Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

#YouAreLOVED! the message is still going out

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

We’ve had some wonderful coverage of our #YouAreLOVED! initiative in our local paper, so we thought we’d share the online version of the story with our wider audience too. You can read the Ilkley Gazette’s take on it here. We’re excited because it means if anyone in Ilkley hasn’t heard the message yet, there’s another chance… and for those that already have? Well hearing it again, a few days after all the red hearts have come down, might not be such a bad thing either…

LOVED16 front of card image

spring term events programme now live

Monday, January 11th, 2016

It’s our centre’s first day open this term. It’s great to be back. And to celebrate, we’re sharing this term’s programme of events, activities and special prayer foci with you. Find out what’s planned here and then transfer it straight into your diary so you don’t miss out… we’re looking forward to seeing you!

val 15 15

Join us for any or all of the following this term:

Prayer times…

  • Our daily prayer rhythm – the fuel for everything we do here – running every day Monday-Friday at 9-10AM, 1-1.15PM and 5-5:15PM (our events programme details when we have a special focus or theme for our main, morning worship session… other days typically respond to the headlines or other key, outward focused topics.)
  • Monthly topical foci – some issues come to the fore in some seasons and – alongside praying for them on an ongoing basis, we often choose to dedicate a monthly special focus to them. Our current monthly special foci are environmental justice (1st of the month when Mon-Fri), the persecuted church (2nd Tuesday of the month) and trafficking and modern day slavery (21st of the month when Mon-Fri). Find out more details here.
  • Special, extended one-off prayer events – this term we are holding two of these, both in March: Thursday 17 March 2-4pm – prayer for, and Easter card writing to, persecuted Christians and Maundy Thursday (Thursday 24 March times tbc) – Day/night of prayer for the Middle East. (Find out more information, as soon as it becomes available, here.)

Sharing God’s love beyond our walls…

  • sparrow song – our resident song-birds will be singing through our open door four times this term so passers by can listen and/or drop-in. You can hear them on Saturdays 13 and 20 Feb and 12 and 19 March, always from 2:30-4:30PM.
  • You are Loved! – for the third year running, we’re planning a beautiful creative give-away on Sunday 14 Feb to tell everyone around us just how loved they are, whether Valentines day feels happy, sad or irrelevant to them… (Watch this space for more details coming soon.)

prayer vigil for peace and the refugee crisis

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Join us at any point between 8AM and 8PM on Wednesday 11 November to pray for peace and those affected by war, especially the more than 50 million refugees and internally displaced people fleeing conflict and persecution at the current time. Poster available to download here

peace vigil lead image

You can come for just a few moments or as along as you want; alone or with friends and/or family. There will be a number of reflective resources in the space to help you think and bring your questions and struggles to God.

Everyone is welcome – even if they’ve never been to a prayer event before!

Except for a warm welcome as you come in and a hot drink to take round with you if you’d like one, you’ll be left to your own devices, can only join in the bits that are helpful, go round at your pace and leave whenever you want… so it’s a great event to try the Sanctuary out with for the first time.

(Please use the back door for this event, so as not to disturb people already praying in the main space.)

If you want an idea of the kind of thing that will available for you to use in the Sanctuary, you could take a look at this brand new resource we’ve written which showcases a couple of the ‘prayer stations’ we’ll be using.

111115 peace vigil poster

GLOWing reports

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

We had a brilliant time giving away gifts bearing the message of #MadeToGLOW on Saturday, and received delighted responses from the children and parents who received them… And then, early on Sunday morning, we did a rapid changeover in our window… from before to after:

GLOW 16 pic lead 2 night

Our gallery of stars features 27 famous ‘saints’ – and a 28th catch all to represent the huge cloud of witnesses who might not be as famous to passers by – who have shone so brightly in the sphere they were placed that they transformed it with the light they carried.

You can read about everyone who’s featured below… and we recommend you do. It’s an incredibly inspiring and uplifting experience, and we’ve been thrilled to see so many passers by doing exactly that yesterday and today.

But meanwhile, here’s a photo of the accompanying larger poster which introduces people to the source of the light all the people featured in the window are glowing with:

GLOW 15 pic 12

And, just as we promised, here’s a bit about each one of our featured stars…

C.S. Lewis

Inspired by THE LIGHT to write stories and books that lead others to THE LIGHT. We are all: Made to GLOW

William Wilberforce

Inspired by THE LIGHT to end slavery in his time. We are all: Made to GLOW

John Newton

Inspired by THE LIGHT to leave running slave ships and write Amazing Grace. We are all: Made to GLOW

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Inspired by THE LIGHT to write poetry celebrating the beauty of God’s creation. We are all: Made to GLOW

Martin Luther King JR

Inspired by THE LIGHT to fight for the truth that all races are equal and made in God’s image. We are all: Made to GLOW

Mother Teresa

Inspired by THE LIGHT to leave everything behind to care for the destitute in Calcutta. We are all: Made to GLOW

George Frideric Handel

Inspired by THE LIGHT to compose The Messiah and to give the proceeds to orphans. We are all: Made to GLOW


Inspired by THE LIGHT to paint God’s loving welcome in the Return of the Prodigal Son. We are all: Made to GLOW

Elizabeth Fry

Inspired by THE LIGHT to make prisons more humane. We are all: Made to GLOW

Eric Liddell

Inspired by THE LIGHT to run his very best at Olympic level, and feel God’s pleasure in it. We are all: Made to GLOW

Edith Cavell

Inspired by THE LIGHT to care for soldiers from both sides in WWI and to help allies escape. We are all: Made to GLOW

Florence Nightingale

Inspired by THE LIGHT to ‘do good for him alone without reputation’ through nursing. We are all: Made to GLOW

Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Inspired by THE LIGHT to stand up for the truth and care for others in disobedience to the Nazi regime. We are all: Made to GLOW

Abbess Hilda of Whitby

Inspired by THE LIGHT to lead a community committed to prayer, hospitality and spreading the word about THE LIGHT through Yorkshire and beyond. We are all: Made to GLOW

Abbé Pierre

Inspired by THE LIGHT to become a priest, join the French Resistance in WWII and found the Emmaus movement to help homeless people. We are all: Made to GLOW

William Tyndale and John Wycliffe

Inspired by THE LIGHT to translate the Bible into English so that everyone could understand it. We are all: Made to GLOW

Nelson Mandela

Inspired by THE LIGHT to fight for an end to apartheid. We are all: Made to GLOW

Blaise Pascal

Inspired by THE LIGHT to use his outstanding scientific mind to write about THE LIGHT so others could understand more. We are all: Made to GLOW

John and Charles Wesley

Inspired by THE LIGHT to write new hymns set to the pop tunes of the day so people who didn’t go to church could hear about God’s light and love. We are all: Made to GLOW

J.S. Bach

Inspired by THE LIGHT to write ‘reverent music’ through which God’s ‘gracious presence’ could be felt. We are all: Made to GLOW

Nicolaus Copernicus

Inspired by THE LIGHT to ‘seek the truth in all things’ as far as ‘God granted that to human reason’ which resulted in the first pronouncement of the earth orbiting round the sun. We are all: Made to GLOW

J.R.R Tolkien

Inspired by THE LIGHT to write allegorical stories to reflect the battle between good and evil, and to lead C.S.Lewis to faith in Jesus Christ. We are all: Made to GLOW

Corrie Ten Boom and her family

Inspired by THE LIGHT to hide Jewish families in a secret room in their house when Holland was occupied by the Nazis. We are all: Made to GLOW

Lord Shaftesbury

Inspired by THE LIGHT to pioneer free education for poorer children, reform factories and asylums and fight for better housing for everyone. We are all: Made to GLOW

Johannes Kepler

Inspired by THE LIGHT to pursue astronomical and scientific and to ‘think God’s thoughts after him’. We are all: Made to GLOW


Inspired by THE LIGHT to bring to life many biblical stories and to believe that ‘spiritual value could be found in all natural beauty’. We are all: Made to GLOW

William Temple

Inspired by THE LIGHT to write Christianity and Social Order setting out a vision of love and justice reflecting Jesus’ teaching which became the British Welfare State. We are all: Made to GLOW

Billions of ordinary people

Inspired by THE LIGHT to do amazing things, small and big, seen and unseen, here and all around the world, today and for hundreds of years before us. We are all: Made to GLOW

GLOW 15 pic 9

prayers for Macmillan and all affected by cancer

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

It’s our first week back open at the Sanctuary’s centre. And on Friday, we’re joining millions of others across the world in holding a Cake tastes better together event for Macmillan Cancer Support and to gather together our local community. And because we’re thinking about Macmillan, we’re thanking God for them… and that’s led to us writing these prayers; so we decided to share them with you – and with them:


A prayer for MACMILLAN NURSES and other carers

Lord Jesus, you say, ‘if you’re tired and worn out,
come to me and I will give you rest.’

Thank you for all the Macmillan nurses and other carers
who echo your love in the care they give,
the time they lavish,
the words they speak
and the tears they cry.

Lord Jesus, give them a place of rest and comfort too
where they know how treasured they are
and can process their own grief and strain.

Give them energy when their strength is failing,
stretch time and capacity for them when they need it,
provide them with kind words or safe silence when patients and families reach the end of themselves
and lead them to gentle places and people where they too can be cared for and have space to mourn.
Help those around them to speak words of encouragement
and above all Lord Jesus,
please reveal to each Macmillan nurse today
the priceless worth of the work they do
in ministering to each one that you so love.

A prayer for all affected by cancer in any way

Lord Jesus,
thank you that you promise
to weep with those who weep,
and to comfort all who mourn
Thank you too for the solace of friends and family,
the dedication of researchers
the care of medical staff, carers, charities and volunteers
and for the beauty and joy of life that penetrates sorrow.
Thank you also for the promise of a day
when there will be no more tears, sickness or death

But today that day is not fully here yet
and so we ask you again to do what you are always doing –
to weep with us,
to offer us comfort,
to whisper confident love into our fears,
to meet us in our pain, our longings and our breakthroughs,
to fill us with the strength to give and receive comfort from others,
to help us form words for goodbyes good remembering and love
and to embrace silence and space when we need them.
And above all please show us there is hope
and you are hope
and you are always here with us all.

celebration reflections on god bless yorkshire

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

We’re still feeling in the celebration mood following a fantastic day of giving thanks for God’s own county for Yorkshire Day on Saturday.

GBY celebration reflections whole window and balloons low res

The window is full of colourful thanksgiving for specific treasures that people living in – or visiting – Ilkley wrote on it… and that thousands more are reading as they walk and drive by.

We have no gift bags of postcards and badges left – all 250 were  received with happy smiles, laughter and gratitude.

And social media was full of positive conversations about the God Bless Yorkshire initiative all weekend.

Such a natural and joyful way to help people give thanks and to point to the one behind all that beauty.

Job well done fantastic team of volunteers!

Here are some more pics to celebrate the day:

GBY celebration reflections close up - low res

kingfishers on river close up

dry stone walls close up

GBY gift bag image

GBY basket close up

This event is the latest expression of an area of work that seems to be organically and abundantly flowing out of the Sanctuary. As we seek to pray and share God’s heart for each one in seven billion and then to create resources to help the wider church do the same, we are also are finding our watching and creating is spilling out through the window and onto the streets around us in accidental evangelism.

God Bless Yorkshire! is the first initiative we’ve done for Yorkshire Day though. And the idea to do something for it generally – as well as the specifics of what we actually did – all came about because of a combination of Valentine’s Day and listening prayer!

On 14 February 2014, the Sanctuary created it’s first ever window art and involved a team of volunteers in making, collating and giving out its first ever creative give-away. (Both were in response to what we felt God was saying in listening prayer.)

The reactions were amazing – on a day that everyone is wondering whether – or how well – they are loved, it was powerful and fitting to share a perfect and constant love that is for everyone.

And last July, when the whole of Yorkshire went mad for Le Tour! we produced and gave away hundreds of God bless Le Tour badges – and people LOVED them! It tied in so naturally with the celebration already taking place and it was brilliant.

Throughout 2014 and this year, we have been growing our creative arts window ministry with beautiful results. And on Valentine’s Day this year we stepped up the give-away and were again amazed at the warmth and depth of people’s responses.

We prayed about when else we could do give-aways that would bless people in this superbly natural way and really felt led to Yorkshire Day…

And then in morning worship a few weeks ago we prayed about how specifically to bless people on 1 August, and really felt led to share the mural as the basis for our celebrations.

The mural’s artist, Alison Hodson – who had so generously created it as a gift for the Sanctuary three years ago – generously again said yes to all our plans.

And from badges, postcards and tags – all held together with the white rose – through to it being in the window and all kinds of thanksgiving being written over the mural on the glass – our shop front has become a riot of celebratory colour with the mural at its heart.

That same vibrant joy was what we saw beaming back at us from scores of faces among the 250 people who received a gift and/or wrote on our window. We all love where we live and it was a privilege to lead people in giving thanks and receiving beauty that pointed to its source this Yorskhire Day!

The next window will be about rest and there’s a beautiful back-log of ideas planned to follow it – again all birthed out of listening prayer and the generosity of our creatives – and we’re already praying about the next time we can bless people with a give-away.

It is such a privilege – and so much fun! – to freely give as we have freely received.

And that’s how it’s all possible…

Individuals who have received God’s love wanting to share it with others volunteer their listening prayer, their obedience, their time, their art, their creative writing, their formatting, their home-grown flowers, their funds, their smiles and so much more.

So to the team of 15 people from 4 local churches – and all the pray-ers and donors behind them – who helped in one or more of these ways. Thank you! Because of you, we were able to share God’s blessing with Yorkshire. Because you freely gave, many others are freely receiving.

And to the One who keeps on giving. Thank you! How is it possible that even as we give, we receive so much more from you? This morning we feel so rich – in encouragement, in stories, in answered prayer, in expectancy for what you will do next. Thank you for blessing us through all this too!

happy yorkshire day!

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Tomorrow is Yorkshire Day and the Sanctuary is almost ready to help Ilkley give thanks for God’s own county… For weeks now we’ve been busy making plans and preparing goodie bags to give out to hundreds of Ilkley-ites tomorrow – and it’s been a real labour of love.

GBY window final

Tonight a few of us are meeting to pray for Yorkshire – there will be plenty of celebration but we’ll also be chatting about some difficult things we believe break God’s heart – as well as ours. And we’ll be praying blessing on every village, town, valley and city in our region.

Then tomorrow morning the balloons will go up, and we’ll be giving out gift bags to passers-by and people around Ilkley’s town centre… these bags contain gifts (a unique celebration postcard and badge) that feature the art work on display in our Yorkshire Window. (Pictures of gifts below.)

This amazing, giant painting (see above) is the Sanctuary’s moveable mural and is usually to be found on our prayer room’s back wall, rather than in our window. It was painted as a gift for our centre by Ilkley based artist, Alison Hodson and inspires us with a reminder of Ilkley Moor’s beauty every day – so what better visual to use as the inspiration for all our gifts on this special day of celebration?!

On the back of the postcard we’ve started a list of all the wonderful things we want to celebrate about God’s own county… but of course we couldn’t even squeeze half of Yorkshire’s brilliant people and places into an A6 space, so we’re hoping passers by will be able to help us…

We’ll have glass paints with us tomorrow morning and everyone is invited to come and write what they want to give thanks for onto our celebration window.

We hope you’ll come to 6 Church Street tomorrow…  We’d love to see what you’d choose to write on our window as the thing you want to celebrate about Yorskhire. And we’d be really happy to put a gift bag into your hands.

Thank you – you are part of what makes us thankful to live in God’s own county! God bless you.

And now, here are those pics we promised you…

Gift bag:

GBY gift bag image


Postcard – front and back

GBY postcard front

GBY postcard back

Badge: (scarf model’s own!)

GBY badge worn
Behind the window… baskets of 250 goodie bags waiting to be given out tomorrow:

GBY basket close up   GBY behind the mural

PS A very big thank you to:

Alison Hodson for freely giving her beautiful painting not just to the Sanctuary but to the whole of Ilkley and beyond. And also thanks to her husband Nic, who has helped us hang it.

– Claire of Pear Tree Flowers, Ilkley for growing and giving such beautiful flowers to bridge the gap between art and life.

– The Sanctuary’s amazing team of pray-ers and volunteers who’ve been so generous with their time and skills to design gifts, write copy, guillotine tags, fill bags, twist white roses, pray, man the interactive window tomorrow and of course – give out the gifts that are currently patently waiting at the foot of the mural.

– Everyone who’s given so generously to the Sanctuary so we can afford to share our celebration with people in Ilkley.

– Awesome Merchandise, Leeds who provided such a brilliant production service.

embrace – an event for women

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Our friends at All Saints’ Church Ilkley are joining World Vision to host Lara Martin, Lou Fellingham and others for an inspiring evening of worship, prayer and mission. Come and join them at 7:30pm on Saturday 26 September. You can find out more information and book tickets here. And here’s a downloadable copy of the poster if you’d like to pass on the details.)

Embrace crop

13 June – exciting event for creatives

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

We’re thrilled to be able to announce that we’re welcoming Christ John Otto to lead an evening at the Sanctuary on Saturday 13 June from 7:30pm. Beauty will save the world is designed to inspire and release creatives and church leaders to grow in using art, music, film and writing to make God’s love known. Space is limited so contact us to book your place.


The evening will take the format of a talk followed by questions, discussions (and prayer for those who would value it).

Christ John Otto is the author of several books including An Army Arising: Why Artists are on the Frontline of the Next Move of God. He is a “modern urban monk” in greater Boston, Massachusetts, where he leads Belonging House – a ministry to artists, creative people and culture-shapers. Before this he completed Theological Seminary and had a varied career both in and outside of the church.

Like all the Sanctuary’s events, there is no charge to come to this event. But for those able to contribute, we will be taking a retiring collection to bless our speaker and his ministry.

Please feel free to pass on details of this event to the creatives and leaders in your church or Christian networks known to you. (You can download a poster here.)

And please do contact us to book as soon as you can to ensure your space.

The Sanctuary is a house of prayer and home to a free online resource library for outward focused worship – (Our full address and directions of how to find us are available here. Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries about this event.)

awaken the dawn

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Our centre closed for its Easter break on Thursday 2 April, following a night of prayer – Awaken the Dawn – for the nation. We’re not in full swing again till Tuesday 21st, but we wanted to share this beautiful picture (painted live during the night by Barbara Macnish) with you, and to communicate a few themes that came through during the night so we can all continue to pray into them during this key time for the UK.

AtD 1

Barbara explained the symbolism as working on three levels:

1. The Lion can be seen as the UK church

Barbara had been at Mosaic Church Leeds’ Love:Nations conference last month and heard the main speaker there (Angela Kemm from South Africa) speak a word about the UK church being called to transition from lamb mode into lion mode – to wake up, rise up and courageously ‘roar’ at injustice and unbelief.

2. The Lion is also reminiscent of Aslan, himself a symbol of Jesus

C.S. Lewis pictures both Aslan’s breath and his song as bringing things to life or back to life

3. The Lion also can of course symbolise Jesus himself as the Lion of Judah

Again, God’s ‘roar’ or song brings resurrection life. Barbara was also inspired on this front by Lou Fellingham’s new song of intercession ‘Roar‘ which picks up on this theme too.

In all cases, the painting speaks of incredible hope – of light and life springing up all across the UK in response to a fresh move of God’s life-giving Spirit.

It also reflects the atmosphere at the Sanctuary throughout the night of prayer itself, where a growing sense of joy and expectancy throughout the night.

The central two themes that kept coming up through prayer and listening again and again, which we feel are essential to share and ask everyone to keep prayerfully seeking God about, were:

God has in no way finished with the UK or his church here. Quite the reverse. Good things are coming.

– The church needs to be waking up and going out more, worship needs to be taken outside of church buildings onto the streets and into public spaces and that generally creativity is going to be absolutely key in mission in this next season.

One of our pray-ers was again led to Isaiah 61, but in particular to the final verse (11) which was less familiar to many of us and also to Psalm 29:11 and these again seemed to confirm both the picture and the other prayers.

By the end of the night, the whole of our UK floor map was covered in prayers, symbols, words and pictures. Here’s just a taster to further inspire your prayers: