Newsletter May 2024

windowDear Friends


On 19th May, we celebrate with churches across the world – the day of Pentecost. Imagine the scene of Pentecost as depicted in the Bible. Roughly one hundred and twenty folk assembled in a room, feeling rather lost and despondent and unsure about what to do without Jesus. Then suddenly they experience an extraordinary storm. A violent wind, sparks, flames. And they are ‘bewildered’, ‘amazed’, ‘astonished.’

The people, both in this room as well as in the growing crowd outside, breaks out in wild chatter. Chatter in dozens of languages from across the globe. The vividness of the event, particularly the speaking in different languages sometimes overshadows the auditory transformation.

In the Bible, the Gospel writer, Luke uses the verb ‘hear’ three times in his narrative. A better translation would be ‘to listen’. It is important to capture the active, purposeful nature of the verb. The emphasis of the passage is on listening rather than speaking. Listening to where the Holy Spirit is leading by listening to one another.

The theologian Walter Brueggemann writes that: ‘The capacity to listen in ways which transform depends upon trust in the speaker, readiness to be impacted, and willingness to have newness come into one’s life.’

So, I’m wondering: what ‘newness’ could we be open to over the coming year? What ‘newness’ could come if we listen to the voices which are not often heard – including those with a mental illness or disability or in poverty? Indeed, what transformations would we see in our society and our world?


5th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
14th Tuesday 12.30pm Guild Lunch
19th SUNDAY 10.45am Pentecost. Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
We shall be joined by our friends from West Park URC
1.00pm Partnership Picnic
26th SUNDAY 9.30am Morning Worship at Headingley Methodist Church


Another invitation to join us for the Guild Lunch; this month it will be on 14th May when we shall meet as usual at about 12.30pm for lunch at 1 o’clock. As always you are welcome – just let us know if you would like to come. And a reminder to let us know the week before, if possible, as there will be no service on the 12th May because of the Leeds Marathon.


We have been asked to host the Leeds Partnership Pentecost Picnic on Sunday 19 May from 1pm to 4 pm. This will involve setting-up tables on the patio and serving cups of tea and coffee; those attending will be bringing their own lunches. Do stay to make members of the Partnership welcome and share lunch together. There will be an Act of Worship following lunch.


calogoFollowing the success of last year’s Christian Aid café, Stainbeck Church will be holding one again this year on Saturday 11th May from 11am to 2pm with sandwiches, cake, tea and coffee and will have a stall or two as well. All proceeds to Christian Aid. Do support this enjoyable event – ALL are welcome.


easter coffee morningOur Easter coffee morning was a huge success, raising £70 for our Lent project, ‘Caring for Life’. It was nice to see so many people from the Partnership with many bringing along their Easter handiwork. We had gardens, bonnets, fancy painted eggs, a fisherman, sunny side up fried egg, skier, and the planets. Easter eggs were given to all contributors and to those who helped with catering. The easter eggs left over were given to Rev Angela Hughes to distribute among their needy families at Stainbeck. A huge thank you to all who made the event a happy and successful one.
easter coffee morning

A big thank you to our guests for their kind permission to publish their photographs in their Easter bonnets.

easter coffee morning


As most of you know I work in a nursery two days a week. We were asked if we would like to visit the Care Home nearby, so the manager and I took four children along with bonnets to decorate and easter eggs to distribute. As an introduction the Carer, who I’ve known for many years, took great delight in informing the residents that I had seen her two children through nursery and her three grandchildren – I felt very old!

The residents were finishing their lunch when we arrived, so the children went to each table and gave each person an easter egg and wished them a ‘Happy Easter.’ We then moved to the comfy chairs for the older folk and placed a hat and some decorations on each table. The idea was both young and old could decorate the hats together, which worked quite well. Unfortunately, we had only taken one pot of glue, so there were a few incidents when glue was needed by more than one table – funnily enough it was the residents who were vying for the glue!

Young and old were very chatty, no shyness from our lot. One child was asked how old she was. ‘I’m 4, then I’m going to be 5.’ ‘When are you going to be 5?’ asked the resident. ‘On my birthday.’ Was the reply. Obviously!! Before leaving we sang a couple of songs for them, ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘I Can Sing A Rainbow’, which everyone joined in. An enjoyable time was had by all, and we must have done well as we have been asked to go again.

Susan Bollon



Thank you to all who contributed to the Lent Project which was Caring for Life. The total amount raised was £1,035 of which £495 was Gift Aided. I delivered the cheques to Caring for Life and had a good chat with Jonathan Parkinson who said they were immensely grateful for the donations and thanked the church for their generosity.


In May we celebrate two major Christian Festivals. Firstly, the Ascension of Christ on 9th May and then the promised coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost on 19th May. The two ceiling bosses shown below are high in the roof of York Minster, showing the Apostles witnessing the ascension (we just see Christ’s feet as he leaves them) and then the Holy Spirit filling them with his love and power – quite literally drinking it in.

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.

William Blake (1757-1827) from Pentecost


It is always interesting to view the list of saints each month and, then, if you have time, to do a little research into their backgrounds. May has some familiar names; the Apostles, Philip and James, John and Charles Wesley, the Venerable Bede, John Calvin and Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury. There are some brave and amazing women – starting with Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine who travelled all over the Middle East identifying and then saving the sites sacred to Christianity, Joan of Arc and two Social Reformers, Caroline Chisholm and Josephine Butler.

caroline chisholmCaroline Chisholm (1808) travelled with her husband, who was serving in the Army, to India and set up schools for the daughters and then the wives of the regular soldiers to learn not only academic but also household skills. When her husband suffered ill health they moved to Sydney, Australia, where she continued to see need and responded with common sense and action – providing support for vulnerable immigrants – particularly young women. (At the end of this period she had overseen the placing of 11,000 in housing and jobs). On return to England, she gave evidence on conditions in Australia and lobbied for improvements in immigration. She then returned to Australia when she continued reforming conditions for families in the gold fields: ill health eventually bringing home to England in 1866. One can hardly bear to contemplate the sea voyages and her travels in Australia, and, by the way, she also gave birth to 8 children – 5 of whom survived their parents.

Josephine Butler (1828) saw the vulnerability of impoverished women who fell into prostitution. Another inspiring and inspiring story, she not only campaigned tirelessly but once she discovered that even children were being sold and others trafficked into prostitution on the continent, her actions brought about changes in the law and the dismissal from office and imprisonment of high-ranking police officers in Belgium.

Two brave women who saw injustice and fought to support the vulnerable by deeds, words and often by travelling extensively. The following story could not be more different.

julianJulian of Norwich is also remembered in May. An Anchoress who, once she had taken her vows, remained sealed in her cell for the remainder of her life. Her cell was attached to St Julian’s Church in Norwich; not entirely secluded, she would have had the financial support of the more prosperous members of the local community and the respect of the population. She would have in turn provided prayers and given advice to visitors, serving as an example of devout holiness. At the age of 30 she had a serious illness and, close to death, she had a series of visions of the suffering Christ. Julian lived in a time of turmoil, but her theology was optimistic and spoke of God’s great benevolence and love. Revelations of Divine Love “contains a message of optimism based on the certainty of being loved by God and of being protected by his Providence.” Both the Long Text and Short Text of Julian’s Revelations of Divine Love contain an account of each of her revelations. Her writings are unique, as they are the earliest surviving English language works by a woman.

She is best remembered by these words: Jesus answered, saying: ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’ Many people treasure them, carrying them with them as a reminder of God’s love.



wheatfieldsLast September we hosted a most successful concert in support of Wheatfields Hospice. It was successful in every way – a wonderful choir, uplifting music, a full church and a fine sum of money raised for such a worthwhile charity.

Leeds Male Voice Choir was equally pleased with the afternoon and have generously offered to stage another concert this year. As you probably know they are a highly respected choir, giving concerts not only in Leeds and throughout Yorkshire but also in Europe. The Choir rehearses on our church premises so we have a special connection with them.

wheatfieldsPlease put the date in your diary and publicise the event to friends and neighbours. Publicity material will be available nearer the date.

The time is provisionally 2.30pm and all donations will go to Wheatfields. Last year the sum of £1,363.34 was raised; it would be wonderful to match or even better it.

LMVC flier