News from David

Talks, thoughts and stories from David Flowers20170817 - dsf at sherratts cr
 


 

A very unusual thing is happening tomorrow

A very unusual thing is happening in Leeds tomorrow. 99 council seats are being voted upon in the 33 wards around Leeds. In a constitutional quirk every single councillor is being elected in one go and so there is every likelihood that Leeds City Council will look very different on Friday morning.

What do they do, these councillors?

Role of Councillors

Councillors are volunteers who play a leadership role in their community, both catching the vision for the city and sharing it in their neighbourhood, and also taking the neighbourhood’s vision to the City. A councillor represents their ward and gives a voice to the citizens. They have to make knife-edge decisions about where scarce resources are applied, seeking to protect the vulnerable whilst serving the whole community. And they vote on the changing laws and regulations of the city, being led by their values, hopefully good ones!

So we should do two things:
Firstly; pray for them, Here’s a useful link if you want to know more. And then pray particularly for the three in your ward and the three in the Headingley Ward. Pray that God’s kingdom will come amidst the discussions and decisions and that we will see more glimpses of heaven in Leeds! You could use the graphic above to pray into their role.

Secondly; vote. If you haven’t already cast your postal vote then I urge you to take the time to wander down to your local polling station and place your three crosses on the ballot.

Tour de Yorkshire

Another big event over the next few days. Watch out for road closures although the bicycles don’t get to Leeds until the afternoon so it won’t affect us on Sunday morning.
 

Another crazy event this weekend

Our young people are off to DtI (Dreaming the Impossible) with 1,000 other young people from around the movement. Liz Harden and her team are thankful for a warming weather forecast but need our prayers and best wishes as they look after the youth in their care. Every year we see God at work in mighty ways amongst the young people and we look forward to hearing all about it in the following weeks.

Baptisms

On Sunday June 24 we are looking forward to baptising some folk in the River Wharfe in Ilkley. Book a sunny day out in your diary and let those around you know so that if anyone else would like to be baptised they can take this opportunity. It’s a great celebration and a fun way to have a picnic together.

Turning Ecological

It is without doubt a Good Thing to serve people refreshments on a Sunday morning but we do end up using quite a lot of paper cups which are difficult to recycle. So if you have a favourite travel mug you could bring that with you (empty) on a Sunday and we’ll gladly pour in some delicious beverage!

Leaders’ Weekend

Over the 18-20 May, many of the current leaders will be away at Ampleforth Abbey for the weekend we take out every couple of years. This year our guest speakers are Tom & Helen Murphy from Derwent Valley Vineyard.
Until this year Tom and Helen were Associate Pastors to John & Debby Wright and bring a wealth of experience and expertise to us from their time at Trent Vineyard. Helen was, for many years, the leader of the Arches, a quite incredible compassion ministry. We’ve asked them to help us prepare for the future as we take on Vineyard House – how can we wisely invest our time and labour to make the most difference for God’s kingdom?

Vineyard House

Speaking of Vineyard House, we are hard at work behind the scenes negotiating the final parts of the contract. It’s been a long wait but we are getting nearer and nearer to exchange of contracts all the time. Keep praying that God’s promises to us will be fulfilled.

Peace

David


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Brilliant!

Prayer

So we are well into our theme for the year of Prayer. What have you learnt so far? We have spent a month thinking about Waiting – and most of us are realising that waiting is easy to say, much harder to do. It’s in the waiting that so much happens. We hear, we receive and we change - less as a consequence of answered prayer; and more during the waiting in prayer.
 
We’ve thought about what prayer is: a response; emotional; turns theology into experience; you are your prayer life. We learnt about being watchmen and setting a guard and the two dynamics of the gardener’s prayer (protection and abundance). We’re going to look at  some practical aspects to prayer in the next few weeks and then return to the theme in June/July with a series on the Lord’s Prayer. There are podcasts, resources, video links, book recommendations here.
 
Elaine shared this with me recently about how prayer is changing for her, “My impatience is leaving me. There is more time in my day, as I am slowed down by Jesus. I want to pray, and I have always craved that time to be completely alone with God, but always feel I have to go away to be by myself to do that. Now I just close my eyes wherever I am and He is there.”
 
Brilliant.
 
I think the Lord has spoken through these weeks and has made it very clear that we are to be, first and foremost, a people of prayer. We are a people of action, yes indeed, Vineyard House is testament to that, but activity has to be preceded by prayer. There is kingdom power in activity that emanates from prayer and as we wait in prayer we become aware of our inadequacy and of his supremacy. He can do supernatural things through a prayerful people.
 
Here is an illustration of what happens when we pray. Alice, one of our wonderful students, is training to be a social worker. She was sitting in on an early intervention meeting on a complex family law case. Here she describes what was said about the Child Contact Centre:
 
“I was in a room full of different professionals, all of whom recognise the Vine (as our Child Contact Centre is known) as a service they can and do use….. The contact centre is having a massive and far reaching impact on families and the work you are doing is being recognised by a range of professionals from school teachers, family outreach workers and the CAMS team. In big multi-agency meetings the Vine is being brought up in conversation as a possible intervention and being spoken very highly of. 
 
“I asked my supervisor afterwards if she had used The Vine before. She gave a glowing report. She said that: the contact she had with Elaine from the referral process; the setting up of contact; and then the feedback she got from the parents and children afterwards was brilliant. She said that the contact centre is a really valuable service that is needed because that contact between the parents and children is so valuable and there are not enough places that offer it. She spoke of it being a real lifeline for some of the families she works with.  
 
“I found it so exciting to be in this placement setting and to hear that professionals are turning to the Vine as an intervention to support families and to know that it is being run by the local Church.”
 
Brilliant.

Vineyard House

We are about to enter Phase 2 and are ready to appoint a Project Manager for the renovations and/or fund raising. You’ll find the job advert on our website in the staff section. Please spread the word and prayer that the right person or people read it and get in touch.
 

Baptism

We are already looking forward to our next baptisms – this time on Sunday 24 June. It’s one of our favourite days of the year! If you have not yet been baptised and would like to be please talk with your small group leader or one of the pastoral staff. Two people have signe up already!
 
Brilliant.

Leaders’ Weekend

All current leaders should have received an invitation to the Weekend over 18-20 May. This year we are heading for the wonderfully peaceful and prayerful surroundings of Ampleforth Abbey. We have a real treat waiting for us because our guest speakers are Tom and Helen Murphy who were, up until the end of last year, John and Debby Wright’s associates at Trent Vineyard but who have now planted the Derwent Valley Vineyard. Places are limited so please book up soon (via Church Suite).

Global Day of Prayer

If you would like to join in with a Leeds-wide prayer event please put Sunday evening 20 May at 6.30pm at Bridge Community Church.

Finally, an encouraging word (prophecy)

By prophecy I mean that God speaks to us through others. Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Spirit and I would encourage you all to grow in receiving it. Sometimes it includes or sounds like scripture. Sometimes it is addressed to all of us, at other times to individuals. Prophecy is part of a mature prayer life.

A few weeks ago John received these words and graciously shared them. I think they bear repeating:  “I did not make a mistake when you were born (in fact I knew you as you grew in your mother’s womb). Your Nationality is not a mistake (I love the country of your birth). I did not make a mistake putting you into the family you were born into (In fact I placed you in family). Your name is not a mistake. I did not make a mistake giving you the personality you have. Your passions and dreams are not wrong. Embrace these things they make you who you are. You are a Royal Priesthood, A Holy Nation, set apart and belonging to me.”

Brilliant.

David


David Flowers, 31/03/2018


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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.

 

Nigel Hyde

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.

 

Vineyard House

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

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").


GDPR

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.


Ralph

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.


Personal Update

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.

Peace,
 
David
 


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Thankyou's for Christmas, for Healing and for church family

 I love this church! It’s Christmas and most have us have got a lot on. Another whole bunch of us have gone down with a cold. Some have a got a lot on and have gone down with a cold. And yet, somehow, enough of you all pull together to turn an old, dark building into a welcoming, celebratory, family, Jesus-centred purlieu (my current favourite new word: “environs or neighbourhood where one may range at large”).

Judy Hardy’s extraordinary animal noises, the enthusiastic entry into the prayer tunnel and the hubbub over lunch were some of my highlights from the Christmas Service. I loved the Joy To The World arrangement in the evening, along with Frank’s Christmas jumper, the shredding response and Greggs’ mince pies.

A guest or visitor (of whom there were many - thank you for making your invitations) would have found it hard not to be struck by the genuine friendliness and care you have for one another and by the conviction that you have that there really is Truth to be heard and embraced. And we, “the regulars”, simply had a great time celebrating God’s favour – even if there was quite a bit of hard work involved. A Moslem lady came up to me at the end of the Carol Service, “are you, like, the Imam?”  marvelling that it wasn’t just words but that people were different here.

So thankyou. If you would like to use your gifts or just your energy and availability for next year’s Christmas services please let Anne know straightaway: it could be for general help or lighting, ambience, food, music, welcome, content, technology …. We will need lots of people again!

On Christmas Eve we had weekly worship and communion as usual and one of the highlights there was hearing Andy Poole’s testimony – I recommend that you download it to read or listen to when it gets posted in the next week or so, it is so encouraging. Christmas Day was a lot of fun too. Perhaps too much chocolate, although I have heard it argued that there can never be too much chocolate. Quite a lot of  guests but also several church families having a party and worshipping together.

One of my highlights for our gathering together over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was an opportunity to witness and follow up a healing. Jenny Button (that scion of the Button family were in our church some years ago) was visiting with her family. On Christmas Eve she responded to a word of knowledge, came forward with many others and then on Christmas Day, during our Rapid-Fire thankyou’s, gave thanks for her healing. Jenny is a doctor and her story is worth reading – it’s at the end of this article.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
I’ll be finishing off our series on God’s Favour this coming Sunday as we grab onto His promise that “now is the time of His favour” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). And then on New Year’s Day you are invited, if you are able, to join us in our traditional walk on Ilkley Moor (don’t forget to ring the Cow and Calf Pub if you would like to eat there – you’ll need to book).

Vineyard House
If 2017 was the year for STEPS in which we gave financially and sacrificially in order to gather the funds so as to be able to buy the “pearl of great price”, 2018 is going to be the year of Vineyard House in which we actual buy it and start to clean it up and prepare it for ministry. We had originally planned to exchange contracts around about now but that has been put back a few weeks as we work our way through the legal and financial processes. We are not there yet, but we will get there. I’d love you to keep praying and to keep giving when you are prompted by the Lord to do so.

Liz Harden found a great video of what the community of Horsforth are doing to look after their purlieu (that word again). It’s on Facebook here, see if it gives you some ideas of what God may want us to do through Vineyard House. 

The Flowers Family
Alison has had a serious bout of flu over the last few weeks (and is still not fully recovered) which is why you may not have seen her around much.

I’m fine, health-wise, but since my mother’s funeral in November our family has been pre-occupied by caring for Michael, my father. You may have seen him on the occasional Sunday when he has been able to visit and will have noted that he is not doing very well. His cancer is aggressive and he has some other chronic illnesses. He is processing the loss of his wife (we would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last week) and his mental faculties are ebbing away.

We have admitted Michael to a Residential Care home nearby which helps but is very draining on us all. Many of you have been through this process and know what I mean. We are grateful for your prayers and support. It looks like the next few weeks/months are going to be difficult so please bear with us. The staff and leadership team at the Vineyard are stepping in and doing a great job of covering for Alison and me. We are very grateful for our church family at these times.

We are looking forward to 2018. Like most years it will contain great joys and some sadnesses, we’ll experience successes and failures. But I believe that, as a church, we will be entering onto an important, long-term, and fruitful new phase as we take ownership of Vineyard House. The Lord will grant us His favour this year as we obediently step out in faith and expectancy.

May His favour rest on you and yours and bring you peace.

David

Jenny’s story
When I was a teenager I hurt my back ice skating- I think I fractured a vertebrae but I don’t exactly recall the details as the fracture was missed in the initial assessment of the  x rays and my parents received a call afterwards. Anyway, I have had a slightly curved spine and back pain since then. It’s been worse recently and has more significantly interfered with day to day life. I have prayed about it and had prayer for it in the past. Going up for prayer last week wasn’t something I would have done but when someone had a word of knowledge about back pain it encouraged me. Having someone pray when your own faith for that healing is at a low ebb is really special too.

I felt a massive release, the ligaments in my back clicked a lot  as I was prayed for. Since then I have felt a massive improvement in terms of reduced lower back pain/numbness/tingling in my right leg. It’s a 95% improvement! 


I also felt that this physical healing was connected to a deeper spiritual healing associated with depending on God for spiritual strength rather than going solo a lot of the time. On both physical and spiritual fronts this encounter with God was very special. I feel inspired to pray for that last 5% of healing so joining me in praying for that would be amazing - thank you!
 
29 December 2017


David Flowers, 29/12/2017


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Favour 

A young girl called Mary who lives in a strict and conservative society has an angel tell her that she is about to find herself somewhat compromised – her reputation and upcoming marriage are about to get trashed by a mysterious miracle pregnancy. Her reaction? She humbles herself before God saying, “May it be done to me according to Your will” and then she is able to say, “The Lord has done this for me, He has shown me His favour and taken away my disgrace”. You can read all about it in Luke 1.

Nine months later, to the shepherds of all people, the mighty angels made the declaration, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.” You’ll find this in Luke 2.

That word, favour, strikes me. It means showing goodwill towards, the giving of unmerited honour, inclining towards. It is often accompanied by gifts. And in these stories favour is directed toward the disgraced and the lowly – not toward the well off, successful or beautiful.

We’re used to bracing ourselves to be laughed at, told off, spurned or rejected - on account of our looks or age or awkwardness or intellect or ethnicity or weakness. It’s startlingly different when we approach the God of the universe. He offers favour. Awesome. This is our theme for the Christmas season in 2017: favour.

Please pray for and invite your friends and neighbours to celebrate Christmas and to hear a wonderful story of grace and favour, a story which transforms lives!

What’s happening over Christmas?

  • Christmas Service: 11.00am on Sunday 17 December, all ages celebrating Christmas together. Check the website for the dress code! Followed by festive lunch.
  • Carol Service: 7.30pm on Sunday 17 December. A traditional service of carols and readings followed by festive snacks.
  • Christmas Eve: 11.00am on Sunday 24 December. Weekly worship as usual.
  • Christmas Day: 11.00am on Monday 25 December. A short celebration for everyone.
    We’d love to match up people who are on their own on Christmas Day with those who have a spare chair at the dinner table. If you would like to offer a festive feast – or if you would like to join with others for lunch or dinner – please do let sue.richardson@leedsvineyard.org know.
  • New Year’s Eve: 11.00am on Sunday 31 December. Weekly worship as usual.
  • New Year’s Day: our traditional morning walk on Ilkley Moor. 

If you know people in Headingley who wouldn't want to come to the Vineyard please give them the flyer with details of the other churches' services. And if you can think of places where they would display such information (e.g. the post office or a cafe) please take a supply.

Reverse Advent

Christmas is about giving not just receiving – but some people don’t receive much so if you would like to give something extra do join with us in supporting either the Child Contact Centre or in compiling your own reverse advent hamper for Leeds Foodbank. Full details here.

Extraordinary Current Leaders’ Meeting

If you are leading a group or an area of ministry at Leeds Vineyard I would very much like you to join us on Tuesday evening, if you possibly can, for a special meeting at which we’ll catch up about Vineyard House. If you haven’t received an invitation please contact the office for details.

Carol Singing

The churches in Headingley are joining together to sing carols at the Arndale Centre on Saturday 9 December, 11.00am – 12.00pmish.  Headingley Methodist’s Coffee Morning and Christmas Fair will be on across the road from 10.00am – 12.15pm (I’m told the cake is great!). All welcome to join in.

Buying Books

Leeds Vineyard has been approved for the “More Than A Book” programme with the Bible Society (www.biblesociety.org.uk). Our unique church reference number is: 12154. If you buy your books this way, the church earns a cashback. Nice.

Personal update

As you may know, we gave thanks for my Mum’s life a few weeks ago. The day went well and we felt very supported by the prayers of the saints. Thankyou. As you may also know my Dad is rather ill too. Alison and I continue to be quite involved in his ongoing care and this takes its toll. Many of you will have experienced a similar strain and transition in your lives as you have lost loved ones, so you’ll understand. Bear with us.

May you know the favour of the King!

David


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Lives Well Lived 

As you may know my mother died last week and on Friday we have her Thanksgiving Service. Sally Wallace, very kindly, has offered to write the blog this week. Alison and I are very grateful for her reflections. Here they are:

We give thanks this week for the life of June Flowers, David's mother. Her service of remembrance and thanksgiving is this Friday 10th November, 1pm Moortown Baptist Church. At this time also Michael, David's father, has cancer, is on strong medication and is very frail.

As a church it is an important time to pray for our leaders  David and Alison. In the book of Hebrews we are encouraged to 'remember our leaders' (13:7) and to pray for them (13:18). We are encouraged to consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. David and Alison are our leaders, but also this week we give thanks for June and Michael who were leaders in various churches in Leeds and led the holiday at Ashburnham for many years.
 

Over the past few weeks many have been sharing the influence that June and Michael had on their lives on a Facebook group. It has been incredible to read story after story of a couple faithfully serving Jesus and reflecting him in their lives. It was wonderful that David and the family were able to share some of those memories with his mother in her last days and weeks. Many people have been encouraged and challenged reading the stories. If you are getting this email, you can request access to the group and read more.
 

June and Michael Flowers served in Bangladesh as missionaries for over 10 years when their family of 5 children were small, returning to Leeds when David, the eldest, was 11 years old. His father became a consultant surgeon in the A&E department at Leeds General Infirmary, and his mother June taught RE for a number of years at Allerton High school. They lived in Far Headingley and then in a house opposite the Moortown Baptist Church where they helped as leaders and June was a pastoral worker. Michael and June  went to some of the first UK conferences led by John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard. They then led many into an openness to the Holy Spirit and worship.
 

Michael and June led a church youth group and took them to Ashburnham for holidays, starting what is still the biannual holiday that many at Leeds Vineyard continue to go to. Many of those original 'youth group' still come to the Ashburnham holiday now with their children, friends and churches of their own. Michael and June led church plants from Moortown Baptist called Street Lane Fellowship and then Chapel Allerton Baptist church. They continued to support work in Bangladesh organising trips for others to see the work they remained involved in. Many of us at Leeds Vineyard have known June and Michael over their time in Leeds.


It feels to me like  Michael and June are part of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12v1 that are exhorting us to throw off everything that hinders and to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. They had many talents, but they used them well, and hearing the testimony I have been giving thanks for their influence but have also been challenged to use my talents well. It is not so much about how much I have been given, or whether it is the same as their gifting, but that I honour God by using the gifts he has given me. 

Why not spend some time this week giving thanks for June and Michael and praying for David and Alison and their family?


Sally Wallace, 08/11/2017


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Pastors praying, saints "Step"-ping, children singing 

Pastors Praying

I’ve just returned from a great lunchtime meeting with the vicars/ministers of several churches from across Leeds. We were talking about what God is calling each church to do over the next few years and you’d have loved: the hope of; expectation of; and commitment to seeing Leeds radically reached for Jesus in the coming times. Leeds in particular and Yorkshire in general has a very low proportion of people who are committed to their local church (which is a way of measuring commitment and faith levels) and so we all agreed that there is much to do and we prayed for each other and our churches.

I shared about how God had revealed the pearl of great price in “Vineyard House” and how we are in the process of “selling all we have” so as to be able to buy it (Matthew 13:45-46). They were very excited about this and what it will mean for Headingley and for Leeds. We have a whole bunch of church leaders rooting for us and praying for us. Isn’t that just great?!

Saints "Step"-ping

We’re nearing the point at which we take stock of what has been pledged and given to Vineyard House and at which we decide how we are going to proceed. Whilst we have a few days left, we don’t yet have the full amount for which we are praying and hoping. If you have not yet sent in your gift or pledge please could I urge you to do it as a matter of urgency so that we can make a really good decision.

We’ve had good conversation with Stewardship who are an amazing lender into projects like ours and we have significant interest from Social Impact investors who would love to see some of our projects come to fruition. However, the foundation for STEPS 2017 is the family of Leeds Vineyard and I would love our giving and our sacrifice to be the core finance for this million-pound miracle!

Here’s the link to find out more – or just go to www.give.net/wharfedalevineyard and click on “STEPS2017”.

Vineyard House Rocks
We’ve recently heard something about the Sunday Rock, the Prayer Rock and the Young Rock. There is also good stuff emerging within the Hungry Rock and the Community Rock – which we’ll share more about when can. In the meantime, the next Rock that is taking shape is the Equipping Rock – so look out for some stories about that on Sunday. Follow the latest news on the website at: Phil's Blog

Children Singing

Something that I can see becoming part of the Community Rock is the Headingley Children’s Choir being started by Zoe Lewis. The first “sing” is this Sunday after church. It’s for school years 4-6, and is for the children of the Vineyard and their friends and our local community. If you have children in the right age group anywhere near you, please sign them up (with their permission!) asap. Parents may need a bit of help: with other children; providing snacks; transport etc. More information from Zoe and Liz (you can contact them through Church Suite ("search for others").

I’d love to see them sing at our Christmas Service on 17 December. Can you imagine a big group of children, some our own, some their friends and some from the homes around the church, singing together in front of a packed church? Wouldn’t that be a treat and a testimony?

Peace

David


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Our Priorities 

There’s so much to share with you after the summer break but I’ll try to keep it short and divide it into three of our priorities: Ministry; Equipping and Fellowship.

Ministry

Whilst the Child Contact Centre continues to do amazing and crucial work (Elaine is looking to recruit a deputy manager) our current focus is on preparing for Vineyard House. We have seven “rocks” and last Sunday we were inspired as we were given a glimpse into what three of them might mean: Prayer Rock, Sunday Rock and Young Rock. We’ll be looking at the other rocks in the coming weeks. You can read and hear more about them or follow Phil's Blog on the STEPS 2017 page of the website.

As we explained on Sunday, we’ve made great progress toward our immediate goal of buying Vineyard House – but we’re not there yet. We’ve got a real test ahead of us, not least raising the rest of the money we need to buy the building. I think we should plan to raise at least another £100,000 (on top of the £280,000 already pledged).

Please play your part, however, small or large that may be. We would be grateful to receive your pledges by the 20 October. We don’t necessarily need the actual gift straightaway – probably nearer the end of the year. It maybe that you would like to make a gift next year or over several months. That too would help us to buy the building.

Most of all we need to pray. I shared one of my favourite scriptures on Sunday: Nehemiah 4:9, when faced with a great challenge their response was,  “We prayed to our God and we posted a guard”. We do what needs to be done, give what needs to be given, but we also pray.

Equipping

One of my deep desires is that Leeds Vineyard does really good theology! I’d love you to learn more about the bible and what we believe. To that end I’ve invited Daniel McGinnis to come and speak next Sunday. I think you’ll very much enjoy hearing him speak on “What Makes Good Theology”. If you’re a preacher or would like to teach or if you are just interested in theology, you’re invited to stay behind after service to chew it over (and some pizza) with Daniel. He will tell us about the Leeds School of Theology (which Daniel leads - their open day is 14 October) which runs January to November on Saturdays. If you would like to sign up for that we will be glad to subsidise some of the fees.

If you prefer to learn on-line I would recommend having a look at Vineyard Institute. This is being updated and improved continually and is great for being able to pick certain modules and study at home in your own time.

We also invest in equipping people in ministry skills, particularly if you would like to explore leadership in the church or in mission. One of our small groups is the Servant Leadership School run by Matt and Anne from September to June. At a national level we commend the Hub (in fact this is a prerequisite for church planting or employment on pastoral staff of a Vineyard church). Our Hub is hosted by Ian and Hannah at their home in Eccleshill, Bradford and the next entry is in January.

In November there will be two opportunities to learn about Coaching. Tom Camacho is the lead trainer for Coaching in Vineyard USA and he will be spending Monday evening 6 November with us (you can book here). He will also be running a full day “Intensive” (part of the Hub programme) in Birmingham on 11 November (you can book here).

Finally, Cause to Live For, a gathering for young adults from around the Vineyard, is on Friday/Saturday 17-18 November in Nottingham (book here).

Fellowship

It’s an unfashionable word, fellowship, but it’s shorthand for placing value on building relaxed, safe, relationships – becoming family as we spend time together and do life together and where Jesus is at the centre. We minister to one another, grow and change together. We know and are known.

Sundays are really important, in fact they are essential in our celebration of faith together, but we get to the heart of the church in the small groups. This is the strength of the church.

Sometimes people who live busy lives say to me that they simply have too much on to commit to a weekly/fortnightly small group. That rings warning bells to me – the busier you are, the harder you work, the more responsibilities you have – the more you need to be in a small group. It’s a bit like saying that you’ve got to drive down to London on the M1 and you haven’t got time to stop to fill the tank. The consequences are obvious! So, join a group (and if you’ve done the Exploring ones, please join a Growth Group (as well as an Activity group!).

The Summer

I hope you have had a good summer and managed to catch some decent weather! Many of us had an outstanding time at Ashburnham and I have heard good things from others of you about holidays and conferences all over the place. It has been great to welcome many new people to the church (if you’re a regular please be on the lookout for people you don’t recognise and say hullo – it’s hard turning up at a new place when you don’t know people).

A couple of weekends ago Alison and I enjoyed praying for El and Ed as they got married in Sheffield (Rosie was one of her bridesmaids) and then we ministered at Sheffield Vineyard on the Sunday. We’re glad to report that it is a proper Vineyard! There was a real buzz there and the Holy Spirit is at work amongst them. We are reminded that we sent out Harrogate and Sheffield just over five years ago – how time flies!

So there’s lots happening. Leeds Vineyard is healthy and we have much to do (ministry & equipping) but it is important to be (fellowship & worship & prayer). Most of all though I would ask you to pray for the church and particularly for Vineyard House as we obey the Lord’s summons to “buy this precious pearl”.

Peace

David
 


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