Newsletter April 2024

empty tombThe Gospel writer, John, describes the first Easter over 2000 years ago: “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark . . .”

The first day of the week. The first day of something new. At this stage, Mary Magdalene, who arrives at the tomb, does not realise just how transformative that something new will be. “While it was still dark” – notice how the language points us to the bleakness of Mary’s grief and lack of understanding.

Let’s home in on Mary’s point of view: She was there at the foot of Jesus’ cross. She was there as his mother and the other women wept. I imagine she was there as the body was taken down, wrapped in cloths, and sealed up in the tomb. What did she feel as the stone was rolled into place? Can you imagine? Can you imagine the terrible darkness?

It is the darkness that eradicates hope. A suffocating, creeping darkness that erodes any belief in the future. It’s the darkness of death. It’s the darkness of illness. It’s the darkness of struggle. It’s bleak. It’s desolate.

And yet . . . there is a competition going on in, in this first line:

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark . . .”

Darkness dominates, but we are also alerted to the fact that dawn is coming – a powerful thought, worth tenaciously holding on to in those times and places when we wrestle with grief, illness and struggle.

Yes – darkness might surround Mary and each one of us at times – but with God, dawn will break through. Dawn always comes, following even the darkest, most desolate nights. Yes – the night hours are hard and long, but nothing can stop dawn.

Just as with Mary at the tomb, in our lives and across the world, there are many situations and experiences which are deeply painful and frightening. Ill-health, grief, isolation, poverty, racism, ongoing wars, the climate crisis, all can create darkness and despair.

And yet, God calls us to trust that even when we cannot see or feel it ourselves, God never, ever leaves us. God is right there with us, going through it all with us. God is with us, nurturing new life from the very seeds of pain and fear. This is an utterly transforming hope which we can hold onto, and share, in the darkest times and places, at Easter and beyond.


28th Thursday 9.00pm Service of Tenebrae led by our Minister.
29th Friday 10.00am Good Friday Worship at Headingley Methodist Church
30th Saturday 10.30am Easter Coffee Morning
31st SUNDAY 10.45am EASTER DAY. Morning Worship, including the Sacrament of Holy Communion, led by Rev Angela Hughes
7th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
9th Tuesday 12.30pm Guild Lunch
10th Wednesday Elders’ Meeting
14th SUNDAY 10.3am Morning Worship at West Park URC
20th Saturday Quiet Day at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield
21st SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
28th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship, including the Sacrament of Holy Communion, led by our Minister.
We shall be joined by our friends from Headingley Methodist Church.

CHRISTIAN AID WEEK – 12th to 18th May 2024

Christian Aid WeekChristian Aid says:- “Get involved this Christian Aid Week and make a world of difference. With your support this Christian Aid Week, more families can


We will have a collection at the Church as usual. Prior to COVID we collected at the Garage at Far Headingley. We need to make a decision as to whether we have enough collectors to collect there this year. Unfortunately I will be out of LEEDS on Saturday 18th May. If any one would be able to collect at the Garage on Friday 17th or Saturday 18th May could you please let me know by Sunday 7th April. I understand that there are now cans that allow you to donate by card.

Joan McShane


Dear friends, I do struggle to find interesting pieces for the newsletter each month; if you have news or something of interest to share, do send it in, I am very happy to include it.

Margaret Brownjohn


Empty Cross
Sweet ravaged face, atopped by crown of thorns,
Torn, bleeding hands and shattered, bleeding feet,
You will, before another day dawns,
Mankind’s designer, your own father greet.
Another breaking dawn, a spirit soars.
A broken body, spent, our souls to save,
A place for sinful man in heaven assures
And quits the cross to triumph o’er the grave.


I am sure that you, like me, still miss Doreen’s sunny smile but we still have the pleasure of her poetry and so it is good to be able to share one of her Easter poems with you this month.



We shall be holding our monthly lunch on Tuesday, 9th April, meeting, as usual at about 12.30pm for lunch at 1o’clock. You are welcome to join us – just let us know you would like to come.


Mary MagdalenMARY MAGDALEN: Mary comes to us without the best of reputations, either possessed by demons, a ‘fallen woman’ or caught in adultery, but she was loved by Jesus and played a significant role in his ministry, being named in all the Gospels.

She travelled with Jesus, may have been the woman to first recognise the sacrifice of Christ in the anointing of his feet and is at the heart of the story of the Resurrection. The weeping Mary mistaking Jesus for the gardener and his tender response is an image that many of us will hold dear since childhood. In John’s Gospel, Jesus tells her ‘Do not hold on to me’ – in Latin ‘Noli me tangere’ which has inspired many works of art – among them that of Correggio, was often used in Gregorian chants and is part of the Eastern Orthodox liturgy. Christ’s words have not been interpreted as a rejection of Mary, but indicating that he would not remain amongst his disciples in body and that we would come to him in faith, not by physical connection.


The Infant Baptism of Maevie Rae Steel was held on Palm Sunday , 24th March, during Morning Worship

BaptismWe were joined by our friends from Headingley Methodist Church and it was a joy for us all to be part of both the Sacrament and celebration.

Not only the parents and god-parents made Baptismal promises, but also Henry, Maeve’s older brother, made his own commitment, as we did in the congregation.

A special day, too, for Nicola, who must have enjoyed every minute with such a beautiful and well-behaved baby.

Baptism 2

Baptism 3Claire and Dave with baby Maevie Rae. They are joined by Nicola, Henry, Godparents, Uncle Daniel and Jo (sadly without Peter who was poorly) and very proud Grandmother, Susan.