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Sunday, 31 July 2022 14:42

Archdeacon Matthew writes...

The talk of Darley Abbey at the moment, is the bridge over the Derwent that until very recently connected pedestrians, cyclists and, possibly, cars to the mill buildings on the other side of the River Derwent to the village.

Alas, the structural integrity of the bridge has been questioned and the bridge has been closed.

Access to the restaurants, gyms and other businesses and amenities located just over the river Derwent are now a longer drive rather than a short walk.

The owners of those businesses, used to welcoming Darley Abbey residents across the bridge now feel somewhat estranged and disconnected. 

Hope is on the horizon as the council negotiate the installation of a temporary bridge to reconnect both sides of the river.

Our beautiful Diocese of Derby has its fair share of historic bridges that have connected communities and supported trade for generations.

Bridges are essential forms of connection between individuals and communities.

Feelings of dislocation rapidly surface when these means of connection cease to be available to us. 

Theologically, Jesus, on the Cross, created a bridge between God and humanity.

This theological bridge allows us to approach and be connected with the life of God.

Through Jesus, the life of God has been made freely available to all and everyone is gloriously invited to step foot onto the bridge of faith.

Human beings within the core of our being are designed for connection with each other and with God.

Our churches across the diocese stand in that privileged position of inviting those in their care to take tentative steps onto the bridge of faith that leads to full participation in the life of God. 

This summer month of August is often seen as ‘down-time’ from the business and busyness of running our churches.

You would have to be more zealous than I to attempt to schedule a PCC or other meetings in this particular month.

But August does afford space for hospitality in whatever form that takes for you, for those occasions of simple human connection that can so often be the start of a conversation about faith in Jesus.

This is where over cream teas, barbeques, and bring and share lunches, we have the privilege of standing alongside people at the start of that bridge of faith. 

Enjoy August, rest, refresh, replenish for the activity of the autumn.

Very best wishes to those who are taking time off to go away on holiday or take time at home.

God’s blessing and peace be with you all. 

The Ven Matthew Trick

Archdeacon of Derby City and South Derbyshire

Kay Duckett (Wingerworth) and Bernard Madden (Hathersage) recently joined the Archbishop of York to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Central Readers’ Council.

At the invitation of the archbishop and Rebecca Cottrell, representatives from the dioceses of England and Wales were invited to give thanks for Reader/Licensed Lay Ministry.

On the glorious sunny day, Archbishop Stephen shared his commitment and passion for lay ministry.

He gave thanks for licensed lay ministry, including that represented by Kay, Bernard and representatives of other dioceses.

We all celebrated how it has grown and evolved over the last 100 years. Archbishop Stephen even garnered a few very welcome smiles when recounting the responses he gets from prospective clergy when asked how they understand and plan to enable lay ministry.

He emphasized our calling from baptism to grow into the life of the church, before remarking on the importance of lay leadership in church life.

Advocating for creative, open and imaginative ministry he challenged those present to think about their own ministries and that of future generations so that we all continue to grow, adapt, and flourish.

Following a rather delicious afternoon tea, the Archbishop and Mrs Cottrell invited their guests to look around Bishopthorpe Palace and its grounds.

A much-needed moment of quiet along the Ouse gave ample opportunity to watch the fish and the birds – as well as a number of leisure boats – go past, before everyone gathered for evening prayer.

The day was a very welcome and very timely opportunity to reflect on the importance of lay ministry and the Diocese of Derby are delighted and proud to have been represented by Kay and Bernard.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022 13:56

A wheelchair view

Bishop Malcolm experiences church from a wheelchair user’s perspective

Have you ever considered what it’s like to go to church when you’re a wheelchair user?

Bishop Malcolm recently met Reader Lynda Herbert from the newly formed Disability Inclusion Action Group (DIAG) at St Giles Church in Marston Montgomery where she is a regular worshipper.

His plan was to get an understanding of the challenges faced by wheelchair users, both leading worship and as a member of the congregation.

So, Bishop Malcolm became a wheelchair user for the duration of the meeting.

Bishop Malcolm said: “I was quite surprised by the number of challenges I faced while using a wheelchair.

“Slopes and steps are obvious barriers, but I also learned that it’s not always easy to get around inside churches due to tight corners.

“And using a wheelchair also means you only get one perspective of what’s going on – you can’t stand and sit like non-wheelchair users and sometimes the only place you can go is at the end of a pew. All this means that your view can be restricted.

"I am thankful to Lynda for inviting me to experience church in a new way.”

Lynda is a Reader in the Dove and Derwent and Carsington Deaneries, where she regularly leads services including morning prayer, evening prayer, family services and funerals. She said: “What I wanted to demonstrate was that even small (and often free!) changes that any church can make could greatly benefit disabled members of the local community and could increase service attendance.

Examples include removing a pew to allow more space for wheelchairs, utilising chairs where possible instead of pews – and even a simple change of language (e.g., saying “if you are able, please stand” rather than “please stand”) would help wheelchair users feel more included.”

The DIAG will be releasing more details in the weeks ahead to inform and support our churches and parishes.

If you would like to find out more about their work, or indeed to join the group and help to structure the pathway ahead, please contact Carl Veale at carl.v60@hotmail.com.

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The Right Reverend Malcolm Macnaughton, Bishop of Repton, has ordained 15 new priests and eight new deacons in two special services at Derby Cathedral.

In the presence of the Right Reverend Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, the new deacons and priests took their vows, supported by family and friends in the congregations.

Bishop Malcolm said: "It has been a joy and a privilege to ordain the new priests and deacons in the Diocese of Derby.

"They are each called to serve the communities in which they are set and these are the next steps of a lifelong journey of nurturing themselves and others in faith.

"Please keep them in your prayers as God leads each of them in their ministry."

 

► In pictures: Ordination of Priests 2022 [Flickr]

► In pictures: Ordination of Deacons 2022 [Flickr]

► Meet the new deacons

 

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Those ordained priests are:

  • Rebecca Allpress to serve in the Benefice of Swadlincote and Hartshorne, the Benefice of Newhall and the Benefice of Gresley;
  • Onyekachi Julius Anozie to serve in the Benefice of Kirk Hallam;
  • Gillian Ball to serve in the Benefice of Old Brampton and Great Barlow, and Loundsley Green LEP;
  • Rachel Burdett to serve in Benefice of Belper Christ Church with Turnditch, and the Benefice of Hazelwood, Holbrook and Milford;
  • Samantha Dennis to serve in the Benefice of Sawley;
  • John Ferguson to serve in the Benefice of Derby St Barnabas;
  • Mike Fitzsimmons to serve in the Benefice of Barlborough and Clowne;
  • Jeff Golding to serve in St Werburgh’s Derby Mission Initiative;
  • Melanie Hartley to serve in the Benefice of Baslow and Eyam;
  • Eleanor Launders-Brown to serve in the Benefice of East Scarsdale;
  • James Lee to serve in the Benefice of Stanton by Dale with Dale Abbey and Risley;
  • Christine Nowak to serve in the Benefice of Whitfield;
  • Nick Parish to serve in the Benefice of Derby St Peter and Christ Church with Holy Trinity;
  • Becky Reeve to serve in the Benefice of Walbrook Epiphany;
  • Charlotte Wallington to serve in the Benefice of Hathersage with Bamford and Derwent, and Grindleford.

 

ordination of deacons 2022

The eight new deacons are:

  • Fiona Barber to serve in the Benefice of Sinfin Moor;
  • Elliot George to serve in the Benefice of Dronfield with Holmesfield;
  • Josephine Harbidge to serve in the Benefice of Walton St John;
  • Samantha Mackie to serve in the Benefice of Swadlincote and Hartshorn,  the Benefice of Newhall and the Benefice of Gresley;
  • Fay Price to serve in the Benefice of Derby St Alkmund and St Werburgh;
  • Rhiannon Singleton to serve in the Benefice of Holy Trinity, Dinting Vale, the Benefice of Charlesworth and Gamesley, the Benefice of Glossop, the Benefice of Hadfield and the Benefice of Whitfield;
  • Lisa Taylor to serve in the Benefice of Hulland, Atlow, Kniveton, Bradley and Hognaston;
  • Catherine Watson to serve in the St Werburgh’s Derby Mission Initiative.
Wednesday, 25 May 2022 16:35

Hathersage Church: Seeing Creation

The ‘Seeing Creation’ exhibition was held on the 1-2 May 2022 at Hathersage Parish Church.

Inspired by creation it focused on six areas including textile creativity, visual arts,shaping with wood, caring for creation, children’s crafts and hospitality.

Here Bernard Madden from the organising team shares his reflection on the success of the event.

Textiles: From displaying existing and contemporary church and personal textiles to a busy table of lace making and cross-stitching workshops led by experienced hands, the area was abuzz with those trying out new skills.

Visual arts: Here we displayed how contemporary mainstream national artists capture aspects of the Christian faith; and about twenty local invited artists and photographers displayed their work.

It was heartening to see the creative talent all around us being shared with an appreciative audience.

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Shaping with wood: This was hugely popular; under the careful instruction of a church member with his band fret saw, every age enjoyed having a go at cutting some creatureshape for themselves.

A lovely take-away!

Caring for creation: It was important to show how seriously we as a church take this.

Both A Rocha / Eco Church and local Climate Action Group enthusiasts were on hand to inform and encourage - and to give away something to plant!

Children’s crafts: Central in the church was a large table-top cardboard model reflecting our surrounding Hope Valley. 

All ages enjoyed making a tree from a paper bag, decorating with colourful leaves and ‘planting’ it on the model and taking a scripture verse card. ‘The leavesare for the healing of the nations’.

Clay model-making proved popular with the children.

Our schoolchildren painted their self-portraits on paper plates strung overhead.

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Hospitality: We ensured that Welcomers were always at the door and refreshments constantly available in the church (importantly, not in a separate room, and by donation rather than charge).

This proved to be ‘the glue’ in the event – binding each aspect together with opportunity to stay around, relax and chat. ‘Practice hospitality’ (1 Peter 4:9)!

 

Positive vibes

We had worked hard, transformed how the church looked - clearing away some of the flexible pews, hanging banners and displays – but were rewarded with much appreciation as well as good insights into how many ‘see church’.

One remarked: “This is how I remember church: being together and having space to chat and enjoy time here.”

Others: ‘Wonderful to visit such a vibrant and creative community.’

‘Lovely welcoming … What a fabulous use of church facilities.’

At the entrance were the words: ‘Jesus is Lord! Creation’s voice proclaims it!’

Yes, and the same Lord who made each of us gave us gifts for sharing and encouraging and testifying to all that He has given us.

As our vicar, Paul Moore, reminded us in our opening service: “Now get out and see all the wonder, beauty and glory of God all around us that He has so generously created”.

Bernard Madden and event team.

hathersage seeing creation trees 2022

Wednesday, 18 May 2022 11:51

Collation of archdeacons

Archdeacons-designate Carol, Karen and Matthew will begin their new ministries when they are installed and collated in Derby Cathedral on Sunday, 12th June 2022 at 5.15pm.

All the clergy and laity of the diocese are warmly invited to attend.

This service represents a key strategic moment in the life of our diocese as we develop from having two archdeaconries to three, enabling the greater support of parishes and other ministries.

Each of the new archdeacons will be collated by the Bishop to their new role and the Dean of Derby will place them in their stalls within the cathedral.

We very much hope you will be able to attend this service and support the archdeacons, bishop and the diocese as we embark on this new strategic way of working for the future.

Bishop Libby said: “I am very excited by the energy, experience, expertise and commitment the new archdeacons will bring to their roles. 

“They are all passionate about ‘everyday faith’ and bring understanding of the complexities and opportunities of parish ministry, and of the opportunities and challenges in aspects of mission and ministry that are not parish specific. 

“They also have the capacity to think and work on a wider canvas with flair and imagination and are committed to fostering a culture of diversity.

"I am looking forward to working with them as we commit ourselves to joining in with what God is doing in transforming lives through growing church and building community. 

“Please keep Matthew, Karen and Carol in your prayers as they navigate their new roles and responsibilities.”

 

New archdeaconry areas

The three new archdeaconry areas will legally come into being on 6 June 2022 and have been shaped to reflect the significant missional contexts of our diocese, serving our rural, urban, and emerging post-industrial communities.  

The shaping of the new archdeaconries better reflects the different demographic and cultural contexts of our diocese, but each is diverse and complex with a mixture of communities and experience.  

The statutory responsibilities of the archdeacons will be delivered within their geographical boundaries, and, in addition, they will champion the demographic predominant in their respective archdeaconries across the whole diocese:  

  • The Archdeaconry of Derby City and South Derbyshire includes our largest urban context, and Archdeacon-designate Matthew Trick will champion mission and ministry in all urban contexts across the whole
  • The Archdeaconry of East Derbyshire encompasses many emerging and changing post-industrial communities, and Archdeacon-designate Karen Hamblin will champion mission and ministry in such contexts across the whole diocese
  • The Archdeaconry of Derbyshire Peak and Dales is largely rural with market town communities, and the Venerable Carol Coslett (currently Archdeacon of Chesterfield) will champion mission and ministry in such contexts across the diocese.

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Monday, 25 April 2022 16:01

Peace Doves soar at Derby Cathedral

Visitors to Derby Cathedral can now see ‘Peace Doves’, a large-scale art installation which will be on display until 12 June.

The installation was created by renowned sculptor and artist Peter Walker and features more than 8,000 paper doves suspended on ribbons above the nave, accompanied by a tranquil soundscape from composer David Harper.

The paper doves have been decorated with messages of peace, hope and love – many of which have been created by members of local community and wellbeing groups who have joined workshops run by Derby community arts organisation Artcore, and the general public.

The mass participation community arts project has also involved schools across the city and county who have made their own Peace Dove displays with the support of Peter Walker’s education and arts team.

The exhibition opening will mark the start of a diverse events programme across the city with an array of free and ticketed events, workshops, talks and concerts.

The Very Revd Dr Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby, said: “The last major art installation in the Cathedral was ‘Museum of the Moon’ in autumn 2019 which drew thousands of visitors to the Cathedral and had such a positive impact on the neighbouring Cathedral Quarter and the wider city centre.

“We were keen to recreate the positivity and beauty that a major art installation brings to the magnificent space in the heart of Derby Cathedral and were delighted when we secured artist Peter Walker to bring ‘Peace Doves’ to the city.”

He continued that the messages behind Peace Doves were even more powerful in light of the continued crisis in Ukraine.

He said: “Our original driver for bringing ‘Peace Doves’ to Derby Cathedral was to create a unique piece which reflects the thoughts and feelings of local people from all faiths, ages and backgrounds following such a turbulent time for everyone during the pandemic.

“Now, with war continuing in Ukraine and the value that we all place on peace being uppermost in our minds, the messages behind Peace Doves have even greater poignancy.

“We look forward to welcoming people to the cathedral and we hope that visitors will encounter peace and the space to reflect on the past two years and the suffering that Ukrainian people are now experiencing.”

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Peace Doves was first staged at Lichfield Cathedral in 2018 when it was designed to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. 

It was also installed at Liverpool Cathedral in 2021 and attracted more than 150,000 visitors.

Peter Walker said: “I am delighted to bring Peace Doves to Derby Cathedral.  Previous installations have been very well received and have created a prideful sense of community and togetherness.

"Sometimes, art has the ability to transcend just being an object and become the focus of our collective sentiments. That is the purpose of Peace Doves, which allows thousands of people to create, and express their own personal emotions as part of an ensemble which produces a beautiful final composition, and a series of smaller community works.

“It allows us not just see an artwork but to be part of it, to contemplate peace, as we think of those whose lives are so tragically affected by the many ordeals of life, from the tragic situation in Ukraine, and conflicts abroad to the many issues affecting people in this country, as well as those we love and who are close to us".

He added: “Nearly every message on the doves is not about one person, but about the community, the city, and the bigger picture. This artwork is designed really, by me, but it has been made by the people of Derby and Derbyshire.”

Peace Doves will be in place until 12th June 2022 and, throughout the exhibition, entry to the Cathedral will be free of charge although a suggested donation of £3 per person is requested which will go towards the care and work of Derby Cathedral helping to keep its doors open for all.

Booking is encouraged through Derby Cathedral’s Eventbrite page  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/peace-doves-at-derby-cathedral-tickets-239993104837?aff=ebdsoporgprofile  as entry will be restricted at certain times eg: during services, private events and concerts.   

Peace Doves at Derby Cathedral is funded by Arts Council England, Westhill Endowment, Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID), Derby City Council and Foundation Derbyshire.

For more information about Peace Doves at Derby Cathedral please visit https://derbycathedral.org/peacedoves/

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Wednesday, 20 April 2022 16:32

Faith in the countryside

This year, the Diocese of Derby has been able to put together a leaflet sharing some of the many celebrations and faith opportunities that churches and villages are hosting over the summer months.

After the last two years, it is wonderful to see so much engagement appearing and it is a great sign of the Kingdom that can truly transform lives, grow the church and build community.

Churches are there for you and they do need support from the community and these events are opportunities to join in and support one another.

Look out for the leaflet in local churches - and do let us know if you need extra copies for your church.

And you can download a printable version here [PDF].

Thursday, 14 April 2022 13:33

Bishop Libby's Easter message

My prayer this Easter is an ancient one: may justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

In the face of such injustice around the world, and with so many living with the consequences of unrighteousness, that prayer is heartfelt.

The observance of Lent for the past 40 days has felt very precious this year: for example, I have been praying with our new diocesan Community of Prayer - derby.anglican.org/2027 - on Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings, and fasting not only from food but from energy usage.

These things have offered me the opportunity to be generous with my time and attention as well as money towards those most vulnerable in our communities, those at risk across the world, the crisis facing our natural world.

We travel through Holy Week, remembering Jesus’ last days leading to his crucifixion, very mindful of the consequences today, as 2000 years ago, of violent occupation; of forced migration; of personal and local impact of global issues for employment, standards of living, access to essentials like fuel and food; of breakdown of trust with those in power.

This year in Holy Week many of us share a sense of loss, of betrayal, of uncertainty and fear.

The Bible tells us Jesus was ‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’.

We sometimes say, when we don’t know what to say, “God knows what’s going on / God knows what you must be feeling / God knows what we can do”. This year, Easter reminds us that is true.

God does know because Jesus shared our life – every bit of it including the most mucky, difficult and painful bits.

This year, with all that is going on in the world and in our lives, we might be tempted to despair but, as we celebrate Easter once again, I have hope.

My hope is in Jesus: the God who hears the cries of the afflicted and brings justice to the orphan and the oppressed, the God who bore the consequence of the world’s sin on the cross and rose from the dead demonstrating that even death cannot defeat His love.

In the sermon, written by Bishop Malcolm, in the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday, he reflected:

“Whatever has brought us to today, and whatever state God finds us in, the oil of his grace and mercy is here for us to make us useful in his service once again. To make us a blessing, equipping us to bring Good News for the poor, release for the captives, and freedom for the oppressed.”

The good news of Easter is that Jesus’ death and resurrection are not just events in the past, but life transforming for us now – and into the future.

Jesus’ victory over sin and death is for us, and for those around us.

Sharing and living out, every day and everywhere, the difference Jesus’ life-giving love offers is the purpose of every Christian.

This Easter, I pray you know the presence and peace of the crucified and risen Christ, and the joy of his everlasting life.

 +Libby Derby

Monday, 11 April 2022 09:57

To the cross and beyond

A series of reflections for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day.

Palm Sunday

What do we look for in a leader amidst the violence, anguish and confusion of our world today?

Physical strength, smooth talking, intelligence or the common touch?

Or would we welcome anyone who might make things a little better?

Perhaps this is how it was for the crowds of Jewish pilgrims who travelled the difficult desert road up from Jericho to Jerusalem, shortly before Passover so many years ago.

From the top of the Mount of Olives, they would have gained their first glimpse of the ‘City of Peace’.

Thankfulness and awe would have welled up from deep in their hearts as they began to sing the great pilgrim psalms of praise and victory.

Then suddenly a man appeared amongst them on the road.

Some said he was a wise teacher from Galilee in the north, a miracle-worker and healer; some said he was the Messiah, a long-awaited liberator who would drive out the Romans and make Israel great again.

Others claimed he was a peace-maker, riding a young donkey in fulfilment of ancient prophecies.

Some said he was Jesus, the one who saves.

Crowds hacked palm branches from the trees, waving and crying out in welcome.

Some spread their cloaks on the road for him to ride over. Excitement mounted. What was going to happen?

Hopes were soon dashed. This was no glorious liberation or victory.

Apparently the man was just another trouble-maker with no respect for Law or Temple.

A quick arrest and trial; another miserable cross on Golgotha…

End of story - or was it?

Who was this Jesus? Many today are still asking the same question, drawn by his compelling journey to the cross - and beyond.

Perhaps here is a leader we can follow?

 

April McIntyre
Derby Cathedral Café Writers’ Group
St. Michael’s Church, Breaston


Maundy Thursday

As Christians, on Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus ‘new commandment’ to love one another as he has loved us, and we commemorate the institution of the Lord's supper.

Additionally in some churches on Maundy Thursday, in memory of Christ’s action at the Last Supper, foot washing takes place.

I’ve been reflecting on John’s recounting of Peter’s reaction to Jesus approaching him to wash his feet, what it says about him, and the example he presents to us.

Because I sometimes wonder if Peter gets a bad press – often he’s thought of as someone who speaks hastily, without really thinking about what he is saying.

But I often reflect that even in those moments of speaking hastily he reveals a heart that, though it may not always have understood, revered and deeply loved Jesus.

And the same is true in this instance.

Foot washing was the job of the lowliest person in the room.

So naturally for Peter the idea of Jesus undertaking this role would be unthinkable - Jesus was his Lord, not his servant. So he argues.

But when Jesus replies that the alternative is for Peter to have no share with him, Peter immediately wants to be completely washed by Jesus - not just his feet.

His love and strength of desire for relationship with Christ shine through his reply.

Though he perhaps didn’t realise it at the time, Peter desired what was accomplished on the cross. A complete washing away of his sin.

Foot washing is an intimate action.

It is possible to feel quite vulnerable when someone washes your feet.

And I wonder what my reaction would be if Christ had approached me as he approached Peter that day.

I hope that it would resemble the strength of honour and love that Peter showed:  ‘Lord, not my feet only…’

 

Charlotte Wallington
Curate
Benefice of Hathersage, Bamford with Derwent, and Grindleford


Good Friday

What do we do when our prayers have gone unanswered, our hopes have been left hanging and our dreams are dry and withering?

Jesus’ disciples had to face this very challenge on the day that they saw their saviour hanging on a cross dying.

He was supposed to save them.

He was supposed to set them free.

He was supposed to fulfill the promise long waited for.

They had given up everything to follow him because they believed that he was the one.

He had healed, spoken and loved like no man they had ever seen.

And hadn’t they seen him stand alongside Elijah and Moses? Robed in white as though heaven was touching earth?

How could they have fallen so far in such a short space of time?

How could things have gone so wrong?

The thing is… they couldn’t have known the hope that was embedded in the cross.

They couldn’t have known the healing that this one action would release.

They had no clue that this moment of incredible loss would lead to freedom for all creation.

They just needed to look beyond their moment to see that God had a larger salvation than they could have possibly imagined.

They needed to see past their own lives to see that their land, their people weren’t the only ones that needed to be set free.

They needed to extend their vision to see that promises are always fulfilled… in God’s time.

But it is hard, and we are tired.

When our prayers go unanswered, we can become so transfixed in this moment that we forget to remember that God is eternal. We can hang all our hopes on such fragile things, forgetting that God holds the whole universe in his hands, and we can trust him to hold our lives there too.

And, when our dreams die, as they sometimes do. We forget to ask God to give us new dreams. Dreams bigger than this moment, bigger than our own land our own ‘world’. Dreams that will go beyond our time and reach into eternity.

Good Friday is good because it isn’t the end.

Let us hold on to the hope that wherever we are in this moment, it isn’t the end but the beginning.

 

Debbie Patrick
Reader - Swadlincote and Hartshorne
Gresley and Newhall


Easter Day

The experience of the past two years of Covid, and now of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, causing terrible suffering there and repercussions for people across the globe, have changed the atmosphere of our lives and of our time.

It is harder for people to be optimistic.

People are tired, anxious, and fearful.

On the positive side, there is much kindness and sympathy for those at the sharp end.

Offers of hospitality to refugees, donations given and sent – all this follows hard on the heels of the dedication of so many key workers, so much appreciated in the thick of the pandemic.

If we are to win through in these times, it will be because of love.

In 1930 Russian communist leader Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin, one of the most feared and powerful men of his time, travelled from Moscow to Kyiv to promote the atheist teaching of his party.

Speaking to a large crowd he heaped as many insults as he could upon the Church and the Christian faith.

He appealed to the people of Kyiv to reject Christ, and embrace atheism.

At the end of the meeting the local parish priest stood and calmly dismissed the crowd with the usual Orthodox easter greeting - Christ is Risen!

The crowd thundered back in response – ‘He is risen indeed – Alleluia!’

Russian Orthodox have looked to Kyiv as the origin of their faith, since in 988AD Vladimir the Great, whose sculpture stands outside the Kremlin, was baptised there, leading to the majority of the Russian and Slavic peoples turning to Christ.

Jesus wept for Jerusalem.

I am sure he has wept for Kyiv.

At this new turning point, perhaps, in world history, we must look to Jesus who by the cross faced down the powers of darkness, violence and evil, suffering apparent defeat, before rising to victory, ‘disarming the principalities and powers’. (Colossians 2.15)

How did he do this?

By faithfulness to God, by humble service, by costly self sacrifice, by love.

Our thoughts this Easter must be with those traumatised by violence and evil, and our faith, hope, and love turned into prayer and action that can change the world.

Remember, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us.

Love wins.

 

Malcolm Macnaughton
Bishop of Repton