On This Street

They know me at this bar

Where I sit sipping silken foam

The world passes by

A mix of the electric and the eclectic

So much life gather together

An enjoyment of all that is good

Broken only by the tearing noise of raging traffic.

Then once passed, we resume our enjoyment of all that is, and was, and still could be.

Live life with me

Here on this street


Holy Week Photography Project 2019 *Post Updated*

For our journey through Holy Week and into Easter day next year, 2019, the Bradford South Methodist Circuit would like to invite local photographers to capture a series of images. We hope that these images will show the broad themes of death and Resurrection which permeate our thoughts throughout this season by photographing places and situations around the City of Bradford. The Following document sets out the suggested inspiration for each of the photographs throughout the series.

It is the intention of The Bradford South Methodist Circuit that these photographs will form an exhibition in a gallery upstairs at The Peacock Bar on North Parade through Holy Week and Easter. The cost of publishing the images for display will be met by the Circuit.

There will be an opening night exhibition on the evening on Palm Sunday, 14th April (the Sunday which proceeds Holy Week) this exhibition will be open for viewing during The Peacock bar’s opening hours during Holy Week and the final ‘Resurrection’ photos will be unveiled during our Easter ‘Beer and Hymns’ at 7:30pm on Easter Day.

All contributors will be asked to provide a short biography and self portrait which will be printed in a program given to those who visit the exhibition.

The following passages should serve as inspiration for each of the images.

Monday Photograph 1- Jesus in the Garden

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’

He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.’

 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!’

Tuesday Photograph 2 – Jesus is betrayed


While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Jesus replied, ‘Do what you came for, friend.’[d]

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. ‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Wednesday Photograph 3 – Jesus is denied by Peter


Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him. ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said. But he denied it before them all. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant-girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’

He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don’t know the man!’

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’

Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’

Immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the cock crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Thursday Photograph 4 – Crowned with Thorns


Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers round him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. They spat on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Friday Photograph 5 – Jesus Dies

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).[d]

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, ‘He’s calling Elijah.’ Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, ‘Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.’

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

Easter day and beyond – Resurrection – 5 Photographs showing the life and rebirth of Bradford

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’


Photographers wishing to take part in this project are invited to submit their photograph for the first of the series to starnoldsbradford@gmail.com as soon as possible.

All photographs you would like to be considered for the exhibition will need to be submitted before Sunday 3rd March in order to allow time for the exhibition to be curated and the images prepared for display.

Thank you


In the last few months I’ve been trying to build a new Church.

A church which tells old stories in new and imaginative ways.

A church which is open and welcoming to everyone, at any stage of their journey through life.

Open, encouraging and inclusive.

Meeting at The Peacock Bar, 25 North Parade, means we are not bound by any rules of ‘normal’ churches.

The following is a write up of our first ever meeting….

If you’re wondering what we actually did at the first of these events I’ll give you a quick walk through…

We watched some music videos with me suggesting some ways that they link to the story of the woman at the well. While we did that we used a plastic cup to think about water, drinks and being thirsty. At one point we discovered the cups we had couldn’t be fully filled because they all had something in them already. Each cup had a piece of a dissolvable sterilising tablet inside which we decided to get rid of so we could fill our cups with new things. We tipped the tablets into a large, clear vase of water and watched them disappear. After listening to the story from Johns gospel of ‘The Woman At The Well’ we started to think about what we’d like to fill our cups with. As we watched a music video for the song ‘There is hope’ we thought about people we might try and help (including ourselves) Everyone was then invited to receive communion, if they wanted to, pouring wine into their empty cups as a sign that wanted to receive a blessing.

Some people joined in every part of the service, others didn’t and no one was made to do anything that they didn’t want to.

The whole service was designed to try and help us all think a little deeper about life, love and faith but it was up to each person there to decide what the words, pictures and actions meant to them.

We’ve met again a couple of times since then, we’ve looked at other stories together.

After every service you’re very welcome to stay for a drink (and some bread and cheese) and ask any questions or tell me your story.

It would be wonderful to see you there, whoever you are.

We meet again tomorrow (29th March) at 11am

You can follow our events on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/285065488666253/?event_time_id=285065501999585?ti=icl

Good Friday

We need to talk about Easter eggs…

No, not chocolate eggs. It’s still a few days too early for that. I mean the Easter eggs you find in films, the little ‘in jokes’ that only fans or those really paying attention would catch. These little gifts from directors pop up quite regularly and often point to another place in the story. I love films that tell good stories and tell them well. Some of the best films are those where the director has already given you clues to the ending all the way through the film but those clues have been hidden well enough that they all come to together in a great moment of realisation. It’s the moment when you realise Bruce Willis hasn’t spoken to anyone else but the kid and was always wearing the same shirt or when you understand why Norman’s mother is as ‘harmless as one of those stuffed birds’.

The foreshadowing used in these instances enriches the stories and often makes us desperate to rewatch the films with our greater understanding, appreciating the fact that the truth was always there barely concealed before us.

Today is the Friday that we followers of Christ call ‘Good’. A day when we remember the death of Christ with all its sorrow and love. It’s a story which stirs up a full range emotion which has its beginning at the dawn of creation. Throughout human history God has constantly sought a relationship with his people. In the Old Testament this covenant relationship is renewed time and again through sacrifice and blood.

It’s the details that I want to highlight today.

When Moses makes a sacrifice and splashes blood on the alter to seal the covenant between God and the children of Israel we are told he uses a branch of the hyssop tree. At the last supper, Jesus links wine and blood as he calls on his disciples to remember him whenever they drink. Later in John’s gospel we are told Jesus is offered wine at the final moment of his sacrifice. Wine held up to him on a sponge, a sponge held on the end of a branch of hyssop.

In that moment we are transported through generations, we are shown the full picture of God’s enduring love and grace for his people.

The truth, always there, barely concealed before us.

‘This post was written while sitting in the cozy environment of The Record Cafe enjoying a 1/3 of ‘I played Bass on that’ from Verdant Brewery’

£1 Chicken

Living life right in the city, love this place tho times be gritty.
So many crims, too many victim.
Too many shops sellin one pound chicken.

Bradford city, Bradford grime.
Walking streets means spending time, with all people many equal
Many lost brothers with an urban shine

Shine be shady lost lights for days, walking through the valley of a permanent haze.
Clouds drifting from suits really smell like tango.
Different sweet smell from the hoods and mans though

Bimmer engine screaming after dark, racin through the city past city park.
Young soldier feelin it, fearless in rage.
Tomorrow’s lost soul, T&A front page

Problem shared be a problem split, problem child might end up slit.
Hand to arm wrist open out so to rest laid,
Another father gone repeat to fade, repeat to fade

Or take the pain out with chems and beer.
Sink another cheap whisky bottle here.
Or if that buzz don’t hop, Pay a visit to another magic phone shop

Hear the pain take it in so feelin it,
Pray to God that He might be healin it.
See the good in brothers light on be flickin
But there’s still too many shops selling one pound chicken

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.

https://bradfordcentral.foodbank.org.uk 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!

Changes – A Better Bradford

Citizens of Bradford this is a rallying call

Last Monday I attended a meeting at Bradford University. Around the table sat people from different Bradford institutions. Different people, with different jobs, from different generations, representing different faiths and none. Some working in early years, some in further education, some involved in local politics, some in pastoral charge of congregations.

Different people, one desire...

We all want a better Bradford.

As we took it in turns to tell of our experiences of Bradford it became clear that we were all in love with this city, our city. Some of those who had gathered were born and bred here, they’d seen the changes, they’d lived the changes. Others of us were far more recent adoptees, but no less in love for that.

We all want a better Bradford.

Bradford Citizens is, for all of us, a chance to see that realised. It’s a chance to be part of something new and exciting. It represents a chance for all of us to be more and do more than we ever could hope on our own. It’s not just a ‘talking shop’. Bradford Citizens is a way for us, all of us to make a difference. It’s a way for our communities to hold ‘our leaders’ to account and to grow leaders of our own. It’s about loving where you live and having pride in all that we can do to make our lives and the lives of our children better.

We all want a better Bradford.

We refuse to be the butt of everyone’s joke anymore. We will not be the negative example that the media loves to use. We aspire to be more than the lazy stereotypes that get dusted down and trotted out. We want the children of this city to strive for greatness and know that their communities will break their backs to support them.

We all want a better Bradford.

We want to be a part of making history and we want you to join us. Unity is key in providing opportunity for improvement. Let’s start with what binds us. Let’s rise up together and transform this great city into something more wonderfully diverse and unique by starting with our common desire…

We all want a better Bradford.

We want and need you to be part of this change.

Bradford Citizens is currently seeking ‘Founding Partners’. These Partners will be responsible for employing a community worker who will help co-ordinate our community action. Initially they will help us to listen. They will set up a listening project for every local community area in Bradford. Through this listening project Bradford Citizens will be able to clearly hear the concerns of it’s communities. Once these concerns have been identified Bradford Citizens will highlight a number of priorities and then invite those with power in those areas to meet with a gathered assembly and address those issues head on. For some examples of how this works, and it does work, you can read some of the stories from other Citizens groups around the country.

So if you are ready to hear the call, come and join us. Encourage whoever is the leader in any institution you are part of (school, place of worship, community organisation, etc.) to find out more about becoming a ‘Founding Partner’ or Bradford Citizens. Email our voluntary Community Organiser, Sam sam.causton@gmail.com

The more groups we have involved, the easier it will be to raise the required funds for the community organiser we hope to employ and the fees required to become part of the nationwide Citizens movement.

This is your chance to make a change.

We all want a better Bradford