Newsletter March 2021

‘. . . we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’

Romans 5: 3 – 5 (NIV-UK)

Dear friends,

In just three weeks from now, we will have been in the middle of a pandemic for a whole year. It’s hard to believe. The time has gone quickly for some and yet so slowly for others. Sometimes it seems there is nothing to look forward to, as we don’t know what the future will hold and how long we’ll be in away from loved ones or stuck in alone. Despite the government’s roadmap, the plans are only possibilities, and still a long way off.

imageMost of us are able to get out, and as I write, we’ve had a day of balmy weather at 12° Celsius. The traffic is heavy outside for a Sunday afternoon, as so many have taken the opportunity to go out for the day, or at least the afternoon. And as we go out now, even into our gardens, we can see the spring bulbs poking through. The photo is of the Church garden I took as I arrived at our premises this afternoon – not a very good photo I’m afraid, but it shows the lovely white snowdrops, reminding us of the cold weather just gone, at least for now, and the crocuses which are now beginning to flower all over Leeds.

To me, the flowers speak of what has been and the hope to come. The reminder of the cold weather in the snowdrops, can remind us of the year just gone. It’s been such a tough year for many of us. Some of us have been stuck indoors shielding, many of us have missed the company of loved ones or any company at all, some of us have been bereaved and not had the opportunity to say goodbye properly to loved ones or to celebrate their lives, some of us have continued working and had to adapt to very different ways of working. There have also been missed family celebrations, which were put off and put off, for some holidays put off last year and maybe the same holidays also this year. There have been many times of anxiety I’m sure for all of us, and when we do eventually emerge from the pandemic, there will be the after effects to cope with and the trauma. Not to forget all the children and young people for whom this strange time will have a lasting effect on their lives.

So what of the croci? Spring is in the air. To me that gives a sense of hope in our lives, that the winter is almost past and better days are to come. Certainly, this last lockdown with the colder weather has been more difficult to adjust to. It will be good to enjoy the flowers in the parks for those of us who can, and many of us who’ve been vaccinated may well be able to go confidently outside in the coming months.

What does this say to our faith? In life, there are always ups and downs, the wilderness to go through, the mountain tops. The verse above from Romans reminds us that whatever we go through, we can see it in a positive way. As we have had to persevere through this last year, it has built our character, and if offered to God, then for the better. And from that, we come to hope. Our hope is in Christ Jesus. Whatever we have experienced and whatever is to come, we know He is faithful and we can put our hope in him, who fills us with God’s love through the Holy Spirit.

So, ‘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.’ Romans 12: 13 (NIV-UK)

With love in Christ,
Clare <><


In Memoriam.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr David Nelson on 16th February. He was a faithful and willing member of our church, serving as an Elder and member of the choir for many years. He attended Sunday Worship regularly until ill-health prevented his doing so and his happy smile and generous friendship were a blessing to us all. He never looked happier than when surrounded by his much loved family and Anna, and their daughters, Susan and Margot and their families are in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time.

Roger and Janette Morley would like to say a heartfelt thank you for all the cards, flowers, messages and phone calls that we have received following the death of our dear son Matthew.
Words cannot express the comfort and help they have been to us at this very sad and difficult time.
May God bless you and keep you.

Sunday worship, this month on Podcast
7th March Rev Geoff Ellis Lent 3
14th March Rev Clare Davison Lent 4 Mothering Sunday
21st March break week
28th March Rev Clare Davison Palm Sunday
4th April Rev Clare Davison Easter Sunday

A reminder that the next worship@4 will be on 28th February led by Dan Morrell, who is our Synod’s media consultant and helps out nationally too, was at University in Leeds until a couple of years ago and a member of St Andrew’s Roundhay, served as the national URC Youth Assembly Moderator fairly recently, and is currently working in Sheffield, having trained as an airline pilot.
March worship@4 is on 28th March, and will be a Palm Sunday celebration, led by Clare.

Maundy Thursday Tenebrae, 1st April, 9pm
This year, as last, our traditional Tenebrae service will be on Zoom, recorded and later put on YouTube.
As usual we will celebrate Holy Communion, for which you’re asked to have ready a piece of bread and a small glass of wine or something red.
Details will be circulated again in the next magazine and by email nearer the time, but for now, the link is:
Meeting ID: 849 0888 3433
Passcode: 150328
You can also join in by phone, using +44 203 481 5237. The voice message will ask you to enter the Meeting ID followed by #, then it asks for the Passcode followed by #

Prayer Meeting
This month’s prayer meeting is from 10.30-11am on Wednesday 10th March, in the comfort of your own home. Find somewhere quiet and undisturbed. Margaret Madill is providing sheets by email to help us in our prayers, which you can ask for from her or Aleck Brownjohn.

Lent Course
The Lent course began last week, but each week’s theme stands alone, so please join in if you can. If you can’t make one day, then join in with another.


This year we shall be supporting two charities during Lent; Wheatfields Hospice and Leeds North and West Foodbank. This has been a difficult year for all charities with Fund-raising for Wheatfields much curtailed and the demands on Food Banks being much greater. We know many of you put sums aside each week or collect certain coins during Lent to support the project but, sadly, we can only deal with cheques at the moment. If you would like to contribute to the Lent Project please make your cheque out to Leeds North and West Food Bank or Wheatfields Hospice – or both if you are able – and forward them to Susan Bollon who will collate them and forward them. Gift Aid forms available from Aleck.


SMILE PLEASE! – our thanks to Liz.
At the evening service last Sunday, Miss C Manson sang, ‘ I will not pass this way again’, giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.


Weight Watchers will meet at 7pm next Thursday in the Church Hall. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.



Holy Week challenges us each time we retell the story. Would I have cheered with the crowds, or stood aghast as the tables of the money lenders were over-turned; or run away and even denied being the friend of someone I admired and loved or fallen asleep when I had been asked to be watchful?
My parents visited the Holy Land and found it a most moving experience as have other friends. I imagine that one of the most moving places must be the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives where, if you are fortunate, the peace of an olive grove can still be felt. And you may imagine that peace shattered by soldiers bearing torches and weapons searching out a troublesome rebel.
There are several gardens in close proximity to each other claiming to be Gethsemane, named by Matthew and Mark as the garden where Jesus went to pray, and they all have olive trees – the name derives from the Aramaic for ‘olive press’. Olives are wonderful trees and some of those in Gethsemane are amongst the oldest known, three now dated from 1092, 1166 and 1198 AD. They share a parent plant, so may well be older – perhaps grown on from a special tree or springing from the roots of a far more ancient tree – maybe going back 2,000 years.
We have walked in ancient olive groves in mainland Greece and Greek Islands, followed donkey stone trods on Paxos and enjoyed the shade and strength of the trees. We have rested against their gnarled trunks and felt at peace, almost overwhelmed at the thought of all they had ‘seen’. How easy to sit in an olive grove after enjoying a meal with one’s closest friends and just drift off . . .


Sadly, we are unable to hold our joint service this year but Stainbeck Church (who were due to host their local service), will be making use of some of the material written by the women of the church in Vanuatu in their Thursday Evening Prayer service to be held on Thursday, 4th March at 7.30pm and you are welcome to join them.
Vanuatu is an archipelago of eighty islands stretching about 400 miles across the South Pacific and is one of the first countries to set off the annual wave of prayer around the world each year. This year we have been given the focus ‘Build on a strong foundation’ to encourage the world from sunrise to sunset. You are very welcome to join us as we join the world.

Join Stainbeck Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 701 927 7749



God hath not promised
Skies ever blue,
Flower strewn pathways
All our lives through:
God hath not promised
Sun without rain
Joy without sorrow
Peace without pain
But he hath promised –
Strength for each day,
Rest after labour-
Light for our way
Grace for our trials-
Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy,
Undying love.




Why not put on your thinking cap—or Easter bonnet—and see if you can come up with a poem or a few words celebrating Easter for next month’s newsletter.