District Synod

Posted Posted in News & Events

We’re very much looking forward to our Representative Synod on 18th September – meeting at the Manor School in York. We’ll be taking lots of care to try to make sure that everyone who can come feels comfortable and safe. It will be a great opportunity to ‘take stock’ and look ahead to all that God has in store. A warm invitation is extended to all!

Dear Friends                                                                                                                             September 2021

We look forward to welcoming you to the Representative Session of the Yorkshire North and East District Synod on Saturday, 18th of September 2021. This will primarily be an in-person Synod, held at York Manor Academy. (York Manor Academy, Millfield Lane, Nether Poppleton, YORK, YO26 6PA)

We are aware that some people may not yet feel comfortable meeting in large groups, so there will be the option to attend via Zoom. However, with some of the activities we have planned, the virtual experience will have some limitations. If you feel you need to attend virtually, please let the district office (admin@yorkshirenemethodist.org) know so that we can plan accordingly – although you will be free to change your mind on the day! The Zoom link will be sent to those attending online in due course. (If you are attending virtually you might want some pen and paper to hand during the ‘lament’ section; some resources for doing the craft activities will be provided on the district website.)

The day will include the usual Synod business plus worship, workshops, and craft activities.  We are seeking to create a sacred and safe place in which we will explore our Synod themes.  As we focus on ‘lament’ there will be a creative time for bringing music, prayer writing…etc.  We encourage Synod members to reflect in advance on this theme, and perhaps bring anything creative that emerges: poems, songs, prayers.  There will be a time of worship before lunch where we will share both what has been brought and what has been created on the day.

We will begin at 9.30am and finish by 3:00pm, with breaks for refreshments. On another note, if you are attending in person and would require the use of the hearing loop system, please could you inform the district office in advance.

We are really looking forward to the opportunity to meet together physically again, but of course Synod will have a different feel as we mitigate the risks. Please bring a mask with you and your own mug for drinks. You will also need to bring lunch and any snacks that you might need through the day, though a pack of biscuits will be included in a bag you receive as you arrive!  We also would ask that those joining us in person do a lateral flow test before attending. Also, if anyone is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please contact the District Office so that they can give you the information to attend virtually.

Synod papers will be available on the District website at: www.yorkshirenemethodist.org/district/synods or can be requested to be emailed directly, or printed and posted, by contacting the District Office at admin@yorkshirenemethodist.org or by phoning/texting 07809 431871

In calling you to the Synod, it is also our responsibility to remind you, as required by Conference, that “every presbyter and every deacon who is not a supernumerary, and every presbyteral and diaconal probationer, unless, in any case, excused by dispensation of the Chair, is required to attend the Synod of which he or she is a member and to remain throughout its sessions. A dispensation of absence is to be given only on compelling grounds.”  This also applies to Recognised and Regarded ministers.

Supernumerary Ministers and Ministers Authorised to Serve are welcome to attend the Representative Synod, but do not need a dispensation of absence if unable to attend.  Lay members of Synod who are unable to attend are asked to notify the Synod Secretary via the District Office and to let their Circuit-meeting elected substitute have their Synod Papers.

We look forward to worshipping and reflecting together in these challenging times.

With best wishes

Leslie Newton                        Emma Crippen             Chair of District                        Synod Secretary

Revive us, Lord, again

Posted Posted in News & Events

A Study Morning led by the Revd Leslie Newton as he shares reflections from his recent Sabbatical.

Saturday 20th November 2021, Boston Spa Methodist Church
9.45am – 1pm
Teas/Coffee from 9.15am

Please book online through Eventbrite here: https://bit.ly/reviveuslordagain

Looking afresh at the 18th Century growth of the Methodist movement and exploring how Wesley’s primary message and principal methods can shape the renewal of the mission of ‘the People called Methodists’ in the 21st Century.

“My recent Sabbatical inspired me greatly as I explored the growth of early Methodism. I began to see, as with fresh eyes, how Wesley’s message and methods have much to offer us as we explore what it is to be ‘the People called Methodists’ in our world today.
I don’t believe for a minute that God has finished with us, and if we have the courage to dig deep into our heritage, I believe that God’s Spirit can breathe new life into our life and mission.
Here, I will share some of my reflections – glad for the opportunity to receive feedback – as together we look for a faithful and courageous way ahead.”

“Revive us, Lord, again” is a line in ‘Being of beings, God of love’ StF 490v4, Charles Wesley

Flourish Plans

Posted Posted in News & Events

After a great deal of thinking and praying, consulting and discussing, we have now reluctantly agreed that the wisest and safest decision is to defer Flourish from this September.  We have such wonderful and enduring memories of Flourish in 2019 and we want our next event to be as equally inspiring and positive.  Although it seems that it would have been possible to go ahead with Flourish this September, we cannot be sure of how free from restrictions we would be, and we have recognised that many will feel reluctant to gather in such a significant number so soon after the lockdowns of the past year.

We are now planning our way ahead as follows:

  1. Saturday 18th September will instead be our Autumn Synod.  We will plan to meet physically, and also offer an online option so as to be as inclusive as possible.  We will develop a programme that is as open as possible to everyone in the District who would like to participate.  We will have a particular focus on:
  2. reflecting on all that we have travelled through during this pandemic, and
  3. committing ourselves with renewed faith to fulfilling all that God has for us in the future.
  4. We will now seek to agree a new date for Flourish – now Flourish 22 – to be, we anticipate, in September / October 2022.  All things considered this seems to be the preferable time of year, with the best opportunity for a really successful event which includes all ages as fully as possible.

We will of course keep you updated as our revised plans develop.

District Ordinands Testimony Service

Posted Posted in News & Events

On Sunday 14th March at 6pm we will be hosting a District Ordinands Testimony Service. This is a special opportunity for us to hear Deacon Nigel Perrott in the Ripon and Lower Dales Methodist Circuit share his testimony and to offer him our affirmation and support to him ahead of his ordination in June. (Nigel’s ordination was due last summer, but delayed to this summer because of the impact of Covid-19.) We are honoured and delighted that the President of the Methodist Conference, Richard Teal, will be taking part in the service. Please share this widely!

The service will be taking place on Zoom and live streamed to YouTube for those not taking part in the service to watch and join with us.
Watch Live Here

The video will be available to watch back afterwards as well and should be easy to find from our YouTube channel, the link for which is: www.youtube.com/yorkshirenorthandeastmethodistdistrict

New HR Officer

Posted Posted in News & Events

We are delighted to welcome Andrew Crawford as our new HR Officer for both our district and Sheffield Methodist District. He joins us after a career working in sport and establishing his Barnsley-based retained-HR service.

Andrew said: “I’m available to support you with HR advice and provide guidance for any employment related issues or concerns you face.”

He will fulfil the role on a part-time basis and will offer support to both Districts. Outside of human resources Andrew spends time volunteering, he explains: “I spend time volunteering with a particular focus around homelessness, rough sleeping and substance dependency, and the importance of harm reduction education. This is with both the Barnsley Rough Sleeper Project and Framework HA, the dedicated rough sleeper team in Sheffield, commissioned through Sheffield City Council. I am also a charity trustee with the Barnsley Churches Drop-in-Project and I’m a volunteer independent custody visitor for the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioners Office.”

We are delighted that Andrew is joining our District team and look forward to all that he will bring to the life of the local churches, circuits and District.

You can contact Andrew by email: hr@yorkshirenemethodist.org or phone: 07483106005

District Communication Roles

Posted Posted in News & Events

We’re looking for a few individuals to help the district develop some fresh, imaginative and proactive ways forward in our internal and external communication.

The role will potentially involve helping us practically establish some new methods, new content, or a new strategy. This is an exciting opportunity to help shape how we share Good News in our district. Please consider whether you might have skills to offer to this vital work. This can simply be an initial contribution rather than an ongoing longer-term commitment.

If this is you, or for further information on these voluntary roles, or to offer an expression of interest – please contact the district office (admin@yorkshirenemethodist.org)

New District Services

Posted Posted in News & Events

The District is now producing online worship services once a month for circuits and churches to utilise. As well as finding them used locally, you can also watch them on YouTube and Facebook, and all the services are available to watch back on this page of the District Website: www.yorkshirenemethodist.org/district-services/

Here is an example of one of our recent services, from Sunday 27th December, with contributions from the Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference.

RURAL HOMELESSNESS

Posted Posted in Sleep Out for Homelessness Blog

Rural homelessness can look very different to homelessness in large towns and cities. Although the root causes of homelessness are similar wherever it is experienced, a striking feature of homelessness in the countryside is its lack of visibility, which can lead people to believe that the problem does not exist across their communities. 

It’s very difficult to count just how many people in rural areas are experiencing homelessness. One problem is that the dispersed nature of rough sleeping in rural areas makes quantification difficult, with people tucked away in places like garages, sheds and out-houses, churchyards, barns, parks, fields and woods. A few years ago a study of rough sleeping in North Lincolnshire identified much higher levels of this form of homelessness than official counts suggested was the case, and set out a number of ways that rural communities could help to identify levels of homeless in their areas. Closer to home, and much more recently, Ryedale District Council highlighted exactly this issue across some of the rural parts of Yorkshire North and East Methodist District. Between July 2019 and January 2020 this council identified thirty individuals who were at risk of rough sleeping or had actually slept rough in Ryedale and worked with them to resolve their homelessness. In that time period official statistics noted one rough sleeper across Ryedale’s area[i].

Another feature of homelessness in the countryside is that people are more likely to be doubling up with other households by staying with friends or family compared with urban areas. Again, this makes it difficult to appreciate the numbers involved. Often described as ‘sofa surfers’, this group are living in very precarious and temporary housing circumstances, and their experiences have only been made worse by the lockdowns due the Covid19 pandemic.

Overlaying the problem of homelessness is the very limited availability of affordable housing in rural areas and the high demand for housing that pushes house prices and rents way beyond the reach of many people on modest incomes. The latest York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Housing Strategy highlighted the extent to which house prices were above the level which would be considered ‘affordable’ for households on lower incomes. House price to income ratios were particularly high in the rural areas of Richmondshire, Ryedale, Hambleton and Harrogate, as well as North York Moors National Park.  

Tackling homelessness and the wider affordable housing shortage in rural areas has led to some truly innovative and specialist approaches. A feature of this response is an emphasis on the way that rural communities themselves can take the lead as part of the solution, and this includes ongoing activity across North and East Yorkshire. One of the distinctive approaches that has emerged in recent years is the role of Rural Housing Enablers. These specialists provide independent support and advice to local communities and provide a link for communities with other parties such as developers and the local authorities. Rural Housing Enablers are a tremendous resource for people in the countryside who want to take forwards affordable housing within their communities, and this includes the rural areas of our District.

Examples have emerged across the country in places like Keswick, Ambleside and Hale that demonstrate the role that Methodist churches can play in supporting affordable housing. These examples are inspiring because they show that in spite of the barriers and complexities involved, we can be part of a future that helps to sustain vibrant village and market town communities for people whatever their background or income


[i] See page 35 of Ryedale’s latest draft homelessness and rough sleeping review and strategy, 2020-2025

This is part of a series of blogs in the run-up to the Sleep Out For Homelessness event on January 23rd 2021 being run by our District Children and Youth team. Find out more about the Sleep Out for Homelessness event here: www.yorkshirenemethodist.org/district-youth/sleep-out

#GodIsWithUs Christmas Campaign 2020

Posted Posted in News & Events

The Methodist Church Christmas campaign for 2020 #GodIsWithUs seeks to share this good news through twenty-four stories of individuals and their experiences of this extraordinary year. Each day of Advent they will share a testimony from somebody connected to the Methodist Church reflecting on what hope has looked like for them this year and how they have experienced God with them.

The individuals whose stories the campaign tells include those who have felt the painful effects of isolation this year, who have experienced extreme poverty, who have struggled with poor mental health, who have lost loved ones – like so many millions of others. But ultimately, incredibly, God’s loving presence radiates from each of them in beams of powerful hope. Hope that is so necessary for such a time as this.

The campaign name, which ties in with our Presidential theme for the year, of course comes from John Wesley’s purported words on his death bed: ‘the best of all is, God is with us’ which reminds us that even in the times which feel most uncertain, we can be certain of God. Who do you know who needs to hear this message over the coming months?   

 The campaign offers the following content:

  • Shareable social media posts every day in Advent on FacebookInstagram and Twitter – these will contain a quote from the story of the day alongside a photo of the person who’s story it is.
  • A video released on 1st December on YouTube and shared on social media. This will be narrated by the 24 campaign participants and will simply show clips of each person.
  • Sets of postcards (A6) available for local churches to order (free, + P&P) to give out locally. The postcards have reflective questions for you to contemplate where God has been for you this year.
  • Two campaign posters available to download by clicking on the images below
  • Poster B  is also available as print on demand from Christian Publishing and Outreach (CPO) in sizes A0-A4.
  • Worship at Home service sheets for each Sunday in December and an extra service for Christmas Day,  available to download from the Methodist Church website. 
  • A Worship at Home Christmas CD which is available to pre-order from Methodist Publishing (free plus P&P charges – publication date 7 December). The audio CD hopes to help those who are unable to watch services online or attend physical services. Listen to this act of worship at home, in your car or on your daily walks.  The service will also be available as a free download from the middle of December – link coming soon.
  • A weekly prayer and reflection produced by JPIT – available here.
  • The campaign social media posts are available to download in advance for organisations and local churches wishing to schedule them throughout Advent. These will be provided in weekly batches on the Friday of the previous week for you to schedule for the following week.

The materials ask questions which encourage Methodists and non-Methodists alike to consider their own story of faith in 2020 and to share it with one another or online. The campaign aims to encourage Methodists to reflect, share their stories, and reach out to others outside the church and encourage them to do the same.

Find all the information, resources and links on this page:
www.methodist.org.uk/christmas