Messages from Mike - Thursday 18th May 2023
Today marks the start of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and I’d like to encourage you to keep on praying for God’s Kingdom to be seen in Keighley, and for us, God’s people, to be inspired and empowered to live out the Kingdom of God.
We’ve been thinking on a Sunday in each of our churches about our parish vision – Seeking, Sharing, Growing. I hope you’ve heard the encouragement to a deeper walk of seeking God in prayer and growing in faith, but also received the challenge to ask how we each can take those opportunities to share Jesus with those around us.
Here are some specific things to pray:
- for all of the preparation for Festival of life on Saturday 27thand for good weather for the whole weekend
- for God’s blessing on our outreach as we join with Christians from across Keighley both at Festival of Life and Pentecost Sunday
- For the message of new and abundant life in Jesus to be heard and received by those who do not know him
- for the interviews taking place for new roles in our parish – Ops Manager, Administrator, Pastoral Evangelist and Mission Apprentices – for wisdom and guidance for the panel in appointing the right people.
for the interviews taking place for new roles in our parish – Ops Manager, Administrator, Pastoral Evangelist and Mission Apprentices – for wisdom and guidance for the panel in appointing the right people.
For a fresh experience of the Holy Spirit and signs of the Kingdom of God transforming lives in our town
And here again is our vision prayer, which I’d encourage you to use in your prayers for the parish:
God of grace, who loved our world so much that you sent Jesus;
send now your Holy Spirit to give vision to our planning, wisdom to our actions, and power to our witness, here in Keighley.
Help our churches to seek your kingdom, to share your good news and to grow together in loving friendship, in service to our local communities and in spiritual commitment to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. Exodus 15:13
Messages from Mike - Thursday 11th May 2023
I hope you’ve been enjoying the current series on a Sunday morning looking in more detail at ‘Seeking, Sharing & Growing’. These are the lenses through which we look at our life as parish and which help us to plan and prioritise.
Alongside this preaching around our vision, we are also introducing the ‘Parish Giving Scheme.’ This is funded by Leeds Diocese to help us coordinate our regular giving and maximise gift aid claims. Much of the Administration will be done for us which reduces work for our admin/finance team. Leaflets are available in each of our churches and we’ll be telling more about this. If you have questions about this speak to members of the clergy or get in touch with our parish treasurer Amiri Agbai.
As we approach Pentecost we will be joining with churches across the world in marking ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and would encourage you to be praying especially for the activities on Pentecost weekend – Festival of Life on Saturday 27th and Churches Together open-air worship on Sunday 28th . There will also be a special 24/7 prayer day on 24th May .
Messages from Mike - Thursday 6th April 2023
At the Last Supper Jesus shared bread and wine, by which his followers were to remember him; his body broken and his blood shed for us. He knows that his unswerving commitment to bringing in his Father’s new world order of love, forgiveness and wholeness to our broken world would ultimately cost him his life. Yet we know that this was God’s plan; for Christians this story of his ‘passion’ isn’t a story of tragedy but of glory. God in the person of Jesus gave himself up to suffer and die, to bring us forgiveness and new life. The story does not end with death!
The events of Easter Sunday morning led to wonder and joy as Jesus followers found him alive again.
Their lives were transformed by the power and extravagant love of God and, today around the world, thousands of Christians tell of the signs of Gods kingdom which are experienced as a result of what Jesus did. And Jesus’ new commandment is for us too; we are to love one another as he loves us. The story of his ‘passion’ goes on……..
Hallelujah Happy Easter.
Messages from Mike - Thursday 30th 2023
The Easter story of the Passion of Jesus Christ is gripping, tragic, wonderful and deeply moving all at the same time. It’s the story of Jesus and his love for the world. The big scenes with the crowds on Palm Sunday and Good Friday are contrasted with the intimate scenes of the last supper. Jesus is with his close friends, washing their feet, telling them of his coming death and breaking bread and sharing wine.
The cry of ‘Hosanna’ on Palm Sunday turns to ‘Crucify him’ on Good Friday; Peter’s promise of sticking with Jesus to death turns to ‘I don’t know him’ as the other disciples all run away. Jesus has been telling them that he is going to die and rise again but they are afraid and don’t quite get it!
This Holy Week I invite you to join with services and reflections across the parish in our different churches, be it a quiet service of healing at St Barnabas on Palm Sunday evening, night prayer at the beginning of the week, Baptisms and Confirmations at St Andrew’s on Maundy Thursday or the Walk of Witness starting at St Mark’s on Good Friday.
This Holy Week, let us allow the power of the story to speak to us, touch our hearts, capture our imaginations and transform our lives. We cannot be touched by such love and remain the same.
May we know the presence of the Lord Jesus as we follow the way of the cross.
Blessings , Mike
Messages from Mike - Thursday 23rd February 2023
Messages from Mike - Thursday 12th January 2023
With the busy-ness of Christmas now over and the New Year opening up before us I’d like to ask you to pray for the Core Team (Mike, Natasha, Alastair, Tracey & Paul) who will be out of the parish next Tuesday to work together on vision, strategy and team building for 2023. It feels that Alastair has landed really well with us but next Tuesday will only be his 100th day, so still early days! Unity, good relationships and trust are foundational to this parish and I’d ask that you remember us especially next week.
I’d like to remind you of this piece that I wrote in the update in November https://keighleyparish.org/2022/11/17/kaleidoscope-keighley/ as it lays out some of the plans for our working as team across the town. PCC and strategy groups will also be meeting this month and so we’ll be sharing much more of the plans for 2023. I’m excited for what God is already doing and am hopeful for all that is to come.
Yesterday I read Psalm 19 which ends with familiar words of prayer – May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always pleasing to you, O Lord my rock and my redeemer. – let’s commit ourselves to speaking with care and to seeking with all our hearts to know God more in the year ahead.
Messages from Mike - Thursday 5th January 2023
Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labour;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
This was our Psalm on Tuesday Morning as the team met for prayers at the beginning of this new year and it feels to me like a good way to start 2023! Here we are reminded of the promised blessings of God but also find instruction on how we are to live – the fear of the Lord and walking in obedience.
Fear and obedience don’t necessarily appear as good ways to approach God but when we understand the wonder, greatness, majesty and awe of God then that helps us to find a healthy perspective on life. Our loving heavenly Father is also Lord of the Universe. He made us and knows how we can thrive as we put our hand in his and follow in his steps. There is work to be done but also the promise of enjoying the fruit of our labour.
Thank you as always for being part of what God is doing in Keighley. Please continue to pray for the work of the Kingdom across this town and for his blessings in wonderful and surprising ways.
Revd Canon Mike Cansdale
Messages from Mike - Thursday 8th December 2022
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light! (Isaiah 9v1)
As the days shorten and the sleeps to Christmas are counting down, our churches are all set to welcome family, friends and neighbours to share in the celebrations of this season. We’ve already begun this week with a Christmas Fayre at St John’s, Mulled wine and mince pies with the neighbours at St Mark’s, After School Church at St Barnabas and Beavers and Cubs Christingle at St Andrew’s.
On the next page you’ll see the listing of services and events at each of the churches and I’d encourage you to use this as a prayer list for the coming month. We can’t possibly go to everything but it would be great to be praying for each service across the whole parish. In addition to these advertised events there are also events to pray for like the CAP Social on Saturday 17th and Grub’s Up Christmas Meal on 22nd December.
As you are praying, you may see something in another of our churches that you’d be interested in getting to so why not go along.
May the wonderful light of Jesus is revealed this Christmas to those who don’t yet know him.
Messages from Mike - Thursday 7th November 2022
I hope you’ve all had the chance to meet Rev Alastair Kirk, our new Team Vicar? He’s had a busy first month, ministering in each of our churches and making a good start with his team oversight role for All Age Discipleship. If you were with us for his licensing you’ll have heard me talk about the Kaleidoscope and I want to share this again here. At Rev Julie Fleming’s licensing, Archdeacon Andy Jolley shared with us a picture that he’d seen when praying for the Keighley team.
Like me, you may have had a kaleidoscope when you were younger and can remember looking through and seeing the different shapes and colours, moving in sync, growing and merging and then separating out again. It’s a beautiful thing and quite mesmerising.
In establishing the new team and for us as a parish this idea of the Kaleidoscope feels to be important. We need to understand and see how we, with different roles and responsibilities, different gifts and passions are called to me be moving together, aware of each other and finding ways to share in and complement what others are doing. Rev Tracey found the picture here – it’s lovely how it’s all centred around the light, with the various shades and colours reflecting that light.
The Parish of Keighley has three vicars (2.5 stipend) – each of us has a whole parish role; each has a church/congregations to which we will relate in terms of pastoral contact and leadership; but it’s important that we all will be known in each of the congregations. Therefore:
· Rev Natasha is our strategic lead for Mission and primary person for St Mark’s
· Rev Alastair is our strategic lead for All Age Discipleship and primary person for St Barnabas
· Rev Mike leads on vision, holds oversight for the whole parish and is primary person for St Andrew’s
· In addition we have Paul Fleming, our operations manager as strategic lead for communications, finance and administration.
· Alongside this we continue to work closely with St John’s Ingrow, valuing from Tracey’s involvement in our strategic groups and input into pastoral care.
The wider parish team of lay people (licensed or otherwise), retired clergy and employed staff also need to see themselves as part of this kaleidoscope. You may for example, worship at St Mark’s, volunteer at the Welcome Café and be interested in contributing to pastoral care. When we understand ourselves together, it strengthens the whole. Thank you for your part in Kaleidoscope Keighley!
Messages from Mike - Thursday 6th October 2022
It has and continues to be a busy productive week here at the Parish, last Sunday we had our Re-source day, we were glad to welcome Kevin Roberts back to Keighley with a colleague, Alison Fleetwood. We had an encouraging time of teaching, worship and ministry.
Gift Day is with us on the 9th October, we are hoping to raise £40 000 through our gift day and grants this October to support our work in 2023.
Owing to rising costs and expansion of our outreach work, we need to raise these additional funds to support our Parish-wide work. God has been faithful and true to us and we can all play a part in His vision for Keighley.
We are having a Pizza and Quiz night Saturday the 8th at St Andrew’s, and Sunday 9th sees the licensing service of our new Team Vicar for All Age Discipleship, Alastair Kirk, at 4:30pm at St Andrew’s (KSC). Sunday 9th also being our Harvest Festival.
Lastly, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Kathryn Hardeman to the role of Children and Family Worker.
Messages from Mike - Thursday 12th September 2022
I WONDER what your memories are of her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth? Over the weekend many churches, community buildings and other places of worship have been open to allow people to come and light a candle, or say a prayer, or write in a book of condolence. Many have wanted to stop and share a story of what has stood out for them – and it’s been good to talk and good to listen.
Stories are a way in which we make sense of who we are and how we make sense of our place in the world. We are shaped by the people we know, the places we’ve lived and worked and the experiences of life, both good and bad. And by the choices and commitments we make.
Nurtured by her Christian faith, she committed on her 21st birthday to serve her country and the then empire. “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong. God help me to make good my vow.”
The Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year marked that amazing life of faithful service and we give thanks for all that her majesty meant to so many. In her Christmas message in 2014 she had this to say: “For me, the life of Jesus Christ is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.”
Elizabeth has been the only monarch that most of us have known. In this period of national mourning, let us take time to reflect and give thanks. Let us ask ourselves how we might copy her incredible example of a life well lived.
Messages from Mike - Thursday 31st August 2022
September marks the beginning of a new school year, and for us in the parish of Keighley, it marks the forming (finally) of our new team. We look forward to the licensing of Revd Julie Fleming as Associate Priest on 11th September and Revd Alastair Kirk as Team Vicar for Discipleship on 9th October. We are also seeking new team members for our town centre ministries and children, family and youth work. There are some exciting new things coming but also some significant endings that we are marking.
The Resource Day is something I’d like to commend to everyone in the parish. It’s taking place on Saturday 1st October and will provide time for learning, prayer, fellowship and food. Without the Holy Spirit, our faith can become dry and we can feel weary. The day is intended to offer spiritual refreshment and time to learn together. We’ll be led by Ven Kevin Roberts, a wise minister and gentle encourager. Please let the office know if you’d like to come, or talk to me if you want to find out more.
All Saints Church has been a base of fruitful ministry for many years but I want to inform you that the difficult decision has been taken by the PCC, with the congregation, to explore the closure of the building. The process, led by the Diocese, may take some time but the congregation of All Saints are planning toward a special Sunday, to celebrate all that All Saints have been over the years. This will take place on 30th October 2022, the closest Sunday to All Saints Day and I’d love to see members from across the parish for this celebration. Although this is a possible ending it is also something of a beginning, as the people of All Saints explore where they will belong and how they will continue to contribute to the mission and ministry of the Kingdom of God in Keighley.—Please join me in praying for the many things coming up in this Autumn term.
Messages from Mike - Thursday 18th August 2022
Personal growth and leadership
Back in February, a number from the parish attended a taster day for this course and here’s an invitation to any who might like to consider joining the full course.
The model is one Saturday a month with a meeting in the parish in between the monthly sessions. Colin Meredith, Anji Thomson and Ros Fisher took part in this with Rev Natasha last year and would I’m sure be happy to tell you more. I will be the clergy person on the group this time around.
Andy Jolley (Archdeacon) writes:
‘The Personal Growth and Leadership Course have been a catalyst for personal and church growth across the Bradford Episcopal area. To date over 100 people from 23 churches across the area have participated in the course. The stories of people releasing more of their potential and growing into leadership through the course are inspirational. This is a core part of seeing our Diocesan vision of ‘Confident Christians, Growing Churches, Transforming Communities’ become an increasing reality.’
Sessions will run on Saturday mornings starting with coffee at 9.30 am for 10 starts, aiming to finish promptly at 12.30 pm. We are planning to meet at Fountains Church, Glydegate. Bradford BD5 0BQ. The dates for the course are:
September 24th, October 22nd, November 19th, January 21st, February 25th, March 26th (provisional)
Speak to me if you want to know more
Note: Starting Wednesday 3 August we will be praying for the Persecuted Church on the first Wednesday of every month in the Prayer Room, North Street at 2.30 pm. If you want to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters, please join us.
Messages from Mike - Thursday 4th August 2022
Dignitaries from across Yorkshire flock to Keighley
Keighley played host to the annual Yorkshire Day Civic Celebrations, welcoming the Deputy Lieutenant of Yorkshire, the High Sheriff of York, over 150 Lord Mayors and Mayors from across the county as well as the Chair of The Yorkshire Society. A spokesperson said ‘The Yorkshire Society is on a mission to make Yorkshire Day a day when the whole region shows the world how proud we are to be Yorkshire. It’s certainly the largest such civic gathering in the UK and possibly the world! We were delighted to be in Keighley this year.’
The day started with breakfast on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and ended with a civic reception at East Riddlesden Hall, but the centrepiece was a procession through the town centre and a Civic Service at Keighley Parish Church. Revd Canon Mike Cansdale, Rector of Keighley said ‘I wanted the service to catch the celebratory mood of the day but to also speak into the important public roles held by those attending. I used a reading from the Yorkshire Bible, presented brilliantly by one of our Mission Apprentices, Fran Talbot. The Yorkshire dialect went down very well but the story from 1 Kings 3, of Solomon asking God for wisdom, was very pertinent in calling our elected representatives to seek wisdom for the tasks they face.’
Keighley Town Mayor Cllr Luke Maunsell said of the day ‘I am so proud of this fantastic town, our Town Council and every Keighley person. Our honoured guests couldn’t praise Keighley enough for how welcoming and beautiful it is. Like so many towns in this country, Keighley has its struggles. However, what sets us apart are the numerous community groups, charities and organisations who fight with every breath to make this town a wonderful place to live.’
The previous host was Whitby and Councillor Linda Wild, town mayor of Whitby said ‘It was so lovely to see young people so wholeheartedly supporting Yorkshire and the tradition of Yorkshire Day in their town. The event was very good, and well done to Keighley for hosting an extremely enjoyable day.’
Another member of the congregation commented ‘The church looked resplendent with it’s Yorkshire flags, the reading was brilliant, the organist played well and Canon Mike’s words were just right for the occasion.’
Canon Mike concludes ‘Our civic role as the Church of England is very important. It was a privilege to host such an auspicious gathering and to be able to speak into the public life of our county. We prayed for all civic leaders that they would know God’s wisdom as they make complex decisions with limited resources and seek to serve their communities.’
The live stream of the service can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAa_8kJf9IE
Messages from Mike - Thursday 7 th July 2022
Festival of Life
Robin Gamble talks about the 4 Ps of evangelism, which all come into play this weekend at the Festival of Life.
Prayer – we’ve been praying for this day and are trusting God’s Spirit to be at work in us and through us. Even if you can’t be there to help you can be a key part of the prayer team, on Friday evening at KSC at 7:30 pm or from wherever you are throughout Saturday.
Presence – as Churches in Keighley we will be a very visible presence through the barbeque and activities and that of itself speaks volumes about the Church of Jesus Christ being alive and interested in blessing the town. The orange t-shirts and Jesus banners tell of who we are.
Proclamation – throughout the day there will be church leaders telling of the good news of Jesus and inviting people to respond. We preach a gospel of hope, peace and purpose for all people, in a way that connects with life today.
Persuasion – Some may want to talk a bit more or have space to ask questions and so not only on the day but with a three-session course running from 19th July, there will be a space to ‘Explore Hope’ and answer those questions that people have.
We cannot do this in our own strength and so we pray for the Holy Spirit to help in our outreach this weekend. Thank you for being part of this.
Messages from Mike - Thursday 9th June 2022
What a great Jubilee weekend we had in Keighley! From cream tea on the green for the Queen, to the transport festival: from lighting the beacon in town hall square to many visitors at St John’s and a fabulous finale with Pentecost in the Park. Thank you to everyone who took part, baked, prayed and came along. On Sunday we had more than a hundred people, of different ages and nationalities, turn out for an open-air service in Cliffe Castle Park. ‘The Platinum Jubilee coincided with our Pentecost celebrations and it felt like the perfect combination. I think we’ll be back again and hopefully have better weather for the picnic. I’m really grateful to the team at Cliffe Castle and I hope this was a fitting end to a fantastic weekend.’
God bless, Mike
Messages from Mike - Thursday 5th May 2022
Those who were around in 2019 will remember the Pentecost Walk of Witness through town and our shared service at St Andrew’s (KSC). It was a great occasion of celebrating together and proclaiming publicly the good news of Jesus, who is alive and at work in His church, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This year we will be holding a whole-parish open air service at the band stand in Cliffe Castle Park on Sunday 5th June at 11am, with picnic and games afterwards in the park. As before we are encouraging all who can, to join a procession of praise (details to follow).
This coincides with the jubilee celebrations and we’ll be inviting the town to join us.
Please do pray for this event, for good weather and a wonderful sense of celebration. If anyone would like to be part of the planning, please do contact me as I’m wanting people from each church to help shape the service.
God bless, Mike
Messages from Mike - Thursday 28th April 2022
We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!
There is much to celebrate in Keighley Parish this Easter! We’ve proclaimed in many places and in many different ways, the wonderful story of Jesus, who died for us and rose again to bring us new life; the powerful symbolism of six baptisms at Grub’s Up; the engagement with families in our schools and Messy Easter events; the meaningful services across the parish during Holy Week and the shout of praise ‘Alleluia, he is risen’ on Easter Sunday!
God is good and we celebrate the signs of his transforming love at work across Keighley. Many blessings.
Messages from Mike – Thursday 10th March 2022
When I was Vicar of Morton and Riddlesden we had a Ukrainian Orthodox Priest, Father Michael, who lived in the parish. As he became less mobile, he came to worship with us and was a real blessing to our community. His insight of faith was always an inspiration to me and I remember him very fondly. He died quite a few years ago but, as I’ve been watching with dismay, the news of the invasion of Ukraine, he’s been on my mind.
This was one of Father Michael’s favourite times of the Christian year. He loved Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. He loved the symbolism of the ashes that we use to make the sign of the cross on our foreheads. They help us to see ourselves from God’s perspective, at the same time, both fragile and vulnerable but also loved deeply by Jesus, whose cross marks us. We are reminded of our mortality – ‘we are from the dust, and to the dust we shall return’ – but also called to make sure that each day counts – ‘turn away from sin and be faithful to God’. In the cross we see Jesus who knows and shares our suffering but also the one who overcomes death for us. This is a season of prayer and action that we may reflect the love and light of Jesus and come to Easter with a celebration of new life.
Prayer for Ukraine
The world-wide church has set aside Ash Wednesday as a ‘day of prayer and fasting’ for the Ukraine. One of the prayer stations will enable our prayer for Ukraine.
I’ve managed to be in contact over recent weeks with the leaders of the Ukrainian Association in Keighley and heard from them their fears and hopes. I’ve also been able to assure them of our prayers for their country and their families. Please join me in praying for peace and an end to the violence in Ukraine.