Newsletter February 2022


‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.’
Hebrews 11.1-2

Dear friends,

As we begin to lift restrictions again in the UK it seems that we are hopeful that the worst of the pandemic is finally behind us. It has been a difficult two years for all of us, but with vaccines and the Omicron variant leading to less severe illness, we might be able to see the next few months as getting back to something like normal. That isn’t to say that lifting restrictions should be universal, and many of us feel we should still be wearing masks to protect others.

As a church, we too are hopeful for the future, with news of a candidate preaching with a view in the Partnership in a couple of weeks’ time. I’m sure there is other information sent around so I won’t repeat it all here. However, it is an important step, and as many people as possible are asked to take part in the weekend, to come to a service or the informal coffee session. We are hopeful that this is the right person, that they will work well with the ministry team across the Partnership, and will help us in the future of our work here.

Hope is a word we use quite freely in conversation, when we hope something will happen. But hope in the Biblical sense is in something which we know will happen. We have that assurance. I chose the verse above because it reminds us that faith is the confidence in that hope. We don’t have a hope in Christ that is placed because we think it might be a good idea, or badly placed like in an investment that goes wrong. Rather, it is because we know who Christ is, the one who came from God to redeem the world, and therefore we trust in His promises.


As we continue through this year,
Romans, whatever happens in life in general, we can hold on in faith to that hope in Christ.

Hebrews 15.13 says, ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’

I pray that for you this year.

With love in Christ,
Clare <><

Prayer Meeting

This month’s prayer meeting is due to be on Wednesday 9January, from 10.30-11am as usual. Do join us in the comfort of your own home to spend the time in prayer for those in our church and those we know who are unwell, bereaved or need prayer for other issues.

6th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
We shall be joined by Headingley Methodist Church
8th Tuesday 12.30pm Guild Lunch
12th Saturday 10.30am-
Drop-in Coffee Morning at Stainbeck Church.
An opportunity to meet the Partnership candidate
13th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by our Minister, Rev Clare S Davison
3.00pm Worship at St Andrew’s Roundhay, led by the candidate
for the Partnership vacancy
5.00pm Partnership Church Meeting at St Andrew’s Roundhay
20th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship, including the sacrament of Holy Communion
led by our Minister, Rev Clare S Davison
27th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship, led by Rev Kenneth Carveley
We shall be joined by Headingley Methodist Church

We are holding a worship@4 on January 30th for all those who would like to come. There may not be a service in February, but will announce in the notices and by email if there is.




On Zoom from

8th March for 5 weeks

Tuesdays 10-11am

Wednesdays 2-3pm

Thursdays 7.30-8.30pm

This will be the usual format, led by members of the ministry team and others.

You don’t need a copy of the book to attend, but if you would like one, they are £9.99 + P&P. Order from Clare Davison by 2nd February.
or phone 0113 278 4483.


The Leeds Partnership is holding a Lent course again this year. Zoom sessions are planned as usual. They may be holding an ‘in person group’ in S Leeds, and if enough people wish to meet together at Headingley St Columba, I am happy to arrange to do so. Please let me know if you’d want to come. I’d be thinking of a day time study on a Thursday afternoons.


As you know, the ministry team and Steering Group decided to postpone the Service of inauguration of the Partnership and Induction of the current ministry team to the Partnership, which was due to take place on Saturday 29th January. We are waiting on St Andrew’s Roundhay, where the service will take place, for a new date in May.

As this service was in place of a Mission & Care meeting for January, we are now not having a Mission & Care meeting until Tuesday 15th March, 7.30pm on Zoom.


From Samantha Sheehan: Interim Moderator for the Leeds URC Partnership:-

It is my delight and pleasure to inform you that the vacancy group have met with a candidate for the ministry vacancy and after prayerful reflection feel it is right to invite them to meet with the whole partnership and preach with a view.

There will be an opportunity to meet with the candidate on the morning of Saturday 12th February during a drop-in style coffee morning at Stainbeck URC from 10.30 – 12.30. On Sunday 13th February the candidate will lead worship at The URC in South Leeds at 10.45am, this will be a café style service.

There will also be an afternoon service at St Andrews at 3pm following a traditional service format. Our hope is that this service will also be live streamed.

At 5pm on Sunday evening there will be a Partnership church meeting where the resolution to issue a call will be put. We would like to encourage as many members as possible to engage with this weekend, to come and meet with the candidate as we together discern the will of God in issuing a call and invitation to join the ministry team in serving the Leeds URC Partnership.
We are aware that there is still much uncertainty and anxiety around COVID-19 and we will each have our own limits as to what we are comfortable with when it comes to gatherings. Our hope is that we have found a good compromise in our plans in managing risk.

We expect that there will still be a strong encouragement to wear face masks, we have chosen venues where good ventilation can be achieved, and space in the timetable where folk can step outside for their own fresh air and space.

We also hope the option to share in worship via livestreams will mean for those who may feel uncomfortable to join physically for a significant length of time can share in the livestream worship and then join in person for the church meeting at 5pm at St Andrew’s Roundhay.

In order to fully participate in the Church Meeting there are two requirements:

  1. Your name must be on the roll of membership at one of the Partnership churches
  2. You must have been present at one the acts of worship (either physically or virtual)

Jubilee emblem

This year is a Jubilee year. In the Bible, every 50 years was a Jubilee year, a year when debts were cancelled, slaves released, and land returned to the original family. It was a time when everyone could start afresh. At the start of His ministry, Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, verses from Isaiah 61 which were like His mission statement. The last verse of that statement reads that He has been sent to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. This is taken as a Jubilee year by most Biblical scholars, and reminds us that Jesus came to bring new life a new start.

This year, there are two Jubilees we might get involved in. The first one, of course, is the Queen’s Jubilee of 70 years of her reign, celebrated between Thursday 2nd and Sunday 5th June.

URC Logo

The other is our own United Reformed Church Jubilee of 50 years since the Act of Parliament in June of 1972 which inaugurated our denomination, the coming together of the churches from the Presbyterian and Congregational traditions. It was a great time of hope in more churches joining together as one, and in 1981 the Churches of Christ joined, then in 2000 the Scottish Congregationalists. The original coming together was not just as a start of a movement to bring more unity in the UK denominations, but was also about mission. We can achieve more together, and mission has been at the heart of the denomination ever since. Celebrations are taking place in the autumn at Methodist Central Hall where the Uniting General Assembly took place in 1972.

So what about us? Get your thinking caps on. Any ideas on how we can celebrate these Jubilees, as a church for the Queen’s Jubilee, or maybe as part of the Partnership for our URC Jubilee will be gratefully received, please by Elders’ meeting on 23rd Feb.

Thanks, Clare



Sadly, amid concerns that the new Covid variant was spreading rapidly, we felt it wise to cancel the Guild lunch in January, but we shall be back in February and hope you can join us. So, we shall meet at about 12.30pm on Tuesday, 8th February ready for lunch at 1 o’clock as usual. All are welcome and we hope to keep the price of lunch to £3 for this year unless we find the cost of living really is catching up with us.
Shrove Tuesday falls on the first Tuesday in March this year and we are thinking we may change our lunch to that day so that we may celebrate with our usual Pancake Day Lunch. Let us know if this suits you.



Recently I have been reading a book which seeks to bring Anne Brontë out from thee shadow of her sisters and show that her writing is as worthy of merit as theirs. Her reputation has been influenced by Charlotte who portrayed her as pious and reserved, and who heavily edited her work often to its detriment. Her most famous writing is ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ which dealt with alcoholism, marital abuse and the rights of women – all topics relevant today.

All the Brontës wrote poetry as well as novels and that of Emily is regarded as the finest. Anne’s poetry though has literary quality but Charlotte edited it to fit the image of Anne that she was trying to present thus weakening its impact. One of these poems was ‘Last Lines’ which she wrote in 1849 after she had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

These are the first and last verses:

A dreadful darkness closes in
On my bewildered mind
O let me suffer and not sin
Be tortured and resigned.

Should Death be standing at the gate
Thus should I keep my vow
But, Lord, whate’er my future fate
So let me serve Thee now.

Among her poems she labels some as hymns and one of these, possibly inspired by ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ appears in several modern hymnbooks such as Congregational Praise.

Ann Woodhouse


Name a saint! Saint Valentine must be the best known and most talked about saint in the country – especially in February – but do you know anything about him?

Legend has it that he was martyred on the 14th February in the third century Rome. A Christian priest who firstly continued to marry young couples during a ban by the emperor (it was thought that marriage might distract young men from their soldierly duties) and then either cured the blindness of the young daughter of the house where he was incarcerated or taught Julia, the blind daughter, of his gaoler. Traditionally, he then sent a message of encouragement to either young woman signed ‘From your Valentine’ on the eve of his execution; Julia then being cured of her blindness so she could read his note.

Apparently, over the years, numberless lovers have prayed to him to intercede before God about their romantic lives. Sadly, there is little reliable information about him and he was removed from the General Roman Calendar, although the Roman Catholic church continues to recognise him as a saint. But the receipt /non receipt of cards in his name has brought smiles, tears, heartache and joy to many over the years.