Carole reminds us that October 1st, International Day of Older Persons 2020, starts a week long programme of “Age Proud” events both on line and in person

Today, the 1st October 2020, is a day to celebrate what it means to be an older person.

The theme in Leeds this year is Age Proud – Time to Feel Good about Ageing. Perhaps now is a particularly important time to consider the positive aspects of ageing and what there is to celebrate…

The news at the moment often seems to point to the difficulties of ageing at this time – the increasing health conditions, the higher risk of Covid, the impact of lockdown and isolation on older people, the strains on the health and social care system which are so vital to support people as they age and during this pandemic. Our culture and the news at this time seems to sum up older people as: ill, lonely, vulnerable and needing support.

And yet…the older people who I am in contact with and perhaps you are too, are SO much more than this.  They are interesting and interested people, living full lives, cultivating friendships and family relationships, actively pursuing hobbies and interests, remaining curious about the world around them.  They have faced many hardships in their lives so far and they are resilient, offering support and smiles to others around them.  They are independent where they can be, and interdependent where they can’t, keen to engage, full of ideas, fun, experience and knowledge.  Each person different, each one a life still being lived.

The Bible provides some positive viewpoints on getting older:  Job 12:12 says ‘ Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old’.  Proverbs 20: 29 states ‘The glory of the young is their strength, the grey hair of experience is the splendour of the old’.  Leviticus 19:32 exhorts people to ‘Rise in the presence of the aged and honour the elderly face to face’. 

The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1 v 8-9 reminds us that God will continue to be at work in each of us until the very end: ‘He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ’.  There is still growth to be pursued, and faith to be lived out, however old we are!

So, let’s remember that there is more to older people in our community and congregation than there might first appear to be and let’s celebrate the splendour of grey hair and experience!

The best thing about getting older is… join in the debate by either downloading or picking up your puzzle piece. To help us do this, we would like to create a display about positive ageing and what this means to you… using puzzle pieces which join together to show how the older members of our community are all different but connected! If you consider yourself an ‘older person’, please have a think about how you would finish the following sentence: ‘The best thing about getting older is…’ add it to the jigsaw puzzle piece and decorate it however you would like to (this link HERE takes you to the puzzle piece which can then be be printed out). If you would like to add your name, please feel free to do so, but not compulsory! 

From Sunday 4th October in the afternoon, there will be a box to drop your puzzle piece in at the MBC car park, and we will also have blank puzzle pieces available to take away for you to fill in at home if you are not able to print them out.  We will also get puzzle pieces posted to people who aren’t able to get to MBC and find a way for them to be returned.

Finally, there are lots of events taking place on Zoom and some in person in Leeds over the coming week to celebrate the International Day of Older People and here is the link to find out more simply by clicking HERE  

May you know God’s blessing and closeness this week, whatever your age, wisdom or experience.

Carole Smith, Seniors’ Worker

Autumn inspires Art for our Harvest Festival

A creative challenge was thrown out on Church at Home a couple of weeks ago for people to make an Autumn inspired collage from found things such as leaves, acorns and twigs.  Susie Newhall gave an inspired demonstration where she created a collage made from leaves found on her walks with her dog, Monty. 

The activity connected to the life of Enoch in the bible as we found that he was a man who ‘walked with God’.  We were encouraged to remember to ‘keep in step’ with God and trust that God is with us through the changing seasons.  Here are just a few of our Autumn creations you have sent us, the full exhibition can be seen on our YouTube link during Church at Home and Family at Moortown on Sunday 4th October.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

Rainbow prayers flying high

In our ‘By Faith’ series we are following on Sunday mornings on YouTube as part of Church at Home we are finding out about different characters of faith in the bible mentioned in Hebrews 11. Last Sunday it was the turn of Noah in the faithful hall of fame! 

After years and years of conflict, God finds Noah, the only righteous man and chooses him to build an ark to save him, his family and two of every animal. Genesis 8 verse 1 says “But God….”.  The encouragement from this verse is that no matter how bad things look, we need to remember there is a “But God…”.  In other words, God can turn things round, God hasn’t left us and is interested in every part of our lives. 

During the online playlist, I invited all to go up to church at some point during the week if they were able, to choose a coloured ribbon from a box to tie onto a tree in the car park.  There is the option to write your “But God…”prayer on the ribbon or just say it as you fasten it to the tree.  The ribbons are a visual demonstration of our prayers and thoughts at this time as well as a reminder of God’s rainbow of hope and faithfulness to all those who pass the church.



With prayer and bible study groups starting again next week, don’t forget to book your place

A message from Kate in which she shows us how the MBC Music Room will look when it becomes a space for prayer and bible study

The Monday Prayers will be in two, half hour slots, 10am-10.30am and 11am -11.30am to allow for a clean down in between.  The Friday Bible Study will be from 10am til 11am.  Both activities need to be booked in advance by 12pm on the Thursday before for the Prayer and by 12pm on the Monday before for the Bible Study (hope that makes sense) Booking is via or calling 0113 2693750 and leaving a message.

I will then call people to confirm their booking and go through the COVID safety guidelines. Masks must be worn whilst in the building. Both activities can accommodate up to 12 people safely at any one time.

The Monday prayer space is simply somewhere for people to come and sit and be still with God. There will be some prayer guides etc but no led prayers to begin with. If people want to start leading some form of prayer or contemplation any week then that will be welcomed if they want to have a chat with me or Graham. 

The Bible study on Fridays will be led by Graham.

With links that go back almost 50 years some pictures from Romania to gladden the heart

In 1972 two young students who worshipped here at MBC (Paul Hicks and Jean Mackintosh, later became Mrs Jean Hicks) travelled to Romania on a mission to deliver books to a local pastor who had returned home after studying at Regent’s Park College in Oxford. The rest as they say is history.

In brief, between then and now members of what eventually became MRS G (The Moortown Romania Support Group) have made dozens of visits to numerous parts of Romania. During these trips they have, either with their own hands or by way of donation and fund raising helped to fund churches, pastor’s salaries, children’s summer camps and village building schemes as well as a whole host of other projects and plans.

However, in more recent times all this travelling hasn’t always been one way with members of several Romanian churches, their families and friends, often leaving their homeland for the very first time making visits to the UK.   

In one of the first groups to visit Leeds was a nine year old pastor’s daughter called Szuszi Soos. Fast forward to today and Szuszi and her husband Andor, alongside another minister are themselves co-pastors of a Hungarian Reform church in the town of Odorkeui Secuiesc, a fellowship that pre Covid-19 regularly attracted a Sunday morning congregation of over 400 people.

Recently Szuszi and Andor, who now have two children of their own and who only moved in to their present church in January sent us these charming pictures of a suitably socially distanced Confirmation Service. 

It’s lovely to look back over all those years and to see how such a seemingly simple gesture (although I’m sure nothing was that simple in 1972 in Communist Romania) as delivering some books to a newly ordained minister could have led to what has to be one on MBC’s longest, warmest and mutually rewarding initiatives.    



Roundabout MBC Issue 4 reaches parts of our community the internet cannot get to

When lockdown first hit those of us who have anything to do with communications here at MBC put an enormous amount of time and effort into our website, E-newsletter and social media feeds to ensure that everyone was kept bang up to date with all the latest developments.  However, one thing we overlooked was the number of people we know who for one reason or another don’t have online access.

When the penny eventually dropped someone suggested that just as we did pre Google, Apple, YouTube we produce a good old fashioned print version of at least some of the stories that appear on our website. What a great idea we all thought, as if breathing new life into something that first happened here at MBC in 1955 was the most innovative breakthrough ever.

Anyway, I’m pleased to say that this week our fourth issue of Roundabout MBC (a familiar name to many) was printed, collated and distributed to more than 30 people.

Above you can see just how we converted our online content into print. Issue 4, behind a brand new cover sheet contains 7 different stories all written over the last week; indeed a number actually look forward to some of the exciting stuff we have planned for Harvest Sunday.  

Roundabout is set in 14pt Ariel, a font which experts say is ideal for our purpose. So if you know anyone who would benefit from receiving Roundabout please pass on their name and address to John Sherbourne who administers our email account. 


MBC ‘Re-set’ Update – Prayer and bible study groups to begin again in October, but you’ll need to book your place

Following the MBC ‘Re-set’ item published on the church website on 28th August which you can read by clicking HERE  Sunday services will continue to be shared online and we are looking at how we can offer a service in the building in harmony with this. How we share services is a priority and in this way we believe that we will be a church open to the community in the widest possible way. Currently, we are working on what needs to be in place in terms of volunteers, equipment and support. This is the most complex meeting to run and so there is no date set for using the building for Sunday services just yet.

We will keep you updated on the progress we are making. Meanwhile, we are offering a couple of ‘pilot’ activities in a safe and meaningful way.

We shall open the Music Room on two occasions during the week from:

Monday 5th October 10am-12pm for prayer offering 30 minute bookable slots

Friday 9th October 10am-11am for bible study

We are listening and learning and so wish to know if these times for prayer and Bible study are accessible for you or would another time be better.

Safety in numbers

As the MBC building is a ‘Designated Place of Worship’ we do not need to conform to the ‘Rule of Six’, however we do need to decide safe numbers on the basis of capacity in the room.  We can offer 12 seated spaces for each session in the Music Room.

The layout of the room for each activity will be arranged in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Booking your slot

The slots would need to be booked in advance by contacting the church office on or calling 0113 2693750 and leaving a message. Someone will then get back to you and confirm your slot.

For the Monday prayer, please book by 12 noon on the preceding Thursday.

For Friday Bible study please book by 12 noon on the preceding Monday.

Other lockdown restrictions

It is possible that rules may change and local lockdown measures may be put in place. This will mean that our plans and programmes are subject to change.

Our priority remains to be a safe, meaningful and open church.

Doing it safely

Those who are attending will be required to:

  • To confirm that they are free from COVID symptoms. You will be asked at booking confirmation and also on arrival at the activity.
  • Wear a face mask. A face mask must be worn by anyone over 11 years old prior to entering the church building, unless you are exempt from wearing one. The bible study leader/s will wear a face shield.
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided
  • If possible to have been to the toilet prior to coming to church. The disabled toilet and the one next to it will be available if needed but would need to be cleaned and sanitised after use
  • Bring their own bible/study material
  • Tea and coffee will NOT be provided but you can bring your own and take your cup home with you
  • Prayer sheets and study notes may be available in paper form. If attendees handle any such materials they will be required to take their copy home with them and not leave anything on the premises
  • Once the activity has finished attendees will be encouraged to move on promptly to minimise the risk of contact and spread of infection.

Data Protection/Privacy

Attendees will need to be signed in and out of the building and to provide contact details for NHS track and trace purposes. In line with guidance issued by the Dept. of Health, we will keep your details safely and in compliance with GDPR legislation for 21 days before securely disposing of or deleting them. We will only share your details with NHS test and trace, if asked, in the event that it is needed to help stop the spread of coronavirus. We will not use your details for any other purpose or pass them on to anyone else.

Small groups – meeting at home or outdoors

Home groups and other small groups can continue to meet in safe ways. This may mean a video call, walks or meetings outside. Some groups have met in homes.

We ask to you observe the recommended safety measures when meeting. Whilst church meetings for worship are exempt from the “rule of six”, we recommend that numbers are limited to six in homes.

We are piloting use of the building for small groups to see if we can offer this to homegroups.

As a church, we can provide you with the latest guidance for safe meeting.

These guidelines are in place to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.  We very much look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you soon.

Every blessing

Ministers, Leadership Team and Staff

A message from Susie Newhall (Deacon), Graham, Shona and Shelley

We are continuing to carefully and prayerfully plan the refreshing of Moortown Baptist Church through the autumn. As we look forward we are seeking to blend different ways of being church with use of the building. In doing this we know that  strengthening contact among the church community with reaching out is our priority.

In this we are continuing to listen to what God is saying to us and to one another’s experiences, expectations and insights.

As part of this process we’ll be asking questions across the whole church over the next two weeks, and encouraging your feedback on this.

Our ministers, Graham and Shona, are both on a phased return to work.

Graham is preaching, working alongside teams and visiting. He can be contacted in the usual manner.

Shona is preaching and connecting with people. She can be contacted by phone or email and will get back to you.

We shall be back in touch with you on what we have learnt and any plans/updates.

Every blessing

Susie, Shona, Shelley and Graham

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