August 2018 Update

As you may have noticed work began in June on the refurbishment of the Church Hall. During the first few weeks good progress has been made and the project so far is on schedule.

This project costing up to £450,000 has been made possible by the sale of church assets and the generosity of a number of funding organisations including Leeds Community Foundation (Jimbo’s Fund); The Flair Foundation; The National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund; Garfield Weston; Allchurches Trust; WREN FCC Community Action Fund; The Rank Foundation; The George A Moore Foundation; Veolia Environmental Trust and Sir George Martin Trust. We are extremely grateful to all of our benefactors.

On Sunday mornings the congregation has been enjoying coffee at the Brown Cow where we are being well looked after by Ian the manager and his very helpful and friendly staff. It has been wonderful to see so many parishioners using this facility and continuing the normal Sunday morning routine whilst the Hall is closed. Other Hall users are also using it during the week and are being equally well looked after.

During the work on the building, the Hall car park is out of bounds to all but the site vehicles and residents of the cottage and Ivy House, so please refrain from parking in there even on Sunday mornings.

The work should be completed by the end of October 2018 so we are hoping to be back in shortly afterwards. It is likely that the official re-opening and dedication ceremony will be held in early 2019. Details on this will follow in due course.

If you wish to know any further information about the project please visit our Redevelopment Project page. If you’d rather speak to someone please give us a call on 0113 3456 870, or send an email to [email protected].

If you would like to donate to the project, donation forms are available in church or you can see how to donate online.

May 2018 Update

Where are we at the moment?

As things stand we have raised £380,000 towards our target figure of £434,000. We still have a number of bids currently being considered by grant giving bodies so we remain optimistic that we will raise the balance over the coming weeks.

What’s the plan?

The work will go out to tender in late April and it is hoped the successful contractor will be selected in late May 2018. The hall will close on the 3rd June and the planned start date for the work on site is the 25th June and it is expected to take around 4 months.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions about any aspect of the hall redevelopment please contact the clergy or churchwardens or send an email to: [email protected]

Can I still make a donation?

Yes please! Donation forms are still available in the church and Church Hall and donations can be made via our Hall Redevelopment page.

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone in the local community and the congregation who have supported the project with donations, interest, ideas, suggestions and feedback. In particular, special thanks to the Brown Cow and Co-op Funeralcare for allowing us to use their premises during the hall closure period.

Into the wilderness

“My castaway this week…”

Even if you’re not a fellow radio 4 addict, I guess many of you recognised that as the opening of Desert Island Discs. First broadcast in 1942, it’s basically a clever way of finding out about someone’s life.

The premise is that the interviewee is cast away alone on an island with only 7 pieces of music, a couple of books and a luxury for company.

If there’s time at the end, the interviewer asks, “How do you think you would cope on the island?” Some discuss practical skills, but the more perceptive guests wonder about the solitude.

Continue reading “Into the wilderness”

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil

“There was a young man of Hong Kong

who thought limericks far too long…”

Some of you are smiling…either you’re humouring me, or you just did something very clever. You recognised that was a limerick – a silly sort of poem – then recognised it was only part of a limerick – and saw that the humour was in it being a parody of a limerick. Brilliant!

We do it all the time – we use type of language, length of lines, how it’s arranged on a page, to recognise what kind of literature we’re reading…and so how to respond. I guess you’re not wondering who the man from Hong Kong was, why he thought limericks too long, whether this should affect your view of limericks…you just enjoyed the joke – or didn’t.

Continue reading “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil”

January 2018 Update

Fundraising Progress

During the last few months the Hall Redevelopment Team have been busy preparing funding bids and submitting them to a variety of trusts and foundations. To date, twenty one bids have gone through this process and we are pleased to announce that we have had some significant success. We have had five firm pledges of money amounting to £144,500 and these are shown below:

  • Leeds Community Foundation (Jimbo’s Fund): £100,000
  • The Flair Foundation: £15,000
  • Garfield Weston Foundation: £20,000
  • Beatrice Laing Trust: £5,000
  • All Churches Trust: £4,500

If we take into account the money from recent church asset sales of £150,000 that has been pledged by St Mary’s PCC, at this time we have £294,500 towards the project.

We are awaiting responses from 12 trusts so we are hopeful that we will receive further pledges of money. In addition, there are around a dozen further trusts that we will approach during the next month or two.

The team also have plans to seek support for the project from businesses in the Halton, Whitkirk, Colton and Thorpe Park areas.

The total estimated project cost is £434,000 so we still have £139,500 to raise and we will need every assistance possible to achiev4 this.

How Can I Contribute?

If you would like to support us in this community project please visit our donation page, or look out for a leaflet Hall Redevelopment Appeal that will be available in the Hall and church.

If you have any questions please speak directly to any members of the Hall Redevelopment team who are:

Trevor Sirrell, Mike Jackson, Tony Bond, Revd. Matthew Peat, Revd. Alison Battye, Janet Blenkinsop, Liz Hayes and Shelagh Freer.

On behalf of the Parochial Church Council, St Mary’s Church Whitkirk.

Choral Evensong Sermon

What made them wise?

Perhaps they were men of learning.   Professors of their day who devoted themselves to learning.

Perhaps they were mystics.    People who spent a lot of time in silence, thinking and praying.

Perhaps they were wise because they didn’t have their heads solely buried in books, or lived with their eyes closed and who lived Isaiah’s words from our first reading and lifted up their eyes and looked around.

It was just as well for when they looked around they learned of the star.   Whatever the answer to what made them wise, these days of Christmas draw to a close with their story.

Continue reading “Choral Evensong Sermon”

Sermon – The Baptism of Christ

It was summer.   A few mates who had worked together were going on holiday to Cornwall.   They were travelling in an old Ford Escort.   The journey didn’t last long for almost as soon as they joined the M6 the car was involved in an accident.   Thankfully they all survived, a little shaken, a memory they would not forget.   It was a near death experience.

This morning we heard of another near death experience in our Gospel, the baptism of Christ.   The scene is set.   Jesus steps into the river and John pushes him under the water.   If he’d stayed there, his lungs would have filled with water and he would have died.   Yet John pulled him out and his ministry began.

Our own Zach Higgins had a similar near death experience off the East Coast when he was baptised in the North Sea last year.   Then we did plunge him (his father said I had a look of glee on my face) under the water, we pulled him out a little breathless by the whole experience.

Being baptised should be dangerous.   It is a near death experience.

Continue reading “Sermon – The Baptism of Christ”

‘In the fullness of time…’ a sermon for Christmas 1

Today’s reading contains the earliest version of the Christmas story – from Paul’s letter to the Galatians – almost certainly written before any of the gospels.

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman’.

Compared to John’s poetry, or Luke’s story telling, it’s a bit tame. It wouldn’t make much of a nativity play – in fact it’s easy to miss altogether.

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman’.

Actually, ‘God sent his Son, born of a woman’, sums up incarnation pretty well …but it’s the phrase, ‘in the fullness of time’ that’s stuck with me.

Continue reading “‘In the fullness of time…’ a sermon for Christmas 1”