Newsletter – December 2019 & January 2020

There came a knock on the stable door and the infant turned his head,
‘I only came’, said the shepherd boy, ‘to see that the lamb was fed’.
Another knock sounded loud and clear, and the baby looked around.
‘We only came’, said the three wise men, ‘to see the king was crowned’.
A hail of knocking upon the door as the star turned pale at dawn.
‘We only came’, said the populace ‘when we heard the Christ was born’.
No knock, no flute, and no fanfare blown, no banner bright unfurled.
‘I only came’, said the Infant Lord, ‘bringing peace throughout the world’.

Doreen Sowden



Dear friends,

This year, I have chosen our Christmas publicity with these words on. They are words to get us thinking about the impact Jesus has had throughout the last 2000 years. As the publicity is for those outside the Church, I hope it will get others thinking too, about who the baby Jesus really is, the influence He has had, even too to prompt people to come and ask questions.

We know that Jesus, like so many in our world today, was born into poverty. His parents were not well off, they were in a strange place and could only find room to stay where the animals were kept. Jesus became a refugee, taken by his parents to Egypt to escape King Herod’s jealousy. Yet His example and teachings have changed history.

In worship one week in December, we’ll be exploring Mary’s song of joy, the Magnificat. In that, we read the words of Mary about what God has come to do in Jesus:

‘He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.’

(Luke 1.51-53 NRSVA)

These words change the ordering of what people expect in life. They turn the world upside down, to what God wants it to be, where power and riches won’t have the upper hand, the hand of oppression, but ordinary people can live a fulfilled and peaceful life.

Jesus came to bring life in all its fullness. In His ministry, He lifted up those who were poor or had disabilities or who were outcasts in society. He enabled people to be able to work again, He valued them, and made it possible for them to worship God.

History itself has been changed by Jesus’ life, His example, His teachings on God and His death and resurrection. His influence has shaped our social and political norms, and those of many countries, not to mention the millions of people who own Him as Lord of their lives and try to follow Him and show His love to others.

As we celebrate Christmas this year, maybe we will be able to see Jesus in a different light, thinking of how He has changed our world, has changed us, and how we are part of the movement to bring His light and life to the world around us as we go into the year ahead.

Wishing you all the joy and peace of Christ,
and a new year blessed with the fulness of Christ
Clare <><


worship@4 ~ Carols by Candlelight
In December we are holding it a week early and having Carols by Candlelight, followed as usual by food. Please let Clare or Aleck know if you can help with food, welcoming or the sound desk, or to help set up after morning worship. Thanks.

Clare’s Service themes & readings
8th Dec Joy and Gladness in Salvation
Isaiah 35.1-10 & Luke 1.46-55
22nd Dec Christingle, collecting for the Children’s Society
worship@4 ~ Carols by Candlelight
25th Dec Christmas Day Celebration
12th Jan Generous giving
Proverbs 11.24-31 & 2 Corinthians 9
19th Jan Gladness & Generosity Revisited
John 12.1-8 & Acts 3.1-11
1st December Ian Henderson 5th January Elissa Grant
8th December Joan McShane 12th January Ian Henderson
15th December Aleck Brownjohn 19th January Joan McShane
22nd December Susan Bollon 26th January At HMC
29th December Elissa Grant

Please let the relevant Elder know if you have a notice you wish to be read out in church that Sunday; if possible, by the previous Wednesday.

5th January To be Dr E Cameron
12th January arranged or Mr and Mrs Madill
19th January Flower Fund Mrs A Seaton
26th January At Headingley Methodist Church

The Flower Calendar is now in the vestibule. Please enter your name if you would like a particular Sunday. Sincere gratitude to all who help with flowers.



The theme of their Christmas Appeal this year is
“Help mothers use their God-given gifts to escape poverty.”
We shall be distributing envelopes as usual and hope you will be able to support this worthwhile charity.

Coffee & Conversation
We will not be meeting in December.
Our next meetings will be continuing to explore Gladness and Generosity:
    Tuesday January 21st, 2pm
    Wednesday January 29th at 7.30pm, both in the McKay Room


Church Library
Don’t forget the Church Library is up and available for you to borrow from, thanks to Margaret Madill moving things around in the cellar! It is now located in the vestibule (Church foyer), with a small supply of books already in place, left over, from Ann Woodhouse’s former bookstall, with thanks to her as well.
Please do have a look at what is there, and borrow as you wish. There will be a notebook to write down what has been borrowed.
And if you have read a Christian book recently that has had an impact on your faith journey, please bring it along for others to borrow


The CTH Committee Meeting was held on Monday, 18th. November at Vineyard House, Bennett Road, Headingley and was chaired by Peter Morden (South Parade Baptist Church). Please see below reminders re dates & events taking place in December 2019 and January 2020.

Saturday, 14th. December from 10.30am to 11.45 (approx.) at the Arndale Centre in Headingley. The collection is for Wheatfields Hospice. Please do come along and join in the singing – all the Churches together.


18th – 25th January 2020.

The theme is ‘Unusual Kindness’ based on Acts 27 & 28 and has been prepared by the people of Malta and a booklet will be available for the various meetings. Please see Christine or Joan for further information.
Saturday, 18th January 10am – 12noon: a COFFEE MORNING will be held in St. Michael’s Church Hall.
Proceeds are for Wheatfields Hospice
Sunday 19th January 3pm UNITED SERVICE is to be held at South Parade Baptist Church


Monday 20th January at 1.45pm, St. Michael’s Church
Tuesday 21st January at 10.15am, St, Urban’s RC Church, Shaw Lane
Wednesday 22nd January at 7pm, Headingley Methodist Church.

Please do come along to one or more of the sessions . They provide an excellent opportunity to meet friends in the other Headingley Churches for fellowship, prayer and discussion.


LENT LUNCHES will commence on Friday, 6th. March for 5 weeks, hopefully, at Headingley Methodist Church as usual (currently awaiting confirmation of venue) at 12.15 for 12.30 start and finishing around 1.30pm.
It has been agreed that the pattern this year will be different with the talk coming first and then eating together. This will provide an opportunity for discussion and reflection on the theme and the talks. It has also been agreed that a simple meal will be provided:- rolls/bread, cheese & fruit. Soup will not be served but tea & coffee will available as people arrive. Small teams from each of the Churches will be required for preparing and serving.
More information should be available for the February Newsletter.
Details re HOLY WEEK have still to be discussed/confirmed.


Discussions regarding a number of ecumenical initiatives are on-going and the Ministers from the different Churches in Headingley are meeting together to discuss proposals and reflect on the way forward for CTH.
More information will be available in the New Year and Peter Morden is keen to bring in new, younger members from the Churches as representatives on the committee.
The next CTH Committee Meeting is to be held on Tuesday, January, 14th. 2020 at Headingley St. Columba URC at 7.30pm.
If you have any comments or issues you would like us to raise at the meeting please let us know.

Christine Tweedie & Joan McShane

(A Women-Led, Global, Ecumenical Movement)

A reminder that the World Day of Prayer SERVICE is to be held on Friday, 6th. March 2020, in HEADINGLEY METHODIST CHURCH at 2pm.

Christian women of Zimbabwe have prepared the Service and the theme is “Rise! Take your mat and walk”.
Please see Christine Tweedie for further details.

Please may I have all contributions for the February edition by Sunday,
12th January, either directly to me or by email to Thank you.

Margaret Brownjohn


A reminder that we are hosting a Christmas party for our own children and their special guests on Sunday 8th December from 3pm – 5pm. Once again we need your help – donations towards presents and food are still welcome, and, if you have time to spare, your presence on the day to help look after the children and socialise with any parents. Many thanks.

Susan Bollon

Pop-up Event – Saturday 7th December, 6pm

At our next pop-up event we’ll be giving out mini chocolate logs and mince pies, with warm fruit punch and water. We’ve also planned to dress up as a Nativity Scene and give out invites to our Christmas services, although recognizing many will be home already for Christmas.
We’d value prayer as we engage with the young people and anyone else passing by.

A Request from The Guild
If anyone has any suggestions for The Guild afternoon meetings Joan would be very pleased to receive them. We should very much like to offer a varied programme and to widen the appeal to more visitors.

Wednesday Prayer Meeting
We are invited to the prayer meeting on Wednesday 11th December and Wednesday 8th January, both 10.30-11am.Please do join us if you can or set aside the time to pray at home.

Prayer Room
The Iona room has been set aside as a space most of the time, for anyone to go in to pray during the week, unless there is a booking in there, and is open for those who use our building. There is a notice on the door when it is for prayer.



Hush my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.
See the kindly shepherds round Him
Telling wonders from the sky!
When they sought Him, there they found Him,
With His Virgin mother by,
See the lovely babe a-dressing;
Lovely infant, how he smiled!
When He wept, the mother’s blessing
Soothed and hush’d the holy child.
May’st thou live to know and fear Him,
Trust and love Him all thy days;
Then go dwell forever near Him,
See His face, and sing His praise!

ISAAC WATTS (1674 – 1748)

Isaac Watts has been called the father of English hymnody. Born in Southampton into a Dissenting family, he was a precocious child who began studying latin at the age of four and attended the local Free School when he was six. Soon after he was learning Greek, French and Hebrew. From an early age he composed rhyming couplets such as:

‘There was a mouse for want of stairs
Ran up a rope to say his prayers.’

His family suffered hardship during his childhood for their Dissenting faith and he was unable to go to university. Instead, he attended a Dissenting academy at Stoke Newington, near London. There he gathered around him a group of friends who enjoyed their studies and communicated in verse.
Returning to Southampton he attended worship at Above Bar Independent Church where he was horrified by the doggerel verse of the Metrical Version of the Psalms used. He began to write hymns which the church was willing to use and in two years wrote most of the hymns for which he is known, such as:

‘Come let us join our cheerful songs
With angels round the throne’

In 1696 he became tutor to the family of a wealthy Dissenter in Stoke Newington. While there, he worshipped with them at Mark Lane Independent Church and became minister there in 1702, he published a book of his own poems, ‘Horae Lyricae’, in 1706 which probably included ‘Hush my dear’. The next year he published ‘Hymns and Spiritual Songs’, and later,’Psalms of David Imitated’. He suffered ill health all his life and never married, dying in 1748.
There are thirty-eight of his hymns in ‘Rejoice and Sing’, including the well-known

‘Our God, our help in ages past’
‘When I survey the wondrous cross’.

Ann Woodhouse


The Tradition of the Christmas Pudding

Christmas (or Plum) Pudding is the traditional end to the British Christmas dinner. But what we think of as Christmas Pudding, is not what it was originally like! Christmas pudding originated as a 14th century porridge called ‘frumenty’ that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. This would often be more like soup and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities.

By 1595, frumenty was slowly changing into a plum pudding, having been thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and given more flavour with the addition of beer and spirits. It became a customary Christmas tradition by 1650, but in 1664 the Puritans banned it along with other Christmas customs. In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding. By Victorian times, Christmas Puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.

Over the years, many superstitions have surrounded Christmas Puddings. One superstition says that the pudding should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and His Disciples and that every member of the family should take turns to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west, in honour of the Wise Men.

The Sunday before Advent Sunday (which is also the last Sunday in the Church Year), is sometimes known as ‘Stir-up Sunday’. This is because opening words of the Collect for the day says: “Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The decorative sprig of holly on the top of the pudding may be a reminder of Jesus’ Crown of Thorns. Brandy or another alcoholic drink is sometimes poured over the pudding and lit at the table to make a spectacular display. This is said to represent Jesus’ love and power.


Prayer Before Church, Sundays 10.20-10.30am
We now have a prayer table set up at the back of Church to pray on a Sunday morning. Now it is more visible, please do come and join us for just 10mins. The table is set up with a card with some prayer suggestions each week, along with the ‘Leading your Church into Growth’ prayer. This prayer time is specifically to pray for our worship and our outreach. You can pray in the quiet or our loud, as you feel comfortable.

Pennies for Bibles
As of 16/11/19 we have collected over £98.00. Hopefully by January I will be able to send over £100.00. Very many thanks to all who give me their copper and small change. It mounts up.

Joan McShane

To Brenda and David and family for hosting – yet again – an enjoyable and exciting Bonfire Party. Don’t quite know how they managed a dry hour or so during a very wet autumn day but we are very grateful for their skill and to their arranging a party that raised over £290 for church charities.


A big ‘thank you’ too from the Guild to Roger Morley and his friend Keith for another fun musical afternoon in support of our charity – it raised an amazing £228. This forms the major part of our donation to the charity, Jacob’s Well, whose work Elizabeth Lyle supports in Ghana.
We shall be holding our Christmas Lunch on Tuesday, 10th December. All are welcome to a traditional ‘Christmas Dinner’, we meet as usual at about 12.30pm and the cost is £5.
There is no Guild meeting in December, but in January we shall hold our lunch as usual on Tuesday 14th January. At our Guild meeting on 28th January Hans Van Lemmen will be joining us to tell us all about ‘Turner in Yorkshire’. We hope that as many people as possible will come to this event.


CHRISTMAS COMES . . . . . . . .

Why does Santa have 3 gardens?
So he can ho-ho-ho.

There was once a great czar in Russia named Rudolph the Red. He stood
looking out the windows of his palace one day while his wife, the Czarina Katerina,
sat nearby knitting. He turned to her and said, “Look my dear, it has begun to rain!”
Without even looking up from her knitting she replied, “It’s too cold to rain. It must
be sleeting.” The Czar shook his head and said, “I am the Czar of all the Russias,
and Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear!”

Why don’t you ever see Santa in hospital? Because he has private elf care!

Q: What did Mary Poppins want from Santa?
A: Supercalifragilisticexpialisnowshoes!

Why did Santa get a parking ticket on Christmas Eve?
He left his sleigh in a snow parking zone!

Dear Santa
I have been very good for the last week or two.
Let’s just focus on that!