Newsletter March 2023

george vi

Dear Friends

Finding our Voice

Throughout the Bible, we see God calling a variety of individuals to undertake important tasks. And this calling often involves speaking out. But who does God call? You would think God would call articulate, well-spoken people who are full of confidence and charisma. And yet, God’s thoughts aren’t our thoughts. God calls those who may at first glance appear unexpected. For example, Moses who by his own admission is not the best communicator, God calls him to be a spokesperson and leader to his people. Then there are the women who visit Jesus’ tomb and who become the first witnesses to the resurrection and go and articulate what they have witnessed to their community. I don’t know about you, but I find these examples really rather reassuring. These individuals, whom God called, experienced deep fear. And yet, with God palpably present, they discovered even deeper courage to do what they needed to do, say what they needed to say.

Have you ever felt God calling you to something unexpected and outside your comfort zone?

It may surprise you to know that I was a deeply shy child. At school, I found class discussions and talks in front of people excruciating. Give me a book and a piece of paper and I was able to articulate myself freely and clearly.

At church, years later, I distinctly remember the first time I got up to preach. I was utterly terrified. My mouth was dry, my left leg was shaking, my heart was beating too fast. But like a stone in my shoe, I felt God gently yet persistently prodding me to this task, to get up and speak, to fulfil this calling. And other people whom I trusted, encouraged and affirmed me.

This year our Leeds URC Partnership course during Lent is based on the film, The King’s Speech. The film tells the story of Prince Albert, who like many of the characters in the Bible, found himself in an unexpected situation: becoming King George VI after his brother abdicated. With a stammer, he needed to overcome his fear of public speaking. Over the five weeks, we’ll spend time together looking at the film and the Bible. We’ll discuss and explore the ways in which we can face our fears and begin to find our authentic voice in our own lives, our churches, our communities.


3rd Friday World Day of Prayer
5th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
12th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by our Minister, Rev Dr Nicola Robinson. Joint service with Headingley Methodist Church
14th Tuesday 12.30pm Guild Lunch
15th Wednesday 9.30am Elders’ Meeting
19th SUNDAY 10.45am Mothering Sunday. Morning Worship, including the Sacrament of Holy Communion, led by Rev Phil Chilvers
26th SUNDAY 9.30am at Headingley Methodist Church

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Mrs Doreen Sowden on 4th Feb 2023. Doreen had the strongest of faiths often expressing it through her thoughtful and beautiful poetry. She attended church week by week until her infirmity in the last few weeks made it impossible. Her funeral service will be held on Tuesday, 21st March at 11am at Headingley St Columba.


Saturday 8th April, 10.30 – 12 noon
easter eggs

Please join us for a cuppa, hot cross bun and natter as we celebrate Easter. For the creative among us please remember to bring along your Easter creations be it an egg, hat or garden. We are also hoping to welcome our friends from the Partnership so please do come along.


Our March Lunch will be held on Tuesday 14th, meeting at about 12.30pm for lunch at 1o’clock. It has been a pleasure to welcome a few new faces recently (not new to the Church, but to our lunch!) and we do hope they have enjoyed their lunch – we have certainly enjoyed their company. So, if you are free that day and feel like a meal out and a chat, why not think about coming along too.


“I Have Heard About Your Faith”.

You are warmly invited to attend one the services in our area as listed below:
10.30am. Lidgett Park Methodist Church, Lidgett Place LS8 1HG
1.00pm. St. George’s Church (the Lighthouse) Great George St, LS1 3BR
In the presence of the Lord Mayor of Leeds
2.30pm. Shadwell Methodist Church, 102 Main Street, Shadwell, LS17 8HN
6.00pm. Trinity United Church, 6 Banstead Terrace, LS8 5P


flyerA reminder of the Lent Partnership Course. Please note the Monday Sessions at South Leeds have been cancelled, but there is still the option of St. Andrew’s, Roundhay on Tuesdays, or Stainbeck on Thursdays if you wish to attend in person – or Zoom on Wednesdays.


28th July 1940 – 13th January 2023

We celebrated the life of Mary on the 22nd February 2023, when the church was full of family who loved her dearly and friends whose lives had been made all the happier for knowing her.
Her daughter-in-law, Lisa, gave the Eulogy and has kindly shared it with us and below are some extracts, particularly for those who were unable to attend.

Mary KoiMary was born in Londonderry on 28th July 1940, the fourth in a family of six. She went to the local primary school and then to the Technical College, leaving in 1956 with her Junior Certificate and Secretarial qualifications.

Later that year the family moved to Leeds to live in a big Victorian House near the University and Mary took up her first job in one of the many Leeds Engineering companies. She wasn’t there for long before joining the Civil Service in the Tax Office. The family transferred to Cavendish Road Presbyterian Church where many of the congregation were from Scotland and Northern Ireland so they immediately felt quite at home. Mary joined the Fellowship of Youth which met after the evening service on a Sunday and it was here she met her future husband Lawrence and they went on to marry in 1960; over the following twelve years they had four children, Simon, Linda, Dansoa and Alex.

Although she often denied it, she could have quite a competitive streak, and Alex has funny memories of playing tennis with his mum regularly at the courts in Hyde Park. Members of the two Badminton clubs at the church would confirm she never lost her skills or that streak!

When the children were young Mary had various part time jobs to suit their needs including a short spell as an usherette at the Odeon Cinema, a longer spell at an engineering company, later Mary returned to the Civil Service, working for Export Credit Guarantee Department where she progressed from the Typing Pool to a Higher Executive Officer. In her mid 50’s an opportunity came up to do a similar role in Belfast and she grabbed it, even driving all her possessions over by car from Leeds. This transpired to be a very positive step; she enjoyed working there again and remained friends with her work colleagues in both Leeds and Belfast for the rest of her life.

When Mary retired in 2001, she went to Australia for 3 months travelling around with family members and taking in Hong Kong and New Zealand. She went on many walking holidays with Gladys and their walking groups, and she also often went off on coach holidays in Britain and abroad with her sister Milly. She continued to travel to Australia often to spend time with Simon, his wife Helen and her granddaughter, Amber, her last trip being a very enjoyable one in her 80th year where she stayed for several months.

Following the birth of her first grandchild Isaac, Mary moved back to Leeds and bought a flat in Adel close to her son Alex and his new young family. Alex and Lisa went on to have four boys and Mary’s role of full-time granny was now firmly established. When Alex started his own business in 2006, Mary ‘became’ the accounts department, assistant framer and the office cleaner.

Mary also joined us at Headingley St Columba and became a valued member of the Flower Arranging Team, happily undertook all tasks requested of members and organised the Badminton Group for many years, continuing to play right up to her diagnosis of cancer in 2022.

Mary had many interests; a “street” dancing class with the City Slickers, a valued volunteer with the Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery since its founding in 2011, helping with lunches at the Methodist Church. She loved watching ‘Strictly come Dancing’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ and could quite happily binge watch for hours on the latest BBC period drama, not to mention Radio 4 and the Archers. She was also a massive Earl grey tea lover and loved nothing more than a cuppa, some cake and a good chat.

Mary was a strong woman, selfless, very kind, very social and had time for everybody. She was without question the absolute best granny she could have been, a wonderful mum, sister, aunty, mother in law, and a great friend to so many. It is clear from the 100’s messages of condolence the family have received that Mary was loved and admired by all who knew her describing her as cheerful, vibrant, inspiring, dedicated, thoughtful, generous, kind, warm, friendly, lively, engaging, a humorous personality….. And it was just as clear to us, her friends and fellow church members, how much she was loved by the church being full of people celebrating her life.


To all our friends at Church

On behalf of the family I should like to thank everyone for the cards and expressions of sympathy we have received on the death of my sister Mary. Thank you also to all those who attended Mary’s funeral with particular thanks to those who helped with the planning, organisation and delivery. The service and gathering afterwards ensured that the family will have a lasting positive memory of the celebration of Mary’s life.


ST.DAVID – Saint’s Day 1st March

Legend tells that an angel foretold the birth of St David to St Patrick, 30 years before it happened – although the date is believed to be at some time between 462 and 515 AD.

stdavidsIt is said he may have lived for more than 100 years but his death is recorded on 1st March 589 – hence St David’s Day.

His family was aristocratic; his father, Sant, was the Prince of Powys, and his grandfather King Ceredig founded Ceredigion. His mother was Non, a nun, and legend says she gave birth to him on a cliff-top in Pembrokeshire during a fierce storm. At that exact moment, a bolt of lightning from heaven is said to have struck the rock, splitting it in two. A nearby holy well is blessed with healing powers.

Non named her son Dewidd, or Dewi to the locals, and he was baptised David. Educated at a monastery, he became a missionary, spreading Christianity.

Dewi was a renowned preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches in Wales, Brittany and south-west England. He visited Glastonbury with seven bishops to re-dedicate the abbey, but, warned in a dream that the Abbey was already sacred, it is said he had a chancel built in which the altar held a magnificent sapphire. Hidden possibly from fear of the Danes, the sapphire was lost for generations. but was rediscovered by Abbot Henry of Blois, nephew of Henry I, who had it magnificently set in gold and silver, surrounded by precious stones and delivered to the King as a “super-altare”, called the Great Sapphire of Glastonbury. Its whereabouts no longer known.

David made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem bringing back a stone that now sits in an altar at St David’s Cathedral, built on the site of his original monastery.

He and his monks led a very simple and austere life apparently living off a diet of only leeks and water. Miracles are ascribed to him: he is said to have cured his tutor of blindness with the sign of the cross and brought a dead boy back to life by splashing the child’s face with tears. While he was preaching at Llanddewi Brefi it is said that the ground beneath his feet rose up to form a hill so people at the back of a large crowd could hear him, and as he spoke a white dove, sent by God, settled on his shoulder.

St DavidSt David has been the patron saint of Wales since the 12th Century when there were more than 60 churches in Wales dedicated to him. Vikings regularly raided the cathedral while the shrine was stripped of its jewels during the reformation in the 16th Century.

His last words to his followers came from a sermon he gave on the previous Sunday: ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.’

‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain’ – ‘Do the little things’.

LENT: In the wilderness Satan offers Christ ‘all the kingdoms of the world’

“So here’s the deal and this is what you get:
The penthouse suite with world-commanding views,
The banker’s bonus and the private jet,
Control and ownership of all the news,
An ‘in’ to that exclusive one per cent,
Who know the score, who really run the show,
With interest on every penny lent
And sweeteners for cronies in the know.
A straight arrangement between me and you,
No hell below or heaven high above,
You just admit it, and give me my due,
And wake up from this foolish dream of love …
But Jesus laughed, ‘You are not what you seem.
Love is the waking life, you are the dream.’”