Newsletter September 2022



I love your simple story of the sower,
With all its close attention to the soil,
Its movement from the knowledge to the knower,
Its take on the tenacity of toil.

I feel the fall of seed a sower scatters,
So equally available to all,
Your story takes me straight to all that matters,
Yet understands the reasons why I fall.

Oh deepen me where I am thin and shallow,
Uproot in me the thistle and the thorn,
Keep far from me that swiftly snatching shadow,
That seizes on your seed to mock and scorn.

O break me open, Jesus, set me free,
Then find and keep your own good ground in me.


The parable of the sower is often the theme of Harvest Festival celebrations.

The long, hot summer brought an early harvest and a journey through the countryside brings vistas of fields of yellow stubble and newly ploughed fields as the year turns and farmers plan their crops for next year. They are already sowing winter wheat, oilseed rape and barley. Malcolm Guite’s poem reflects on the sowing of that seed in us and the harvest that follows.

3rd Saturday 2.00pm Service of Ordination and Induction of Dr Nicola Robinson.
Christ Church, Halton, Leeds.
4th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers.
11th SUNDAY 9.30am Morning Worship at Headingley Methodist Church.
3.00pm Clare’s Service of Induction at St Andrew’s URC, Peterborough.
18th SUNDAY 10.45am Harvest Festival Celebration led by Rev Phil Chilvers.
25th SUNDAY 10.45am Morning Worship, including the Sacrament of Holy Communion, led by Rev Nicola Robinson.
Headingley Methodist Church will be joining us.

In Memoriam: Members and friends will be saddened to hear of the passing of Ann Keddie (nee Wilkinson) on 9th August. The family were faithful members and supporters of the church for many years, returning each year for a family memorial gathering after leaving Leeds.



A reminder that we shall be supporting two charities this year:

The North West Leeds Food Bank. Although we support the Foodbank regularly with donated food, the additional financial gifts allow them to purchase items which are low in stock.

Christians Against Poverty. This charity advises those facing a financial crisis in their lives. It also advises on how to manage money in the long term and runs job clubs to help those seeking and applying for work.

We shall celebrate out Harvest Festival on Sunday, 18th September with the Service being led by Rev Phil Chilvers. Please let Susan Bollon have your donations. Gift Aid forms for the Food Bank are available in the vestibule.


Francis would like to let you know that the words he has chosen for the Harvest Festival and the season of Harvest are:

God’s great green gardeners

Viewed even better from a bus!



‘You are the oldest person in the room’

The day I came of age, I blew out candles on a cake. . .
And wished for peace and happiness for everybody’s sake.
The cake; berobed—red, white and blue, was gifted to the Queen,
Our well- loved keeper of the land, and every lane between.
God Bless Her, 70 Glorious Years, have been her well-borne task. . .
No job too big. . . and none too small ( if any one should ask ).

And so. . . I blew the candles out, but said a word of cheer. . .
God Bless Her, Keeper of the Peace. . . forever welcome here.
God save Her, I am sure He will. He’s good at things like that.
And so we shout, ‘God Save the Queen.’ Until we get it pat!
God Save the Queen, and keep her strong, and may the future be
A peaceful one, a Happy One,
For You, The Queen, and me.

Doreen Sowden

Doreen wrote this poem remembering that happy weekend—now three months ago but seeming almost a life-time—when we celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee. A time of celebration and hope. Although we knew problems loomed, only the most pessimistic imagined that the ‘good’ summer we hoped for would bring fears of drought and polluted rivers and beaches and that the coming winter would look so bleak.

That Jubilee Weekend we were a nation united in celebration, let us pray that we retain some of that ‘togetherness’ as we face the problems ahead; not divided by self-interest and greed, but united in supporting each other, and especially the most vulnerable in our society.



The story of our kitchen makeover has been long and tortuous—with more bad news than good. We have had to completely overhaul our plans as we learnt that the costing of the necessary new gas safety measures alone (without the cooker) would easily cover the installation of a new domestic kitchen!

Next problem, our electrical supply is so stretched, that an electric range cooker and hoped-for dishwasher would require an upgraded supply with much digging-up and disruption. We did not have the strength to start costing that one!

So, after much head-scratching and internet-searching, the decisions have been made and we shall have a new built-in electric oven, a ceramic electric hob and a new combination microwave/oven. We have the electrical supply to cope with the above but new cables have to be installed and the appliances built in. The kitchen ceiling lights are also due to be upgraded.

The good news is that the electricians and joiner have responded positively and are planning to do the work in September.
The bad news is we feel we cannot make any plans to use the kitchen for events in that month, just in case. . .

So we have cancelled the usual September Family Barbecue and the Guild Lunch. We are sorry about this decision but shall have to summon up memories of Clare’s Farewell Party and hope that normal service will be resumed in the near future. We shall be keeping instruction books close to hand!


The Friday Badminton Group have been in existence for some time, but there is always a warm welcome for new players. If you, or a family member or friend is interested, have a word with Liz Cameron or Aleck Brownjohn. Members pay on a weekly basis—currently £2—meeting at 10am and playing to 11.30am with a break for coffee. The aim is fun and fitness rather than competition. Think about it.


Some of us are more sentimental than others, setting store by family letters, children’s drawings and cards and old photos. I am not sure if you can inherit this trait—if so, I fear for my children and grandchildren as it runs rife in our family.

There is so much that now means little to anyone, but. . . every so often something turns up that sparks an interest. Among Gran’s papers were two Orders of Service for a Reunion Service for the London Orphan School dated 1933 and 1934. My uncle had attended the school but was still a schoolboy at that time and may well have sung in the choir—he was a keen and talented musician. His father died suddenly when he was quite young and my grandmother, a teacher herself, was determined he should have a good education.

The services were broadly similar including the same prayers for Old Scholars and of Thanksgiving and the same Blessing. Also included in both services was the hymn ‘Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us’, prefaced by the words, ‘Written for the children of the London Orphan School by J. Edmeston, 1827’.

The ‘London Orphan School’ was founded in 1813 by the Rev Andrew Reed, a congregational minister who, though not wealthy, inspired generous giving in others. He founded other charitable institutions, caring for the less fortunate—asylums for ‘fatherless children’, incurables’ and ‘idiots’. After a slow beginning, the patronage of the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, engendered more support for the ‘Orphans School’ and the school outgrew 3 sites before purchasing a 36 acre site in Watford in 1872, which was the school my uncle attended. The school was very over-subscribed for its 600 places and being accepted was not easy. Subscribers to the school were given one vote and twice a year could vote in the children they thought worthy; the children had sponsors and cards were circulated to that effect. It took two attempts for Freddie to be accepted, my mother remembered it well as she was tasked with altering his sponsorship cards—the ‘e’ had been left off Lady Gore-Brown, and a scratchy mapping pen was required.

Back to James Edmeston who was born in Wapping in 1791 and baptised at Bull Lane Independent Chapel, Stepney, where his grandfather was pastor for some 50 years. He trained as a surveyor and architect, starting out on his professional career in 1816 at the age of 25 years. But he had an equal love for language and literature and perhaps this drew him to the Book of Common Prayer and he became a member of the Established Church. He held the important position of Church Warden at St Barnabas Church, Homerton.

He had a strong commitment to the ministry and welfare of children and many of the hymns he wrote—of which there were around 2,000—had a direct, simple language to communicate their message of faith to young people. He was a strong supporter of the Orphan School, visiting frequently. The hymn ‘Lead us heavenly Father, lead us’ must have been known to many generations of school children and become even more meaningful as they started out into the big wide world; but it is the only one now remembered.

fountainEdmeston was less well known for his architectural practice although he was responsible for St Paul’s, Onslow Square, the fountain behind the Royal Exchange which incorporates the Statue ‘Charity’ by Dalou and Columbia Wharf, the first grain silo in the UK . However, George Gilbert Scott was articled to his Bishopsgate practice and few can be unaware of this prolific architect who designed the Albert Memorial, Wakefield Cathedral, the University of Glasgow and St Pancras Grand Midland Hotel – and with Corson – the General Infirmary at Leeds among many other buildings.

Rev Andrew Reed’s charitable foundation still exists—‘To provide education in Cobham for boys from the ages of 11 – 18, and girls in the Sixth Form. The objects of the Foundation, as set down in the Act and Constitution, are to advance the education of boys or girls who have lost one or both parents through death, divorce, or other family disaster, and whose home life, as a result, is unsatisfactory, unhappy or abnormal.’