Hannah Grivell reflects on Christ Church Belper's involvement in the town's first Pride festival.
As soon as I heard that Belper was hosting its own Pride event, I knew that Christ Church had to be involved.
Snowballing from a small picnic planned in the memorial gardens to the town-wide event it became as interest grew, Pride in Belper presented a fantastic opportunity for us to spread Christ’s redeeming message of love and acceptance to a community who had, directly or indirectly, often had painful experiences with the church.
This was in line with our mission as an Inclusive Church, which we signed up for in November 2017. Inclusive Church is a network of churches, groups and individuals uniting together around a shared vision:
"We believe in inclusive Church - a church which celebrates and affirms every person and does not discriminate. We will continue to challenge the church where it continues to discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality. We believe in a Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.”
The celebrations kicked off, like most Prides, with a parade—but this being Belper, it was far more fitting for this to be a ‘Strutt’ down from the marketplace, along King Street, then back up to the memorial gardens. Crowds lined the streets, with people leaving shops to watch the Strutt—even mid-haircut!
We were grateful to have been allocated a stand in a prominent position—as were the Unitarian Church and the Quakers—to ensure that the healing message that God’s love does not discriminate was front and centre.
This was a deliberate move by the organisers which not only allowed us to have many conversations with all kinds of people, it also meant that our sign quoting 1 John 4:16—“God is love. Those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them”—was unmissable by all walking by, with some stopping just to photograph it.
We encouraged any who visited the stand to write names or prayers on a second sign with the word ‘LOVE’ written out, which a truly touching number of people chose to, and our intercessions the following day were centred on holding each of these people and situations in prayer.
Our shirts, provided by One Body One Faith who run the Christians at Pride movement, also proved a valuable witness and meant that even away from the stand people would stop us to ask questions or to simply thank us for being there.
With around 2,000 people estimated to have attended, the reaction we received was overwhelmingly positive, though even the most heartwarming reactions to people receiving the message that they are loved and accepted for who they are carried an undertone of sadness for the lifetime of alienation, rejection and secrecy that this revelation betrayed.
We will continue to carry the stories and situations we heard in our hearts and prayers, and hope that the spectacular success of the festival is the spark for wider change and growth in the church.
This feature was originally published in Issue 6 of Together Magazine
Bishop Libby is pleased to announce that the Revd Canon Dr Elizabeth Thomson will be Acting Dean of Derby from 1 October 2019.
Canon Elizabeth has been at Derby Cathedral since 2014 as Canon Missioner, and was appointed sub-dean by the outgoing dean, the Very Revd Dr Stephen Hance.
On making the announcement, Bishop Libby said: "We are very thankful that Elizabeth is willing to take on this crucial role during the vacancy. Elizabeth has a proven track record of leadership and creative ministry in the cathedral. I am confident she will not only love and support the cathedral through this time of transition, but bring her gifts and experience to enabling the Cathedral to flourish and grow during this time."
The task of selecting a new dean is already underway. The Archbishop of Canterbury will appoint someone who knows Derby and Derbyshire well to chair the panel that will oversee the process.
The panel for the interviews represents the diversity of the diocese, the cathedral and the wider community, reflecting the wide-ranging nature of the role of a dean. The panel works with the Bishop to make this appointment.
Consultations will be in mid-September. Individuals and groups have been contacted who can give the panel a really broad and deep sample of views about what the diocese, the city of Derby and the county needs in its dean, and there will be an open meeting for the congregation on Tuesday, 17 September.
All these conversations and other contributions will be drawn together to create a profile of the role, the cathedral and the kind of person who might be called to become Dean of Derby.
Both Derby Cathedral Chapter and Bishop Libby will submit their requirements and vision for the new dean, to complement a statement of needs and role specification.
It is intended to interview before Christmas, in the hope that an appointment can be made, and the new dean installed in 2020.
The full text of Dean Stephen Hance's farewell sermon at Derby Cathedral
So, we have come to my farewell service, the last chance I have to preach from this pulpit, and I want to thank you for being here to share in this act of worship as we say our goodbyes to one another today. It’s good to see you.
Cathedrals have been in the news again this summer. First of all, it was Rochester Cathedral with their mini golf course. Then it was Norwich with the helter skelter in the nave. And both of these had the predictable response from the usual people. This was, apparently, a desecration of holy ground, further proof that the Church of England, which for hundreds of years had thought that worship and prayer and pastoral ministry was sufficient, had now entirely lost the plot and was obsessed with gimmickry to get people in.
The Dean of Derby, the Very Revd Dr Stephen Hance, said a fond farewell to the congregation at Derby Cathedral at a special service on Sunday, 1 September 2019.
Dr Hance leaves the Diocese of Derby later this month to take up the post of National Lead for Evangelism and Witness for the Church of England.
In his final sermon at Derby Cathedral, he said it had been a privilege to serve as the Dean of Derby for the past two years and that good progress had been made in that time.
He also talked about "getting the foundations right as a Christian community" and that cathedrals should continue to strive to find new and exciting ways to engage with people who might not always see a reason to visit them.
The Dean concluded by thanking everyone for their prayers and their giving to the cathedral.
At the service, the Bishop of Derby, the Right Revd Libby Lane, announced that sub-dean, the Revd Canon Dr Elizabeth Thomson, will assume the role of Acting Dean of Derby from 1 October.
Edale’s Peak Centre is a haven for youngsters to enjoy outdoor learning – but all ages, and all faiths, are welcome.
Whilst many of the parishes in the Diocese spend time trying to get people IN, there is one that focuses on trying to get them OUT – out into the great outdoors to enjoy some of the fantastic scenery and open spaces Derbyshire has to offer.
Meet Dom Gavan, head chorister of St Mary and All Saints, Chesterfield.
Chesterfield Parish Church (The Crooked Spire) has had an excellent repertoire of music since its dedication in 1234, and has upheld a sustainable and large choir for much of this time.
From huge concerts with the Philharmonic Choir to small, midweek services, the music has been nothing but exquisite and I have been fortunate to be a part of it for some six years, and have been Head Chorister since 2016.
Sunday - Palm Sunday
Alarm at 7.00am, up, dressed, teeth, hair, church! Got to church, Cassock on, warm up, and sing. Setting today was Communion Service in A minor (Darke), and Christus Factus Est (Felice Anerio) as the communion motet. Went well, started outside with blessing of Palms and thankfully it wasn’t raining. I have a solo tonight so ultra-important I don’t get a cold! Sunday lunch with the Family, and back to church for Evensong.
Went to church at 11am to help run the gift shop, stuck around until 2pm. Went home and chilled. Back to Church at 6pm for a choir practice. Many composers later, its time to go home. Bath and Bed, how cosy.
My only day off this week - Tidied my room, did my ironing for the week, looked through my music, practiced my organ pieces, and ate. Not much to say today.
Stressful day today - Picked up my cassock from the dry cleaners, washed my surplus, and then off for a coffee with my Mum, had a nice chat and then home for an extensive music practice for this week’s services. The pressure builds…
Thursday (Maundy Thursday)
Busy day today. Off to church at 10am to help out, sold some gifts! Back to church at 7am for the Last Supper mass with lots of music and a very atmospheric singing of Psalm 88 in the dark! The service ended with the watch until midnight, which was only spoiled by a dance show down the road.
Friday (Good Friday)
The Good Friday afternoon liturgy began at 3pm. I caught a glimpse of the procession of witness as I walked from my bus to the Church for rehearsal. Music today was demanding at times, but fitting for Good Friday: O Vos Omnes (Pablo Casals); Crux Fidelis (Plainsong); Popule Meus (Victoria) and Psalm 22 to my favourite Anglican Chant.
Saturday (Holy Saturday)
A very busy day today, with too much to do and not a lot of time to do it. I helped the vergers prepare all the altars for Easter. Some altars took more time than others. Once the altars were finished, it was time for breakfast - nothing beats a Pain Au Chocolat and coffee at 10am on a Saturday! Many coffees later, the church was fully furnished and ready for the Easter Vigil mass at 8.30pm. Home, bath, new set of clothes, and then back to church. After the service, the vicar invited the congregation to champagne and chocolate. I was too tired, so went home to bed.
Sunday (Easter Sunday)
Up early to get the first dibs on easter eggs! The church looked so wonderfully radiant in the glorious sunshine. The morning service was rounded off by the choristers pelting an assortment of Crème and Caramel eggs at the congregation, making sure to include the Vicar and Servers! Enjoyed the famous ‘Easter Lamb Dinner’ at my Nana’s house, filling me up ready for the evening of singing ahead. The clock in my house struck 5.30pm, meaning it was time for the last service of the term. The music this evening was magnificent, as well as being very nerve racking for the soloists. We sang Blair in B minor, and the anthem was Haec Dies, an 8-part anthem sung in canon between 2 sides, which really literally raised the roof. After the service, I went straight to bed for a nice long sleep, I had no energy to go on.
>> See Also: The Crooked Spire
The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Libby Lane, and the Bishop of Repton, the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, have said those affected by the partial collapse of the Toddbrook Reservoir dam will be in the prayers of the whole Diocese.
Bishop Libby said:
"Our prayers continue for all those affected by the risk of collapse of Toddbrook Reservoir Dam. We pray for those evacuated from their homes, the community of Whaley Bridge, the Emergency Services and all those working tirelessly to prevent collapse and avert the danger.
"The evacuation prompted a sense of community and care that has been wonderful to see. Those displaced from Whaley Bridge have been met with hospitality and generosity, from Chapel-en-le-Frith and beyond. People of all faiths and none have come together, in partnership with statutory providers, with practical and emotional support. We honour those who have been working, despite the risks involved, to keep the people of Whaley Bridge safe.
"We are conscious of the effect this situation must have had on all those impacted and involved. So, as we hope the danger passes and longer term solutions are found, as people return to their homes and businesses, we continue to offer our support with compassion and hope."
The Very Revd Dr Stephen Hance, the Dean of Derby, has been appointed National Lead for Evangelism and Witness for the Church of England.
The Right Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, has been introduced to the House of Lords by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.
The Lord Bishop was joined by her husband, Revd George Lane, senior chaplain of Manchester airport, and her parents who live in North Derbyshire.
Also in attendance were Stephen Hance, the Dean of Derby, Rachel Morris, Diocesan Secretary, and Mark Titterton, the Executive Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance.