Churches united in bringing cheer on Blue Monday
Churches in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire have been marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by setting up a shop and offering to listen to people’s needs on Blue Monday.
On Sunday 19 January, New North Road Baptist Church was one of six town centre churches to exchange preaching ministries for their morning services. Their preacher was a good friend of the church, Methodist minister Revd Stephen Day, who is also the husband of the Revd Jane Day, a member of New North Road and until recently a Regional Minister in the Yorkshire Baptist Association. Baptist minister the Revd Wayne Clarke spoke that morning at the ancient Parish Church of St Peter’s.
Later that same day the town centre churches joined with dozens of other Huddersfield churches in the launch of Hope Huddersfield, which included praise and imaginative times of prayer. This event kicked off a year of Hope for the town and was also attended by the Revd Ernie Whalley, the President of the Baptist Union and another member at New North Road Church.
The Huddersfield town centre churches have a tradition of meeting to pray at noon each day in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, but this year they decided to take it on the streets. The church took over an empty shop unit in the town’s Packhorse shopping centre for the week, and have been praying together each day at noon, led by different church leaders.
The rest of the day they have been inviting people to use the shop space as a place to be quiet. People from the churches have been on hand to listen to people and to pray with them.
The shop’s first day was also the day recognised as “Blue Monday”, the most depressing day of the year. This was a day to get alongside those who needed a word of support and the churches gave out gifts of flowers and chocolates to raise people’s spirits.
Other days there have different activities such as building a big tower out of Lego to speak about God as a place of refuge, and giving out fruit labelled with the nine virtues of the Fruit of the Spirit.
Wayne (pictured), one of the leaders of the initiative, said that it had been an excellent week, demonstrating Christian unity and God’s love. 'We’ve grown together as believers in our witness', he said, 'and shown our town that we can have hope, and it can be seen though the local church.'