Gifts Galore 

A distinctive feature of the way we celebrate Christmas is the giving of gifts. As society has become more materialistic, and driven by an increasing desire for ‘growth’ (economic, social, personal) – our gifts have multiplied in number and expanded in range. The challenge of finding the right thing for a particular person. 

Of course we want to please the recipients of our giving, and to spend our money well (good investment!). These criteria are important to givers and receivers. An expression of the greater perfection we try to act out at Christmas. Along with the provision of favourite foods and special treats. 

From Presents to Presence 

But what is really happening in the giving and receiving of gifts? An acknowledgement of a valued relationship. An expression of love and affection. An ownership of obligation or duty. In each or any of these transactions, the core is the giver making themselves present in the life of the receiver – as an act of grace (freely offered) and as a sign of connection not taken for granted, but enhanced by being expressed generously. Presents make present the giver into the life of the receiver – for good, with grace. 

Presence as Present to Us 

And this is the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ. A gift to Mary and Joseph in the stable. A gift of a chorus of glad tidings and peacefulness to shepherds in their ordinary lives. A gift of authority, welfare and organised worship to Wise Men from the high civilisation of the East. 

A gift to each of us if we will acknowledge the presence of God in the presentation to us of this life. A gift bringing real goodness and grace into ordinary lives, into the structures and rituals we need to hold us together and help us to make sense of our deep instinct to find peace on earth, goodwill among people, and a sign of that Glory which gathers all these fundamental human conditions into the hope of heaven. 

Hark – Herald Angels Sing 

I am sure that each of us will choose the presents we give with great care. To show our love and affection to family and friends, and to make ourselves present to them in goodness and grace. 

May we take time to allow our Father, to give His gift to us – a Son, a person who can be present in our lives - a Saviour bringing and enabling goodness, grace and glory. 

Hark the Herald Angels Sing, 

Glory to our new born King.

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The Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (DAC) is a statutory body set up under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which provides advice and guidance on the care of churches and churchyards.

Making changes to church buildings, contents or grounds requires submission of a faculty application (a request for permission) to the Chancellor of the Diocese. Faculties are issued by the Chancellor or the Archdeacons, taking the DAC’s advice into account.

>> See the current faculty applications

The DAC is made up of the Chair, the Revd Canon Matt Barnes, the Archdeacons, representatives of the clergy and laity and national heritage organisations together with architects and others with specialist knowledge. The DAC also has a panel of expert advisers who serve in a voluntary capacity and can be called on to provide additional specialist advice. Between them the members and advisers of the DAC have expertise in a wide variety of specialist fields, including architecture, art, archaeology, bells, heating, organs, clocks, sound and audio systems, liturgy and the environment.

The work of the DAC is vital if the Church is to retain freedom to handle its own planning consents and so protect the role of the churches as places used for worship.

Important dates

Faculty application closing dates 2024

Friday 5th January 2024

Friday 1st March 2024

Friday 3rd May 2024

Friday 14th June 2024

Friday 30th August 2024

Friday 8th November 2024

2024 meeting dates (PDF format)

DAC Committee Members

Revd Canon Matthew Barnes, Chairman
Mrs Kat Alldread, DAC Secretary

Venerable Karen Hamblin, Archdeacon of East Derbyshire
Venerable Matthew Trick, Archdeacon of Derby & South Derbyshire
Venerable Nicky Fenton, Archdeacon of Derbyshire Peak & Dales
Dr Christopher Charlton OBE, Member nominated by English Heritage
Mr James Darwin, Amenities Societies Representative
Mr Alex Gilbert, Local Authorities Representative
Mr Richard Brook, Conservation Architect
Mr Simon Gratton, Conservation Architect
Mr Richard Smith, Conservation Architect
Mrs Virginia Davis, lay member
Revd Canon Julian Hollywell, clergy member
Revd Canon Peter Walley, clergy member

For advice or guidance, please contact:

Kat Alldread: 01332 388683 

Email:  dac@derby.anglican.org


A series of Learning in Faith Bitesize training sessions are available online to guide you through church maintenance and the faculty process. The training sessions are free of charge and available to access at any time.

The Derby Diocesan Registry website has further information on faculty jurisdiction, churchyards, memorials and more.

Churchcare provides a series of guidance notes relating to the care, use and development of church buildings. For further information and guidance, click on the Guidance Notes button below.

REMEMBER : Reguar attention to these things saves you money ...

  • inspection: undertake regular inspections, to assess condition, identify problems and to decide whether work is necessary

  • regular maintenance tasks: jobs like clearing gutters, testing services, checking for damp and clearing the churchyard

  • minor repairs: ongoing minor repairs to the building, perhaps as the result of extreme weather, can include fixing slipped roof tiles, replacing broken glass or making temporary ‘flashband’ repairs

Download your Maintenance Checklist here.

Other helpful information can be found on the National Churches Trust webpages.

To find accredited maintence contractors register for FREE with Maintenance Booker


Submitting applications

All applications for works to churches can be made through the Online Faculty System


Additonal Matters Orders

The Faculty Jurisdiction Rules allow the Chancellor to make an order for items that are not listed in Lists A and B to be treated as such rather than needing a full faculty.

Links to the AMOs applicable to this diocese are given below.

>> Additional Matters Order - Vaccination Centres [PDF]

Ministry for Mission

I have recently been re-reading the Venerable Bede – monk and church historian in the eighth century. His Latin text was part of my syllabus as a student! I have been reminded of some important principles about ministry to deliver God’s mission in our time.

Principles for Today

In July the General Synod discussed the Reform and Renewal Programme being pursued by the Church of England in order to mobilise our resources to be most effective for God’s mission in the twenty-first century. There is the challenge of maintaining our inheritance of a parochial system that embraces every community in the country. Further, there is a challenge to find new and appropriate ways of being ‘church’ in our times. Both challenges depend upon the leadership and witness our church can offer.

Key proposals include:

  • Doubling the number of candidates for ordination.

  • Discipleship being our key priority – equipping the people of God.

  • Creating a learning community to shape and support the leadership of the Church.

Bede and His Wisdom

In the eighth century, as the parish system was developing, there seemed to be a huge gap between the resources of the church for mission, and the needs of disparate communities not easy to reach (then because of poor roads; today because of cultural confusions about Christianity).

Bede wrote to the Archbishop of York making some suggestions:

  • More priests to preach in the villages, celebrate the holy mysteries and baptise – we would call this traditional church today.

  • The need to employ ‘adequate leaders of salutary life’, who could ‘teach the truth of the faith, and the difference between good and evil’. We would call this discipleship – focused on the two great issues that perplex our time: truth, and an understanding of good and evil.

Ministry for Mission

How should these resources be best deployed? Bede believed in the importance of minsters – we might use the term Resource Churches. Centres where priests and lay ministers were gathered for prayer, support and strategic deployment. We would call such arrangements ‘learning communities’. Locally in the Diocese we are using the term ‘School of Formation’.

Bede was content for each minster to ‘develop its own system of regulation’. Resources need to be marshalled appropriately. We see this as the potential role of the new Deaneries.

He concludes his advice with the observation that Bishops should ‘ordain priests, and institute leaders’. I am up for that – how many of you are ready to offer yourselves for such service?!

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