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Sally-Anne Beecham, Curate in Bakewell Benefice and SS Augustine Chesterfield, reflects on how the coronavirus outbreak has shaped her curacy.

Like all clergy, the Covid-19 outbreak turned my ministry on its head.  

However, when most churches were asked to close their doors, the one I’m working in had an exemption to stay very much open.  

Overnight, Gussie’s Kitchen, the food project being run from Ss Augustine in Chesterfield, became the main food distribution hub for the town.  

Yesterday we delivered to 200 vulnerable households using a fantastic team of volunteer drivers and packers.  

My job has been to give information and offer support over the phone in my role as Chaplain - an incredible opportunity to reach out into the community.  

I’ve had many significant conversations and I pray that relationships built during these days will bear fruit in the future.  

Despite the many challenges, the shift in focus has created opportunities to model faith that were not present before, and it’s exciting to dream about how these can be progressed.

Since my ordination last year, the months have flown by, learning what it means to be a Christian presence in a rural town.

Relationship building is crucial

My highlights before lockdown have been out in the community getting used to my collar.  

As well as the usual services, I had been raft-racing, dressed up in the carnival, led school assemblies, processed through the town on Remembrance Sunday and played Gabriel outside the pubs in the town nativity.  

I was also involved in the beginning of a new congregation aimed at young families.

Overall, I’ve had my eyes opened to the challenges of juggling multiple churches and been overwhelmed by the faithfulness of those keeping the show on the road.  

I’m also learning that Jesus’ model of relationship building is crucial and is what our communities are crying out for, so I’m excited to see what God has in store for us next.


See also:

>> Meet some curates

>> Vocations: what is God's plan for you?

>> Gussie's Kitchen on Facebook

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Alleluia is the Easter refrain: ‘Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.’

Alleluia means ‘God be praised’ – and it may not seem there is much to praise God for this morning.

But for Christians the Easter story is the ultimate reminder that love conquers all

– that even death cannot defeat love.

‘Alleluia’ can be our song even, especially, in the midst of pain and uncertainty.

For the Easter ‘Alleluia’ is never arrogant or overbearing, it’s not blind to reality but deeply rooted in it.

Easter day is only possible after Good Friday.

The Easter story reminds us that love conquers all

– and nothing, nothing, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus

Early in his ministry Jesus outlined the characteristics of the Kingdom of God, and those who seek that Kingdom, in words that we call ‘the Beatitudes’. In them

Jesus turned the world’s understanding of what matters on its head, affirming the blessedness of those usually overlooked or scorned.

This week the cartoonist Dave Walker has rewritten the Beatitudes.

You might write your own, but here are his:

Blessed are those who stay indoors for they have protected others

Blessed are the unemployed and self-employed for their need of God is great

Blessed are the … shopkeepers for they are the purveyors of scarce things

Blessed are the delivery drivers and the postal workers for they are the bringers of essential things

Blessed are the hospital workers, the ambulance crews, the doctors, the nurses, the care assistants and the cleaners for they stand between us and the rgave, and the Kingdom of heaven is surely theirs

Blessed are the checkout workers and factory workers for they have patience and fortitude in the face of overwork and frustration

Blessed are the refuse collectors for they will see God despite the mountains of waste

Blessed are the teachers for they remain steadfast and constant in disturbing times

Blessed are the church workers (and faith leaders) for they are a comforting presence in a hurting world as they continue to signpost towards God

Blessed are the single parents for they are coping alone with their responsibilities and there is no respite

Blessed are those who are alone, for they are children of God and with Him they will never be lonely

Blessed are the bereaved, for whom the worst has already happened: they shall be comforted

Blessed are those who are isolated with their abusers for one day – we pray – they will know safety

Blessed are all during this time who have pure hearts; all who still hunger and thirst for justice; all who work for peace and model mercy.

Today, I do praise God for the hope that Jesus’ death and resurrection offers us all.

Today, I praise God for the signs of hope overcoming the pressures, limitations, and losses we currently face.

So, today, albeit quietly, I sing ‘Alleluia’

- and pray for you the grace, mercy, and peace of the risen Jesus this Easter.

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Podcasts are a great way to engage with communities and congregations.

They are, effectively, short programmes that the listener can access at any time and from most smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Revd Andy Ward decided to use the free podcast service - Anchor - to reach out to local communities - and so the Moss Valley Pod was born!

It's a podcast from Eckington, Derbyshire, from the church to provide information, share ideas and generally keep spirits up.

Because church services are no longer taking place, the church launched the Moss Valley Pod to enable people to hear Bible reflections at home, rather than in church.

The idea then expanded to provide a platform to allow local organisations to keep in touch with people as situations constantly evolve.

Good news stories are always wanted for the Moss Valley Pod.

Revd Andy Walker said: “Times of crisis can bring out the best in people, 

“These stories need to be shared to give people hope in the days and months to come.”

The podcast is released every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

>> Listen to the Moss Valley Pod

Features include:
Community information
Bible readings
A thought for the day, based on those readings
Good news stories
Shout outs and thank yous

To get in touch, email mossvalley.pod@eckingtonchurch.org.uk

See also: How to use the Anchor.fm podcast service | Anchor's handy guide to starting your podcast

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In these two videos,Ven Carol Coslett, Archdeacon of Chesterfield, talks about the Feast of the Passover and how it became the Last Supper.

Archdeacon Carol also talks about what makes a meal special - and the best meal you've ever had!

 

 

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Revd Liz England, of Buxton Team Parish, writes on Facebook:

Being Church while the buildings are closed

An idea for gathering together for a new kind of Church service...

We gather together at the same time to worship, in our separate homes, at usual service times, knowing that many of us will be worshipping at the same time; either with others in our household or on our own.

And how about setting an empty plate at the dinner table to remember Christ sits and eats with us, in communion with us, his friends. 

As we look at how to continue to be the church during this period of uncertainty, many of us will be missing the opportunity to share the Eucharist, Holy Communion together.

I thought it may help to go back to the very first Last Supper when Jesus shared a simple meal with his friends.

I would suggest putting out an extra empty plate as we sit to eat our meals each Sunday, to simply remind us that our Lord Jesus Christ sits and eats with us, in communion with us, his friends.

>> More ideas and inspiration

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A video from Bishop Libby - A Strange Place

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Do you have a small church project that could have a big impact?

Are you looking for a relatively small grant that requires no match funding?

If so, this could be just right for you; £5,000 to fund small but not insignificant capital projects that will generate outcomes which achieve and support mission, community or growth.

There are always good ideas on the boil to enhance welcome, improve accessibility, or perhaps to make small but much needed changes to internal areas. So now is the time to make a significant impact through a small change.

Details, including a full list of criteria and downloadable application form, are available below.

 If you are successful, you will be expected to draw on the grant within 12 months.

Deadlines for the rest of 2022:

1st August - Signed application and supporting documents to Gareth Greenwood at Church House (or scanned in and emailed to gareth.greenwood@derby.anglican.org)

1st September - Business Committee consider application and decision letter sent out usually within 2 weeks

19th September - Signed application and supporting documents to Gareth Greenwood at Church House (or scanned in and emailed to gareth.greenwood@derby.anglican.org)

20th October - Business Committee consider application and decision letter sent out usually within 2 weeks

17th October - Signed application and supporting documents to Gareth Greenwood at Church House (or scanned in and emailed to gareth.greenwood@derby.anglican.org)

17th November - Business Committee consider application and decision letter sent out usually within 2 weeks

14th November - Signed application and supporting documents to Gareth Greenwood at Church House (or scanned in and emailed to gareth.greenwood@derby.anglican.org)

15th December - Business Committee consider application and decision letter sent out usually within 2 weeks

 

>> Download The Raymond Ross Small Grants Scheme information and criteria [PDF]

Download Application Form here

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Derby Diocesan Academy Trust (DDAT) is delighted to confirm that the planning application for the development of the new permanent site for Derby Cathedral School has been approved.

Substantial works are now due to begin on site at the former Friar Gate Goods Yard in March 2020.

The Department for education (DfE) is responsible for leading the acquisition and development of the site for Derby Cathedral School as is the case for all Free Schools nationally. The DfE has therefore led on the procurement of a construction partner and will lead on the subsequent development of the new buildings.

The project is particularly complex as the site at the former Friar Gate Goods Yard has been unoccupied and undeveloped for many years and so the planning process has been rigorous, especially given the significance of the development of a new school in the City and the prominent location of the new building.

The programme for the delivery of the new school has been delayed due to the need to address the complex issues relating to the site, concerning drainage and traffic particularly, and the school will consequently start the third year of operation in the current expanded temporary accommodation.

Mark Mallender, CEO of DDAT, said: “We are delighted that planning approval has now been secured for this historic development of the first secondary phase Church of England school within the Diocese of Derby. I appreciate that our parents, carers, staff and students have been concerned with the time it has taken to make this announcement and I am hugely grateful for their ongoing support for the school. We are incredibly excited to see progress on site at the Former Friar Gate Goods Yard and we are looking forward to occupying the high-specification, state-of-the-art buildings and facilities our students, staff and communities deserve.

“We are also looking forward to welcoming a new headteacher to the school in the Summer Term 2020. Following a rigorous recruitment and selection process, we have made a fantastic appointment and will be able to share news on the appointment very soon.

“This is a very exciting time for Derby Cathedral School and DDAT as our journey to provide a first-class education to the young people of Derby now progresses at pace.”

The design work for the necessary additional refurbishment is complete and agreed by the school and the Trust and includes the required extra specialist teaching facilities. The further refurbishment works at Midland House will be funded by the DfE.

The space available at Midland House is more than sufficient to host a further cohort of students on a temporary basis and the Trust is supportive of the plans to refurbish an additional area within Midland House for use by the school which will ensure additional specialist teaching facilities.

The DfE is currently working with the appointed contractor, BAM Construction, to produce a revised timetable for the works which will include a planned date of occupation of the new site. The Trust will update the school community on the target date for occupation and contingency planning as well as progress on site as soon as possible.

Former Friar Gate Goods Yard site

Former Friar Gate Goods Yard

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Bringing the hope of the Gospel to those who are 'without God and without hope' has formed a large part of my activity

Will Eley: ordained deacon on 7 July 2019

Eight months ago, I moved home. Back to the city I grew up in. Back to serve in the church my Christian faith was nurtured for the first 18 years of my life.

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