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.

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)

Open to All
We know the Bible often asks us to ‘go’ into the world as in Matthew’s Gospel [Matt 28:16]. However, here is an invitation to be(long), and to serve those others who have ‘arrived’ at least for a short while. Interested?
The recent reorganisation of personnel across the Upper Home Valley Team presents a new set of challenges and opportunities for all our churches. You may know that Sean, Keith and Nick our stipendiary priests are now working together in Holy Trinity Church, Holmfirth, whilst also supporting the worship and mission of the wider church in the valley.
Holmfirth Parish Church opens from Holy Week onwards, Wednesday to Saturday 11am till 4pm, and on Sunday 12 till 4pm, and remains open until the last week of September to offer hospitality, welcome and prayer.
Many of the visitors are traditionally tourists or day-trippers; others come in from the local area for a variety of reasons. Many of them are just like you, people who take the opportunity to pop in for a quiet moment, or to find a safe place of rest and sanctuary. Holy Trinity offers an opportunity to pause, sit, light a candle and say a prayer, write the name of a loved one down and leave it behind on the prayer tree. There is also a stall to browse, books for sale, and visitors can buy a prayer card or a Fairtrade product. It’s all low key but a very important, and very much valued part of the mission of the Church.
Holy Trinity is iconic. It stands in the centre of Holmfirth; it is also at the centre of the valley and our team of churches. Following the recent reorganisation of ministry across the seven parishes this year we are, with you, exploring the possibility of sharing this ministry of welcome at Holy Trinity across the wider team.
As the 2017 season gets underway, we are asking people from all the team churches if they would like to join the rota of stewards at Holy Trinity. We, the clergy, will also take our turn. Does this offer interest you? If you have a spare hour or so and are interested in developing personally and prayerfully alongside others a ministry of welcome, why not speak to one of the clergy? Some low level training is needed, but that should not put you off. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. The stewards have previously worked in pairs in two and a half hour slots and take their place on a rota when they are able; it’s negotiable, but God’s mission isn’t – that’s why we are canvassing your support and help.
Is God calling you? Can you be part of a community of faith which reaches out to anyone who’s passing through? Can you warmly welcome strangers and friends into God’s house? Would spending some time in a new place of worship during the week making new friends and supporting God’s mission in a particular way in the Holme Valley be fruitful for you?
Please speak to one of us or contact Sue Thomson on 01484 687359 and she will arrange for us to follow up with you.
Every Blessing Sean, Keith, Nick

Team Tanzanian Link Parish of Kagwa
Bega kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder)

The Upper Holme Valley Team of Churches have been linked with the Parish of Kagwa since 2004. The link is all about –
Friendship – through visits, letter and emails
Prayer – we pray for each other, often by name and
Practical support – in whatever way we can.

Last year the Team Tanzanian Committee tasked Jenette Lee (Rorya Link Adviser) and Revd Canon Stephen Spencer (Tanzanian Link Officer) to visit Kagwa on our behalf and ask how we could be of help. On their return Stephen came to a meeting to share his findings. It transpired that they would like our financial help in building a new Vicarage as the old one was now past all help.

The Team Tanzanian Committee felt it was something that we could achieve and the process of obtaining quotations for this work was started. The village is funding the cost of the foundations and general labour and experts have been called in to help them with this work.

The total amount needed to complete the walls and the roof – which includes a water harvesting system – is around £3,000.00. Last year, with your help, we raised £942 with a raffle after cost of printing had been deducted and £358 from a Coffee Morning. This year, again with your help, we are looking to raise a similar amount in order that we can fund the total cost of the walls and the roof.


Saturday 3rd June
‘Raising the Roof’ for Kagwa
Cheese & Wine & Raffle
At the home of Di Ellerton, 47 Liphill Bank Road, Holmfirth HD9 2LQ
Wednesday 13th September
Coffee Morning – Raising the Roof for Kagwa
Venue to be advised 10.00 – 12 noon

With your support we can stand Bega kwa Bega with our brothers and sisters in Kagwa. Thank you in anticipation of your kind support.


I was there, that shattering, sweltering day, you know
all those desolate, lonely, recriminating years ago
when they tortured, humiliated and crucified my son
that stable-born, questing boy, his teaching just begun.
My beloved, tender, playful, gifted child,
a leader, calm, charismatic, spirited, yet mild.
I saw the swirling, swishing, hissing whip slash crack
swinging with iron-tipped nails his torn and bleeding back.
I saw, yes heard, the smashed and splintered bone
as dutiful soldiers drove the thick, cruel, nails home.
I watched, sobbing, as the rough-hewn cross was raised
a thorned, spiked, bloody crown, a silhouette black blazed against a darkening, weeping, mourning purple sky.
I heard his lamenting cry – I saw him die.

Tony Eustance

Psalm verse and prayer

Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
(psalm 30)

Hear our prayers, o Lord, and have mercy upon us;
turn our heaviness into joy
and clothe us with gladness and salvation,
that we may give thanks to you for ever.