List of events and services – please see the Festival brochure and website for full details –

Saturday 1st July 9.00am Holy Trinity Church Holmfirth
Welcome to the Festival – drop in at the Gallery Room and meet this year’s students from Mirfield. Cake, coffee and chat.

2.00pm Stocksmoor Village Hall, Station Road, Stocksmoor HD4 6XN =-
Strawberry & Fizz Afternoon Tea - £5 adult, children free

2.00pm Community Garden at Christ Church, New Mill (just past the church on the left). Family Forest Church.

2.00pm Choppards Mission, Choppards Bank Road, HD9 2DY – Reading, writing and Faith – a Conversation.

7.30pm St David’s Church Hall, Holmbridge. Gareth Davies-Jones in Concert. Tickets £10, Concessions £6.

Sunday 2nd July St David’s Church, Holmbridge – Worship Together by the River: Connecting with creation. An outdoor service for all the family to be held in the fields behind the church car park, or in the church hall in the event of unfavourable weather.

See the brochure for details of other Sunday services elsewhere in the Team.

1.00pm God Loves Your Dog – meet at Hepworth Church for a short dog walk along the paths and lanes of Hepworth, finishing with refreshments at the church.

4.30pm Holy Trinity Church, Holmfirth. Seven Stories with John Pritchard. Tea and Cake served from 3.00pm.

4.30pm Holy Trinity Church, Holmfirth. Belonging to Team Jesus with Betty Pedley. Children’s activities and games in an exploration of living the Jesus way. For ages 4-11. Booking essential. Contact Sue Thomson 687359.

Monday 3rd July 10.30am meet at Hepworth Church for God Loves Your Dog (see above).

10.30am Table Talk at the home of Julia Nelson, 7 Crodingley Farm Court, off Thong Lane, HD9 3TH. Pop Up Café and conversation.

3.30pm Found Space at Mossrigg, 93 The Village, Holme HD9 2QQ. Steve and Cathy Davie invite people of all ages to their home and garden to be nurtured by nature and challenged by creation.

7.30pm St John’s, Upperthong. The Film ‘Becket’ starring Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole. Free admission.

Tuesday 4th July 10.30am Rhythm of Life at the Conference Room, St David’s Church Hall (use the back door from the car park). Explore what a balanced life with God might look for you.

11.00am A Walk and Lunch. All Saints Church, Netherthong. A stroll around the village with breaks for prayer and contemplation. Soup lunch afterwards.

7.30pm All of Me – Moving with Prayer in Mind. Conference Room at St David’s Church Hall, Holmbridge. What does it mean to be fully human?

Wednesday 5th July 10.30am meet at Hepworth Church for God Loves Your Dog (see above).

12.45pm Food for Thought at St David’s Church, Holmbridge. Enjoy a relaxing lunch and good company. Hear the experiences of vicars-in-training and ask them questions.

4.00pm Paul Cookson’s Family Twist – Wooldale Junior School, Royds Avenue, HD9 1LJ. Poet, performer and average ukulele player, Paul will have you in fits of laughter.

7.30pm Rhythm of Life at The Conference Room, St David’s Church Hall (see above).

Thursday 6th July 10.30am Good News for the City – St Thomas’ Church, Thurstonland, with Jill Hancock, one of this year’s students.

1.30pm Sickness into Life at Holy Trinity Church, Holmfirth, with Ian Wallis, an educator, writer and Anglican priest.

5.00pm Nature’s Invitation at the Community Garden, Christ Church, New Mill. with Sarah Branson and Kay Valentine. A two-hour workshop open to children of High School age and adults.

7.30pm Hope for the World of Today and Tomorrow at New Mill Club, Sheffield Road, New Mill, HD9 7JT with John Pritchard.

Friday 7th July 10.30am meet at Hepworth Church for God Loves your Dog.

10.30am Table Talk at Wooldale Community Centre, Robert Lane, HD9 1XZ. Pop Up Café and Conversation.

12 noon A Parish Lunch at St Thomas’ Church, Thurstonland. Grill a vicar in training. £3.50. Book with Janet Wiltshire 663123.

7.00pm Beers and Hymns with New Orleans Wiggle at the Community Garden, Christ Church, New Mill (if wet inside Christ Church), as we close the 2017 Festival.

Help for the journey

‘Are we there yet?’ This is a familiar cry from a child frustrated by a long journey, impatient to be at the destination. With the school holidays soon upon us, it’s good to be reminded of Psalm 121. This is one of those psalms (Ps 120-134) used by the Jewish pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great festivals.

There were real dangers for these Jewish pilgrims on their journey. They could slip on the road, there was the threat of wild animals and they had to suffer hot days and cold nights. On the Christian journey we are tempted by ‘the world, the flesh and the devil’, as well as dealing with those who mess up our lives and our questions about God’s goodness or existence.

So where do we look for help? 'I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?’ (Psalm 121:1). Ironically, the Jews would look to the hills, where pagan worship was practiced. Even today, we can go to the wrong places for help eg horoscopes rather than the Scriptures; work colleagues or friends, rather than fellow Christians. We can also miss where to look for help: ‘My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth’ (2).

Like the Jewish pilgrims, we need to recognise that only God has the power to keep us on the road. Even when God seems silent in our suffering, He is ‘watching over us’ (5). On our journey He ‘will keep us from harm’ (7) and ‘watch over our coming and going’ (8).


There’s No Place Like Home

July and August – the British holiday season really takes off. Literally, for those who are flying to warmer or more exotic climes. The full-colour ads still promise their annual delights, whether it’s a cottage for four in Wales or a fancy hotel on the Boulevard des Anglais in Nice. Others of us will simply load the caravan, or pack the boot of the car, and set off for, well, ‘somewhere else’. Holidays, which were originally holy days spent in church or at home, have become the great evacuation. “Going anywhere nice for your holidays?” asks my neighbour. My truthful answer would be “Yes, I’m staying here.”

But that’s more my age than a judgment on holidays. My mind can re-run so many, without any need of an album of old photos: the kids knee-deep in a rushing Welsh stream, or having pedalo races off a Spanish beach. A couple of cappuccinos in the piazza in Capri. The beauty and holiness of Assisi. And far back memories as a child myself, the boarding house, the beach, the sand in the sandwiches.

But still it’s true. Every single time it was nice to see the key go in the lock and to know we were home.


Are we there yet?

Are you off on holiday by car soon? Then beware: car journeys become too long for hot, bothered children after precisely two hours and 37 minutes. That is when you are likely to hear ‘Are we there yet?’ 14 minutes later, arguments break out in the back seat.

This is the finding of recent research by the Highways Agency, who feels sorry for parents preparing for the long summer getaway by car. It suggests that parents travelling with children might wish to consider planning to stop for a break about two hours into the trip, to help young passengers cope with the boredom, and to keep family peace alive.


How far do you live from where you were born?

Where were you born, and how far away is it from where you now live? The average distance seems to be up to about 100 miles. If that does not seem far, consider this: only 25 years ago most British people tended to live within five miles from where they had been born.

Recent research by the genealogical website Ancestry has found that exactly half of us still live in the place where we were born, and half of us move on. 70 per cent of people who move away from their birthplace are sure that they will not return, and just 14 per cent ever plan to go back.


Beat back seat boredom

Do you have a long holiday drive with the family ahead of you? Here is a game to keep the tedium at bay….

Car Snooker This game starts when someone spots (or ‘pots’) a red car, which gives them a score of one point. Then someone needs to spot a car of one of the following colours: yellow (two points), green (three points), brown/rust/orange (four points), blue (five points), purple-pink or rose (six points) or black (seven points).

Someone then has to spot another red car, and so the process is repeated until 15 red cars and all the other coloured cars have been spotted. Hopefully, by then, you will have arrived!


They may look like just weeds to you….

Where would you think to look for some of the UK’s rarest plants? Well, you could be forgiven for ignoring the roadside verges, but that is where they are.
The myriad of weeds and grasses that grow wild along our roads each summer are also home to such rarities as fen ragwort, sulphur clover, crested cow-wheat and wood bitter-vetch. In fact, fen ragwort is now reduced to living in a single drainage ditch beside the A142.

In total, Britain’s verges are home to more than 700 species of wild plants, one in eight of which is threatened with extinction. The research was done by the charity Plantlife. Some verges are leftover fragments of wildflower-rich ancient hay meadows and grasslands, while coastal plants thrive beside motorways and A-roads because they are salted in winter. No wonder the charity is pleading for better verge management, in order to give the plants to flower and grow each year.


Flight path

Windsor Castle, outside of London, is directly in the flight path of Heathrow International Airport. While a group of tourists was standing outside the castle admiring the elegant structure, a plane flew overhead at a relatively low altitude, making a tremendous noise. One irritated tourist demanded: "Why did they build the castle so close to the airport?"


In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.


How many HOLMFIRTH FLOODS were there?

Most of us have probably heard of the two great floods which caused devastation in the Holme Valley in 1852 and 1944 but did you know there was also a great flood in 1777?
An article from, of all places, the Hampshire Chronicle in July 1777 records the flood:

Wednesday last a most terrible inundation happened at Holmfirth near Huddersfield, occasioned by what is termed by sailors ‘a water spout’. The torrent was so great, and the storm and lightning which preceded it so violent that many people began to terrify themselves with the thoughts of another universal deluge; and it proved little short in respect to those who were principally affected by it, for many of the houses which stood not near any rivulet were recently under water and several, with all their furniture, workshops, utensils, clothes, together with large quantities of wool, and other goods in trade, entirely swept away; some of those house which refitted the violence of the flood, had their furniture washed out, and carried away by it; large quantities of corn and grass upon the ground were utterly spoiled, and no less than seven mills and eight bridges were driven down by the rapidity of the current. The water in a little rivulet in the neighbourhood rose several yards perpendicular in less than ten minutes; three men were carried away by it to a considerable distance, and drowned, one of whom has left a widow and nine children. The scene in short was so amazingly shocking as to exceed description; nor is it possible to form an adequate idea of the deplorable situation of those poor unhappy creatures, many of whom are reduced to the utmost misery and distress. It is impossible to ascertain the damage sustained, but it is supposed to amount to at least £10,000.

Perhaps Holme Village should be twinned with Clochemerle, the fictional French village, in which there was much conflict around the installation of the urinal in the village square. But the year was 2013 not 1933 and our toilets were under threat. Kirklees was no longer prepared to look after them. Furthermore the Tour de France was coming through the village in July 2014. The prospect of all those visitors, sixty thousand in the event, and no facilities for basic human needs did not bear thinking about. Action was needed, serious community action.
On top of that there was concern about the allotments. And then there were rumours about the playground. And the perennial problem of weekend parking… And what to do with the Village Institute… It was time for the good burghers and burgheresses of Holme to take control and pick up the reins of government that were wrested from them in the thirties. A mini-Brexit, maybe? Or should that be Hexit? And so they did and thus was the Holme Village Residents Association born.
It is now in its fourth year and going from strength to strength. There have been parties and picnics, art trails and story-telling. Bill and Jean Mackie very generously open their beautiful garden each year for a Garden Party. In 2015 the first Produce show was held in the Howards’ Barn. Last year it was held in St David’s Church Hall and will be again this year on 23 September. There are further projects afoot: an ambitious and much needed refurbishment of the Village Institute to return it to its role in the village as a venue for groups, classes, social events and meetings. A newsletter has been mentioned.
Every now and then there is a muttering from people that something called “community spirit” is dead. There is a harking back to the fifties. I hated the fifties, what I can remember of them. It was so easy to put a foot wrong, especially as a child. There may have been communities but it was easy to slip the wrong side of the fence, and there were some very prickly fences. Sometimes this phenomenon called “community spirit” is spoken of as if it were as arbitrary and fickle as the weather. Just something that happens and then moves on. No, community spirit happens because people care and care enough to do the hard task of organising and working together to get the stuff done: the trestle tables moved; the garden worked on for months beforehand; the books collected; the rotas set up; the cakes baked; the information publicised. One of the things that Kirklees did well was supply the village with literally miles of bunting for the Tour de France. And that is brought out from someone’s attic or barn to adorn the village yet again. See the bunting strung across the street and you will know that there is “summat afoot in Holme”.
Community spirit is alive and well in millions of communities throughout the world, not just up the road in our village. And it starts with a smile.
Kate Griffin

Diana Hogley – February-March 2017
We returned from Kenya recently. We have never seen the country so dry. Many of the areas which are usually a lush green were a parched brown. Dust was everywhere, blowing across roads, and a thick haze hung over the towns and cities. In Nakuru the usually clear views over Lake Nakuru had disappeared and the lake was hard to see. There has been no proper rain for many months with the failure of the rains in October. Many rivers have virtually dried up and life is even harder than ever. The drought is worst in the north and people and their cattle are dying. The wild animals are dying too. Rain is not expected before April or even May.
Most of our time was spent visiting three children’s homes. We stayed for a week in Eldoret in the home of John and Esther Green who have overseen Testimony Faith Homes since it started almost forty-eight years ago. Their adopted son Daryl, now the director, takes on much of the responsibility for the day to day running of the home.
There are three houses, with wonderful house-parents caring for more than a hundred children and there are now two hostels for the over eighteen year olds who are no longer allowed to live in children’s homes.
Shortage of water has led them to consider sinking a borehole. They keep cows and chickens and grow what they can.
After church on the Sunday we were there, a group of Hindu women brought hot food for all the children. Later in the day a church group passed by and brought supplies of rice and soap etc. and a donation of money. On the Monday, the accountant commented that they would need very little shopping that week. A wonderful provision for an organisation that relies totally on Faith and Prayer.
Neema Home, also in Eldoret, is run by Joshua and Miriam Mbithi, caring for over fifty children, many HIV positive. While we were there the water board cut off their water and removed the meter without telling anyone. Later they accused Joshua of tampering with the meter! For fifteen days, they had to run a hosepipe from their own house to the home. Many visits to offices were made before water was restored. It is thought that officials were looking to obtain money towards election expense. Joshua and Miriam are praying and hoping that they might be able to visit the U.K. later this year.
Riziki Children’s Home, the home we are most heavily involved with, is in Nakuru and the Director, Julius Kivindyo, is ably assisted by his daughter Liz. This is the newest home we visit with twenty-two children at present. Here we stay with Julius and his wife, Esther.
At Riziki, the farm is bare, with precious young fruit trees being kept alive by careful watering. The water tanks, intended to store rain water from the rooves, are empty, only receiving the contents of three tankers every ten days. These now cost about £50 each instead of £40 a few months since.
Fortunately, there is a good store of both maize and beans in the silos we installed a few years ago. There are plenty of tomatoes in the freezer and dried sukuma wiki (literally ‘stretch the week’), a cabbage-like leaf, is stored in plastic bags on shelves.
If, or when it rains, many of the plants should return to life.
(to be concluded in the June magazine)