THE freezers in Kildwick and its environs are slowly filling up
with tasty treats for the great event happening here in early May.
No, not the General Election - although we might see a better
turn-out at the polling stations if food and drinks were provided.
The bakers of St Andrew's are stocking up their freezers with
scones and cakes ready to welcome the crowds who are likely to
watch the Tour de Yorkshire tear through Kildwick on the afternoon
of 3 May.
I confess I was not hugely thrilled by the Tour de France last
year, feeling decidedly "Bah, humbug" about all the road closures
and the blanket coverage by the media. I am a little more excited,
however, by the prospect of the Tour de Yorkshire coming through
The cyclists - including Sir Bradley Wiggins - will sweep up
Main Street towards the church; make a sharp right-turn at the foot
of the church steps; then continue to climb up Priest Bank Road,
over the canal, and on to the next village. I suspect that it will
all be over very quickly, but we are hoping to make more of the
occasion for the visitors.
As a church, we usually serve Sunday-afternoon tea and scones in
our parish rooms from May to September, and have a regular
clientele of locals, hikers, bargees from the canal, and tourists
who are enjoying the beauty of the area. Given that the church
green will be an excellent place from which to watch the race, we
are planning to move our "café" out there for 3 May - Yorkshire
IT HAS been a year since we set up the church Twitter account,
partly because we felt it was about time we tried it, but also to
advertise a weekend seminar by the biblical scholar, author, and
past president of the Society for Old Testament Study, Dr Margaret
I enjoyed meeting Margaret last year, and am really looking
forward to her stay next weekend, when she will be helping us to
explore Revelation. Given that she is a highly regarded speaker,
who was made a Doctor of Divinity by the former Archbishop of
Canterbury Lord Williams, we are fortunate that she made even one
visit to us, let alone agree to come back.
As one parishioner said, with typical Yorkshire understatement:
"For a village church in rural north Yorkshire, we don't do badly
for visiting speakers, do we?"
THE church now has a Facebook page also, and we have found the
whole social-media experience interesting. We have long since
stopped trying to work out why people "follow" and "unfollow" us on
Twitter: we just tweet, and let what happens happen.
As an administrator for our Facebook page, I can see how much
interest each of our posts generates; it seems that a picture of
the church or a gravestone is more likely to hit the 300-views mark
than any of the more meaty spiritual posts, but at least people are
visiting the page, and we hope that, if nothing else, they will
feel involved in everything we do.
ONE picture that caused a Facebook stir recently was of my
husband, smiling at the camera and holding up a certificate. I took
the picture just before 9 a.m. on Easter Monday, outside the YMCA
in Halifax, shortly after Team Figg had completed the 50th annual
Halifax Long March.
The Long March raises money for Christian Aid, and is always
held on Easter night. Normally, it comprises a 26.2-mile hike
around the hilly roads of Calderdale, but, because this year marked
its 50th anniversary, the organisers decided to return to what had
been the original distance, 30 miles.
Now, 3.8 extra miles might not seem a lot, but after a full day
of Easter services, culminating in a Songs of Praise evening
sing-a-long, Team Figg definitely felt the difference. What was no
different, though, was the excellent organisation of the whole
event: at 11.30 p.m., the walkers set out from the Halifax YMCA
without maps, trusting themselves to the volunteer marshals along
the way, who cheerfully pointed them in the right direction,
rescued anyone who could walk no further, and raised flagging
spirits with their enthusiasm.
There were rest stops along the way, in churches and church
halls, where more volunteers dispensed hot drinks, food, and
encouragement. I'm sure that Team Figg is not alone in appreciating
all the helpers without whom the Long March could not happen.
I HAD been going to ignore the other great event happening in
May, but, as the mother of three young men who will all be voting
in their first General Election, I have something to ask
politicians: Can you please make your election campaigns more about
how good your policies are, and less about how bad you deem
everybody else's to be?
Can we please have more detail about your plans, and less about
your views on the personal weaknesses of other politicians? Can we
please have more substance and less rhetoric? Finally, please can
you make an effort to answer the question you've been asked, and
not the one for which you've prepared an answer? Thank you.
Elizabeth Figg is a former contributor to The Sign.
Her husband is the Vicar of Kildwick, near Keighley.