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Many of our churchyards are known for being a haven for wildlife - but it seems our bell towers and outbuildings are hotbeds for hibernation.

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Jill Hancock: ordained priest, 29 June 2019

Jill is now the Assistant Curate with the East Scarsdale Team Ministry. She writes:

From an early age I knew how important it was to share and care for others.

Hospitality was at the heart of our family and there would always be an extra place at our dinner table for visitors.

Growing up, I never really had a desire to ‘be something’ and took up all sorts of jobs. I tried hair dressing, travel consultancy, care work, ambulance driving, I joined the Special Constabulary and eventually settled in a job as a nursing auxiliary.

My work as a nurse opened my eyes to life, life at its beginning, life in its fullness, in its messiness and life at its end.

It was during this time that I had the sense that I didn’t actually have to ‘become something’ all I needed was to be myself and to be myself was to simply offer hospitality. I felt a nudge from God.

In 2007, I trained as a Church Army Evangelist and I spent nine years ministering to the vulnerable and marginalised in deprived and fractured communities.

And that’s what I think the role of a deacon is, to share in the life of the community, to offer those in need God’s hospitality; to share in the celebrations, struggles and mess.

I recently finished my theological training at The College of The Resurrection in Mirfield near Wakefield.

The college is situated in 24 acres of beautiful gardens, orchards and woodland within the grounds of a monastery. It’s home to a community of monks who root their lives in the Benedictine tradition.

This monastic rhythm of life teaches the importance of a balance between prayer, study, work, rest, and hospitality - principles which I think are the key in ministry.

I feel very privileged as a curate to have the freedom to get to know the area and to listen to people’s stories.

During September - the start of the new school year - I’ll be getting to know the students and staff at the local schools and joining the chaplaincy team - and I've been very much looking forward to this.

I should also mention…… I am married to Dave and have two grown-up daughters and we live in Bolsover with our little dog Bugsy!

Among my leisure activities are fishing, wine making and crafting.

See also: Explore your calling with us

Favourite Bible passage: 

My favourite Bible passage is Roman’s 8:28.

‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’

This passage has got me through some tough times, times when my faith was in my boots and I struggled to understand what good could possibly come out of such pain.

Favourite prayer: 

My favourite prayer has to be The Lords Prayer. It is filled with incredible meaning and summarises our faith.

You don’t have to think about it, you can say it in every situation, most people can share in it and it does what it says on the tin. Its a prayer of praise, petition, penitence and grace.

Favourite hymn: 

My favourite hymn is "I will offer up my life", by Matt Redman.

When I was a little girl, I always knew I was loved by Jesus because I met him one evening in my mum's 'best room'; he was sat on the settee. He didn't say anything to me but I just knew I belonged to him.

I guess I've always had a sense of being 'called' but was never quite sure what that would look like, so I just followed.

I will offer up my life in spirit and truth
Pouring out the oil of love, as my worship to you
In surrender I must give my every part
Lord, receive this sacrifice of a broken heart

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a Friend, to so loving a King?
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name for the things You have done?
Oh, my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart

You deserve my every breath, for You've paid the great cost
Giving up your life to death, even death on the cross
You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin
Open up the gates of heaven and have beckoned me in

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Bruce Johnson: ordained priest, 29 June 2019

Bruce Johnson, a former IT project consultant, joined the Diocese of Derby as an assistant curate following his Petertide ordination on 1 July 2018. He is currently serving the parishes of Heanor, Langley Mill, Aldercar and Marlpool.

He trained part time for ordination, firstly with Lancashire and Cumbria Theological Partnership and then with All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry, whilst undertaking roles in the Netherlands and the UK. 

Bruce said: "Working and studying part time is not an easy option but, like many, we are proof that it can be done!"

He would be the first to admit that his journey to ordination wasn't entirely easy, but was definitely rewarding: "It has led me to many interesting places and through a great deal of varied and different experiences that I certainly wouldn’t have expected to ever go through.

"Reflecting upon these, both at the time and in retrospect, I can clearly see God’s hand guiding me throughout and, as a result, my vocation has developed. 

"As I continue on my vocational journey I am very much looking forward to this next challenging but very exciting new phase of ministry and life.

"I am enjoying meeting my new communities and having the opportunity to share God’s love and sacraments with everyone I meet."

Hearing God's call

Like many, Bruce can't put his finger on 'the moment' he felt the call to ordination, but rembers clearly two significant incidents that left him in no doubt it was the right way to go: "The first was my first week at university when, aged around 18, I began to see with increasing clarity that the gifts God had given me were able to help others around me grow in faith and knowledge. 

"The second was perhaps the most poignant; whilst working in Romania I had the opportunity to be involved in helping various communities grow both through physical action and also the support of the sacraments.  

"For me the centrality of the sacraments, whether it be the Mass/Holy Communion/Eucharist/Lords Supper/ Breaking of the Bread or the other sacred sacraments, is principle to my calling and therefore very important to my spiritual life. 

"Being able to partake in these, leading and walking with others is a central element in my life.

ordinations 2018 4824 1500 72dpi social"Time and time again it has been confirmed to me that I am following God’s pathway and I am really looking forward to getting to know more about Derbyshire, the diversity of the districts and the people who make this county their own. 

"I am sure I will soon get to know more of this vibrant county, the fabulous Christians who are active in their communities and the wonderful explorations and expressions of faith which I know are being constantly blessed here."

So would he recommend others to follow their calling? Of that he has no doubt: "God calls each of us to be ourselves firstly but to also allow those in the vocational exploration process to help and support us in determining what that call may be.

"It may take some time but if you feel called, trust in God and, with the help of the vocations team, allow yourself to explore what he is calling you to be."

Bruce is married to Sarah and has three grown-up children and one grandchild; some of whom live locally.

Bruce said: "Prior to moving house in June, we lived near Lancaster in a very rural setting. We now live in Ripley; a very different community setting - but everyone has made us feel extremely welcome."

See also: Explore your calling with us

Favourite hymns: 

‘Will your anchor hold?’ and ‘Longing for light, Christ be our light’, both having very specific lyrics which mean a lot for Bruce in his ministry today

Favourite Bible passage: 

Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11 - ‘For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope’ 

Favourite prayers include: 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. Amen

St. Francis of Assisi

bruce johnson ordinations priests 29 june 2019 192 webres 1500 72

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Children and groups across the Diocese have received their Bishop's Badge awards from Bishop Alastair and Bishop Jan.

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The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has paid tribute to The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, who retires at the end of August after 13 years in the Diocese.

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Bishop Alastair has ordained eight new deacons in Derby Cathedral.

Around 5,000 clay figures, depicting players and spectators of Ashbourne’s Shrovetide football game, have gone on display in St Oswald’s church in the town.

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When it comes to getting married, not every bride can tie the knot in their first choice of church. One lucky bride who did is Kelly Hewitt.

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The new Bishop of Repton, the Venerable Janet Elizabeth McFarlane, BMedSci, BA, was ‘consecrated’, or made into a bishop, today (Weds 29 June) in a stunning service held at Canterbury Cathedral, Mother Church of the 85m-strong worldwide Anglican Communion.


Bishop Jan made promises to act as a pastor to the clergy and parishes under her care, to faithfully teach the Christian faith and doctrine of the Church of England, to strive for peace and to lead with gentleness and mercy. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, led the service.


Working in the Diocese of Derby, the Bishop of Repton is a Suffragan (or ‘assistant’) Bishop, working alongside the Bishop of Derby in leading the Church of England across the whole of the county. Jan McFarlane is the first female Bishop in the Diocese of Derby, and in the East Midlands, and the ninth female Bishop in the Church of England.


As the second most senior appointment in the Diocese, she will be required to advise and consult with key people and organisations involved with the wellbeing of communities in Derbyshire.


Jan McFarlane said: “It was a wonderful service in magnificent surroundings and I’m delighted to have become the sixth Bishop of Repton. I’m passionate and energised by the Christian faith that I want to share with those who live, work and worship in the beautiful county of Derbyshire.”


The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern said: “Jan McFarlane brings an enormous range of gifts and skills to the Diocese of Derby. As our first female bishop I believe she will bring a new and fresh perspective that will be a great asset to our community.”


The Venerable Jan McFarlane (age 51) was educated first at Sheffield University, where she trained as a Speech and Language Therapist, and then at St John’s College, Durham; and she trained for ordained ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham.


Jan served her first curacy at Stafford in Lichfield Diocese from 1993 to 1996 and was among the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in 1994. From 1996 to 1999 she was Chaplain and Minor Canon at Ely Cathedral. Since 1999 she has been Director of Communications in the Diocese of Norwich.


From 2001 to 2009 Jan served as Chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich and has been Archdeacon of Norwich since 2009. She combines her role as Archdeacon with the posts of Director of Communications and Warden of Readers. She has been a member of the General Synod since 2005.


Jan is married to Andrew Ridoutt, a television cameraman. Her interests include exploring the beautiful British countryside, beaches and country pubs with Andrew and their rather mischievous Miniature Schnauzer, Edith. Jan has contributed to several books of prayers and reflections for Church House Publishing and broadcasts regularly on local radio.


As Bishop of Repton she succeeds the Right Reverend Humphrey Ivo John Southern, MA, who became the Principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon, an Anglican theological college, in April 2015.


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Heavenly Father

As we celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty the Queen,

Receive our heartfelt thanks for all that you have given her in these ninety years and for all that she has given to her people

Continue, we pray, your loving purposes in her, and as you gather us together in celebration, unite us also in love and service to one another;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord


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