Notes and News

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The most difficult thing for many Christians has been the months long “fast” from Holy Communion. Many people are used to receiving Communion on a daily or weekly basis. It is the source of inner life, food for our journey towards God. For others it is a remembrance of that last meal with the Lord. For all Christians, it is very important. Hopefully it can now return. We have all travelled a long way since March but many realise that God has not abandoned us and lives in our homes, and even in our computers and smartphones. Is this a sign of the future? God who never leaves us to face our perils alone is always in our lives, not just in buildings however precious they may be.

Reports July ’20

Linda Fielding reports as member of Sandal Methodist Church and Churches Together…..

Each day during the lockdown there has been ‘Pandemic Jottings’ this has been an excellent online daily notice with thoughtful readings, information and inspirational items and snippets. People have been printing them and delivering them to local church members and neighbours. As a way of keeping in touch it has enabled many people to still feel connected to the church family. 

At the end of July Neil Bishop and Helen will leave the area and a new Methodist Minister David Lane will join the circuit. At the moment Neil’s last service will be online – but things are changing quickly. 

And…From the Wakefield District City of Sanctuary perspective: 

Not everything closed at the start of the pandemic, the Sanctuary Garden has been maintained throughout the lockdown. The Clothing Store also stayed open and morphed into a mini food bank. 

Different volunteers connected to the Creative Craft group, supported the Clothing Store by making a variety items such as picknick and play mats and shopping bags. Individual Knitters of Sanctuary have supplied baby layettes, blankets, knitted cardigans, jackets, hats etc. 

Many of the other volunteers have supplied writing equipment, colouring materials, games and crafts; all of which has been sent to both the initial accommodation and people dispersed in the community. Generally, throughout the pandemic people have been very generous and supportive. 

Clothing Store and Foodbank:

The Clothing Store has been running throughout the pandemic. WDCofS has had funding to buy new clothing and shoes for asylum seekers in initial accommodation. Currently, Urban House, the main Initial Accommodation Centre, has 270 people; this is a reduction of 60 to enable better social distancing. Approximately, 250 asylum seekers are in initial accommodation in hotels. The Clothing Store also offers clothing to dispersed and destitute asylum seekers. During the lockdown more dispersed asylum seekers have been requesting clothing and food support due to lack of funds and to the fact that they do not have bank account and cannot shop online. 

When the lockdown started all the drop-ins were closed. The administration of the Asylum Seekers Support Fund (ASSF) transferred to the Clothing Store and the mini foodbank rapidly developed. The ASSF is operating on a delivery basis and on Wednesdays, volunteer drivers take food, toys and clothing to between 12 and 15 addresses. The Clothing Store is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and over the 3 days between 15 and 20 asylum seeker and struggling refugees call in for support. The Clothing Store is very close to the Kindness Shop and they give food support on the days we are open. We also direct people to them and they are very willing to help. 

An outside agency Central Asylum Yorkshire runs a surgery at the Clothing Store on Wednesday afternoons. This agency helps people to apply to the Home Office for section 4 support and accommodation; whilst they are waiting for the support Wakefield District City of Sanctuary, through the ASSF and Clothing Store, offer financial and practical support. 

With all the Churches, Mosques and places of worship being closed many people are missing the social and moral support as well as the practical support. Asylum seekers in dispersed accommodation are not provided with TVs, radios or internet connection, consequently their isolation has been extreme. There are about 20 multi-occupancy dispersed accommodation houses in Wakefield and Wakefield District City of Sanctuary has only been able to be in regular contact with 5 or 6 of them; we have offered radios but have not been able to do anything about TV’s or internet connection.

Whereas we have been very active with the initial accommodation the dispersed asylum seekers have really suffered during the lockdown. We are looking at ways to open our doors, however at the moment space for socially distancing is an issue. In the interim we are looking at developing an online presence and offering sessions and signposting as well as offering a welcome from the Clothing Store. 

Note: Since this was written, cases of Corvid19 have been found in a family but this is being dealt with: the family has been moved and testing is taking place with other residents. Check before any visits.

Black lives matter

As Leader of Faith Communities in Wakefield we know that Black Lives Matter. There is nothing holy about the death of innocent people. The recent images of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis have shocked the world and as Faith Leaders in Wakefield we want to make it clear that we are:

Something has taken over from death and disease in the media: death under a policeman’s knee in the US with the victim black, as is often the case. Local church and religious leaders have made statements and we will publish some here when we can. Some have been heroic like the US Archbishop who publicly “bent the knee” in solidarity with the protest. Shortly afterwards he received a phone call from the pope, but of approval, not rebuke.

The Bishop of Wakefield circulated this message on behalf of a group of church leaders.

• appalled by the violence committed against a human being created in the image of God.

• shocked too by the incendiary language, poor judgement and violence against peaceful protest that has followed in the wake of George’s death.

We recognise that racism is embedded in many institutions and cultures, including our own, and for too long we have been all been complicit in injustice and in perpetuating prejudice and racism. We recognise that we have allowed ourselves to become estranged from God’s heart and from the people he loves – including black people in our own churches, mosques and communities. We recognise we need to listen to and learn from our black sisters and brothers. We need to reflect, repent and act differently across our City and District to forge together a better future where all have a voice, are able to contribute and live free from fear and oppression. We wish to help build relationships in our City and District so we are not just helping people different from us address problems, but finding common cause with partners and friends to forge a better future together. We hope that through our listening we can together with others shape better policies, practices and priorities in our city and district. We remember the words of the late MP Jo Cox who was brutally murdered in Batley in 2016, “We have more in common than divides us”. We must not let anything or anyone divide us”. We send our sincere thoughts and condolences to the family of George Floyd and to the victims of cowardly attacks on innocent people elsewhere. 

A short Video of our Ascension Day Service at Sandal Castle

It is good to report that  fifteen or so churches prayed the nine days from Ascension to  Pentecost that we may be freed of the Corona Virus and all that it brings with it.

The nine days each began and ended with a short service at Sandal Castle led by the Bishop of Wakefield, Tony Robinson.

We have hope that our prayers are heard.  We must continue and also remember those who have died and those dear to them.

Care for those you are praying for, pray for those you are caring for.

The list of participating parishes and churches is as follows: thanks to everyone 


21st Kgate/Wthorpe Methodist 22nd St George& St James/City Vision (various single hours)

23rd St Johns  24th St Helens/Strong Tower. 25th St Catherines & Co

26th New Life/Alverthorpe & Stanley 27th WBC 28th St Pauls Walton 29th Ndam Methodist

30th St Austin & EM 31st Sandal Methodist


TAIZE: For Pentecost, young people from around the world recorded this remarkable video of the much loved Taize song “Veni Sancte Spiritus” -Come Holy Spirit- each from their own home. Click on the arrow below to watch.. The verses are printed below…

Veni Sancte Spiritus (Taize) (Come Holy Spirit)

Come, Holy Spirit, from heaven shine forth with your glorious light.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Father of the poor, come, generous Spirit, come,
light of our hearts.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come from the four winds, O Spirit, come breath of God;
disperse the shadows over us, renew and
strengthen your people.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

You are only comforter, Peace of the soul.
In the heat you shade us; in our labour you refresh us,
and in trouble you are our strength.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

On all who put their trust in you and receive you in faith,
shower all your gifts.
Grant that they may grow in you and persevere to the end.
Give them lasting joy!
Veni Sancte Spiritus

(c) Ateliers et Presses de Taize: a CD including this song can be purchased direct from Taize : Look for “Music of Unity and Peace” which was produced with Deutsche Grammophon in 2015. An International choir of young people have also recorded it for Pentecost- see above on this page.

Farewell to Wakefield Hospice Chapel

The Chapel at Wakefield Hospice was part of the original design with its coloured glass and curved walls. Now it is no more: the shape of the walls can still be seen but it seemed that this part of the building is to become a cafe. Over the years, it has seen happiness and sadness, and most of all, comfort and prayer: many services, some of hope, others of consolation and some to mark anniversaries and events. The cross shown here was crafted by one of the medical staff when the hospice had opened. It has always been above the altar table. The hospice has always had a Christian tradition, but included other faiths and all those who are seekers for truth.

Local Streamed Services around Wakefield

When will we return to the pews? For now we can only “stream” our services- and use the internet. Recent changes will allow streaming from Church without a congregation- but the church then needs Wifi . Where?

This is not an exhaustive list: it is a beta version a first attempt! We have tried to pick them all up but if yours is not here please let us know and we will rectify. Please advise alterations as we go on.

These are Sunday services and some principal weekday services. Some churches have other services too.  Check their website or Church Near You Page for more information: internet addresses can be found on our website Members page (click menu at top)

Local Methodist Churches use as a portal and on that page can be found a number of national Sunday and weekday services.

Wakefield Cathedral


Wakefield Cathedral: Eucharist Sunday at 11 and catch up afterwards

Destiny Church Wakefield every Wednesday 7.15pm and Sunday at 10am.

St James Thornes Morning Prayer Mon-Thurs at 10am

St Johns Wentworth St Sundays at 10am

Wakefield Baptist Church

Wakefield Baptist Church Sunday 10:30

New Life George St Sunday 10:30

North Wakefield: Alverthorpe Outwood Wrenthorpe Stanley Sunday 10am

St Peter & St Paul Sandal Saturday 5pm

St George Lupset Sunday 10:45am & see St James above

When we have details of reopened services or prayer openings, we willpublish them

Web addresses and access details for these churches are usually on their websites- see our membership page above. Many churches use YouTube which is simply a recording that you can easily access on a computer or even a smartish TV – at any time. Some use Facebook Live which is accessed through Facebook on your computer or phone. Search for the church. It allows a degree of participation. A few use Zoom, a newcomer, which is even more two-way but usually needs an access code which the church will give you.. Each church is a little different but it will explain!  One day it will all be second nature.

Living with Lockdown

Dr Ron Mulroy is a retired GP living in South Wakefield. For many years he was involved with Churches Together here and with our weekly column in the Wakefield Express.

Recently he has been contributing to his parish magazine and he has allowed us to feature a sample of his distinctive and often amusing style

Not Quite – Yet 
It is not surprising that the recent “easement” poses a dilemma between yearning for the return of the old days and reluctance to move away from our present limited, but safe, existence. The main benefit to our current state – the surfeit of guiltless leisure – is now offset by still limited opportunities and by the loss of the creative spark provided by fellow humans. Boredom and frustration threaten and disturb. Increasingly, I find that being thrown back on my own resources is drifting me perilously close to make believe. And that, though enjoyable in itself, has its dangers.  So, I shake myself and I grasp reality. And what more tangible reality is there than the celebration of the 22nd May. For that day is the last day of frosts in this area. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do and that’s the end of it. 
The 22nd May is my “Planting Dahlias Day.” It is celebrated with due reverence and mainly in silence. Occasionally, I might murmur “Summer is a’cumming in”, but quietly. I inhale the sweet smell of earth and hear the birds sing. The robin, aware of the moment, watches in silence. I tidy up. Then I walk about, admiring my work. I see that it is good.
Inside, the computer awaits. I am no fan of the computer, but what a boon it is now. I did write to the grandchildren, as I promised, and they wrote back. What a delight. And such variety. At first, I had sent a problem – how could you compare the three best known plagues -The Black Death, The “Spanish” ‘Flu of 1918 and the current covid 19?  I shouldn’t have done it. Even Primary School children wrote well – one sent a Slide Presentation.
I should have stuck to my guns and not tried teaching. Now I write newsy, grandad style letters. We talk about gardening and I advise (as grandads do). We talk about disappointments of no exams, no Proms, no Graduation, no Grand Finale. I am challenged by the letters from a musician; intrigued by the intricacies of electronic music and its development; amused or confused by strange cats with weird behaviour, and parents with even stranger behaviour. I hear of problems with Education from teachers and pupils; I hear grumblings, but not many, and most of them are light hearted. I hear of life in the fast lane of London and I thank God I’m in Sandal; I hear of work in hospitals, of its stress and strangeness; I weep at the struggles of new gardeners. The whole picture is of lives being lived well, of excitement and enjoyment. Like most grandads, I am happy to take any credit that’s going.
Alas, try as I might, I cannot avoid housework. I don’t know why I spend so much time worrying about it. Is it merely pride? Despite my concerns, I still resent spending energy on achieving the same state as the house was in last week. Then I remembered GK Chesterton’s story of the dressing table drawer that tended to stick. Every morning his day was blighted by the struggle that awaited him. His life was transformed by his re-creating the stress into an athletic event and he became enthused by striving to improve his daily performance.
 And so I transformed housework into a multi-event, Olympic style competition. It works (for the moment). How much better I feel, having just had a PB in the kitchen. And it’s not long since I swept and polished the hallway to a World’s Best Time. Official World Records are not recognized of course, for the criteria of completion and effectiveness are not clearly defined. Mind you, I can see my face in the sideboard’s shining surface and, if the sun shines in the right direction, I can see neither crumbs nor footprints on the floor. You can’t say fairer than that.  My eldest daughter calls regularly. She remarked recently, and with some wonder, “It’s so tidy here.” Rarely have I received such an accolade. But whimsy has its limitations. Aching limbs and back set in and stir an overwhelming admiration for womanhood who have borne the brunt of these “games” for so long.
I have flirted with art. A chance remark by my son to his children that “Grandad used to paint” led inevitably to a challenge: “Show us.” It was not a challenge I could refuse. Unfortunately, it was no seismic cultural event heralding a new Renaissance. The general view was that the title of my work was rather better than the work itself. “A Modern Allegory of Pestilence” does have a ring to it, you must agree. I have, reluctantly, decided to cancel the exhibition pro tem.
Despite these welcome excitements, reality creeps in. Confused memories tumble, haphazard, through my mind. Regrets and “if only” are pointless, but disturbing. The Past is often hazy, but sometimes it is vivid. Places and dates, though, are usually uncertain. The Great Questions of Life and Death are rarely far away. I cling on, nurtured by so many and still, just, able to enjoy the exciting farce of living a human life.

With acknowledgments to Ss Peter & Paul’s Parish


Light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer. At such a time as this, when so many are fearful there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds.

Candles of Hope

More News

Pilgrim’s Progress is the weekly column contributed by our own team of writers in the Wakefield Express and still appears every THURSDAY.

Thy Kingdom Come The Yorkshire West Methodist District will again be holding a Pentecost Party at the South Leeds Stadium (part of the John Charles Centre for Sport) on Sunday 31st May 2020 from 1:30 – 5:30pm. This will be a ‘Beacon event’ as part of Thy Kingdom Come in 2020.  Churches Togethers across West Yorkshire are welcome to share in this event – please share the date with your communities. We will update as we hear more. CANCELLED

Possability A faith-based group which meets monthly on the first Friday at 7pm at The Spring at St Helens Barnsley Road- for people with a learning disability and hosts. Possability has just celebrated 20 years…  congratulations! If you are interested in joining or helping. call in at a  meeting or enquire at The Spring Cafe during the day. PossAbility is not meeting at present.

Praying Together… 

Julian Meetings Julian Meetings are ecumenical groups for silent Christian contemplative prayer: there are two meetings a month at the Chantry Chapel or St Johns  If you would like to know more or pray on your own, Deidre is always happy to provide information: contact 369437 Not meeting just now

Taize Prayer: Song, Silence, Prayer around the Cross- a peaceful reflective hour at the end of the day.  Every last Friday at 7pm at St Johns Church Wentworth St: WF1 2QU    Not meeting just now but live stream evening prayer from Taize every Saturday evening at 7:30 BST: see www -details on the homepage

Wakefield Interfaith Network Peace Witness outside Wakefield Cathedral on the first Saturday of every month. Join the 5 minute silent witness at 11am, followed by coffee and conversation in Treacy Hall cafe: Not meeting at present

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