Newsletter August 2022

grass under trees
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
John Lubbock, The Use of Life

7th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers.
14th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Mrs Terasa Raddings
Church Secretary, Beeston Hill United Free Church
21st SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
Headingley Methodist Church will join us
28th SUNDAY 9.30am Morning Worship at Headingley Methodist Church

For the next few weeks we are, effectively, on our own; we have said ‘Good bye’ to Clare and shall not be welcoming our new Partnership minister, Nicola Robinson, until September. We are now part of the Leeds URC Partnership, but Nicola will have a special relationship with us and has already happily agreed to lead our worship on one Sunday each month – allowing for holidays and other commitments. So we should get to know each other quickly but now feeling part of a larger church family as she is also the named minister for three other churches in the partnership.

We are doubly fortunate that Rev Phil Chilvers has also offered to lead our worship on two Sundays each month. Phil and Jan have become firm friends over the past few years and it is a joy to welcome them into our congregation. With our joint worship at Headingley Methodist Church and their visits to us, church ties have become stronger and, even with our smaller congregation, we can look forward to the future with thankfulness and hope.

Clare with cakeIf your Church role requires that you hold several positions, then moving on becomes quite a ‘Long Good Bye’. For Clare this was certainly the case when those whom she has served over the last five years wanted to thank her and wish her well for the future. We said our own special Church farewell at her last Service on 17th July, the young people at a gathering at her home, the Guild at an Afternoon Tea and an official goodbye from the Leeds Partnership at a Farewell Service and Family Barbecue on the afternoon of Saturday, 2nd July.

This was a happy occasion to mark a sad event which gave our church and the partnership an opportunity to worship together, mark Clare’s achievements over the past five years and wish her well as she takes up her new role in Peterborough and the surrounding area. After an unsettled morning, the sun decided to shine on our patio and everyone enjoyed a barbecue of not only burgers and sausages etc but puddings, fruit and cake. An afternoon for all to remember. Clare was quite touched by the whole celebration and the generosity of the Thank-you cheque. We should all like to thank Brenda and family for their preparations and hard work to make the afternoon Barbecue such a success.

Thank you

Thank you to you all for the most generous gift at the Farewell Service, to the young people for the Yorkshire themed gifts which will always remind me of my time in Yorkshire as well as you all, to the Guild for the practical and very pretty stationary gifts that I’ll be using and remembering all those happy times and conversations at the Guild, to the Elders for the handsome plant I’ll look out at from the new manse and remember all those meetings and all your support, and to everyone for the cards, messages and prayers. Thank you all for your support during my time at Headingley St Columba. May God bless you all and the future. I’ll be listening out for news.

With love, Clare <><


It was a great joy to the church that Clare was able to welcome Francis Byrn into Church Membership during Morning Worship on 17th July. Francis is already so involved in our church life—and has been so since a little chap—that it is really only the final step on that road of commitment. Needless to say, his father, Richard is equally delighted as would his much loved mother, Lilias, have been.
Francis has asked for the following to be shared in the newsletter.


I have created two new wayside pulpit posters since I took on this responsibility.

The first one in June and July for Pentecost read: Heavenly high spirits (alliteration and secular interpretation).

The second one in July and August for Trinity reads: 3 into 1 really does go (a play on the accepted maxim that 3 into 1 doesn’t go); and includes an image of an Irish shamrock for our eponymous Saint Columba and to graphically represent three in one.

Francis Byrn


To: All members and adherents of
United Reformed Churches and our Local Ecumenical Partnerships

Dear Friends,

Is anyone back to normal?

After two years of pandemic and lockdown, and Covid still with us (thankfully, for most, in a much weaker form), we can now worship together in person and find fellowship again. But for most of us it is not simply a return to how it used to be; some people have not returned to church, some have died or become too frail, some churches have closed and others considering it.

Now we have significant European turmoil and its likely effect on fuel and food prices for us in the UK.
Thank God that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13 v.8). Whatever else changes, He is our rock, our cornerstone.

Financially, things were extremely tough for churches in 2021. Plate offerings had collapsed; some regular givers had to reduce or entirely stop giving to support God’s work; and those churches which hire out their premises had seen income from that source disappear. Even those churches where the majority of the giving was by standing order or bank transfer (if you have not considered regularising your giving in this way, please do—it helps your treasurer significantly) may have seen a 20%+ drop in income.

If this had been replicated in giving to the M&M Fund in 2021, we might have been faced with a serious financial crisis last year.

But no, through the generosity of individuals, churches and Synods, we can report that income only fell by 4.4%. With a similar reduction in expenditure the M&M Fund result was a deficit of only £80,000 (less than one-half of one percent of income), a deficit that can be comfortably covered by reserves.

So, thank you to all who continued to contribute to your local church, thank you to all those churches who met their commitment for 2021 in full, and thank you to all those who, in adversity, continued to treat the M&M Fund as the first priority and paid what they could.

With churches and individuals under financial pressure, 2022 is not going to be an easy year either. The M&M Fund budgeted income (based on Synods’ projections) will not be sufficient to cover expected costs and we are reconciled to dipping into our reserves more seriously as a result.

However, if we “ordinary Christians” are to fulfil the call of Jesus to be His witnesses in the world around us we need ministers and other workers “on the ground” and we need shared resources which are often best created centrally. That all comes from the M&M Fund.

Again, thank you all!

If you have any questions or comments arising from this letter, please speak to your church treasurer who has been provided with more detailed information. If they are not able to help directly then they can get in touch with the finance team at Church House.

Yours in Christ,

Ian Hardie (Treasurer)
Vaughan Griffiths (Deputy Treasurer)


Sadly, two Funeral and Thanksgiving services were held in July for long-standing members of our Church.

The service for Dr John Masterson Hamilton was held on Wednesday, 6th July.
It is hard to remember John without thinking of his beloved wife, Sheila, whom he met when they were both students at Kilmarnock Academy. It was love at first sight and they were together for over seventy years and married for more than sixty.

They were both interested in the sciences and while Sheila studied medicine, John went on to study veterinary science. John was an academic, gaining a PhD and becoming a Pathologist at Glasgow University.
The family later moved to Leeds where John was a leading researcher into Breast Cancer, while Sheila became a much loved G.P. and their family was raised.

The final 15 years of his career was spent at the Research Laboratories in Wetherby where he built up a centre of excellence.

John and Sheila were proud of their Scottish roots and were staunch members of the Caledonian Society: he looked resplendent in his kilt when attending church service for St. Andrew’s Day or the Burns Night Supper.
John also showed great commitment to his adopted city, serving as a councillor for Weetwood on Leeds City Council for many years. His service was recognised when he was made an Honorary Alderman for the City of Leeds.

John and Sheila were faithful members of Headingley St Columba until frailty made attending church impossible; sadly, John found life increasingly difficult after losing Sheila in 2018.


The Service of Thanksgiving for the life of James Throssell was held on Thursday, 7th July.

Jim will be missed by us all, playing a part in the life of the church until the very end.

Jim was born in Kent, moving to Stanley, near Wakefield at the age of four, attending school there and completing his School Certificate. Like many youngsters at that time, he was unable to fulfil his academic potential but started work at the age of 16 years working for the Legal & General Assurance Company at their Leeds Branch. He remained with the company for 41 years – from Office Boy to Area Director of Life & Pensions, retiring in November 1988.

Soon after starting work he met another young man, Peter Conway in a bus queue. A meeting that sparked a lifelong friendship and a pivotal moment in Jim’s life—for Peter was to invite him to Stainbeck Youth Fellowship where two young friends, Mary and Joan, were also members. The rest, as they say, is history. Jim and Joan’s love for each other and their support for each other throughout their long marriage was clear to all; they often had separate interests but it was hard to think of one without the other. The firm friendship of the four survived moves abroad and at home and often involved adventurous holidays when they tackled many long distance walks together here and on the continent.

The Throssell family moved from Leeds to Wakefield and Sheffield and back to Leeds where they remained after his retirement. But retirement did not mean lack of occupation and Jim’s expertise was greatly valued at Synod where he dealt with investments, at local day centres where he managed accounts and, of course at Headingley St Columba where he served as an Elder, Treasurer, managed investments and served on the Management Committee and URC University Chaplaincy Support Group.

Sport and music played a huge part in Jim’s life. He enjoyed watching all sport—a TV channel dedicated to sport made most channels redundant; but his great love was golf and he was a member of Moortown Golf Club for over 35 years where a golf partner revealed that Jim was prone to appalling bad luck finding obstacles from perfect drives; but this in no way dimmed his enthusiasm.

His love of music, his beautiful voice and joy in singing brought pleasure to us all. His singing lessons stood him in good stead and he practised daily, enabling him to sing with a strong voice into his late eighties.

He sang with several choirs, often singing solos and was a faithful member of our choir. He also read beautifully and many of us will not be able to read the first chapter of John’s Gospel without hearing Jim’s voice.

Jim was a great family man and always supportive of his children, Andrew and David, and their families. He was proud of them all and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But Jim’s life was shattered seven years ago on Joan’s sudden death. He coped with the daily round and managed the home with the efficiency of a senior manager, but much of the joy had gone from his life. They had always been the most hospitable and generous of couples and Jim continued to enjoy ‘hosting’ dinners at Moortown Golf Club where he was always mindful of the work behind the scenes. He was a charming guest and generous in his appreciation. Joan had introduced ‘Guild Lunches’ some years ago and, when she died, Jim said he knew Joan would wish us to continue. We felt bereft without her but did continue and were so pleased when Jim also joined us saying ‘he would not miss it.’ He was always good company, enjoying his ‘haven’t had to cook’ meal and the conversation.

A pillar of our church and a charming gentleman, Jim will be sadly missed by us all.



Joan McShane has received two letters recently from Christian Aid thanking us for our donations.

The first, a much belated response to our Lent Appeal when we raised £1,864.30 toward their work in Afghanistan. At that time their suffering was in the news day by day, but world events have overtaken the stories of deprivation and hunger but Christian Aid continues its support.

The second letter thanked the church for the £777.58 sent following Christian Aid week, this included money collected during the week at St. Chad’s garage, the collecting tin in the garage and envelopes distributed in church. We thank West Park URC for their donations and St Chad’s garage for yet again allowing us to collect on their premises. C.A. mentioned in particular their work in Zimbabwe.

MadelinaClimate change and growing populations in Africa are putting agriculture at risk and many are still subsistence farmers.

Investment has allowed the development of more drought resistant seeds that survive even the driest conditions and the result can be seen where arid fields have come to life with groundnuts, wild fruits and golden corn.

Janet, a 70 year grandmother, has been able to build a store to keep her harvest for hard times. She shares the produce with her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and neighbours in her village. She says, ‘I am more than glad to share what I have. This project is lifting us up. We are thankful’.

Pictured above is Madelina, member of the Mthombowesizwe Market Garden.

‘We now get enough to pay for what we need and send our children to school. We sell in local markets … our lives have changed.’ It is salutary to be reminded of the long-term problems in the developing world when local hardships are to the fore, and all that Christian Aid is doing to support them.

THE GUILD We still have no firm plans for sorting the cooking arrangements in the kitchen, which is dogged by power supply difficulties. We enjoyed an ‘Afternoon Tea’ together in July and collected donations to the value of £50 which we sent to UNICEF for its work with children in the Ukraine.

Thank you for your generosity. I have not added a date for an August lunch but we shall discuss with friends what we shall plan to do.