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All parish life is there

02 November 2006


DIARIES of everyday life increase in interest as time goes on. Two hundred years from now, Barrie Pepper's Day by Day by Day, a year in the life of St Aidan's, Leeds, could be a goldmine for historians of the Ripon & Leeds diocese. Today its greatest appeal will be to members of the St Aidan's community, who will read the details of their year from Advent Sunday 2004 to Advent Eve 2005.

Mr Pepper is a journalist who writes mostly about beer and pubs, but this time his subject is the Anglo-Catholic parish church (affirming of women clergy), famous for its enormous mosaic of the life of St Aidan. We read about the ordinary things like PCC meetings and baptisms. But there is also the mass in the Coptic rite, said by an Eritrean priest for the 70 Eritrean members of the congregation, and the thanksgiving service to celebrate Jamaican independence.

He records that the church was packed with 900 people for the funeral of an 18-year-old who committed suicide while in prison, and that the Vicar, Canon Alan Taylor, appealed against the deportation of an Iraqi Christian asylum-seeker. The trauma of the year was the death of a mother of six, killed by a car driven by an 18-year-old being chased by police.

The book is well illustrated with photographs, though at the time of writing Mr Pepper could send me one only of the curate, the Revd Andy Myers ( right), at the Leeds Caribbean Carnival, which also features colourfully in the life of St Aidan's.

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