Friday, 24 March 2017

April's Pastoral Letter: The Journey of Holy Week

Holy Week will soon be upon us. At 6pm in All Saints on the evening of Palm Sunday, Bishop Tony will celebrate his Chrism Mass, with the Blessing of the Holy Oils of Baptism, of Chrism and of the Sick. The theme of the Mass is a celebration of Christ our Great High Priest, who offered himself for us on the Cross, and who, reigning in Glory, calls us now to share his Divine Life. The Sacramental Oils are used in the making of disciples, in the blessing of objects and people, and in prayer for those in need, as a sign of Christ alive and active in our own day.


Bishop Tony will be joined by traditionalist Deacons and Priests from across our Diocese, those who in particular identify with the Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, and we will have the privilege of renewing our commitment to ministerial service. Following the recent, disgraceful workplace bullying of Bishop Philip North, we are yet again at a time when the catholic voice in the Church of England is under threat; there are those who wish to silence us, to refuse us the honoured place we have been promised. Despite the widespread support for Bishop Philip from women bishops and priests, a well-orchestrated campaign by a few intolerant illiberals hounded him out.  At this Mass, with their Bishop, traditionalist catholics will gather to pledge to work within our Church of England, for the good of all, and for the mutual flourishing of all, especially those with whom we disagree on this issue. We need to say that there is no place for bullying; the bullies will not win, we are staying within the Church.


Mindful of the range of views across our parishes, I hope you will take the opportunity to be present, to share in this unique, once a year event, and one that, as it is shared around traditionalist parishes, will not return here for a long time.


The most significant celebration of the Eucharist in the whole year is the Easter Liturgy. Every other Eucharist, in both of our Churches, feeds into and is fed by this event, as we receive the good news of the Resurrection. In previous years, it has been a dawn celebration, this year, in order to make it a little more accessible, it will begin at 7.30pm (not 8pm as previously notified!) in All Saints on the evening of Holy Saturday, 15th April.


The Service lasts about 90 minutes, and will be followed by Festive Refreshments. We begin with the new Fire of Easter, before carrying the light into Church, and blessing the Easter Candle. After the Easter Scriptures, the Font is blessed, Baptismal Vows are re-affirmed, and the first Eucharist of Easter is offered. 

May the Lord bless us as we prepare for the Great Week.


Thursday, 23 February 2017

Lent, Holy Week & Easter

Lent, Holy Week & Easter in the Elland Parishes: Click here

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Thursday, 19 January 2017

700 Years of the Elland Charter

We'll be celebrating the 700th Anniversary of Elland's Royal Charter at the 850 year old St Mary's Church, over the Weekend of Friday 24th to Sunday 26th February.

A Copy of the Charter. The Original was kept in St Mary's for over 500 years.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A Commemoration of Canon Ernest Winter

Saturday 14th January 2017 marks 100 years since the death of Canon Ernest Winter, Rector of Elland, founding inspiration of All Saints Church, and a figure who contributed much to the welfare of this community during his 24 years as their parish Priest. Canon Winter was a nationally renowned figure, and even with the Great War raging in the early days of 1917, his death made national headlines. A Requiem Mass will be offered for him at 9.30am at the High Altar in All Saints on Saturday 14th, which will be followed by Prayers at his Grave in Elland (Exley) Cemetery at 11am. The following day, Sunday 15th January, we will remember him at a special commemorative Evensong in St Mary’s at 6pm.

Happy New Year, in the Year of Our Lord’s Grace Two Thousand and Seventeen

This year marks the Centenary of the appalling events in the latter years of the Great War, that led sisters Eglantyne and Dorothy Jebb to found the Charity, Save the Children. Children and Young People had suffered disproportionately among the Civilian casualties, but as the conflict came to an end first of all on the eastern Front, and subsequently, a year later, in the west, even the basic needs of children were often forgotten, as civilian populations struggled to feed themselves. Occupying British Soldiers shared their rations with German children to keep them alive, and Eglantyne and Dorothy managed to enlist both the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury in launching what turned out to be a very successful appeal. The Charity, still active today, was not the first in this field, as Barnardo’s, and the Church of England’s ‘Waifs and Strays Society’, (now known as the Children’s Society) were already busy, but it caught the imagination, and paved the way for great and significant appeals, such as Children in Need, in our own day.


Eglantyne Jebb is commemorated in the Church of England’s Kalendar on December 17th. Her sister, Dorothy, knew Elland well, as she was married to Charles Roden Buxton, MP for Elland from 1929 to 31. In honouring the sisters, we remember those who are prepared to move mountains for a cause that is right and just.


As this month of January begins, we are celebrating the latter days of Christmass, before adding new layers to our prayerful exploration of the Season with the Feasts of the Epiphany, and the Baptism of Christ. The Christ-child in the Stable, the inspiration for the godly humanism of such as Eglantyne Jebb in caring for Children in need, is the Christ whose life we share in Holy Baptism, and who, in his death and resurrection, will complete his ministry in opening up to all the riches of the Kingdom. We have looked for God’s coming amongst us as a child; may we be open to see his presence in all in need, and to respond with generosity and love, for our faith demands nothing less.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

An Advent Kiss

In these days of instant communications and social media, its noticeable how even messages from the most casual of acquaintances end with a kiss or two, or ‘xx’ to be precise! It doesn’t seem to matter how well you do or don’t know the person concerned, but the whole range of traditional ways of signing off, from ‘yours faithfully’, as far as ‘I remain, sir, your obedient servant’, seems to be disappearing. ‘X’ of course used to be the sign of the illiterate, but before then was actually akin to the sign of the cross in a medieval document, more ‘+’ than ‘x’, and kissing the sign on the parchment or paper was the equivalent to taking an oath. A simple gesture that bound the one who made it.


Politicians and media gurus expound KISS as ‘keep it simple, stupid’, and perhaps there is something of value there. The story that will unfold for us during Advent and Christmass is, at it’s simplest, a story of wonder and amazement, of God’s decisive involvement in human lives. Yet behind the wonder and the divine kiss of the Stable at Bethlehem, is the profound truth of God our Creator, who took our human flesh to redeem us on the Cross, and who remains with us still. A Holy Mystery that will never exhaust the telling.


Psalm 85 is often used to help us enter the Christmass mystery, especially verse 10,


            Mercy and truth are net together,

            Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.


In the mystery and graciousness of the Word made flesh, Jesus, the Son of God, God’s righteousness, God’s goodness, touches, kisses, the whole of creation. We are invited into the Divine embrace, invited to share all that God wishes for his Creation, visible, even touchable, in the Christ-Child of the Stable.


I hope you will have a good, and a holy Advent, and enjoy the caroling and the good cheer, the cards and the tinsel, if that is what you choose to do. Yet let us not lose sight of the astonishing, life-changing truth that we explore in this Holy Season, the God who took flesh in Bethlehem, shares our life still, and will come again in glory.


Pax et Bonum – Peace and all Good to you! 


Father David

The Advent Collect 


Traditionally, many Christians would have known a version of this prayer by heart, and used it every day. Make it your Advent Prayer!


Almighty God,

give us grace to cast away the works of darkness

and to put on the armour of light,

now in the time of this mortal life,

in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;

that on the last day,

when he shall come again in his glorious majesty

to judge the living and the dead,

we may rise to the life immortal;

through him who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen