Newsletter – November 2020

‘For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’ (Isaiah 2.3b-4)

Dear friends,

As I was preparing this, I was thinking about Remembrance Sunday, the focus of the second Sunday in November, with poppies sold for a couple of weeks beforehand. As I write, I’ve already seen one person wearing a knitted poppy. I always find it a difficult Sunday. Sometimes war seems to be glorified, and I can never understand why. And yet we need to remember.

Among resources for Remembrance Sunday on the internet, there are a number of stories of people’s experiences of war: a Minister from a military family who described his pride as a child at the Remembrance day parade, watching Grandad march by; a woman’s feelings as she waved her young husband off to the 2nd World War; a young man’s fears on his first mission as a bomber; and a nurse’s comfort to a soldier who’d lost part of his leg. On Friday I took a funeral for a former nurse, aged 97, who met her husband whom she was nursing after a war injury. Their story had a happy ending.

Human experiences lead us to focus on healing, reconciliation and peace. We need to remember so that we don’t go down the same path again. As we remember those who died in war, we remember too that they gave their lives in hope of a coming peace, that we enjoy in the main today. We remember too those involved in armed conflict at the moment across our world, especially those fighting for the freedom of others, and our own armed forces stationed around the world to keep peace.

As we move through November, we come to the beginning of Advent, when we look forward to celebrating the coming of the Prince of Peace on earth. This year, we’re starting Advent early, with an Advent course, entitled, ‘Candles in the Dark’. More details are elsewhere in the magazine.

The verse above gives us that vision of peace from the prophet Isaiah. If you read the first few verses of Chapter 2, we hear of how all nations will come to worship the Lord, and walk in His paths. Then we have these memorable verses, which are the opposite of some other Old Testament passages, which warn people to get ready for war, but making ploughshares into swords, such as, Joel 3: 10.

Isaiah’s vision of peace has been enacted by Christians in various places. There was a charity in a Africa a few years ago, I can’t quite remember where, and I can’t find it again on the internet, who turned military weapons such as guns into furniture. What I did find on the internet was about a 21-year old Canadian blacksmith, Irian Fast-Sittler, who turned her grandad’s shot gun into an artwork last year, which became the centre piece of her Church’s Prayer for Peace Sunday. For me, to have a Prayer for Peace Sunday, is far more meaningful than remembering war, and maybe something we should think about for next year.

Love in Christ,

Clare <><

I am delighted to report that we had an extremely generous response from our Members and Friends to our Harvest Project this year. As you know the two charities to whom we donated were Caring for Life and Leeds North and West Foodbank. The total donations (excluding Gift Aid) amounted to £1591 to Caring for Life and £660 to Leeds North and West Foodbank. Both organisations expressed their sincere thanks to all those who contributed.

Aleck Brownjohn

Thank you so much for your on-going support for which we are very grateful in these challenging times. It has enabled us to continue to help the ever-growing number of people in need. This year, here at Leeds North and West Foodbank we have already seen around a 30 percent increase in referrals for support prior to the Covid 19 pandemic. However, like so many other organisations we have had to adjust our way of working during the past few months. We have closed our foodbank sessions temporarily to protect both clients and volunteers and are currently operating a delivery model where people referred to us are supported by our volunteers packing up parcels and delivering these to clients’ homes.

We appreciate your praying for our work and hope that you will continue to work with us as long as our service is required by the communities we work in.
Thank you again for your support,
Audrey Reed
Church Liaison Volunteer,
Leeds North and West Foodbank.


World Day of Prayer Preparation Day 2020.

Theme “Build on a Strong Foundation”.

The following message has been received from Sheana Dudley,Leeds and North Yorkshire Coordinator
“I can confirm that the Preparation Day for 2020 normally held in Leeds will take place on Zoom on Friday,13th. November.
You can join from 10am and the meeting will start officially at 10.30am and will finish by 12.30pm. (There will be one short break during the morning.)
The agenda will be similar to our usual Prep days when we will hear about the country which has prepared the service for 2021, Vanuatu.
There will be a short Bible Study and of course we will go through the service and hear an update about the WDP Movement. I am very fortunate that I will be assisted by Beryl Cosens, the Northern Regional Fieldworker and Dr Elizabeth Burroughs who is the President of the World Day of Prayer National Committee for England, Wales and N.Ireland.
Please send me an email confirming you would like to attend and I will send you the Zoom links and meeting ID numbers.
I am sure we will have an enjoyable, informative Conference, albeit in a different way from usual.

Best wishes and blessings,”
email address: Sheana Dudley <>



It is hard to believe that many of us have not seen each other since the beginning of Spring and now we are approaching Winter. We try to keep in touch—some by phone, some by email and Zoom—but not the passing ‘How are you today?’ encounters that somehow make life worthwhile. It would be nice to have a round-up of news of friends but sadly, although suing for data breaches may not be on your mind, treading carefully is our best option! Of course, we would love to have your news and Elissa and Sue have asked Audrey and Doreen if we may pass on theirs.

So . . . Doreen is doing well—walking to the end of the road every day, taking the Access Bus to shop on Saturdays but missing her friends and being able to attend church worship each week. Sadly, Audrey has had a difficult few months spending some weeks in hospital and the local recovery hub after falls at home. She is currently back in St James’s but hoping to be discharged to a local Care Home in the near future to regain her mobility and strength. Elissa says she is plodding on (not an accurate description at any time!), her family are all okay but she misses the visits and celebrations. Sue has kept busy, returning to work when the Nursery re-opened, looking after Henry regularly and keeping in touch with the Church Family.

And news from Roger and Jeanette: LIFE WITH A PANDEMIC

Early in March 2020, lockdown arrived in our lives and Janette said, “I can’t stand too much of this” !!!!

Seven months later and we have survived. It has been hard, we haven’t been able to see our elder son, since the beginning of March, as he is in a nursing home and since the latest restrictions, we haven’t seen the rest of our family either.

We have coped with the help of on-line shopping and neighbours and friends. We spent many happy hours in the garden in the good weather but dread the winter months, but we will have to take one day at a time.
We spend a lot of time on the Nintendo Wii, playing Tennis and Golf etc. They are all movement games so we get plenty of exercise.

We miss all the people and things we used to do but a blessing has been in reviving some old friendships.

We don’t know if we have coped better or worse than others but are grateful for being together and feel for people on their own. We are also grateful for the many phone calls even if most of them start ‘I haven’t any news’

Janette & Roger Morley.

And some uplifting family history from Jeanette:


Through the web site we were approached by a man who is the U.K. archivist for the Churches of God, a branch of the Brethren denomination.

He had been researching the life of Allan Wardle who was a very prominent member of the Church in Newhall, Derbyshire, from the later 1800s until his death in 1910.

Allan (1868-1910) was my maternal Great Grandfather. He joined Queen Victoria’s army as a young man and played a wooden military flute in the band. (I have this flute to this day.)

During his time in the army Allan was converted and became a member of the Brethren Church. When he left the army he became a coal merchant but because of his faith he refused to chase anyone who owed him money and after a time he faced bankruptcy. He then went to work in the mines and it was there that he was seriously injured and spent the last years of his life in a wheelchair. Although life was hard – he had a wife and 5 children to support, Allan kept faithful to his Lord, and he continued to preach in his own very evangelical style. He was a talented artist and I can remember the illustrated texts that hung in my Grandmother’s bedroom. He was also a poet and wrote a hymn which is still in the Brethren hymn book.

For me, however, the thing that captured my interest was that in the time he was wheelchair bound he wrote out the whole of the Holy Bible by hand, omitting nothing.

Allan Wardle died in 1910 after an operation at Birmingham orthopaedic hospital. He was just 42 years old, but he lives on in the example of courage and dedication to His Lord and Saviour.

Sadly, his only son Jack was killed on July 1st., 1916, the first day of the battle of the Somme, but his four daughters all lived long lives, in faith, and kept his memory alive.

Janette Morley

Prayer Meeting

Do join us in prayer in your own home on Wednesday 11th November, 10.30 – 11am. Margaret Madill is providing sheets by email to help us in our prayers, which you can ask for from her or Aleck Brownjohn.

Coffee & Conversation

There will be no Coffee & Conversation during November or December, instead you are invited to join one of the sessions of the Advent Course below, on Zoom, or use the Advent course study book at home for your private devotions.



advent candles

November also brings us the First Sunday of Advent when usually we would share a simple lunch and sit quietly together remembering the simple questions a child might have of this special time and also showing our gratitude in gifts for Christian Aid. This is, of course, still the season of giving and remembering, so although we shall not be celebrating Advent Sunday, here are the decisions Elders have taken this year:

Unfortunately this year because of covid we are not in a position to host a party for our special friends. It would be a shame for the children to miss out completely so the Elders have made the decision that a bag of toys will be distributed to the children recommended to us by Social Services. A monetary donation will be made to the Women’s Refuge. The Church will fund this expense.

The Elders are also aware of the increased financial deprivation many families are experiencing this year and are mindful that we cannot provide support as we usually do to the Salvation Army via the Toy Service. To this end Members and friends are invited to make monetary donations, cheques only please, made out to The Salvation Army and sent to Ian Henderson by 20th November.

It is now apparent that, whatever we may hope for, Christmas will be very different this year. Sadly, we cannot commit to distributing cards to members and friends through the ‘pigeon-holes’ in the Church Hall and you may wish to have time to consider how you send greetings to Church friends this year, especially as postage is a considerable expense. I had a phone call from Pauline this week and it was so good to hear from her; she is already aware that it will not be possible for her to purchase and send cards this December, so she has asked me to put this notice into the newsletter.


‘Pauline Hood sends her greetings and best wishes for a good Christmas with a Happy and Improved New Year to follow’.

If you would also wish to send greetings through the newsletter, and perhaps send a donation to your favourite charity as it may be more difficult to purchase their cards, please let me know.


And now for Advent and the lead up to Christmas . . . Advent Course

candles in the dark
in the

a time of reflection
to guide members of our
churches across Leeds
into a deeper awareness
of an ever-present God

There are moments in our lives when we struggle against the darkness, seeking to disperse the gloom, especially in these current corona-ridden times. Advent comes at the time of year when the nights are longest. It is about the coming of Christ, the Light of the World, who comes to us transforming our darkest days, by his presence—it’s a special time of candle-lighting.

David Adam’s reflections ponder traditional Biblical Advent characters—the Patriarchs, the Prophets, John the Baptist, Mary, the Shepherds and the Magi—those whose faith shone out like candles in the dark. Through these people—in scripture readings, music, prayer, visual symbols and candle-lighting—we meet again those who both prepared a way for and readied themselves to meet the Lord. We, too, seek that light in our lives, homes and churches across Leeds.

Leaders of our United Reformed Churches across Leeds are joining together to lead members of our URCs and LEPs through the season of Advent 2020 and beyond. You are invited to gather together online for 5 sessions during Advent and 1 during Christmas/Epiphany. Each session will be run on Tuesday mornings at 10.00 – 11.00am, then repeated on Wednesday afternoons at 2.00 – 3.00pm and Thursday evenings at 7.30 – 8.30pm. So, if you can’t make one, simply join in on another day. Details of how to join these sessions on ZOOM will follow in due course from your church leader.

Week 1: Patriarchs & Adventurers 18th, 19th, 20th November
Week 2: Visionaries & Discoverers 24th, 25th 26th November
Week 3: John the Baptist & Believers 1st, 2nd, 3rd December
Week 4: Mary & World Changers 8th, 9th, 10th December
Week 5: Shepherds & Pastors 15th, 16th, 17th December
Week 6: Wise Men & Seekers 5th, 6th, 7th January 2021

One of the reasons for choosing this inspiring collection of reflections by David Adam is that you can get the book and read it for yourself, if you aren’t keen on the idea of, or cannot access online sessions with Zoom. Perhaps you could then discuss what you have read with others over the phone or on a socially-distanced walk with a friend. Details of the book are as follows:
‘Candles in the Dark’ by David Adam, published by Kevin Mayhew, ISBN 1844172856.
Prices are from £6. There is also an audio CD available.
On behalf of the leadership team from the United Reformed Churches across Leeds Mission and Care Group, may we take this opportunity to wish you every blessing for Advent and Christmas.

Rev Tim Lowe.


And then leading on to our Christingle Service
You are invited!

This year we will hold the Christingle online on Zoom, in place of our worship@4 service, on Sunday 20th December, on Zoom, at 4pm.

During the service we will make our Christingle to light towards the end of the service.

Being that there are a number of elements to it—an orange, something red around the middle, 4 cocktail sticks, sweets and a candle in a small square of silver foil—we’re proposing to ask everyone to provide their own orange, and to let me know if you’d like to receive a plastic bag full of the rest of the items. The bag of items will be delivered in the middle of the week before, so there is time to quarantine for 3 days before using.

Let me know by phone on 275-2359, 278-4483, 07485065413, or email –

For those unable to take part, the service will be converted into a YouTube to watch later. A link will be sent out.

– – – O – – –

At the September Zoom meeting of the Coffee and Conversation group we were following a study course on the Creation Psalms and we were given some homework to do if we so wished. A part of this was to write an acrostic psalm of praise in relation to God in creation. My effort takes on board the instruction that each “verse” does not have to start with the opening letter but should have a key word in it that uses the letter and that we didn’t have to use every letter of the alphabet either! Here it is:

A Almighty, Amazing God I will always praise You for the act of creating out of nothing, everything.
B Your word is a thing of beauty; Your vision was and is bold and bountiful.
C Creator God, I thank and praise You for giving me the concern I have for this place – from the
D Depths of the seas to the heights of the mountains.
E Eternal God, Your creation has existed for millions of years: may it be everlasting.
F Father, You created the feathers and the fur; You created the ferns and the fungi. Praise be to You.
G Grant, Glorious God that mankind can achieve the goal of saving this world for future generations.
H How happy it makes me Heavenly Father to see the sun, moon and stars in the heavens.
I I can only marvel at the incredible numbers involved in working out the distances between us and them.
J Thank You for the joy given to me as I look around me
K Knowing that You made the world for me.
L Lord God, what wonderful love You showed when You created the world and us.
M Make me more aware of what I can do to help the planet to survive – move me to do more
N Not less. Nowhere is more precious than Your world. We need to nurture it not
O Only for ourselves but for our children and for the generations which we
P Pray will follow them. Passionate God may we show compassion for our planet and never be afraid to ask
Q Questions of decision makers and
R Resolve always to respect those who have responded to the challenges which face us all.
S You have sustained Your creation so well and constantly surprise us with new discoveries.
T Thank You for the thousands of treasures we see if we only care to look.
U Unless we look and listen and
V Voluntarily act in positive ways
W We will wantonly destroy Your world. You watch over us; You weep for us and You wait for us to come to our senses.
Y You are always with us. Praise be to You for ever and ever.


Margaret Madill