the diocese

We are the Diocese of Leeds: Stitching together in Bradford Cathedral

This week’s film in our year long campaign to tell the story of our rich and varied life here in the Diocese of Leeds, looks at a very special project in Bradford Cathedral. Stitch in the Cathedral is designed to bring people together to share a unique moment in that sacred space at the top of the city. Together they are stitching kneelers for the high altar.  As Canon Missioner, Mandy Coutts, says, this project pulls in people from all over the city.  “This is a sacred space and for a lot of people there’s a real healing moment in having that space to talk, to reflect - it's a real therapeutic moment for all concerned." But this story goes to the heart of Bradford's rich history. During WW1, Bradford woman, Louisa Pesel, a traveller and collector, was at the family home in Manningham. She was a skilled needlewoman - she would become the first president of the Embroiderers' Guild - and recognised needlework's  therapeutic qualities. She got involved with the Bradford Khaki Handicrafts Club, set up in 1918, to provide occupational therapy and employment for men returning from the war. She taught many shell shocked soldiers embroidery - and helped them embroider the Khaki Altar Cloth - a cross stitch superfrontal - now part of the Cathedral's collection. 

We are the Diocese of Leeds: celebrating our volunteers at Leeds Fest

Leeds Festival Angels have just launched an appeal for volunteers for this year's Leeds Fest,  the three day music event over August Bank Holiday which attracts over 85,000 young people. This film gives us a glimpse of life as a Festival Angel. Festival Angels have become a regular feature since they first started in 2011 when volunteers from the local church in nearby Thorner, Leeds set up a prayer café. The Revd Andy Nicholson, vicar of Thorner and Festival Angels Coordinator, said: "It is great to be at Leeds Festival. The care and compassion that the team of volunteers offer, with conversations around faith and spirituality, help the church in this region to connect with hundreds of people who are otherwise not part of our community."  Volunteers come from right across the Diocese. As well as the Prayer Cafe, they run Lost Property and this year have teamed up with West Yorkshire Police to offer protective security marking to valuables. To become involved in Festival Angels visit www.leedsfestivalangels.org.uk      

We are the Diocese of Leeds: celebrating our volunteers

Volunteers is the theme for this week’s films in our year long campaign to tell the rich and varied story of our church and community life here in the Diocese of Leeds. In Pontefract, Wakefield, a birthday party is being held to say thank you to all the volunteers who have helped to run Lunch With Us, a project run out of St Giles’s Church, in the Market Square, which offers a warm meal and companionship to more vulnerable members of the local community.It has been one year since Lunch With Us was first launched at St Giles’ and in that time they have served over 3,000 meals. The volunteers prepare and serve a hot meal every Wednesday afternoon and unlike a café, the customers don’t have to leave as soon as they’ve finished, the volunteers make sure they are around to chat to those who want to and they can signpost them to other services available from the church centre and locally.      

We are the Diocese of Leeds: Serving the community

Serving our communities is the theme for this week’s films in our year long campaign to tell the rich and varied story of life here in the Diocese of Leeds. And we portray two churches in very different contexts; both of whom are serving their communities where they are and give us a glimpse into the wide range of church and community life lived out here in the diocese. In Leeds, All Hallows in Hyde Park is situated in a densely populated inner city suburb its neighbours include three big mosques, a big Hindu temple, the two Universities of Leeds and Leeds Beckett and a huge amount of social housing. Connecting the church with the parish is the overriding mission of All Hallows – and prayer and love is at the heart of everything they do. They run a Real Junkfood café made from food destined for landfill every Monday lunchtime; Syrian refugee friends run a Syrian Kitchen there every Thursday lunchtime and a Friday bistro-style menu once a month. During Ramadan they will offer weekly Iftars. And the church is used for training other clergy who may not have had much interfaith experience in the Faithful Neighbours programme. The vicar, the Revd Heston Groenwald said: “This church makes space for people to encounter each other across divides; whether that is students and non-students; Muslims and non-Muslims; refugees and non refugees, or our LGBT friends. “The church and our café allows people to engage with each other and be surprised by each other’s humanity,’ he added.

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