Encounters, the Good Samaritan, Luke 10. Another of Jane Coates’ superbly crafted Monday morning thoughts

Perhaps I was foolish for being a solitary traveller on that mountain road, but my journey was urgent. The attack, when it happened was brutal, shocking and I lost everything that I had including my clothing. I was left for dead with no means of identification, little chance of discovery or help. Although barely conscious I was aware of two people who had passed on the road without stopping. I was frightened for my life, fearing that it would end here, battered, abandoned and alone. But then my rescue came and from someone who would be regarded as my enemy, the ‘other’, the outcast, the infidel, the foreigner and the despised one. It was life-saving compassion. He had no regard for my ‘otherness’, my tribe, status, religious connection or observance. He dealt with my wounds and made plans for my care. The Injured 

When I saw the tangled mess of flesh and blood how could I turn away and not stop to help? Here was a desperate man struggling with injuries that could cause his death. His identity, status, racial group became irrelevant. At that point, he became my neighbour, my family, my brother – a relationship not defined by any normal boundaries – but by his sheer need. I had the means to help him. The risk to my own life on that road was hopefully small. I knew the road, the Inn and I had the means to help. The Inn keeper knew that I am a man of my word and that I would be good for the money when I next returned. My heart stirred and action followedThe Rescuer 


The Samaritan offered a costly compassion. He could have acted out of fear and so taken no action but to move along, considering his own safety. But he did not act out of fear. He acted out of compassion for ‘the other’. It was scary, involved physical effort and energy, was financially costly, took initiative, planning, promises and assurances. 

“Who is my neighbour?” My neighbour may be one to whom I would least expect to be a neighbour. Jesus changed the question round completely to “what does a neighbour do?” Jesus showed a very clear picture of what a neighbour does. His final words are “Go and do likewise” further reinforcing the message “Do this and you will live”. May we never act out of fear but always out of love. 

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9 v 36 

Pray Our Afghan neighbours are experiencing acute distress and terror. Afghan Christians are vulnerable and fleeing to the hills to hide as escape routes out of Afghanistan are closed to them. There is the constant fear of being reported to the Taliban. Women, and girls over the age of twelve, avoid going out on to the streets. Those who worked for NATO and western countries may be left behind as the August 31 deadline approaches and evacuation concludes. Families who are re-settled in the west face dramatic adjustments to their circumstances, culture and language. We pray for compassion and practical care for those in Afghanistan and those who are re-settled in a new life in western countries. 

Jane Coates – Monday 30th August

ENGAGE with BMS World Mission

Kosovo, Peru, Mozambique and Uganda are just four of the countries that feature in the latest edition of the BMS World Mission magazine, ENGAGE. Filled with news and comment from some of the army of BMS workers who are spread out across four continents ENGAGE is available free of charge through the post or on line. 

To sign up for your regular copy go to www.bmsworldmission.org, call 01235 517700 or speak with Roger Robson, MBC’s missions link. Roger also has details of several other support initiatives that you can register for. 

Thank you. 


Sunday August 29th – David’s focus. 1 Samuel Ch 17, verse 46

This Sunday we reach the penultimate week our theme on David and Goliath and we will be looking at ‘The Right Focus.’
Join us in church from 10.30am for Sunday Café, which includes a Facebook stream at 10.45am hosted by Jan Fennell and then, with the addition of a live “sermon” we will watch our YouTube playlist which has kindly been put together by Adam Argyle.
If, however, you cannot make it to the building you can watch all this from the comfort of your home. The links you will need are Facebook live for the welcome and MBC’s YouTube playlist for the prerecorded material.

John Sturges funeral service, available to view here via the MBC YouTube channel

John Sturges who died on Tuesday 27th July at the age of 81, was a Midlander who converted to being a Yorkshireman in the late 1960’s. Brought up in Birmingham John grew up in a Baptist Church and committed his life to Christ in his mid teens. He also met his future wife Alison in church.

From school John started work as an engineering apprentice and came to Leeds and MBC when he moved to Leeds University as a Metallurgist. He later worked at Leeds Metropolitan (now Beckett) University rising to be a Professor.

Here at MBC John was elected to the Diaconate in 1970 and served for 5 years. He played a notable part in putting the church’s finances on a secure footing and also in the reorganisation of the Sunday School into the Family Church system we are still familiar with. Alison played a leading role in Church Playgroups for pre-schoolers and also in Brownies and Cubs. They were an integral part of the church from the 1970’s onwards and faithful , loyal church members. Sadly Alison died early, ten years ago.

Both John’s professional and Christian interests were broad. As a materials scientist he produced numerous papers and books and was a respected teacher. Latterly he became very involved in issues of sustainability and climate change. In fact on this website you can find a series of articles John wrote about that very subject.

In his late seventies John again served as a Deacon besides continuing to work academically and also volunteering as a counsellor at St Gemma’s Hospice. His long early morning walks were legendary among close friends.

John’s sudden and short illness leading to his death has shocked many and prevented him completing ongoing work. However, he spoke frequently of how blessed he was in life and of his confidence in his faith.

There have been many expressions of love and respect for John in the church. We uphold his daughter Julia, son David and their families before God at this sad time.

Roger Robson

John’s funeral service took place at Moortown Baptist Church  on Monday the 23rd of August and will be streamed live on the Moortown Baptist Church YouTube channel

Only a few weeks ago John recorded a series of prayers for our online Church at Home Service. Below you will find a link to the final part of that recording in which he concentrates his thoughts on Moortown Baptist Church.

Sunday August 22. Café Church… week four of our series based on the story of David and Goliath

On line and in the building…

Once again we begin our Sunday worship at 10.45am from MBC with a live Facebook stream. You can connect to this either HERE or by going to facebook.com/moortownbaptistchurch

Following that those of us that are in church will switch over to MBC’s YouTube channel where together we will watch all our prerecorded material. For those of you viewing at home you can of course watch this where ever you are and when ever you like via the same link.

This week, part four of our look at one of the Old Testament’s best known stories, that of David and Goliath sets the scene for the next week’s finale in which any lingering doubts anyone has about the sword being mightier than the word of God are blown away.  

Safeguarding – connecting well. Session 2, 21 August.

Just a quick reminder about our second Safeguarding training session which is happening this coming Saturday, the 21st August. It’s 10am for breakfast with a prompt start at 10.15 and anyone who didn’t attend the session on 7th August is invited to join us.
We had a lot of positive feedback from the first session and would encourage not just those of you who already volunteers here at MBC to come along but anyone and everyone who is keen to understand what being a “safe church” really means. 
If you are planning to attend (from start to finish – 2 hours tops) please could you let us know ASAP by dropping an email to admin@moortownbaptistchurch.onmicrosoft.com That way we’ll know roughly how many pastries to get. 




Encounters: The alabaster jar, Luke 7v 36-50

The alabaster jar has been sitting on the shelf for as long as I can remember. Just sitting there, unopened, gathering the dust of years. I can barely look at it. The jar is meant to be so full of promise – a gift from a parent to a child to be given to the new husband and broken at his feet as an act of commitment, honour and devotion. But I have no need of such a gift or promise. There is no one who would consider me as a bride. My hopes are unfulfilled, wasted, as the jar sits there accusing me, as I have given myself to so many different men. I have lost count of the number of men who have used and abused me. I do not know their names and I am now nameless and ashamed, my entitlement to marriage gone. But the jar of precious perfume, the oil that should be poured out as an act of extravagant love, sits there still.  

I heard that a new teacher had arrived in town. It was said that He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners, that He loved the un-loveable, that He touched the untouchable, that He could heal and that He could forgive sin. My sin lays heavily upon me and burdens my soul and my very being. The weight of it is crushing me. Could this teacher lift the weight of my guilt and sin and set me free? I was no longer afraid of those who judged, accused, tormented, hurt and spat at me in the street. I would walk past them and their taunts and find this Jesus. I would pass their doors and windows and seek the mercy of the One who says that He can forgive and redeem. 

But how can I enter the house of the Pharisee? I have met with so much rejection that it is an old friend to me. so, I will not knock at the door to be turned away. I have decided. I will take my precious jar, the one thing that I have and enter secretly, quietly, unnoticed. My one thing I will give to Him, pouring out the precious oil from the jar, as my act of love. I am nothing. So, I entered the room secretly, hiding my face and settled at the feet of the prophet, the One on whom all my hopes were laid as He reclined at table. My heart was bursting with emotion – my overwhelming need, my longing for forgiveness and relief, my love and devotion for the one who could turn my life around. And so, my scarf falls away and as my tears fall freely, I wash His feet, dry them with my hair and pour out the precious perfume on His feet. The room is filled with the perfume but also the angry silence of the onlookers and the Pharisee. He says nothing. He does nothing. They are all stunned by the sight before them. 

The horrified silence is broken by the gentle words of the teacher Himself. “Simon, I have something to say to you”. A story of forgiveness followed, a story of two debtors, one who owed little and one who owed a great deal. Both were relieved of their debt and released. Then a gentle rebuke to the Pharisee. “You gave me no warm greeting, water for my feet, or oil for my head and yet this woman has not failed to wash and kiss my feet and anoint them with oil.” He knew me. He had seen my need and my love, my silent pleading and repentance and gave His forgiveness and His peace. I will remember His words until my dying day: “Your sins are forgiven.” “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.” Those words are written on my heart. 

My precious alabaster jar with its perfume is gone – but so is my sin. 

The Pharisee had seen my lifestyle, my notoriety and my many sins. He had not seen me. The teacher had seen my heart, my sorrow, my desperate need for change and my longing for a new way of love. He had found me. I left that place in peace. 

Jane Coates. 16 August 2021

Recognizing and talking about sin

Talking about sin is difficult, so we avoid it.  It threatens our mental health and self-esteem.  But sin meets us massively in the world: we cannot deal wisely if we do not recognize it.  Political discourse becomes deceitful, evasive, and merely euphemistic when there is no political will or words to confess sin. 

Some take refuge in the belief that climate change was caused by the sun, so the earth and its inhabitants are innocent victims. Now we know the rise towards 1.5 degrees and beyond is significantly down to human activity. Individuals may deny responsibility, claiming they are swept along helplessly in the tide of impersonal forces, like population growth generating consumption beyond earth’s capability. But sin is more than guilt that can be pinned without remainder on offenders; it is sin when the ‘innocent’ individual refuses to accept that they are members of the community, who have their being only in sharing with others. Goodness, as opposed to sin, makes itself responsible for the plight of the world, even when it has done nothing to cause that plight. So God in Christ bears the sin of the world, being ‘made sin’ (II Corinthians 5.16-6.10) and only from that truthful point bringing new life to birth. 

We cannot now save ourselves from climate disaster unless we think and act communally and give ourselves to the common whole-world enterprise without claiming exemptions.  

The West is abandoning Afghanistan shamelessly, as though we are innocent and Afghans must take responsibility for the disaster. We say we can be proud of enabling the education of girls and are still unfazed by our overall failure.  We have spent many billions on fighting a war to keep al-Qaeda from our streets, but as this piece in the Guardian points out we have put too little money into Afghanistan’s governance and development. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/13/whatever-happens-next-in-afghanistan-a-humanitarian-disaster-is-already-in-train  

We have the expertise to fight for our own interest, till we are weary, but not so much wisdom or humility to help other people to live better.  Yet still we are not ashamed: those whose prime concern is their own safety will not be ashamed when they fail those they count as less valuable.  So our sin is unveiled in this history, but we refuse to know what we are doing – and that refusal is deep sin. 

Haddon Willmer    

An update on the use of face masks now we’re in the building more

In light of the Baptist Union’s most recent guidance we now require, not recommend or suggest but require that for any Service or event taking place inside Moortown Baptist Church anyone attending, unless exempt for proven clinical reasons to wear a face mask. This requirement applies to Sunday services, Lunch Club, Beacon Café, the Thursday Craft Group and Friday Bible Study.

In other words masks, not visors, as the BU say they are much less effective in preventing the spread of Covid-19 can only be removed inside MBC when a person is sitting down and at a safe distance from their neighbour. 

Sunday August 15th and much more

It’s been great to see so many of you in the building and joining online on Facebook or YouTube with our Sunday get-togethers. On the 15th August, 22nd August and the 29th August we’ll have a playlist of worship put together by friends at MBC that continues our ‘David, after God’s own heart’ theme.  I still have some space if you would like to pray or share something for the 22nd  or 29th so do record something and let me know. If you don’t know what or how to do it or want to chat thoughts do get in touch with me.  I can always record you on my phone at church or somewhere convenient for you. To give you some ideas, I’m wondering if someone could say a prayer, read or take a couple of minutes to share some thoughts on the theme.  It would be great to have a few of these thoughts so try not to assume that you aren’t good enough or no one will want to hear you.  God speaks through all of us.  We can get it uploaded to the right place ready for Sunday.  We would ask if you could get it to me a couple of days before the Sunday as I will need to upload it and send it onto those who technically upload the playlist to youtube.  We are trying to make our playlists all age accessible as much as we can so different faces/thoughts really help. As a reminder, we are looking at 1 Samuel 17 and specifically…

15th August:  ‘the right weapon’

29th August: ‘the right power’

29th August: ‘the right focus’

You don’t need to feel too restricted by this.  Last week in the service we did some ‘praying around the world’ and focused on Afghanistan helped by Phil Commons so if you have a country you would like us all to focus on then let me know and we can do that together.  As we heard on Sunday from Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people”.

We’ll be having a get together in the church building and under the gazebo’s (thanks to those keeping the gazebo’s going for us, it really helps for those who don’t want to come inside).  The get togethers will be at 11am on Sunday 15th, 22nd and 29th August accompanied by individually wrapped breakfast pastries and drinks although do feel free to bring your own if you prefer.  There is paper and colouring things too or you may want to create something as the playlist is played.  There’ll be a facebook live at 10.45am and then the playlist will be played in church as well as being accessible wherever you are, on the Moortown Baptist Youtube channel.

Other things to let you know about…

‘Unlocked’ a movement/dance workshop led by myself will take place in the building 4pm-5pm this Sunday 15th August and at the same time on zoom.  All ages and abilities welcome.  Come and relax, be free and explore your own movement in a safe space.  Zoom details below…

Topic: Creative worship

Time: Aug 15, 2021 04:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting


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Meeting ID: 844 4689 7321

Passcode: 095314

If you are joining on zoom please arrive in the zoom room ten minutes before so that we can start on time.

Most of you will have heard the sad news of John Sturges death a couple of weeks ago.  We will miss him very much but we know he is in glory with Jesus who has guided Him all these years and he is not in pain anymore.  His funeral date has moved to Monday 23rd August at 9am in church.  There will be refreshments under the gazebo after the service. There will be no beacon café on that day.

The thanksgiving service for Irene and Wilf that was due to take place on the 11th September has now been moved to May 7th 2022 so that more people will be able to attend as requested by the family.

I do hope you are all ok.  If you are on holidays, at home or away we trust you are having a good rest.

Do keep in touch and let us know if we can support you with anything at this time or you want to enquire about anything at all.  Our next livestream service will be 5th September but we will have some live elements over the next few Sundays for those in the building so do come along if you can.  We continue to have new people join us each week so do look out for them!

In Christ


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