Welcome to Portholme Church! We include here some basic information that we hope you will find helpful.
All our latest news is available on our Facebook page – click here or search for "Portholme Church" on Facebook.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please email us: info@portholmechurch.org.uk

Welcome to Portholme (Church)

We are very pleased to be getting some new neighbours and we hope that you’ll come round to see us soon!
If you are moving into "Portholme" this summer, you’ll find a very warm welcome just across the road at Portholme Church. We’d love you to join us on Sunday at 10:45am for worship … or pop in on a Monday morning between 9:30am and 11:30am for a cup of tea or coffee on us — just mention that you’re one of our new neighbours!

Our Minister - Rev Philip Macdonald

I became Minister of Portholme Church in September 2018, having moved from Newark, Nottinghamshire, after seven years of ministry there. I have found Portholme to be a very welcoming church where everyone is included regardless of their age or background. The church is open most days of the week and we host a wide range of community groups and activities as well as our own programme of meetings and events. I think you will find there is something for everyone.
If you would like to contact me about getting married at Portholme, having your child baptised or to talk about the Christian faith and what the Church is all about, then please call me on 01405 765154 or email philipmacdonald@tiscali.co.uk
I look forward to welcoming you to Portholme!
Philip Macdonald
Sunday Worship
Worship is held at 10:45am on Sundays.
Children and young people are welcomed into our Junior Church.

Click on the "Calendar" tab for more details of our Sunday services. We have a variety of worship styles. Most services are led by our minister or by a local preacher and will usually last for about an hour. There is always an opportunity to share in fellowship with other worshippers after the service over a cup of tea or coffee.

For a more informal style of worship, we hold a "Shoppers’ Service" on the first Monday of each month at 11:00am. These services last 20 - 25 minutes.

There is no "dress code" for any of our services and you will be just as welcome in t-shirt and jeans as in your "Sunday best".

Contemplative Prayer is held on the first Sunday of each month at 6:00pm.

House Group / Bible Study
Portholme Church members regularly meet in their homes bible study and prayer. The dates appear on our weekly printed news sheet which is normally available for anyone to collect from the church foyer.
Weekday Events
Coffee Morning – Monday, 9:30am to 11:30am. Everyone is welcome to pop in for a coffee and a chat. This is a great way to meet people and to spend time with friends. We serve Fairtrade tea & coffee at very reasonable prices and you can stay as long as you like. The Traidcraft Stall offers greetings cards and a wide selection of fairly traded goods at reasonable prices.
Bank Holiday Cafeterias We also run a cafeteria on Bank Holiday Mondays when we open from 9:30am to 1:00pm and extend our facilities to include cakes, sandwiches, book stall, bric-a-brac stall and other items. People come from miles around to visit the market in Selby on Bank Holiday Mondays and many choose to call in at Portholme Church – why don’t you join us, too?
Knit & Natter – If you enjoy knitting, you’ll be welcome to join our group. We meet at Portholme Church on Wednesday mornings from 10am. We knit goods for sale at church events and also items needed by charities. The group is informal so you can just come along and start knitting & nattering at any time.
Parents & Young Children Group As the name implies, this is a group for pre-school children and their parents / carers / grandparents. Ages range from new-born up to school age. The Parents and Young Children (PYC) Group meet on Friday from 9:30am to 11:15am during term time only. You can find out more details by email: pyc@portholmechurch.org.uk
Other regular activities at Portholme Church
We are pleased to welcome a wide variety of groups to Portholme Church every week. Singing, art, judo, discussion, motivation – it all takes place at Portholme Church!
If you are the leader of one of the groups that hire Portholme Church for your weekly or monthly activities and would like us to give you a mention on our website, please contact us by email: info@portholmechurch.org.uk
Sing Yourself Happy
A FUN singalong group for older people with a choice of over 100 well known songs from the early 1900’s to the 1980’s.
We meet every Tuesday morning 10am-12 noon, £2.50 pp including refreshments (1st visit free).
A warm welcome from our lovely, dementia friendly support team awaits.
For more information, please contact; singyourselfhappyselby@gmail.com
Rock Choir
Rock Choir is much more than a choir - it’s a multi layered singing experience. The power of music, meeting new friends and performing at life changing events, together contribute to an emotional and powerful journey for our members - over 30,000 people sing in Rock Choir across the UK.
Rock Choir meet at Portholme Church on Wednesday evenings during term time from 8:00pm to 9:30pm.
For more information, please visit www.rockchoir.com or telephone 01252 714276
Dates and information about future events.

An Evening of Song
The Selebian Singers

Come and join us for a musical evening on Saturday 18 June at 7:00pm

The Selebian Singers’ 18 strong choir will perform a programme of light songs including two or three where you’ll be able to join in.

Tickets cost £5 and include Strawberries, Cream & Shortbread — plus a tea/coffee, of course.

All proceeds are for the Portholme Church Roof Fund

August Bank Holiday Cafeteria – Monday 29 August 2022

Our next Bank Holiday Cafeteria will be on August Bank Holiday Monday when we will open from 9:30am to 1:00pm.

Refreshments will be available so come and enjoy our tea/coffee, cakes and sandwiches

Book Stall — Bric–a–Brac — Traidcraft — Knits & Crafts Stall — Jigsaws

People come from miles around to visit the market in Selby on Bank Holiday Mondays and many choose to call in at Portholme Church — why don’t you join us, too?

Dan Holmes’ "When I’m 64 Tour"

Dan’s 2020 tour of the UK was cancelled due to Covid but we are hoping that it will be possible for him to visit us in Autumn 2022 — subject to travel restrictions being fully lifted by the UK & US governments

Dan describes himself as an "old school singer/songwriter" creating music about the presence of God in our world. His musical influences include Paul Simon, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor and others. Certainly, we had a great evening on his last visit in 2018 and we’re really looking forward to seeing him again, both as a performer and as a friend.

You can find out more about Dan Holmes by visiting his website.

Look out for details of Dan’s plans for his return to Portholme Church in 2022. His music will touch you, inspire you and move you!

Here we highlight one or two special events that have been held at Portholme Church recently.

"Raise the Roof"

On Saturday 7 May 2022 we enjoyed an evening of modern hymns to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee — plus the United Reformed Church’s 50th Anniversary and Portholme Church’s own 10th birthday. All the hymns had been written since Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952.

A big "THANK YOU" goes to everyone who voted for their three favourite modern hymns which us enabled us to compile a very worthy "Top Ten"

Raise the Roof — voting summary
1 The Lord’s my Shepherd (I will trust in you alone)1996
2 In Christ Alone 2001
3 Lord, the Light of your Love is Shining 1987
4 From heaven You came (The Servant King) 1983
5 Let us build a house where love can dwell 1994
6 Hear the call of the kingdom 2006
7 Give to me Lord a thankful heart 1975
8 O God, you search me and you know me 1992
9 Ten thousand reasons (Bless the Lord) 2011
10 All I once held dear 1993

If you’d like to see where your personal favourites ended up in the full list of 63 nominations, please email us: info@portholmechurch.org.uk.

Our new roof is complete!

After several years in the planning, Portholme Church has finally got its new roof. We have lots more insulation to keep the church cosy & warm but, most importantly, we don’t have any leaks! The photographs show some of the key moments …

Portholme Church’s "Open Gardens" Event

THANK YOU to the four members who opened their gardens on Saturday 14 August.

Although the weather could have been a bit better, it didn’t rain! Visitors included people from church and also some interested passers by. Everyone enjoyed looking round — as well as flowers and plants to see, there was also time for reflection with some prayers dotted about in one of the gardens and, of course, refreshments were served!

Thank you, too, to everyone who visited — over £450 was raised for our Roof Fund. If you would like to donate towards the cost of the work, please see our "Giving" page or email our Church Treasurer by clicking here.

Lenten Cross 2021

As a result of the Covid pandemic and the restrictions imposed on regular worship by the government, our observance of the season of Lent this year has forced to be different.

During Lent, our Lenten Cross would normally be in the Sanctuary but this year it was placed in the foyer so that it could be seen by passers-by. The cross was "dressed" each week to show the symbols of Christ’s suffering & death. A printed explanation of each week’s new addition was placed so that it could be read through the window. The photograph below shows the Lenten Cross as appeared on Good Friday.

On Easter Day, after the symbols of Christ’s suffering and death had been removed, everyone was invited to share in transforming the cross into a symbol of resurrection by placing flowers on it.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Churches Together in Selby
Carol Singing

We weren’t sure if our annual CTIS carol singing would take place this year but at the eleventh hour we got the go ahead and a small group of 5 singers as well as the family music group came together on Saturday morning to bring some festive cheer to the townsfolk

We were able to keep the queue of people outside Wilko entertained as well as the shoppers inside — the assistant said we sounded lovely — as well as other bystanders and lots of children who joined in the singing

There were so many people saying thank you to us and offering donations (we weren’t collecting) and the smiles we got made it all worthwhile

Operation Christmas Child
2020 Shoebox Appeal

What a response to the 2020 Shoebox Appeal!

With the uncertainty as to whether the appeal could go ahead earlier in the year with the pandemic and after the national collection week was put back due to lockdown #2, we were finally able to be that "church collection centre" that we had put ourselves forward for and Portholme opened its doors for a week in December.

A willing band of volunteers turned up every morning to receive any shoeboxes from the general public which seemed to mean that the last 15 minutes were always the busiest with big donations being brought in on two of the days.

A particular highlight was two little sisters coming in with their shoeboxes on Saturday morning and jumping up and down with excitement when they got a certificate — their Mum was so proud of them.

We also had another Mum say "what a lovely church, I always forget that you’re here"

The final count is a whopping 203 shoeboxes which were packed into 20 large boxes and collected by the charity on 16 December.

To put this into perspective we collected about 40 boxes last year — massive thanks to everyone who helped out and also to all of you who either donated boxes or donated money to Operation Christmas Child

The Snow Dancer

This was another brilliant production from the BadApple touring theatre company. The audience, which included quite a number of children, enjoyed this winter tale with an eco twist.

Anastasia Benham and Danny Mellor were remarkably talented actors who could also sing and dance. They each played three main characters and brought to life a number of woodland creatures. It was uncanny, the way that they could switch in an instant from one character to another, each being completely believable.

The story is set in The Great Wood where the animals are desperate for a long sleep. But, with the onset of global warming, it is just too warm. Everyone is going around in circles and sick of nuts before Christmas is even in sight. They seek out the mysterious Snow Dancer and have their own ideas for improving the environment and bringing back the seasons as they should be.

This was an evening full of fun, good songs and terrific acting. We’re looking forward to welcoming BadApple back with another production in 2020.

Photograph kindly provided by BadApple – see their website for details of current productions

PYC Reunion

The Portholme Church Parents and Young Children Group ("PYC") celebrated 25 years of happy Friday mornings in June this year. It was great to have a reunion of past and present children, parents, and helpers who have enjoyed PYC over the years.

Sharing light refreshments and a chance to meet up with old friends, so many people came along on Saturday 29 June 2019 to re-kindle old memories. All the present PYC team were there and even a couple of the original helpers from when PYC started in 1994 were there, too.

The format on Fridays has not changed greatly over the years and, judging by past photos, some of the original toys are still in use!

"The Frozen Roman"

The Badapple Theatre Company came to Portholme Church on Friday 24 May 2019 when they filled the church hall with music & laughter with their production of ‘The Frozen Roman’. With their own stage, sets, scenery, lighting and sound they transformed the hall into a "theatre".

The "The Frozen Roman" was a brand new comedy written by Kate Bramley with music & songs by Jez Lowe. The plot centred around a clandestine meeting at the Phoenix pub where the discussion got heated as the villagers racked their brains to find a way to prevent developers building a large housing development that would threaten village life as they knew it.

When you throw a ghostly "Ancient Roman" and 21st century Syrian refugee into the mix, you’ve got a recipe for fun and chaos! The young cast of professional actors took on multiple roles with lightning fast quick changes. It was an evening that the 100+ folk who attended will never forget.

We look forward to welcoming The Badapple Theatre Company back with a new show some time soon.

John Barker in Concert

We were delighted to have John Barker perform for us at Portholme Church on Saturday 23 March 2019. John is one of Britain’s finest trumpet players and he easily justified this epithet with his playing on the evening. John performed a wide range of music from his vast repertoire – songs from the shows, pop hits, old-time favourites, classical pieces, hymn tunes and brass band items.

In between the music, John regaled us with us stories about his career as a solo artist. He was told many times over that it was impossible to make a living as a full time musician but he has certainly proved his critics wrong! His story is one of hard work, a strong determination to succeed and lots of practice. John plays the trumpet at least 4 hours every day in order to keep at the top of his game.

After a wonderful evening of varied music, John concluded the evening with an amazing rendition of "Jerusalem" – the audience were enthusiastic in their singing along and, incredibly, everyone seemed to know the words from memory!

Thinking Into Dementia

Thought provoking, informative, moving, funny, inspiring were all words that came to mind as we reflected on the training on Dementia led by Rev Pat Malham.

Pat is a Methodist minister in the Ripon and Lower Dales circuit but has previously been a psychiatric registrar and a GP. She talked about the different forms of dementia and the many varied ways in which it manifests itself – everyone who was there will have learned something new.

Pat talked about the importance of focusing on the person and what they are able to do and working to maintain that and encouraging as much independence as possible. As a minister, Pat went on to help us think about the church’s role and if we believe that God loves all people and the gospel is for all people, it includes people with dementia. We were urged to adopt a positive attitude and to encourage supportive relationships. We were told that people with dementia may not remember what we said to them but they may, and often do, remember how we made them feel.

Pat gave some very practical suggestions of things we can do to make an accessible environment as well as to encourage creativity and participation. As the church, we can do these things in fellowship, in worship and in walking alongside them on their continuing journey of life. Pat included in her presentation art work, sculptures, poetry and prose created by people living with dementia.

An Evening with Dan Holmes

This memorable event was held on Tuesday 12th June 2018.

From the comments afterwards, it seemed that everyone had appreciated Dan’s friendly, unassuming manner and melodic singing. Dan interspersed his gentle songs of a simple faith with stories and anecdotes. We learnt that Dan was a high school theatre teacher until May of 2016. After 31 years in the classroom, he retired and began working, once again, as a full-time musician! In addition to his two tours of the UK, he has performed at over 150 churches in the USA.

He certainly demonstrated his mission: "Through the sharing of music, we can celebrate what God is doing in us, for us and through us! I am an old school singer/songwriter bringing a gentle Christian message of hope! I pray that our paths will cross and we can celebrate together!"

As an interlude in the middle of Dan’s concert, a short video was shown appealing for donations to Hope School Beit Jala, which provides education and boarding for disadvantaged children aged 3-6 and 11yrs-18yrs from the West Bank area of Palestine. The children come from the neediest of families, and Christian and Muslim alike are brought up in a loving, Christian environment. The images were accompanied by voice-overs read by our members.

After the concert we were treated to a fine buffet of savoury and sweet delights together with tea and coffee. During this time there were collection buckets ready for our donations to Hope School and a further bucket for contributions for the buffet which, like the concert itself, was not charged.

There was also the opportunity to chat to Dan and his wife and to purchase from his selection of CDs.

And the outcome:
£385.50 raised for Hope School
Donations for refreshments raised £71.48 for church funds

Visit Dan’s website at danholmesmusic.com

Good Friday Walk of Witness

Portholme Church is proud to be an active member of "Churches Together in Selby", an umbrella organisation uniting all Christian denominations who are active in the town. This year’s annual "Walk of Witness" on Good Friday was very well supported.

Portholme Church was packed for the pre-walk service which was led by our own minister, Rev David Coote. Following the service inside Portholme Church, the congregation walked together through the Market Cross shopping precinct to the town’s market place in front of Selby Abbey where an open-air service was led by members of King&rsquos Church. The congregation were warmed with refreshments inside the Abbey after the open-air service.

"Good Friday" is the bleakest moment in the Gospel story. When we read the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion today, we have the benefit of knowing that it&rsquos all leading up to the triumph of Easter. But to the Jesus-followers present at the scene, it must have seemed that the world as they knew it was falling apart.

Refurbishment of the Sanctuary

We have recently made some significant progress in creating a new and more colourful worship area. From the very beginning, our aim has been to ensure that Portholme Church is not just given a facelift but is renewed and ready for worship in the 21st century.

All the chairs were re-upholstered early in the autumn and the upgrades to our audio visual equipment were completed just before Christmas.

This year, the sanctuary cross has been given its new wooden surround. The cross is now much more prominent and, pleasingly, the feedback has all been positive.

New wall banners have been produced and are now in place on the walls. Copies of the new “Portholme Church” banner, which was made for us by Yvonne Bell*, are available as bookmarks.

Visitors to Portholme Church cannot miss the new artwork that is on display in the foyer. We hope the pictures will prove spiritually uplifting and inspirational – we’re looking forward to hearing people’s reactions.

The installation of our new LED lighting has now been completed. Besides giving a brighter light in the Sanctuary, the new units will give us savings of over 80% on electricity

This is the full list of work that has already been completed or is still being undertaken:
  1. Re-upholster all the sanctuary chairs
  2. Build a new removable communion rail
  3. Highlight the sanctuary cross with a bold wood surround
  4. Craft new furniture – communion table, book stand, lecterns and flower stands
  5. Upgrade the existing audio visual system
  6. Install energy-efficient LED lighting
  7. Replace the sanctuary and foyer carpets
  8. Install wall banners and artwork to proclaim our faith in a dramatic way

*You can see more of Yvonne Bell’s work by visiting her website: Yvonne Bell: Christian Art and Church Vestments


At a local arrangement service in September, we thought about journeys in a number of different ways. We looked at the journeys some of us took across the UK and further afield before settling in Selby.

We were then challenged to think about our spiritual journey - not only as individuals but collectively as Portholme Church - how we can see God at work now and where He may be leading us in the future.

Throughout the service we made a note of some key words that came through the bible readings, the thoughts that were shared and also from the congregation. After the service people added to the list those words that were important to them when thinking about Portholme Church. We promised that we would use all of the words and make them into a "Wordle".

The following week everyone was given a copy of the Wordle and were encouraged to think about any other words that should be added before we produce a final (for now) version that we hope we can make into welcome cards for anyone visiting or wanting to know more about Portholme Church. We have also updated the large version and put it on the notice board in the foyer so that people can see at a glance what is important to us as a church family.

People will use the Wordle in different ways. For some, it is really useful as a focus for reflection and prayer, picking out different words and those relating to activities that are part of our church life or that we support, helping us pray for them and the individuals that lead or benefit from them. Other words lead us to ponder on what God may be saying to us as individuals or as a church and what He may be saying about where He may want us to go over the coming months and years.

It will be interesting to produce another Wordle in a year or two and see how much has changed. Some of the things that are fundamental to our faith will remain but it would be good to see new words appearing as we continue to move forward together as a church.

Charity Coffee Mornings

We hold a coffee morning every Monday at Portholme Church to raise the funds necessary to keep the church open but, once a month, we dedicate the funds raised to a charity that has been nominated by one of our members. We aim to support a wide range of charities who are working to help others locally, nationally and internationally.

In July, we raised a record amount of £151.25 to go to the Grenfell Tower Fire Relief Fund. In August, a more usual amount of £44.96 went to the Peter Pan Nursery in nearby Sherburn-in-Elmet and in September people responded again with great generosity to give a total of £102.45 to Macmillan Cancer Care.

The Coffee Morning is "open" every Monday from 10am to 12 noon. Everyone is welcome and it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet up and chat with friends. Do join us!

Holiday Club 2017

The theme for our annual HOLIDAY CLUB this year was "The Guardians of Ancora".

The Holiday Club was open every morning from Monday 14th August to Friday 18th August. Portholme Church was transformed into the Guild and Hall of Memory for the city of Ancora and we played host to 30 keen and eager young Apprentice Guardians.

The Guardians of Ancora is a fantastic, week long, programme of activities (developed by the Scripture Union) which is crammed full of exciting activities, great Bible teaching and introduces children to Jesus and tells of the amazing things he did. During the week, the world of Ancora, the City of Hope, is introduced. At the summit of Ancora stands the Spire of Light which lights up the whole city. The stories of the Saga (the Bible) are told there every day, and the power of storytelling fuels the light of the Spire.

Each story of the Saga is represented by a story-treasure (some sort of object or artefact): these are stored in the Hall of Memory. Once, the Hall of Memory in the city of Ancora was filled with wonderful story-treasures, but now, many of these objects have been lost. The people of Ancora are determined to recover the lost story-treasures so they can, once again, tell the stories. The existing Guardians have recovered some of these but others still need to be found and so they have sent out an appeal for new recruits and this is where the Apprentice Guardians join the story. Each day the Apprentice Guardians set out – with the help of the Keeper of the Keys and Kal the Aquaneer – on a quest to find a story-treasure, return it to the Hall of Memory and explore the story it represents.

What happens during the Holiday Club? Well, there’s laughing, learning, singing, dancing, praying, talking, listening, thinking, laughing (yes we did a lot of that!) and let’s not forget this is a way of reaching out to some of the estimated 95% of children and young people in England and Wales who aren’t in church and providing a way in for children to find faith, grow in faith and reach out to their friends in faith.