Saturday 7th March 2020
Back in the days where you could stand next to a human being that doesn’t live in your house, I was privileged enough to take a bunch of young people to Blackpool Pleasure Beach!
At 9am in the morning, which I found out is extremely early for young people on a Saturday, 18 bleary eyed young people, including a number of young people not involved directly with church, showed up to St Paul’s Dalton ready to go. After a little wait for our coach to arrive, we jumped on and after a surprisingly quiet coach journey we arrived in Blackpool. When we got there we received our tickets, sorted out groups and meeting points and made our way in.
We split up into groups and away we all went, some people immediately went for the big ‘white knuckle rides’ including the Big One, well known for being the tallest ride in the UK which sent our young people 213ft high! (That is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!)
After a few hours we all got together and had a very civilised lunch together, this was a good time for young people that hadn’t met to chat to one another, for others food was the priority with a number of the young people deciding that because they were at the seaside the only option was fish and chips!
Back on the rides after lunch, everyone enjoyed their day, a few young people loved going on rides they never thought they would, others decided that some of the bigger rides might not all be for them! We finally all got together with a hour left before the park shut and decided which our final rides would be. For me and some others ICON was the ride, a new multi-launch coaster, a ride taking you to over 50mph, spinning you upside down and throwing you out of your seat for some great fun.
This day was great, it was suppose to be a good starting point to a few other events that I was going to put on, however the world has changed since then and some of my plans have had to change. However this day is one that I really remember and cherish at this time, young people having fun together and I got to be part of it. I can’t wait until we can do it again! We will do it again!
A Letter to the Huddersfield Circuit 25th March 2020
These are difficult times for our world and for our communities. Covid-19 is having an impact on us all. For some it brings with it the loss of life itself, for others a significant increase in vulnerability and fear, for loved ones as well as themselves. For some it means anxiety around employment and having enough to live on, for others a deep degree of isolation and loneliness. For some it entails working in ever riskier conditions, especially in hospitals, for others a major adjustment to how their work is done. For some it provides new challenges, for others huge frustration about a human response which leaves supermarket shelves empty.
Much has changed for us all, particularly with the greater restrictions on our lives set out by the government on Monday. Now seems, therefore, an appropriate time to send this letter to you all across the circuit, with my thoughts, prayers and best wishes, as we live through this together, though apart. I know that there is significant commitment playing out in the way you are responding to the challenges – through local community volunteering, keeping in touch with neighbours, friends and family, dealing with administrative issues facing your local churches, working out ways of sustaining reflective and devotional practices. I am reminded of the first conversation Fiona and I had with the Chair of the Haitian Methodist Church when he picked us up from the airport. “You will need to be flexible in order to survive in Haiti” he said. We soon discovered on a daily basis that any plans could and would be blown off course by any number of unforeseen obstacles and events. If it rained the phone would stop working until everything had dried out, a part of life that I have been particularly reminded of recently with phone conversations forming such a valuable way in which we are all offering care and support in our current circumstances.
Our rhythm of life has been severely disrupted. We are having to adjust to different patterns, and this is not easy. We are not used to being restricted to our homes – relocated, if you like, or perhaps even dislocated! The instruments in a band or orchestra which focus most on rhythm make up, of course, the percussion section. This provokes some thought, because the word percussion has at its root the idea of striking, hitting or shaking. There is a certain, if for the most part limited, violence in the way rhythms are beat out on drums, cymbals, tambourines and triangles. That is a metaphor or image you may like to reflect on further, but at the very least it seems reasonable to suggest that there is a shaking of the rhythms going on presently in our own lives and in the life of our world.
With this shaking of the rhythms comes vulnerability. When I looked a little further into percussion I came across the suggestion that it may also be related to the idea of bark broken off a tree. Now that is definitely an image which conjures up for us a loss of whatever may protect us. And much of our vulnerability lies in the uncertainty we are living with – uncertainty and insecurity about our health, our economy, our communities (church and beyond). Will things eventually return to how they were before Covid-19, or has life now changed for good? And how do we feel about that? How do you feel about that?
In the same way that circuit staff are finding new rhythms to our work, exploring alternative ways to sustain church life and community participation, all within a worldwide perspective, so all of us find ourselves working out how our responses might be as creative, meaningful and purposeful as possible.
Whatever we do, it counts!
With my very best wishes to you all.
Following the overwhelmingly positive responses to the circuit service at Lindley on 1st September 2019, we are planning two further opportunities when we can share services with others around the circuit.
On the morning of Sunday 1st March 2020, marking the first Sunday in Lent, we will be holding four different kinds of service in different locations and you are invited to choose which one you would like to go to. Gledholt will be hosting a praise service; Holmfirth, a service in a meditative style; Lindley, a café-style service, and Dalton, a preaching service. Towards the end of Lent, on Palm Sunday, 5th April 2020, there will be an evening circuit service at 6.00pm at Lindley, marking the beginning of Holy Week with, among other things, sung and instrumental music.
Before we get to Lent, however, let’s make the most of Advent and Christmas!
Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to you all,
David (Circuit Superintendent)
This is a new appointment within the Yorkshire West Methodist District. It represents an exciting opportunity for someone to make a real difference to the growth of the Methodist Church by contributing to the development and co-ordination of spiritual and missional activities across the District.
We are looking to appoint a Missional Communities Worker to join us to take forward this phase of exploration and innovation by helping develop the Methodist Way of Life and the creation of new missional communities. The post could be held on the basis of between a 0.5 half-time post and a full-time post of 35 hours per week. The post holder will be working alongside the District’s Evangelism and Growth Group which will support and enable the vision for this work.
If you have the enthusiasm to work creatively with others in developing missional communities,
please ask for details.
For an ordained Methodist, the stipend will apply. For a lay person or an ordained person in another denomination, annual salary will be set between £24,000 and £28,000 per annum, pro rata for a
part-time appointment. Please note the appointment will be for a period of 3 years in the first
For an application pack please contact the Yorkshire West District Office: email@example.com
Touchstone, 4 Easby Road, Bradford, BD7 1QX
Letter of application and completed Application Form to be submitted by: 11 October 2019.
Applications to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to the Yorkshire West District Office.
Interviews are expected to be held at the District Office on 24 October 2019.
During the last weekend in March I had the privilege of taking 18 young people that are connected to the circuit to a residential in Betws-y-Coed, North Wales.
We set off from Gledholt Methodist Church and after a long journey (thanks to the M62) we arrived to our centre just behind the main street in Betws-y-Coed. The young people got straight into the swing of things, getting something to eat, spending time getting to know each other and having a time of reflection.
We woke up on the Saturday morning and after a quick time for breakfast, we were straight out of the centre. After a mile and half walk we arrived at the activity centre called ZipWorld FForrest where we did our two main activities, the Fforest coaster and Tree Top Nets.
Fforest Coaster – We sat on our sled, (which is a little like a tea tray with brakes) and we were slowly dragged up 365m up through the forest to the top of the hill. When you are at the top of the hill you are released down a track where you speed around corners at up to 25mph. Each person had 3 goes on this and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Treetop Nets – Imagine trampolines 60 ft up in the air, well that is essentially what the treetops nets are. Our young people bounced around, slide down the shoots, played football, and played tag all whilst up in the sky.
When we got back to the centre we spent some time thinking what life would be like if we could change some issues in the world today including Brexit, war, and climate change to name just a few. We looked at just how lucky we really are compared to young people around the world, we made some things we are grateful for out of playdoh, and looked at our dreams and ambitions for the future. From there we wrote ourselves a letter to a future version of us, before getting in pairs and writing down our dreams for that other person.
We also did a few other activities through the day using the idea of being royalty for the day in groups. We turned one of the young people in each group some royal garments, a throne to sit on, as well as baking them a small feast (a batch of cookies).
Sunday came around far too quickly due to the clocks changing, we played a few games, spent time reflecting on the weekend and did some feedback, before cleaning the centre and having some lunch. Finally we spent the afternoon in Betws-y-Coed, shopping, eating some ice cream and playing frisbee before setting back home.
The weekend was amazing and the young people we took had a really good time and wanted to do it again. So more work for me to do!!!
Circuit Youth Worker
Church Worker for Chinese Ministry – Huddersfield Circuit, Yorkshire West District
The Chinese ministry of Huddersfield Circuit is in the form of a Chinese Fellowship at the Mission, the Methodist Church’s town centre ministry building. This Fellowship was set up in 2010 to serve the spiritual needs of the Chinese in and around Huddersfield. It has two Sunday services with Sunday school each month at the Huddersfield Mission. At present, there are about 15-20 in the congregation. The Fellowship also runs Bible studies during school term times.
ABOUT THE JOB ROLE
The Chinese Fellowship has been led/co-ordinated by a Methodist local preacher who will be stepping down from that capacity in early 2019. An exciting opportunity is now available for a suitable candidate to succeed in her role.
We are looking for a mature Christian with a calling to the Chinese ministry in the UK. The successful candidate will be tasked with leading and further developing the Chinese Fellowship with weekly Sunday services.
ESSENTIAL SKILL SETS REQUIRED
To be successfully shortlisted for this job position, we are looking for the ideal candidate with these essential skill sets:
To apply for this job vacancy please email the Revd Roz Page at email@example.com for a copy of the application pack, the closing date for this job advert will be Friday 28th December 2018. Any applications received after this date, will only be considered if we were unable to find a suitable candidate to employ.
An invitation to reflect together on this summer’s sabbatical
Tuesday 9th October 2018 7.30pm at Holmfirth Methodist Church
Tuesday 23rd October 8.00pm at Outlane Methodist Church
One of the gifts Methodist ministers receive from the church is a three month sabbatical every seven years. I am grateful to all who made it possible for me to spend some time this summer doing new things, visiting new places and reflecting on what I was discovering and what that means for my life and my work.
“Who do you think you are?” seems a reasonable way of describing something of my sabbatical journey.
Towards the beginning of my journey I travelled to Berlin, a city I had never visited before and which still had a massive wall through its heart when I was studying German in the 1980s. My time there was a sharp reminder of who I no longer am, namely a fluent German speaker! But it was also an exploration into how people over the centuries have coped and not coped with those who are different from themselves and the moving accounts which have arisen out of this.
During my week at Gladstone’s Residential Library in North Wales I began to delve deeper into the stories of Jacob in the book of Genesis, reading them particularly from the point of view of both female and male Jewish writers. If ever there is a story in which characters are continually asking the question “Who do you think you are?”, then this must rank quite highly. I found it intriguing to look at the various episodes from the angle of each of the main characters, paying attention to the gaps in the text, where something happens, but is not explained. What, for instance, do Leah and Rachel know about the deceiving of Jacob on his first wedding night?
Alongside all the reading I kept a journal, recording thoughts, ideas and questions related to what I was experiencing and how my understanding of God, religion and the church were all changing. The journalling was especially valuable when I was reflecting on what it means to engage with radical theology. Previously I had understood radical theology in terms of uncovering the roots of Jesus’ first-century life and impact, basing our understanding of God on the human experience of Jesus, rather than on the creeds and doctrines which the church went on to establish. But it began to occur to me that to understand Jesus more fully I had to get to grips with how Jesus might have heard the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. He would have heard the stories and reflections on them on a regular basis. How might he have understood those narratives and those characters?
A sabbatical is not only for the minister, but for the church too. If you would like to hear more and reflect together on some of these issues, then come along to Holmfirth on 9th October or Outlane on 23rd October.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a Superhero?
This was something that the children at this year’s Circuit Camp were invited to explore.
Through focusing on four Superhero characteristics; bravery, strength, perseverance and trust, we travelled a learning journey together.
These activities and worship slots, we also considered Biblical Superheroes who were brave, strong, trusting and determined; learning a little more about their stories. We thought about heroes in our own lives and people who’ve inspired us.
The weekend culminated in a lively All Age Worship followed by brunch; including a get up and dance to Jesus You’re my Superhero song (Lego version of course!) and a scary Daniel in the Lion’s Den performance as told from the lion’s point of view!
Many thanks to all the leaders who volunteered at Camp and to Linthwaite Methodist Church for hosting - you are all Superheroes!
To find out more about what we got up to, why not view our photo gallery and then watch the puppet films made by the children on the Children's Camp 2017 Page
Huddersfield Methodist Circuit
Is seeking to appoint a part-time lay minister
to work with and lead the local Churches
in Kirkheaton and Lepton.
We are looking for an outgoing, proactive, creative Christian
with experience of leadership in church settings.
Hours/week: 30 Rate of pay: £18,495 per annum plus pension provision
(There is a genuine Occupational Requirement for the post holder to be a Christian.)
To obtain an application pack or ask for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for applications is noon on 21st June 2017. Interviews will be held on 29th June.
I admit it – I am a fidget, as a child I was constantly being told to put this or that down before my fiddling broke something. I put my crafting hobbies down as ‘grown up fiddling’, and I am often typing something on one half of the laptop screen whilst following the TV replay on the other side – a kind of mental fidgeting.
Recently on a Facebook discussion page the question was posed about how we felt if someone was doing something else whilst listening to the sermon in church. It was surprising how many people find doing something with their hands can help their brains to focus. Others talked about their experience on the Autism spectrum that permission to fidget is important to getting through longer concentration times. I recalled that in times of fatigue I would close my eyes to listen – with less other stimulation for my tired brain to process.
People have always been able to read the Bible and some even taken notes during a sermon – and seen as committed not distracted (though no-one checks if it is the shopping list or a doodle). But those with phones out and tapping the screen are seen as rude and not listening – yet they may be looking up the Bible passages, taking notes, searching a new word or idea from the sermon before they forget it. They may even be tweeting about how it was a very provoking message.
Thinking about the crying baby and the exploring toddler; the unpredictable fidgets of those with dementia (I could use a twiddle muff at any age); and adding in those used to phone fidgeting, and those sharing their autism experiences; adding in the natural fidgets of every age – I wonder if there is a place for Fidget Church?
Fidget Church would give permission to knit or doodle, or to stand and stretch legs that stiffen if sat too long. Basically permission to do and be as you choose, no judging or tutting allowed – just the presumption that if you have given up time to be at church then you are there to worship and to consider the ideas from the readings and sermon, if you choose to do something alongside then that is fine, you know what helps you. Besides why should the children be the only ones to respond to God’s word in colouring and crafts?
Yes maybe there is a place for Fidget Church.
Rev Helen Roberts.