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Category Archives: Our Parish
Several Muslim friends have asked us along to this event, which looks insightful and interesting. Your vicar is going to accept the invitation- will anyone come with me?? 🙂
Your vicar has just spent an amazing day ‘on duty’ in the local cornershop (Noshi Food Store) next to Leeds Grand Mosque. I was welcomed- and put to work- by the friendly and wonderful Naveed and Arif (whose smile you might recognise in this pic)
Lots of local encounters and conversations, lots of new friends, lots of heavy lifting and lots of mango – what a joy, praise the Lord 🙂
Yesterday we were warmly welcomed by the Hyde Park Methodists, for a joint service of Baptism and Holy Communion. We had a great time, singing Wesley hymns, getting the Methodists hooked on Rachel’s wonderful Bread of Life, and sharing the Cup of Blessing shot-glass-style 🙂
Over coffee and pub lunch afterwards, several folks reminisced about our two churches regularly worshipping and serving the parish together. We all thought more of that would be a good thing. And so- striking while the iron is hot- they’re returning the visit this coming Sunday at All Hallows! Hurray and halleluyah.
Here is Ben’s brief brilliant sermon:
In light of today’s reading I want to think about what it means to be a Christian.
What it means for us to be here, together, witnessing a baptism and participating in communion.
From the outset, such thinking seems to be a complex and daunting task.
Am I going to have to unpack what the author of John means by eternal life?
Does the meaning of Christian faith in this passage rest upon Jesus’ promise to raise people on the last day and our belief in that?
As important and interesting as these themes may be, I think there is a simpler, more immediate truth for us to find.
The voice that speaks to me from this narrative is not in fact that of Jesus. It is the words of the disputing audience members which have a particular effect:
‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’
This question relates to the meaning of Christianity because it relates to the meaning of Jesus.
How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
The giving of his flesh to eat is self-sacrifice, selflessness, self-giving-love. How can he do this? Because that is what he represents and is and therefore what God represents and is.
The famous German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that ‘the transcendent is not infinite and unattainable tasks, but the neighbour who is within reach in any given situation.’
To repeat: ‘the transcendent is not infinite and unattainable tasks, but the neighbour who is within reach in any given situation.’
Regardless of creed, colour, background or belief, God is to be experienced in the neighbour who is within reach. Being there only for others, giving one your flesh, is what it means to be a Christian.
The world is kept alive by such meaning and for us it is affirmed in the rituals of baptism and communion.
The openness, equalizing effect and unity of these practices, here in this Church today, dissolve our differences and allow our neighbour to be heard.
This comes with greetings from our friendly neighbourhood Imam! Meet Abdur Rahman, from the Makki Masjid next door. We’ve just been round for afternoon tea (Bangladeshi style- samosas and bhajis YUM) with him and his wife Labeebah.
They send their prayers and best wishes y’all – let’s pray for them too…
Halleluyah and hurray! Together with our Hyde Park church neighbours, today we got to share GOOD NEWS (and sweeties and prayers) at Unity Day:
If only we had a penny for every time that sign was photographed!
Leeds City Council are organising an Environmental Action Day in our area this Tuesday – why not go along, give a hand and meet other local people. And come to the cafe at lunch time!
We’ve been invited to a Community Iftar at the Makkah Mosque, next Sunday evening 12 July. I’ll be going and looking forward to it very much. Anyone fancy joining me??
Ramadan starts tomorrow (Thursday 18 June), and we’d like to deliver a card like this to each of our 3 local Mosques: Leeds Grand Mosque, Makkah Masjid, and Makki Masjid and Madrassa . All in favour, say Aye??
And let’s remember our Muslim sisters and brothers in our prayers this next month… ‘Loving God, Good Shepherd of us all: We give you thanks and praise for the rich diversity of your world and your people. Give us humility to see your Spirit at work in the life of others; give us joy to show your Spirit at work in our life; and above all give us love to embrace and break down the barriers that separate us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’
What 3 words spring to mind when we imagine All Hallows in the year 2020? Here are the results from APCM Sunday. This is how we want to define ourselves into the future- and it’s very joyful, hopeful reading…
And here’s how we see ourselves at the moment… Praise God for a short list of Weaknesses/Threats and loooooong list of Strengths and Opportunities!
Lots of love around
The warm acceptance of diversity
The café – enabling other works in the building
Fantastic garden space
Lots of people involved in different ways
Sense of fun
We share bread and wine
We learn about God
We are an active church, and we go on outings
We have new people with us nearly every week
‘As a visitor, it is very friendly and dynamic’
Focus on social justice
Safe space to be LGBTQI
Sociable and extroverted (although this can be hard for some)
Good childrens’ work
Enthusiasm, energy, joy
Mix of people
‘It’s not like other churches… I mean it was so informal and full of love’ (Muslim police officer after licensing service)
Work with asylum seekers
We work together to make decisions about our life
Deep-thinking friends to share faith with
Weekly communal worship
PLAYING after church!
Not well-known enough
Need more fellowship
We’re all very busy – lack of time to meet together
Some services are long- especially all-age services
All-age services need to be inclusive of all ages, not just children
We find fault too easily, feed back more negative than positive, too much intellectual critiquing
Quiet people get overlooked- this is not inclusive
Intellectual- dominant balance of power in favour of the articulate
We are a close community, so newcomers can be ignored and feel a bit alone
Burn out! Too few people doing too many jobs
Overwhelm caused by too many desparate needs
Disunity caused by too many competing agendas (asylum seekers, LGBT, environment, worship, creativity) – need to work together
From all who are narrow-minded- religious and secular extremists
‘Losing’ elderly, increasingly frail parishioners
Reconnect with the local community- in service and worship
Links to/with other churches / communities
Growing in ‘discipleship’ – groups for fellowship and reading/applying bible and God’s kingdom to our everyday lives
Engagement with freshers week – followed up by beer & questions in the Royal Park pub
Taking a weekly ‘attendance register’ – making sure no-one goes unnoticed and uncared-for
Opening up access to the garden
More events etc to draw people in
The café and church as a community resource
To grow and change
Spreading a fair and equal philosophy to other churches
Messy Church for the community
Safe place to be gay/bi/trans-sexual
Focus outwards – serve and connect with the community, visit people in their homes
Space for creativity in worship and services
Another service- either 8am eucharist or afternoon/evening experimental worship
People often say ‘I don’t go to All Hallows much, but I’m glad it’s there- it gives hope for the church.’ WHY do they say this, and do we need to listen to why?
More food, cake and MIDNIGHT FEASTS!
More parties and events
More camping and walking trips
More learning bible history
Advertise/publicise ourselves better
Tell people about All Hallows and what we do
Invite friends to come to church and to events/trips
Do a sponsored walk
Fresh eyes / new energy
Local multi-cultural friendships- mosques, churches, BLC, Neighbourhood Forum
Expectancy of great things from God
More children keep appearing!