Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

taking flight – a sixteen month testimony

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

We love telling stories of what our brilliant God has done in, through and with us. Here’s another amazing one, or at least some of it…

putting our hearts out there…

Monday, February 13th, 2017

At the Sanctuary, 14 February has become our favourite day of the year! Because showering our town with love is a really fun way for us to celebrate and share the greatest love we’ve ever known. Earlier this month, we filled our window with love and over the last few days we’ve been  squirreled away crafting 282 gifts to go out beyond our walls and through the letterboxes of every shop, office and restaurant around us. We can’t wait to bless every team in town. But for now we just have to be patient and wait till nightfall when everywhere is closed….

spring 2017 calendar

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Download and save our Spring term calendar – lots of great prayer dates to put in your diary!

giving peace away

Monday, December 12th, 2016

sparrow song had their last flight of the season on Saturday – singing Christmas wonder alongside the usual repertoire of hope-filled lyrics and heavenly harmonies. Many shoppers said how thrilled they were with this musical gift of peace… and also by the 100 Christmas tree decoration doves that we made to offer to those who heard it. Here’s a few pictures of them, together with the acrostic message we shared to explain why peace really can be given and received:


D is for please disarm our hearts and
O is for please help us overcome our differences and begin to forgive;V is for the vulnerability we know this bravery takes and brings, and
E is for the everyone peace must be born in to really fly.

S is for just one single, simple, sparrow falling,
Precious enough for God to notice and grieve;
A fraction then, compared to how he loves us, each and every one.
Rest assured then, this Christ-with-us, there is always hope.
Really, truly, this is why Jesus came; to show us that love –
Only simple, sacrificial love – always wins. And that is
Why, and how, there truly can be peace on earth.
So let it be born in each one of us again God, and let it fly!



A big thank you to sparrow song, Stephanie and Jill! Just a few hands (and voices) make light work… and can fly together beautifully to give peace away to hundreds of people!

We’re praying now that each dove that has flown home with someone will make it onto their tree and remind them again and again of our prayers and Jesus’ love and peace – given for them, and for the world he so loves.


more chances to hear our sparrows sing

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Around eighteen months ago, two members of our community – singers Anya and Liz – formed the close harmony duo: sparrow song. Their vision was to take their music, characterised by ‘heavenly harmonies and hope-filled lyrics’ into public places where its sound, and most importantly the heart behind it, could be shared freely and widely. Here’s where they’ll be singing this term:


You can find out more information on our sparrow song page – where you’ll also find a brand new ‘taster’ so you can understand just why they have been described as having ‘a sound like the smell of warm caramel’. Sit back, close your eyes, and let Anya and Liz sing you Amazing Grace by heart, and from the heart….

autumn term events

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

We’re in our first week back of our Autumn term, having taking our usual late summer break in the first half of September. We’re expectant of God doing more great things in and through us in the weeks ahead… get a glimpse of some of what’s coming up by downloading our full autumn term calendar from our events page. Just make sure you have your diary ready…

pumpkin fairy lights

the brewing and blessing goes on…

Friday, August 5th, 2016

It’s lovely that we’re still receiving feedback and encouragement in response to our Brew up… and Bless! creative outreach give-away and feedback for Yorkshire. Here are three new responses from the last couple of days that are just our cup of tea!

the perfect brew

On Wednesday, one of our gift-givers sent us this image – entitled ‘the perfect brew’ which someone he knows who had received a gift had forwarded on to him.  Great to see the tea-bag and magnet in action in a setting that really suggests it’s a proper cup of builder’s tea!

And then on Thursday, this article was published by the Ilkley Gazette, which is an edited version of the release we sent them – the author of the prayer got confused, but the author is so thrilled with Alison’s work, she’s more than happy for her to get extra credit!

Ilkley gazette article

And then today, we received a thank you note through the post from someone we’ve never met who lives in North Yorkshire! He had taken the trouble to write to encourage us because he knows (we don’t know how!) one of the shop-keepers we gave a gift to on Yorkshire Day, who also received a YouAreLOVED card on Valentine’s Day…

Anyway, here’s just a bit of what he said:

“What a wonderfully kind gesture to present [person’s name he knows] with your innovative gifts and prayer card to celebrate Yorkshire Day. Your ‘Loved’ gift a few months ago was met with equal gratitude. I personally feel that this is a positive and much appreciated way of bringing Christianity in to the community.”


At the Sanctuary we have a little phrase – encouragement is the currency of the kingdom – and it is so true. People have no idea – especially those who proactively take so much trouble to find our contact details and get in touch just to say thank you for something – how much difference it can make to our work, or how often it is timed so exquisitely to arrive just when it’s most needed…

Like two weeks ago, when after a very difficult day, we received an email from a lady who lives miles away and drove past our lighthouse window on the way back home from visiting a relative in difficult circumstances in the Lake District. We couldn’t believe that after driving all that way and in such a challenging context, she took the time and trouble to find out who we are and email us about how our window had helped her to sense God’s peace and transform how she was feeling as she sat in slow traffic on the hottest day of the year coming back from such a hard time.

It is pure gold to hear these stories. It’s not why we do anything we do. But hearing what God is doing to reach out and bless people above and beyond how we could have possibly planed or imagined is just wonderful. It’s like a treasure trail of blessing! He is so good and creative, and so, so kind to encourage us by giving us yet more glimpses of his work through us and beyond us.

We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing these stories too… happy weekend! Someone put the kettle on…

all poured out…

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

What a brilliant time we had yesterday, pouring out a beautiful blessing for Yorkshire Day that we’d been brewing up for months…

brew up and bless

We gave out 500 of these beautiful gifts, which included two customised Fairtrade tea-bags and a bespoke fridge magnet and postcard featuring our very own brewing prayer. Find out more and read the prayer here

BrewUpAndBless gift

We started just after 3pm and by 4:30 we had only empty baskets left! But as members of our praying community sat round them at 5PM prayers yesterday, we looked at them with even more of a sense of celebration than we had done when we’d managed to make enough gifts to fill them all…

This was because of the memories of all the smiles, laughter and conversations we’d had with the hundreds of Ilkley workers, residents and visitors who’d received the gift earlier that afternoon. There was just so much joy in it all. People’s faces lit up at the gift – especially when they realised it was focused on Yorkshire’s shared love of tea!

Lots of people said they could never say no to a brew! And many others commented straight away on Alison Helliwell-Hodson’s stunning artwork.

It was great to receive thank you tweets from shops we have a growing relationship with and to have a conversation with one business owner in particular who was thrilled with her gift and also remembered  the roses we’d love bombed Ilkley with for Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

Best of all – as ever – is knowing that as well as that moment of connection when we give the gifts to people, smile and have a chat, the gift keeps on giving as it goes home with the person. Perhaps this year, the magnets and brewing prayer postcards will stay on people’s fridges even after they’ve drunk the brew made from those special Brew Up and Bless tea-bags…

One thing’s for certain though… the day had a special flavour that’s lingering well into today.

And actually the pouring out isn’t all quite done, because the window remains to keep infusing that joy into our community throughout August…

Yorkshire Day may be over but Yorkshire people’s love of tea isn’t, and passers by and car passengers are still stopping to look at – and take photos of – the artwork and brewing prayer displayed at the Sanctuary:

BrewUpAndBless window lead

It is such a blessing to share God’s love, beauty and generosity with people!


brew up… and bless!

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Tea plays a key role in our ministry as well as the culture of our region and the UK as whole, so it’s no surprise that it’s provided the central metaphor for our Yorkshire Day creative outreach. But the idea itself came in a time of prayer, so we’re struggling to take credit for it…

BrewUpAndBless window lead

But we’re not struggling to give credit to the wonderful artist who took the brewing and blessing concept to the next level. Alison Helliwell-Hodson is Ilkley based and has been a precious member of our praying community ever since its early days when she offered to paint the mural that had formed part of our initial vision for the Sanctuary’s space.

Her #BrewUpAndBless artwork packs a punch from a distance, but the detail when you get close up is astounding. Just beautiful.

We’ve used it not just to display in our window – along with our brewing prayer and some tea bag mobiles! – but also to form the basis for making 500 bespoke Yorkshire Day handmade gifts to give out to shopkeepers and residents in Ilkley at teatime this afternoon:

BrewUpAndBless gift

The gifts (which include a postcard, fridge magnet and two customised Fairtrade tea-bags) feature another bespoke creation – our brewing prayer:

BrewUpAndBless postcard back

BrewUpAndBless postcard front

BrewUpAndBless tea bag

BrewUpAndBless magnet

We’re so grateful to the more than twenty pray-ers who came in throughout Thursday and Friday to make up the gifts. There was such a fun, loving atmosphere as we crafted them together. And as you can imagine, the kettle worked harder than anyone, brewing up constant fuel for the workers…

We’re really looking forward to writing our next blog tomorrow and being able to let you know just how blessed people have been as a result of so many people coming together and giving their time, talents, prayer and resources so generously.

But meanwhile, it’s our prayer that our window, gifts and social media activity for Yorkshire Day this year will share a powerful image of God’s love poured out for us, bring people together around a shared love of tea and Yorkshire and inspire gratitude – and perhaps even prayer – for the welcoming and community building spirit that characterises so many of Yorkshire’s people and places.

It’s our heart too that our brewing prayer might bless people well beyond Yorkshire. The recent EU referendum revealed many divisions in UK society, and the headlines have been full of acts of hatred. Gathering around a cup or pot of tea together is a very simple thing – as is prayer. Anyone can do them, but they are both powerful ways to re-build hopeful, loving communities.

Wherever you live, why not join in by praying with us now?

Stir up in me –
and everyone in my neighbourhood –
an energising, rich flavour
of robust, resilient love,
for family, for friend… and for community.
So that like the very best cups of tea,
we can all offer real comfort
and come alongside each other in uncertain times
til our society can again be infused
with the refreshing flavour
of kind words spoken
and people gathered together to build with hope.
God who poured out your very self for us,
brew up a blessing in us – and through us – I pray.


summer events programme now live

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Our new term begins with morning worship at 9am on Tuesday and we’re excited about all that’s coming up. View all our special events here and download or print the full Summer Calendar for the Sanctuary. We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you very soon!

sand window final

Our standard prayer rhythm will be running every day Monday-Friday at 9-10am, 1-1.15pm and 5-5.15pm (the Summer Calendar has details of bank holidays etc.)

And special events we’re particularly excited about this term include:

  • our response to Thy Kingdom Come – the Archbishop’s call to prayer in the lead up to Pentecost
  • our special day of prayer for the UK and Europe alongside the EU Referendum on Thursday 23 June
  • sparrow song performing multiple times, including at Ilkley’s bandstand in May and September
  • very exciting plans currently formulating to bless everyone around us for Yorkshire Day on Monday 1 August.

Find out more about all of these on our events page. Watch out for some exciting new windows coming soon too – starting with some beautiful art next week…

…plus of course there’s the small matter of our album coming out in just a couple of weeks now – eeek, it’s so agonisingly close now, it’s getting harder and harder not being able to share it with you quite yet. But soon and very soon!