The Harvest

I’m very excited about our next #beerandhymns event at Bradford Brewery.

‘The Harvest’ will be our traditional harvest festival where we’ll gather together to sing about God’s goodness to us, drink some cracking beers and make our offerings for Bradford Food Bank. has loads of information about the donations that are needed and how they’ll be used.

Please feel free to download the poster in the post and share it with your church/group/family/pets anyone and everyone basically!

If you’d like any more information about this event or the St Arnold’s Pub chaplaincy project please do leave me a message on this post or hop over and see me on twitter @StArnolds

Hope to see lots of you on the 9th October


St Arnold’s and Sabbaticals

This year marks a significant milestone in my ministry.

I have now been stationed as a Methodist Minister for 10 years. In that time I have served in three different circuits (Keswick and Cockermouth, Leeds North East and Bradford South), I have had some responsibility for at least 19 different churches and I’ve also managed to get get married and have two children.

Such a lot has happened. There have been incredible highs and crushing lows as I’ve been invited to be a part of peoples lives. I feel incredibly privileged (most of the time!) to occupy the role which I do.

This year the Methodist church has given me a gift. When a minister reaches 10 years ‘of travel’ we are granted a three month Sabbatical. This is time set aside to step out of the regular work of the appointment you are serving in and take a different focus. For me that means a chance to write some children’s stories, something i’ve hoped to do for quite a while but I never seem to have been able to find the time.

It does mean that I will be taking a break from running St Arnold’s from June-August so there’ll be no #TheVicarsInn or #BeerandHymns over the summer (although I will still be about enjoying Bradford and it’s events such as The Drunken Film Festival)

After that break i will very much be back to working with St Arnold’s. Actually i’ll be spending far more time within the City centre as the Circuit (group of Methodist Churches) I’m stationed in have decided that from September my role will change. Instead of St Arnold’s being something that I do around all my other Circuit responsibilities I am, with support from the wider Methodist church, The West Yorkshire Methodist District and our neighbouring circuit in Bradford North, being released to work ‘half-time’ as a City Centre Chaplain. This means i’ll have lots more time to come up with crazy ideas for #BeerandHymn events, more time to support local businesses and most importantly more time to talk with people about the things in their lives which matter to them.

I can’t wait!

It’s a brilliantly exciting project to be part of and a real stepping out in faith for the church.

Hopefully i’ll see lots of you before I begin my Sabbatical, remember it’s #BeerandHymns Songs From The Terraces on Sunday 1st May at the new “Made of Bradford’ bar on Ivegate. #TheVicarsInn will also still be happening every Monday night through the rest of April and May.

If i don’t get to see you, have a wonderful summer and I’ll see you in September!

The Broadway

Standing in a line with over 100 people in front of me and around 500 behind 35mins before opening time gave me a real chance to take in the atmosphere of expectation surrounding today’s opening of Bradford’s new shopping centre. 
Before joining the queue my lad and I had walked around one of Bradford’s other jewels, the beautiful urban garden that is City Park. It was a good chance to reflect on how far this City has already come. When I first experienced Bradford it was on a night out with a girl I had met online (that same girl would later become my wife). That was 11 years ago before mirror pools, before the renovation of the West End, before The Independent Quarter, when the Odeon’s future was undecided and Westfield was still just a muddy hole. 
Usually I’d have gone for a coffee at one of my favourite ‘new’ independent cafes, The Pavilion, but this morning I was drawn to an older venue. I succumbed to the temptation of the Red Cups and visited the old (yes Guardian readers, the old) Starbucks. After our drinks we made our way back past One of the entrances to the exciting Sunbridge Wells project and the tables outside Wetherspoons. There were a number of contractors sitting outside who I assume must have worked through the night to ensure The Broadway would meet its deadlines. They were wearily lifting well deserved pints when I stopped to thank them. They didn’t really seem to understand and looked at me as if I was quite mad. I obviously didn’t do a very good job of explaining how The Broadway can represent more than just shops. 
Back to the queue and the building anticipation. I’m glad that I decided to be there. All around me people were being Bradford at its best. A whole range of people cutting across all of Bradford’s cosmopolitan community were ready to celebrate together. 

I’d really only decided to go along because of the belated inclusion of a new Bradford Brewery bar and I’m glad I did. 
The Made Of Bradford bar is a spectacular example of what the hard working people of this city can achieve. Work had carried on all through the night with finishing touches made just hours before opening. The designer David Craig, who’s other work in the city will be familiar to anyone who has visited a number of bars in the trendy Independent Quarter, has done a wonderful job of bringing a sense of Bradford’s industrial heritage to a shiny new shopping centre. I also love the accents of claret and amber he’s used to bed the bar into the psyche of the city and the huge pink ‘Made of Bradford’ sign that boldly and unashamedly contrasts and clashes with everything. 

The Broadway have been using the hashtag #newcitysoul in their marketing. They have, quite understandably, taken some flack for suggesting that Bradford needed a ‘new’ soul and that they could be the ones to provide it. The truth is Bradford will always have a deep sense of soul. It already lives in the streets, the buildings and most of all the people. Perhaps talking about reviving, rediscovering or releasing that soul would have been a better idea. As I walked through the crowds and spent time talking and listening with folk today that’s certainly what seemed to be happening.
I think the council leader, Dave Green, probably summed things up best when during his speech today he talked of Broadway as providing the ‘straight edges of a jigsaw’. There’s still a lot of gaps to fill in but at least now we have a better idea of the picture that might be created.
My call to anyone who reads this is the same as it has been for the last couple of years. I encourage you all to rediscover your city, visit the places you thought you knew and see just how much they have changed, #lovewhereyoulive and remember to always #bigupbradford