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Hi friend!

Happy Autumn! I love this time of year. I love the vibrant colours, the cooler, darker days (I know I am in the minority with that one!), the feeling of the evenings drawing in and everything getting a little bit more cosy. Strictly is back on the telly to bring a little sparkle back into our lives, and the speciality coffees are back on the menu at our favourite cafes.

I’m a bit of a creature of habit at this time of year and one of my favourite parts of my morning routine is doing the school run with the kids and listening to Zoe Ball on Radio 2 on the journey. I love the music, but I also love her humour and general chat. This morning the topic of conversation was a poly tunnel in Bude. Sounds a bit boring but actually it has caused quite a stir. Something that is supposed to be functional to keep customers dry between a supermarket and a carpark has tickled people’s funny bones and people have started writing reviews about it on Trip Advisor comparing it to the 8th Wonder of the World. That silly side of the great British public that we love has caused so many 5 star reviews to be written that it is now listed as one of the top destinations to visit. It’s like a live action Emperor’s New Clothes but much funnier.

On a more serious note, it tells us something about our culture. Yes we have the capacity to be brilliantly funny when we all play along with something together but it also says something about our tendency to review everything and to pay attention to the reviews of others. This can be wonderful, but it can also be extremely hurtful and harmful when we do it inappropriately. With a tap of a keyboard or the stroke of a pen we have the ability to build others up and encourage them or to tear them down, destroy their confidence, their business, or even their lives. What we say and what we write matters.

It's not just in general life that this happens, we do this in church, often without thinking of the impact or consequences. We find ourselves reviewing the music, the sermon, the prayers, and even the refreshments. The problem with doing that is that we view ourselves as consumers rather than participants. In church we are never there as consumers we are always there as participants in worship. Therefore, it is always important that we come to worship with that attitude:
  • mindfully engaging with the liturgy and the music as we choose to draw close to God regardless of whether we like the songs or not.
  • listening to the sermon and switching our thoughts on to God to ask what he is saying to us, regardless of whether we like the style of that preacher or not.
  • actively focussing on God and actually praying when we are being led in prayer, regardless of whether we find that way of praying easy or not.
When we fall into the trap of reviewing as consumers rather than participating, it says as much about us than it does about the person or thing we are commenting on. My desire for myself and for all of us is always to grow ever closer to God but that begins with an attitude of heart.

May we always seek to worship God with the whole of our being as participants and not consumers, and may we treat one another with gentleness as we view each other as dearly loved children of God who are fragile and deeply loved by Him.

With love

Close-up of a red prayer candle

All Souls service

Our annual All Souls Service will be on 2nd November at 7pm and will be led by Leif and Wendy. This is an opportunity to support one another in grief for loved ones we have lost and to make space for God to bring his comfort and his strength to us.

Whilst we usually contact directly those who have lost loved ones in the past year, there is no time limit on grief and all are welcome to light a candle in memory of a loved one however long it has been.
Poppies growing in a field

Remembrance services

As always, there will be two Remembrance events this year led by Churches Together in Birstall. There will be a short act of remembrance outside the Library on Armistice Day - Saturday 11th November starting at 10:45am.

On Sunday 12th November there will be the full Remembrance parade and service. We will lead off from outside the library at 2pm and parade around to church for a service followed by an act of Remembrance at the cenotaph and refreshments back in church. For those who are unable to join the parade, please feel free to go directly to the church. Any who wish to lay wreaths at the cenotaph are welcome to do so after representatives of the armed forces, dignitaries, and uniformed groups.
Illuninated Christmas trees flanking a church doorway

Christmas Fayre

Our annual Christmas fayre is coming up quickly. It will be held on Saturday 25th November from 11am until 2pm. Please let Denise know if you can help out in any way, please bring in any donations for stalls or prizes, please spread the word to your friends and neighbours, and most importantly, come along and support us if you can.
Three porcelain angels holding candles and singing

Christmas choir

This year we are going to have a Christmas Choir to lead the singing at our Carol Service on 17th December at 4pm. If you would like to join, please let Jess know. There will be a couple of rehearsals before the actual service. All are welcome to join.
People sat in a circle studying the Bible

Leeds Diocese Digital Learning Platform

Did you know that Leeds Diocese have a free digital learning platform where you can access all sorts of useful training as well as interest groups?

You can access it here:

Occasionally there are courses with a cost attached to them. If it is something that is relevant to your role in church or to a role you are exploring the PCC may be able to sponsor your training out of the training fund. Have a word with Jess for more details.
Light streaming through stained class windows casting colours on a tiled floor and wooden pews

Not been to church for a while?

We are a big church family and it’s great to see so many people coming along each week, regulars and new people, but in amongst the sea of faces we still manage to notice those that aren’t there, people who have stopped coming for all sorts of reasons.

We wanted to say that we miss you. We know that different life circumstances sometimes make it difficult to come along to services but we miss you when you are not there. If you are having difficulty in coming to church for practical reasons please do tell us and we will work with you to try to make it possible for you to come.

If you are not coming because you feel that St Peter’s isn’t for you, Jess would love to have the chance to chat with you more about that. She’s happy either to come and visit you or meet you somewhere for a coffee or something a little stronger. However big church becomes, we want you to know that you matter, and that St Peter’s is here for you.

Getting in touch

Jess Davis (priest-in-charge)
Phone / Text / WhatsApp – 07949226508
(when Jess is on annual leave, the wardens are the first point of contact)

Miles Lawson and Andy Rhodes (Churchwardens)

And finally

If you need support in any way - prayer, or practical help - please contact us on our special email address:

We hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If you have suggestions for things we can put in it please do get in touch.
Thanks for reading. God bless you all.

St Peter's Church, Birstall
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