The parish Lent course this year looks at big questions of faith: –
· How does a God of love allow suffering?
· Are science and the Bible in conflict?
· Do other faiths offer a path to God?
· Does God’s law restrict human sexuality?
· Is belief all in the mind?
Anyone is the public sphere has the 1st question thrown at them, and anyone in the world of education faces the 2nd. Living in Bradford we can hardly avoid the 3rd. The 4th and 5th often crop up on TV and radio. There is of course no single answer, but strangely the cross of Christ lies at the heart of most of our responses.
Meetings are Wednesdays at 7 p.m. All Saints is booked, so we meet in St Oswald’s West End Centre.
Talk of the Church being in decline is forever in the news. However in 2017 both churches had more people attending on Sundays. In St Oswald’s the average number of adults on Sundays was 27, compared to just over 24 in 2016, and the number of children was bigger too, 6.5 against 5 in 2016. That represents an 11% growth in adults and 30% growth in the number of children.
At All Saints the number of adults on Sundays rose from 28 to 30.6, representing a 9% increase. Children attending Church rose from just over 7 to 12 on average, and that is a 68% increase. This is important because these are not numbers but people, people who have discovered the goodness of God, and are being turned around by his Spirit. They care enough to come to our cold buildings on Sunday mornings when they could be tucked up in bed. Thanks be to God.
Crime around St Oswald’s
St Oswald’s has been afflicted by an outbreak of anti-social behaviour, car windows smashed, stones breaking slates on the Church roof, a stone thrown at my window, bushes set on fire, a lighted canister thrown at assistant manager Fran, rubbish thrown into the road – and so on. Christine Mann called a residents meeting at the West End Centre and as a result we hope to be allowed to install CCTV around the premises from the ‘Proceeds of Crime’ fund. Thankfully the crime spree happening every day during one week seems now to have died down.
It wouldn’t be Shrove Tuesday without a Pancake Party! So on Tuesday 113th February at 6.30 you are invited to St Oswald’s for crafts, pancake-flipping competition, quiz, pancake races – and of course pancakes to eat and enjoy, both savoury and sweet. All ages can join in, have fun, eat pancakes and remember the true meaning of the ‘feast before the fast’.
Sarah Grievson coordinated a full team at All Saints from 8-15 January, with between 6 and 9 guests each night. All but one guest was English, so we enjoyed good conversations and real friendships developed. One guest got a job during the week he was with us, and has since got his own place. Two of the guests have started coming regularly to Church on Sundays. These relationships make Inn Churches more than worthwhile. We were grateful to other churches who supported us at All Saints; all went away blessed – and most of us with extra weight after the delicious food we were served.