For many people, attending a carol services in a church or at Derbys Cathedral is where Christmas really starts and there’s something magical about listening to the sound of choristers singing carols at Christmas.

But what is it like for those who are working hard behind the scenes to produce such music at this busy time of year?

The Cathedral's director of Music, Alexander Binns, gives us a festive flavour of what Derby Cathedral Choir get up to over the Christmas period.

More than 100 volunteers will help out at St. Peter’s in the City, Derby on Monday, 23 December 2019 for Christmas Lunch on Jesus – a project that provides low-income families and individuals with a Christmas meal.

During the day, volunteers will pack 350 hampers which will feed around 1,500 people.

The hampers contain everything you need for an enjoyable Christmas lunch along with a candle and an invitation to Christmas church services in Derby. 

Volunteers will then distribute the hampers to people in Derby and surrounding areas who have been nominated by Social Services, GPs, housing associations, women’s refuges, charities and other organisations.

christmas lunch on jesus packing

Those who deliver the boxes come back with stories of people grateful for the generosity of all those involved. 

The project costs in the region of £15,000 and is financed through donations from businesses, churches, local trusts and individual giving. 

Volunteer and/or Donate

If you would like to volunteer and/or donate to Christmas lunch on Jesus, please contact Revd. Canon Paul Morris at paul@stpetersderby.org.uk or call 01332 360790.

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Did you know that each week 130,000 young people participate  in over 3,000 cadet units in the UK?

I didn’t… but arriving as a new curate in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, I wanted to find some way to connect with  the town’s young people and being of more mature years, I couldn’t see me going to a youth club or  hanging out at local haunts without looking a bit like a fish out of waters.

When, as legend has it, the devil sat on Chesterfield parish church’s spire, little did he know that he would create one of the county’s most iconic church buildings, grabbing people’s attention far and wide. 

If the legend were true, then good clearly triumphed over evil. 

The slightly less glamourous reality is that the Crooked Spire’s distinctive feature was caused by the weight of the roof distorting its wooden frame, causing the woodwork to twist and bend – resulting in the tip of the spire being some nine feet off centre.

Foodbanks are now, sadly, a common feature of many towns and cities as more and more people struggle to find the money to pay for life’s basics.

Of course, foodbanks don’t tackle the core problem, but they do at least help some of those who struggle to pay for one of our basic requirements – the need to eat.

And most of the Derbyshire foodbanks have strong connections with our churches.

One such foodbank is in Long Eaton, which is a collaboration between a number of churches of different denominations and is based at the Methodist church. It relies on donations and a team of 40 or 50 volunteers who are drawn from churches and the local communities.

It also has a foodbank in Sawley and a satellite in Castle Donington.

The volunteers do a range of jobs, including packing, welcoming guests and offering conversation, logistics, signposting people to other services, warehouse organisation, and collections.

Revd Samantha Tredwell is the vicar of St John in Long Eaton and is involved in the foodbank. She’s been telling Together Magazine more.

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Q: How bad is the problem of food poverty in Long Eaton?

A: There’s been an increase of 52% in the use of the foodbank in the last 18 months and that’s been at the same time as the roll-out of Universal Credit across the region. We knew it would go up – but it’s gone up and stayed up. So we’re now getting as many as 18 to 25 users each session.

Q: And who uses the foodbank?

A: I would say everybody. People with young families – particularly in the holidays, people who have been made redundant and homeless people. We also see the working poor - people who aren’t earning enough to pay their rent and to feed themselves, or people on zero-hours contracts who don’t know from one month to another how much money is coming in and there isn’t enough to go around.

Q: So anyone could find themselves in this situation then? If for example they were to lose their job? 

A: Yes, because people think there is a network of benefits. There are benefits but there is quite a serious time lag between applying and getting that money. The government says it’s five weeks, but we’ve seen it be eight or nine weeks without any money. The longest I’ve come across is a lady who went for seven months without any benefits – because of complications, because you need identification or a bank account – those things that perhaps people don’t have.

Q: As a vicar, how does it make you feel seeing these people at the foodbank today who haven’t got enough to eat?

A: It makes me angry – angry that people should go hungry. It feels wrong on all levels. We are a wealthy nation … and we also throw away a large amount of food each year. And we frequently come across people who have chosen to feed their children rather than themselves and have gone for days without eating. That makes us angry!

Q: So how does this work? Where do you get the food from to give to others?

A: The food we give out all comes from donations, which come from the community – from Long Eaton and Sawley. The community keeps us going and is very, very generous. We have food bins in Tesco and Asda that are filled up twice a week – we get tremendous help from them. The churches are collection points, people do collections for us and we have a Facebook page where we publicise what we need.

Q: How do you decide who needs what? 

A: The Trussel Trust gives us a picking list – they’ve put together a list of things you would need to keep you going for about three to four days. The list includes cereal, milk, coffee, vegetables etc – so because we’re part of that network they’ve done the hard work for us. Obviously, a single person gets less than a family… but we give out more single parcels than anything else.

Q: This has led to other activities, hasn’t it?

A: Yes, it’s a real ecumenical process. One of the things about the foodbank is that you don’t really get to know people well. So, at St John’s in Long Eaton we are fortunate to have a big hall and a kitchen, so we decided to do a lunch once a week to build on friendships and to serve a hot meal. We thought we’d do that for six weeks – and two years on we’re still going. This week we fed around 100 people! They include young families, people who are older and lonely and some older people who are not managing on their pension. And another church, Oasis, has started a breakfast club on a Monday morning and a job club.

St John’s has also applied for a grant to put on some basic cookery classes. It’s all very well people coming to collect food, but not everyone has the skills to cook.

Q: What’s the best thing people can do to help?

A: Checking what we need is really helpful – we don’t really need baked beans all the time – we often need milk vegetables and other things. So please check first. I had a significant birthday this year and instead of presents I asked for food – and I collected about three-quarters of a ton for the foodbank – so people could try things like that too!

Find out more and get in touch by checking out their Facebook page: @longeatonandsawleyfoodbank

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St Andrew’s Radbourne has launched a crowdfunding campaign to enable it to replace the remainder of its lead roof with steel.

Following two separate lead thefts in four years, the PCC has decided on the steel option to help prevent further theft and damage to the church.

However, this comes at a cost of £55,000.

The PCC’s crowdfunding project manager, Tim Gretton, said: “St Andrew’s has a small congregation, an average of 12 - and raising this money through the usual fundraising activities is not feasible. 

"So, crowdfunding seemed to be a good option.

radbourne st andrew roof web

The church roof at St Andrew's has been targetted twice in four years

“We have a dedicated Facebook page and email address and we have also had roadside banners advertising the project. The campaign runs for four weeks and is being run through crowdfunder.co.uk

“We really hope that people will give generously to help to preserve an ancient and listed building of significant architectural and historic interest, as well as preserving a local place of worship for generations to come.”

For more information see: https://www.facebook.com/StAndrewsRadbourne/ or search “Stop the church roof lead thieves” or contact stopthechurchroofleadthieves@gmail.com

Bishop Libby has written in support of the campaign: "It is deeply distressing to hear that St Andrew's Radbourne has been the target of roof lead theft for the second time in four years.

"I commend the positive action being taken in response, and support the fund-raising effort by the PCC, to replace all the lead with steel and thus prevent further theft as well as protecting an ancient place of worship for future generations.

"Please support 'Stop The Church Roof Lead Thieves'."

Pupils at St Peter's C of E Primary School in Netherseal have been doing their bit for the Bishop of Derby's Harvest Appeal, raising £242.85 through various table-top sales.

After the teachers shared details of the appeal, a Year 6 pupil asked if they could do something practical to help - and the Save Zimbabwe Sale was born.

Headteacher Melanie Machell said: "The children worked extremely hard and organised everything!

"They wrote posters, bought 'stock' for their stalls, wrote letters to businesses for donations, baked cakes, designed games and collected from parents.

"It was fabulous that the children felt so empowered to make a difference and we are very proud of their achievement."

The 70 pupils at St Peter's also spent time discussing the plight of the people of Manicaland and praying for them.

netherseal harvest homes games

This year's appeal, Harvest Homes, is raising funds to help rebuild homes in Manicaland, Zimbabwe, where Cyclone Idai destroyed homes, crops and livelihoods.

On hearing of their efforts, Bishop Libby said: "This is a joy to hear about – our children giving us a lead in generosity of spirit and action.

"I am grateful to all the pupils, staff, parents, and everyone else who has contributed to this remarkable outcome.

"And I thank God that these children have helped the vulnerable people of Zimbabwe, most affected by Storm Idai, rebuild there lives.

"No wonder Jesus said children are at the heart of the Kingdom of God."

>> More about the Bishop of Derby's Harvest Appeal.

Have you been raising money for Harvest Homes? Please tell us about your fundraining events.

netherseal harvest homes 2402 web

One of the newest choirs in the Diocese of Derby has been practising hard for a Remembrance Sunday performance – the group’s first public outing.

Signs from the Peaks started when Buxton Team Rector Liz England got together with a group of other people who were keen to start a signing choir.

Liz has a Level 1 in British Sign Language (BSL). She joined forces with Steph Bennett, a BSL teacher, Elaine Hill, who works with the deaf community, and Liv Lazarus, also BSL qualified, to form Signs from the Peaks – a now 20-strong ensemble.

And after around six weeks of rehearsing, Liz decided to invite the choir to perform at the church’s Remembrance service.

That in itself is a milestone for some of the choristers who have never before attended a church service.

Liz said: “I love the inclusivity of it. Not only do we have people who use sign language regularly, but also members of the community who have never signed before.

“The choir is open to anyone, whether they have experience in signing or not.

“The aim of this amazing choir is to get people involved who are passionate about being creative and like a bit of tea and biscuits too!

“And one of our founding members, Ana Mankiewicz, runs Grapevine Wellbeing Centre, a mental health charity in Buxton - so she invites people who feel isolated to join in. This is a win-win for all concerned.”

Signs from the Peaks meets on Tuesday evenings at 6pm at St Mary’s Church, Dale Road, Buxton.

See them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/704810786658751/ or contact Liz England on 01298 212667.

Each year, the nation prepares to remember the fallen.

And each year, an army of volunteers heads out into the Diocese to help sell those poppies and raise vital funds to support today's Armed Forces community – and to help ensure we never forget.

In the village of Hulland Ward, not far from Ashbourne, one such volunteer has been committed to selling poppies for a staggering 75 years!

Members of our online camera club have been busy snapping away over the past few months - and what a great selection of photos they've posted!

The club operates through Facebook - and if you enjoy taking photos in the Diocese of Derby, you're welcome to join!

>> Join our online camera club

Pictures can be on any subject but should celebrate the richness and diversity of life in the Diocese - they don't have to be photos of our churches (though they are always welcome, of course).

The aim is to pack the page with great shots of landscapes, architecture and Christian activity from Glossop to Gresley, Bolsover to Breaston, Chellaston to Crich and Chesterfield to Cubley.

Fun competitions may be held, but any favourite images which capture the energy of our deaneries are welcome and may also be posted in our galleries on the Diocesan website.

Copyright remains with the photographer as named below each image.

  • rhoda lee blackwell hope show2
  • victoria lewis matlock st giles
  • sarah johnson turnditch all saints2
  • lisa walsh boulton st mary2
  • St Leonard's Scarcliffe by Will Wardle
  • Squirrel by Alison Loydall
  • View from Derby Cathedral by Dave King
  • Gear wheel at Belper Mill by Howard Clark
  • Flowers at Hope Show by Rhoda Lee Blackwell
  • Sunset over Belper by Howard Clark
  • Sunrise over St John Aldercar by Terry Smith
  • Bakewell All Saints by Will Wardle
  • Matlock St Giles, by Victoria Lewis
  • Turnditch All Saints by Sarah Johnson
  • Harvest: Boulton St Mary hosted Derbyshire Horticultural Association's 104th Show

The village of Eyam has been recreated in fruit cake!

Baker Lynn Nolan's model took three months to make and the tasty model is on display in St Laurence's church until the end of November 2019.

Lynn used a total of 65 cakes, which are held together with skewers and covered in icing.

You can see the model at Eyam Church from 10.00am to 4pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and on Sundays from 1.30pm to 4.00pm.

>> See the video on the BBC News website.

One of the great things about going to school is that you get fed!

And whilst not every child relishes the thought of having a school dinner, at least those that do don’t go hungry.

But what happens during the school holidays? If parents are struggling to make ends meet there is a real possibility that some children can start the new term malnourished.

Breakfast and lunch clubs during school holidays have proved to be part of the solution for some areas.

We are aware of some suspicious emails that appear to be from clergy and even from Bishop Libby. Responding to the emails will result in requests for money or gift cards.

Please DO NOT reply to the emails.

We are not currently aware how many may be affected; however, it is important that we are all aware and be vigilant to protect our online safety and security.

We are not aware of any system security breach and are in the process of compiling some website best practice guidelines so that our churches can take action to greater protect themselves.

 

Steps to take if you receive a suspicious email

  1. DO NOT reply to the email.
  2. Check the email address of the sender – is it the same email address as usual?
  3. If in doubt, type in the usual email address of the clergy, rather than just hit reply. Better still, talk to them and check if they have sent this email.
  4. Run a complete anti-virus scan of your computer.
  5. If you have sent any money as a direct result of the email, please contact the Police to report the matter.

 

Steps to take if you are the named sender of a suspicious email

  1. Reassure any recipients that you have not sent the email and verify your correct email address.
  2. As a safety procedure, reset your email password and any clergy portal passwords.
  3. Run a complete anti-virus scan of your computer.
  4. If you receive any reports of money being sent as a direct result of the email, please contact the Police to report the matter.

On Sunday, 6 October 2019, four candidates were Admitted and Licensed by Bishop Libby as Readers at a very special service in Derby Cathedral. The service also served as a Thanksgiving for 50 years of Reader Ministry by Women.

Our special congratulations to:
Katherine Mary (Kate) Brookbank
Jacqueline Haywood
Anthony (Tony) Hill
Roberta (Bertie) Walker

In addition, Brenda Silcock, who was formally Licensed in the Diocese of York was given Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Derby.
On a later occasion, Martin Cox, Licensed in another diocese will be Licensed to the Diocese of Derby.

Photographs from the day are available to view and download on our Flickr page.

Readers in the Church of England are lay people froma range of backgrounds and experiences who are trained and authorised to preach, teach and lead worship.

There are more than 8,500 Readers actively involved in ministry in the Church of England today.

Men were licensed into the role in 1866, but it was over 100 yars later before women were permitted to become Readers.

Legislation was passed in 1969 and since then the ministry of both women and men as Readers has continued to be a vital part of the life of the Church of England.

Congratulations to all those who were awarded Bishop's Badges in two special services. See the photos here.

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.”

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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.

>> More about Christ Church Belper

>> Read Together Issue 6 online

>> More about Together Magazine

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.

belper pride couple

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.

belper pride trio2

This feature was originally published in Issue 6 of Together Magazine

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The Diocese of Derby

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Full Street, Derby DE1 3DR

01332 388650

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