Derby Cathedral has been awarded a grant of £270,800 to cover overheads, IT and digital resources and Personal Protective Equipment required as a result of COVID. 

The Cathedral will use some of the grant to improve its online presence and digital capabilities, making it more accessible to the City of Derby, the County of Derbyshire, the Diocese of Derby, its many visitors and a wide range of worshippers.

It is one of more than 400 organisations across the country to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Very Reverend Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby, said: “Derby Cathedral is delighted and thankful to be the recipient of a Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage grant. 

"The money will help us to cover essential costs incurred throughout the COVID-19 pandemic at a time when our income from collections, events and hires has been drastically reduced.

“This grant allows us to start on our road of recovery and plan a sustainable response to the COVID crisis, ensuring that the Cathedral can meet the new and emerging needs of the city, visitors and worshippers.”

445 organisations will share £103 million, including Derby Cathedral, to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

This funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

Revd Peter Barham reflects on Harvest under Covid restrictions.

Harvest Festival, and we managed two decorated churches (thanks).

We had 35 in one church and 40 in the other, and - unusually - my congregation was larger than that of Northern Reader (Northern Reader is Peter's wife, Julie).

We survived not singing "We plough the fields and scatter" and everyone seemed to get something out of worship.

Harvest hedgehogs seem appropriate - spikes and all that.

allestree harvest hedgehog

We did a food bank run for the Hope Centre in Derby - Mike and Shirley had a full car (thank you again).

We can accept donations at any time in Primrose's book shed at the vicarage.

I baptised young Ralph at lunchtime - we moved the flowers first.

Just six guests allowed. Mum, dad, Ralph and the four Godparents. 

I have given up trying to understand the logic of the regulations.

Lovely young people, a happy little lad, and a pleasure to baptise - one of the greatest pleasures of my ministry (in the old days I'd have given you a photo, now I need written permission first).

Then we had an open air service.

It was a sunny afternoon and people came with their own seats.

A lot of work for 18 people and it proved why we have church buildings. Nice to have good chats with families (and others) I haven't seen for a while.

I hope everyone got something out of it.

Now I'm shattered. Daft really, Sunday's are usually a lot busier than this!

The Prime Minister is right, it is going to be a tough winter for all of us.

The lovely people at Cogito Books supplied me with this evening's entertainment.

Just wish I'd got a real fire to snuggle in front of.

>> Follow St Edmund's Allestree on Facebook

allestree harvest book

The Church of England has launched ‘Safe Spaces’, an online and telephone service to help survivors and victims of abuse carried out by clergy or church officers, however long ago it happened.

Victim Support, a national charity with a track record of providing survivor support, has been commissioned to run the service.

It will run initially for two years.

Safe Spaces comprises a team of trained support advocates, who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence and who have received additional specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church.

The service is for those who may have experienced any form abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse (including spiritual abuse), domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour.

The Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, Deputy Lead Safeguarding Bishop for the Church of England, said:

“I’m delighted that this service will shortly be available to offer support and advice to survivors of abuse.

“I want to express my thanks to all those who have helped to bring the project together, particularly the survivors who have given of their time and energy.

“In Victim Support, we have an excellent operational lead, and we look forward to continuing a constructive partnership with then as well as the other denominations involved.

“I commend the service for use and hope colleagues will do all they can to promote it locally.”

To access support, visit

After a year as Acting Director of Education and 16 years as Deputy Director of Education and Schools’ Adviser, Dr Alison Brown will be leaving the employment of the Diocese of Derby.  

This will take effect from 4 January 2021.  

She will be starting in a new role in January with Christian Aid as its Global Neighbours Schools’ Programme Officer.

Alison has made a huge contribution to the work of schools within the diocese, with the DBE and Bishop's staff team.

On announcing her new appointment, Alison said: “It is with mixed feelings that I am leaving the Diocesan Board of Education.

“I am very excited about the prospect of my new role with Christian Aid. It will allow me to work with schools across the country in working towards their Global Neighbour Award and thereby helping their pupils grow into people who make the world a better place.

“However, I am sad to be leaving the family of Church schools which I have known and worked with for the last 17 years.

"The head teachers and staff of these schools are exceptional people and to be cherished as they serve their pupils and communities.

"It has been a privilege to be part of their journey all these years.

“My time working for the board of education has been so rich and varied it is hard to pick out highlights.

kolkata18 20190117 railway slum

Working in deprived areas of Kolkata

"I have particularly enjoyed the training aspect of it, be that of head teachers, teachers, governors or clergy. Another, of course, has been building the links between schools here in Derbyshire and Kolkata.

The board of education also enabled me to carry out my doctoral studies on the formational and transformational potential of collective worship. It has been an exciting privilege to then see that have a real impact on many schools here in this diocese and further afield.

“It is also with mixed feelings that I leave the broader work of the diocese at a time of so many changes.

"I will be interested and prayerful as I watch how things develop as I will still live, work and worship in the diocese.”

The Ven Carol Coslett, Archdeacon of Chesterfield and chair of the Derby Diocesan Board of Education, said: “It has been an honour to work with Alison and she has been such a supportive colleague in her capacity as deputy director and over this last year as acting director.

“Alison has brought such insight and spiritual expert educational knowledge to the role which has been invaluable for all her work in the schools and with the DBE. 

“She will leave a big hole in the life of the diocese and in the education world but on behalf of the trustees of the DBE we thank her wholeheartedly and wish her every success in her new, exciting role with Christian Aid.”

Details of the process to appoint Dr Brown’s replacement will be announced shortly.

A statement from The Rt Revd Libby Lane - Bishop of Derby; Hannah Hogg - Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor and Helen Jebb - Independent Chair of Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel 

Today the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its report into the Church of England. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, alongside the CofE lead safeguarding bishop and the national director of safeguarding have set out their thoughtsin an open letter.

We would like to assure you of our shared and joint commitment to Safeguarding and place this at the heart of our Diocese. Safeguarding is a fundamental expression of our faith and a sign of the Kingdom of God. At this difficult time, we will support those affected by the publication of the report.

The new safeguarding leadership team including Hannah Hogg, Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor and Helen Jebb, Independent Chair of Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel in the Diocese of Derby will be taking time to digest and understand the outcomes and learning from the report and are committed to making changes which promote a safer church culture.

If you or anyone you are in contact with are affected by the publication of this report and want totalk to someone independently pleasecall theSafe Spaceshelpline on0300 303 1056  or  There are also othersupport services available.

Alternatively, please contact the diocesan safeguarding team in Derby.


The Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop and Melissa Caslake the Church’s national director of safeguarding have issued a joint statement on behalf of the national Church of England.

A year ago, throughout October 2019, Derby Cathedral hosted the Knife Angel.

In the four weeks it stood outside the cathedral, more than 200,000 people visited, 130 volunteers were trained and gave up their time to inform visitors of the danger of carrying a knife and 23 special educational events were held to discuss knife crime.

Rachel Morris, Diocesan Secretary & Derby Cathedral Chapter Steward, Chief Executive Diocesan Board of Finance, said: “Derby Cathedral was humbled and honoured to host the Knife Angel in Derby.

"The perseverance and hard work of key partners, generous sponsors and wonderful volunteers brought the project together in a way which benefitted the many thousands of visitors who experienced and were affected by the statue. 

“The educational and public events enabled the successful delivery of the key outcomes to educate and raise public awareness of the horrors of knife and violent crime. 

"We are very grateful to every individual involved, and keen to support the ongoing legacy of the Knife Angel in Derby.”

Featuring the voice of Rachel Webb whose son, Tom, was killed in a knife attack in Derby city centre

Superintendent Sarah McAughtrie, from Derbyshire police, said: “A year on since the visit of the knife angel I look back and feel really proud of what was achieved during that time by all involved, the number of visitors was incredible. 

“I have spoken to a number of people that attended who said what a real sense of emotion they felt, thinking about all the people that have lost their lives due to this senseless crime. 

“The carrying of knives is still an issue in society and as part of the legacy of the knife angel’s visit we continue to work tirelessly as a police service, with our partners and the community, to tackle the problem”.

Bishop Libby has ordained eight new deacons and nine priests in the Diocese of Derby, at Derby Cathedral.

The socially distanced services took place over the weekend - ordinations were delayed this year because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

There were three ordination services on each of the two days with each candidate able to invite a limited number of guests, plus their training incumbents.

Speaking to the new priests and deacons at the start of each service, Bishop Libby said: "This may not be the service you envisaged when you first considered ordination, but this is how God has called you in this time."

And in his sermon to the new priests, the Dean of Derby, Peter Robinson, said: "God has the power the change the human heart through the death and resurrection of Jesus, so as we are called by God to lead in a time of fear and towards an unknown future our task as the church is to go through Covid-19, not to imagine that we can go around it and embrace a false hope of returning to what we recall as ‘normal’."

>> See photos from the ordination of priests on Flickr

>> See photos from the ordination of deacons on Flickr

The new curates included Alan Winfield, a funeral director, who says he met God at the age of 16 during an Easter Sunrise Service.

He said: "As the sun rose above the mill rooftops, I had this strange and wonderful feeling inside and it was there and then that I knew."

Alan has been in reader ministry since 2002 and has had a deep interest in pastoral care: "I hope my curacy will enable me to develop this further and reach out to those in need and reveal something of the love of God."

Sharon Murphy is another new deacon. The mother of eight said that God appeared to her one night in a dream: "I became a Christian in my early 20s having suffered a miscarriage.

"It was my first encounter with grief, and it was such a time of pain both physically and emotionally.

"When I woke up the next morning all the pain had gone, and I felt peaceful."

As she starts her curacy in Derwent Oak BMO, Derby, Sharon says she finds herself thinking about dwelling in a place, being, prayer walking, listening and building relationships: "My prayer is that people will see something of Christ in me the hope of glory and will want that hope for themselves."

Photographs from the ordination services

>> See photos prom the ordination of priests on Flickr

>> See photos from the ordination of deacons on Flickr


Please pray for our new deacons:

Rachael Brookes - Littleover and Blagreaves

Catrin Hubbard - Buxton with Burbage and King Sterndale Team Ministry

Nicola McNally - Tideswell

Sharon Murphy - Derwent Oak, Derby

Malcolm Pyatt - Brimington

Kate Smedley - Spondon

Sandra Till - Alvaston

Alan Winfield - Melbourne, Ticknall, Smisby and Stanton-by-Bridge


and our new priests

Sally-Anne Beecham, Rhoda Blackwell, Brenda Jackson, Elaine Jones, Dawn Knight, James Milwain, Jenn Newman, John Spreadborough and Anthony Till will be ordained priests in services at Derby Cathedral and again these can be followed online - details on the cathedral's website

Will Eley will be ordained priest by the Bishop of Maidstone in a separate service on 11 October.

Dave Channon, who has been director of education for eight years, has left his posts in the Diocese of Derby.

He has relinquished his post as Diocesan Director of Education, directorships of Derby Diocesan Academy Trust and of the Peak Centre at Champion House, and his Lay Canonry of Derby Cathedral with effect from 31st August 2020.

On announcing his departure, Bishop Libby said: "Dave has been a highly valued Diocesan Director of Education since 2012 and was instrumental in the formation and development of the Diocesan Academy Trusts.

"I know you will join me in thanking Dave for his years of dedicated service and for his lasting legacy to the work of the DBE and DDAT within our schools.

"We send him our very best wishes for the future."

And Archdeacon Carol, chair of the DBE's board of trustees, said: "We are all going to miss Dave and his input, and I know that as trustees we will want to put in place an acknowledgment to him of all his work over the years in which he has guided the development of education while he has been in office."

Recently, Peter Robinson, the Dean of Derby, took part in a discussion on BBC Radio 4's Beyond Belief programme about the use of water and ritual bathing in religion.

Dean Peter's doctoral thesis was on Christian Initiation focusing on Baptism

Followers of any of the main religions are more than likely to have undergone a bathing ritual.

Cleansing with water is an integral part of Christian Baptism, Muslim Prayer and Jewish purification. Hindus aspire to bathe in the waters of the River Ganges.

Why are rituals in water important to so many faiths? What do they mean? And how do they differ from religion to religion?

Joining host Ernie Rea to discuss ritual bathing are the Very Revd Peter Robinson (Dean of Derby), Dr Diana Lipton (teaching fellow in the department of biblical studies at Tel Aviv University) and Sudipta Sen (professor of history at the University of California and author of 'Ganges: the Many Pasts of an Indian River').

You can enjoy the programme here:

or find it on the BBC Sounds app.

Dr Alison Brown, acting director of education, reflects on the start of the new school year.

We owe all our school leaders and staff a huge debt of gratitude for keeping schools open during the lockdown, supporting pupils, parents and the wider school community.

Thank you! 

What a year 2020 continues to be. For all those involved in schools they have, in effect, two New Years to mark and celebrate each year, in January and in September as a new academic year begins. 

For most of our schools that ‘new year’ is this week. 

Of course, this is going to be a particularly unusual new start with a potent mixture of excitement and anxiety.

The excitement will be because at long last the whole school community can be back together.

The anxiety will be multi-layered. For parents it might be around the safety of their children and their ability to fit back into the social setting of school.  

For pupils it could be around being back in an environment in a new way with class bubbles, staggered break-times and starts and ends to the day.

For staff it will be about how they help pupils to pick up and run with their formal learning whilst keeping safe and happy.

For all staff there will also be anxiety for their own health and for those they care for at home.  

How can we help our precious schools and the individuals in them flourish with this backdrop?

Well, we can pray for them, that they will know that ‘goodness and mercy shall follow them all of their lives’.

For clergy and congregations who have schools in their care, sending cards, messages, emails, phone calls wishing them well and telling them of that prayer will count for a lot (as might a box of biscuits or chocolates for the staff room!!).

Visits into schools are not yet allowed and so all the support we give must be at a distance, but in the knowledge that the God who loves us all is closer than we can imagine.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) has affected all our lives.

Things are changing fast. We have faced loss, anxiety and disruption.

While we are still recovering, many of us continue to worry about what it means for ourselves and for our loved ones.

Which is why, this year, the Bishop of Derby’s Harvest Appeal, will focus on supporting the wellbeing of people in Derbyshire.

Peace of Mind’: supporting wellbeing in Derbyshire’ will be officially launched on Sunday, 6th September.

This autumn a variety of free online events with a mental health and wellbeing focus, from Christian partners, will be available for everyone in the diocese.  

Events include an online reading group, examples of community sport and activity projects, ‘Managing anxiety and trauma using Christian principles’ and ‘Poetry for Health’ amongst others.

The workshops are free and will be held via Zoom.

To book your place please visit the Learning in Faith pages of the diocesan website.

Alongside the events programme we have challenged ourselves to raise £15,000 to support Derbyshire Mind’s wellbeing programme ‘Enjoying Derbyshire’.

Enjoying Derbyshire is a project that offers a diverse menu of activities and workshops aimed at improving mental wellbeing.

More resources and events will be available on the diocesan website and our social media channels throughout the autumn.

The Bishop of Derby is pleased to announce that the Revd Timothy John Clarke will become Chancellor of the Diocese of Derby from 4 December 2020.

Mr Clarke, currently the deputy chancellor of the diocese, is a barrister at Three Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, and a non-stipendiary minister in the Diocese of Worcester.

As a barrister, he specialises in real property, wills, and estates. He also advises on matters of ecclesiastical law.

On the announcement of his appointment, Mr Clarke said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this position by the Bishop of Derby. I have learned much from John Bullimore, while serving as his deputy for the past five years. John has been an outstanding chancellor, as many in the diocese will know.

“I look forward to working with the bishop, archdeacons, registrar and all in the Diocese of Derby to ensure that our church communities are better enabled to meet the needs of 21st-century worship, whilst also encouraging an appreciation of the rich heritage we share.”

Mr Clarke is married to the Revd Dr Georgina Byrne, a residentiary canon at Worcester Cathedral and a chaplain to HM the Queen.

In his spare time, Mr Clarke enjoys music, choral singing, beekeeping and skiing.

Mr Clarke will replace John Bullimore, who retires on 3rd December having served as Chancellor of the Diocese of Derby for almost 40 years.

Where would you find a rector, a bishop, builders and t’owd men?

Only in Wirksworth!

St Mary’s Wirksworth has held a topping out ceremony to mark the completion of work to re-roof the nave.

A number of people involved in the project looked on as a bough of oak, a symbol of resilience and strength, was hoisted onto the roof, after which Revd David Truby and Bishop Libby climbed ladders to the top of the nave to give a blessing. They were joined on the roof by some of the builders and roofers who had worked on the project over the past months.

“The lead had been on the roof for nearly 100 years,” said Revd David Truby, the rector of Wirksworth. “It was last done in 1926 and, because of the action of the weather, it was cracking and leaking,”

The project was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to the tune of £120,000 – around 60% of the total cost. Generous local businesses, fundraising events and crowdfunding also contributed – although there is still more fundraising to be done to allow the two transepts to also be re-roofed.

>> Vistit St Mary's JustGiving page

Once back on the ground, Bishop Libby said: “To see how much craft goes into the restoration of a roof like this, using techniques that have been around for centuries, and the wonderful way in which the lead that had been there for a century was able to be removed and reused is amazing.

“There is something very beautiful and deeply theological about the way that God is able to re-cast the things that are part of our inheritance and our treasure into something that is now fit for purpose for the next century.

“Christ’s people here in Wirksworth have not been constrained or tied to this building – however beautiful and precious it may be – they have been the church of God when they’ve not had access to the building, continuing to worship and pray and learn and to serve their neighbours.”

Among the onlookers were two parishioners dressed as t’owd men. Inside the church, T’owd Man is an ancient carving of a lead miner, as Wirksworth had historically been an important centre for lead trade.

T'owd men

The oak bough that was lifted onto the roof for the ceremony also carried representations of Wirksworth’s past, being adorned with Wirksworth Red Tape – a tape manufactured in the town and used around the world to tie up bureaucratic papers (hence the term, bureaucratic red tape).

David Truby said that the Lottery funding was conditional on the church finding ways of engaging with the local community in new ways. So, originally, they had planned to take people up the scaffold during the work: “Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 restrictions, we weren’t able to do that so we did a virtual tower tour. That meant me going up onto the roof and doing the tour via Zoom, relaying it out to people wherever they were.”

Bishop Libby said she had also been keen to see the roof work for herself: “When David first told me the plans for today, they didn’t include me going up to the roof and I was a little disappointed.

“But I was delighted when I arrived to learn that they were expecting me to go up.

“The first ladder, from the ground to the first platform, is quite long and a bit shaky, so I was given very clear instructions to maintain three points of contact at all times.

“But it was absolutely fine and the view at the top is amazing!”

Bishop Libby and David Truby

More pictures from Wirksworth

  • wirksworth topping out 4393 2000
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  • wirksworth topping out 4325 2000 ls
  • wirksworth topping out 4334 2000 ls
  • wirksworth topping out 4389 2000
  • wirksworth topping out 4368 2000 duo
  • wirksworth topping out 4341 2000 ls
  • wirksworth topping out 4350 2000
  • wirksworth topping out 4390 2000
  • wirksworth topping out 4372 2000
  • Tuesday, 18 August 2020 - and St Mary's Wirksworth 'tops out' its new roof.
  • The rector, Revd David Truby thanks the onlookers and reflects on a number of months of hard work.
  • The oak bough is adorned with Wirksworth Red Tape, another tradition from the town's past
  • The bough, symbolic of resilience, is hoisted to the rooftop
  • Bishop Libby prepares for her ascent to the top, where she will give blessing
  • And so it begins!
  • Bishop Libby said the first ladder was a bit shaky, so she had been given instructions to maintain three points of contact at all times
  • Made it!
  • Back on the ground - job done...
  • T'owd men

The Diocese of Derby is pleased to confirm the Revd Canon Matt Barnes has been appointed as the director of discipleship, mission and ministry for the Diocese of Derby.

A key part of this role is to help build and develop the channels through which the Church in the Diocese of Derby lives out its calling to be a church for all.

Mr Barnes has been acting director for a the past two and a half years and brings to the role his wide experience, having served in the diocese for over 20 years, most recently as Rector of St Thomas’ Church Brampton, in Chesterfield.

Working closely with the Bishop of Derby, he will plan and lead the development, training and equipping of both lay and ordained leaders and ministers at all levels across the diocese though training, church growth, community work and vocations.

Mr Barnes said: “It is a really exciting time to take on this vital role in the diocese. I’m grateful to Bishop Libby for her confidence in me and I look forward to working with our wonderful clergy and lay ministers as we work out together how best to offer the ministry and mission of the Church in these changing times”.

The Right Reverend Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby said: “I am delighted to confirm Matt Barnes to his role as Director of Discipleship, Mission and Ministry. Matt lives his faith with integrity and passion and brings a deep and energetic commitment to this role and its potential to make a transformative impact on church and community, particularly in the uncertain times ahead.

“He is already a trusted colleague and a welcome, permanent addition to the senior leadership team.”

The Diocese of Derby is pleased to confirm two significant appointments to the parish support team, based at Derby Church House.

Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA).

Hannah Hogg has been appointed Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

Mrs Hogg is currently Corporate Safeguarding Lead at Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust and brings with her extensive experience of working across a multi-agency partnership at a senior level.

Having studied law at the University of Durham and Chester College of Law, she trained as a solicitor and has also previously worked at Derby City Council as Head of Service and legal adviser to the Derby City Safeguarding Children Board, and for the Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board.

The Derby Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser post is a key role and Mrs Hogg will advise the diocese on all safeguarding matters ensuring that all advice is in line with the law, government guidance and national policy and guidance from the House of Bishops.

She will take start her new role in October.

Derby Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel – Independent Chair

Helen Jebb has been appointed the Independent Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel.

Mrs Jebb is a former Detective Chief Superintendent with Nottinghamshire Police, where she was Head of Crime and Intelligence with responsibility for Public Protection and Safeguarding.

The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel (DSAP) is the committee that oversees the work of the Diocesan Safeguarding Team (DST) across the diocese. It is made up of senior staff within both the diocese and Derby Cathedral, alongside representatives from statutory and partner agencies who provide safeguarding services to Derby and Derbyshire.

This role will see Mrs Jebb ensure that the work of the safeguarding team is conducted impartially and in cooperation with other safeguarding agencies and that the needs of victim/survivors, children, young people and vulnerable adults are fully considered.

She will join the diocese in September.

On confirming the appointments, the Right Reverend Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, said: “I am delighted to welcome Hannah and Helen to the team. Safeguarding is at the very heart of being Church and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

“Both statutory responsibility and safe culture are key, and Hannah and Helen bring expertise and experience to enable the diocese to ensure best practice in Safeguarding for children, young people and vulnerable adults in our churches. I am looking forward to working with them.”

Ministry during the pandemic has certainly looked somewhat different to the regular parish ministry we've all been used to.

Revd Bryony Taylor, Rector at St James Barlborough and St John the Baptist Clowne, writes:


Despite having worked as a social media consultant before being ordained, I still have had to learn not to play the comparison game and compare my ministry during lockdown with that of other churches.

Comparison, they say, is the thief of joy!

So before I share some lessons I’ve learnt during lockdown, be encouraged that it is your faithfulness to God that counts more than anything!

There are three areas I have been interested to see grow or be affected by this time of pandemic:



People’s discipleship has deepened in a lot of areas during lockdown.

Unmoored from the safety of our church buildings, people have been expected to fend for themselves spiritually.

I distributed some prayer booklets before lockdown and a number of people have told me that they have been praying far more than usual during lockdown.

People have found it helpful to create a routine that includes prayer.

I set up a ‘dial a sermon’ system so that people can ring a phone number to listen to this week’s sermon.

Several people have told me they ring the number twice a week, once on a Sunday and then they listen again later in the week.

That’s something you can’t normally do with sermons (and is a bit scary for us preachers!)

But I’ve been deeply encouraged that people have been engaging with sermons in depth and learning more about their faith.



Much has been said about online viewing figures being a lot higher than the numbers we usually have in the pews on a Sunday.

I’m not so interested in the numbers, however, but more in individuals who have engaged with our online worship, perhaps for the first time.

I joked with people that if they get bored they can always fast forward me or mute me.

But joking aside, I think that the fact that you can ‘dip your toes in’ to worship without fear of ‘getting it wrong’ and also do that in your pyjamas if you like, acts as the bait to attract new fish!

It is much easier to send someone a YouTube link than to bring them physically with you to a church service.

The online environment is the ideal place for us to be ‘fishers of men’.



Disabled people have been aware for a long time of the importance of using technology to enable them to be included in worship.

This has been highlighted during lockdown and I hope that we will continue to ask the question ‘who is not here?’ when we plan our services.

How can we continue to reach people when we return to worship in our buildings?

I will be continuing to offer a midweek Eucharist on Facebook and also over the phone (using telephone conferencing) on a Thursday morning to ensure that those who are still self-isolating have a way to connect with God and each other.

I hope this pandemic will unleash far more awareness and inclusion of those who are usually unable to attend our churches in person.


If you want to learn more about some of the technology I mention in this article, please visit for detailed guides on how to set things up.

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The Diocese of Derby

For SatNav directions, please use DE1 3DR. However, please note that the car park behind Derby Church House (Derby Cathedral Car Park) is contract only Monday-Friday and so unavailable to visitors. Paid parking is available at Chapel Street Multistorey Car Park (DE1 3GU), Park Safe (Bold Lane) DE1 3NT and the Assembly Rooms Car Park (DE1 3AF). Derby Cathedral Car Park is available as paid parking on Saturdays and Sundays.

Contact and Find Us

Derby Church House

Full Street, Derby DE1 3DR

01332 388650


Map and parking information