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Pippa, a Year 6 pupil at South Darley Church of England Primary School has become the first to receive a Bishop’s Badge award presented online.

The presentation was made at the school, with Pippa’s family and Bishop Libby joining via Zoom.

Pippa, who has been through a number of difficult times, was nominated by her school. Head Teacher Paul Wilde said that Pippa had held her head high, carried herself with dignity and remained positive throughout her challenging journey.

As he handed the award to Pippa on behalf of Bishop Libby, Mr Wilde said: “You value others, see the best in people and in life around you, and we are really proud of you.

“You are totally deserving of this award.”

He described her as “always kind to people, always smiling and always tries her best”.

Bishop Libby, who spoke to Pippa and her class on the video call, said: “We honour that Christian characteristic that you have embodied in your years at South Darley.

“We recognise the work of God in you and that you tell us something of Jesus.

“I hope that the badge and certificate will help remind you of just how well people regard you.”

Bishop’s Badge looks a little different this year because of the constraints of social distancing.

The schools awards for 2020 have been limited to pupils in Year 6 who are about to move on to senior school and the presentations are being made on line.

The Bishop’s Badge awards to adults will also take place virtually, later in the year, focussing on exceptional contributions to mission and ministry during the lockdown.

Bishop Libby looks on via Zoom as Pippa is presented with her Bishop's Badge

Bishop Libby looks on via Zoom as Pippa is presented with her Bishop's Badge and certificate

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Whilst many churches have been using social media to engage with congregations, the Benefice of Crich and South Wingfield has been reaching out using smart speakers!

CSW Digital Church is the brainchild of parishioner Jim Morton (pictured with Revd Ian Whitehead).

He feels called by God to ordained ministry within the Church of England and is currently studying on the Diocese of Derby Discipleship Training Programme.

Jim currently manages the benefice’s social media ministry on Facebook and A Church Near You.

He created CSW Digital Church, using his own time, resources, creativity, and skills. What started as a hobby by teaching himself new online skills, has turned into a successful ministry. 

This is an exciting new ministry under the guidance of Revd Ian Whitehead. CSW Digital Church represents and is part of the Benefice of Crich and South Wingfield.

Following the closure of our churches in April 2020, Jim felt that God had set him a task.

That task was to take the Gospel to our existing church community, and beyond. 

He felt it was important to make prayer available to everyone and he was inspired by the ministry of Jesus.

CSW Digital started out as a YouTube channel but soon grew into a three-times-a-day prayer podcast on Soundcloud.

He then ventured into special services on Sundays.

Jim wanted to make the message of Jesus as accessible as possible during these difficult times so he learnt the skills needed to create an Amazon Alexa app.

Since April 2020, CSW Digital Church has had more than 1,500 listeners from all corners of the globe.

Currently, Jim is working on a project to build a children’s ministry, called CSW for Kids.

If you have an Alexa, give CSW Digital Church a try now. Just say “Alexa, open Digital Church”.

jim morton and revd ian whitehead

A massive clean-up operation is continuing as millions of people across northern India try to rebuild their lives following the devastation left by Cyclone Amphan. 

Two weeks ago, many of our partner dioceses in North India, including the Diocese of Kolkata, were badly hit, with streets flooded and blocked by trees, church buildings and community projects devastated, and many people left homeless and without food and water.

The cyclone came on top of the challenges already being faced due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Many people in Kolkata earn their living as daily labourers, and have lost their livelihood because of the lockdown.

Children receiving education through diocesan and CRS schools are now at risk of being trafficked into child labour and child marriage.

The Diocese of Kolkata, in partnership with the Cathedral Relief Service has enabled a relief programme to reach out to the neediest people – 4,500 families have already been helped, but more help is needed in this desperate situation.

The ongoing lockdown, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, has affected the lives of some of the most vulnerable communities across the country, such as the dalits, migrant labourers, waste pickers, widows, elderly etc… both in rural and urban areas.

To cushion the impact of the crisis and to ensure access to essentials, the Church of North India’s Synodical Board of Social Services has been active in providing relief materials like cooked food and rations to the people in need, in the areas of Ajnala, Khemkaran, Kolkata, Barrackpore, Choitanagpur, Chimubeda, Ukanli Panchayat and Bano block as the first emergency response.

Face masks are being produced by the diocese of Kolhapur who are also running a community kitchen for migrant sugarcane workers stranded by lockdown.

The relief work will be followed by various rehabilitation initiatives to sustain the livelihood of the people in the near future.

Please pray for our sisters and brothers in the Church of North India.

>> More from BBC News

For more information, about the general Covid-19 response within the Church of North India please visit http://cnisbss.org/ and for specific information about the situation in Kolkata and the impact upon our joint schools project please contact Anita Matthews (anita@stpetersderby.org.uk) or Alison Brown (Alison.Brown@derby.anglican.org).

How you can help

If you are able to make a financial gift to support this emergency relief work in our link dioceses, then the details you need are:

  • If your church already has a financial link with an affected diocese in India and you wish to donate, please do so using your existing means
  • Alternatively, you can donate via the Calcutta Cathedral Relief Fund (CRS):
    CAF Bank Ltd
    Sort Code 40-52-40
    Account No: 00096998
    Account Name: Friends of Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service
    Please identify the purpose of your donation as “Covid-19 Appeal”. 

Please keep our sisters and brothers in Kolkata in your thoughts and prayers.

 Food distribution in the Diocese of Kolkata following Cyclone Amphan

A message from Bishop Paritosh, Bishop of Calcutta:

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I thank you immensely for your prayers, care and concern for the people of Kolkata.

Your support so far has helped us in giving hope and smiles to 4500 families in the villages and slums where we work under the Diocese of Kolkata, CNI, in partnership with Cathedral Relief Service Calcutta (CRS).

At this moment we join you in prayers for strengthening our hands to do the work and mission of Christ. With many challenges facing us besides COVID-19 and now the cyclone affected people, we look forward to your prayerful support.

Our priorities in the light of Covid19 and the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Amphan

  • Second phase of food supplies to poorest of the poor families.
  • Rehabilitation for women and children to avoid a rise in child labour, trafficking and child abuse as result of this pandemic.
  • Preventing youth being trapped into antisocial and criminal activities.
  • Rehabilitation of homeless families.
  • Providing livelihood programmes as a means of income generation for the families.

Please continue to pray for us.

+Paritosh

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Revd Beth Honey, Pioneer Minister of Derwent Oak Fresh Expressions Church, lights candles in her garden to unite the local community.

She writes:

Our garden has always been an important place of gathering and encounter for Derwent Oak (Derby City).

It is a place we learned to ask for help more than offer it, in the early days of living in Derby as we asked our neighbours to a gardening party. 

It is the place we first realised people would help us host a party, and come to one, when we had a bonfire.

But when we realised that we wouldn’t be able to meet again in homes, which is the heart of Derwent Oak, for many months, the garden began to speak again.

Could we open it, even in lock down? 

So, we simply shared a thought on Facebook in our group and on the pages we host and are connected to.

Did anyone want us to light a candle on a Thursday evening, for someone or something that mattered to them that they had lost, whether or not due to Covid-19.

People have steadily asked us to do that, people we know, friends of friends online, connections through volunteering through the local Covid-19 response hub, and strangers connecting through social media. 

We dream that slowly people may come to light candles as individuals and small groups, and have begun to commission some local artists to create pieces to enhance the garden as a place of encounter.

We hope to blend community on and offline.

Part of the story of this season is lament and grief that has been suppressed by circumstance, and part of the motivation of these candles is to find expression in a place where people often lack confidence to connect to church, even when the doors are open. 

A simple invitation closer to home is perhaps what is needed, and outdoors may be a safe space for more reasons than we realise.

candles in a garden

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Starting a new job as the headteacher of a prominent city school midway through a pandemic is not what most would choose – but that’s exactly how things have worked out for Jenny Brown, the new head at Derby Cathedral School.

Jenny, who has worked in education for 22 years, was appointed to the post just before the country went into lockdown, so her first weeks and months in post will be particularly challenging.

Jenny said: “Yes – I have certainly picked my moment, haven’t I! Navigating through Covid will clearly be one of my main challenges as I continue to get to know everyone, but I am determined the pandemic will not stop the school in its aspiration to put quality at the heart of everything we do.

"And that’s not just in terms of academic achievement, but also in life education to set students up for whatever they choose to do next.

“My ambition is for every member of the school community to be the best that they can be and to fully embrace our FAITH values (fellowship, aspiration, integrity, tenacity, humility).

“The challenge is to remain focused on that ambition as the school grows, for everyone to have a clear understanding of the vision of the school and for this to be ‘felt’ and visible to all.

Jenny grew up in Bedfordshire before doing a maths degree at the University of Nottingham and making the city her home.

And she brings with her plenty of experience: “I have worked in Nottingham schools for over twenty years and have had various roles with increasing leadership responsibility.

“I have always taught maths, which is a subject that I dearly love, but have also taught a great deal of PSHCE and led both subjects for a number of years.

“Once I moved into senior leadership, I was asked to move to a school in Special Measures to help support its improvement.

"This was a seminal time in my career and gave me a real thirst for school improvement and development. I truly saw the impact that a school has on its whole community.

“I then moved to take up the headship of a new free school in Nottingham.

“Starting a new school is such a privilege, challenge and a responsibility. Having thoroughly enjoyed this process, I am delighted to bring my experience to Derby Cathedral School.

"The school is a fantastic community that is centered on providing the best possible education for young people.

“My balance of high expectations with focused support will enable the school to continue to grow in this vein.

“As it continues to develop and looks forward to moving to a new, state-of-the-art building, it is an incredibly exciting time for the school, and I am so pleased to be part of it.”

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The Rt Revd Libby Lane, the Bishop of Derby, has made her maiden speech in the House of Lords - and in doing so has become the first bishop to make their maiden speech virtually.

Bishop Libby spoke as part of a debate brought by the Most Revd John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, on the case for increasing income equality in the light of the recent health emergency (Covid-19).

In her allotted two minutes, Bishop Libby drew particular attention to the disproportionate and detrimental impact income inequality and lack of sustainability has on children and their households.

Bishop Libby said: "In this national time of emergency, we know there is much to be done to respond to every child, to keep all our children and young people safe, to support the mental health and well-being of our children, and to protect children and their families facing increased financial insecurity as a result of this crisis.

"The inequalities that affect the more than 4 million children in poverty in our country run deep and are systemic, so solutions need to be long-term and sustainable.

"When asked about the Kindom of God, Jesus brought among them and said 'Of such is the Kindom of Heaven'. 

"I thank your Noble Lords for your patience in hearing my plea that we put children at the heart of our work for a more just and equitable, sustainable society."

Yesterday, the Church of England and the Child Poverty Action Group released a joint report ‘No one knows what the future can hold’, calling for the suspension of the two child limit in Universal credit.

In her speech, Bishop Libby also made reference to the work of The Children's Society and praised diocesan staff, clergy and congregations for their work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Derby Cathedral has announced The Venerable Peter Robinson as the next Dean of Derby.

Peter is currently the Archdeacon of Lindisfarne in the Diocese of Newcastle, a position he has held since 2008.

There, he holds responsibility as chair of the Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education, as lead for community engagement in Northumberland, and for rural delivery of the diocesan vision.

Peter worked in the oil industry before being ordained in 1995; he trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham and served his curacy in North Shields.

Following his curacy, he became priest in charge at St. Martin’s, Byker - where he was highly successful in bringing together a challenging inner-city community, designing a new church building and attracting a visit from the home secretary to showcase the community’s achievement. He has also been director of the Urban Ministry and Theology project in Newcastle before his current role.

Peter said: “I feel honoured to have been appointed Dean of Derby. I look forward to working with new colleagues and to engaging with the all Derby Cathedral’s stakeholders in the city, across Derbyshire, the whole diocese and beyond.

“I am only too aware that my arrival coincides with a time when we are having to imagine new ways of worshiping and relating to each other as Christian people.

“My hope and prayer is that we will be able to reimagine the life of our cathedral in the years to come, to deepen its local impact and to serve the communities and parishes of the diocese.”

He will take up his new position in the summer, as the coronavirus restrictions allow.

The Right Reverend Libby Lane, the Bishop of Derby, said: “I am delighted to welcome Peter as Dean of Derby. He is a man of inspiring faith, with a remarkable breadth of ministerial and professional experience. Peter is someone with a combination of deep love for people and place, and the capacity to think and act with strategic clarity. I look forward to working with him in the city and across the diocese.

“We are very blessed that God has called him to serve among us. I ask you to join me in praying for Peter and Sarah as they prepare to move, and for ourselves as we seek God’s Kingdom together.”

The news was also welcomed by the Bishop of Newcastle, The Right Revd Christine Hardman: “Peter Robinson has served the Diocese of Newcastle as Archdeacon of Lindisfarne with outstanding dedication, and I am delighted that the Church has discerned God’s call on him to be Dean of Derby, he will be a blessing to the Diocese of Derby. His contribution to the senior leadership team and to the life of the Diocese of Newcastle over the last twenty-five years has been significant, and deeply appreciated. Peter will be greatly missed, and he and Sarah leave us with our love and prayers as they move to Derby.”

Peter is married to Sarah, and they look forward to making the family home in Derby. They have two sons in their late 20s, Charles and Richard. In his spare time Peter will be found in the arts and cultural areas of Derby, or reading contemporary fiction, or listening to all types of music. Otherwise, you will see him on his mountain bike, at Derbyshire County Cricket Club, at Pride Park or even trying to improve his golf!

Peter joins Derby Cathedral at a time when the Cathedral's place at the heart of the community, responding to the present crisis, is more important than ever.

The Cathedral has developed new ways to reach and engage with people and is looking forward to continuing that and to being able to reopen as a gathering place and a focus of meaning for the people of Derby and Derbyshire.

In the building there are exciting plans for reshaping the interior as a place of worship and a community hub, for refurbishment of the Compton organ to further the Cathedral's role as a centre of excellence for music-making, and for using digital technology to help visitors discover the historical and spiritual riches of the Cathedral.

Derby Cathedral School will be starting its third year when the new dean arrives, and Peter will continue to build the relationship of both the cathedral and the school with the city.

There is much about the future that is hard to predict but Peter's role will be pivotal in the future of the cathedral and the city of Derby.

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St Werburgh’s Church in Derby is launching an online course to help couples through this difficult lockdown period.

The free, seven-week course is designed to help couples strengthen their relationship.

We are all having to spend a lot more time with each other than we might normally do.

Couples are having to navigate the pressure of being with their partner day in day out, possibly home schooling, working from home or struggling financially through this season and this brings about obvious challenges.

Phil Mann, lead minister at St Werburgh’s said: “When the lockdown in Wuhan started to lift, the numbers of couples applying for divorce skyrocketed and St Werburgh’s hopes that this course will go some way to avoiding similar problems in Derby by helping couples across the city to invest in their relationships during this time.

“My wife and I have been married for 17 years and have done the marriage course twice now.

"It has really helped us; we have learnt so much and grown through it so we are offering this free of charge to anyone who feels like it might help them.”

The original Marriage Course was founded by the Revd Nicky and Sila Lee at Holy Trinity Brompton over 20 years ago and has helped more than 1 million people.

It is for anyone who is married or in a long-term relationship seeking practical support to strengthen their relationship, keep the spark alive and stay connected.

It has now been adapted for use online.

Over seven sessions, the course covers: Strengthening Connection, The Art of Communication, Resolving Conflict, The Power of Forgiveness, The Impact of Family, Good Sex and Love in Action.

A new episode is released each Monday evening.

The course is designed so that couples only have to talk to each other, so no one is going to ask them any personal questions. It is designed for everybody - it is not just for people who go to church, or for people whose relationships are in difficulties.

To sign up go to ​https://stwderby.org/marriagecourse

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Jennie Gill, a teacher from South Darley VC Primary School, reflects on a group of teachers and students in Derbyshire Church Schools with a shared concern for a community of Kolkata slum schools.

If you saw the recent film ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood’, a biopic with Tom Hanks playing America’s much-loved children’s TV presenter Fred Rogers, then you may recognise this quote:

"When I was a boy and I would see something scary in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

Our communities have come together in the last few weeks in ways that we have never seen before, with people running errands, making deliveries, chatting by telephone or even just smiling as we pass in the street so that no-one has to be alone in their isolation.

There are all those who are working in shops and factories to make sure that the rest of us have everything we need and the weekly applause for our healthcare workers to let them know that we see them and how much we appreciate them.

There is a particular group of teachers and students in Derbyshire Church Schools with a shared concern for a community of Kolkata slum schools.

As part of the Diocese of Derby’s long-term link with the Church of North India, a growing number of Derbyshire schools have been partnered with a Kolkata school, one of approximately 20 that are run and resourced by the Kolkata Cathedral Relief Service (CRS).  

kolkata covid rice

For the last five years we have visited them, worked with them, come to know and love their teachers and children.

Now in the midst of the pandemic we worry for them, especially because we know that so many of the measures we have put into place to keep ourselves safer will be impossible for them.

You may have seen a social media post from an Indian doctor who points out that to practise social distancing or to wash your hands more often, with soap in clean water, means that you have privileges not enjoyed by a large proportion of the world’s population.

It is those who were the poorest to begin with who are most at risk from this illness.

But here too, there are helpers. The CRS staff, led by Rig David, are always inspiringly creative and completely relentless in their mission to support the communities around them.

Gradually news is filtering through to the Derbyshire teachers about deliveries of food parcels, even to the most remote of the CRS projects, supported by the local police who have given permission for the CRS staff to make those journeys during the lockdown.

Some messages have arrived from individual Kolkata teachers to let us know that they are safe.

Many of us, and our schools, have donated to the emergency appeal set up by the Friends of CRS and sent our own messages of encouragement.

And each time a little snippet of news arrives it is shared excitedly around the network of Derbyshire teachers.

As we cheer on Rig and his team and continue to pray for them, we could not be more proud to be part of this global community and the work that God is doing here with the people we love.

The scary things in the news are going to carry on for a while but we are thankful for so many opportunities, even in lockdown, to be part of the much more powerful story of hope being written by all of God’s helpers around the world.

rice and potatoes bagged for delivery

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Youth bell ringing at Old Brampton has been 'highly commended' by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART).

The young ringers were nominated for the Sarah Beacham Youth Group Award, for youth groups who are successfully recruiting, retaining and developing young ringers, at an awards ceremony in March.

They were awarded a prize of £200 to be spent on benefitting youth ringing at Old Brampton.

The young ringers take part in local and national ringing events, as well as enjoying ringing at Old Brampton and at other towers in Derbyshire.

Tower Captain Sue Hall said: "I am so proud of the young ringers for this achievement.

"The judges were particularly impressed that the youngsters included ringing in their school projects and presentations, and that they continue to enjoy ringing at university and take part in ringing events across the country."

old brampton ART Award 2020 web

As well as being fun, ringing provides confidence and builds teamwork and leadership skills.

One ringer, Ruby, said: "It makes me feel happy, it's different from anything else I do, and I enjoy seeing my friends."

Whilst another, Rowan, added: "There are loads of opportunities to try different things in different places with your friends."

A flexible approach to attendance allows the young people to pursue other activities as well as ringing.

Ringers from Old Brampton who are now at university also enjoy the friendship and support of their university ringing societies.

The young ringers have been voting to decide how the award money should be spent to benefit youth ringing at Old Brampton.

Ringing at Old Brampton will resume in due course, including lessons for any young person or adult who wishes to give it a try.

For further information and contacts please visit facebook.com/BellRingingDerbyshire or bellringing.org

What the young ringers said:

Ruby: 'It makes me feel happy, it's different from anything else I do, and I enjoy seeing my friends.'
Rowan: 'There are loads of opportunities to try different things in different places with your friends.'
Joseph: 'It's like one big family.'
Tom: 'I enjoy ringing at church and in the wider ringing community.'
Lucy: 'I like learning new methods.'
Alice: 'I enjoy being part of a group and progressing my knowledge of ringing.'


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