Bishop Jan writes

Our Father….

JAN5The Lord’s Prayer is so familiar to us (or at least it should be!) that sometimes we can find ourselves reciting it without paying attention to too many of the words.  Perhaps in some ways that’s a defence mechanism. It’s a pretty challenging prayer.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is asking us to concentrate one particular line of the Lord’s Prayer in the nine days between Pentecost and Ascension Day (25 May - 04 June). He is asking us to join with Christians across the world, and of all denominations, to pray specifically “Thy Kingdom Come”. And he’s inviting us to pray during that period for up to five people to come to know God’s presence in their lives, in imitation of the first disciples who gathered together after they had watched Jesus ascend into heaven, and, we’re told in the Acts of the Apostles, who “…all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus…”

When, I wonder, was the last time you prayed that someone would come to faith? Specifically prayed for someone by name, that they would come to know what the Christian faith is all about, and would want to become a disciple of Jesus? It’s quite a challenging question, I know, and one which may make a fair number of us shuffle uncomfortably in our seats! Why not do just that this Pentecost?

Do take a look at the Diocesan website ( where you’ll see a section devoted to Thy Kingdom Come, with resources and encouragement, and with a link to a brilliant video of the Archbishop talking about how he came to know Jesus. Special diocesan bookmarks are being produced to encourage us to pray, and with space on the back to add up to five names of those we’d like to see come to faith, and these will be available to order on-line.

Imagine if for every person in every pew, our prayers were answered and that at least one of those people we have are praying for comes to faith. We often worry that congregations are falling in number. Sometimes we feel helpless to do much about it. But each of us can pray. And each of us could resolve to invite someone to a service. The very worst that could happen is that they may say no! But if we pray for them and find the right moment to invite them, they may well just say yes.


The Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, Bishop of Repton

Bishop Libby Writes...

Bishop Libby 3 1500 72 20181215Easter Season, between Eater Sunday and Pentecost, is our time to discover what it means in practice to be a resurrection people. 

The consequences of Covid-19 continue to shape our lives. As we think about resurfacing from ‘lockdown’, we begin to weigh up the far-reaching costs of this pandemic. 

For many those costs will be deeply personal: mourning loved ones, and coming to terms with having been unable to say those goodbyes as we would have wished; coping with real financial difficulty, from redundancy, loss of income, business collapse – perhaps for the first time; recognising the trauma of working through a health and social crisis on the front line; suffering abuse without respite. 

And all of us will face the wider implications: readjusting after the kind of social upheaval not previously seen in peacetime; long term impacts on budgets – from domestic to global, different expectations of government at every level, changes in ways of working, the shifting of focus and priorities.

The Church, our diocese, our congregations, schools and communities – as well as every household and individual within them – will be affected. We have important contributions to make to what comes next. We have a unique perspective, drawn from experience across every aspect of life, the lessons we have learnt. We also have a vital role in responding to continuing need and offering support. 

Everything may have changed – but everything stays the same. We seek first the Kingdom of God; as we pray, learn, tell and serve, we offer good news - being deeply rooted and generously fruitful; we work so that our communities are transformed for good, that we each grow in confidence as disciples of Jesus, that our congregations flourish.

In this Easter season, ‘Alleluia’ is our refrain. ‘Alleluia’ is not blind to reality but deeply rooted in it. Easter day is only possible after Good Friday. Not that we praise God for pain and uncertainty, but somehow despite it. This may not feel possible for some of us individually some of the time. And that’s OK. We are the Body of Christ together. We weep with those who weep, and sometimes the tune of our ‘Alleluia’ song is a lament. But still we sing. For the Easter story is the ultimate reminder that love conquers all - and nothing, nothing, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

‘Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.’

The Diocese of Derby

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