaven. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know; when at some moment of crisis a strength comes to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong, and whether we realise it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it. (Frederick Buechner)

Jesus’ followers, hungering and thirsting for God’s beautiful future, go to extraordinary lengths and inconvenience and sacrifice to bring that dream into reality. And it has always got us into trouble.

Hebrews 11:29-12:2
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.
32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hungering and thirsting for God’s kingdom is not a solitary business. We can’t do this alone- and God never meant us to. So who are your heroes of faith? Who (dead or alive) is filling you with faith hope and love? AND who are you sharing faith hope and love with? Colleagues, friends, family, strangers…..

G.K. Chesterton- Jesus promised his disciples three things:
that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy and in constant trouble.

How are we ‘reading the signs of our times’ and making the right sorts of trouble?? In our divided nation, can we make space for ‘tell me more’ rather than ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’?? Can we offer our neighbours nuance and something of God’s perspective? Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

We should try to love in such a way, that if the gospels were lost, they could be re-written by looking at us. (Anthony Bloom)

This Week 19th – 25th August

Mon 19 Aug @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 20 Aug @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Tue 20 Aug @7-9pm PCC meeting
Wed 21 Aug @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 22 Aug @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 23 Aug @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 23 Aug @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sun 25 Aug @10.30am Sunday morning worship 

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