Letter from our Chair – May 2024

Revd Kerry Tankard, our District Chair, shared this letter in our May 2024 Newsletter…

Dear Friends,

As you are all aware the Conference will be with us at the end of June. As part of the preparations, I was asked to write a few words for the Methodist Recorder introducing the District and sharing something about us. I realise, these days, that not many people take the Recorder, so I thought you might like to know what I said.. .

“We are a people who have the joy of inhabiting God’s Own County, and all that that means. We live in the Dales, in urban centres and everything in between. We are home to the three cities of Bradford, Leeds, and Wakefield, numerous former mill towns like Batley, Morley, Keighley, Huddersfield, and Halifax with its stunning Piece Hall. We have the world heritage site of Saltaire, and market towns and villages that each have their own history and life. We live in an area where we are the keepers of the legacy of people like Anne Lister, the Brontës, and artists such as David Hockney. 

“In our District you will also find the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The park celebrates being a place of Art Without Walls. I think we take inspiration from that, and it is a useful reminder to ourselves of who we truly are. We are not about hiding ourselves away, but about being Church, the people of God, without walls. For as much as we gather for time each week to pray, and learn, and intentionally attend to God, we spend our lives beyond our buildings, encountering God and sharing in the delight and surprise of God with others. No surprise then, that amongst our members we have Methodists serving in civic life as local councillors, allowing their faith to inform their service in their cities and areas. 

“Across the District we have 13 circuits and around 185 churches. You will discover churches that are growing and changing, as well as those that are faithfully living out this current chapter of their lives. There are the beginnings of new places for new people, like Pre-Loved in Keighley, where we are encountering grandparents, parents, their children, and building relationships that are leading in new directions. We have circuits and churches that have taken the gift of A Methodist Way of Life and are using it to help shape their mission planning and their discipleship. In Leeds we have a church that provides daily shelter at night to destitute asylum seekers, as well as The Meeting Point Café, where those living in one of the economically deprived areas of Leeds can find a welcome and good food. Also in Leeds, now that Oxford Place is gone, we have spent time re-imagining our role as a church in the city, through the work of The Leeds Sanctuary, made of communities without a church building. In 2025, Bradford will become the UK City of Culture, and we are already planning a faith trail using the Methodist Collection of Modern Art in churches, the Bradford Cathedral, Woodhouse Grove School, and a gallery, to share how we see that “Everything is Connected”, because of the God who creates all things. In Huddersfield you will find the Mission, a place referred to several times in the TV Series “Happy Valley”, and one which does important work with some of the most marginalised in Kirklees. 

“As a District we tell stories that reach back through to our Methodist origins in the 18th century; the cottage stayed in by John Wesley at Mount Zion is still in our possession and is one of 2 heritage sites in the Calderdale Circuit. However, we also are telling new stories of faith and discovery in growing churches in each of our circuits.” 

I am sure we will make all our guests welcome, as they discover how fortunate we are.



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