On Friday night, I went to Hollybush Christian Fellowship, a Pentecostal church founded by Yorkshire farmer Jim Wilkinson in the late sixties. Like many in that and the next decade, he felt called to leave Methodism, and is linked to such churches as Barnoldswick’s Majestic and Abbeystead’s Kay’s Farm. He details it all in his book Miracle Valley which I read some years ago. I’m told that fewer go to it now than was the case a few years back, but they could still rustle up over 150 for a regular Friday night meeting. 

The interior of their main building reminded me of a something from the USA, with its generous use of pine and its big platform. I could well imagine the Gaithers singing one of their ‘homecomings’ here; North Yorkshire’s rural setting is perhaps our national equivalent of America’s Midwest. Sadly, there was no preaching, but we had an interesting presentation from Compassion in Jesus’ Name, the Christian child-sponsorship charity, and a professional guest musician and ‘worship leader’ who led the singing. Refreshingly, we had a long period of silence in the middle. Such times are precious in Pentecostal worship which can be known for its noise and clamour. As a former Pentecostal elder, I can vouch for those churches attracting particularly pushy women and men who like the sound of their own voices. Having silence for five minutes or so was rather lovely, even if later we did pray for those who “have had their dreams squished” and were asked to “give Jesus one” (i.e. a round of applause). In my Pentecostal church, we were taught that clapping in church was worldly, a notion I’ve not managed to out-grow. Furthermore, I’m rather glad that my ambitions and desires are squished/squashed/crushed by God. The challenge for all Christians- not just Pentecostals- is ensuring there is less of us and more of Him.


He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30