Unity in Process, edited by Clive Barrett, has just been reviewed in the Church Times by Professor Paul Avis. He writes:
"Probably the most helpful introductory book on Christian unity to have appeared for years... informative, wide-ranging fresh and practical... an excellent antidote to the ecumenical doldrums... clear, accessible and imaginative..."
A delegation on West Yorkshire church leaders has met with a Cabinet Minister in Parliament to press the Government to take action on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The Rt. Revd. John Packer (Bishop of Ripon and Leeds), Pastor Gloria Hanley (Wesleyan Holiness Church), and the Rt. Revd Tony Robinson (Bishop of Pontefract and Chair of WYEC) met with Baron Richard Newby of Rothwell, the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip in the House of Lords.
The WYEC delegation pressed for amendments to the Finance Bill, strengthening of the General Anti-Abuse Rules (GAAR), and greater support for HMRC in pursuing tax-dodgers. They pressed for specific UK action around the forthcoming G8 summit: deal with those tax havens that are UK Dependencies or overseas territories; and introduce treaties to make international financial dealings transparent, so it is possible to trace the ultimate 'beneficial owners' of all transactions.
These changes, called for by Christian Aid and Church Action on Poverty, would raise more money in UK tax (and so reduce the pressure to make cuts), assist developing countries, and counter international crime.
Pilgrimage of Peace
A group of senior West Yorkshire church leaders have together been on a pilgrimage to Corrymeela, a Christian centre of reconciliation in Northern Ireland. The visit included engagement with a church in one of the most polarised areas of Belfast, and meeting with the Revd. Harold Good, a Methodist Minister who oversaw the decommisioning of IRA weapons (top picture, back row, centre). The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract and Chair of WYEC said that, “Not only has this visit strengthened relations between Christian leaders, it will also help the churches in West Yorkshire to engage more constructively with people of other faiths,” adding, “I would recommend Corrymeela to church groups across Britain”. Read the Press Release.
WYEC issues an open letter to city councillors in Leeds backing a resolution calling for support for destitute people who are seeking sanctuary .
HE IS RISEN INDEED ALLELUIA!
Crosshills Churches Together (right)
celebrate the Resurrection on Farnhill Pinnacle.
Churches Together in Ilkley celebrates 'Son-rise' on Ilkley Moor (below and centre), with musicians from Christchurch (Methodist/URC).
Girlington, Manningham and Heaton Churches Together hold a united Easter morning service on Heaton Hill (below, right)
Passion on the Streets
Churches Together groups across West and North Yorkshire took to the streets on Good Friday to proclaim the story of Jesus. See the videos and photos from Bradford, Denby Dale, Dewsbury, Headingley, Huddersfield, Ilkley, Middleton, Rothwell, Settle, Wakefield, Wetherby, West Halifax...
UNDER 23? Earn £6.5k for 15 hours p.w. at Huddersfield Methodist Mission. Get details.
OTHER VACANICIES: (a) PAID: Chaplain, Methodist Homes for the Aged; Mission Coordinator with people with learning disabilities; IT related - Christians Against Poverty and Network Leeds; (b) VOLUNTARY: Project Leader South Leeds Foodbank; asylum seeker support - welcoming, writing stories; trustees for St George's Crypt, foodbanks. ACCESS DETAILS of all these and more.
Snow, Ash and Reconciliation
Bishop Tony Robinson leads prayers on steps of Dewsbury Town Hall. [Pictures: Patrick Syce]
Church Leaders in West Yorkshire have a tradition of standing together on Ash Wednesday, for many the start of the penitential season of Lent, to make public witness to their shared Christian faith and values in society. On 13 February 2013, they gathered in the snow in Dewsbury, with over 80 local Christians braving the weather to be with them, including young people from local schools.
They supported the work of Churches Together in Dewsbury in proclaiming the Gospel and in building community with neighbours of other faiths. (Local church ministers also made their own historic Declaration of Commitment to the Town.)
They stood where, last year, external political extremists promoted hate and abused the Gospel; they stood instead for reconciliation and community relations.
They prayed, making the sign of the cross in ash on their foreheads, recognising all of our failings to stand up to hatred, “for the strength to resist evil, and especially any who seek to divide and sow the seeds of distrust between our communities”.
The event brought together many churches: preparatory prayer was said in Dewsbury Minster; Long Causeway Church provided hospitality afterwards; other churches across West Yorkshire used the Church Leaders’ prayer in their own services.
Pictured, posting letters to MPs: Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract (left) and the Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the Yorkshire Synod of the United Reformed Church
Church Leaders in West Yorkshire have come together to sign a letter to the region's MPs and MEPs, asking them to push for tax justice. The churches have daily "experience of sheltering homeless people, feeding hungry people, clothing destitute people and supporting people crippled by debt. As the numbers of food banks and food parcels increase, the sense of injustice at tax avoidance increases too".
The Church Leaders call for the UK:
to take a lead in promoting transparency in the affairs of tax havens and the companies using them
to ensure tax avoidance loopholes are closed for both companies and individuals;
to push for measures that would require companies to report on the profits they make and taxes they pay in every country in which they operate
to push for measures that would require tax havens to automatically share information about the money flowing through them with other countries;
to ensure greater resources and energy are deployed to detect and prosecute those engaged in illegal tax evasion.
Watch out for the new edition of UNITY POST, with all the latest news of churches working together locally, across the WYEC region, nationally and beyond.
It is available for Churches Together groups to collect from their collection points in time for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Soon after that you can get your copy from a church near you. Don't miss it!
SHORTS: Christians Learning Across Yorkshire (CLAY) new courses LEAFLET out now. * Bradford Churches for Dialogue and Diversity (BCDD) conference, 'Right Here is Right Good: Faith Resilience in Northern Towns', 16-18 April. DETAILS * "IF... Food Could Talk: Power and Malnutrition." Little Lane, Bradford, 30 April. DETAILS * Welfare Reform: What Can We Do? Workshops 10am and 7pm, Oxford Place, Leeds, 1 May. DETAILS* Strategic leaders invited to pray together for Leeds, 9 May and 9 September. DETAILS * Bradford Court Chaplaincy seeks volunteers; training in May. POSTER * 'Together for the Common Good' - Anglican, Catholic and Free Churches for social justice. Conference 6-8 September. DETAILS. * Bradford Ecumenical Asylum Concern (BEACON) seeks volunteer hosts. DETAILS * Win £100 by writing on 'Christian Care of the Environment'. READ HOW*Get monthly updates from Churches Together in England. SUBSCRIBE
70 International Churches in Leeds
A new report, Direction in Diverse-City?, has shown that there are over 70 international congregations in Leeds. Leaders and representatives of WYEC churches met with leaders of the these churches and congregations for an emotional time of prayer in Leeds Minster. New friendships were made amid the realisation that all sections of the Christian community need to continue to work and pray together for the well-being of the city. Read more about this unique development.
West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council is 25 years old.
To mark this milestone, we have published a major new volume on unity - with local, national and international perspectives - and have held special services around our region.
Our visiting preachers have been: the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster; a former President of the Methodist Conference; and the President-Designate of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. (All of whom are contributors to 'Unity in Process' as well.)
At the same time, Anglicans and Methodists in Leeds have become national leaders in the nature of their relationship together (see below).
New! Available now!
Contributors include: Clive Barrett, David Cornick, Christopher Foster, Barbara Glasson, Kirsteen Kim, Mike Love, Val Morrison, Paul and Andrea Murray, Vincent Nichols, Stephen Platten, Anthony G Reddie, Helen Reid and Celia Blackden, Neil Richardson, Liz Smith, Mary Tanner, Alison Tomlin, Kathryn Turner and Catherine McElhinney, Ernie Whalley.
Presentations included: CARE Dewsbury, Newsome LEP, St John Fisher High School, Christians Learning Across Yorkshire (CLAY), Hanging Heaton, Batley Drop-In, Churches Together in Mirfield... In his homily, Archbishop Vincent Nichols commended 'Unity in Process' and led us into scripture and prayer. Read a transcript of the Archbishop's homily.
The congregation wrote their own prayers for unity:
"Father, help us to recognise the limits of our own vision, and open our hearts to see the bigger picture."
"We pray that we will not do separately those things we can do together."
Presentations included: Christians Against Poverty; Little Lane and Christ Church, Windhill LEPs; Churches Together groups from Settle / East Bradford / Girlington, Heaton and Manningham; Bradford Ecumenical Asylum Concern (BEACON)... There was a 'weaving' theme, and the congregation tied ribbons into a colourful collage representing diversity in unity. Alison Tomlin urged us to consider what the next stage in our journey might be. Read her address.
St Anne's Catholic Cathedral, Leeds
Friends from WYEC's past gathered for this service, including previous County Officers and some signatories from 25 years ago. Presentations included: LCI: Horsforth Churches Together; International Students' Club; Inn Churches Bradford; Kidz Klub; Hope for the Nations; InterAct (Meanwood); CREATE youth group; Unity in Poverty Action and Leeds Churches Together in Mission... Church Leaders renewed their Covenant and Ernie Whalley reminded everyone of WYEC's tradition of standing up for social justice (read his sermon) before the congregation disappeared beneath a huge banner of flags ("oikoumene" means the whole inhabited earth).
LEADING THE WAY IN ANGLICAN-METHODIST RELATIONS
The country's first substantial Local Area Partnership (read text), under the auspices of the national Anglican Methodist Covenant, was signed at Trinity Methodist Church, Harrogate, Saturday 6 October, by the Rt Revd John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds (seated, left) and the Revd Dr Liz Smith, Chair of Leeds Methodist District (seated, right) in the presence of Dr Mark Wakelin, President of the Methodist Conference (behind Liz) and other denominational and ecumenical representatives. The new Partnership, covering intersecting regions of Leeds Methodist District and the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, covers 85 Anglican parishes and 65 Methodist churches, giving new opportunities to work together.
The latest signatory of the WYEC Church Leaders' Covenant is the Rt. Revd. Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract (centre). Tony signed the Covenant, which is the basis of WYEC dating from 1987, at Dewsbury Minster in the presence of other Church Leaders. He will become Chair of WYEC in 2013.
TRAINING MORNING FOR LOCAL ECUMENICAL PARTNERSHIPS
In co-operation with Churches Together in South Yorkshire, WYEC held a Consultation for people involved with Single Congregation Local Ecumenical Partnerships, at the Church in West Bretton, on 25 September. There were presentations from Baptist, Church of England, Methodist and United Reformed perspectives as well as an opportunity for the two dozen people present to share their own stories and concerns. Details here.
RACIAL JUSTICE SUNDAY
Racial Justice services were held on 9 Setpember in Oxford Place Methodist Church Leeds, and at the Priory Church, Bolton Abbey (including a coach from Manningham.) Download a poster.
ANGLICAN LUTHERAN CONFERENCE
The Anglican-Lutheran Society held a conference for theological students and for people new to public ministry. It was at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, 3-7 September. Details here.
THIRTY YEARS TOGETHER
The Church in West Bretton, an Anglican-Methodist single congregation Local Ecumenical Partnership, has celebrated its 30th anniversary. The service was taken by Baroness Kathleen Richardson, who helped to set up the LEP in 1982. The preacher was Stephen Platten, Bishop of Wakefield. Full report.
HOPE FOR THE NATIONS
The 6th international Christian gathering in Leeds city centre brought together people from around the world including Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. There was singing, drumming, dancing, prayer and exhibition stalls with drinks nibbles and literature in different languages. Many were pleased to find something in their own language they could read and understand. And there was the amazing Hope for the Nations 'flags' banner - to be seen again at the WYEC service in St Anne's Cathedral, Leeds, on 28 October.
ECUMENICAL WALK FOR ASYLUM JUSTICE
Members and supporters of Bradford Ecumenical Asylum Concern (BEACON) have walked from central Bradford to the UK Borders Agency offices in Leeds - a journey often undertaken by destitute asylum seekers - to highlight the plight of many people seeking sanctuary in UK.
LIGHT UP THE FIRE, LET THE FLAME BURN...
Keighley Churches Together celebrated the arrival of the Olympic Flame in style. They served over 1500 burgers and hotdogs (a regular summer mission activity), augmented by teas from a Salvation Army van; their schools' project helped children make 200 torches; there was face-painting, children's olympics, puppets and healing-on-the-streets. 700 people stayed on for open-air worship on Church Green.
ECUMENICAL OFFICERS IN CONFERENCE
Each of the WYEC Churches appoints an Ecumenical Officer, tasked to promote relations with other Churches. A group of Ecumenical Officers, from seven denominations, has met together at the Centre for Health and Pastoral Care, Thirsk. Discussion ranged from the spirituality of waiting to personal experience of post-war refugee camps.
CHURCHES TOGETHER GROUPS CONSULTED
WYEC has held a Consultation for Churches Together groups in and around Wakefield Metropolitan District. Seven Churches Together groups were represented, including CT Wakefield which alone represents 42 churches. There was an emphasis on the importance of local unity and of 'doing things ecumenically, rather than doing ecumenical things'. Mention was made of:
Bible Sunday, Cafe Church, ceilidh, Christian Aid Week, Christmas cards, Christmas carols, clergy breakfasts, frugal lunches, Good Friday processions and drama, Lent groups, Lent suppers, memorial services, messy church, More Than Gold, partnerships (Lions, local authority, veterans...) Pentecost prayer walks, Prayer Bus, prayers for shops, Stations of the Cross, summer holiday club, quizzes, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Women's World Day of Prayer, youth projects...
There is life in local unity! See the full report>>>>