There are almost 10,000 Methodist members in the Leeds District, and they belong to 118 local churches, grouped into 8 circuits. The District Chair, the Revd Liz Smith , chairs the District Synod and oversees the life of the District.
Leeds Methodist District registered Charity No 1139797
Putting People Before Profit
17th October 2013 was International Credit Union Day and Leeds Methodist Mission hosted a gathering of 50 people from churches across Leeds to discuss the issues of high cost lending and how the church might help those whose lives are blighted by both legal, and illegal, high cost lending.
The event was supported by Bishop John Packer, Rev Dr Liz Smith, Chris Smyth of Leeds City Credit Union, Dave Roberts, Financial Inclusion Strategy Manager from Leeds City Council (LCC), Rev Philip Bee from Churches Regional Commission for Yorkshire and Humberside and Deacon Jenny Jones, who is the Third Sector’s representative on the Welfare Strategy Board of LCC.
Affordable, ethical credit is key to maintaining stable communities. How can individuals or local churches help build a more just financial system and develop alternatives to high cost lending? One alternative is supporting the local Credit Union. Credit unions come in all shapes and sizes and do represent a more ethical, community-based approach to banking.
Putting People Before Profit is the strapline of Leeds City Credit Union (LCCU). For some time I have been in discussion with them and those discussions have gained momentum following the concerns expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury about high cost lending. There are a number of ways churches can engage with their local Credit Union, including:
The church has taken a strong lead on poverty issues. I would urge you to read the Joint Public Issues Team’s publication Truth and Lies about Poverty http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Truth-And-Lies-Report-smaller.pdf There is so much media mis-information it is important that we are not complicit with it.
Leeds City Credit Union has asked Laura Youds to follow up churches in Leeds to see whether they might support their work. If you want to have a conversation with her she is available at or 078945 87179 or 0113 242 3343. Bradford Credit Union can be contacted on 01274 434100
Mission Bicentenary in Leeds
The first weekend of October was a very full and busy weekend for Methodists in Leeds. We were celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first public meeting called specifically with the aim of appealing for funds to support Methodist missionary work overseas. This took place in the Old Boggard Chapel in Leeds on 6th October 1813, and led to the formation of the [Wesleyan] Methodist Missionary Society.
The connexional World Mission Forum took place at Oxford Place Methodist Church on the Saturday, and the Methodist Missionary History Project met at Hinsley Hall over the weekend. Visitors included Revd Ruth Gee, President of Conference and Dr Daleep Mukarji, Vice President of Conference, and three Church Leaders: Revd Arnold Temple, President of the Methodist Church in Sierra Leone, Revd Albert Jebanesan, President of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka, and Revd Cuthbert Edwards, President of the Methodist Church in the South Caribbean. Each of them was involved in leading worship in churches in the district on Sunday morning.
At 2pm on Sunday afternoon a plaque was unveiled on the approximate site of the Old Boggard Chapel. The gathering of people attending the unveiling of the plaque was a very moving sight. Assembled here, just below the West Yorkshire Playhouse, were World Church Leaders from Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, and the South Caribbean, former mission partners, former Presidents and Vice Presidents of Conference, connexional representatives, historians and evangelists, our current President and Vice President, Methodist people representing several generations of the Church today, and members of the Leeds Civic Trust. So many smiling faces, and such a spirit of thanks and celebration!
The sun was shining! The singing, accompanied by the Leeds Salvation Army Band, was heart-warming. We were reminded of the part played in the early history of Methodism by people in the city of Leeds. We gave thanks for all who have been part of this remarkable story. The final blessing was given by Revd Albert Jebanesan, from Sri Lanka, as it was to Sri Lanka that a group of missionaries set out very soon after the meeting held on this spot on 6th October 1813.
Following the unveiling of the plaque, we walked to Leeds Minster for the service of celebration. This was a big event, using every corner of this gracious building. The music and singing, in differing styles, filled the space; a canopy of world flags, stitched together by a refugee from Zimbabwe, and carried by a group of Methodist young people from Armley, was draped on the altar; we repented the mistaken attitudes of our past and received absolution from our World Church Partners, who encouraged us “to get over it”! A dramatic presentation from Applecart told the story of the events of 1813 and 1814: Thomas Coke, Jabez Bunting, and others were in our midst… Prayers of intercession were led by our partners from around the world. The Vice President challenged us with a spirit of urgency about how, today, we share the reality of God’s love for all, and the President invited us to make a fresh commitment to share in God’s mission, pointing to the complementary colours of the east window through which sunlight was streaming.
A big event, with many people to greet and to thank, and so much to celebrate!
Liz Smith, District Chair
MWiB Programme Announced (20 Sept 2013)