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Dear friends,

The President of the Methodist Conference, The Rev Dr Barbara Glasson wrote this article in the Times on 5th October 2019. I share it with you.



I work in interfaith relations. I live in Bradford. Most of my neighbours are Muslims of Pakistani heritage. It is a gloriously complicated place to live. I love it, get confused and annoyed by it, and regularly eat my body weight in very fine curry.

Yet we are often so fearful of “complicated”. We want certainty. We want leadership that tells us what to think. We want things to be either “this” or “that”.

Recognising that things are complicated might make us seem like “woolly liberals”, like nice people who can’t quite make up their minds. I want to say that the exact opposite is true.

To say that something is complicated – not binary, but multifaceted – is to rejoice in a wonderful strength. We are strong when we seek truth rather than certainty, love instead of judgement, relationship and community over dogmatic isolation. This truth applies to all aspects of life and relationships – not least those that are political, social ethical or religious.

At the moment the Methodist Church is exploring this truth in its conversations around human identity, relationships and sexuality. A 30 year journey has brought us to a Methodist conference report entitled God in love unites us.  It talks about all sorts of human relationships, co-habitation, divorce and remarriage as well the possibility of conducting same-sex marriages in church.

And obviously, we don’t all think the same way. On all sides, some clearly believe that they are right and others are wrong, and they back up their point of view with reference to scripture, reason, tradition and experience. In other words, we can make a very neat case for our view being the right one.

But here’s the thing- the Methodist Church is saying ”it’s complicated”, and that if we are going to get through this as a denomination we need to look into each other’s eyes and continue saying: “God in love unites us”.  We need to go on believing that we can think differently, yet stay together and grow. It’s a challenge, but if we can achieve it, it’s also a transferable skill.

Bu definition, we believe things because we think that we think they are right. I am a Christian because I believe there is something unique and transformative in the relationship I have with Jesus.

I think this is distinctive from the relationship a Muslim will have with Jesus, and I’m prepared to say so. Yet I must say so while looking into the face of my Muslim community, and the love I have for them must transcend my need to be right.

I must give account of my faith with love, confidence and humility, and listen and learn at the same time. And I need to acknowledge that there are many different Christian ways of interpreting the world, just as there is no such thing as a single Muslim viewpoint.

I can hear the “woolly liberal” label being hung around my neck. However, I am absolutely not saying that “anything goes”. I must claim the strength and vulnerability of this position – not only in matters of faith and sexuality, but politically too.

In a divided country it’s easy to sling Facebook and Twitter mud at others, or to shake my head in despair. Yet while I will rail against poverty and austerity, I must also believe that communities rich in relationships are the only way forward for our society. We must learn to disagree well, and let love unite us. That doesn’t mean to sell our firmly held beliefs, but to bring open hearted grace to complex conversations.

So please remember the Methodist Church as we work this out – if we hit the headlines, remember, it’s complicated.

As while we as a nation work out how to be together in challenging communities and with complex issues, let’s hope that we can all say, despite it all: “God in love unites us”.


Life is like a camera

Just focus on what’s important

and capture the good times . . . .

develop from the negatives

and if things don’t work out

just take another shot.

Services during November


Sunday 3rd






Mrs Jean Sproson

Holy Habits, Eating Together






Rev. Tim Crome

Holy Communion


Sunday 10th





Dr Michael Gagan

Remembrance Service





Local Arrangement – Gathering


Sunday 17th





Rev. Tim Crome

Cafe Worship





Local Arrangement – Gathering


Sunday 24th




Rev. Maggie Herbert






Local Arrangement – Gathering

Out of the mouths of children

Elizabeth asked her Sunday School class to sketch a picture of their favourite Bible stories. She was puzzled by Bert's picture, which showed four people sitting in a plane, so she asked him which bible story it was meant to represent.'  The flight to Egypt,' said Bert.

'I see ... and that must be Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, 'Elizabeth said, 'But who's the fourth person?' Oh, that's Pontius - the Pilot.'

Church Family News


Those who need our prayers at the moment:

Our editor Terry has had spinal surgery. We have been praying for him and thinking of him in recent weeks and happily he is more mobile and in much less discomfort. He’s very happy to continue to edit and print this issue of Banner Headlines in spite of everything – though Alison and I have kept an eye on this situation. We’re so grateful to you Terry and wish you a continued recovery.

Brian Payne is less well in his care home.

Leonora Hopkinson is also less well, in her care home.

Shirley and Bryan Coates are struggling at home.

Hazel’s sister Joy and family are always in our thoughts.

Steve and Alison – This is from Alison:

Steve hasn't been well, and Alison has been very stressed in the last few weeks with various problems coming all at once, but she is extremely grateful for all the support, advice and prayers from Banner Cross Church friends.

Joan Rowe, Joan is stable at present and continuing chemotherapy. Our family are appreciative of all your prayers and support..

From Joan Rowe and family

Lindsay (nee Rowe) is Manager of a new ward at the NGH for patients with endocrine and diabetes problems.

Very sadly the patients often arrive on the ward with just the clothes they’re wearing when admitted, and have little or no family support.

She is wanting to put some care packages together with toiletries, some clothing, books and games.

If anyone can help by donating anything we’d be extremely grateful.

Thank you so much.

Thank you

Chris and Ann Barker, would like to thank all their friends for their prayers and support over recent weeks, culminating in an admission and successful procedure. We do hope and pray for a continued run of good health for you Chris.


Extended Communion

Coming together in a Holy Communion Service is one of the most important and well-loved aspects of our worship and fellowship at Banner Cross and we are fortunate that we are able regularly to take part.

However, for various reasons, not everyone can attend church, and since the workload of our Ministers has been vastly increased over the years, it was decided to set up a Extended Communion Service which could be taken to homes or hospitals on request.  Since 2002 (seventeen years!) Banner Cross folk, disabled temporarily or permanently, have been able to benefit from this. 

How does it work?  Having been invited to someone’s home or hospital bedside, and having set a convenient day and time, two of us bring wafer and wine which have already been consecrated in a recent service at Banner Cross.  We have booklets with us so that we can all share as we are able in the shortened service. 

The visit always ends with a pleasant chat – and those who have given the sacrament feel as uplifted by the event as those who have received it.

Please contact one of us if you or someone you know would like to receive this blessing.

Lawrie Ginn, Margaret Spooner, Jackie Dunn


When wars and conflicts totally cease,
In our world, there shall be peace.
People must learn to get along,
Not blame others, for being wrong.

They fight for control, fight for land,
Some just need a helping hand.
We must rid ourselves of vanity,
And embrace peace, through humanity.

Wars make children so much tougher,
Lose their innocence, while they suffer.
We should fight for peace instead,
Love not war, we should spread.              


Services, Events and Meetings at Banner Cross in November and



The Holy Habit for November and December is ‘Eating Together’

Saturday 2nd November

1.30pm; the film, The Duchess will be shown in Room 2, with refreshments.

Sunday 3rd November

10.45am; Launch of the Holy Habit ‘Eating Together’ at Morning Service led by Mrs Jean Sproson.

6.30pm; Holy Communion Service led by Rev Tim Crome.

Saturday 9th November

There will be a meeting of the Eco-Church Group during the coffee morning.

1.30pm; in Room 2, recommended in the Holy Habits Programme, the film ‘Chocolat’ will be shown with ‘chocolate treats’.

Sunday 10th November

10.45am; Remembrance Sunday Service led by Dr Michael Gagan.

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Monday 11th November

7.30pm; Holy Habits Planning Group meeting in Room 5.

Sunday 17th November

10.45am; Café Worship led by Rev Tim Crome, followed by our Annual General Meeting. This, in turn, will be followed by our first monthly Meal Together  – further details from Paula Jones. 

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Saturdays: 23rd November; 7th, 14th and 21st December

10.30am; Advent Course  –  further details to be advised. 

Sunday 24th November

10.45am; Morning Worship led by Rev Maggie Herbert. 

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Saturday 30th November

1pm-3pm; Christmas Fair.


Saturday 30th November

6pm; Meal at Urban Choola Indian Restaurant, 842 Ecclesall Road – let Paula Jones know if you wish to go.

Sunday 1st December

10.45am; Morning Worship for Advent Sunday, preacher to be advised.

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Monday 2nd December

7.30pm; Communications Group Meeting in Room 5.

Sunday 8th December

10.45am; Gift Service Café Worship led by Mr Brian Speed.

6.30pm; Holy Communion led by Rev Tim Crome.

Sunday 15th December

10.45am; Morning Worship, preacher to be advised.

6.30pm; Local Arrangement – Gathering.

Saturday 21st December

8pm; The Longest Night, a time for prayer, reflection or being silent.

Sunday 22nd December

10.45am; Carol Service.

Carol singing at The Banner Cross pub, 971 Ecclesall Road, time to be decided.

Tuesday 24th December

5.30pm; Christingle Service led by Rev Tim Crome.

Wednesday 25th December

10.30am; Christmas Morning Service at Bents Green Methodist Church, led by Rev Tim Crome.

Saturday 28th December

4pm; in Worship Room 1, Afternoon Tea followed by the Christmas Family film Nativity.

Sunday 29th December

10.45am; Morning Worship, led by Mr Chris Bishop, well-known and loved by Banner Cross folk, and an ordinand at Mirfield theological college. No evening worship.

Information correct as at 19 October 2019.  Some events are subject to change.

Copies of the Calendar can be found on the noticeboards in the foyer and in the coffee lounge.  The Calendar is updated every two weeks

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

Christmas Fair

30th November 2019

1.00pm to 3.00pm


Our Charity this year is the

Rowan (Special) School, Totley





Cakes and


  Cube: Turkey
    Cube: Cakes and








Cards, gift wrap

Table decorations






Bric a Brac

and lots more

Come and join us, and welcome

Donations of items for the Christmas fair.

Can you please consider helping our stalls by donating items, eg:-

Bric-a-brac, toiletries, jewellery, hand-bags, toys, books, cakes, savouries, sweets and chocolate for prizes in our games room

and new gifts for our "holiday" stall.

Best wishes

From Xmas fair team


Stony Ground


Along with the settlement of stateless Jews, many of them survivors of the Holocaust and from worldwide Jewry, went the development of the country’s natural resources.

In the 15th year of the State (1963) when I visited Israel it was possible to see some of that development in full swing. In Galilee, massive irrigation was forging ahead and revolving sprays were watering all sorts of crops. Parts of the country were, in effect, huge market-gardens. Our wonderfully informative guide Isaac, drew our attention to what seemed from a distance to be long, low dry-stone dykes. Galilee was renowned for it’s stony ground and the Jews had a legend that the stones represented the tears of Jacob as he mourned for his son Joseph, who had been sold into Egypt by his brothers.

Stony ground, of course, reminds one of the parable of the sower and of one of the temptations of Jesus to make stones into bread. But looking at the cultivation and those lines of stones, my mind took me to Isaiah chapter 5, where the preparation for planting a vineyard is set out, trenching, ridding of stones, building a watchtower, hewing out a winepress. Despite the careful preparations the vineyard was unproductive. The meaning of the metaphor was expressed in verse 7. “The vineyard of the Lord of Hosts in Israel and the men of Judah are the plant. He cherished, he looked for justice and found it denied; for righteousness but found cries of distress,” read the whole chapter.

Jesus surely used the outline of the building of the vineyard in His parable of the landowner whose servants and latterly his son, were

killed by those sent to collect the grape harvest. (Matt 22.30)

When one listens to World News and hears of the continuing conflicts for power and supremacy fed by religious, racial and political hatreds in those lands of the Bible, which go back not only centuries but millennia, one wonders if men will ever beat their swords into ploughshares.





HMS Sheffield (D80) The ship was part of the Task Force 317 sent to the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War. The Type 42 Guided Missile Destroyer became the first British ship to be sunk during that War. She was guarding the outer perimeter of the Task Force which made her vulnerable to attack. On 4th May, Sheffield was detected by Argentine aircraft which launched its Exocet missile, hitting the ship above the waterline and causing a fierce fire that killed 20 crewmen and injured 26 others, the remainder of the crew were evacuated. It wasn't until 10th May that ship was finally towed out to sea and scuttled to become a war grave. In 1986, the site of her sinking was declared a protected place by the Military Remains Act.

The Sheffield was the first British warship to be lost in 37 years, she was also the first of four Royal Navy ships sunk during the conflict, the others being HMS Ardent, HMS Antelope, HMS Coventry. Two other ships were also sunk, the SS Atlantic Conveyor and RFA Sir Galahad.

A total of 907 people were killed during the 74-days war (2nd April to the 14th June 1982) with Argentina recording the highest casualties. 649 Argentines were killed while 255 servicemen and 3 Falklands civilians were also killed.

There have been three Royal Navy warships named HMS Sheffield after the city.

< >HMS Sheffield (C24) (1936) – a Town-class light cruiser whichsaw service in World War II from the Arctic Circle and the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. She was one of the Royal Navy pursuit ships that tracked down the German battleship Bismarck. She was sold and scrapped in 1967.


< >HMS Sheffield (D80) (1971) – the Type 42 destroyer badly damaged by the Argentinian air forces on 4 May 1982 during the Falklands War. HMS Sheffield (F96) (1986) – a Type 22 frigate sold to the Chilean Navy in 2003 and renamed Almirante Williams.stainless steel items, leading to the nickname that has been applied to all of them: the "Shiny Sheff".


On the 23rd November 2018 it was announced that a fourth HMS Sheffield is to be built and will be a state-of-the-art submarine hunter and Britain’s fifth state-of-the-art Type 26 frigate.

Footnote: One of the ‘sidelines’ I inherited when I became a lecturer at Granville College was etching. and one of the projects was to etch a 4-foot by 5-foot stainless steel plaque of HMS Sheffield to be hung in the Petty Officer’s mess aboard ship and which I assume is now at the bottom of the South Atlantic.

I was later asked, after it was all over, to etch a stainless steel memorial plaque bearing the names of those killed on the ill-fated ship, which was to hang in the Sea Cadet Headquarters, but I don’t know whether or not it is still there.



Change War to Peace


Our time is now to hope and pray.
For peace on earth, this very day.
Where man must turn the other cheek.
If he's to show, he's strong not weak.
To put an end to sorrow and war.
To let God's gift of love through the door.

Sadness enters all who lets it in.
Sorrow and hatred will also begin.
To change it all and make a start.
We must all learn to play our part.
Show kindness, love and sympathy.
Caring and sharing so differently.

No more war and no more pain.
We must all live in harmony again.
Give out sunshine bright and warm.
Calmness, strengthen, no more storm.
I look to God to answer my prayer.
I know and feel Him always there.

So come on one, come on all.
Put down your arms and answer the call.
March forward to our victories end.
It can be done, while we are friends.
Love God, love man, love life itself.
Let's all unite and come off the shelf.


Whereabouts of Books, Flyers and other Written Communications

One of my action points from a recent Communications Group meeting, was to let readers know where books, flyers, leaflets and so on can be found.

Books are located as follows: in the Coffee Lounge – novels and Christian books relating to the Holy Habits Programme, can be found in the small bookcase at the back on the right. Soon, there will be a notebook with them to record which books are borrowed and by whom. Feel free to borrow these books in the meantime, but please return them to the shelf. Next to the Holy Habits bookcase, are two large boxes containing books for children, including Christian ones. Many books which were in the larger bookcase have been moved down to Room 5, where there is a ‘Library’ of books anyone can borrow, including a selection of Bibles. 

Leaflets and flyers are located on the larger bookcase at the back of the Coffee Lounge.  These are monitored regularly and irrelevant or out-of-date material is removed. Current and relevant leaflets have been moved there, having been removed from the table near rooms 1 & 2, and from underneath the pigeonholes so that those areas can be kept tidy. Posters and flyers for forthcoming events are pinned up on the ‘Events’ section of the noticeboard in the foyer at the main entrance from Ecclesall Road South next to sign-up sheets and rotas. Some flyers are also be pinned onto other noticeboards within the Coffee Lounge or other boards on our premises.

Notes from meetings are pinned up onto the large noticeboard in the Coffee Lounge, together with a copy of the Calendar. The calendar can also be found on the Events board and is updated every two weeks. Also, in the Coffee Lounge, is a board relating to Safeguarding and Wellbeing

Holy Habits Board – don’t forget to keep looking at the Holy Habits board which is in Worship Room 1. It is updated regularly with colourful, informative and interesting material relating to what we have done for each habit, as well as plans for future activities.  Material on our Eco-Church and Wildlife activities can also be found in Worship Room 1. 

As you come into the church building via the main entrance, you will see in front of you a large board which advertises activities available from those organisations and societies which use our rooms. 

Happy reading!

Alison Russell


Film – “Man Dancin”

This film, part of the “Holy Habits” series, was shown on the 13th of October, and was about a Glaswegian ex-prisoner forced to join a Passion Play as part of his parole; he finds religion and therefore comes into conflict with his violent crime-ridden past.

This was a shocking, thought-provoking film, woven through with themes of graphic violence, poverty, desolation, isolation, drug dependency, theft, protection, domestic abuse, police corruption and intimidation, prostitution, and illegal firearms – everything in fact!

When the main character, Jimmie, becomes involved in the Passion Play, he discovers his hidden talent and is gradually able to draw in friends (converts?) from his previous life.

And when forced by circumstance (following the murder of Jimmie by a gang member) to take their Play onto the streets, will the influence of their new friends with their Christian values encourage their own new crime-free lives ?

The film ended, leaving us with lots to think about.

Holy Habits Planning Group

Open to All


A few weeks ago, Jackie Dunn suggested to me that we ought to have a series of pieces in Banner Headlines about the activities of the various groups whose regular meetings are open to all. In recent issues of this magazine, we have read about the Bible Study Group and the Saturday Morning Prayers Group (thanks to Lawrie and Aubrey respectively). The following is an article about the Holy Habits Planning Group. The hope behind the suggestion is that more people will join these open meetings and join in discussions. 


Paula Jones is our Holy Habits Champion or Facilitator and she set up a Holy Habits Planning Group last autumn to plan events, activities and the occasional ideas for services with reference to the Holy Habits Programme as explained in the set of resource booklets.  Anyone is welcome to join the meetings, which are approximately every other month on a weekday evening, when we consider the current and the following Holy Habits.

We have participated in six of the ten Holy Habits so far, that is: Prayer, Gladness and Generosity, Breaking Bread, Fellowship, Biblical Teaching and Making More Disciples. Some Holy Habits are scheduled for two months, and others, for three. 

There are two ‘clubs’ that anyone can join connected to the Holy Habits Programme. The writers of the resource booklets suggest that participating churches show films and read books (novels and Christian books) as part of the programme and suggestions for relevant films and books are listed in the booklet for each Holy Habit. The regular members of the Planning Group are willing to lend books and DVDs to anyone wishing to borrow them, and to date, some books we have studied can be found on the small bookcase in the Coffee Lounge.

Not all of our activities have been successful or indeed ‘got off the ground’, and some have been attended by only a few, but there follows a reminder of some of the events and activities the group has organised which have been enjoyed and appreciated, not only by our own members, but also by many others.

Prayer: some Banner Cross members, together with a few people from Millhouses and Carterknowle Churches, participated in a very interesting evening’s gathering all about prayer, led by Rev Tim Crome. The film, ‘The Way’, about a bereaved father’s journey to Spain’s Santiago de Compostela, was shown and appreciated by a number of people, who also enjoyed a meal of Spanish Chicken. 

Gladness and Generosity: we held an Afternoon Tea Party and Entertainment in the quiet period between Christmas and New Year. Advent boxes filled with groceries and toiletries were given away to the Manor & Castle Development Trust for people on the Manor and Wybourn estates.

Breaking Bread: Rachel Tomlinson led an Agape or Love Feast service when we broke bread together and shared our blessings.  The Book Club discussed both Graham Greene’s ‘The Power and the Glory’ and Rev Inderjit Bhogal’s  ‘A Table for All’. We baked bread, shaped it, and shared it at the beginning of an evening LA service, led by Jackie and Christine Rowe. 

Fellowship: there was a walking weekend in North Yorkshire.  A very successful Italian Evening was arranged by Lorna Marshall.  Perhaps the highlight was an Away Weekend at The Peveril Centre in Castleton when many church members studied the meaning of various types of fellowship in detail, and we joined with the folk at Castleton Methodist Church in a café worship service led by Tim on the theme of fellowship. 

Biblical Teaching: Rev Tim Crome led a discussion with the Book Club on ‘The Great Spiritual Migration’, by Brian D McLaren. He also led a very interesting evening on ‘the seven models of biblical authority held by people within the Methodist Church’. We intend to continue discussing both the book, and the different approaches to using the Bible, and try to work out where we are on the spectrum – watch this space!

Making More Disciples: some of us have seen the powerful, though violent, crime drama Man Dancin’ and/or have read the novel ‘Mr Rosenblum’s List’ about a German Jew who emigrated after WW2 and wanted to become the perfect English Gentleman. We would like to arrange for church members to go further afield next year, and in the future for another weekend away, and also, hopefully, on a pilgrimage to Iona or the Taizé Community. Readers may want to become involved in the planning of these trips. The group would also love to attract people to our events and activities who do not currently come along to Sunday services. 

In the next few weeks, we shall be considering the Holy Habit of Eating Together (something that we are very good at!) There will be plenty of opportunities: chocolate at the showing of the film, ‘Chocolat’; a Meal Together on the third Sunday of every month starting after the AGM on 17th November; and another Afternoon Tea Party on 28th December.

If you would like to become involved in the planning for the forthcoming Holy Habits of: Eating Together; Sharing Resources, Worship, and Serving, you would be very welcome to join us at one of our planning meetings.  Have a word with Paula, Janet, Jackie, Rachel, Margaret, or me, or just turn up – the notes from our meetings are pinned-up on the ‘Minutes’ board in the Coffee Lounge. 

Alison Russell


Notice of Annual General Meeting



Annual General Meeting

will be held on

Sunday 17th November, 2019

after Morning Worship

in Worship Room 1


Please send all Annual Reports from groups/committees, or requests for items for inclusion in the agenda, to Alison Russell, Church Council Secretary, by Wednesday 6th November, 2019.

Food after the AGM

After our AGM, as part of our Holy Habits “Eating Together”, we’ll be preparing and serving a meal.

It’s likely to be Cottage Pie, followed by Apple Pie.

There will be a sign-up sheet – please add your name if you’d like to stay for this – and also, if you’d be willing to bake an apple pie.

Thank you so much.

Leadership Team

Walking Group Weekend June 2020

(And importantly, those who don’t wish to walk are very welcome too)

Next year, probably around 5th June – the Walking Group are planning a camping and walking weekend in Northumberland. Most likely we’ll stay in Bamburgh or Seahouses, or near Dunstan.

It’s important to say that non walkers are also most welcome, as usual. There’s so much to do in the area.

This was born out of a few things :

Yes it’s further than we normally go – but one of the suggestions for the Holy Habit ‘’Making More Disciples” is a pilgrimage to Holy Island – Sean is going to plan a walk there on the Saturday – or you can just visit for less time and enjoy the local sites. (Once we’ve checked the tide times!)

We all love the area.

Chris and Jonathan are going anyway as part of our Wedding Anniversary Celebrations so we’re willing to do the ‘’leg work’’ and look at some guest houses, restaurants for our evening meals and plan a programme. It will probably include a boat trip to the Farne Islands, as it’s nesting time for the sea birds.

We don’t really need to look at this until after Christmas but please tell us if you’re interested in coming along.

Chris Rowe


 Wildlife Garden

November update

In September I photographed a Large Flowered Evening Primrose and Spear Leaved Orache. They were in the wild garden by the railings, which has been sown with a wildflower mix.

The Evening Primrose is a non-native plant originating in the Americas. As its name suggests, it flowers in the evening attracting night flying moths and other insects. The flower is a coloniser of bare soil. In the wild it can be found alongside railway tracks and other areas of bare ground such as quarries.

On the first weekend in October I managed to photograph a Beautiful Plume moth in the greenhouse at the side of church. On the Sunday I took some photos of the Shaggy Incap, aka Lawyer's Wig, I was spotted by a member of church, who saw me stooping down, and was asked if I had been praying. This was not my most embarrassing experience of taking photographs. Once in North Yorkshire I had spotted a Bog Beacon fungus in a deep drainage channel running parallel to the road. As no one was about, I stepped down into it. I knelt down and took the photograph, but on the way up I was met by a passing motorist, who asked me if I was alright. I then had to explain what I had been up to.

Andrew Watchorn


Methodist Synod and Workshops

Saturday 14th September


This was held at Priory Place Methodist Church, in Doncaster, on a beautiful Autumnal morning and Janet and I went as representatives from Banner Cross.

The VIPs – such as Tim and the other ministers arrived earlier to begin their sessions. Ours began a little later. Typically Janet and I had our priorities – we found the coffee and then the pastries – before it dawned on us that we hadn’t registered, nor were we wearing the lanyards that everyone else had on, nor furnished ourselves with a programme!

The morning consisted of worship, led by a mix of leaders, only some from the Priory, including a lively duo of keyboard and guitar, leading some lovely worship songs.

Then came a wonderful lunch – very organised - served upstairs and downstairs – with a separate section for special diet food.

In the afternoon we had to choose five workshop sessions – it was like Speed Dating – you had just ten minutes with each ‘’expert” before moving on! The sessions were activities which you would perhaps like to see in your church?

Obviously we didn’t choose the things we already have at Banner

Cross which run well – such as Lunch Club, Toddler Group or Film Club. Janet and I chose three sessions that we attended separately, and two the same.

Of those, we really just brought away two or three ideas which we thought were “possibilities’’. My favourite idea was The Men’s Breakfast – the men highlighting this as something which works well for them, held them monthly. Mostly it was men who already attended their church, and occasionally their friends and family members or those connected to the church who perhaps attended other weekday activities. Two of the men took turns to cook a full English breakfast or sometimes cooked together. They had an hour or so of fellowship, sometimes their minister would come and lead a more spiritual word. A different few men (on a rota basis) washed the dishes. I have photos of their posters on my phone. If any men reading this think this idea ‘’has legs’’ I’m happy to discuss it further. 

Chris Rowe


Chris has filled you in on the first part of the day when yes, we muddled through getting registered etc. as we could smell the coffee!

Like Chris, I found the Worship time refreshing, from the music and singing, to the speaker, whose name now has escaped me. For that I apologise.

I did however make a note of some statistics/facts that he gave us, inviting us to decide whether we thought them to be true or false.

Here they are:

< >30% of Methodist Churches are growingMore smaller churches are growing in number than larger onesGrowth is possibleChurches that are growing are welcoming and hospitableWe may need to make changes in order to make people welcomeRadical hospitality may get messy, e.g. people who are not like us, challenging  behaviourWe need to carry hospitality with us________________


Church Action on Poverty Pilgrimage

12th October 2019


I went on this walk in the Heeley area of Sheffield and found it not only interesting, but a great inspiration.

Paul Blomfield, MP joined us at the end of the walk when we were at St Wilfred’s Centre.

Here is the report.

Sheffield central Labour MP Paul Blomfield has urged faith communities to play a major part in setting new priorities for society that would make Britain a more caring and inclusive country.

Mr Blomfield was speaking at the end of the annual Sheffield Church Action on Poverty Pilgrimage, which saw a record number of 40 people from different faith communities visit initiatives aimed at reducing poverty in the city.

This year’s pilgrimage focused on initiatives, mostly located within his constituency, based at Anglican and Methodist churches, the Madina Mosque and Heeley City Farm as well as St Vincent’s Furniture Store and St Wilfred’s Centre, established by Sheffield’s Roman Catholic community.

Mr Blomfield told those taking part in the Pilgrimage that there was a need to re-establish the post-war cross party consensus on the need for taxation to provide services for all and tackle inequality.

“When I was a child, budgets were about putting 1p on this and 1p on that to maintain public resources and create the kind of society we wanted to live in. More recently, politicians have been measured by how effective they are in cutting taxation, but that has a consequence”, he said.

“The government’s austerity programme had shifted responsibility for cuts from Westminster to local councils and had led to the most disadvantaged are facing the deepest cuts. We need to reverse the narrative about austerity. We need to challenge the consensus around taxation and spending. We need to recognise that we can’t have Swedish style public services on American style taxes”.

“We need a cross party, societal agreement. Faith communities have a hugely important role in taking that debate forward and helping to shift that debate,” said Mr Blomfield.

This year’s Pilgrimage began at Highfield Methodist Church, which currently undergoing a major refurbishment to enhance its place as a community asset and is also a base for worship for the local Liberian community who came to Sheffield as refugees in 2004.

Pilgrims also visited,

< >Madina Mosque, which annually feeds around 5,000 peoplefrom different faiths during Ramadan, in addition to making major contributions to city food banks and other charities.

< >Heeley Parish Church, where £310,000 is being spent oncreating flexible space for the community, in addition to its Cafe Care initiative, which provides food and assistance for disadvantaged people. The church also hosts services for worshippers from the local Ethiopian Orthodox and Nepalese refugee communities.


< >Heeley City farm, which provides ‘Health Holiday’ breakfasts and activity sessions during school holidays or children who might otherwise go hungry, in addition to supplying more than 13 tonnes of fresh produce to food banks and other city initiatives and providing advice and support to help people with difficulty funding their energy bills through its Energy Centre.St Vincent’s Furniture Store, which prevents around 120 tonnes of good quality furniture and other household goods from going to landfill by recycling and distributing it free of charge to people in need, supplying special ‘starter packs’ for those moving into unfurnished homes.St Wilfred’s Centre, which provides a safe space, food activities and personal development opportunities for people who include rough sleepers, sufferers of domestic violence and mental health problems, asylum seekers whose cases have been rejected and people who have been trafficked, many of them from other British towns and cities. Two years ago the Centre opened St Wilfred’s place, creating 20 self-contained apartments for adults with a history of homelessness.Sheffield Samaritans on Queen’s Road.________________


Extinction Rebellion

October 2019


At the time of writing, I’ve just returned from four days in London with Extinction Rebellion – part of a two week action of civil disobedience to raise awareness about the climate emergency. Although I would say I’m an activist, I’ve never really done anything like this before and I have to admit I was a bit anxious about what the days would hold.

I travelled down to London with a friend and we stayed together at her friend’s house; much better than camping on the road at my age!  This was a wonderful experience – I was made to feel so welcome and at home, not to mention a hot meal and a glass of wine waiting for us at the end of the day. Everyone plays their part in making an action like this successful.

So what did we get up to? We had both decided not to get arrested, a decision you’re encouraged to make before you go down and the 250 or so people from Sheffield were arranged into groups of 8-12 people, called an affinity group. I spent a lot of time sitting on the road, firstly occupying the road outside Westminster Abbey and on the second day on the road near Trafalgar Square. The most exciting action was protesting outside an Oil and Gas Fiscal Conference on Liverpool Street. Apparently, the subsidies paid to the fossil fuel industries by the UK government could completely fund the transition to green energy.

I also spent Friday evening between midnight and six in the morning outside a police station offering support and pastoral care to people as they were released from custody, followed by a march up Oxford Street on the Saturday. I slept well on the coach home.

My experiences with the police were, on the whole, positive although there were some heavy-handed tactics like removing people’s possessions and accessibility ramps for disabled people. Despite the number of arrests, it is important to remember that the majority of the police are just normal people doing a job. Some police officers were seen crying as they made arrests of doctors, lawyers, grandmothers and mothers, old and young – even a Belgian princess.

So why did I go? Well I’ve been talking to people about climate change for a number of years and while people appear tolisten, they seldom act. So we need to make people and governments act and to do that you need to raise public awareness of the issues so that people take it seriously.

I’m under no illusions about how hard it is both to make our government show the necessary leadership and for people to make the lifestyle changes necessary. But we only have a small window in which to act before some of the changes caused by climate change are irreversible. And if you didn’t go to the rebellion you can still play a part by contributing to the court costs and legal fees of those who were arrested – see me if you’d like to help this way.

Viva la revolucion!



A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.  Charlotte Bronte

Items for the December and January editions of the Headlines

can be sent via e-mail to

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Peace is something we all seek,
When we lack it, we feel weak.
Since it's rooted deep inside,
With our peace, we're closely tied.

Peace is something you can't buy,
You won't catch it from the sky.
Something about it is truly sublime,
It does not follow distance nor time.

Peace is something we mutually share,
For it is just, and always fair.
When we find it, peace is sweet,
It shall make our life complete.


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