Suspending public worship

We have regretfully decided (with the unanimous agreement of our Church Councils’ Standing Committees) to suspend public worship in our two parishes between now and the beginning of Lent (that is the five Sundays 17th, 24th and 31st January and 7th and 14th February).

It is the increasingly strong message from national Government and from Bradford Council in the last few days which has convinced us to stay at home and keep social contact to an absolute minimum at this point of heightened crisis.  We realise that this will be a particular disappointment to up to two dozen people who both attended public worship in the last few days and expressed then the hope that they would be able to continue to do so. 

We will of course continue our weekly on-line Sunday Worship video in partnership with West Lane Baptist Church (see the information below).  We will also revive the Bronte Virtual Church Blog (which has not updated for several weeks) with some simple forms of prayer to be used at home (and would welcome news of any who might like this material posted to them).

We would welcome any of our own regular attenders who might join in the new weekly Zoom worship at West Lane Baptist Church to feed back to us what they felt about the experience and whether, for example, this might form a good basis for a mid-week study or fellowship group through Lent.

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Lockdown caution

We will go ahead very carefully with the services already planned for Wednesday 6 January (10.30 St James’) and Sunday 10 January (9.30 St James’, 11.00 St Michael’s and 3.30 St Gabriel’s), and then assess take up, adherence to rules and any feedback to develop a plan for the following weeks.

Our weekly Online Worship, produced in partnership with West Lane Baptist Church and to be released on Sunday 10 January, is brought to you by the Rev’d Anthony Bennett this week, from a very snowy Nab Hill. The service is being released at 9:30 am on Sunday 10 January as a Video Premiere, it will be unavailable until then. View it below at any time from 9:30 Sunday morning onwards. Please tell a friend that they can listen to the audio by phoning 01535 286387 (calls charged at local rates and typically included within your call package).

Online Service for week starting 10 January:

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Services as 2021 begins

As 2021 gets under way we will continue to release a fresh Sunday worship video each week, produced in partnership with West Lane Baptist Church (scroll down for the latest).  For those able and willing to get out, we will also continue to have Covid-safe restricted Sunday worship at each of our three churches each Sunday (9.30 at St James’, Cross Roads, 11.00 at St Michael’s, Haworth and 3.30 at St Gabriel’s, Stanbury).  For 2021, we will now revert to the previous pattern of having Communion on 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays at St James’ and on 2nd and 4th Sundays at both St Michael’s and St Gabriel’s, with Morning Worship in the other weeks at each church.

Our Rector will remain on bereavement leave until 11 January following the funeral of his wife Deborah Mullins on 29 and 30 December.  The funerals of Joan Robinson (at St Gabriel’s, Stanbury) and Judith Baren (at Lees Methodist Church) will be both be on the morning of Wednesday 13 January, each in the place in which they worshipped for many years, but Covid-safe restrictions means sadly that these will have to be for small invited congregations.  We have also now learnt of the death of John Hopkinson (of West Lane Baptist Church).  So we mourn four close friends and supporters of our parishes, trusting that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God’.

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Online Services for Christmas

Our Christmas Online Service (available from midday on Christmas Eve):


Our video for the Second Sunday of Christmas (available from 9 am on Sunday 3rd January):

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Joy and sorrow: Christmas Communion and Deborah Mullins

Here again are the Christmas Communion times, each designed to be Covid-safe with masks (please) and careful distancing.

An on-line ‘Christmas Midnight Service’ video will be available here from Christmas Eve (our weekly Sunday on-line service released a few days early this week).

3.00 p.m. on Christmas Eve at St James’, Cross Roads

11.30 p.m. (‘Midnight’) on Christmas Eve at St Michael’s, Haworth

9.30 a.m. on Christmas Day at St Gabriel’s, Stanbury (space limited so best to tell 645102 that you are coming)

11.00 a.m. on Christmas Day at St Michael’s, Haworth

10.30 a.m. on Wednesday 30 December at St James’, Cross Roads

The heavy news is that Deborah Mullins died at her home at Haworth Rectory on Sunday morning at the end of a year’s illness.  Her funeral will be in two parts.  There is a strict legal limit of thirty people on the number who can attend and the immediate family will take half these places. 

But a few friends can be accommodated at one or other of the services, and a representative sample of those who might otherwise have come would be really very welcome, so do e-mail rector@haworthchurch.co.uk if you’d like to find out whether there is room. 

The Bishop of Bradford will receive her coffin into St Michael’s late afternoon on Tuesday 29 December, conduct the first half of a simple funeral service, allowing her then to rest overnight there. 

She will travel on to Brocklands Woodland Burial site the following morning (Wednesday 30 December) and the remaining part of the simple funeral service and burial will take place there; we hope soon to make it widely know at what time the hearse will leave St Michael’s (now fixed for 10.10) and at what time it will pass St James’ (now fixed for 10.20) that day; the regular mid-week Communion at St James’ follows at 10.30.

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Christmas plans

We are able to hold a few services provided people wear masks, sit well apart (we have available seats marked out), and don’t hang around to chat or socialise afterwards.

But we don’t plan to have a Carol Service (we can’t sing in church at the moment) or a Crib Service at St Gabriel’s (capacity is small and we are meant to leave the building unused for a period between services).

  1. Self directed for those with a smartphone

Not quite a Nativity Walk up Main Street, Haworth is being provided by eight posters, each with a bit of the Christmas story and a QR code link to a carol.  Stopping places on the way are Haworth Physiotherapy, The Old Registry, Tap & Tonic, The Fleece, The Cloth Store, The Hawthorn, The Black Bull and Haworth Steam Brewery.  Visit all or just one!

2. We still provide a fresh Sunday Worship video each week

A virtual Christingle Service (has been available from Sunday 13 December):

A virtual Nativity Walk (has been available from Saturday 19 December):

A virtual Midnight Communion available from Christmas Eve

Accessible from the front page of our churches’ websites and Facebook pages by a single click, and with audio of the most recent service is accessible by a normal rate phone call 01535 286387, all in partnership with West Lane Baptist Church.

3. Sunday 20 December (Sunday before Christmas)

Family Service with Christingles suitable for all ages, at our normal Sunday service times of 9.30 a.m. at St James’, Cross Roads 11.00 a.m. at St Michael’s, Haworth and 3.30 p.m. at St Gabriel’s, Stanbury (but let us know on 01535 648464 if you are coming to St Gabriel’s as space is limited there).

4. Thursday 24 and Friday 25 December (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

Christmas Communion spread across a variety of times

  3.00 p.m. on Christmas Eve at St James’, Cross Roads

11.30 p.m. on Christmas Eve at St Michael’s, Haworth

  9.30 a.m. on Christmas Day at St Gabriel’s, Stanbury

11.00 a.m. on Christmas Day at St Michael’s, Haworth.

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Plans change again for going into Tier 3

Our plans for December 2020, now that we’re in Tier 3 again

1.  We will still provide a fresh Sunday Worship video each week in partnership with West Lane Baptist Church.

This is accessible from the front page of our churches’ websites by a single click, and the audio of the most recent service is accessible by a normal rate phone call 01535 286387.   

Here is our Christingle one for the Third Sunday of Advent (it will be available to view after 10.30 am on Sunday 13th December):


And here is the one for the Second Sunday of Advent:


2.  We will now also provide an actual Sunday Service in each church each week Covid-safely; people sit well apart and leave without socialising.

  9.30 am           St James’, Cross Roads       ) the same service

11.00 pm           St Michael’s, Haworth         ) will be repeated

  3.30 pm          St Gabriel’s, Stanbury         ) three times

  6 December     Reflective Morning Worship for the start of Advent

13 December      Holy Communion as a personal Christmas preparation

20 December      All Age mini-celebration with Christingle elements

                        (space limited at St Gabriel’s so let us know to ‘book’)

27 December      Reflective Morning Worship for Christmas week

  3 January         Holy Communion as dedication for the New Year

3.  We again provide an actual simple mid-week Holy Communion each week; people sit well apart and leave without socialising.  

 10.30 am          St James’, Cross Roads each Wednesday

(but no longer an extra Friday lunchtime service at St Michael’s)

4.  We will work hard at planning and then announcing as good a pattern of Christmas services as we can manage.

These will be announced on our websites, Facebook and church doors as soon as we can.  There are also eight Christmas posters with carol QR codes going up both in Main Street, Haworth and central Cross Roads,

5.  We will still hold our annual meetings for both parishes very briefly after one of our morning Communion services; people sit well apart and leave without socialising.  Papers will be available in advance for all who request them even if they will not attend – any comments will be reported to what we expect will be small number attending the half-hour meetings.

        Cross Roads parish      11.10 a.m. Wednesday 17 Dec at St James’

        Haworth parish           11.45 a.m. Sunday 13 Dec at St Michael’s

6.  We are really sorry that we are not allowed to keep St Michael’s open for tourists while in Tier 3; we are hugely grateful to the Friends’ of the Brontë Church and our own team of Church Tour Guides who enabled us to do so on many days when we were in Tier 2.

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Advent possibilities

Just before you read about our plans, our on-line worship for Advent Sunday, 29th November, can be viewed below (but, sorry, it won’t be available until after 9:30 am Sunday morning):

For those who would like to share in a Sunday evening ‘course’ for the four Sundays in Advent, we do plan to do this as usual in partnership with West Lane Baptist Church, and will do so by Zoom.  It will be 6.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. each Sunday (beginning 29th November).  Just ask Anthony Bennett (Anthony.Bennett@leeds.anglican.org or 01535 279264) for the link.  Thoughts will spin off from four words much at the front of many minds at the moment: distance; safe; trust; normal.  Meanwhile, we’ll say more about any public worship plans for December and even Carol Service plans once the nature of new Government restrictions are fully announced and explained.

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Going into lockdown

It seems that we have to cancel all our plans for public worship for a month.  Of course, our weekly on-line Sunday worship will continue, and this is our latest video for Sunday 22nd November (sorry but it won’t be available until after 9:30 am Sunday morning):

This is last week’s service for Sunday 15th November:

The week before, we released a special Remembrance Service, which is still available for you to watch:

We will also be open for private prayer in each church for an hour each week with people sitting well apart and people leave without socialising with others.

Sundays               3.00 pm          St Gabriel’s, Stanbury        

Wednesdays       10.00 am           St James’, Cross Roads  

                          (but not on 11th November when there is a funeral)

Fridays              12.00 noon         St Michael’s, Haworth  

We have spare capacity and willingness as churches to support others and join with West Lane Baptist Church (the base of the Worth Valley Food Bank) in saying this widely.

Do feel free to contact us at rector@haworthchurch.co.uk or directly:

The Revd Anthony Bennett   279624     

The Revd Peter Mullins        648464

The Revd Julie Roberts        645102

The Revd Peter Wilson        644981

We also know just how many are praying for others and looking out for others as usual even when confined mainly to our homes.

But, please, do let us know if you think additional provision might meet people’s needs better.

Meanwhile the Archbishops have issued a letter last week:

Dear Friends,

These are deeply challenging and difficult times for us all.  When we are surrounded by fear and suffering, it can be hard to feel hopeful.  This coming winter feels like it will be longer and darker than usual.

There is a story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples are caught in a storm. The disciples are understandably terrified as the wind and waves threaten to overpower them.  ‘Why are you so afraid?’, Jesus asks.  This year, we too have been caught in a storm which often feels overwhelming.  And yet we can look to Jesus, in the boat with us, who calms the storm and comforts us in our fear.

We are writing to share our belief that whoever you are, and whatever you happen to believe, you are loved by God.  Beyond measure.  We also want you to know that we are praying for you, particularly asking that Christ’s love will comfort us, calm our fears, and lead our nation and our world through this terrible pandemic.  Starting this week, we have asked every church to pray each day at 6pm.  We invite you to join with us.  You’ll be able to find simple resources on the Church of England website and social media channels.

There are three other responses that we want to encourage everyone to consider –

First, let’s be calm.  By only buying what we need and not hoarding, or by reaching out to our neighbours as we did during the first lockdown, we can be stronger together in ways that are impossible if we go it alone.  When things go wrong – as they always will with such complex challenges – let us look for good and right ways forward together.

Secondly, let’s be courageous.  There are many reasons to be fearful at the moment, but the story of Christ calming the waves calls us to give our fears to Jesus and have faith in Him.  The British willingness just to get on with things is one of our very best characteristics – let us not be paralysed by fear.  We will all need each other’s courage in the months to come.

Thirdly, let’s be compassionate.  So many of us are holding so much pain – our own and the pain of those we love.  We will need to be gentle, kind and patient with each other.  In the first wave we showed we are a nation of compassion and kindness.  Let’s dig deep and keep that love for our neighbours strong in this second time of struggle.

Even though there is much darkness around us, there are also many points of light in the weeks ahead.

This Sunday is Remembrance Day.  As we remember the courage and sacrifice of those who gave everything for this nation in war, we are also reminded of the possibility for hope after destruction, of new life after suffering.  In the coming weeks, there are great religious ceremonies.  For Hindus, Sikhs and Jains there is Diwali, the festival of light.  Sikhs will celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak.  The Jewish community will observe Hanukkah.  Many Muslim communities have just celebrated Eid-e-Milad, the anniversary of the birth of Muhammad.

Soon it will be Christmas.  At his birth Jesus was also called Emmanuel.  It’s a word that appears in lots of carols.  It means ‘God is with us’.  And this is the message of Christmas: in Jesus, God is with us, sharing our darkness and our struggles, bringing comfort and joy.   It is the source of our hope. As the Bible says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)  Let us shine in the darkness of this winter.

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Our Sunday on-line services for October and November

We will continue to release a fresh on-line half-hour Sunday Worship video each week in partnership with West Lane Baptist Church.

>>Our Sunday Worship Video can be viewed at this link from 25 October onwards.         

>>Our Sunday Worship Video can be viewed at this link from 1 November onwards.         

Our Weekly Worship Video for 18 October can be viewed at this link:

Our Weekly Worship Video for 11 October can be viewed at this link:

Our Weekly Worship Video for 4 October can be viewed at this link:

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Here are our post-Christmas plans

Sunday 27 December: a simple Sunday service of Christmas reflections at each church (9.30 at St James’, 11.00 at St Michael’s and 3.30 at St Gabriel’s).  The weekly on-line service was released a few days early to cover both Christmas and the Sunday after Christmas (scroll down).

Wednesday 30 December: Deborah Mullins’ coffin will depart from St Michael’s at about 10.10 and will pass St James’ at about 10.20 on the way to her burial; Communion is then being celebrated in St James’ at 10.30 as usual.  Some people might like to access www.justgiving.com/deborahmullins

Sunday 3 January: celebrations of Communion (with dedication at the New Year) at each church (9.30 at St James’, 11.00 at St Michael’s and 3.30 at St Gabriel’s).  A fresh on-line service will be released (scroll down).

We are sorry to learn of the death of Joan Robinson, a long standing resident of Stanbury and member of St Gabriel’s, and pray for her family.

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