Malcolm Macnaughton has been installed as the Bishop of Repton in a special Evensong at Derby Cathedral.

>> Watch the installation (YouTube)

During the same Evensong, the Revd Nicky Fenton, formerly Vicar of Shottle, Holbrook, and Hazelwood and Milford, was installed as Residentiary Canon as she takes up her new role as Chaplain to the Bishop of Derby.

canon nicky fenton in derby cathedral

>> See more photos from the installation [Flickr]

Bishop Malcolm’s installation followed his consecration as bishop at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday, 14th April

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, presided, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, was the preacher.

The Right Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, was present to receive Malcolm as the Bishop of Repton on behalf of the Diocese of Derby.

Covid restrictions meant that the original date for Malcolm’s consecration had to be postponed – and both his consecration and installation were subject to government restrictions and guidance.

bishop malcolm delivers the sermon

Bishop Malcolm delivered his first sermon as a bishop at his installation; Canon Nicky Fenton led the intercessions.

Malcolm said: “Over recent weeks I have enjoyed beginning to get to know colleagues lay and ordained from across the Diocese of Derby, but I am now really looking forward to making a proper start, especially as we will now be able to get out and meet people where they are.  I haven’t seen much of Derbyshire yet because of the restrictions, so it is going to be so good to be able to visit communities and churches all over the diocese in the coming months.”

“Despite the struggles of the past year the reality is that each day, transformed by our encounter with our risen Lord Jesus Christwe can find hope for the future, for our churches, for our communities. The Kingdom of God is good news for all – and we are called to proclaim that Kingdom afresh in our generation. There is plenty to encourage us – and there will be much more! Please pray for me as I join you in this, our shared calling.

A key focus for Malcolm’s ministry will be to support those engaged in church revitalisation especially through church planting and fresh expressions, particularly with areas of deprivation.

He will also give an episcopal lead to our work across the diocese with young people, schools and with the Derby Diocesan Board of Education. 

Malcolm has background of working in rural, inner city and post-mining areas, and with archdeacons and area deans and their teams he will ensure we work well together to equip and enable local people, lay and ordained, to proclaim the good news of Christ in our diverse communities across the diocese.

Bishop Malcolm and Canon Nicky Fenton

Since moving to Derby in December, Malcolm has been working under licence from the Bishop of Derby, the Right Revd Libby Lane.

Bishop Libby said: “Malcolm brings, out of his own deep commitment to sharing the love of Jesus and seeking first the Kingdom of God, a rich and varied experience of ministry

"We welcome his particular gifts in accompanying people hopefully through change, and his passion for reaching those on the margins, and younger generations.

"We have been delighted to welcome Malcolm and Pam among us-we pray that the people and places of Derbyshire and Derby will be a blessing to them, as they will be a blessing to us.” 

the bishop of derby, the bishop of repton, the dean of derby and canon nicky fenton

Bishop Libby (rear) presided at the Evensong; Dean Peter Robinson (front) led the service.

>> See more photos from the installation [Flickr]

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 April 2021 15:46

The Revd Dr Elizabeth Thomson has been appointed as Rector and Provost of St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, in the Diocese of Brechin in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Elizabeth joined Derby Cathedral in 2014 as Canon Missioner and was appointed Sub-dean in 2018.

The Dean of Derby, the Very Revd Dr Peter Robinson, said: “We are delighted that Elizabeth has been selected as the new Provost of Dundee and she leaves with our thanksgiving to God for her seven years as our Canon Missioner.

"Elizabeth will be much missed here in Derby. I know that Elizabeth will in the years to come enrich the city of Dundee and the Diocese of Brechin with her many gifts, not least her creativity, capacity for outreach and pastoral insight.

"Our greetings and prayers to all in the Scottish Episcopal Church who will undoubtedly enjoy Elizabeth’s ministry in the years to come.”

Elizabeth said: “It has been a privilege to be here for seven years, working with excellent colleagues in the cathedral and the diocese and learning so much from the whole cathedral community.

"I am looking forward to new challenges in Dundee but I will be sad to say goodbye to Derby Cathedral.”

Elizabeth’s last service at Derby Cathedral will be the Cathedral Eucharist on Sunday, 6 June 2021. She will be installed in a special service in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, on Saturday 19th June.

Elizabeth was a teacher of English before being ordained in 2003.

She trained for ministry at Westcott House in Cambridge and served her curacy in Somerset.

Following her curacy, she became team vicar of St Mary’s, Witney, in Oxfordshire.

She has been responsible for helping Derby Cathedral connect with the city and community, for communications, and for a wide range of duties as part of the cathedral clergy team.

During a recent vacancy, she led the cathedral as acting dean. 

Elizabeth grew up in Edinburgh; she has been working her way steadily north again and is looking forward to being closer to family and friends in Scotland.

St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee is the cathedral church of the Scottish Episcopal Diocese of Brechin. 

The historical diocese dates back to circa 1150 with the cathedral then in the City of Brechin—this building has been a Church of Scotland parish church since the reformation. 

The church building in Dundee, founded by Bishop Alexander Penrose Forbes, was completed in 1855 and became the cathedral church in 1905. 

Scottish Episcopal cathedrals are led by a senior cleric styled ‘Provost’ rather than ‘Dean’ - in Scotland the Dean of the Diocese is a senior cleric appointed by the bishop to be a member of chapter and deputy to the bishop. 

The provost of the cathedral is also the rector of the cathedral congregation, reflecting the status of the cathedral church as both cathedral and incumbency.

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 April 2021 11:34

Today, Bishop–designate Malcom and I, join with the whole United Kingdom, and friends across the world, in expressing our sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. 

Though sorrowful and grieving, we give thanks to God for his long life, dedicated service to the nation and Commonwealth, and unfailing support to Her Majesty The Queen, for 73 years. 

After so many decades in public service, I expect we will each have a memory or image of Prince Philip – perhaps alongside Her Majesty, engaged and enquiring in every circumstance, as they travelled the globe, or as he championed causes close to his heart, for example, in conservation, design and engineering, and inter-faith dialogue, or of the legacy he has left for young people through The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

As the Archbishop of Canterbury has said: “Prince Philip consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service. As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others … I pray we can take inspiration from his example”.

His commitment to our Queen and our nation has been total, and I know you will join us in sending our sincere condolences to Her Majesty and the Royal Family, with the assurance of our prayers as they grieve.

We pray they know the comfort and peace of the risen Christ in their loss. 

May His Royal Highness rest in peace and rise in glory.



God of our lives, 
we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip, 
for the love he shared among us,   
and for his devotion to duty.  
We entrust him now to your love and mercy, 
through our Redeemer Jesus Christ.

>> Guidance For parishes

>> Live coverage from BBC News

>> Add your message to the online Book of Condolence

Last modified on Friday, 09 April 2021 17:57

Church buildings are not currently required to close and there is currently no obligation for churches to re-open in the event of a royal death. It will remain at the discretion of individual PCCs.

Private prayer should not be discouraged for those who feel the need to do this in a church building, but social distancing MUST be maintained for as long as the government restrictions dictate.

Having received one or more doses of the vaccine does not exclude anyone from adhering to the rules.

People should not be allowed to gather in groups.

Any church that wishes to consider re-opening MUST submit a risk assessment and have it approved by their archdeacon prior to opening.

Churches that are already open for private prayer etc may experience an increase in numbers and in some cases it may be necessary for them to re-assess their arrangements to allow for the increase. This may necessitate additional marshalling in and around the building.


Condolence books 

An online condolence book is now open for individuals and communities to record messages. Government guidance under the current Covid-19 precautions is that physical books should not be offered.


Flags should be flown at half-mast during the mourning period(the correct procedure is to lower flags completely and then raise them to half-mast).

Flower Tributes 

Visitors should not be allowed to leave flowers inside church buildings as this maybe a route for infection.  Flower tributes outside should also be discouraged.


Guidance on how and when bells should be tolled will come from the cabinet office in due course, and we will share this information to you as soon as we are ableon this page.

Last modified on Friday, 09 April 2021 17:52

Easter was, again, a little different this year.

The usual plethora of events in churches and communities was much scaled-back because of the prevailing Covid restrictions.

However, the Easter message remained the same and some were able to hold worship and a limited range of events.

Here are a few that caught our eye.


Messages from the minster

Swadlincote Minster went virtual for Easter Day. Revd Mike Firbank told us: "The vicar was only needed at the beginning, but he was involved in the background throughout the planning. This service included some special messages from friends of the church." They shared messages, stories, songs, prayers and bread together.

Virtual Experience Easter

Revd Becky Mathew, vicar of St Nicholas' Allestree & St Paul's Quarndon, told us that they filmed a virtual Experience Easter for schools this year.

Both church and non-church schools took them up on the offer, including The Curzon CofE, Mugginton CofE, Portway Infants, Portway Juniors and Denby. They used the videos and suggested craft/prayer activiites.

>> See the full Experience Easter

Overseal's ringers

St Matthew’s church, Overseal, brought its Easter Day bell-ringing activies firmly down to earth. June Hart, secretary to the church council, told us: "Nothing stops our bellringers... the tower isn’t accessible so they stood outside and rang the handbells before the start of the service this morning. It was just wonderful!"

Easter Garden

Bishop Libby and her family created their own Easter Garden - complete with roll-away stone - to illustrate the Easter story. Bishop Libby used it in her Easter video message.


What's your Easter story? Share it with us -


Last modified on Wednesday, 07 April 2021 17:27

When Bob Glassey recently received a package delivered by Royal Mail, little did he realise how 'royal' it would be.

Bob is one of the driving forces behind Creswell Breakfast Club, based at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in the village. 

The club ensures that local children continue to receive proper meals during school holidays and closures, as well as socialise and take part in activities.

creswell breakfast club 1584 1500 72

Bob Glassey at work at Creswell Breakfast Club

The package Bob received was from Buckingham Palace.

He said: "It's not every day I get an envelope with the Crown and ER special delivery on it!

"I had knowledge of what was in the package and very carefully inserted a sharp knife into the padded envelope to open it.

"Inside were two other envelopes with instructions on how to open them, and a red and a white purse.

"Again, cautiously, I opened them.

"In the first envelope was a signed letter from her Majesty and in the other was a letter from the Right Reverend Dr. John Inge, the Lord High Almoner, explaining what the history of the Maundy Gift and what the two leather purses contained.

"The red purse contains £5.50, an allowance for clothing and provisions: the £5 coin commemorates Her Majesty's birthday and the 50 pence coin commemorates the 50th anniversary of Decimal Day in 1971.

"The white purse contains Maundy coins: silver pennies, twopences, threepences and fourpences, totalling 95 pence, corresponding to the Sovereign's age.

"All the coins were newly minted this year."

part of the letter from the queen to bob glassey

The letter from the Queen begins: 'I am delighted to send you the Maundy Gift which I hope you will accept as an expression of my personal thanks for all you that have done to enrich the life of your community."

Covid restrictions mean that the annual Maundy Service, due to have been held at Westminster Abbey today have had to be cancelled and the Maundy Money distributed by post.

Bob said: "This year Her Majesty will be 95 on 21 April, so 95 men and women will receive the Royal Maundy gifts, and thanks to Bishop Libby I have been selected as one of those lucky few."

"My thanks to Bishop Libby for nominating me for this Honour for Christian service from our Monarch, who has taken to heart the words and actions of Jesus and given such unstinting Christian service herself."

Though Bob was also typically humble in his response to receiving such an important gift. He added: "It is an honour for the village really.

"It's the team that has got this because I'd never have done it on my own.

"It's always a great team effort."

But he did confess to being "flabbergasted" and "more than happy" with his gift.

"I shall treasure these for ever,"  he said.

See also: Cresswell Breakfast Club

>> What is Maundy Money?

>> What is Maundy Thursday?

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 April 2021 15:45

The Church of England and the Diocese of Derby are supporting the National Day of Reflection on Tuesday, 23 March 2021, the first anniversary of the UK lockdown, to commemorate this tragic loss of life and to stand together with everyone who’s grieving, whether as a result of Covid or other causes.

Organised by Marie Curie, the National Day of Reflection looks to reflect on our collective loss, support those who've been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future. 


How can churches get involved?

  • Toll the church bell just after noon to mark the end of the minute’s silence.
  • Email/print and send the prayer postcard to anyone and everyone to use at home on that day.
  • Light a special candle in the church and say the prayer – record it on your phone or tablet and share the film on social media.
  • Use the 8.00pm ‘share the light’ moment to light candles and lanterns in windows.
  • Encourage people to phone or send a card to anyone who may feel bereaved(CofE research shows that 6 out of 10 adults have lost someone in the last year where they would have attended the funeral. 4 out of 10 say they have lost someone close to them).
  • Involve the local school and encourage them to use the simple prayer at noon or to colour daffodil cards and deliver them to a local care home.
  • Invite people to plant a seed, a bulb or bush as a sign of hope.
  • Invite people to tie yellow ribbons to a prayer tree or railings as a sign of their prayer and support for all who are bereaved.
  • Contact your local media to see if you can go and talk about grief and loss: CofE research shows that two-thirds of people definitely expect the church to be there for those who want to talk. Please let the communications team know if you are going to do this.
  • Open your church for private prayer, if you are able.

>> More information and resources on CofE website

>> Church Support Hub National Day of Reflection resources

>> Marie Curie National Day of Reflection website

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 April 2021 15:32

Pupils from Biggin Church of England Primary School have been quizzing Bishop Libby about the importance of being a Church School.

The four Year Six pupils asked the bishop a range of questions, including why it is important to learn about God and the Bible, what benefit there is to being a Church school and what obstacles she had to overcome in her life.

>> Vacancy: Diocesan Director of Education

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 April 2021 11:35

Rachel Morris has decided to stand down from her position as diocesan secretary of the Derby Diocesan Board of Finance.

She will also leave her role as chapter steward at Derby Cathedral.

Rachel has been with the cathedral and latterly the diocese for six years in which time she has led positive change.

Bishop Libby said: “We are very grateful to Rachel for the faithful leadership she has given during a time of considerable change: her contribution to diocesan life has been extensive.

"I have valued her partnership and friendship. We wish her well and assure her of our continuing prayers.”

Mrs Morris said: “I am grateful for the opportunities during this time and extend my heartfelt thanks to all colleagues, volunteers and partners across the diocese and beyond who have helped achieve great things.

"I wish all those involved with the cathedral and the diocese the very best for the future.”

Mrs Morris left on February 28 with our thanks for her significant contribution and our best wishes for the next chapter in her life.

Last modified on Tuesday, 02 March 2021 11:09

The Diocese of Derby is supporting an initiative by Christian Aid to give both thanks and a donation once they have received the vaccine.

As a direct result of the pandemic, many communities around the world are still at risk from coronavirus and have no access to vaccines. Because jobs and livelihoods have been lost, many of our global neighbours lack the basics they need to protect themselves - like clean water and soap for handwashing.  

The donation will be used by Christian Aid to help vulnerable communities around the world access soap, food and vital health information in the face of the pandemic. 

Christian Aid will also support vaccination programmes in countries where it is operating by providing data on hard-to-reach populations to local health services and by challenging misleading information about the virus and vaccination, as well as any stigma faced by those who contract Covid-19.

>> Give thanks and make your donation here

On launching the appeal in Derbyshire, Bishop Libby said: "The vaccine brings with it hope for families and communities across the Diocese of Derby, the UK and around the world, and there will be many of us who will want to express our gratitude by helping others.

"Giving thanks and giving a donation to help those who do not have the benefits that we have, and for whom hope may seem all too distant, is a wonderful way of reaching out to others and to express a wish to see all God’s people living safely. I hope that people will give generously to the work of Christian Aid.

"Every donation, however large or small, will help make a difference and bring hope and love to people everywhere, in the spirit of thanksgiving and compassion that Jesus taught us."

Christian Aid partners have so far directly helped over half a million people in 27 countries including distributing food packages to nearly 60,000 people struggling to feed their families after losing work during lockdown and the economic downturn.

Going forwards, Christian Aid will support vaccination programmes in communities by providing data on hard-to-reach populations to local health services and by working with trusted community figures to challenge misleading information about the virus and vaccination as well as any stigma faced by those who contract Covid-19.

>> Give thanks and make your donation here

A woman receiving her hygiene kit at a Christian Aid facility in Nigeria

A woman receiving her hygiene kit at a Christian Aid facility in Nigeria

Chine McDonald, Christian Aid’s Head of Community Fundraising and Public Engagement, said: "The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that none of us are safe, until all of us are safe. It has been amazing to see the speed at which the vaccines have been rolled out in the UK – every jab in someone’s arm brings us closer to the end of Covid-19.

"But the reality is that richer countries like ours are getting more access to vaccines, while the poorer countries in which Christian Aid works are left at the back of the queue. As a Christian organisation, we believe that every person is equal in the sight of God and worthy of living lives with dignity, equality and justice.

"We’re delighted to work together with the Diocese of Derby to give people an opportunity to say thanks and help protect our global neighbours while the vaccine is out of reach."

The appeal launch comes after nearly two thirds of people asked in a UK poll agreed that a global COVID-19 vaccine programme should be created which does not prioritise richer countries over poorer ones.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 April 2021 15:48

The Avenue Church of England Primary School Application Approved!

Derby Diocesan Academy Trust (DDAT) is delighted to announce that the Department for Education has approved an application to establish a new Church of England primary school at The Avenue development site, near to Wingerworth.

The new school will be developed as part of the Government’s Free School programme.

It will create much needed nursery and primary school places for families as the number of residential dwellings on The Avenue site increases alongside other developments in the local area.

The proposed Church of England primary school and nursery will be inclusive and open to pupils from families of all backgrounds and faiths (including no faith) where every child will be welcomed, respected and nurtured.

The school will offer a family-friendly approach with breakfast club and after-school provision offering a wide range of enrichment activities, operating as a community hub and supporting community cohesion.

DDAT is a multi-academy trust of 28 schools situated across Derby and Derbyshire and has a successful track-record of working with schools (including in the Chesterfield area) to improve provision.

In September 2018, DDAT successfully opened the first Church of England secondary school within the Diocese of Derby when Derby Cathedral School opened its doors to its first cohort of students.

DDAT has the experience of both rapidly improving schools and supporting established high-performing schools. DDAT is excited to create this new provision and will ensure the new primary school at the Avenue is a success from day 1.

Chief Executive Officer of DDAT, Mark Mallender, said: “I am thrilled that the Department for Education has approved our application for a new primary school and nursery serving the Wingerworth and Clay Cross areas of Chesterfield.

"We now have the opportunity to work with parents and the community to develop a highly effective school that will ensure our pupils make exceptional progress and leave fully prepared for their secondary education.

"The DDAT team are ready and excited to begin detailed work on developing this school and will ensure that plans are shared with the community as part of future consultations.”

Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People, Councillor Alex Dale, said: “We’ve worked with Derby Diocesan Academy Trust on planning for this school and I’m sure that they will do an excellent job in getting it built and ready for the students who will attend.

“It’s great to see the government supporting the council in investing in first-class educational facilities to help give children and young people in Derbyshire the best possible start in life.”

The Trust will start planning its pre-opening programme, including consultations and events in the local area, leading up to the opening of the school.

The Trust will share its programme as soon as it is developed and agreed with its strategic partners including the Department for Education and Derbyshire County Council.

Last modified on Sunday, 28 February 2021 14:18

The creative ways that people in our parishes have found to help people during the pandemic has been wide-ranging. Here's the story of how one parish has taken to YouTube to helpbuild community, grow church and transform lives.

Covid Island Discs was the brainchild of Revd Ian Webb, team vicar in Dronfield with Holmesfield Team Ministry, and he has been producing an episode of this popular feature for 12 weeks.

“Having only been licenced in November, I was thinking about how I could help people get something from worship using video,” said Ian.

“But it was also about building community connections and people getting to know one another.

“There was also an element of testimony in there too – how did I become a Christian and what is my role and purpose?”

As the title reveals, the idea is based on the popular BBC Radio 4 series of a similar name.

Ian has approached people of different genders and background to feature in his programmes and give something of themselves and their faith.

They include local curate Joel Bird, Archdeacon Carol, Bishop Libby and American country music and Christian music singer-songwriter Jenn Bostic (pictured) who, last year, performed at Dronfield parish church.

covid island discs jenn bostic

Guests have also included some who have recently come to faith.

Ian said: ” What I have done is to approach people and then send them some instructions.

They choose five pieces of music and send me a biography and we see how the conversation goes from there.

“I have a standard set of five questions I ask – including how they came to faith and how they have coped in these times of Covid – and, of course, they also get to tell me about any particular items they would not want to be without on Covid Island.

“And some of their answers have surprised me. One of the things I ask is ‘When did it feel great to be a Christian?’

"I had expected people to tell me about a particular single event, but mostly the guests have talked about being in the rhythm of Christianity and the sustenance that comes from that.

“But the answers are varied, as one guest talked about the time his granddaughter was seriously ill and, being away on holiday, all he could do was to pray.

"His granddaughter went on to make a remarkable recovery – and that was a significant moment in his Christian journey.”

“Music choices have been interesting too!

"For example, there was a big difference between Archdeacon Carol’s classical choices and some of Jenn’s choices which might have had you jumping around and going crazy!”

Ian says that the response has been fantastic and that he has had plenty of positive feedback, but that the current series will finish just before Lent: “I wanted to help people to worship – we are weakened as a church because we have not been able to sing together, and this series has hopefully helped and encouraged some to do that and to worship God.

“It is a time-consuming process – mainly because of the editing – but I would do it again if people wanted it.

"I think it has been of value and I believe it has helped people during lockdown.”
Catch up on all the episodes of Covid Island Discs on YouTube.

covid island discs youtube

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 17:31

Revd Karen Bradley, vicar of Holy Trinity, Shirebrook, has  praised a group of Year 11 students’ handiwork after they built and installed a brand-new noticeboard outside the church door to keep her parishioners in the know.

She said that the noticeboard, which was made and installed by students at Shirebrook Academy, is a “thing of beauty”.

The students took on the task as part of their practical foundation studies, assisted by design technology teachers Simon Dosanjh and Simon Langrick, who guided them through the process from building the noticeboard out of wood and then sanding and staining it to give it the finished look.

They then visited the church to fix it into position.

Karen Bradley said: “We had a noticeboard installed previously, but it had certainly passed its sell-by date and a bit of an eyesore, but the new noticeboard is a thing of beauty and hopefully it will be used more than the previous one was.

“I want to thank the students for all their hard work, it was such a wonderful thing for them to do for us, a real blessing, and it’s brilliant to see the students discovering how the things they learn at school apply to the community.”

Student Thomas, 15, said: “I really enjoyed doing something different for the community and helping people out, but it was also cold installing the noticeboard and getting it level was a challenge.”

Claire Armstrong, head of design technology at Shirebrook Academy, said: “It was really nice as a department to do something practical and contribute to the community.

"We’re in the midst of really uncertain times, because social distancing rules means we can’t do as much practical work as usual, but this project was able to go ahead and allowed us to give something back to the parish after they generously donated some bibles to the school’s Philosophy and Ethics department.”


Last modified on Tuesday, 02 February 2021 11:43

Derby Cathedral will revert to online-only worship from Sunday, 10th January.

The Very Revd Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby, made the announcement in a letter to the cathedral community.

He wrote:

Services will be led by a small group of clergy and laity and streamed through our social media channels.

It is heartening to know that the safety measures we already have in place mean that this group can involve the Lay Clerks of Derby Cathedral Choir, so that our services will include music. 

The cathedral will remain open for private individual prayer during the week, and we will be adding to our programme of activities and worship available online, making more resources of all kinds available to the cathedral community and the diocese.

>> Visit the Derby Cathedral website

These arrangements will be kept under review. We hope that in coming weeks or months we will see success in the measures everyone is taking against this pandemic and improvement in the public health situation locally.

For some of you this will be somewhat of a relief. For others it will be a cause of disappointment.

As I write, this is not the message that earlier in the week I had anticipated sending.

The new lockdown has not made it compulsory for places of worship to close their doors. Church leaders have been clear that this means decisions can be made locally about what the right response is to the situation we are in. 

You will be aware that the public health situation in Derby is very serious. Following government and Church of England guidance, and after consulting with public health authorities in Derby, we have decided that at present the right response is to limit as much as possible any physical gathering of people. 

Although I regret the need to take this decision, it is I believe the right one in current circumstances. To serve the common good we need to make this temporary and timely sacrifice, so that before too long we can all gather for worship again.

Please continue to join with the whole cathedral community in prayer for our nation’s key decision makers at this deeply challenging time.

Especially, let's pray for those who are struggling with a Covid-19 infection and remember those who have lost loved ones as a result.

We pray for all those in the NHS who are serving so valiantly against all the odds in the midst of so many challenges.

This comes with every blessing to you all, the prayers of the cathedral team and my very good wishes.

peter robinson

Last modified on Monday, 18 January 2021 16:35

The end of 2020 saw the Venerable Dr Christopher Cunliffe bid farewell to the diocese after 14 years as the Archdeacon of Derby.

At a special Evensong at Derby Cathedral, he was joined by members of his family, colleagues and friends. The service was also streamed online.

In his sermon, Archdeacon Christopher said: "Fourteen years ago, standing in the pulpit here to preach the sermon at my installation service, I looked out over a sea of unfamiliar faces, broken by the occasional welcome outcrop of recognition. 

"Now, in rather different circumstances, I feel surrounded and upheld by friends and colleagues, even if the encouraging smiles are more difficult to determine [because of the need to wear face masks]. 

"Thank you for being here, whether in person or online and for the companionship and patience you, and the people you represent, have afforded me over the years."

He was presented with gifts from the diocese and the cathedral.

christopher cunliffe retirement service at Derby Cathedral

Peter Robinson, the Dean of Derby, thanks Archdeacon Christopher for his service and enlists the help of Christopher's grandchildren to present gifts from the cathedral

Bishop Libby thanked him for his "extraordinary and dedicated service" to the Diocese of Derby.

She also recorded one of a series of videos, made by colleagues past and present, in tribute to Christopher.

Recollecting his collation as Archdeacon of Derby in 2006, Christopher said: "It's the longest time I have been in a job. Most (within the Church) are fixed-term contracts - but it has given me the time to develop relationships which has been extremely important."

And using the words of Jonathan Bailey, a former Bishop of Derby, he described the diocese as a "diocese at ease with itself".

He said: "Being an archdeacon is very much a behind-the-scenes job. It is hard work but you are working with people who, if you take time with them, are incredibly amenable - they are intensely loyal to the parish church.

"The main part of our role is to help clergy be equipped for mission. In that respect, archdeacons aren't fathers or mothers like some senior clergy - instead we are the elder siblings."

Christopher began his ordained ministry in the Diocese of Derby. He was Assistant Curate at St Mary and All Saints Church in Chesterfield (the Crooked Spire) from 1983 to 1985.

christopher cunliffe old photos of his installation 

Christopher at his installation as Archdeacon of Derby and with Helen outside Derby Cathedral

He worked alongside his wife, Helen, who was also a curate at the church in one of the first job-share arrangements in the Church of England.

In 1985 he became Chaplain and Research Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, until 1989, when he became Chaplain of the City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 

In 1991 he took a post in the Church of England’s Advisory Board of Ministry, which involved co-ordinating vocation and selection conferences for people seeking ordination. 

From 1997-2003 he was Director of Ministry in the Diocese of London, and from 2004-2006 Chaplain to the Bishop of Bradwell in the Diocese of Chelmsford.

Christopher and Helen, a former archdeacon, have two grown-up sons, Edward and Jacob. 

The African Bug

Christopher is a keen historian, with a doctorate in the subject and a continuing interest in research and writing. 

He also has an interest in African history and culture, and until recently was Chair of MANNA (Mozambique and Angola Anglican Association). 

His association with Africa came about in the 1990s when Helen, then as chair of USPG, took a sabatical in Zambia - and they were both bitten by the African bug.

They also visited Uganda and, in 1991, Christopher went to Mozambique through the Diocese of London.

In 1998 he was invited to becom the Chair of MANNA.

Drawing a comparison between the way the Church works there and here, Christopher said: "Angola is a country of 24 million people, though only around 150,000 Anglicans. But in some repects they are way ahead of us.

"There, they try not to emulate the English model of a diocese - they try to do things differently.

"For example, I remember one parish wanting to rebuild its church and the presentation on behalf of the PCC was given by a 15-year-old - many church officers there are in their teens or their 20s or 30s.

"It certainly helps give a different perspective on things."

christopher cunliffe with rowan williams

A young Christopher Cunliffe with and equally young Rowan Williams, later to become Archbishop of Canterbury

Christopher and Helen will live in Carmarthenshire, Wales, in the Diocese of St David's. Christopher said: "I don't speak Welsh even though we have had a house there for ten years. 

"We were also there when the first lockdown was announced earlier this year, so that is where we had to spend it."

In his retirement, Christopher aims to finish a book he started to write a while ago and plans to take up fly fishing, something he has "dabbled with" in the past.

He said: "There is much about Derbyshire and the Diocese of Derby I will miss - I have always felt at home at the churches I have visited.

"Whilst it is important to pay attention to the organisational and financial aspects, at a parish level life goes on and that is where the important work relating to communities and pastoral care etc, is done.

"This could actually be a time of significant change for the Diocese of Derby.

"The diocese knows what it is doing and is doing it well.

"Keep up the good work!"

christopher cunliffe with carol coslett

Christopher with fellow archdeacon, Carol Coslett, the Archdeacon of Chesterfield, following his retirement service

Last modified on Friday, 08 January 2021 13:22

Be part of our Diocesan Christmas Carol video

There’s nothing quite like singing carols together at Christmas.

Sadly, this year, we can’t hold our usual carol services – so we’re going to try to make a special version of O Come, All Ye Faithful to get us all singing as a diocese, in the spirit of hope and togetherness … and we’d love you to take part, by videoing yourself(selves) singing this most well-known of carols!

How to take part [PDF] | Download the audio track [mp3] | Download the words [PDF]


Last modified on Wednesday, 16 December 2020 11:11
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