Virtual Service 8 November

Good morning
 
This week we remember those who have died in two World Wars, and all who have died in conflict since. We also remember those who are casualties in this conflict we face against a very different kind of enemy: all who have died from Covid-19; all who mourn their passing; those who have life-limiting conditions as a result of contracting the virus. 

This prayer encourages to keep on loving our neighbour at such a time:

Lord Jesus Christ, 
you taught us to love our neighbour, 
and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. 
In times of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, 
to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love, 
for your name’s sake. Amen.


The Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote to clergy this week encouraging us to make this month a national month of prayer. On Thursdays we are encouraged to fast and to pray as we bring to God those who are going to be worst affected by this lockdown; also to dedicate the time of 6 o’clock on Thursday evenings as a time for us to pray together. Some resources have been provided for this which you will find in this mailing.

As with praying, we fast as we can and not as we can’t. I would encourage you to fast in a way that you feel you can manage, and to set aside a little time each day to remember in prayer those who will struggle the most in this second lockdown. 

This week we are having another virtual zoom. You can sign in from 10.30 and we will live stream the act of remembrance at 10.55am at the War Memorial so we can keep the two minute’s silence at 11am.

As we enter a second national lockdown we remain hopeful because God the source of our hope travels with us – before us, behind us, within us:

May God go before you to guide you, 
may God stand behind you to give you strength,
and may God shine in your faces
and in your lives to bear the Gospel of hope. Amen.


Tom 

Virtual Service 1 November

Hello everyone

 Good morning. Thank you to Fred for the readings, to Lesley for the song “Let there be love shared among us”, to Bill for leading our prayers, and to Gill for the latest resource for our young people with a catchy song to the tune “O when the saints go marching in”.

In the season of Harvest we were thankful for all of God’s good gifts, and now at All Saints we are thankful for one another and for the memory of saints departed. As well as celebrating living saints this week we have recorded a virtual act of remembrance in loving memory of those who have died this past year and those we continue to remember from the St Giles Church family.

Bill reminds us in our prayers today that we all aspire to be saints and we all have our more ‘spooky’ side, but the desire is still to be that grace-filled person that God makes us by virtue of baptism. 

We have another virtual coffee zoom after our virtual Sunday worship today. Next week we are having another virtual zoom where we will live stream the act of remembrance at the Village War Memorial. The Act of Remembrance starts at 10.55am and we will keep the two minute’s silence as close as we can to 11am.

In my sermon today I explore the idea of saints as living sacraments, living icons, living stories of God. As the poet Malcolm Guite puts it:

Having gazed
On icons in this place, will clarity
Transfigure all of us? 
We turn, amazed,
To see the ones beside us, face to face,
as living icons, sacraments of grace.


All good wishes 

Tom
 

Virtual Service 25 October

Hello everyone

This week in my sermon I look at a series of commitment prayers from an amazing resource by Barbara Glasson, who is this year’s President of the Methodist Conference. The book is called “Positive Prayers for Cities”. One of these prayers reads well alongside the Gospel words of Jesus today from the Sermon on the Mount. It is about keeping our resolve when things get tough.

Whenever it is tough, we will continue. 
Whenever hearts are broken, we will warm.
 
Whenever thoughts are rigid, we will challenge.
Whenever discouraged, we will pray.

Whoever goes with us, we will embolden.
Whoever deserts us, we will bless.

Whoever is friendly, we will embrace kindly.
Whatever it costs us, we will pay.

Wherever God sends us, we will go gladly.
Wherever God finds us, we will keep heart.

Wherever God guides us, we will walk gently.
Wherever God takes us, we will stay.


The second commitment prayer seems appropriate for today, Environment Sunday:

Lord, I commit myself to simpler living,
to desiring less, recycling more.

I commit myself to ethical shopping,
to sourcing goods wisely, opting for fair trade.

I commit myself to just economics,
to reducing world debt, boycotting unjust practices.

I commit myself to empowering politics,
to sharing resources, reducing the gap between rich and poor.


If you feel you can say either or both of these prayers why not say “Amen” at the end?
 
Next Sunday we are having an informal coffee in the virtual “Church Zoom Hall” at 11.30am. We have all missed seeing everyone for a coffee in the church hall after the service. Unfortunately you will have to make your own cuppa! But do join in and see some friendly faces and enjoy companionship.

The following week we are having a special Remembrance gathering from 10.45am. The invite for the coffee Zoom next Sunday is embedded in the virtual email with an icebreaker appropriate for All Saints, so perhaps see you then. Contact hello@stgilesbramhope.org.uk if you have not received this.

Very best,

Tom

 

Virtual Service 18 October

Sunday 18 October Virtual Service Hello everyone.

Thank you to Jacob for reading the Gospel today, to Julie and Alan for the
band’s song choice, to Bill for leading our prayers today, and to Gill
as always for providing something for our young people.
Today is a joyful day as we celebrate holy communion in Church for the first
time in over six months in a Church beautifully decorated for Harvest. Our
Harvest appeal is going to the Leeds North West Foodbank. You are
welcome to drop items off in Church up to and including next Sunday the
25th. If you would like to make a donation to the Trussell Trust this mailing
contains the details you need to do this.
I am delighted to say that we are having a Church social after the service
today, at 11.30am this morning. I have devised a short Harvest quiz – who
knows, you might be in the winning team? Contact us via hello@stgilesbramhope.org.uk if you haven’t got the link
See you then!
Today is a triple celebration as it is also St Luke’s Day. Jonathan reminds us
in his sermon that St Luke was a doctor. So we think of and pray for the
Church’s ministry of healing. Our opening hymn reflected this theme of
healing, “We cannot measure how you heal”, and I am always struck by a
particular line in the first verse: “Your hands, though bloodied on the cross /
survive to hold and heal”. The following prayer recalls the one with healing
hands, carpenter’s hands:

O Christ, the Master Carpenter
who, at the last, through wood and nails,
purchased our whole salvation.
Wield well your tools
in the workshop of your world, so that we,
who come rough-hewn to your bench,
may here be fashioned
to a truer beauty of your hand.
We ask it for your own name’s sake. Amen.


Tom
Click on Jonathan’s picture for his reflections

Virtual Service 11 October

Hello everyone,

Thank you to Gareth for reading the Gospel, to Lesley for the band’s song choice “Come, ye thankful people, come”, to Peter for leading our prayers, and to Gill for the animated cartoons for our young people. Our thanks as a Church to Sara and Marva and Joy for the amazing Harvest flowers and decorations in Church. 

This year we will be celebrating Harvest all month. It will hopefully give as many people as possible the opportunity to see inside the Church.  Even if you can’t make it to Church this month you get to enjoy our Harvest decorations without having to leave home, as a short video of the Harvest decorations features in our virtual worship today as the backdrop to the song “Come ye thankful people, come”. 

Harvest is an opportunity to give as a way of responding to “all the good gifts around us” that God showers upon us day by day. In this mailing you will find a list of suggested items for our Harvest appeal to support the Leeds North West Foodbank. You may also wish to make a donation to the Trussell Trust. 

Next week, on Sunday 18 October at 11.30am we are going to have a Church social after both our live and virtual worship. There will be a short Harvest quiz, and we will aim to finish by quarter past twelve. Your Zoom invitation is later on in this e-mail. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you then.

Our Gospel this week is the parable of the guests at the wedding feast. I explore the idea of being clothed in Christ in my sermon. I wrote the following prayer with this theme in mind – wearing celebratory garments to befit an occasion like Harvest:

Lord Jesus Christ, clothe us with the spiritual garments that celebrate we are your disciples: kindness, humility and patience. We celebrate that your kingdom of love and justice and mercy reigns, this harvest time and always.  Amen.

Tom

Use this link to donate https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/donate?cid=77211&&wl=1&br=5

E-mail hello@stgilesbramhope.org.uk if you aren’t subscribed to our e-mail list and so didn’t receive your Zoom invitation

Virtual Service 4 October

Hello everyone.
Good morning. Thank you to Bridget for your sermon, to Mark for the Harvest readings, to Andrew for the song “Light of the world”, to Gill for the young people’s activities, and to Joy for leading our prayers.

As you will see in this virtual service, the Church has been beautifully decorated for Harvest. Our sincere thanks to Sara, Marva and Joy for making the church look so cherished for our three week long celebration of Harvest this year.

This year our Harvest appeal will go to support the work of the Leeds North West Foodbank. If you aren’t coming back to Church at this point in time but would like to give at Harvest-time you might wish to make a donation to the Trussell Trust who support the work of all 1,200 foodbanks in the UK.

A Harvest collect:
Eternal God, you crown the year with your goodness
and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season:
grant that we may use them for the relief of those in need
and to your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Tom

To donate online to the Leeds North and West Foodbank go to https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/donate?cid=77211&&wl=1&br=5

Children’s Society Christmas Cards are now on sale.  See details in the October Saint Giles Review and on the website.

You will all be aware of the local Leeds COVID guidance issued 25 September 2020.  Church services continue to be held at 9.30am every Sunday.  This will be a Communion Service except for the 2nd Sundays.  There is also a Holy Communion service on Thursdays at 10.30am.

Social distancing regulations, the wearing of face coverings and the use of hand sanitiser continue to be essential for the safety of all.  Numbers may be limited at these services. 

This weekly Virtual Service will continue for the time being as well.

Virtual Service 27 September

Sunday 27 September Virtual Service Hello everyone.

Thank you to Jonathan for the sermon today, to Emma for reading the Epistle and Gospel, and to Julie and Alan for reminding us to keep on walking in the light.

It is now almost exactly six months since we went into lockdown as a nation. In any long term situation of trauma the six month point is the time of testing, the point at which even the most resilient of us struggles to keep going. 

I have been reflecting this week on the hymn that Jonathan alludes to in his sermon today “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy”. Lines like “The heart of the eternal / is most wonderfully kind” speak to us of God’s constancy despite outward circumstances. And “there is room for fresh creations”: room for renewed creativity, even in the midst of Covid-19. 

Next month is the month of our Harvest celebrations. For the first three Sundays in October the Church will be decorated for Harvest. Our thanks go to Sara Leefe and the flower arranging team for making this possible. This year our Harvest appeal will support the Trussell Trust, in particular the work of the Leeds North West Foodbank. If you aren’t coming back to Church just yet but would like to give at Harvest-time you might wish to consider making a donation to the Trussell Trust.

Next Sunday our main act of worship will be a Book of Common Prayer Communion service. The following week it will be an All Age celebration of harvest without communion. The week after that it will be a Common Worship holy communion service. It will be an opportunity for us to celebrate Harvest in the three main worship styles we have at St Giles.

Jonathan in his virtual sermon reminds us that we need to be able to say yes to Christ; to be obedient to God’s call. If we are the Christian faith’s “boots on the ground” we need to be found worthy of our calling. 

The following Advent collect seemed appropriate:

Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful
as we await the coming of your Son our Lord
that when he shall appear
he may not find us asleep
but active in his service and joyful in his praise.  Amen.


Tom
Click on Jonathan’s Photo to Read his Sermon
Thank you for all your gifts to the asylum seekers at the Mercure.  They have run out of storage space at the moment, so can accept no more for the time being.  They will be looking for other kinds of support in the future, in particular help with acquiring English.  If you feel called to this kind of work, watch this space for future information.

Harvest 2020


We will be supporting our local foodbank at our harvest collections on the first three Sundays in October this year.  They particularly need tins (fruit, potatoes and meat), long life fruit juice, vegetarian meals, cleaning products (and soap and loo rolls) and sponge and rice puddings.  Please bring goods to fill our trolley!  More details next week, https://leedsnorthandwest.foodbank.org.uk/

Track and Trace at St Giles

picture of Angela demonstrating the use of the QR code

St Giles is supporting NHS Track and Trace.  If you have a suitable mobile phone you can register your presence by using the QR code as demonstrated by Angela above.  We will still however be asking all people to sign in as well.

The Diocese has just published details of lay training.  If you are interested in courses on ‘The World of Jesus’, ‘Pastoral Conversations’ or a new Discovery Course https://learning.leeds.anglican.org/courses/

Church Services

You will all be aware of the local Leeds COVID guidance issued 25 September 2020.  Church services continue to be held at 9.30am every Sunday.  From October this will be a Communion Service (except on 2nd Sundays). There is also a Holy Communion service on Thursdays at 10.30am.
  Social distancing regulations, the wearing of face coverings and the use of hand sanitiser continue to be essential for the safety of all.  Numbers may be limited at these services.  This weekly Virtual Service will continue for the time being as well.

Virtual Service 20 September

Sunday 20 September Virtual Service Hello everyone.

Thank you to Bryan for leading our intercessions, to Laura for reading the Gospel, to Gill for our virtual resource for our young people, and to Lesley for the band’s song choice for this week.

Bob Baker our organist is playing in Church this morning – for the first time in six months since the confirmation service on 15 March. I asked Bob to choose a celebratory hymn and Bob has chosen, “Awake, awake fling off the night”. The words are based on Ephesians chapter 5 verse 14: “Awake O sleeper and rise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light”. It is a splendid morning hymn encouraging us “to walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5. 8).

It would appear that most of our regular congregation are choosing not return to “live worship” in the Church building at this stage. It has been a quiet start attendance-wise in September. We will of course keep going with our virtual worship as our main way of worshipping as a Church family for a good while yet. 

If you are planning to return to worship in Church in the coming weeks please allow a little extra time for arriving in Church as everything takes that bit longer with filling in the form for Test and Trace, sanitising hands, and so on. The provision is for up to around 35 people in church observing physical distancing, and a further 25 people in the Church Hall (with video link and sound relayed through) making space for 60 people in total. 

Next week our service in Church will be an All Age act of worship: morning prayer with musical contributions from the band – but no singing just yet – and readings, a short reflection and prayers. 
In October we will resume services of holy communion on Sundays.

For the rest of the month our services will revert to the pattern we had before the pandemic – so we give thanks for a certain resumption of normality next month.  

For the first three Sundays in October the Church will be decorated for Harvest and you are welcome to bring non-perishable items for our Harvest collection if you wish. On Sunday 4 October the Guest preacher at the start of our Harvest Festival ‘season’ will be Reverend Bridget Hawkins. 

Our blessing this week reflects the theme of our sermon today, based on a prayer by Oliver Cromwell:

Strengthen us, O God, to relieve the oppressed
And to reform the abuses of all professions;
that many be not made poor to make a few rich
For Jesus Christ’s sake
Amen.                             


Tom
Thank you for all your gifts to the asylum seekers at the Mercure.  They have run out of storage space at the moment, so can accept no more for the time being.  They will be looking for other kinds of support in the future, in particular help with acquiring English.  If you feel called to this kind of work, watch this space for future information.

The Diocese has just published details of lay training.  If you are interested in courses on ‘The World of Jesus’, ‘Pastoral Conversations’ or a new Discovery Course please click on https://learning.leeds.anglican.org/courses/

Church services are held at 9.30am every Sunday.  There is also a Holy Communion service on Thursdays at 10.30am.  Due to social distancing regulations, numbers may be limited at these services.  This weekly Virtual Service will continue for the time being as well.

Virtual Service 13 September

Sunday 13 September Virtual Service Hello everyone.

The theme of our service this week is forgiveness. Peter asks Jesus how many times we are to forgive. Peter suggests seven times which he thinks is on the generous side. Jesus responds that we are to forgive seventy times seven, meaning we are to forgive without limit. 

This week I am drawing upon inspirational words by an Anglican priest, Stephen Cherry, who writes in an accessible way about how forgiveness is both demanding and yet possible.
 
We can pray for forgiving hearts – and that we might be a forgiving Church – promoting a culture of forgiveness in response to God’s wonderful forgiveness of us:

Lord, give me grace to forgive others
Give me courage to unconditionally forgive
those who have done me wrong
Give me strength to let go of ill-will
And to forgive myself of my own failings
Knowing that you have already forgiven me

Amen.



Tom

Church services are held at 9.30am every Sunday.  There is also a Holy Communion service on Thursdays at 10.30am.  Due to social distancing regulations, numbers may be limited at these services.  This weekly Virtual Service will continue for the time being as well.