Sunday 1st August: At home, on holiday or in church join us for a live Facebook stream, an exciting playlist and for those at MBC a café

Dear friends

I write to you on a rainy day after a few weeks of gorgeous sunshine…well its good for the plants! I can’t believe its nearly a week since we had our first service in the church building and welcomed many of you to share communion and hear stories of God’s work in Paris from John and Sue Wilson. We had painting, prayers and singing with some of our musicians. This was followed by lunch and a cream tea in the sunshine.  John and Sue shared a verse that they felt was for Moortown Baptist Church at this time and I share it here again in case anyone missed it.

“Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.’ (Lamentations 3:21-24)

So following on from our current theme, we continue with being devoted but focus on someone in the bible known for His devotion in the Old Testament, David. We will look over the Summer at 1 Samuel 17.  You might want to read it in advance or follow up in groups through the Summer. So here’s what the next few weeks look like…

Sunday 1st August – Theme: David and the right place

Sunday café with drinks/cake provided by church from 10.30am -12 midday, including at 10.45 a live 15 minute Facebook stream direct from MBC! Both will be in the main church building and outside with tables and chairs. There’s no gazebo up at the moment as it blew down so bring your brolly if you want to sit outside. Our playlist which if possible we would everyone wherever you are to try and watch together will be on at 11am on the big screen in church and is available via this YouTube link. You don’t need to let us know if you are coming on this occasion; the building had been risk assessed and if it gets too full people will need to wait until others come out or sit outside. However, masks will need to be worn inside whilst you are walking around but can be taken off when you are sitting, eating or drinking.

Sunday 8th August – Theme: David and the right armour (verses 12-19)

All age Sunday Service 11am-12 in church and outside in the carpark, livestreamed.  It’s helpful if you leave a message with Shelley, ILT or Kate if you want to come. 0113 2693750 (church office)

Sunday 15th August – Theme:  David and the right weapon (verses 33-38)

Youtube playlist and get together…more details to come next week

Sunday 22nd August – Theme:  David and the right power (verse 40)

…more details to come next week

Sunday 29th August – Theme: David and the right focus (verses 41-45)

…more details to come next week

I’ll be in touch next week with all those who have helped before in leading worship/speaking but also if you would like to help with any aspect do let me know.

Update on ILT email from last week

The ILT mentioned a ‘Relating Well’ course in their email sent out last Monday.  There have been some questions around this so here is some information to help clarify.

  • It’s the new Baptist Union Safeguarding training but its all about relating well with others.  Its engaging, accessible, up to date with covid support  (I’ve seen it myself) and includes all the necessary safeguarding information that you need when you volunteer with a church.
  • You may not help with any groups but we are encouraging all who are able to come along on a session as we think it’s really appropriate for MBC right now as it includes loads of helpful thoughts on being a safe church in general.
  • We’ll have breakfast pastries and coffee/tea available for you from 10am and the training will start at 10.15 so that we can finish by 12.15/30. 
  • There’s two identical sessions being run and you only need to do one of them – Saturday 7th August and Saturday 21st August 10-12.30.  Can you leave a message at or on 0113 2693750 (church office) to book a session.
  • There will be space to raise questions and our safeguarding officers, some members of the ILT and staff will be there at each session. If questions cannot be answered on the day we will make sure we find out and get back to you.

Take care everyone and looking forward to seeing you soon

In Christ


With Jesus front and centre a Service of grace and truth marks MBC’s reopening

To be honest I don’t think MBC’s first day back in the building could have gone much better. Yes there were technical glitches, like the last minute switch from YouTube to Facebook for the live stream but as someone said “worse things happen at sea.”  But as for the weather, well it too could hardly have been better; a very acceptable 21 degrees Celsius made things very pleasant for the dozen or so who joined the 50 in church and the 25 online from the shade of our gazebos.

And it’s funny, although many might question my choice of adjective how coincidental it was that for the first time in a number of years John and Sue Wilson (our BMS Mission Partners in Paris) were with us ahead of an afternoon in which a further 60 to 70  supported our Romania Support Group’s annual cream tea fundraiser by tucking into scones, jam and of course cream.

The pictures you see in this post are a mix of screenshots taken from the live Facebook stream (this is available to watch 24/7 at as well as on the MBC YouTube channel) and some camera images kindly sent in by Phil Coates – hence the difference in quality.However, one thing that can’t be called into question is the spirit, the fellowship, the genuine feeling of grace and truth that radiated from 204 King Lane as once more, despite the trials and tribulations of the last 15 months Moortown Baptist Church came together and put Jesus front and centre.

Of course it wouldn’t be MBC or for that matter any other church if following a visit from friends serving overseas we didn’t make an appeal for your support for their ministry.

John and Sue have worked with BMS World Mission for more than 30 years, however, before that John himself was not only a member here at Moortown but between 1981 and 83 he was our first Youth Pastor.

The image you see to the left is the front cover of a BMS 24:7 Partners brochure which when opened up not only tells you more about them and the work they are currently doing in France but also includes a pre-paid return slip through which you can arrange to give a regular amount to support that work. You can also sign up online at

If all that sounds a bit complicated an alternative is to speak with Roger Robson and he’ll help you set things up.

Encounters – Bent Double

For her next series of blogs Jane Coates has chosen to ‘step into’ the accounts of Jesus’s encounters with different individuals and to re-write the account from the perspective of that person or from a bystander at the scene. The words are clearly not words that you will find in the Bible account itself and so I trust that you will forgive me for taking such license.

Encounters 1 Luke 13 v 10-17:   

I see feet and not faces. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. I look down at the dirt, the stone path, the mud, the dirty feet and sandals of those who pass me by. I do not look up to the trees, the birds, the sky, the window, the doorway or the eyes of those who pass me by. I am unseen though a familiar presence, a non-person, nameless, insignificant and of no value. My world is small. Every simple task poses new challenges of pain and inconvenience. I cannot lift, I cannot carry, I cannot reach up high and I cannot contribute. I am invisible yet a target of children’s jokes and laughter. I am humiliated, sorrowful, ashamed, a burden to others and the burden of my shame and weakness has been with me for most of my life-for eighteen whole years. I shuffle silently into the synagogue each Sabbath and hide with the women at the back. I do not want to be seen. My hiding is almost complete as I stand among the flowing robes and scarves. 

But I am seen. There was One whose grace and compassion saw me in my hiding place though I could not hope to see His face. I was called forward. It was an invitation that I could not avoid. There was a stunned silence as I was guided to the front to where the gentle voice had called me. I had no expectation, no understanding of what might happen, or desire to meet this new teacher. I was in the familiar place, the safe place – hidden in plain sight.

His words came as a shock. “Woman you are set free.” There was no pre-amble, exchange of introductions, announcement to the gathered or the synagogue leader. Those simple words only and a gentle touch. And I was released. How it happened I cannot say. I only know that my back grew stronger, my weakened and limp muscles were renewed and for the first time I could stand tall. I was straight and I could see faces. Those faces changed and there was a surge of joy, praise to God, gasps of wonder and for the first time in many years I opened my mouth and I publicly praised and glorified God for my release. 

The synagogue leader was not pleased. I could see his scowl of disapproval and dismay. For the first time I could read the faces of others. And for the first time I saw His face, the face of Jesus. I was no longer the nameless one, the ignored, the cripple but I was now ‘the daughter of Abraham’. I was significant, valued, part of a community with a contribution to offer. I was changed. But I was not the only one who was changed. The whole synagogue erupted with praise and thanks. I was released, set free, rescued and redeemed. I can never forget that day. But there were others there that day who were also released. 


11am Sunday 25th July. In church and live on line!

Dear friends, I’m happily writing to let you know some more details about tomorrow, the Sunday 25th July.  There has been some information about the day shared already on emails, on the Facebook livestream last Sunday and on the website at Back to the Future… July 25th MBC opens its doors on a new beginning ( However, I’m pleased to let you know some of the finer details here.

At 11am there will be a 50 minute family friendly all age service in the main room (known to many as the Sanctuary).  This will include a song or two, reading, prayer, sealed covid friendly communion pack for each person, ‘Ayo’ story cartoon and a visit from our BMS mission partners John and Sue Wilson from Paris to find out what God is doing in France.  If you would like to come into the building for the service can you let Shelley or the ILT know this week by emailing or passing on a message. or

I have talked to Carole Smith and Kate Slater and we are aware of a few people who are not in touch electronically so Carole has included all his information to them in her mailout. 

We will be broadcasting the service live from YouTube with information on Facebook for anyone who can’t make it or for those who aren’t ready to be inside a building with others.  Also, there’s the option to sit in the carpark, patio or under the gazebos if you would prefer to stay outside.  If you have a phone or tablet, you’ll be able to access it from there. There will be some outdoor seating available or feel free to bring a fold out chair.  There won’t be coffee and tea on this occasion but feel free to bring your flask.  There will be toilets that you can use.

Following the service, there will be an opportunity to catch up in the carpark by the gazebos, bring your lunch and chat with others or for the spritely amongst us you may want to picnic on King Alfred’s field over the road.  Again, please be mindful of others. 

From 1pm the gazebos will be needed so that the team can set up for a Moortown Cream Tea, 2pm to 4pm in the carpark.  This has been arranged by Karen Ross and her helpers.  Its free but donations are welcome to support Romania. If you know you are definitely coming for a cream tea at some point in the afternoon, can you let Karen Ross know please?  Her email is You don’t need to book so if you find you can make it to the cream tea on the day that’s fine, but it helps to get an idea of how many cream teas we’ll need. We should have some live music in the service and at the cream tea.

As we will be using the carpark quite a lot that day, we are asking that only those who need to park in the carpark do, as there will very limited space available, and we need to allow space for people who cannot walk to be dropped off too.  It may mean some people need to walk, park somewhere else or use the carpark as a drop off point but then find a suitable space outside the carpark.  I know this isn’t ideal for many but it would help things at this stage. We’ll keep reviewing it as time goes on.  If you have any questions about this do get in touch.  Over the last few months, we have held Beacon and other groups in the carpark as well as hosted funerals and weddings, so this has helped us to continually review our practice.

Here is some specific health and safety guidance you might find useful that has been agreed by leaders and health and safety teams here at Moortown.

“Although COVID restrictions are no longer mandatory as of 19th July, we have a duty of care to keep everyone as safe as we can.  Therefore, we will be operating within 1 meter plus social distancing guidelines.  The capacity in the Sanctuary is for 100 people in bubbles with a gap of at least 1 meter between bubbles.  

When you arrive at church, you will first of all be asked if you have had any COVID-19 symptoms. This is still a very important part of the process.  We have an obligation to turn people with symptoms away and also if people display covid symptoms you won’t be able to stay and will be advised about getting a covid test.  We will support you in this. 

You will then be asked to sign in, sanitise your hands and find a seat.  Once you are seated in your family group/bubble, please make sure that there is at least one meter between your group and the next seat (you may need to shuffle the chairs a bit).  

The rules on singing are as yet a bit unclear. At the moment we are working on the presumption that you will be able to stand and sing as long as you are wearing a face covering and facing forward. If you are exempt from wearing a mask, then please refrain from singing.  If these rules change between now and 25th we will let you know.  (Update 19th July 2021: “As of today there are no rules on singing” The Baptist Union of Great Britain : Coronavirus although it does say “Nevertheless, as infections continue to rise, the Government recommends continuing caution. Good ventilation, diligence in hygiene, wearing a face covering in enclosed and crowded spaces, and limiting contact with those we do not live with, are all noted as beneficial behaviours.” 

We are encouraging all those who are coming into the building to wear a mask. People need to let MBC know if they test positive for covid within 2 weeks of attending the service, so that Trustees can inform public health/test and trace and take any action advised regarding contacting those people present at the service/sitting near the positive case.  The same thing is being asked of other groups meetings at church such as being asked of Lunch Club seniors/their families.

 Pay attention to the signage at church which will remind us all about keeping safe e.g. one-way system through the Sanctuary, pointers to which toilets to use.

 In terms of ventilation, windows will be open in the Sanctuary.

Once the service is over, please exit into the Gazebo by the side door next to the music room to avoid a bottleneck in the foyer. Please sanitise your hands on your way out.

If you are at all concerned about meeting in the church building, then please feel free to sit outside under the Gazebo or in the garden and watch the service on your phone or tablet, as it will be streamed live on MBC’s YouTube page. This will also be an option for latecomers if we reach full capacity in the Sanctuary. (Church WIFI details are MBCnet, Password: Net204WoRk)

If you have any questions, concerns or joys do get in touch with me.  Hopefully there are opportunities for everyone to connect in at some point through the day. 

I know as I write that some will be excited and for others it brings more anxiety as how to move forward with fewer restrictions.  As a church community, let’s put Jesus first as we were reminded on Sunday by so many on the playlist and let’s be mindful of each different person, assuming we do not know how people are feeling, who is vulnerable and who isn’t.  Let’s look at this Sunday as a brilliant opportunity to put Acts 2:42-47 into practice and let’s be excited about the new things that God wants to do here across our families and our wider communities.  It’s going to be a great day.  

Isaiah 43:19

SeeI am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

In Christ


Back to the Future… July 25th MBC opens its doors on a new beginning

Sunday the 25th of July 2021 will, as far as Moortown Baptist Church is concerned be a day that many of us will never forget. The reason being not just that our Paris based BMS Mission Partners John and Sue Wilson (below) will be joining us, nor that after all this time we will actually be taking communion together. No, it’s even more than that. It’s the day that after more than sixteen months of two meter ministry, zoom house groups and over a hundred different online offerings we are finally able to fully reopen our building.

However, for those expecting to pick up where we left off we have a word of warning. And that is to try and put new wine into old wineskins i.e. to gloss over everything that the last year and a half has taught us would be downright foolish. 

Having said that we are thinking more evolution than revolution as at this moment in time and even with lots of irons in lots of fires both our staff and our Interim Leadership Team are reluctant to suggest a whole new way of being church. Primarily that’s because after so much disruption their hope for the future is that based not on their thoughts but on prayer and on the spirit of grace and truth that Jesus modelled MBC will become a fellowship of believers so devoted to one another and to building the Kingdom of God that as the body of Christ in this part of Leeds the words of Acts chapter 2  verses 42 to 47 will become its watchword.

So, despite the huge amount of optimism that exists it is for now at least a case of little steps. Such as this first 11am Service will still be streamed online for those who would prefer it that way. However, if you would like to join us live and in person you will need to let us know you’re coming. Please do this by emailing your details asap to Once you’re with us whilst we will be singing it is still important that while doing so you wear a mask. Oh and although MBC isn’t providing post- service refreshments you may if you wish bring your own and stay in church, or under the gazebos until 1pm. 

Also the afternoon of the 25th (2pm till 4) sees our Romania Support Group’s annual Cream Tea, an event to which everyone is invited. John and Sue will be still be with us for this so it will be a another great opportunity to chat with them and hear more about both their connections to MBC and about the work they do with BMS.  

In between, if anyone wants to stay around you can always walk across to King Alfred’s Field and have a picnic. 

So whilst our impression of back to the future may be nothing like that portrayed in Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 movie it is fitting: July 25th 2021 is a new beginning, it’s the start of a new future, a date that has the wherewithal to unite a community of believers and crucially it’s a date that presents Moortown Baptist Church with an opportunity to embrace the future in faith, with courage and most of all with confidence. 

John S 



Lunch Club’s Seaside Special, 70 miles from the coast

There’s nothing quite like a day at the seaside; sun, sand, ice cream, deck chairs and if you’re very lucky even fish and chips… and with the aid of the brilliant team from Engage Leeds this is what MBC’s Lunch Club enjoyed last Wednesday.Meeting all together for the first time in almost 16 months, 21 seniors gathered under our gazebos whilst Carole Smith and her team of 9 volunteers served up a real seaside treat. The Engage Leeds team (below left) who brought their ‘Seaside reminiscence pod’ with them are a housing support organisation in Leeds who use this type of event to get themselves known in the community. They support people with memory problems to remain in their home, to move house or to deal with complex housing needs. In fact besides handing out some of their literature on the day they left lots of information with us so if you or anyone you know might benefit from their support just speak with Carole, Kate, any member of the Interim Leadership or contact them direct by going on line and visiting As Senior’s Lead our thanks go to Carole for organising such an innovative session, which also included prize bingo, word searches and a free to enter raffle. However, Carole being Carole she insists on passing her personal thanks not only to Engage but also to our fabulous volunteer befrienders and kitchen team, to Holbeck Together for again allowing us to use their minibus and driver and last but by no means least to the Talk of the Town for serving up 30 portions of the tastiest fish and chips this side of Scarborough. 🐟🍟

A smart new look for the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store but our homegrown charity still needs your help

Established here at MBC in 1986 the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store has recently taken delivery of two new vans. Since the mid sixties the Store has quite literally helped thousands and thousands of people to turn houses and flats into homes. Their simple mission of collecting your unwanted furniture and passing it on free of charge to people in need has earned the charity a reputation of being one of the city’s most respected support projects.

Apart from the odd year Moortown Baptist Church has made regular financial contributions to the Store as well as also providing somewhere around a dozen or so trustees. In fact, right now John Gamson is the charity’s manager and Steve Morris a staff driver whilst John Sherbourne, Gareth Davies and Steve Wylde all serve as trustees.  

Sadly the need for furniture is no less acute than it was when Hilary Willmer and a few friends began picking up unwanted items, storing them in garden sheds and cellars and delivering them in their own cars. 

If you or anyone you know is moving house, downsizing or simply replacing old for new please give LMFS a call. It will be their pleasure to help. 

Some interesting stats from the last full year of uninterrupted operation (2019/20). In the 12 month period to 31 March 2020 LMFS completed 964 deliveries. This equates to 6,512 separate items of furniture weighing a total of 146.27 m-tons, and 1,532 collections made up of 7,985 items/182.95 m. All these figures relate to domestic furniture such as sofas, chairs, tables, wardrobes etc. etc. which without their intervention could well have ended up being fly tipped or incinerated. The Store employs 6 permanent staff and benefits from the services of an amazing bunch of volunteers. It is based in a 10,000 sq ft warehouse in Seacroft and controls a trading company (LMFS Trading Ltd) which sources, supplies and in most cases installs new furniture and white goods to a growing number of social housing projects. 

You can contact the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store by calling 0113 2739727, sending an email to or by going online and visiting



Lessons in the Desert: The Untouchables and the Rejected

In 2003, I joined a small team of people from MBC who spent two weeks at Chandraghona Hospital, Bangladesh and the nearby village of Jhum Para, where most of the families had been leprosy patients over many years, and had been sponsored by MBC families for food, school fees and clothing. In addition to spending time at the hospital, I also had the chance to visit local primary and secondary schools, the Treatment Centre for leprosy patients and the local Blind School. It was quite a life changing experience for me. This lovely gentleman in Jhum Para, whose body had been damaged by leprosy, possessed nothing but his simple hut, a few cooking pots and a Bible. Yet he was filled with the love of Christ. I was very much affected by this lovely individual. There are many people in our society and world today who are on the very margin of life. Jesus wants to reach these people.In Matthew 8 we read that Jesus came down from the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and dropped to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.”  Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.” Then, in the country of the Gadarenes Jesus and his disciples were met by two madmen coming out of the cemetery, victims of demons. The men had terrorized the region for so long that no one considered it safe to walk down that stretch of road anymore. Seeing Jesus, the men screamed out, “What business do you have giving us a hard time? You’re the Son of God! You weren’t supposed to show up here yet!” Once again, Jesus dealt with the situation and the men were freed from their horrible bondage.

Mental ill health, leprosy and other skin diseases came with terrible consequences. Each of these men were regarded as unclean, defiled and were shunned and isolated from any community. They met with isolation, rejection, prejudice, and stigma and they were treated as if they were dead. They would experience great need and desperation. A person with leprosy had to keep 2 meters away from any other person-this was social distancing in Bible times. It would be a desert existence for them. The men among the tombs in the graveyard, were forced to live quite literally among the dead.

We read that this leper came and worshipped Jesus. His need was impossible and yet he came with a simple request. “If you are willing” you can heal me. He was not doubting that Jesus could heal him, “I know you can do it”, he was questioning whether Jesus was willing to do this thing. With an overwhelming act of love and compassion, Jesus touches him. The first human touch that this man had felt in a very long time, and he is healed. His changed and thankful life would witness to the power of Christ in his life.

There are many people in our society who may feel marginalised or ostracised, and left out in a ‘desert’, and yet the compassion of Jesus needs to reach them through us. We are the ones who can bring the touch of Jesus to them. As we begin to come out of the harshest of restrictions may we not simply be glad to meet up with our friends, those ‘who are like me’, my social group, but may we look out for those who are on the edge of things and bring them in from the desert.

An ancient prayer

We ask you, Master, be our helper and defender. Rescue those of our number in distress; raise up the fallen; assist the needy; heal the sick; turn back those of your people who stray; feed the hungry; release our captives; revive the weak; encourage those who lose heart. Let all the nations realize that you are the only God, that Jesus Christ is your Child, and that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.

(1 Clement c. 96)

Jane Coates

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