In just half an hour our youngster’s home made baking raises over £150 for International Nepal Fellowship

If you were with us on Sunday morning you probably treated yourself to one, or maybe more, of the delicious home made cakes that our young people had baked. The donations the goodies attracted totaled £152.25 which will very soon be being transferred to the International Nepal Fellowship. 

The Fellowship works with or runs a number of very practical projects and with UK cash going a long way in Nepal you can be assured that this sum will be put to very good use. 

The youngsters who baked either by themselves or with friends each get to choose which projects they want to support. 

Hilary Willmer has kindly supplied us with a list of some of just some of these projects which you can see below… 

Green Pastures Hospital

£5 – shoes for a leprosy patient, £17 for a leprosy self care kit


£8 toys for children with disability, £25 school disability training

Medical camps

£5 medical supplies for one patient, £13  transport medical team to remote health post

Community development

£10 chicks for family small business, £15 plant a fruit farm (50 saplings)

Then larger sums such as £80 clean water tap or £225 goats and training to care for them

So thanks to those who bought the produce and of course to Debbie and Chris Drew for suggesting this to us.

To see a larger version of any of our gallery pictures simply click on the image

Special Church Meeting – change of date

On 20 May there will be an hour long service followed by a special church meeting to discuss Youth, future developments and an election of deacons.

After the meeting there will be a church lunch which will be bring and share. Please bring enough for yourself and a little bit extra.

This is the meeting that was initially scheduled for May 6th. 

Welcome back, and many congratulations

As part of their Golden Wedding celebrations Susan and David revisit MBC

It’s always a pleasure to welcome new people to MBC, and I’m glad to say that’s something we do often. However, when the people you are speaking to turn out to be a couple who were in fact married here at Moortown in 1968 that pleasure takes on extra significance. 

Such was the case recently when on a visit to Leeds Susan (nee Susan Cheesbrough) and David Poole, who now live in Hampshire, attended one of our Sunday morning services. 

Following the Service John Sherbourne caught up with them and much to his delight discovered that tucked away in Susan’s handbag were not only some original wedding pictures but also an invitation to their reception which like many at the time was held in the opulent surroundings of The Mansion at Rounday. 

Fortunately for us, after being introduced to a couple of MBC’s “old timers” – folk who fondly remembered mutual friends Susan and David were more than happy to share their story with us. 

Susan at the time had lived in Harehills, Leeds until she went to university and attended Allerton High School. It was during the sixth form that she started going to Moortown Baptist Church; a little group of three from the school went Sunday by Sunday.

We were both teachers and living in London when we were married but soon moved to Holmfirth.  We visited Leeds frequently because Susan’s parents remained in Harehills until, a while after the death of her father, Susan’s mother moved to be nearer us in Holmfirth.  Our two children grew up. went to university and began working in the south – Bath and East Grinstead.  It was for that reason that we moved to Hampshire to be able to visit more easily.

Time passes so quickly and, then, we once more visit the Baptist Church for our golden wedding anniversary.

If we are in the district again, we shall try to find time to attend worship. It is clearly such an active fellowship contributing much to the district. Visitors are certainly made welcome; we very much enjoyed our visit.”

For the record: the MBC Minister who officiated at Susan and David’s wedding was Rev’d Ralph Drake. 



Haddon Willmer – Mariner: a voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The poet, theologian and Christian Malcolm Guite (left) has written a marvellous book, Mariner: a voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge  (Hodder, 2017). I got it early this week and could not put it down.  Now I would like to press it upon as many friends as I can. 

Coleridge (1772-1834), a brilliant poet, philosopher and spiritual teacher, wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner when he was 25, when he was working with William Wordsworth, ‘strong in love!’  in the exciting days of the French Revolution,  ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!’.   They wanted a new kind of poetry,  ‘free, natural, lucid… drawn to discover the beautiful in what is close and everyday….but equally committed to finding in folktale, superstition and myth, emblems of our own inner nature and deeper truths of the human heart’.   

Guite explores these deeper truths by taking us through the poem stanza by stanza.  It never bores partly because the Rime is ruminous, and partly because Coleridge’s own life, as it unfolded after he wrote the poem, turned out to march step by step with the poem.   The Mariner is Ancient, his voyage is told in antique terms, but the telling came from the imagination of a young man, living in the modern world as we are.   When his life is put alongside the poem it turns from being a bit of charming entertainment into a searching and redeeming word for our living today. 

The Mariner and his mates sailed off with high hopes; they were blessed on their way, not least by an albatross who flew with them as they got to Cape Horn.  Then, the Ancient Mariner shot him, an act of inexplicable evil, and he was cursed, his guilt – the dead albatross –  hanging round his neck.  All his shipmates die, cursing him; he wishes he could die, but cannot.  He finds he can neither live nor pray.   Then surprisingly, ‘some kind saint took pity on me’, so that he looked on the water-snakes which earlier had horrified him with their sliminess, and saw them shining in the soft light of the moon:

O happy living things! No tongue

Their beauty might declare:

A spring of love gushed from my heart,

And I blessed them unaware…

The self-same moment I could pray,

And from my neck so free

The Albatross fell off, and sank

Like lead into the sea. 

This was not the end, but it was the turning point.  And so, he came home, living within the compulsion to tell  his story of sin and loss and of rescue and renewal, accosting people like the Wedding Guest, who misses that happy occasion, hears the whole tale, and leaves ‘a sadder and a wiser man’.  

Uncannily, Coleridge’s poem turns out to be an illuminating commentary on his whole life, which still lay in the unknown future when the Rime was written.  Coleridge was immensely gifted, full of hope and creativity at the beginning, but soon he ran into trouble.  He started on opium, a common legal medical treatment then, because he suffered from rheumatic pains.  He became addicted, which meant misery when he was using, misery when he was withdrawing, as he tried to do repeatedly.  He became difficult to live with; weaknesses in his character were exacerbated; despite strenuous efforts by both partners, his marriage failed.  He could work furiously and successfully at projects, for a while, and then they fell apart.  Instead of being carried on by ambitions befitting his gifts, he was burdened by the disappointment and guilt at the failure of his life as a whole.   He was a man of profound faith in God and strong Christian thoughtfulness, but in his despair, like the Mariner he could not pray. 

He was difficult to help, but he had friends, old and new, who did not altogether give up on him.  After over a decade of descent into the depths, a good Dr Gilman and his wife took him into their home, managed his addiction wisely until he was released from it, so that he lived fruitfully for 17 more years.  Relations with his wife and children were repaired.    He knew, like his Ancient Mariner, that he lived by the forgiving grace of God and not by his own achievements, however good some of them were.    

In that last time, he wrote works on literature, theology and life which are still influential.  He was a prophet for his time, acutely observing what was happening and pointing to the narrow but open ways to life rather than death.  All through the book, Guite helps us to listen to Coleridge for ourselves today:  ‘Coleridge was reading and thinking for his life – and for ours’. 

Three things stay with me, after my first reading.  First, the picture of Christian faith that we are given by accompanying Coleridge on this voyage is unusual, orthodox, challenging and enriching, not to be missed.   It is focused on God, on Christ and the Cross, on the Holy Spirit engaging with human beings, who sin, despair and come to death, where the dying God meets them and brings them to repentance and new life.  This repentance for Coleridge was a lifetime of hard experience in the world, not a religious moment in church. 

Secondly, Coleridge saw that the modern material and instrumental view of nature was ‘utterly deadening’ and would ultimately crush any notion of ‘soul’ or even ‘person’.   It meant reducing persons to things, and limiting truth to ‘facts’ based on empirical observation, and belittling imagination as groundless opinion.   We feel the pressures today of treating the person as a brain and the brain as a computer, and are not so sure we can distinguish between a person and a robot.  We are caught in systems that aim to make children employable, so that they are valued and rewarded according to their usefulness to systems.  Human beings have, for long ages, been engaged in, often overwhelmed by, the dilemmas of seeking life in a world of deadly wisdoms and rationalities, like those represented by the High Priest Caiaphas, who said to the Pharisees debating what to do with Jesus: ‘You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole people should not perish’ (John 11.49, 50).

Thirdly, Guite brings out how Coleridge speaks to the ecological crisis and guilt that is engulfing us.  The Ancient Mariner brought disaster and death to the ship and all who were sailing in her, when he shot the Albatross, treating it as a mere Thing, alien to human being, to be disposed of at a whim.  It was a gross failure to respect the Albatross as a fellow-creature, in the wholeness of God’s creation.  It was a terrible rejection of the love which is the real presence of God in all things.  

He prayeth well who loveth well

Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best who loveth best,

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.

This points us beyond any environmental concern driven by worry about our survival, regardless of its cost to other creatures, including the inanimate earth.   As Guite points out, the ‘alls’ in this stanza are significant.   We need hearts purified from self-interest, to share in the love of God and to go along with it, so that we become free for all and with all. 

I would like to think that what I have said will lead friends to say, I want to read this book – indeed I will read this book for myself.  But I know I have not begun to do it justice – how could I in this little piece when it is a book of nearly 450 pages?    Now is that a fact I should have kept quiet about?   Have I put some friends off:  ‘I would like to read it, but that is really too long for me’.  Please don’t say that.  It is not boring, it is constantly eyeopening, informative, illuminating.  It is a beautifully structured book, taking small groups of stanzas in turn, so it is easy to read a bit at a time.  And it would be rewarding as a book for daily reflection and prayer – the poem has spoken deeply to Guite our contemporary, he hears it as a Christian thinker and shares with us what he has found.  I wondered as I read it whether it might help some readers to begin with Part II, which takes us through the Rime, and then go to Part I, about Coleridge’s life up to the writing of it.  That would be feasible. But I still think the book’s double act, partnering the poem step by step with  Coleridge’s pilgrimage has the wind of the spirit in it to carry us along. 

The Wedding Guest tried to get away from the old crazed looking Mariner when he was hastening to get to the wedding on time, but he was not sorry in the end that he compelled by the eye of the old man to stay to the end.  Please don’t succeed in doing what he failed to do, even if you have a wedding to go to.  

If you want to read the poem straightaway, see

See Malcolm Guite’s own blog about his book, including the beautiful epitaph Coleridge wrote for himself.

Haddon Willmer


Discipleship Leader – Youth and Young Adults

To learn about MBC and how we see our new post working see…

To view a job description go to…

For candidate specification see… 

And to download an application form go to…

Beacon Wellbeing – Programme Coordinator wanted

                                                        Beacon Wellbeing

                                                   Programme Coordinator

Job description

Job Title: Beacon Wellbeing Programme Coordinator

Job Purpose: To coordinate wellbeing sessions with 16 – 25 year old people

Responsible to: Beacon Wellbeing Management Group via named person

Hours worked: Flexible, sessional, 4.5 hours a week over a 20 week period

Appointment term: Hours to be worked between 01.06.2018 and 31.03.2019

Pay: £9 per hour, plus expenses

Tasks and responsibilities
1. To plan and run wellbeing sessions for 16 – 25 year olds.
2. To be alert to new possibilities in relation to wellbeing work with young adults.
3. To take practical day-to-day responsibility for health and safety and safeguarding during sessions.
4. To liaise with volunteers and other sessional workers.
5. To ensure that any volunteers are appropriately supported.
6. To liaise with other professionals and voluntary groups working on wellbeing.
7. To update the management group on progress and write a short report at the end of the period, which should include both work done, numbers attended, feedback using an appropriate validated tool and proposals when appropriate for new development.
8. To participate in regular supervision and always work within the values of Beacon Wellbeing.

Person Specification – Project coordinator

E = essential – D = desirable


1. Some understanding of wellbeing.  E 
2. Some experience of working within a diverse community. E 
3. Some experience of working with volunteers. D


1. Knowledge of voluntary and statutory agencies working promoting wellbeing. D 
2. Knowledge of and transferable skills in working with young adults. E 
3. Sympathetic to the Christian faith. E 

Skills and abilities

1. Ability to relate to a wide range of people. E 
2. Basic IT skills. E 
3. Ability to work on own initiative. E 
4. Basic report writing skills. E

Personal qualities

1. Willingness to work in a flexible way. E 
2. Commitment to working in a welcoming and inclusive way. E 
3. Calm approach. E
4. Creative. E
5. Good sense of humour. E

Closing date for applications is Monday 30th April.

An application form is available for download HERE

Friday 10 – Sunday 20 May. Thy Kingdom Come, an invitation to pray

Thy Kingdom Come is a simple invitation to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for friends and family to come to faith. Now in its third year, participation has grown every year. In 2016, 100,000 Christians pledged to pray. By 2017 – more than half a million had pledged to pray from more than 85 countries including Ghana, Netherlands, Malaysia, Cuba, South Africa, Australia, Korea, Japan and the Philippines to name a few.


The campaign’s broad ecumenical appeal led to more than 50 denominations and traditions being involved last year; including the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church and the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

The positive impact of Thy Kingdom Come 2017 continues to unfold as numerous stories of personal and communal transformation pour in from churches, families and whole communities alike.  Among the stories arising from the initiative – many of them deeply moving – is one from a couple who had not seen their son for 22 years. “We pray every day obviously for him but during Thy Kingdom Come he was one of the people we prayed for as a group”, they say. “We put his name on the altar before God and… yesterday he came home.” 

This year also sees some digital developments including a brand-new website and a Thy Kingdom Come devotional app created by leading Christian publishers SPCK. Both products will be translated into several languages including Spanish, Korean, and Swahili and will be launched in time for Easter.

Here’s a short video  in which our General Secretary Lynn Green reflects on what it means to her to pray ‘thy kingdom come’.

To download please click here.

Click here to sign up for this year’s Thy Kingdom Come campaign and to find out more information about the campaign.

F word thoughts – more than acceptance and a little bit of Kielty

The Forgiveness Project exhibition has concluded at Moortown Baptist Church. It added a dimension to our Easter experience. The stories and pictures were profound and have a deep effect on many.

The words of Jo Berry (daughter of Sir Anthony Berry MP, who was killed in the IRA Brighton bombing) stand out for me. “Now I don’t talk about forgiveness. To say ‘I forgive you’ is almost condescending. It locks you into an ‘us and them’ scenario keeping me right and you wrong. That attitude won’t change anything. But I can experience empathy, and in that moment there is no judgment.” IRA activist Patrick Magee, responsible for Jo’s father’s death, responds – “It’s rare to meet someone as gracious and open as Jo. She’s come a long way in her journey to understanding; in fact, she has come more than half way to meet me.”

We should take care in connecting a theology of forgiveness to these words or linking them to Easter. It seems that forgiveness is at one and the same time and confrontation and a moving forward. To forgive means to name a wrong and a person or institution that needs forgiving. Forgiveness makes a judgment and then seeks to reconcile. Jo Berry sees this and the risk of that act of forgiving setting us apart.

Jo Berry and Patrick Magee are pictured together above.

As a result of this many of us cannot get to the place where we name things and speak forgiveness to another. Rather we show as much love as we can, and we offer acceptance to another. Jo describes that as empathy. This keeps relationship open and is wise and noble but stops short of forgiveness and reconciliation. I honour those of us who practice such empathy, but I recognise that this an ongoing commitment that stops short of forgiveness.

So we discover that forgiveness is a risk. In offering forgiveness, we can make matters worse and lose what we have of a relationship. I believe that this is just such a risk that God was taking in Christ. To meet us more than half way and then confront things that need forgiving in a costly way.

So Christ died! His resurrection showed that this paid off. The cost and possibility of failure was real. It is not that Christ jettisoned acceptance and love, but that Christ chose to add forgiveness to them. In order that God could move beyond empathy to reconciliation.

This is the miraculous hope and truth of Easter. It is dangerous and risky stuff.

In the meantime, many of us travel with acceptance and love on a lifelong journey towards forgiveness. The Easter story tells us that we don’t live in vain. This is a truth and a story for our time. It echoed again as I watched Patrick Kielty’s excellent BBC documentary on Northern Ireland and the Good Friday agreement 20 years on. In it Kielty (right) powerfully explores acceptance, forgiveness and moving on – looking at how difficult and essential these things are. Well worth a watch.

Graham Brownlee, April 2018

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