This year's Appeal is particularly close to my heart for these reasons. It is in support of a Christian Hospital near a large factory in rural West Bengal so the water supply is compromised. It provides health care to a very poor community, including tribal people who fall outside the main social groupings.Linked with the hospital is a Nursing School for local young people and a community outreach programme.
This mirrors exaclty the work I was associated with in Bangladesh (formerly East Bengal)) in the 1980s! This excites me and I pray that it will inspire Parishes to support it as fully as they can, especially because of our Diocesan links with the Church of North India which includes Wirksworth's churches pairing with the Diocese of Durgapur.
I am available to share my own experiences in general and speak about this Appeal in particular and can be contacted by leaving a message at our home phone: 0115 9460395.
Richard Henderson-Smith, World Mission and World Development Portfolio Holder
What do we mean by vocations?
Vocation is a difficult word. It can sound to many of us like a long-term professional undertaking of several years’ duration. And for those who wish to pursue ordination, a long term commitment is certainly required. But vocations can also have a different shape if we think of them as gifts or calling.
See the helpful helpful video above - from The Fund for Theological Education
Vocations, gifts and calling
We all possess some God-given gifts. But often we don’t fully recognise how gifted we are because these gifts have been with us for a long time and it is easy to take them for granted. Or they may have been hidden in the shadows for some time. But there is in all of us something that people recognise and come to us for. And their desire to do this is acknowledgement that we have something special that they don’t see in others. In other words, they recognise our gifts.
Our unique self
The wonder of being human is our unique quality. Our unique make up comes from a combination of many factors, some that are given at birth and the rest from our life experiences, education, and the skills and gifts that we gain and develop on the spiritual journey. We are all one-offs. And therefore by the same token we all have a unique gift to offer to God.
There are a myriad of gifts and callings in the midst of all churches. We may be a practical person, good with our hands, who can get on and make and fix things. There are those with great organisational skills, whom we all turn to when an event needs arranging. There are leaders, speakers, teachers, the artistic who make the music, write, provide the artwork in the church. These are but a small sample of the commonly found gifts within most churches in addition to the more spiritually orientated gifts.
However, it’s not always easy to recognise our individual gifts until we sit down and give this some thought. And then we may find it acknowledging the real gifts that God has given us and then take these further, developing and applying them in our spiritual walk.
‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms’. 1 Peter 4:10
Age is no barrier
And it doesn’t matter how old you are. From young person to retired, we all have gifts to offer and can all serve. It is always good to remember that the Lord has no arms and legs in this world other than ours.
How can we discern these gifts? And how can we use them for God? After all, there are many ways. Some will be called to ordained ministry in one of its forms; some to lay ministry as a reader. For others, there will be lay roles within the church. Or others may be called to God’s work in their daily lives. What you do already may be your vocation. John van Sloten states, ‘There is no job so boring that it would disinterest God, because there is no person whom God does not love and see.’
There are a number of options available if you feel drawn to explore the subject of your gifts and calling.
1) The first stage is to give it in prayer. Here is a simple prayer to start the process:
‘Lord, help me to understand more clearly my gifts and calling. Bring the right people and situations to me to guide me in discerning a way forward. Amen.’
There are numerous other ideas to try:
2) Talk it over with others. Discernment is not a solitary process. Talk with a trusted friend, a prayer partner or spiritual accompanier if you have one, or talk with your priest. This will help to give you some idea of a general direction.
3) What are your strengths, passions and gifts? Ask yourself this question and gain the opinion of those you know. There are likely to be clues here.
4) Push doors. See what happens as you move forward with certain ideas. ‘Have a go!’
5 Keep a journal of what you are noticing.
6) Recognise that discernment is a personal and individual business. There is no foolproof process and sometimes the unexpected can be a part of the discernment journey.
The Vocations Team
The diocese has a vocations team who are there to assist individuals to discern their vocation. Look at the Diocese of Derby website and find a vocations advisor that you feel is right for you. You can then arrange to have a general informal discussion with that person, if you want to pursue the idea of vocation, and discover what that means for you.
There are Exploration Days and other relevant courses that are held from time to time in the diocese for those wishing to proceed further.
Also, check out the Church of England website on Vocations for further information
Introductory books on vocation and calling
Called or Collared – an Alternative Approach to Vocation – Francis Dewar (SPCK, 2000)
God of Surprises – Gerard W Hughes (Darton Longman and Todd Ltd, 2008)
How to Find Your Vocation- a Guide to Discovering the Work You Love – John Adair (Canterbury Press, 2002)
The Person Called You – Bill Hendricks (Moody Publishers, 2014)
Every Job a Parable – John van Sloten (Hodder and Stoughton, 2017)
Following a presentation by the Environment group at Diocesan Synod on June 2018, Synod voted unanimously to become an Eco Diocese.
The motion, proposed by Archdeacon Carol and seconded by Dr Richard Henderson-Smith, was:
"This Synod agrees to implement the process of becoming an Eco Diocese through the efforts of Parishes, Deaneries and Diocesan Officers and Offices as it moves towards applying the gospel mission of caring for God’s Earth for the sake of God’s creatures. This is agreed to be reported, shared and celebrated at Deanery and Diocesan level."
A tale of two churches: See how two churches in the Diocese have taken different approaches to going green:
To find out more, contact Stella Collishaw who coordinates the group 01332 388685 / e: Stella.Collishaw@derby.anglican.org
For more about the scheme from Arocha ....
General Synod passed the motion to step up the Environment Programme in response to the escalating threat of Climate Change.
A motion (Friday 22 Feb) brought by the dioceses of London and Truro was approved, committing the Church to accelerating its existing Environmental Programme (CoEEP), and calling on every diocese to put in place an environmental programme overseen by a designated member of the bishop’s staff team.
The possibility of a standard tool to monitor CO2 emissions in churches, cathedrals and church halls will also be explored.
Sophie Mitchell of the Church of England Youth Council referencing the Climate Emergency School Strike suggested we have been failing in our creation care mandate.
Loretta Minghella said there was no plan B because there was no planet B. She went on to tell of the lobbying progress by the National Pensions and Investments Board.
Click here to catch up with the debate.
Support a local group + join a national environment charity.
Now, more than ever, it is time to join together to lobby about Creation Care. A serious suggestion from A Rocha UK CEO Andy Atkins (Dronfield Nov 2018) is to join a local group and subscribe to a national charity. Numbers count for strengthening the voice of national charities as they campaign and lobby government. Connect with local related charities simply by going to a meeting, volunteering for a day, or following a Facebook group. Joiner or not, you can contact your MP directly and engage with democratic process.
A new report from Operation Noah - 'Bright Now'
The national Fresh Expressions office has produced some very useful 3 minute guides. Please click on the link to see them:
We now have another awarded Church, St Barnabas Derby has recently achieved a silver Eco Church award. Congratulations to all of them for reaping this accolade and helping us all in our aim to become an awarded Eco Diocese.
Eco Church featured on the Songs of Praise episode on Sunday 3 March 2019. Catch up on iplayer. St James Piccadilly (urban London Church) featured and has received a gold Eco Church award.
Training and events
The Age of Stupid, film showing Wednesday 6th March, Eyam Parish Church, 7pm. All welcome. Part of their Green Lent Green Life programme.
Fashion Revolution Week is from 22nd April 22nd – 28th April 2019. Events will be run looking at the issues of modern fashion and what it means to our world.
A local event will take place at St Peter's Church Belper, DE56 1EZ, on Friday 26th April 2019 7-9pm. Includes clothes swop, fabric swop, craft activism amd workshops including how to mend your clothes and space to talk about and discuss the issues.
Rewilding: A Christian Perspective, Saturday 27th April, Rippon College Cuddesden, Oxford, 10-4, booking essential. Christian Rural and Environmental Studies and John Ray Initiative.
19 parishes in this Diocese have registered as Eco Churches. Two have achieved awards. Eco church FAQs. 1100 churches have registered across England. 3 Dioceses have achieved Bronze Eco Diocese awards - Salisbury, Guildford and Birmingham. To make contact to support a local church or find volunteering opportunities contact or go to find a church.
If you want a presentation for your PCC there is free to use material at Promoting Eco Church. This includes a powerpoint presentation and film clips.
Latest newsletter from the Church of England's Environment Programme. In it there's everything from news from Katowice, looking forward to Earth Day (April) and how Manchester Diocese is supporting an intiative to become the first Cycling City.
Latest newsletter from ARocha UK. In it they suggest 3 environmentally friendly choices for 2019: cut down on meat, drive less and grow your own food.
Tenants of the King, a 4 part study looking at what the Bible has to say about climate change, from Operation Noah. Worth looking at purely for answers to common questions pages 22-25. Copies were offered at clergy Conference 2018. A group batch can be loaned with usb/dvd resources contact.
Joy in Enough from Green Christian offer a confession as a basis for your focus Lent 2019. A call to the church in Britain to acknowledge our complicity in consumerism and climate change, and to use the season of Lent to talk about these topics as a community.
Faith in a Changing Climate USPG downloadable study resource with case studies from across the Anglican Communion. Printed copies are available on request. It includes a very helpful page on Climate Change FAQs (p6&7). Copies were circulated by Rev Richard Reade at Clergy Conference 2018.
Living Lent invites you to make 6 changes for the benefit of the Environment.
Church Mission Society study resource 'The Possible world'.
Alan Griggs is our Agricultural Chaplain, an ordained minister in the Church of England. Revd. Professor Stella Mills is a volunteer chaplain on the project and works closely with Alan.
The project is managed by RAD and Work Place Chaplaincy Derbyshire with funding from the Methodist Church.
The work has largely been active in the more rural and isolated areas of the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales. However, thanks to funding from the Methodist Church the project is now available to the farming community throughout Derbyshire.
Life as a farmer has become increasingly isolating. Not only are some of the farms themselves geographically isolated, but there are fewer people working with some farmers being the sole worker. In the north of the county livestock farming is the only option as the ground is no suitable for growing crops. It's a 24/7 way of life caring for the livestock, land, buildings and equipment to make sure everything is operating as it should and animal welfare is obviously high up the list of priorities. It takes only one thing to go wrong for potentially serious implications to take effect.
TB testing in cattle is an anxious time and very labour intensive. A negative result can have a devastating impact. Illness in the family can create significant problems. Financial difficulties can lead to stress and even the loss of the farm itself if not dealt with appropriately.
Farmers don't tend to have professional networks, they are generally private people who get on with the job.
What we do
We listen. Sometimes that's all we do, other times we can provide more practical support or referrals to other organisations such as RABI and FCN. What is important is that any member of the farming community in Derbyshire can contact our team and get some support. Alan or Stella can speak to them on the phone, visit them at their farm/home or meet up with them for a chat at the market in Bakewell. From then a plan can be agreed as to what the next step is.
The Chaplain to young farmers offers pastoral and practical support as part of the wider work of the Derbyshire Agricultural Chaplaincy; supporting young farmers and their families and identifying and engaging with the issues affecting young farmers.
The Chaplain works closely with other farming support charities and the rural church in offering holistic support to young farmers in Derbyshire.
With a sound knowledge of the farming industry and a proven track record of providing practical, emotional and spiritual support to individuals in crisis, this service is well placed to provide a valuable service throughout Derbyshire.
Emily Brailsford is the Chaplain to young farmers. Emily lives with her husband and three children in Matlock and both her and her husband’s families have lived and farmed in Derbyshire for the last few hundred years.
“What is a Chaplain to young farmers?”
The chaplaincy helps agricultural families through difficult situations, whatever they might be.
Emily is in post to work specifically with the younger farming community, to listen to individual need or collective issues especially from a faith perspective. She works closely with the Young Farmers Clubs in Derbyshire and travels around to various services, events and shows to make connections and spread the word about her work.
If you are a young person in the agricultural sector and feel you would benefit from a friendly ear, then please get in touch with Emily. She is very easy to talk to and her service is confidential.
Being of the younger generation (under 40!), social media is a key component of getting the message across as well as being a tool for people to connect with her.
The Environment Group recommend beginning registering as an Eco Church. This gives you access to a tool which helps measure your progress. You save your input and update it, working towards a bronze, silver or gold award. We will celebrate your achievement (details feature in the film clip above) as it helps us work towards an award as a Diocese. 2 of our parishes have awards. Registered and awarded churches are on the Eco church map. The scheme is run by A Rocha UK and is endorsed by The Church of England, the Methodist Church, Christian Aid, TEARfund.
John Beardmore, our Environment Group engineer and adviser to DAC says:
A simple strategy for environmental decision making ....
This is a small and dedicated group of volunteers.
Practical activities led by the group include
- the motion at June 2018 Diocesan Synod where we decided to become an Eco Diocese,
- a paper for the Parsonages Committee on Solar PV,
- architect training partnered with DAC,
- advice to individual parishes,
- a local performance of Baked Alaska at Melbourne Festival.
Nominations to join us are welcome. We can meet your PCC or you could to come along to meet the committee to share perspectives.
Contact Stella Collishaw is the contact member of Diocesan staff working with this group. Please send her invites to your events and permission to share them, or news of progress in your patch.
Our slogan 'World Mission Matters!' implies the importance of our collective and personal ministries to the world-wide Christian family as the visible Body of Christ at work amongst the most vulnerable and neediest of groups. That ministry demands prayer, which in turn requires information (available BELOW by clicking on the symbols of the various agencies) and leads to individual and collective action as we are able.
With regard to Mission Action Planning consider explicit mention of support for a mission agency or development organisation (preferably both!) because they are attempting to counter on our behalf and in the name of Christ, the greatest needs (see below).
Mission and Development agencies can be readily accessed by clicking on each logo below.