It's been a while, here's some news
Dear Leeds Vineyard
It’s been a while so a little more to share with you than usual:
I have a splendid picture in my mind. As you may know both my parents died in the last few months and then this week we learnt that Billy Graham too had been “promoted to glory”. In my mind’s eye I can imagine my father and my mother sitting in a garden with a cup of Yorkshire Tea and Mr Kipling Cake chatting with Billy Graham and C.S.Lewis. I know that my father would have been one of millions who want to tell Billy and C.S.Lewis how significant they had been in the early years of his life. But it is heaven and somehow they all have time to chat and drink tea together! Can’t wait:-)
In the meantime we have work to do here and whatever else God has for you to do I know that it will include prayer. This month is time which we have allocated particularly to prayer and to fasting. Many of us have been using Andrew Murray’s “Waiting on God” to focus our devotions and to mature our prayer life. Many of you have been fasting too. How is it all going?
In the next week our prayer culminates with a planned time of prayer together. There are three ways to join in this week:
Sign up to pray for an hour during this week. It doesn’t matter which hour, any hour will do, it doesn’t matter where, anywhere you happen to be is fine – we just want to have 24 people committing to pray for an hour on one or more of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
Sign up to pray - on your own or with your small group or with your friends or family – for an hour or two, in the sunshine room at North Lane House, between Friday evening and Sunday morning.
You can sign up on Sunday morning or on line – here.
?Engine Room - Saturday 3rd March 8.00pm - 9.30pm at Headingley Methodist Church (enter through the side door on Chapel Street). This will be a time of stillness, worship and creative prayer with a theme based on “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles.” Isaiah 40:31.
This Sunday (25 February 2018) Nigel and Susan Hyde are our guests. They have an amazing track record in mission work particularly in Sierra Leone. You’ll be inspired as Nigel shares about his faith and work with Home Leone. If you would like to talk with them after the service please stay on for discussion over a lunch of pizza.
The wheels are turning, be they turning oh so slowly! Our solicitor is doing final searches and contract checks. Thanks to the generous giving of the people of the Vineyard we have also been able to submit a pragmatic mortgage application. Please pray that these last few very important steps result in us being able to exchange contracts in March with an expected completion date toward the end of August.
In January Bethanie shared an amazing vision for one of the ministries we may be able to run out of Vineyard House as part of the Hungry Rock, you can read about it here. We’ll be sharing the vision for part of the Community Rock on Mothering Sunday.
If you would like to give to STEPS for Vineyard House you can find out how to do so here.
Easter comes early this year. Maundy Thursday is 29 March! If you would like to join in with a Passover there will be several run by various groups. If you would like your group to do a Passover service there are resources available to show you how and Tania can explain what to do!
On Good Friday we will have our traditional frolic across Ilkley Moor with eggs and fresh air in abundance. If you prefer something more demure then you may wish to join the Headingley Churches Together Walk of Witness which starts at Headingley Methodist Church at 10.30am for the opening hymn and short reflection, then you walk round to the Rose Garden (outside the Arc), ready to start the main event at about 10.50am, after which coffee and Hot Cross Buns will be served at Headingley Methodist church hall. If you'd like to help with the music please let me know.
Our Easter service is always a good time to extend an invitation to your friends and family (who has the Holy Spirit put on your heart to pray for?). Our theme will be “Just Imagine”.
National Leaders’ Conference
A whole bunch of us went to the National Leaders' Conference at the end of January. What a great time we had with some inspirational teaching and worship and opportunities galore to get to know our brothers and sisters from around the Vineyard. I’d recommend investing some time in listening to the podcasts – particularly Pastor Agu Irukwu speaking about Prayer (the talk is titled "Interceding for the Nations").
This might be a teeny weeny bit boring but it is very very important! GDPR stands for General Data Protection Register and it represents a whole wodge of legislation that means: (1) organisations will find it harder to use and abuse your data; and (2) we (at church) have to jump through some significant hoops to ensure that our record-keeping is lawful. So please respond promptly to any requests you get from our office to change your preferences or amend your personal information.
If anyone happens to have a second (or third) car which they don’t need for a few weeks Ralph is in need of one to borrow. Let me know if you can help.
Alison and I have had a difficult few months and we are grateful to everyone for your prayers and support – it has been a very real solace during a harrowing time. Our bereavement is now a fact, I am getting used to being an orphan, but as you know grief has many phases and stages to negotiate and we are only just starting that particular trek.
One thing I have learnt so far is the importance of praying for those closest and dearest to us. Don’t wait until a crisis emerges but pray for them now, take them to Jesus, say thank you, present your petition and leave them with Him. The other thing I have learnt, or rather, experienced, is that grief affects your memory. I’ve been embarrassed several times having forgotten things which I would never normally lose from memory.
Although I read the Waiting on God book last year as I prepared for our Prayer theme this year I have been really glad to have it to read again this last month – it has been a real help to spending time with the Lord when other things don't seem to be working very well. I have also loved listening to Samuel Lane's new worship album, The Difference. He really is one of my favourite song-writers and worship leaders. It's also got a brilliant CD cover.
Finally, I am glad to say that in the last month Alison and I have felt much better, emerging from a run-down sort of place with more energy and lightness of spirit. Thanks again for your prayers.