Summer Blossoms

We scan the autumn trees

Watching falling leaves

As they linger for a while

Pausing like a smile

On the lips of lovers

They dance on bare branches

Before taking their chances

Tumbling to the ground

Silent, not a sound

Joining others there below

Their flourishing will remain

In memories of the same

Young leaves of spring

Now lost until that thing

We call winter is gone and past

Then in our minds eye

Casting looks into the sky

We see our lost

Understand the cost

Our tears, our love for the summer blossoms


Death and Hope

A reflection on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane

Death (read top to bottom)

I am dying for nothing

And I refuse to believe that

Grace will find a way

I realize this may be a shock, but

The Father has a plan

Is a lie

This is all we can ever be

In time people will realise

I am right


Is more important than


I will tell you this:

In the beginning

I had a hope for all of you

But this will no longer be the truth

You are worth no more than dust

Ancient Scholars say

Death and destruction will follow

I conclude

This is the last hour of great beauty

In the future,

None will be saved

No longer can it be said that

You are God’s people

It will be evident that

You are alone

It is foolish to presume that

You have a Saviour.

Hope (read bottom to top)

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 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

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’


Trinity Sunday is one of my favourite Sunday’s to preach on. I know others dread it but I love standing in mystery and trying not to explain something unexplainable. I always feel it deepens my faith…

Shhh I can catch fairies

They sneak out late at night
So I sneak up behind them
I don’t want them to take flight

Shhh I can catch fairies

I take a jar to scoop them up
And a lid to trap them inside
The lids important don’t use a cup!

Shhh I can catch fairies

At least that’s what I tell them all
I like it when they think I’m magic
Even though I’m really not at all

Shhh I can’t really catch fairies

It’s really just all a trick
I use those fluorescent bracelet things
Cut off the bottom of them in a jar and flick

Shhh I can’t really catch fairies

But please don’t tell my kids!

The Wind

I love the idea of prevenient grace. A grace that goes before us, that has always been in the world, seeking us out. There are several occasions within The Bible where Gods Spirit is referred to as ‘wind’ or ‘breath’. It’s an image of power, you only need to see how crazy kids get on a windy day to understand that!

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 22.25.31

A Poppy

We exist in a constant cycle, renewed by God and his grace to each of us through the resurrection. Life continues because of the life he grants to us…

For my daughter

A Poppy

Mia picked a poppy
She liked its bright red bloom
She brought it in
And took it up, to brighten up her room

As days went past
The petals dropped, red upon the sill
but Mia smiled, she never stopped
It held a secret still

The flower dead
It’s beauty gone, a seed stands in its place
So life endures, it carries on
Like the smile on Mia’s face

When my petals long have dropped
And time is on its way
My smile will stay upon my face
In her, my life will stay


Climbing trees

Conversations about God with young children can be tricky. Tonight I was chatting to our 3 year old about how he might talk to God and what he might ask him. The converstation inspired me so much that I wrote a short poem…

A prince indeed, called Owen
Trying to climb a tree
A prince, indeed, called Owen
To see if he could see

A place to sit and stay awhile
A place to watch and be
A place to listen carefully
For the one his dad calls ‘He’

And if our prince can find a branch
High up in the sky
A branch where he feels close enough
So God can hear his question why?

He’d ask his question bold and strong
He’d ask it loud and clear
He’d shout it out, as children do,
Without a hint of fear…

God, why aren’t you called John?

Act like Men!

Sometimes it seems, it can be quite hard being a bloke in church.

It seems like when you say you’re a Christian, to some people that suggests that you are somehow less of a man. I think this may be due to the way in which we, as men, evaluate ourselves through other mens opinions . Or maybe it’s even more complicated than that. Maybe we evaluate ourselves through our opinions of what we think other mens opinions are of us!

If you’re still with me at this point……well done!

It’s prehaps a lot to do with courage and the suggestion that somehow if we engage in Christian community we are somehow hiding from the world.

So it’s not that we men are scared of religion or talking about our feelings. It seemingly has more to do with being scared about what other men may think when they hear of our involvement in church.

I was reading Corinthians again this week and decided to read 2 particular verses in a few different versions including the King James version and the English standard version.

the passage in question was 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

here it is from the King James……

‘Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.’

and from the English Standard version……

‘Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love’

In the King James version it’s important to note that ‘quit you like men’ means act like men.

So here we have a clear directive to ‘act like men’. It seems fairly clear here that Paul expects his readers to understand what he means when he says that. There is also a directive that everything we do is ‘done in love’. These two instructions are clearly not seperated, it is not a call for those of us who are macho to be manly and those of us who are tender to loving. It’s an understanding that our Christian faith requires both.

Paul challenges us to retain the identity that we have as men and bring that manliness into the way we serve God and love one another. It’s a call to show the courage to other men that we will stand for love, and the courage to show the church that when we do that we still stand as men.