District News – 23 May 2107

Prayer for the people of Manchester

Merciful God, we pray for all those involved in the horrific events in the city of Manchester last night.

We pray for those who have died and for their grieving relatives and friends; for those who are injured and receiving the care of medical staff; for those who wait anxiously for news of loved ones who have been unable to make contact.

We give you thanks for members of the emergency services who acted so promptly; for hospital staff working through the night and for the overwhelming number of acts of kindness offered through hospitality, transport, food and comfort to those who found themselves separated from loved ones and disorientated by their experience.

We pray for your love and your comfort to be with all those who need it most in the days ahead.  We ask too for the help of your Spirit for all of us as we continue to work together towards more harmonious and united communities.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.  Amen

Revd Gill Newton, Chair of Sheffield District

The 6 Presidents of Churches Together in England, representing 44 different Christian traditions, today made a joint statement, concerning the attack on Manchester Arena:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those bereaved and injured by the cruel, senseless terrorist attack in Manchester. May God grant them strength and courage. Our faith teaches us that even the worst of evils can never defeat love, so we pray that the people of Manchester, of all faiths and none, will discover a renewed unity as they respond to this atrocity with compassion, dignity and hope”.

Archbishop Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator
The Revd Canon Billy Kennedy, The President nominated by the New Churches, the Religious Society of Friends (ie the Quakers) and the Lutheran and German-speaking Churches
Bishop Angaelos, The President for the Orthodox Churches
Bishop Dr Eric Brown, The Pentecostal President

23rd May 2017

Statement of Condolences by Faith Leaders and Representatives in South Yorkshire

“The Faith leaders and representatives of South Yorkshire send their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena Attack. Our thoughts go out to those who have been injured, we hold you in our thoughts and prayers. Our heartfelt appreciation to the bravery of the emergency services for their efforts in saving people’s lives and assisting those injured. At this time the need to come together, to let each other know you are safe or to be close to those you love is the most important thing of all. Now is the time for communities to come together and show that such attacks cannot overcome our care and compassion for each other”

Ahmed Al-Hidabi, Muslim Association of Britain (South Yorkshire)
Saghir Alam, Chair of Rotherham faith leader Council
Revd Joanne Archer-Siddall, Rotherham Faith Leaders Council
Bishop Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster
Patsy Cunningham, Sheffield & District Reform Jewish Congregation
Tim Ellis, Assistant bishop in the Diocese of Sheffield, Chair of Sheffield Faiths Together
Mike Fitter, Amida Buddhist Order
Rabbi Jonathan Golomb
Abdool Gooljar, Islamic Society of Britain
Rt Rev Ralph Heskett, CSsR, Bishop of Hallam
Mohammed Qari Ismail, Chair of the South Yorkshire Federation of Mosques
Mohammed Jhangeer, RCM and Rotherham Faith Leaders Council
Revd Gareth Jones, Interfaith Advisor, Methodist District
Abdool Kadir, Trustee Families Relief
Majid Khan, Councillor for The Bessacarr, Cantley and Lakeside Ward
Revd Thomas McCready, Doncaster Partnership for Muslim – Christian Friendship
Rev Gill Newton, Chair – Sheffield District of the Methodist Church, Churches Together in South Yorkshire
Dr Vithal Patel, President, Hindu Samaj
Lynn Rishworth, Sheffield Co-ordinator, Pagan Federation
Monsignor Desmond Sexton, Vicar General Diocese of Hallam
Fr Shaun Smith, Sheffield Faith Leaders Group
Revd. David Stevens, Vicar of Doncaster Minister
Revd Mary Taylor, Yorkshire Baptist Association
Frada Wilenski, President Sheffield Orthadox Jewish Community
Cllr Paul Wray, Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster Council

If you wish to add your name, please email with details at info@faithstar.org

Statement and prayer after Manchester attack

From the Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference, and Rachel Lampard, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference:

We are appalled by the horrific bombing at the Manchester Arena. We pray for the families of those who have been killed or who are injured, and for those, many of whom will be young, who have been scarred and scared by what they have witnessed.

We give thanks for the emergency services and for the many ordinary people who demonstrated compassion in responding to those caught up in the tragedy. We ask the Methodist people to hold the people of Manchester and beyond in their prayers as we remember the words of Psalm 34, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

From Andrew Lunn, Chair of Manchester and Stockport District, and Paul Martin, Chair of Bolton and Rochdale District of the Methodist Church:

In the face of the violent and deadly attack at the Manchester Arena last night, the Methodist people in Manchester are united with many others in their sense of shock, and in their prayers for all those who have been bereaved, wounded, or traumatised.

As we seek to respond to this terrible event we are grateful for those who have affirmed that, so far as it is possible, we will not let this attack change our daily lives. Some people have been tweeting using the hashtag #WeAreNotAfraid – in this way those who are stronger support those who feel the weight of anxiety, pain and fear.

Among the stories beginning to emerge there are many about the ways people have sought to help others: providing safe places, or lifts home, or passing on messages to help those who were separated find each other. It is through such small acts that we reaffirm our commitment to one another. Every such act makes a stand against violence and fear.

In a diverse city one thing we can be sure of is that people in Manchester will not let this event divide us.

Manchester is the home of a movement called We Stand Together (#WeStandTogether), in which people of many different faiths and backgrounds recognise that we find strength in our common humanity.

We are deeply grateful for the many assurances of prayer which we have received from around the country.

God of compassion and mercy,
amidst the pain and trauma of this day we turn to you,
for through Christ crucified we know that you have taken to heart the suffering of our people.

In fear and anxiety, strengthen us.
In despair and pain, comfort us.
In incomprehension and anger, reassure us that your love and life are stronger than the hatred and violence which overshadows our city today.

Console those who carry a burden of loss, injury, or trauma and empower all who support them.
Strengthen all who seek to stand together in peace and unity.

We pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

From Tim Annan, Youth President of the Methodist Church:

It’s hard to look at the images and stories coming out of Manchester today and not feel rage at this horrific act of violence against people; all of whom were just going to live life to its fullest.

Lives have been irreconcilably changed last night. An empty seat at the table. A smile and warm embrace; now missing. We stand with all those who grieve this morning, in our thoughts and prayers. Holding the pain with the anger.

Yet, in the face of the anger, confusion and grief, the response of the people of Manchester was love and compassion. From the emergency services responding quickly and effectively, to the many people who opened up their homes to those who needed a place to stay, to cab drivers transporting distraught people for free to a place to rest. Even at the darkest moment, humanity, compassion and hope shone through.

Beautiful and terrible things will happen, but don’t give in to anger or fear. Know that you are surrounded by God’s love.

This Week’s News

Friendship Trumps Theology for Church-Seeking Students

Students prioritise friendship and community over theology or denomination when finding a church at university, according to a new resource published by the Student Christian Movement (SCM). Finding a safe environment that offers security and familiarity is a key concern for students moving to university, with churches often providing that steadying influence in a time of great change.

The findings are part of research published in a new resource for churches, called ‘Welcoming Students to Your Church’. It is a 44-page booklet packed with case studies from students and church ministers, top tips and advice on a range of issues, and practical ideas for building a vibrant student ministry that’s welcoming and relevant.

Find more tips, resources and ideas to build a vibrant student ministry – download SCM’s ‘Welcoming Students to Your Church’ guide for free from the SCM website: www.movement.org.uk/welcoming-students. (Print copies can also be ordered for a suggested donation of £3.)

The resource booklet covers three key areas: the latest research and data around student life and the Christian experience at university, what students are looking for in a church, and ways churches can support students. It can be used to resource an existing student ministry, or help church workers start from the ground up.

Springs Dance Company

Springs has been running for over 35 years and is a professional dance company, which delivers work that is richly expressive of the Christian faith and values.

They are inviting churches to host a performance of Journey of the Magi, which will be available nationally from 18th November to 23rd December 2017.

This critically acclaimed production is set to be a spectacular part of Christmas celebrations for the 21st year running! With sparkle and songs to keep children engrossed and bags of good humour for the grown-ups, Journey of the Magi delights audiences of all ages. The show portrays the original Christmas story whilst drawing hilarious and poignant parallels with our own preparations for Christmas day.

“Fantastic production, full of life, colour and emotion. A really powerful piece of modern theatre with so many layers to touch and challenge our souls. Thank you.”  Rev Cameron Stirk, Emmanuel Methodist Barnsley

Further information can be found on the Springs Dance Company website, by emailing touring@springsdancecompany.org.uk or by calling 07876 752 910

Quiet Prayer Group Survey

The Area Church Leaders of Churches Together in South Yorkshire have asked the S Yorks. Quieter Prayer Group to look at the spiritual resources available to those who work or volunteer in secular or faith-based situations, dealing with people stressed by poverty.

This concern has arisen out of the work the Leaders did in 2016 on the growth of pressure on people receiving benefits or on low pay or zero hours contracts etc.

It would be very helpful if you are in that situation if you could complete the very simple Stressed People on-line survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/666KVBD

It is anonymous. If you’re interested in the results or what may follow, email emdo.ctsy@yahoo.co.uk

The closing date is midnight on Friday 30th June 2017.

UTU – Request for prayer

We at UTU would like to ask our friends and colleagues to hold John & Grace Vincent in your prayers as Grace is very seriously ill.

John asks that you do not contact them directly but please contact the UTU office if you so wish.  Thank you for your consideration.

For those of you new to UTU: Together Grace and John have led the Ashram Christian community and continue to be at the heart of life at the Urban Theology Unit.

John Vincent is the founding Director of UTU in 1969 and is on staff as a tutor.


Festival will take place over the May bank holiday (Friday 26 May to Monday 29 May 2017) at Cliff College. This year’s theme is ‘Grace – free, full and for all’. As always there will be activities for all ages. Preachers include Martyn Atkins, Terry Virgo, Lindsay Bruce and Arianna Walker, as well as Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference, on Monday morning. Fringe acts include comedian Mark Palmer and Gospel choir EAGA, who got through to the final of Gareth Malone’s ‘Choir: best in Britain’ last autumn. Come along for the weekend or for a day. More information (including prices) can be found on our website www.cliffcollege.ac.uk/festival

We hope to see you there – the weather forcast is looking good!

Thy Kingdom Come

Join the global wave of prayer – 25th May – 4th June

There are a number of prayer events happening in the Sheffield City Centre, starting with a 1hr prayer walk from outside Central URC at 11am on 25 May; a 12 hour prayer event from 8am at Victoria Methodist church on 26 May, pop-up prayer stations at Central URC cafe from 10 – 12 on 29 May and finishing with a Street Party at the Cathedral from 3pm on 4 June..

For more information visit www.oasissheffield.org.uk

A message from Archbishop Justin Welby looking ahead to Thy Kingdom Come 2017, the global 10 days of prayer from 25th May to 4th June for Christians to have the joy and confidence to share their faith so that more people may know the love of Jesus Christ. Visit https://www.thykingdomcome.global for further information.


Music for the Spirit Concert Series presents

Lucy Philips (violin) and Tom Owen (piano)
Saturday 3rd June 2017
7.30pm – 9.30pm

Lucy and Tom will be performing in the beautiful setting of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit here at Whirlow.   Their programme will include:
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach
Prelude and Fugue in C major (piano solo) – Bach
Violin Sonata – Debussy
Spiegel Im Spiegel – Arvo Part

Tickets (including drinks) are:
Adults (under 65 years) – £12
Students – £6
Concessions (over 65 and disabled) – £10
Children (under 10 years) – free

For full details and to book online please click here.  Or alternatively you may download a booking form here and return it with your payment.

Please note:  These concerts are likely to be very popular.  Therefore, to avoid disappointment, early booking is highly recommended.

Swallownest United Churches’ Choir

Barlborough Methodist Church (on New Road, Barlborough, S43 4HZ) invite you to a concert by Swallownest United Churches’ Choir at 7pm on Saturday 10th June 2017.  Chair Revd Sean Adair; Guest Organist Ian Bromley; Refreshments to follow; No Charge; Collection for Church Funds.  Further information: Tony Loach T: 01246 811152.

Training and Learning Opportunities

World Mission Conference

The Methodists for World Mission Conference is 2nd-4th June 2017 at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, this year under the title ‘Moving People: Moving Stories’.

Refugees, economic migrants and people seeking new lives in new places mean more people are on the move across the globe than ever before.  Follow the churches’ journey alongside some of these people and explore how we can become a church of all nations.


Stronger Together

Wednesday 7 June – 11am-3pm – Oxford Place, Leeds

You are invited to join All We Can for a day called ‘Stronger Together’ at Oxford Place Methodist Church, Leeds on Weds 7th June 2017.

Starting at 11:00 and finishing by 15:00, this will be an opportunity to hear about some of All We Can’s work in some of the world’s poorest communities, particularly in Zimbabwe, which will be the focus of this year’s harvest appeal.  You will also have the chance to meet some of our staff who are working around the world to tackle poverty and to find out what each of us can do to make a difference in own churches.  The event is free, lunch will be included and you can find out more here: http://www.allwecan.org.uk/events/events/profile/strongertogether-leeds

Candidates’ Support Group

Are you considering candidating for presbyteral or diaconal ministry in the Methodist Church?

Would you like to work through this process with others sharing the same journey?

Would you appreciate information, practical help, mutual support and theological reflection along the way?

If so, the Candidates’ Support Group is for you and you would be most welcome.

Dates of meetings:

Saturday 10 June 2017                10.00am – 3.30pm
Saturday 2 September 2017        10.00am – 3.30pm
Saturday 2 December 2017         10.00am – 3.30pm  (Venue to be confirmed)
Saturday 3 February 2018           10.00am – 3.30pm

at Oxford Place Methodist Church, Lees LS1 3AX.

For a conversation or to book a place, please contact:

Revd Graham Jones (Ministry Development Officer) at: jonesg@methodistchurch.org.uk or 07799 902574
Revd Sean Adair (Superintendent, Bolsover & Staveley) at: revsean@btinternet.com or 01246 823180

Download a flyer to pass this information on to others: Candidates’ Support Group Flier 2017-18