Monday 4 October is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi. Many paintings and statues depict him with all kinds of animals, birds and trees. Francis recognised that all of creation is interconnected with one another and with God, who is present in each and every single thing that is living.
I invite you to read and ponder his beautiful words:
“Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. . . . Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.”
So, if we really understand that every single thing living is a gift from God and a gift of God, might we treat ALL creation with some reverence and care?
Might we treat human beings differently?
Might be treat ALL living creatures differently?
Might we treat our world differently?
Might we treat ourselves differently?
In September, we celebrated the joy of our pets and animal companions in our first ever Pet Blessing service. We gave thanks to God for all they bless us with and remembered those loyal companions we have lost.
Last month, we also celebrated Harvest. Harvest is a time when we recognise that each one of us can do things differently with the abundance of God’s gifts. Especially, when we also recognise that this abundance is not shared by all. And when we recognise this injustice, we acknowledge the importance of sharing that abundance.
In acknowledging, we can endeavour to change the way we think and act. Our church’s commitment to justice and well-being in our wider community is seen in the way we support the Leeds North and West Foodbank and Rainbow Junktion Café. Support that is so desperately needed in the current cost of living crisis.
And what can we do as individuals and in our church building? Perhaps we can reduce our use of plastic. Maybe we can turn off lights when we don’t need them. Possibly we can eat less meat. Because each small, yet persistent action taken together in our community, in our society, in our world can make a HUGE difference to the climate of our planet and the health of all living creatures on our world.
Indeed, with the UN COP 28 Climate Change Conference due to take place in November, these actions highlight to the world our commitment to building God’s kingdom of justice and joy for all.
So, in the coming days and weeks, I invite us to take notice and explore ways we can continue to highlight the interconnectedness of all God’s creation in all we think and say and do.
A wee prayer (from Simon Taylor)
till the earth gently,
tend the animals lovingly,
share with the hungry generously,
pay the worker fairly,
enjoy the food thankfully,
praise the Giver abundantly.
|Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers.
We shall be joined by our friends from Headingley Methodist Church.
|Morning Worship led by Rev Tim Lowe,
Minister at St Andrew’s URC, Roundhay
|Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
|Morning Worship led by Rev Kenneth Carveley.
We shall be joined by our friends from Headingley Methodist Church.
|Morning Worship, including the Sacrament of Holy Communion, led by our Minister, Rev Dr Nicola Robinson.
A SPECIAL AFTERNOON
On one of the hottest afternoons of the year we opened our doors for a wonderful concert by LEEDS MALE VOICE CHOIR. The church was full (with extra chairs needed) and the church resounded with a variety of music that held something for everyone: and doubtless most of the audience enjoying every item.
But this Concert was not purely for the enjoyment of the audience and both the Church and Choir were pleased to support Wheatfields Hospice – with the Choir giving their services for free. We were all thrilled that this enjoyable event raised £1,363.34 for Wheatfields and our thanks to the choir and all our friends, neighbours and visitors for their generosity.
Another month and another invitation to join us at the Guild Lunch on Tuesday, 10th October. All welcome, just let us know you would like to come. They should be in the process of replacing the heating boilers by then but we trust it will not disrupt our lunch.
In Memoriam: JOHN LAUDER
Ann and family would like to thank all from Headingley St. Columba who have sent cards of sympathy on hearing of John’s death on 25th August 2023. It was lovely to know that John and the family were still remembered 23 years after leaving Leeds. We had a service of thanksgiving here in Brodick, which was a fitting tribute to John.
I think it would be safe to say that those of us who knew John would find it very easy to remember him. Always active within the church at all levels, willing to help with anything and everything – a larger than life character with a laugh that was unforgettable. The church was saddened when Ann and John took the decision to move to Arran. But our loss was their gain and he became similarly involved in the church in Brodick, serving as an Elder as he had in Headingley St Columba and, I noted, still helping to edit their newsletter until last year. No doubt he had many roles in the intervening years – and probably quite a few on the stage, too! He will be greatly missed by his family and all who knew him.
Ann and John’s daughter, Margaret, wrote to Sue Bollon enclosing a copy of the Eulogy and a photograph of the flowers.
The private service at the crematorium was on the mainland and the family brought back the flowers and placed them on the grave of Ann’s parents on Arran. There was a Thanksgiving Service at St. Bride’s Church, Brodick, the following day which reflected all the involvement John had in his church and community during his retirement on Arran.
If you would like to read the Eulogy, please contact Susan Bollon who will be happy to forward a copy to you.
A SAINT FOR OCTOBER
The Anglican calendar for October has both notable Saints days and Holy days that span Christianity from the early years to our own times. St Luke is celebrated on the 18th October, St Francis on the 4th October and the apostles, Simon and Jude on the 28th but also William Tyndale, Wilfred of Ripon, Elizabeth Fry, Edith Cavell, Edward the Confessor and Martin Luther are remembered on Holy Days.
But the date that caught my eye was 26th October on which St Cedd is celebrated.
Cedd was born in the kingdom of Northumbria and brought up on the island of Lindisfarne by Aidan of the Irish Church. He had three brothers: Chad, Cynibil and Cælin. All four were priests and both Cedd and Chad became bishops. Despite being of apparent Northumbrian birth, the names of all four brothers are British Celtic in origin, rather than Anglo-Saxon.
Bede records that Cedd ruled a monastery at Lastingham, now a village on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, where King Ethelward wished to have a holy site consecrated for his own burial. The consecration was dated to 653 and Cedd remained Abbot until his death. He was also missionary bishop to the East Saxons, but in 664, shortly after the Synod of Whitby, in which he was a key participant, St. Cedd died of the plague at Lastingham. Bede records that a party of monks from Essex came to mourn him and all but one died of the plague. The original church was wooden but in 1078, William the Conqueror gave permission to build a new church at Lastingham and it was run by Benedictine monks from Whitby. A crypt was built where they believed that Cedd’s body had originally been laid to rest.
This Norman crypt is unique in the fact that it is the only Norman Crypt in England with a nave, apse and side aisles. The walls are also nearly 3 feet thick. The Church of St Mary in Lastingham remains in the memory if you visit. The crypt, a place of worship for 1,500 years, is full of peace and prayer. It is, as Simon Jenkins says, (in England’s 1000 Best Churches) ‘a special place’.
I was on holiday in Canada recently, staying for a few days in Vancouver between a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth and a ride on the famous Rocky Mountaineer train to Banff, ending up in Calgary for the stampede.
We had a day off from relentless travel, and as it was a Sunday I decided to visit the St Andrews-Wesley United Church which was just across the road from our hotel. These are just a few impressions of the Church and service.
The building is gothic style, built in the 1920s and very bright and cheerful inside. It is somewhat overwhelmed by the sky-scrapers surrounding it.
This church actively supports and welcomes the LGBTQ community. There were rainbow banners everywhere.
The service was very much in the Non-conformist tradition and was recognisably “URC”. There were however no “hymns” as we know them, just a few songs. There were 2 celebrants, a lady and a gentleman. They moved around the church a lot, staying in place only for the sermon. It was all very informal and fluid but there was a very caring atmosphere. The technology was superb, with cameras and screens which captured all parts of the service, including a baptism.
There were probably 150 – 200 people of all ages in the congregation. Giving each other the peace took a long time!
Music was provided by a guitar trio, a trio of lady vocalists and a pianist/organist. The organ was hardly used. The standard of their singing and playing was very high indeed.
My only criticism was that they did not specifically welcome visitors – I had to ask for the visitors’ book! But it was encouraging to be in a church which is well-attended and clearly thriving.
ARTWORK FROM CAFÉ CHURCH ON HARVEST SUNDAY
OUR FIRST PET BLESSING SERVICE