Monthly Letter

Hello Everyone,

One of the perks of being married to the Director of the Leeds Church Institute is that you get to meet all the guest speakers at the Hook Lecture over a meal beforehand.

Over the years I have got to meet Frances Young, Giles Fraser, Sara Maitland, Bikhu Parekh and Jonathan Bartley. This year I am already looking forward to meeting Canon Mark Oakley who is coming to speak at Leeds Minster on 27 September.

For an indication of how good he is as a speaker why not listen to the sermon he preached at the ordination of deacons at St Edmundsbury cathedral this year: a masterclass of how to inspire people in less than 8 minutes (on the cathedral website under “sermons”).

Helen has written a book review of Canon Oakley’s latest book The Splash of Words in this month’s review. In it he makes the point that poetry is life giving for all of us. Or, as the current ABC Justin Welby puts it, “poetry is vital for all Christians … it helps us grow in faith, hope and love.”

Helen is kindly taking on the library at St Giles from Sue Grahame. The library, kept in the Church Hall, is a wonderful but unquestionably underused resource which Sue has built up over many years into a veritable treasure trove of spiritual resourcing.

Nick Pinches mentions in this month’s Churchwardens Blog his own gratitude to Sue (and indeed John) for all they have done over the years and I would like to express my own. This Church is greatly in their debt for all they have done behind the scenes to enable our flourishing in Christ.

Roger the Methodist minister and myself now meet regularly and have discovered that we share a love of poetry. Hence the reason for this year’s Advent Course, an opportunity to look at particular poems as we journey through Advent together.

I was delighted to come across a copy of Janet Morley’s poetry anthology “Haphazard by Starlight” (from the last line of U.A. Fanthorpe’s Christmas poem BC:AD) in the church library. We intend to get a number of copies of the book available for people to buy or borrow from the start of November.

Tom