Newsletter February 2024

Dear Friends,
As we move through this season of EPIPHANY—we discover little by little the true identity of the infant Christ—God with us—Immanuel. This year we have also explored the different ways that God calls his people to follow him—the patriarchs and prophets—the first disciple—you and me. And soon we will be in the season of LENT as we move towards HOLY WEEK and EASTER.

LENT begins with ASH WEDNESDAY when we remember our own shortcomings and mortality and the LOVE of God coming to us in JESUS. Love without measure.

Significant then that this year ASH WEDNESDAY falls on February 14th—St Valentine’s Day.

Impossible not to reflect on the nature of love . . . and the unconditional love that is of God.

I share the entry in our URC Prayer Handbook this year for February 14th:

This day, dear Lord,
When we think of earthly love,
Bring near your word
That we may heed the dove
Whose offering of peace,
And restoration,
Will urge us cease
This endless war of nations.
In the midst of all parched places
Give us strength now to restore
The long-neglected spaces.
And refill the hearts of people torn
By hate and grief with hope, so springing
From the ashes may come love forever shining.

Elfreda Tealby-Watson

I hope you will feel able to take up some of the opportunities offered this month—read, enjoy and share.
May this LENT bring blessing and peace in these troubled times,


We thank Rev’d Angela Hughes for sharing her letter for the Stainbeck ‘Outlook’ newsletter with us. Nicola is still recovering from this nasty bug that has afflicted so many this winter and we wish her well, hoping she will soon be in good health again.


ACT ON POVERTY—a Lent Course from Christian Aid

You may have noticed from the calendar that the Partnership is arranging a Study Course during Lent and that we are hosting a group each Wednesday afternoon. There is also a Zoom group each Wednesday evening and a group at meeting in South Leeds on Monday afternoons. We trust you be able to respond if we ask for help with refreshments when we act as hosts. Full details on the poster below.

4th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
11th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by our Minister, Rev Dr Nicola Robinson.
The service will include the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and we shall be joined by our friends from Headingley Methodist Church.
13th Tuesday 12.30pm Guild Pancake Lunch
16th Friday 12 noon Lent Lunch at Headingley Methodist Church
18th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
21st Wednesday 2.00pm Partnership Lent Course at Headingley St Columba—see poster below
23rd Friday 12 noon Lent Lunch at St Jeanne Jugan (St Urban’s)
25th SUNDAY 10.30am Morning Worship at West Park URC, 324 Spen Lane LS16 5BA
28th Wednesday 2.00pm Partnership Lent Course at Headingley St Columba



Following a long break, mainly as a result of Covid, ‘Churches Together in Headingley’ is now fully represented by all our local churches and our first Service together was held in St. Michaels to celebrate ‘The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’.

The Lent Lunches have also been reinstated but in a new format. Each lunch will be held in a different Church venue commencing at 12 noon with Tea and Coffee being served on arrival. The church will provide a speaker and you will need to bring your own packed lunch and perhaps some to share with others. No doubt a pattern will evolve over the weeks.

The first lunch, on Friday 16th February will be held at Headingley Methodist Church, and the second on Friday 23rd at St Jeanne Jugan (perhaps better known to you as St Urban’s), Grove Road, LS6 4AQ.

Please note that we are responsible for hosting the lunch on FRIDAY 15th MARCH when we shall need help from volunteers to serve refreshments.
Lent Lunches

St Mary’s in the Wood Shrove Tuesday 2024
Tuesday 13th February 11am -12noon
An Invitation

As with long standing tradition the congregation have decided to ring the bell this year despite not having our own premises to ring from. We are worshipping at Central Methodist and had originally planned to do the ringing from there Unfortunately this has proved difficult to organise and we have taken the opportunity to hire Unity Hall next door to our old building, for the event. The bell will be rung in Commercial Street again!

pancakeThe Pancake Bell is believed to have come from Kirkstall Abbey via Howley Hall. The traditional bell dated 1694; it was silver, and was re cast in T’Owd Chapel then moved to the steeple in the Victorian Church in 1878. It has always been rung between 11-12 in the Morley town to signify the start of Lent to the workers in the town, who got a half day holiday. The bell was rung to remind people to use up the flour prior to the start of lent (Hence the pancakes) The original is no longer available following the devastating fire of the church building in June 2009. However the congregation feel it important to reminding the town of the tradition and have rung the hand bell each year.


pancaketooJoin us for our Pancake Lunch on Shrove Tuesday, 13th February, meeting at about 12.30pm for lunch at 1 o’clock.

All are welcome – just let us know if you would like to come this month.

We raised the price to £4 this year and the additional £1 not only means we cover our costs safely but, hopefully, we shall be able to put any extra toward a charity at the end of the year.


Nakaateng Dry Season Garden

Nakaateng is a remote village community of around 750 people on the western edge of the Wa West Municipality district. It is a two hour walk to the nearest school or clinic and two hours to the nearest market. They are subsistence farmers growing maize, millet, groundnuts and soya beans. Guinea fowl, hens and goats provide meat.

To reach Nakaateng our rented 4 x 4 with driver (it’s considered best for foreigners not to drive as Ghana has no rules of the road), drove down the main N12 road to the South, unsealed and badly potholed, for an hour and then we turned off to the west and passed through two villages and a ford before reaching the village an hour later. There was no road, just a few paths in the bush, but our driver managed to get his truck there. He looked relieved to arrive safely.

The villagers welcomed us with a song and dancing, and the ladies group were wearing their best dresses. The older men sat under the trees and watched as is normal in Ghana.


Eric, who helps Jacob’s Well Appeal’s partner NGO Sahara Advocates for change had made a previous visit by motorbike. Because the community is so remote, they spoke a different dialect to the other villages, so Eric used one of the younger men as a translator. It all got very confusing when I was speaking English and he immediately translated into something Eric didn’t understand. I was ushered off to see the proposed site near the river which was about a twenty minute walk through the bush in 40℃ heat. Eric bravely came too having had an unexpected meeting with a cobra the previous week at another project. I promised to hit any snakes with my stick, but Eric said he had discovered he could run really fast!

The site has very good soil and is near the river. The villagers agreed to clear the site and put up fencing to keep out the goats.

The fence being put up.

Money donated to the Dry Season Garden fund is used to buy wire fencing, tools and seeds. Thirty-seven households have signed up to the agreement to manage the garden, managed by the ladies group. The vegetables grown will improve nutrition and any surplus can be sold.

Celebrating the start of the garden and showing off the new watering cans.

nakaateng4We were given a traditional gift, 2 live Guinea fowls. They were delicious after a visit to a butcher and grilled by the kitchen where we were staying.

The villagers and Jacob’s Well Appeal are very grateful for the donation from Headingley St Columba’s.

Elizabeth Lyle
Jacob’s Well Appeal


A Poem for Lent – verses chosen by Sheffield Cathedral for Lent 2016

It’s true, we cannot reach Christ’s fortieth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Saviour’s purity;
Yet we are bid, “Be holy even as he,”
In both let’s do our best.

Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
That travelleth by-ways:
Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn and take me by the hand, and more:
May strengthen my decays.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast,
As may our faults control:
That every man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlour; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul.

George Herbert




Last year, Jane Bower suggested that Headingley St Columba might like to submit some pictures of the Millenium wall hangings in the Sanctuary for inclusion in this year’s URC Calendar. Ian Lawrie kindly photographed the wall hangings and I photographed the picture of the Creation at the back of the Sanctuary, painted by the late Mrs Sadie Bower, and they were submitted and the one of the hangings and of the painting were accepted.

The late Mrs Joan Throssell wrote in the Church Newsletter in March 2000, that ‘the hangings on what I jokingly call the toast-rack at the front of the church were made for the Millennium – a rough sketch was given to the late Len Bower and he with all his usual artistic skill, drew them to scale on a large pieces of card. These were traced on to the material and Sadie Bower, Audrey Jones, Janette Morley, Doreen Sowden, Joan Throssell and Doreen Waring each took part of the work home and when completed, they were sewn on to the background.

The right hand one shows the star that was a sign of the birth of Jesus; the footprints show that Jesus trod this earth and the sizes of the feet depict His growth from childhood to His death on the Cross. They are copies of the feet of our former Minister, the Revd Robert Way and his grandchildren, who stepped in paint to produce them. The open gate shows that Christ opened the gates of Heaven for us through the Cross, which is the centre of the gate.

The hanging on the left illustrates the coming of the Holy Spirit in flames, and the dove. The flames are also shown as coming down on the whole of our world and people.

Joan added ‘I do not know how long people would like to keep them hanging there, perhaps the Elders could decide after Pentecost’.

Aleck Brownjohn


Lent Course