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.
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.
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.
The IICSA report was published in October 2020. A briefing setting out the key findings of the report can be found here:
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
Like many of us, I’m looking forward to the start of the Commonwealth Games at the end of July.
I know I’ll be glued to the screen watching our athletes compete in and around Birmingham.
Drawn together from the 54 countries of the Commonwealth, these women and men will have each worked incredibly hard to get to the starting line.
And this year, perhaps more than others, they have overcome significant hurdles.
Persisting in training throughout the pandemic and facing many challenges in their home contexts.
The last time I played competitive sport was at University (I rowed).
I remember the hours of practice and the sacrifices it took to stay focussed.
I know that even individual sport is always a team effort.
From diving to badminton, wheelchair basketball to judo, most competitors at these Commonwealth Games will have a team behind them of physios, trainers and sport psychologists helping them to stay focussed and injury-free.
There will be families and communities back at home cheering on their sister, neighbour or dad as they compete.
A huge collective effort that even includes all of us as spectators, if only from our armchairs.
We know that taking part in a group activity or sport is good for our bodies – it can connect us to others and is beneficial for our mental wellbeing too.
There’s lots of evidence of how exercise positively impacts mood, decreases depression and leads to a more balanced lifestyle.
Lots of us would probably admit to being less active during the pandemic than before - unless you were one of the ones who took up running, cold water swimming or workouts with Joe Wicks!
Whatever our age or ability, sporting and physical activity does us good.
I hope that the Commonwealth Games will inspire you to get moving.
Maybe you won’t take up rhythmic gymnastics or Triathlon (though you might) but perhaps more of us will be motivated by the sportswomen and men at the Games and resolve to move our bodies more and in the process find our minds and spirits are healthier too.
I hope, as well, that the Commonwealth Games encourage your church or worshipping context to consider ways sport and physical activity could be good news for your community.
Recognising the common good – and the opportunity to build relationships that may bring opportunity to share the good news of the Kingdom - many of our churches and worshipping communities offer sport and physical activity in some form as a resource to their local community - bowls in the church hall, five-a-side football team, walking clubs and running groups, space for wrestling clubs, badminton, and toddler play.
We have sports chaplains supporting elite and local clubs and events.
Holiday clubs for children, and the more elderly, sometimes have sport and physical activity as their focus.
The author of the Hebrews writes of Christian life as running with perseverance the race marked out for us. It was written to encourage and challenge believers to persevere in their faith. We all know seasons in our lives where we need more stamina or commitment to stay on course.
Post-Covid, in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, let’s hear that encouragement again: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
The Rt Revd Libby Lane
Bishop of Derby
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.
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?’
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