Our Amazing Adventure

As we are all still digesting, reflecting and trying to come to terms with the effects this Pilgrimage has had on us, we feel, at this stage, we can only provide an overview of our wonderful trip. Maybe, in next month’s magazine (or over the next twelve months?), we will be in a position to share with you our own personal story of our time in the Holy Land.

Alastair, Becky, Margaret and Val left Burley early on Sunday 27th March with PCR certificates and PPF3 masks in our hand luggage. We did not know what our forthcoming Pilgrimage would offer us.

We were excited, not having travelled abroad for such a long time.
Apprehensive, because we were unsure if we were all going to continue to be Covid safe for the duration of our tour. Two of our party couldn’t join us at the last minute because their PCR tests were positive. Was Israel and Palestine a safe place to be visiting at this time? We had to put our trust in God. How would we gel as a group? Little did we know at the beginning of our tour, of the positive impact our travelling companions would have on us and maybe, hopefully, of our impact on them.

There were 12of us (dare we make a comparison?), four Cof E from Burley in Wharfedale, Clayton Bradford(3 CofE), Wakefield (1 CofE a musician, singer and our unofficial photographer), Chesterfield(a Methodist minister and her husband) and Lincoln(1 Baptist) and our intrepid Group Leader, Gordon Dey (Low Moor Bradford). Gordon has led many of these pilgrimages in the past and his knowledge of the HolyLand, his confidence, his faith, stamina, fitness and sense of humour, impressed, sustained and exhausted us in equal measure. Gordon, who is 76, was aided and abetted by Suzi our Australian, Jewish Tour Guide, who at 70 had exactly the same attributes as Gordon! She had us laughing at her jokes and her stories as we travelled between locations. We four can be confident in letting you all
know that, on behalf of the 12 of us, we have a genuine love for Gordon, Suzi and our Muslim driver, Jalil. They contributed so much to our happy memories and experiences throughout our 11 days. We only mention the different faiths here because we can all live and experience love and togetherness regardless of our culture and beliefs.

Gordon introduced us to two communities where Palestinian Christians are working with young people from all faiths to instil an understanding of love and peace for one another.

Every morning as we set off in the mini bus at 8.30am, Gordon or Alastair would lead us in a prayer. Then Gordon would start us off singing. He had provided us with little songs books before we left Bradford. Gordon was very impressed with the harmonies that were produced by some very talented singers. Consequently, we have some beautiful recordings from locations where the acoustics were just perfect. Spine tingling moments and memories were made and songs sung that will never to be forgotten.

Everywhere we went, Gordon and Alastair had a bible reading and a prayer that enhanced our experience of that particular location. How this will impact on our Bible reading in future. Then we would all sing. We visited places that took us through locations mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, archaeological sites, dates, dates and more dates in history and the effects of the various rulers from Rome, the Byzantine Empire, Muslim, the Crusaders etc. up to the current situation in Israel. Some of our enduring memories include; visiting Bethlehem and singing in the Church of the Nativity, boarding a fishing boat and sailing out into the middle of a very calm Sea of Galilee, being baptised in the River Jordan, floating in, or on, the Dead Sea, the Dead Sea Scrolls. We were transported in a cable car to the top of Mount Hermon, where two of our congregation (naming no-one!) started a snowball fight, joined by quite a few of our group including Jalil, our driver. Some of the scenery was spectacular. We walked in the desert and looked over to where Jesus would have stayed for forty days and forty nights, another ‘wow’ moment.

Our last four days were in Jerusalem where we experienced sitting in the very peaceful Garden at Gethsemane, walked the Ten Stations of the Cross, visited the Garden Tomb where Tracey, the Methodist Minister led us in prayer and Communion. This time in Jerusalem has had a huge impact on us all as we returned to celebrate Holy Week then Easter.

Gordon and Suzi commented on more than oneoccasion what a ‘special group’ we were. We all feel the same and we cannot explain this feeling! We all related to one another so well, showed compassion, love and genuine care for one another and we laughed so much. Apparently, the tourist locations were very quiet. Where there are usually queues that can take up to two hours to get into places, they were non existent. Churches that are usually packed, were quiet. The weather was perfect. How lucky were we! But, the biggest thing is, there is something else happening to each of us and as yet, we can’t explain what that is. Hence, why there is more to come.

Our last day leading up to getting to the airport included yet more sites and it was Alastair’s birthday.We were left at Tel Aviv airport at 5.00pm (3.00pm BMT) on Thursday 7th April where we said our ‘goodbyes’ to Suzi. We returned to Burley at 5.00am on Friday 8th April, tired, exhilarated, a brain full of so much information and memories but I’m sure we all fell into bed anyway!

We never did need to show our Covid certificates to anyone and we still have quite a few unused PPF3 masks!

There are yet more places we’d like to share with you and stories to tell. I hope that we have whetted your appetite for the next instalment?

Dear Lord, thank you for guiding us and giving us this opportunity to join this Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Thank you for giving us the resources that have enabled us to make this journey and to make new friends. While we pray, give thanks and reflect into everything that we have heard and seen and for everything that we experienced on our journey and are still experiencing, we wait for your guidance. You know how You want to use us. We are all so excited. In Jesus name. Amen.

Alastair, Margaret, Becky and Val

Letter from Lizzie

23 November 2021

Dear friends from St Mary’s,

It seems sometimes like ages since I was in church with you all, and at other times as though things have just flown by. I see folk around the village from time to time, and hear via the weekly emails how things are going for you all, so I hope you don’t mind, but I thought you might like to hear a little of what life as an Ordinand has been like this past 15 months. I hadn’t thought I would be quite so busy as I have been, that’s for sure!

For my first year at St Hild, everything – lectures, worship, prayergroups, meetings, text books – you name it – was online. Covid restrictions meant that in that whole year, our college managed just one very much curtailed weekend together at the end of the summer term. Actually seeing people in real life was wonderful, if slightly overwhelming, and we ended the year feeling almost as though we had only just arrived, despite having spent numerous evenings and weekends learning together about Old Testament Studies or Doctrine. I have particularly loved the college’s focus on working at the margins of society – in as many ways as possible.

This year has been better in terms of meeting people in real life, and we have had several weekends together – including one recently where we were rudely awakened by a 6am fire alarm, that had the college standing in the snow in our pyjamas, whilst the Mirfield Brethren in their cloaks, gathered us into a rather spooky-looking circle to read the fire list. I have to admit to giggling when the reply to ‘Brother Crispin?’ came back as, ‘in his room’ – sounded as though he might well have been!

That first year saw me on placement at Ripon Cathedral, initially to focus not only on the cathedral’s relationship to rural parishes/needs and to see how a very different way of worshipping felt. I was keen to see how it felt to work with a large team in a church that has a strong civic presence. Again, Covid put paid to that plan and I found myself instead serving as chaplain in the cathedral, which stayed open for private prayer. I was also getting involved in planning and leading activities for schools and families instead. In the very darkest bits of lockdown, I found that my ‘church’ became the staff and teams working in the cathedral – the vergers, musicians, cleaners and volunteers who kept the building going. It was a time filled with profound and heart-rending conversations and also with mad opportunities – why not climb up to the roof or explore the underground areas of this crazy, ancient building. I think my time in Ripon could be summed up by the phrase “from the sublime to the ridiculous.” I have loved it and am so grateful for the experience.

As churches opened up, I was encouraged to play a part in the very formal aspects of cathedral worship. I won’t deny it is somewhat terrifying to be in charge of a smoking thurible (the name for the incense burner on a chain) when it sticks shut fast and refuses to open. I do quite like playing with fire, but I have to say I was very nervous of getting the precise choreography involved ‘wrong’ despite being absolutely convinced God really doesn’t mind.

I made a lot of friends in the year at Ripon as I finally became more
enmeshed in the congregation and the events and groups that began to open up again, allowing me to take part in so much of the work and worship. I will miss the humour and kindness of so many people now the placement has ended.

From Ripon’s vastness I am going somewhere much smaller with a very different demographic but a familiar face as I am off to St John the Evangelist in Bierley, where Paul Wheelhouse is vicar. I met the congregation this weekend, and hopefully there will be plenty to get
involved in and even more to learn and chances to grow.

I often find I am praying for St Mary’s and I do miss you all. Hopefully I will come and say hello one weekend and see for myself all the new things God is doing amongst you.

Love Lizzie x

Lent Events – 2022

Lent House Groups – coming in March

We are excited to let you know that we are going to be offering a Lent course this year.

We will be using “If you Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat!” by John Ortberg. This is a fascinating course and we’d love you to join in the journey this Lent.

A little insight from the course, “John Ortberg invites you to consider the incredible potential that awaits you outside your comfort zone. Out on the risky waters of faith, Jesus is waiting to meet you in ways that will change you forever, deepening your character and your trust in God!”

We are all called to push ourselves for God and to seek His purpose for our lives but we all too easily settle for comfort. If you feel like its time to explore your faith and calling in a new way and could do with a helping hand and encouragement from other Christians, then please do join us.

The course is accessible, encouraging and life changing.

Look out for more info coming up in the next few weeks at church, on the website, FB pages and in emails.

Becky Berry and Lis Merrick

Lent Lunches

The pandemic cut short our usual Lent Lunches in 2020 and last year we were not able to hold them at all. We are still aware of changing times as new variants appear, but we are planning 2 lunches in the hope we will be able to hold them. Provisionally we are offering Thursdays March 24th and March 31st 12 noon to 1.30pm at the Methodist Church.

This has meant a change in day because Fridays are no longer available. As before all donations will be given to Christian Aid. It has proved a wonderful way to meet others from across the village and we hope people will feel able to come.

Janet Squire, Christine Clark, Mary Wood, and the Christian Aid Committee

February 2022 – Western Nepal Disability Trust

We start our update with a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported the ‘virtual trek’ to the top of Mount Everest, a distance of 40 miles with an additional 5 to allow for the altitude! We raised over £1000 with some Gift Aid still to come in, so it has been a successful event in support of the Palliative Care project. WNDT donations will be specifically used so that poor patients (unable to pay for the cost of care) will receive the treatment and care that they need. We also thank everyone who supported our craft stall at the Christmas Market, where we had record takings (helped by our IT upgrade i.e. a card-reading payment machine!).

During 2021, despite the ongoing challenges of COVID, the new Palliative Care centre opened, and is a base for ongoing activities. These include giving practical help and support in a range of ways. Medical, therapy and nursing treatment can be given in the care centre. Vulnerable patients and their families have been given equipment and support to manage at home, including donations of food and other essential items.

As well as this practical support, the project also develops the idea of Palliative Care in Nepal in different ways. Throughout the country, in the government health care system, there are small district hospitals, and health posts, often quite remote. Patients are expected to pay for any treatment that they need, though some of the hospitals may have a charity fund. The health post is like a village clinic, and should have at least one qualified nurse, and assistant staff with some basic skills, as well as some medicines. Developing the skills of the staff in the district hospitals and
health posts, and giving them support and motivation is important for their
ongoing work. A Palliative Care Toolkit has been written to give information about palliative care for these staff, and a Nepali version is now being reviewed with health workers in Lamjung district, a mountainous area, as part of their training. The World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2021 was also celebrated.

Jane Schofield

St Mary’s News Items – September 2021

From the Registers
We gave thanks for God’s gift of life at the Funerals of Winifred Freeman Sheila Doreen Rockett.

Church Flowers: Pat Emmel would like you to get in touch if you are
interested in helping with flower arrangements in church or by giving an annual donation in memory of someone you have lost. Contact Pat on 01943 865047.

The Parish Centre: The Parish Centre is opening up again to classes….not only our own projects like “Open Door”, “Cuppa, Cake and Company”, and “Tiny Tadpoles”, but also commercial enterprises, local groups/charities are all beginning to return to use the Centre as a meeting place. One of the first to return was Tom Clegg and his various music Groups and we are ready to welcome them all back in September!

Family and Children’s Activities This Summer

The summer months this year have provided us with plenty of opportunities to reconnect with many of our families after what has been a very challenging 18 months for us all. The on-going Covid 19 restrictions meant that we needed to think creatively about how we could offer a space outside for our children, to welcome them back into our weekly worshipping community. We offered a welcome tea to families early in June and had fun in the Vicarage garden with a large number of families playing games, eating cake and drinking tea together again! Our Picnic Church sessions have been well received and we have seen many families joining us, some for the first time.

We have been meeting between 9.30-10.30 in the St Mary’s Memorial Garden, sharing Bible stories, playing games, eating our picnic breakfasts, singing songs, making crafts and catching up with each other. The weather has generally been very kind to us, but on the weeks when the heavens have opened, we have delivered picnic church bags to families at home so that they can do the activities and read the stories under cover! This home delivery service gave us opportunity for valuable doorstep chats with
families, some who were having to isolate – a real challenge for families with small children. We have also used the Parish Centre more recently when restrictions have allowed, and shelter has been needed. Children were welcomed to our Praise in the Park Service with craft bags ready for them and various games to play while the service was happening. Our sense is that our young families have missed coming to church and have really appreciated renewed contact with us. We have been thinking about how we offer creative worship spaces to people of all ages at St Mary’s and we are excited to introduce our new service called CONNECT in the autumn term – more details to follow. There is also a team working on developing a group for our teenagers to meet their specific needs in the term ahead.

We have also been offering Games in the Park sessions during August as a way to provide free activities and hospitality to children and families. We have had lots of fun playing rounders, frisbee, cricket, football, croquet, boules, skittles as well as some small craft activities . There have been drinks and snacks on offer and time to chat with parents and grandparents from our wider community in the village. Some sessions have been busier than others but there has been a positive atmosphere of welcome and care that has been really appreciated by those that have joined us and some supportive and encouraging conversations have been had.

We have been contacted by many families that are keen to have their children baptised at St Mary’s. We held our first baptism preparation evening in August and now have 15 families planning their baptisms with us over the next 6 months. This has provided a great opportunity to meet many new families and reconnect with others who have been part of our church family previously.

Liz Varghese has done a brilliant job over the early summer of getting our baby group off the ground again ( a very challenging job with all the COVID 19 restrictions) and huge thanks to her for all her hard work, time, effort, energy and enthusiasm. From September 6th we are launching our new baby and toddler group called Tiny Tadpoles at the Parish Centre on Mondays 9.30-11am which is going to be run by Mary Brooks and her daughter in law Natalie, supported by us. This will be a vital support to many parents and grandparents in our community, offering a warm welcome, a hot drink and a space to share the joys and challenges of life with babies and young children!

There is much to celebrate in our life here together in Burley. We have enjoyed reconnecting with a wide range of families and look forward to many more opportunities to provide a warm welcome as we journey together as a church family at St Mary’s.

Nerys and Sara

Children and Families Workers

Western Nepal Disability Trust

It is several months since we last gave an update from WNDT and once more we start by thanking our supporters, for your contributions in a variety of ways – praying, volunteering, financial donations, and moral support and interest. We particularly thank a small number who make regular contributions, which give a steady amount of income over time. However, as with many other charities, we have not been able to carry out our usual fundraising activities, and the needs have also grown.

You may remember from our March 2021 update that our partner organisation Light of Pokkhara had been able to start the sewing training. However, after a relatively short time, this again had to go on hold due to a rise in number of cases of covid – and it has not yet been able to restart. Current figures (August 2021) for Nepal show a trend of increasing cases over the last 9 weeks. Reported figures are 100 covid-related deaths each day, and many will be unreported. There is a high infection rate, hospitals are overwhelmed and medical supplies, including oxygen, are running out. Few people have had the vaccine, and fewer still have had two doses.

Also, due to covid, people are not able to access their usual health support or services – for example, treatment for people with leprosy or spinal injuries, or vaccinations for babies and children. So, there will be long term problems resulting from the pandemic. This summer has also seen high levels of floods and landslides.

To include some positives, friends who run a self help organisation for disabled people – independent Living Centre – have been very proactive in supporting others. For example, after a zoom meeting to raise awareness, lifts and ‘buddies’ were arranged to help people attend a local vaccination centre.

Also, our partners in the Palliative Care project have continued to provide specialised support to patients and colleagues, and been involved in the care of people with covid. The newly opened care centre has been well used, and also the staff team have given training about end of life care to staff of other hospitals.Several patients do craft projects for their own well-being and for income generating, and a donation from us last year was used to create a display cupboard for their things to sell, and also to buy locally available wool for them to use.

To continue to support the Palliative Care project, we are launching a fundraising sponsored event from September 1st onwards, in which WNDT Chair, Jane Schofield Gurung, will do a ‘virtual trek’ to the top of Mount Everest!! From September 1st, any walk, run, jog, ‘hop, skip or jump’ will count toward the distance of 40 miles (64km). If you are able to give any sponsorship please do so by: cash or cheque to WNDT (WNDT at 40, Sun Lane, or via Jane, Prem or Pam Stoney); or by online giving to:


Any donation of any size will be greatly appreciated and assist the coverage of the miles as well….. and let us know via: wndt@btinternet.com if you would like to join in any walks…!

With thanks, Jane for WNDT Trustees

Burley-Tereli Friendship Trust – September 2021

BTFT Trustees would like to thank everyone who has expressed concern and a wish to help our friends in Téréli over the last few months.

This region has suffered not only from climate change but also from
attacks which made it impossible for villagers to plant and harvest their staple crop in 2020.

Thanks to donations last August and at Christmas, it was possible to avert famine. Millet was sent to feed over 700 people to tide them over until the harvest later this year. Photos show donkey carts bringing supplies during the food crisis and the delight at receiving sacks of millet. Thank you also for supporting Team BTFT in the Ilkley Half Marathon which raised over £5,000. In August Zakari told us that gales have caused a lot of damage in Téréli. The roof has come off the Dispensary, the solar panel smashed and trees have fallen. Thanks to the support for the run, BTFT could respond straight away. It is the rainy season when many people get malaria so there is demand for the 8 beds in the Dispensary. Zakari and Tenoussé thank everyone for their help in this emergency.

Mary Wood

Katiyo Primary School – September 2021

Sharon, Annette and the girls of 1st Burley Brownies would like to thank everyone in the village who continues to support their fundraising for Katiyo Primary School in Zimbabwe. Our 5th annual Bookmark Project charity auction raised just over £11,000, the majority of which we hope will go towards building a nursery classroom at the school and talks have started on drawing up building plans.

We were approached by the school in the spring to help with the building of some new toilet blocks. One of the blocks is being completely funded by us and we are helping to finish a second block that is being partly funded by MercyCorps. As building work has progressed it has become clear that there is more and more that is not funded by MercyCorps!

Unicef purchased new textbooks for the Grade one to six classes at the school but not Grade 7 so we sent £2700 to buy the textbooks needed for the oldest students. They are also supporting the school with a project that will hopefully bring piped water from the nearby Macademia nut estate, but metal stands to raise the water tanks off the ground and protect them from damage were not covered by the project, so we have sent over £2000 to purchase 6 stands.

Zimbabwe is still experiencing lockdown and schools are again closed at the time of writing this (August 2021) there have been a handful of cases of Covid that we are aware of in the Katiyo area. If you would like to make a donation or you would like to order some “church biscuits” – 30p each please drop us an email: slhattersley@gmail.com

Sharon Hattersley

St Mary’s News Items July 2021

From the Registers
We gave thanks for God’s gift of life at the Funerals of Eva Gwilliams, Netta Plews and Sheila Clark.


Joan Newman – In Memoriam
There probably have been numerous tributes to Joan Newman of the Catholic Church who died in April, but here is a fond memory of her from St. Mary’s.
Joan was the representative from the Catholic Church on the Ecumenical Committee of Open Door. We met each month to talk about teething troubles, problems and to think up ideas. Joan was always wise and calm with Open Door always at heart. A lovely lady and a great influence on the success of the Rev. Peter Sutcliffe’s project.
We all owe her our respect and thanks.
Margaret Auty.


Open Door
The fortnightly Open Door Zoom meetings continue to thrive. Thanks go mainly to the dedicated volunteers who turn up regularly. We usually find plenty to chat about and the odd Bingo session is popular. I think it is possible, if the demand is there, that we may keep this communication link open even when all the restrictions are lifted.
But for volunteers and visitors, who have not joined in with these meetings we know you continue to ask the question, “When will Open Door start running it’s sessions in the Parish Centre?” Unfortunately, we can not be sure. Currently, we are investigating details relating to the ‘Risk Assessment’ we will be required to put in place and that does not happen overnight. By the beginning of August we should have sorted this out and before this recent new variant outbreak we hoped by then we would be able to offer at least a couple of sessions to those of you who would welcome the door be opened again at the Parish Centre.
We live in hope.
Joyce Russell

Burley-Tereli Friendship Trust – July 2021

A team of six runners, ranging from young and fit to – well, let’s not go there, – are running the Ilkley Half Marathon on July 11th, to raise funds for the Burley-Tereli Friendship Trust (https://www.btft.org.uk/). BTFT raises money for projects in Tereli, a village in Mali twinned with Burley-in-Wharfedale. It funds famine relief, well-digging, and supports healthcare and education. There are no admin costs, everything raised goes straight to good causes. Last year Tereli was attacked by bandits, all the animals were stolen, 12 people killed and much of their grain stores burnt, so it was a tough year for them. Things seem calmer just now and we were able to buy them more millet to tide them over. It was also a tough year for the charity because there were few opportunities to fundraise, so any help you can give, large or small, would be much appreciated!

We have a sponsorship page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/
TeamBTFT to make it easy, but if you don’t want to do it online, I have a sponsor form and I’m happy to accept donations.

We really appreciate anything you can do to help bring in a little money for this very worthy cause.

Thank you! Janet Squire and the BTFT Trustees

Here is a little more detail about a recent well digging project BTFT funded through The Joliba Trust. The changing climate with erratic rainfall is creating a debilitating water shortage because traditional earth-dug wells cannot withstand sudden floods and the lowering of the water table. The photos show the Dogon village of Dissoroly and the new well.

Afietou, one of the village women, wrote about the difference the well has made.

‘Before the well was dug, the water chores alone took us 9 hours in time. We did not know what it was to rest…. No-one can imagine what we have endured during the 5 year water insufficiency. Even when we were ill, we were obliged to fetch water…… We thank the grace of God and the project for this beautiful gift which has saved everybody.’