GOOD (low carbon) NEWS at Portholme Church

The “Tea & PV Commissioning” event led by Revd Ruth Gilson-Webb on Friday 10 November 2023 was a “good news day” at Portholme Church.  Cllr Keith Franks, Mayor of Selby and Keir Mather MP, joined us to celebrate the commissioning of our solar panels and battery storage system as part of our commitment to working towards Net Zero Carbon.

The 20kWp solar PV array and 10kW battery has been generously funded by Energy for Tomorrow as part of a wider ‘Tea and PV‘ initiative across the Yorkshire North and East Methodist District.  Portholme Church was the first of seven churches in the District to be up and running with both the kit and the monitoring system.

The event was commemorated with the ceremonial planting of a crab apple tree, a Malus ‘Comtesse de Paris’, by Cllr Keith Franks, Mayor of Selby, and Keir Mather MP for Selby and Ainsty.  The tree was selected for its wildlife-friendly credentials, helping us to play our part in tackling the twin climate crises of biodiversity loss and carbon emissions.  It was also chosen because it won’t grow tall enough to put our solar panels in shade!

The tree was ‘planted’ in a pot at the front of the sanctuary for the ceremony but, the following day, it was unceremoniously replanted in its permanent site in a new flower bed at the end of the car park!

Malus 'Comtesse de Paris'

Things are looking up!

Solar Panels

We invite you to “look up” at our roof and to count the brand-new solar panels that were installed in June 2023.

They have been part of our planning for a very long time but, finally, they have arrived! The installation is the first step towards our target of reducing our carbon footprint to “Net Zero”. In other words, whilst we may still produce some carbon, it will be fully offset by solar-generated electricity which we sell back to the National Grid. Funding has been provided by Centrica’s “Energy for Tomorrow” charity as part of the Yokshire North & East Methodist District “Tea & PV” project.

For the technically minded, our new system consists 54 “Canadian solar panels with SolarEdge optimisers”, two “SolarEdge 10kW Storedge inverters” and one 10kWh lithium battery.

Looking Back

Portholme Church was built about 40 years ago – long before people became aware of “green” issues. Energy in the 1980s was relatively cheap and plentiful from coal-fired power stations. We now have a new roof which not only keeps us dry but also helps to keep the church warm with its much-improved insulation against heat loss.
We have had the ambition to achieve Net Zero for some years now which is why our new roof was designed the way it is. The solar panels bolt onto supporting rails which are clamped to the ridges. Neat!

Looking Forward

We can generate much more electricity than we currently use. Our target now is to switch from using gas to electricity for heating. We are currently assessing the electric heating systems that are available.
The prospect of Portholme Church achieving “Net Zero Carbon” status is now realistic but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Looking Up

Yes, the solar panels will reduce our energy costs BUT our main aim to achieve “Net Zero Carbon” existed long before the recent enormous price increases. We need to protect God’s creation and help protect vulnerable people around the globe from the effects of global warming. We are trying to set an example and to encourage others to follow.

The light of God has always empowered us spiritually; now the light of God also empowers us electrically!

Dan Holmes in Concert

Dan Holmes in concert, with Michaela providing accompaniment on the pianoDan lives in Illinois, USA and we were delighted to be a part of his 4th UK Tour when he was “in concert” at Portholme Church on 28 April 2023.  Dan is a Christian singer/songwriter who creates his own inspiring music about God’s presence in the world today.

Dan is a very accomplished guitar player and we shared a wonderful evening of music interspersed with Dan’s own stories giving the background to each of his songs.  Michaela provided accompaniment on the piano for a couple of his songs, “The Road of Faith (Shine On)” and “Follow the Light”.

Our appeal on the evening for our 2023 mission project raised a total £433.20 for The Friends of Nixon Memorial Hospital in Sierra Leone.  Thank you to everyone who gave so generously!

“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 enabled us to compile a very worthy “Top Ten”

Raise the Roof — voting summary
Rank HYMNS Year
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:

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.

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

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.