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Bringing together churches of West Yorkshire and west North Yorkshire in common witness and mission.
IN THE FOREFRONT OF CHRISTIAN UNITY @wyec1
MAPPING THE FUTURE TOGETHER - MEETING POSTPONED
The Mapping the Future Together meeting planned for tomorrow evening (Wednesday 28 September) at Leeds Church Institute is POSTPONED. There is an Olympic parade taking over the centre of the city tomorrow evening which will make it very difficult to access the venue. Notification of a new date for this meeting will be sent as soon as possible.
Apologies from WYEC, LCI and Network Leeds.
CHANGE THE STORY
ALEX Jones, Christian Aid’s Deputy Head of Eastside of England, is calling on Christians to help “Change the story”. He writes: “We believe that everybody deserves a safe place to call home, and we stand for a world that refuses to turn a blind eye to the suffering of people seeking sanctuary.
“Yet the stories told about refugees in the UK media too often dehumanise people and promote discrimination, in turn discouraging the UK Government from taking the steps that put human dignity first.
“We want to tell a story that upholds those escaping injustice and war, and that celebrates those who offer a welcome. We believe we are all created equal with the image of God within us. We stand for a UK that refuses to turn a blind eye to the suffering of people seeking sanctuary.
“Join Christian Aid in changing the story around refugees. See www.christianaid.org.uk/changethestory ”
CHURCHES TOGETHER FOR LEEDS
We're mapping the future together! Representatives of Churches Together groups, Network Leeds and other cross-denominational initiatives in the city came together at Leeds Church Institute to map ecumenical mission in the city, note what Churches Together groups are doing, tap into networks of churches, connect to networks of prayer and mission, seek strategy for the future. It was a powerful opportunity for sharing news of each other's events and for taking stock of the Christian life of the city. We ran out of sticky dots to put on our big map showing all the things that are going on!
PROCLAIMING PASSION, REJOICING AT RESURRECTION
Settle Passion Play
Churches Together groups across West Yorkshire and western North Yorkshire have been on the streets witnessing to the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday and to the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Day. See some pictures here - from Headingley, Huddersfield, Ossett, Mirfield and Wakefield on Good Friday, and Sowood dawn service on Easter Day - and find more on the WYEC Facebook site.
"BISHOP OF LEEDS, MEET THE BISHOP OF LEEDS"
The Rt. Rev. Marcus Stock, (Catholic) Bishop of Leeds, has been welcomed as an Honorary Ecumencial Canon of Bradford (Anglican) Cathedral. The (Anglican) Bishop of Leeds, the Rt. Revd. Nick Baines said,
"Ecumenism is a wonderful thing and a difficult thing. We are united in Christ and yet the working out of that unity is often difficult. We belong together and we need one another. Our unity as Christians matters; that we are brothers and sisters in Christ matters; that we are engaged together in the mission of the church - that is the ministry of reconciliation - matters."
Bishop Marcus is only the second Catholic Bishop to have been invited to this position.
CHURCHES TOGETHER ACROSS KIRKLEES
Representatives of Churches Together groups, ecumenical partnerships and trans-denominational mission initiatives from across Kirklees met at New North Road Baptist Church, Huddersfield on 16 March. The organiser, the Revd Dr Clive Barrett, of West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council, said: “It gave us the chance to look forward and to consider ways of supporting and encouraging each other in the future. We listened to each other, discovered what God is doing in every corner of Kirklees, and encouraged each other in shared mission.” Find out the dozens of ways in which Churches are working together in Kirklees here.
CHURCHES WELCOME REFUGEES TO SKIPTON
Refugees and hosts outside St Andrew’s Church. Photo: Judy Rogers (Craven Refugee and Support Network)
27 refugees and asylum seekers living in Bradford spent a weekend of fun, friendship and food staying with host families in the Skipton area. It was organised by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s outreach project “People and the Dales” and the Craven Refugee Support Group, working with Bradford Immigrant and Asylum Seekers Advice and Support Network. The group had a break from the city, met new people and was welcomed into a community. The programme included a Moroccan-style meal at the Quaker Meeting House, a ceilidh, food and a service at St Andrew’s Methodist/URC, and tea and cakes at Holy Trinity café – as well as a civic reception and local visits.
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN OTLEY GIVES REFUGEES A DAY OUT
Games and stories, a welcome by the Wharfe and a meal in the Methodist Church were the gifts of Churches Together in Otley to seventy adult and children refugees. Read the Yorkshire Evening Post report.
CHURCH LEADERS INTERVIEWED ON REFUGEE SUPPORT
Hear the interviews of some West Yorkshire Church Leaders by Premier Christian Radio. They are speaking on their statement in support of people seeking refugee protection.
CHURCH LEADERS SPEAK OUT IN SUPPORT OF PEOPLE SEEKING REFUGEE PROTECTION
Pictured: Pastor Gloria Hanley (Wesleyan Holiness), Revd. Dr. Roger Walton (Chair, West Yorkshire Methodist District), Revd. Rob Hilton (Leeds Methodist District), Revd. Ernie Whalley (Yorkshire Baptist Association), Revd. Kenneth Evans (Chair, Yorkshire Moravian Synod), John Ling (Society of Friends) and the Revd. Kevin Watson (Moderator of the Yorkshire Synod of the United Reformed Church).
Church leaders and representatives from a number of Christian denominations across West Yorkshire have delivered a hard-hitting statement calling on the Government to attend to the needs of people seeking refugee protection (asylum seekers).
The statement calls on the Government
- to establishment of safe, legal routes to the UK,
- to regard asylum seekers positively as future citizens,
- to increase asylum support and grant permission to work,
- and to allow more time for new refugees to find a home.
UNITY POST - 2016 UNITY WEEK EDITION OUT NOW!
Read the latest Christian Unity news from West Yorkshire, in an edition of Unity Post that coincides with the 2016 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Read about the forthcoming Christian witness around asylum seekers and much more. Download your copy here, or contact the WYEC office for paper copies.
AFTER THE FLOOD...
Photos: before -Good Shepherd; after - Calder Valley Search & Recue Team
When the Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd, Mytholmroyd, was severely damaged by flooding in the Calder Valley, the local Methodist community stepped in to help. Catholic Mass is now being celebrated at 9.45am on Sundays in Hebden Royd Methodist Church; local Methodists have kindly agreed to move their own service time to 11am to accommodate their new guests.
FREE CHURCHES' STATEMENT ON SYRIA
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Britain and the United Reformed Church have released a joint statement on military action in Syria.
"... abhorrence of the actions of ISIS/Daesh... convinced that Daesh can only be defeated through a comprehensive economic, diplomatic and sercutiy strategy that has the involvement of all partners in the region and the full support of the UN Security Council... Assert that aerial bombing is unlikely to have a decisive role in defeating Daesh and that even the use of precision weaponry is likely to cause civilian casualties and trauma within communities..."
Read the statement in full.
PRAYER IS DANGEROUS
In case you ever doubted that prayer is a dangerous thing, the Lord's Prayer has been banned from cinemas because it could be offensive. The cinemas will still show bombings, murders, shootings, abuse, violence... because these things are not offensive.
Christian and Muslim leaders in Keighley have come together to make a stand against grooming. They committed themselves to making the town a safe place for all children. Urging everyone to sign the United Keighley statement, town centre chaplain Jonathan Pritchard said, "We are a better town than this - and we are all part of the answer. This campaign is a way to show how we stand united on this issue. It's a way of showing how we care about Keighley and all our young people. Whatever our background or religion or ethnicity, we make our voices heard together."
AIRPORT CHAPLAINCY TAKES OFF!
Church Leaders and volunteer chaplains met with senior staff at Leeds Bradford Airport to mark the beginning of the ministry of Andrew Atkins, a Methodist minister, as the first stipendiary Co-ordinating Chaplain at the airport. A behind-the-scenes "air-side" tour included prayers for the chaplaincy in a Multi Faith Prayer Space. The Chaplaincy is supported by Leeds and West Yorkshire Methodist Districts, and the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, with Anglican and Catholic Volunteer Chaplains working alongside Andrew.
CHURCHES LISTENING TOGETHER
Six members of WYEC Council have taken part in the three-yearly Forum of Churches Together in England. Church Leaders Graham Ensor, Gloria Hanley, Tony Parry and Kevin Watson were joined by Anne Lewitt (Denominational Ecumenical Officer) and Clive Barrett (County Officer). The Forum brought together Christians from around the country. The theme was "Listening" to each other in our range of ages and Christian practice - Orthodox to Pentecostal. There was consensus that unity is achieved by walking together.
STRATEGY TOGETHER - CHURCH LEADERS TAKE THE LEAD
Senior Church Leaders of West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council have met together in an overnight residential at The Briery, Ilkley. Church Leaders from nine denominations discussed issues raised by the current refugee crisis as well as how to encourage ecumenical working in the future.
WYEC senior Church Leaders in conference
LEEDS CHURCHES TOGETHER in MISSION - and OUT OF TIME
John Battle addresses the final meeting of LCTiM
Over seventy years of organised ecumenism in Leeds has come to an end with the closing meeting of Leeds Churches Together in Mission (LCTiM). LCTiM was the successor of CoLECT (Council of Leeds Churches Together), itself the successor of Leeds Council of Churches, which predated even the 1942 founding of the British Council of Churches. LCTiM has relied on generous external grants which are no longer available. The impact of LCTim generally, and coordinator Sue Hoey in particular, has been outstanding in networking across the city and promoting faith-based social change. They will be hugely missed.
IS "CITIZENS" THE NEW ECUMENISM?
At a packed hall (700+ people) in Beeston, people from a wide range of churches, mosques and schools, with trades unionists and universities' representatives, business leaders, Council leaders and politicians - people of diverse faith perspectives and none - came together for the amazing first Leeds Citizens Assembly. 10 years on from the awful events of 7/7, this was a huge affirmation of community building / rebuilding not only in Beeston but across the city. Could Citizens bring real observable changes in debt, wages, public transport, dementia and depression care... ? Baptists, Catholics and the New Testament Church of God were all prominent, and Anglicans, Methodists, URC. Including but more than compassion, this was the churches, in partnership with others, organising for social change. Is this the new ecumenism?
NEW UNITY POST FOR PENTECOST 2015
Get your copy of WYEC's latest publication here, to find out all the news that is bringing churches together in West and western North Yorkshire.
BISHOP MARCUS SIGNS THE WYEC COVENANT
In the presence of other senior Church Leaders from West Yorkshire, the Rt. Rev. Marcus Stock, Catholic Bishop of Leeds, has signed the West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council (WYEC) Church Leaders' Covenant. In this agreement, Church Leaders recognise that they face similar responsibilities and hopes, that they can receive from each other, and that the Holy Spirit is leading them to a deeper unity.
The group: Lutheran bishop, Walter Jagucki; Anglican bishop, Nick Baines; Quaker representative, Eva Pinthus; URC Moderator, Kevin Watson; Bishop Marcus; and Anglican bishop, Tony Robinson.
HOLY SPIRIT COME!
Churches Together groups around the region have been publicly celebrating Pentecost. Churches Together in Marsden had evidence of the Spirit's wind. In Keighley the spirit rushed to the sound of strings. In Headingley they had both!
SUPPORTING CHRISTIAN AID
Churches and Churches Together groups throughout the region have been supporting Christian Aid Week. West Yorkshire Church Leaders responded to a Christian Aid story about a woman walking miles for firewood by posing for a photograph carrying bundles of wood. Churches Together in Lower Colne Valley went on a sponsored walk.
WEAVING WOMEN'S WISDOM
Touchstone, Bradford has presented the results of an inter-denominational, inter-faith and international weaving project bringing together women from diverse backgrounds in the UK and in Pakistan. The weavers explored wise women in their own backgrounds, learnt about each other's traditions and grew in friendship. These are some of the groups and their results:
Batley Inter Faith Book Group
Sharakat Group, Bradford
And from Wensleydale:
DRINK TO THE RESURRECTION!
Regulars in one packed Bradford hostelry celebrated Easter in style with a Beer and Hymns event led by the Revd. Graeme Dutton, who starts a St Arnold's Pub Church ministry with a "Vicar's Inn" session every Monday evening at Bradford Brewery. And Ossett Christians were up early for an Easter SONrise service.
WATCH THE PASSION IN REAL TIME
Churches Together in Settle and District have held their seventh Good Friday Passion Play on the streets of the town. It begins with the footwashing and Last Supper and continues through the Passion narrative. Each video follows directly from the one before. Other pictures from Settle and from Churches Together around the region are on the WYEC Facebook site.
THE WAY OF THE CROSS, 2015
Young and old, by day and by night, followed the way of the cross in West Yorkshire. Pictures are from Churches Together groups in Clayton, Garforth, Meltham, Todmorden, Keighley, Ossett, Wakefield, Wetherby and Halifax.
MEDIA REPORT ON WYEC ACT OF WITNESS
They came from Hipperholme, Halifax, Huddersfield, Horbury and Horsforth...
Broadcast and print media have reported positively on the WYEC Church Leaders' inspired demonstration for diversity in our churches, cities and region. With reports of large numbers of people considering voting for UKIP in the General Election, the WYEC action was not only an act of witness of Christian faith, and a sign of the essential unity of Christians of different traditions, it was also a timely reminder of the need for us all to support each other and to rejoice in the diversity of society.
The demonstration was reported on BBC Television, various local radio stations, the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post. WYEC partners have their own website reports, including the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, and the Diocese of Leeds. See an amazing slide show of the whole event here.
STUNNING WYEC PROCESSION CELEBRATES DIVERSITY
Mindful, in the run-up to the General Election
· of the climate in society of hostility to people of different races and nations,
· of the tendency to blame people from other countries for long-standing problems at home
· and of the need for an outlook of hope to triumph over the negativity of fear
regional church leaders came together in Leeds today (Ash Wednesday) to lead a colourful procession in celebration of diversity – of cultures, nations, traditions – in the churches, the city and the region.
Hundreds of people were engaged by a procession along Briggate and by the opening of an amazing banner of the flags of the nations in the Trinity Leeds shopping centre.
The Chair of West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council (the organisation behind the event), the Revd. Kevin Watson, Moderator of the Yorkshire Synod of the United Reformed Church, said that
"In the approach to the General Election, we must not seek to scapegoat people of different cultures. In unity, as Christians, we rejoice in the rich diversity of God's people in our churches, city and region."
“We are united in our faith in Christ and we are also diverse in our backgrounds and cultures; and we are all the better for it. Our society is also richer because of its diversity.”
Download higher resolution photographs here: 1. Preparing to process. 2. Church Leaders on “Celebrate Diversity” march. 3. Front of procession in Trinity Leeds. 4. Leeds Minster Choir leads Trinity Leeds singing
More pics to come!
CHRISTIANS UNITED ... TO CELEBRATE DIVERSITY!
Senior Church Leaders invite Christians from around the region to join in a procession through Leeds City Centre on 18th February (Ash Wednesday). CONVENE AT 1PM AT ST JOHN, NEW BRIGGATE.
We will process along Briggate and into the Trinity Shopping Centre, where we will open a Banner of Flags. The procession ends at 2pm after prayer in Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane.
BRING A VARIETY OF BANNERS, NATIONAL FLAGS, PROCESSIONAL CROSSES - whatever your tradition and background.
There is a lot of negativity at the moment - especially from our politicians - towards different groups of people in society. But Christians see EVERYONE made in God's image. Christians have a message of hope ... for ALL people.
Let's witness to our own unity in Christ.
Let's show we are ENRICHED by people of many nations.
Let's rejoice in the diversity of our society.
JOIN US. Leeds. 18 February. 1pm. St John, New Briggate. [Download the poster; spread the word!]