This is the final film in our year-long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds and this week we visited Ripon Cathedral on Boxing Day morning as the Dean was preparing for the annual traditional pilgrimage to Fountains Abbey. This is an important day in Ripon Cathedral’s calendar and last year over 1,000 modern day pilgrims followed in the footsteps of those thirteen monks who, on the day after Christmas Day, in 1132 set out from Ripon and walked the four miles to a deserted valley by the River Skell and started their own community. That community was Fountains Abbey and the annual Boxing Day Pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to the atmospheric ruins has become a Christmas tradition for many. Said the Dean, the Very Revd John Dobson: “Today many people will come because they want a Boxing Day walk for their family, but others will come as pilgrims to follow in the footsteps of those monks in 1132. “We, as a cathedral, have a ministry to all people across the whole region. This Cathedral is here for everyone. God is here for them, “ he added. This year the walk will be led by Dean John and the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs. The event begins with a Eucharist in the cathedral at 9.30am and the pilgrimage will leave from the forecourt around 10.15am. The route leads out of the city along the River Skell and through the Studley Royal Deer Park and on to the National Trust site at Fountains Abbey where it ends with a carol service by the Stray Brass Ensemble and a glass of mulled wine in the cellarium of the ancient monastery. The walk and entrance to Fountains Abbey is free to pilgrims and all are welcome to join in.
This week’s film in our year long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds visits the United Parish of Keighley and looks at how they responded as a church when crisis came to their community. Last year 12 Keighley men were jailed for more than 140 years between them for the sexual abuse of one child in the town. It blew the lid on child sexual exploitation in the town and led to the formation of United Keighley - an initiative bringing together different organisations and communities committed to working together to make the town safer for children and young people by raising awareness and tackling the sexual exploitation of children in their town. There was a United Keighley Week of Action which included a distribution of teal-coloured ribbons representing opposition to sexual violence, and, opportunities to sign the United Keighley statement which condemned all acts of criminality against young people, especially sexual abuse. There were presentations at local school assemblies highlighting the threat posed by child sexual exploitation, art installations and awareness raising at Keighley College and in the Airedale Shopping Centre and a sermon in the Shah Jalal Mosque. The town chaplain, the Revd Dr Jonathan Pritchard, part of this ongoing campaign, said: “I can’t do anything about what’s happening in Nigeria, the Sudan or the Middle East, but I can do something about here in Keighley about that work of reconciliation that Jesus calls us to be engaged in.”
Canon Robin Gamble of the Diocese of Leeds and friends look forward to the coming of Jesus in this short home made film to be shared during the season of Advent. Visit A Church Near You here
As we begin to get ready to share the magical, musical, miracle of the season upon us, I wanted to remind you of This Christmas - a short, joyful film for you to use, celebrating all that we do in our parishes across our diocese at Christmas. Please share it and spread some of the magic of Christmas here in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds.
Revd Mark Harlow has now moved to St Paul’s Ireland Wood, from his role as curate at St George’s, Leeds - recently designated as the diocese’s first Resource Church. In this video Mark explains his excitement for this new post. The church plant at St Paul's, Ireland Wood, is part of an exciting initiative for church growth and part major funding bid for the Diocese to be considered by the Church Commissioners. The new Diocesan Strategy aims to create a total of five Resource Churches across the Leeds Episcopal area, including St George’s. Resource Churches are backed by the Church Commissioners as part of the nationwide Renewal & Reform programme as they “intentionally resource mission across a city, by planting and revitalising churches, developing leaders and providing other resources for mission”. Committed teamwork is key to success and 45 members of St George’s go with Mark and his wife Kathryn (who will be Associate Priest) to swell the St Paul’s congregation, where Sunday attendance is currently some 25 worshippers. Read more here.
This latest film in our campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds, takes us behind the scenes at St Paul’s, Birkenshaw as they prepare for the latest concert in their month long Music Festival.It was the first of its kind for St Paul's, and the vicar, the Revd Danny Walker, wanted to create something to appeal to all tastes and bring people in to church to hear some fantastic music. And that’s exactly what he did. His rich and varied programme included a Reggae Mass, an evening of Opera North, jazz, a film night; a Good Old Days event performed by the congregation; a Swing Band; Choral Evensong from the Men and Boys choir of Bradford Cathedral, and a Songs of Praise. It proved to be a huge success with well over 2,000 people attending, most of the events sold out, and the church even made a healthy profit. Said Danny: “It just built and built as the month went on. It brought out some real talent and gave people the chance to experience something special right here in Birkenshaw." And one year on - its legacy continues with numbers well up on most events. Plans are already in the pipeline for a similar event next year themed around the end of the anniversary of the First World War with local Big Band Artist, Paul Stone already signed up! “But more than that, “ said Danny. “ It has created a buzz in the community and buoyed up the congregation. They are much more confident now. "And it’s put the church at the heart of the community. That’s worth much more to me than what we raised,’ he added.
Representatives from churches across the diocese have been meeting together to examine ways to help churches become more welcoming to families with additional needs. A ground-breaking gathering of disability representatives at Church House, the Leeds office of the Diocese of Leeds heard some of the difficulties facing families who have children with disabilities and additional needs and how sometimes churches are ill-equipped to offer support. As part of the morning a film was shown at the meeting, made at Christ Church, Armley where the congregation has developed facilities to help those with additional needs. Several members of the congregation talked about the need to welcome young people with additional needs as full members of the church. Watch a two minute extract from the film here..
The Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley has been announced by 10 Downing Street as the next Suffragan (Area) Bishop of Ripon, in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds. Bishop Helen-Ann, who is 44, is at present Bishop of Waikato in New Zealand, an office she has held since 2014. At the time she was the first woman priest ordained in the Church of England to become a bishop. She succeeds Bishop James Bell who retired earlier this year.
For this week’s film, we travelled to Nidderdale in the Ripon Episcopal Area to find out about ministry in some of our more rural areas as part of our year long campaign to tell the story of all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds. In the unspoilt rural cobbled village of Middlesmoor, eight miles out of Pateley Bridge, it was nothing short of a miracle when they were given the funds to erect an internet transmitter on top of their local church of St Chad’s as part of a wider project of connectivity across the Nidderdale Valley. And for farmer and church warden, Stuart Ramsden, it has truly changed his life allowing him to check the weather, prices, sales and do his banking online. He now does email - which he was never able to do before. And he is not the only one who benefits from broadband connectivity. But rural ministry is more than looking at how best to serve your community, it’s the personal touch for some of those living in the more isolated villages as the vicar of Upper Nidderdale, Darryl Hall, now Area Dean of Ripon Deanery, tells us.