Archive for March, 2017

Thought for the Week

Dear Friends,

The following can be found on the Diocesan website together with a couple of photographs and a short film about us, the Church of God at St Aidan’s Harehills in the Diocese of Leeds: http://www.leeds.anglican.org/news/christ-we-are-kin

“The latest film in our year long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds is a glimpse into the life of St Aidan’s in Harehills, Leeds where ‘In Christ there is no foreigner, in Christ we are all kin’ underpins its ministry.

This is a richly diverse and challenging parish on one of the more deprived outskirts of Leeds and its vicar, the Revd Andi Hofbauer, describes the parish and ministry on the day we came with our cameras:

‘We remember well the day when the Diocesan team and the cameras came…an ordinary Sunday at St Aidan’s, Leeds…

…an exciting and demanding parish, engaged in and enabling distinctive and distinguished service to and within the local community in a challenging, richly diverse part of Leeds, combining a catholic spirituality with a desire for social justice and service to the local community.

Over a dozen nationalities, settled or strangers, comfortable or poor, new Christians, seekers or long-standing members, excellent English or hardly any, gathering week-in-week-out to worship, to learn, to grow, to share life together.

And it is the Mass, with its rich liturgy and great gestures, its unconditional welcome and its grace-given compassion, which anchors us in the mystery of Christ’s self-giving love, sets us on the path of life and calls our response in love and service. This is not ‘just a proud tradition of the past’, but at the heart of our calling as God’s people in this place.

And combine that with our many distinct ways of Christian service: be that twice-weekly English classes through HELP (Harehills English Language Project), be that the weekly food share and the regular community meal feeding 70-100 people, be that hosting a weekly drop-in by PAFRAS (Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) and the weekly Eritrean church services, be that working with the various communities within our congregation and our community, with the hungry, the homeless, the refugees, the strangers – these are all ways through which we under Christ play our part in making present a bit of the Kingdom of God.

Here is our opportunity not only to serve, but also through our love and example to help those who are recipients of our services to learn to become servants of the Living God themselves. If people can say about us ‘see how they love and serve each other’ they will not be able to help themselves but to be drawn in.

….

“Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” – this was straight from the Gospel of the day, when the diocesan team came to film that Sunday in October.

‘And’ I preached, ‘we need to mark this well, my friends, the foreigner understands the sting of prejudice and oppression. I am one myself. … ‘The foreigner understands the rootlessness that characterises the stranger’s life. And these are all experiences that shaped the story of Israel and its Messiah. […]

‘And foreigners are not just “over there.” They are our neighbours, we are your neighbours, we are colleagues, we are family, we are friends, we are part of this church congregation and the people with whom we share life. […] ‘Foreigner’, a word so much tinged with contempt. […] But, my friends, people of God, but…

…in Christ there is no foreigner, there is no stranger. In Christ we, all of us, are kin.’”

That’s us, my friends, diverse, inclusive, loving, at times challenging and challenged by each other, generous, faithful, faith-filled, seeking, sharing life. May God continue to give us His blessing.

With love and prayers: Mo. Andi

 

 

 

Read More

Lent 1 – The Temptation of Jesus

The tempter does not come to test Jesus’ abilities, of those he is convinced. Bread, safety and power over all the kingdoms are Jesus’ by right. What is tested, though, are the basis on which Jesus founds his choices: the root of his obedience in the will of God, the obedience of the Son of the Father and Servant of All.

The gospel story of the temptations of Jesus is foundational for all that lies ahead.

In it we see the conflict between the ways of the world and the ways of God, between the way of death and the way of life, between the way of darkness and the way of light. And at the center of this conflict stands the cross of Jesus. And where we live Lent ourselves, we too with him live between temptation and crucifixion.

Of course it is often easier to choose power, violence, and domination instead of the reconciling ways of the reign of God. Of course it is easier to pick up lifeless stones and hurl them toward one another, instead of passing the bread that sustains life.

But, people of God, as we walk these great forty days between temptation and crucifixion, let us walk gently and with our hearts wide open … for what will it profit us to gain the whole world, but loose or forfeit our lives, our souls, ourselves.

With love and prayers: Mo. Andi

Read More

Lent

Dear Friends,

Have you ever thought of Lent as a yearly second chance? Each year the Church gives us six weeks to take a long, loving look at our lives to see if our values and priorities are in line with God’s desires for us. Since most of us find that we’ve fallen short of the glory to which we are called, Lent becomes that second chance, or do-over, to “return to God with our whole heart.”

What are your Lenten practices, experiences and memories as you try to make Lent a meaningful time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving? What are your thoughts, hopes, and desires for Lent? Give something up? Chocolate, alcohol or coffee? Take something on? Attend a Lent group, read the Bible more often, attend a mid-week service? Whatever it may be, let us decide to support one another in whatever we choose to do. As we journey through this annual second chance, let us remember that each step brings us closer to the welcoming arms of our loving God.

With my love and prayers Mo. Andi

 

Read More