Safeguarding is everyone's business

Ensuring the Diocese of Derby provides a safe and caring environment for everyone - but especially children, and adults who may be at risk of abuse and neglect. Victims and Survivors are at the heart of our safeguarding work.

Safeguarding News

Congratulations to all those who were awarded Bishop's Badges in two special services. See the photos here.

When I was a teenager my ambition was to be a missionary, taking the gospel to the indigenous people of the Amazon on a jet ski! While it’s not been quite that exciting, my faith journey has taken me through some interesting experiences, both here and abroad.

Since those early days I have remained interested in how God calls people to service; following their journey as they discern the voice of God calling them to service in the church, both lay and ordained.

I am committed to helping the church to be more inclusive in its selection of clergy. Being one of very few Black priests I think I may be particularly helpful to those from ethnic minority backgrounds, but I would be privileged to work with anyone who came to me.

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Shemil was born and brought up in Kerala, South India.

He first studied for a Bachelor's and Master's degree in English language and literature, before achieving both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Theology from the University of Gloucestershire, and then an MTh from Oxford University.

He was ordained in the Diocese of Peterborough and has experience of working in Sri Lanka as a CMS mission partner.

Shemil is the Anglican chaplain at Oxford Brookes University and Vocations Adviser for the Diocese of Oxford. He is a founding member of AMEN (Anglican Minority Ethnic Network).

He is a trainer in Unconscious Bias awareness and a tutor in Contextual theology. His first language is Malayalam and has a working knowledge of Tamil and Hindi.

Shemil is married to Becky, who is the vicar of Allestree and Quandon in Derby. He holds Permission to Officiate from the Bishop of Derby.

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The IICSA report was published in October 2020. A briefing setting out the key findings of the report can be found here:

Initial IICSA briefing 07.10.20

The Diocese of Derby is conscious that the work of the public inquiry may trigger memories and be traumatic for some individuals.

Bishop Libby would like to reassure anyone who is affected by the content of the IICSA report that the Diocese will take seriously any concerns or information relating to safeguarding within the Church.

Should you wish to talk to someone about this, the safeguarding team is available to work with you directly, or to signpost you to the most appropriate resource, and can be contacted on 01332 388678 or via this link: https://derby.anglican.org/en/safeguarding.html

The team is available if you want to talk about any new or non-recent concern relating to any church officer or person working within the Church.

More information about IICSA can be found at https://www.iicsa.org.uk/.

Bell ringers of all ages will be ringing bells across Derbyshire on Thursday, 6th June to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Places where you can hear bell ringing in the evening include: Church Broughton, Cubley, Derby Cathedral, Eckington, Hayfield, Ilkeston, Kirk Hallam, Old Brampton, Old Glossop and Shirland. Long Eaton's bells will be ringing in the morning.

To find out more about bell ringing please visit the Bell Ringing Derbyshire Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BellRingingDerbyshire/

Image by Don Jones

With wistful darkening days, early November looks back.

All Saints, All Souls, Bonfire Night, Remembrance, and the Church year edging to its close.

But by the end of the month the mood changes, to Advent hope, to new beginnings:

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.

"The end is where we start from”. T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding.

Amongst the brightest hopes are our children and young people, something I discover as I meet young people who have heard the call of God and are eager to live out their lives faithful to Jesus.

I love to hear why young people choose to be confirmed.

These days very few of them do it merely out of societal expectations. Their stories are inspiring.

One recently spoke of living out his faith as an ‘anti-stigma ambassador’ in his school.

Others have told how they so often find themselves talking about their faith with their peers.

Some come to confirmation because of the example of a friend or a family member.

What they have seen of God in others, they want for themselves. It seems real.

All of us could be that example, all of us have a part to play in passing on the baton of faith and witness to new generations.

Where members of the congregation can be involved in preparing young people for confirmation the benefit runs both ways – children have much to teach adults, as Jesus himself made clear.

Our new Strategic Lead for Youth Ministry, Revd Aidan Watson, joined us in September, and with Sarah Brown, our Children’s Adviser, is discerning how we can best grow our work with children and youth in parishes and fresh expressions of Church.

Aidan and Ben Martin, who with Sian Kellogg has been supporting our Diocesan Youth Council, led a presentation at Diocesan Synod last month.

Two reps from our Diocesan Youth Council, Rosie Hall and Jacob Blackwell, urged us to take seriously what young people have to say.

Offering pizza and exciting activities certainly helps, but what really makes a difference is where the church really listens and welcomes the young as leaders not only for the future, but for the here and now.

Young Christians are the church now, and not just the future.

In a wonderfully spontaneous moment, Bishop Libby asked if Synod would be willing to co-opt a group of participant observers from the Diocesan Youth Council from now on, keeping our diocesan and national church aim to grow younger at the forefront of our collective mind.

This was enthusiastically welcomed, and we can from now on be sure of young voices helping to shape the future of our diocese.

What a huge step forward!

This winter, when all churches are concerned about heating bills, we have a time of opportunity, when schools – especially our church schools - may be only too pleased to welcome church use of their halls on Sundays.

Our archdeacons have recently circulated helpful information about how parishes can get help and respond to the crisis.

A church I once served had to close for two years for repairs, and we found that worshipping in a nearby school gave us fantastic opportunities for engaging with families who didn’t previously connect with church.

We nearly doubled in numbers during that period – and this was sustained when we moved back into church, opening doors in the wider community.

Early conversations with local schools could be really worthwhile, especially as schools seek to develop their own community engagement.

We can be proud of our 111 church schools in this diocese, working to offer ‘lifegiving, life changing learning through excellent education shaped by a distinctively Christ-like vision and ethos’ (from our recent DBE vision statement).

Through them our parishes have contact with nearly 15000 children. Do pray for your local schools, for teachers and children, as they share with us in building community.

But there are 200,000 children and young people resident across Derbyshire.

Looking forward, don’t we hope and pray that many more of these will have the opportunity to know and be transformed by the love of God, and be part of growing church and building community now and into the future?

Many churches across our diocese are taking up this challenge and being incredibly fruitful in it. In the Synod presentation, Aidan encouraged us a recent initiative by Holy Trinity Dinting Vale.

The church noticed the amount of secondary school children passing by outside on their walk home each day and decided to offer them hot drinks and toast.

Now every Friday roughly 80 secondary school pupils, who otherwise would have no connection with church, hang out in the building, play board games and chat to members of the church. Praise God!

The CofE nationally has set the goal of ‘doubling our number of active children and young active disciples by 2030.’

In seeking to discern how to respond to this, it is to young people that we must listen first of all.

If young people where you are might like to get involved in what we are setting out to do, please contact Aidan Watson – aidan.watson@derby.anglican.org.


Bishop of Repton

Towards the end of last year I was fortunate to have some study leave, which I spent in Oxford as a visiting fellow at Harris Manchester College.  For much of its history, the college had a particular affiliation with Unitarianism and there are still some reminders of that heritage. In the college chapel there is a set of windows depicting the six days of creation.  Each of the six lights shows an angel holding a globe representing what happened on that particular day. Above each of the angels is a caption – Enlargissez Dieu – a quotation from the French Enlightenment philosopher, Diderot.  It means something like, ‘Broaden your concept of God.’ The point is an obvious one.  How do we find out about God through the workings of the created order? And how often do we choose to ignore that?

One of the leading figures in the college a hundred years was a man called L P Jacks.  I came across a passage in one of Jacks’s books, about the place of religion in schools, which I think, despite its somewhat dated language and style, is a good example of what Enlargissez Dieu might be about:

Not long ago I met one of our great schoolteachers – a veteran in that high service. “Where in your time-table do you teach religion?” I asked him. “We teach it all day long,” he answered. “We teach it in arithmetic, by accuracy. We teach it in language, by learning to say what we mean – ‘yea, yea and nay, nay!’ We teach it in history, by humanity. We teach it in geography, by  breadth of mind. We teach it in handicraft by thoroughness. We teach it in astronomy, by reverence. We teach it in the playground, by fair play. We teach it by kindness to animals, by courtesy to staff, by good manners to one another, and by truthfulness in all things. We teach it by showing the children that we, their elders, are their friends and not their enemies.”

“But what,” I said, “about the different denominations? Have you no trouble with the parents?” “None at all,” he replied; “we have half a dozen denominations. But we treat the children, not as members of this church or that, but as members of the school, and we show them that, as members of the school, in work and in play, they are members of one another. We teach them to build the Church of Christ out of the actual relations in which they stand to their teachers and their schoolfriends, because we believe that unless they learn to build it where they are, they will not learn to build it afterwards anywhere else.”

“Do you talk much to them about religion”? I then asked. “Not much,” he said, “just enough to bring the whole thing to a point now and then.”

Finally, he added a remark that struck me – “I do not want religion brought into this school from outside. What we have of it we grow ourselves.”

From A Living Universe (1924)

I see in the words of Jacks’s schoolteacher the articulation of a profound theology of mission.  It has been said that the starting point of a conversation or process is likely to be the finishing point, too.  If we start with a narrow, diminished concept of God, we are likely to see everything within that restrictive framework.  Perhaps Enlargissez Dieu would be a better watchword for our thinking about apologetic and mission.


Archdeacon Christopher

I trained as a teacher and have spent most of my working life within a local authority context, but am now a Vocations, Learning and Formation Officer and loving it!

I am based at Church House in Derby but am happy to travel throughout the County.

I am inspired by the report ‘Setting God’s People Free’ and excited by the vision it presents of a truly enabled church.

I see vocation as God weaving each of us into a tapestry – each of us is a unique and vibrantly coloured thread which can only create a beautiful whole by interweaving with others. 

It doesn’t matter what type of thread you are, what colour, or whether you are a bit frayed around the edges - God can use you to weave a better world by sharing the message of His love.

He is calling you to something uniquely wonderful -your vocation – whatever that may be.

I’d like to leave you with a question paraphrased from Paulo Coelho: ‘What are you doing with the talents that God bestowed on you?’

Please use the form below to get in touch with me and I will contact you as soon as possible.

NB: If for some reason you don't hear back from your chosen adviser within 10 days, please accept our apologies - it means something has gone wrong. If this happens to you, please email communications@derby.anglican.org and tell us how long you have been waiting and who your chosen adviser is.

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