All Saints Church

Batley, West Yorkshire

Batley Parish Blog

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By Graeme Rayner, Feb 7 2016 10:44PM

Today my family and I visited Madina Masjid and Madressah Islamiyyah as part of the nationwide Visit My Mosque day. We first heard about this last week at our regular Sunday church service, and immediately thought it would be a great opportunity for us all to find out what Mosques are really like.

We arrived just before lunchtime prayers. After signing in we were asked to remove our shoes, and were shown into the main room in the mosque, where we were told we were welcome to observe the prayers taking place. Later in our visit I was asked by one of our hosts what I had felt when watching the prayers taking place, and all I could think to say was “privileged”. Prior to this, like a great many people, my awareness and understanding of Islamic worship came from seeing televised footage on news or documentary programmes.

What struck me most was how very familiar much of it felt. Firstly, we were shown to a temporary seating area at the back of the hall, and I couldn’t help but smile when the call went out for more chairs. And then the familiar sights of the last few people hurrying in, followed by a few latecomers. The sight of a young worshipper, late teens, discreetly checking he had turned off his mobile. The crying of a child during the worship. These are all sights and sounds that were very familiar to those of us churchgoers who were visiting.

In fact, this got me thinking about how much we have in common with our Muslim friends, who (in this case) worship just a few yards away from our good friends at St Andrews in Purlwell.

The format that worship takes does, at first, feel very different. However, the call to prayer that precedes the service for 15 minutes is designed to act as a reminder that worship is imminent, much like our bells. (Although in 21st century life, the call to prayer is broadcast from the mosque directly into the homes of worshippers via an in home receiver – an innovation which Rev’d Mark seemed particularly impressed by – UmplebyFM anyone?)

The services are led by an Imam, in this case one who has led worship in Purlwell for over 35 years. I learned that Imams study at home and abroad before qualifying, and the Imam I spoke with talked of feeling a calling, which many of our clergy will no doubt relate to.

In the wider sense, the similarities continued – the only paid members of the Mosque are the two Imams, with support coming from a committee of volunteers who assist with the day to day running of things, much like the work our churchwarden team, PCC and working groups undertake.

The traditional Muslim greeting of “As-Salaam-Alaikum” means “peace be unto you”, and the response of “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam” means “and upon you the Peace”. We Christians regularly share the peace with one another in our services.

In the Madressah, children learn more about their faith. The main difference here is one of scale. The Madressah has over 800 children who regularly attend, and they spend time here after school on weekdays, and on Saturdays too. They learn Arabic and study the Quran in a setting which is dedicated entirely to this purpose – a kind of uber Sunday School.

We had planned to “pop in and have a look” and ended up staying for around 3 hours, being given a tour, observing classes in the Madressah, speaking with Muslim scholars and the Imam. All of this was followed, of course, by some food and drink together. It was, put simply, fantastic. During a question and answer session at the end, issues of community cohesion were gently probed – it is clear that this needs to be the start of something rather than the culmination. It was explained that many mosques are concerned that by opening their doors they are opening themselves to the possibility of negative media coverage if someone says something that could be open to misinterpretation. One guy I spoke to explained that he felt too many people trust the printed press, and seemed relieved when I explained I don’t either!

It’s also clear that many people in the wider community still struggle to make distinctions between faith and politics, between what is happening daily in our local community to what is happening internationally and being piped into our homes on a daily basis. The overwhelming sense I got was that we’re not very different. We want similar things for our community, and we seem to all agree it is “our” community - not them and us, but we. We spoke often with Mohammed, who recognised my son Archie from the school run – Mohammed’s son Ahmed it a classmate! I’m certain Mohammed and I want similar things for our boys – health, happiness, a good education and the opportunity to put that education to good work. When we got home we discussed with our kids what they had thought, and they had really enjoyed the chance to see something new, and at the same time realised the similarities. And tomorrow Archie will tell Ahmed what he did, which is great. Yes, Ahmed will grow up in one faith and Archie another, but those faiths have an awful lot in common, as do our communities.

I want to thank everyone at Madina Masjid and Madressah Islamiyyah for welcoming us into their world. It was fantastic. Let us hope for many more afternoons like this.



By Graeme Rayner, Dec 2 2015 09:38PM

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!

Why not pause for thought, reflection and prayer each day in Advent. In our Advent Prayer Diary you will find a short verse from the Bible, an Advent nudge/reflection and then someone/place/event or group to pray for. Please take a moment with the words provided to pause for thought/prayer/reflection each day.

Sunday 29th Nov.

For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians 5:2

Reflection: You bypass every security code we devise (even encrypted) to open our hearts and tiptoe in.

Pray for: our 4 parishes of St Andrew’s, St Thomas’, St Paul’s & All Saints – as we begin our Advent journey & all who will visit our churches this month.

Monday 30th Nov.

‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ Matthew 21:5

Reflection: Look, our salvation is coming, so poor as to be born in a barn, right into the mess of our world.

Pray for the clergy - Martin, Val & Mark & their families and friends who support them.

Tuesday 1st Dec.

Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself”?’ Matthew 21:16b

Reflection: Today, listen to the carols babbled by babies, to the Hosannas sung by toddlers!

Pray for: The Whitfield Centre for the blind & visually impaired.

Wednesday 2nd

Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.’ Matthew 21:31b

Reflction: Following the asylum seekers, the rough sleepers, the innkeepers, the street sweepers: we find our way into your kingdom.

Pray for: All Guides/Brownies/Rainbows/Scouts/Cubs/Beavers groups – those who attend and volunteer.

Thursday 3rd

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. 2 Peter 3:14–15a

Reflection: In the waiting, may we find patience; in the patience, may we find peace; in the peace, may we find you.

Pray for: Fairfield Special School – staff and students & All local schools – students, teachers, support staff & governors.

Friday 4th

Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. Amos 5:15

Reflection: When love becomes as natural as breathing, and justice welcomes all without reservation, we will truly know God’s grace.

Pray For: Quest youth group at All Saints – for young people & volunteers.

Event: ‘Thinking about Christmas’ Coffee afternoon at All Saints (2pm)

Saturday 5th

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. Amos 5:24

Reflection: When we are tempted to believe that there is only enough justice to dampen the tips of our toes – sweep us off our feet with your raging torrent of righteousness.

Pray for: Dewsbury & Pinderfields Hospitals – all staff & patients and visitors. All GPs & surgeries/staff.

Sunday 6th

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Psalm 150:6

Reflection: Let everything I touch - I see - be an instrument of your praise!

Pray for: Our Readers – Tineke, David & Anne and all lay pastoral ministers. Pray for all who lead worship & musicians.

Events: Soroptimists Carol Service at St Paul’s (3pm) Advent Meditation at All Saints (4pm)

Monday 7th

O Lord God, forgive, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small! Amos 7:2b

Reflection: Take the wind out of our sails, deflate our puffed up egos, puncture our pomposity, till we are small enough to cradle in your heart.

Pray for: All who represent our parishes on Deanery, Diocesan and General Synods. & pray for Monday clubs/gangs at St Thomas’, St Andrew’s & St Paul’s.

Tuesday 8th

Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. Matthew 22:36–38

Reflection: God, enlarge our hearts, so we become compassionate. Deepen our souls, so we may overflow with your grace. Broaden our minds, so we discover you in each person. Fill us with your love,

so we may share it each and every day.

Pray for: all other ministers/churches/chapels in the area.

Event: Advent Service at All Saints – those on Step Forward & in house groups.

Wednesday 9th

They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues. Matthew 23:6

Reflection: When we long for the best seats in the house, hand us a ticket for the last row in the balcony, where you wait for us.

Pray for: Our neighbours/friends from other faiths – in particular our Muslim neighbours & for IMWS, PKWA & all mosques. Work of Near Neighbours and all working to bring people of different faiths together.

Thursday 10th

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. Psalm 62:5

Reflection: In the silence may I find hope. In hope, may I find trust. In trust, may I find you.

Pray for: Kirkwood Hospice – for all patients & staff. And for all those sick in body, mind or spirit & families/friends who care for them.

Friday 11th

In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came … Haggai 1:1

Reflection: In this year, in this month, on this day, may your Word come, in the way we least expect.

Pray for: St Paul’s Mothers Union Evening (7.30pm)

Event: All Saints’ Family Christmas Movie Night (7pm)

Saturday 12th

Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands – O prosper the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17

Reflection: Bless us, Lord, not so we become rich, but so more can be fed, sheltered, graced, loved – for this is our work!

Pray for: The Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales – Bishop Jonathan, Archdeacon Anne & all who work for the Diocese

Event: All Saints Christmas Fair (11am–4pm)

Sunday 13th

On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old. Amos 9:11

Reflection: From the ruins of our lives, you create a new community; from those days we would rather forget, you weave your future.

Pray for: our Sunday Schools – children & leaders.

Event: Christingle at St Paul’s (4pm)

Monday 14th

As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God. Psalm 40:17

Reflection: Let me remember those so poor that no one notices; those we forget as soon as we push them out of our way.

Pray for: Batley Care & Drop In – all who visit and the volunteers. For all who are homeless & those who seek to help.

Event: Bywell School Christingle Service at St Paul’s - Please pray for all staff, students, support staff & governors

Tuesday 15th

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. Psalm 33:5

Reflection: In this holy season, may we love righteousness more than receiving gifts, justice more than the jingles in stores.

Pray for: Luncheon Club at St Paul’s Hall – all who attend & volunteer -for our working together as Methodists & Anglicans.

Wednesday 16th

… and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal. Revelation 4:6a

Reflection: May we cast all our worries, fears and doubts into the crystal sea, so we may be filled with your holy presence.

Pray for; All Parish Church Councils - Church Wardens & Deputies – Secretaries – Treasurers - Members

Thursday 17th

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of perdition assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. Psalm 18:4–5

Reflection: You uncoil the cords of death from around us, so that they become the swaddling cloths of your birth.

Pray for: Batley Parish School Christmas Service at All Saints (2pm) – all students, teachers, support staff & governors.

Friday 18th

For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them … Matthew 25:14

Reflection: May I be as willing to take risks with others, as you are with me.

Pray for: Hanging Heaton J+I School Christmas Service at St Paul’s (2.30pm) – all students, teachers, support staff & governors

Saturday 19th

For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Matthew 25:35–36

Reflection: We search for you among the powerful and wealthy while you are with the kingdom’s citizens: the hungry, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, the lost and the lonely.

Pray for: Our government & local MP’s - Jo Cox & Paula Sherriff. and for all our local councillors who serve our communities.

Sunday 20th

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24:3–4

Reflection: Washing my hands with your gritty grace, I turn to follow you up kingdom’s hill.

Events: Service of Carols & Lessons @ St Andrews (9.30am) & All Saints (11am)

Christingles (4pm) at All Saints & St Andrews – the work of the Children’s Society

Crib Service (9.30am) & Carol Service (6pm) at St Thomas

Monday 21st

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. Zephaniah 3:16

Reflection: On this day (and on all the days to come) let me say: ‘I will not fear. I will not fear.’

Pray for: All those housebound, lonely or bereaved.

Pray for Batley Community Choir.

Event: Carol Singing around Batley (7pm)

Tuesday 22nd

Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Luke 1:38

Reflection: Here am I – show me how and where and who I may serve.

Pray for all refugees - & all seeking a safe place to live and or all aid workers seeking to help

Event: Messy Christmas at St Thomas’ Church (6pm)

Wednesday 23rd

Our God comes and does not keep silence. Psalm 50:3a

Reflection: God-who-comes, may we hear your whoops of peace above the din of war; your songs of hope drowning out the oppressor’s orders; your carols of love silencing cries of hate.

Pray for: All who care for older people and for Linson Court Nursing Home, Batley

Christmas Eve

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water. Psalm 114:7–8

Reflection: In the silence and in the singing, in the wonder and in the trembling, in the togetherness and in the solitude, I wait …

Events: Crib Service at St Paul’s (4pm); Nativity Play at All Saints (6.30pm); Bethlehem ‘Midnight’ Mass (9.30pm) at St Thomas; Midnight Mass (11.30pm) at All Saints

Christmas Day

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

Reflection: In the faces of my family, in the stranger on the bus, in the refugee on the corner, in the neighbour above me, I see you swaddled in each one’s love.

Events: Christmas Communion at St Andrew’s (9.30am), St Thomas (9.30am), St Paul’s (11am) and All Saints (11am)

By Graeme Rayner, Aug 25 2015 08:55PM

You may have noticed a new addition at the back of our church. This is our new Prayer Tree. A note from Tineke, Co-ordinator Pastoral Care and Discipleship formation :

Prayer is the glue that binds the church community and its members to one another and to God himself. It is in prayer that we build our relationship with God.

We are re-instating a regular prayer meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of the month from 7-7.30pm in the Lady’s Chapel. The focus will be prayers and thanksgiving for the work undertaken by all the churches in our benefice, for the local communities and for any individuals for whom prayers are asked.

To ground this prayer meeting in the church community you will have noticed a prayer tree in church. If you know of a situation or an individual that you would like to bring to God please write a card and hang it on one of the branches. The cards will be used in the prayer service starting on Wednesday 9 September at 7pm

By Graeme Rayner, Aug 25 2015 08:36PM

Reverend Mark Umpleby featured on BBC1's "The One Show" recently displaying his footballing prowess (!) in a local exhibition match between priests from the diocese and local imams. Sadly, the priests lost, but Mark can be clearly seen putting in a tackle of which Norman "bite yer legs" Hunter would have been proud, and a good time was had by all.

You can watch the full story here:

If you want to get in touch with Mark to congratulate him, why not send him a tweet? Find him on twitter by searching for @markumpl