Easter Newsletter and Diary

Happy Easter to all our supporters!

Here is our Easter newsletter, with a focus on our recent 25th Birthday Celebrations, where we enjoyed looking back, celebrating the range of work that we do and praying for the future.

We also have our new Summer Diary, with details of where we expect to be over the next term.

Click here for the Easter Newsletter: Zephletspring2019online

Click here for our Summer Diary: Diary dates summer 2019

Christmas Newsletter and Spring Diary

It’s been a busy term as we welcomed our new team member, Adam, did the normal round of assemblies and autumn projects, and started a few new ones. Read our newsletter below to find out about everything that we’ve been up to.

There’s also our spring diary so you can pray us through the next term, plus three added extras – our Christmas card to you, details of the Zephaniah Christmas Shop (get your Christmas presents sorted!) and an order form to get tickets for all the exciting stuff we are doing to celebrate our 25th birthday.

Get the full Zephaniah Christmas Newsletter here: xmasnews18web

Get our Spring Prayer Diary here: xmas18diaryweb

Merry Christmas from us: Christmas card 2018web

Quick! – get your Christmas presents sorted here: zephxmasshopweb

Join us in February for our birthday celebrations: ticketsorderweb

The Kintsugi Tales

Kintsugi Tales

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Julie’s storytelling with Zephaniah – come and join us to celebrate!

Julie will perform The Kintsugi Tales, a collection of her original stories and borrowed tales, interspersed with songs performed by a live band.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using beautiful seams of gold, reflecting the philosophy that shattered fragments can be mended and redeemed into things of beauty.
Saturday 17 November, 7.30pm, at St Peter’s Church, Moorhead Lane, Shipley.
Tickets £5 from Zephaniah – request yours using the form below, ring us on 01274 533732 or email office@zephaniah.org.uk.


Summer Newsletter & Prayer letter 2018

It’s the start of the Zephaniah year, as the schools start to go back, and its the time of year when we round up what we’ve been doing over the spring and summer. Here’s our latest newsletter, with all the latest news of what the Zephpeeps have been up to. There’s also a link to our prayer diary for the autumn term, so you can pray us on our way.

Summer newsletter: newssummer18web

Autumn prayer letter: summer18diaryweb


Sparks of Hope: The Christmas Resource

Breathe fresh life into the Christmas story with Sparks of Hope, a brand new nativity resource from storyteller Julie Wilkinson.

The Zephaniah Trust is pleased to present our brand new Christmas resource for 2017. 

Sparks of Hope: The Christmas Resource is a collection of original scripts and stories from our storyteller, Julie Wilkinson, which can be used in churches, schools and communities to share the Christmas story. Contents include two all-age nativity scripts (The Historians’ Nativity and The Innkeeper’s Nativity), The Walking Nativity script, and The Midnight Nativity (a set of stories for the stillness and the quietness of Christmas Eve).

Every script and story in the resource book has been written, tried and tested within a church context, resulting in a collection of engaging, dynamic pieces that have been proven to work. Each piece comes with a set of explanatory notes including helpful production hints to take the strain off nativity preparations.
Copies of the book cost £10, plus £2 p&p, and can be ordered direct from the Zephaniah Trust on 01274 533732 or office@zephaniah.org.uk.

What they say…

“The sure sign of an authentic storyteller is that they coax us to remember ‘the sparkle and the special’ of that which we may have forgotten, or misplaced. In Julie Wilkinson’s stories and dramas centred on the Nativity, it is as if we, the watchers, become child-like innocent again, eye witnesses to the ‘hidden sparks of glory’. Through Julie’s lyricism the familiar account becomes newly told, revealing moving depths of wonder and revelation. An ‘atmosphere’ of grace is unwrapped, and hence, becomes a gift for us all.”
Stewart Henderson, poet and broadcaster

“With her characteristic flair, humour and storytelling genius, Julie Wilkinson has here provided a fabulous resource for the Festive Season that will engage the hearts and minds of all ages. Whether your focus is to share the Christmas story in your community; to add spiritual depth to the Carol Concert; or simply to bring a bit of sparkle to a tired old Crib Service – Julie’s helpful production hints, clear stage directions and lively scripts do most of the hard work for you! So crack out the crooks; untangle the tinsel; dust off the donkey and get ready for an Incarnation Celebration that is joyful, poetic and profound. Now … where did I put that star?”
The Revd Canon Clare MacLaren, Canon for Music and Liturgy – St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle

“A really great resource – the Walking Nativity is inspired, why should walks of witness only be reserved for Good Friday? The style is light and in The Historians’ Nativity, I appreciated referencing the difficulties and history of the biblical story of birth. Julie’s materials are brilliant in looking for something that engages, tells the biblical story and invites humour. They are explained well and  allow those that are planning to have a good overview of what they need and how to put it together well. They are the complete package.”
Revd Kezia Robinson, Home Mission Enabler – Yorkshire Baptist Association, and Minister – Wakefield Baptist Church

“Julie has the rare ability not just to bring the scriptures to life but also to shine a light on the commonplace and easily overlooked. She is skilled at presenting a serious message with deft humour and an extraordinary insight. Christmas in Wrose would just not be the same without one of these delightful offerings.”
Revd Colin Blake, Vicar – St Cuthbert’s Church Wrose

Julie Wilkinson has been writing for as long as she can remember, discovered she was a storyteller in 2002, and has worked for the Zephaniah Trust since 2003. Since then, she has taken her traditional performance style into many schools, churches and community settings across Bradford and beyond, sharing Bible stories and folk tales, original material and borrowed stories. She has a gift for bringing stories to life, discovering the magic within the mundane, and connecting with audiences of all ages. She is a firm believer in all-age ministry and is committed to the premise that adults have as much to learn from children as the other way round. She grew up in a Methodist church, spent her young adulthood in a Baptist church, and is currently connected to an Anglican church, where she arrived via GraceSpace, a fresh expression. She is part of a small community called Meadhall, who gather regularly around God’s table and God’s story.
The Zephaniah Trust is a small Christian charity using music and the arts to “take light into dark corners” across Bradford and beyond. Every year, our team of part-time workers reach over 10,000 children in schools throughout the city, providing assemblies, lessons, workshops, events and more. Founded by John Froud in 1994, the Trust is committed to working with those of all faiths and none to make the world a better place. 
Contact us on 01274 533732  or office@zephaniah.org.uk.

Freestyle Part 9








Part 9 of our Easter Freestyle Series
By Zephaniah Associate, Poet & Broadcaster Stewart Henderson

Two haiku for Easter Sunday

A haiku is an ancient Japanese ‘precise’ poem, being a 17 syllable, 3-line verse consisting of 5 syllables for the first line, 7 syllables for the second line and then back to 5 syllables for the third line. Traditionally, the subject matter is about nature and the emotional response to such.
In the two haiku below, Stewart Henderson has adapted the haiku template for us to consider the ‘bouquet’, and ‘deep magic’, to quote C.S. Lewis, of Easter Sunday.

1) Abracadabra
now you see him…now you do;
can’t see how it’s done

2) Inhale the sweet air.
How can the very dead be
here and luminous?

Copyright (c) Stewart Henderson 2016


Freestyle Part 8








Part 8 of our Easter Freestyle Series
By Zephaniah Associate & Founder of the Raise Project Carol Barwick

An Easter Carol (To the tune of Away in a Manger)

Away on a hillside
The Lord did decide
To take up His cross
And to give up His life
His friends stayed there with him
Ate food and drank wine
So they would remember
This heavenly sign

Away on a hillside
The Lord heard the jeers
The cries of Barrabas
The questions, the tears
And then Pontius Pilate
Delivered the news
The end would be nigh
For the King of the Jews

Away on a hillside
Between love and strife
Our lovely Lord Jesus
Laid down His whole life
The stars in the bright sky
Gave way to the Son
Who then rose to Heaven
To sit on His throne

The above is a response to my son’s obsessive need to sing Christmas songs at all times of the day and night. In March. So having attempted to make him sing We Wish You a Merry Easter and Jesus died for you… it got me thinking about Carols and why there aren’t any at Easter.

The verb of Carol is “to sing or say something happily” so I wondered if that was why there were no Easter Carols despite there being many glorious and triumphant hymns (the one about angels in bright raincoats was always my favourite as a kid – can you guess which one that is?).

This got me thinking about joy at Easter. Is it truly possible to en-joy a story of pain and death?

The dictionary definition of the verb enjoy is as follows

  1. to experience with joy; take pleasure in: He enjoys Chinese food.

So here’s the thing. I run a business raising self-esteem and confidence of all ages and, much like my fabulous friends at Zephaniah Trust, I also do storytelling although mine are interactive sessions specifically for under 5s. We really enjoy our sessions – we enjoy the stories and the songs!

As we approached Holy Week, I became aware that I needed to pick an appropriate story for our big Easter session. It may well be questioned from an outsider’s point of view whether a story of death could ever be a joyful thing to share with little children. But as a Christian I believe that the story of Jesus’ death is the ultimate story of hope and future happiness. So I set about finding a story that would be appropriate to read in my Easter story session. Strangely enough Julia Donaldson didn’t seem to have any stories about crucifixion, and the story I ended up doing last year (when I was feeling less brave) was about a rabbit who poos instead of laying eggs (the book is called Rabbits Don’t Lay Eggs, don’t ask). Other standard Easter books had pictures that were either too graphic for little ones or didn’t talk about the real Easter story at all choosing to talk more about chicks and bunnies. So with help from a friend I decided to use a simple toddler’s re-telling where the children tell the story of Jesus’ death by acting it out through an American pageant. It was fine, cute even. But I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I didn’t know if the children would enjoy it. In fact, I was really unsure about the story that I had picked and whether it was right to share the real Easter story at all…

It was as people arrived however that it became obvious that they were really pleased that the true story of Easter was being shared. It was lovely to take such an important and yet simple story and turn it into something so packed full of joy and happiness. I was aware that with little ones I wanted to downplay the death and turn up the volume on the happiness and then I realised – this is actually the meaning of Easter in a nutshell (or an eggshell…). Yes, Jesus died – a horrible, brutal, painful death (I actually believe that when we talk about Jesus coming to earth to die it is just as important to realise that he died to himself long before he died on the actual cross) but He also had the most beautiful, glorious resurrection which we will be hearing more about on Sunday. Easter is full of joy. It is to be en-joyed!

As a final thought I will leave the Dairy Milk advert to make my final point…

Freestyle Part 8

This is what happened at Easter time. Joy was set free. Forever.
Happy Easter,
Carol x