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District News – 12 September 2023

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This Week's News

District Gathering

Thank you to Derbyshire North East and the team at Central for making us so welcome at the District Gathering on Saturday. The day was live streamed and can be watched again on the District YouTube channel We always ask for feedback after these events, if you did not receive the link, you can access the form here: Please do try to be constructive in your comments by offering suggestions for improvement that might be achievable; some things (like the weather) are beyond our control.

Disability Awareness Day

It's Disability Awareness Day on 17th September. YouBelong has created a video which asks questions about how welcoming our churches are and offers some useful solutions to make our churches more accessible to people with disabilities.

How to talk about asylum? A justice seekers conversation

7pm Wednesday 4 October on Zoom

We will attempt to find answers to common and challenging questions together, and explore how we can better bear witness to the reality, complexity and humanity of asylum, in our churches and as Christians in our world. With Tom Martin, Director of City of Sanctuary Sheffield, and Rev Inderjit Bhogal, founder of the Church of Sanctuary and City of Sanctuary movements. Whether you are actively involved in supporting asylum seekers, or have questions that you have never dared to ask in church, you will be welcome in this Zoom conversation.
Further details and registration see

Ebor Lecture

22 November at 4pm

The Ebor Lectures in Theology and Public Life were established in 2006 in York, UK to promote conversation across a diversity of religious beliefs and issues of public concern. Speakers have included politicians, social activists, journalists, peace-workers, authors and many others.
The first talk of 2023-24 will be given by Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, LGBTQ+ and disability rights activist, delivered hybrid and free for in-person or online attendance.
Tickets available via Eventbrite here:

Association of Christians in Counselling (ACC)

ACC facilitates provision by Christians of quality counselling, psychotherapy and pastoral care. There are a number of courses which might be of interest starting in the autumn.

Foundations in Pastoral Care – starting on 2 Oct 2023

This is a 6-session online course that supports the development of firm foundations for the practical provision of pastoral care with others. You'll be guided through interactive teaching and given practical experience of core pastoral care skills. The course will be a safe space to share experiences, be inspired by others and grow in your God-given ministry, supported by scripture, prayer and personal reflection.
The price is £75;

Building Blocks in Pastoral Care – starting on 28 Sep 2023

Do you wish to build upon your existing knowledge and skills in pastoral care? Are you seeking fresh insights to provide effective pastoral care?
This brand new 6-week course builds on our Foundations in Pastoral Care and is best suited to experienced Christian pastoral carers who are actively involved in the ministry of pastoral care and regularly encounter a range of pastoral needs. It aims to enable embedding of theory and practice through real scenarios, exploration of the complexities of commonly encountered pastoral situations and increased self-awareness and personal spiritual growth.
The introductory price is £65;

If you're interested in any of the above, please visit their website here or get in touch with at or telephone 024 7644 9694.

District News

District Magazine September 2023

The new edition of the District magazine is available to download or printed copies have been delivered to all circuits.
It's full of stories from around the district about how we share Christ's invitation. You can read about new Christian communities, youth work, the Methodist Conference, mental health, grants, Chaplaincy plus much more.

Gill on Tour

Gill Newton has shared her latest Presidential update. She talks about a visit to Greenbelt Festival and welcoming new people into our district.


Paul King writes:
I am very glad and grateful regarding going to Swanwick Ecuemnical Conference on September 19-21. You may be gratified that, together with Pastor Toyin Taiwo, also of Chesterfield, we are to present a 6-minute contribution to one of the seminars. We have prepared a brief history of ecumenism in our town, plus comment on our title (Christians Together for, rather than Churches Together in..Chesterfield) and illustrations of how we are partially fulfilling our ambitions).

On Ash Wednesday we shall repeat what was a novelty this year, in visiting, with an escort from the voluntary group who created it, the Walking Men memorial of Markham Pit disasters at Junction 29A of the M1. We invited a newly elected borough Councillor who sings in the choir at the Spire, to be present at our Forum, and we liaise with the Mayor's chaplain, who is a lay reader at Hasland and Temple Normanton Parish. A recent Christian mayor, Alexis Diouf, is to be made an Honorary Alderman this week, and we shall be represented at a refreshed civic forum on Climate Change on Wednesday.


What's coming up at Whirlow?

  • 19th September: Simple Quiet Day
  • 21st September: Praying without Words (online via Zoom)
  • 24th September: Contemplative Dialogue
  • 29th September-1st October: Whirlow Autumn Retreat @St Oswald's
  • 1st October: Space to Reflect
  • 8th October: Service of Remembrance for Baby Loss, led by Hospital Chaplain, Jo Hird
  • 8th November: Images of Holiness: A workshop exploring icons, with time for prayer and reflection MORE DETAILS COMING SOON

More details of all our events can be found on their website:

Learning Network events

The Staff Room for Lay Employees

Church 'success' is seen often as numbers – attendees, donations, etc. However, these are not the best way to measure church health and effectiveness.

Thanks to a helpful article by Karl Vaters (and brought to our attention by Word on the Streets) we'll be having a conversation about 8 non-numerical ways we might want assess the health of a church.
We hope you'll be able to join us for The Staffroom on the 21st September. Online at 10am.
There will also be a space to catch up and worship together.
Click here to book

Positively Rural – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in a Rural Context

Thursday 5 October April at 10:30am
God for All: Rural Churches for All.
How do rural churches engage with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work?
Rev Jill Marsh (Inclusive Church Officer for the Methodist Church) will be with us to think about these questions as we aim to reflect God's inclusive love for all people in our own local communities.
As usual, there will be space to discuss the issues raised in smaller groups.
Register here:
Bookings close 3 days beforehand
Positively Rural is an online community hosted by the Yorkshire Plus Learning Network, but open to anyone of any denomination involved in rural ministry, including volunteers, lay workers and clergy.

Dreaming Beyond – Faith al fresco!

Thursday 19 October at 7:30pm
"God told us to go into the world, out of our buildings into open spaces where we can share the love of God, and this we are doing today!"
'Faith al fresco' is run each May half term by the folk at Bishops Waltham Free Church. It's an Intergenerational Missional event, for the whole family, and it's free.
Sounds good? Could it work in your context? Come willing to join the conversation on what this might mean for your church...
Book here:
The event is created with Methodist Churches in mind, but anyone passionate about the mission of small and rural churches is very welcome to attend!

Regional Retreat

14-16 November

There are still a few places left on the next Regional Retreat for Ministers and Lay Employees within the Methodist Church at The Briery, Ilkely.
The theme is Creative Journeying and will be led by Donna Worthington. Donna is an experienced retreat giver trained in Ignatian spiritual direction, labyrinth walking and storytelling. She studied Theology at Cambridge, and completed an MPhil at Manchester University. She has written several plays, two of which explored the Lindisfarne Gospels, and Christian contemplative prayer. She has led retreats and workshops examining the Gospels through theatre, dream-prayer and dance-prayer.

  • We'll seek to deepen our spirituality, explore different ways of praying, and discover our journey with the divine.
  • We'll connect Scripture, nature and creative writing with personal reflection and prayer.
  • We'll explore the dreams we carry, aided by the artist Van Gogh. and we'll seek to be held by God just as we hold others.

To book online via EventBrite
Deadline – 12 September for viability


Sam's Space are seeking a Soft Play Worker

Sam's Space is a not for profit community soft play area within Firth Park Methodist Church.
We are seeking an enthusiastic person to join our soft play team to help deliver an essential community service whilst developing fresh expression of church
For a job description and application form please contact Sam's Space manger
Closing date: Noon on Sunday 17 September

And finally ...

From the Methodist Prayer Handbook "Hidden Treasures"

When darkness fills our horizons,
help us to remember what Jesus taught about the hidden treasures of God's love

  • how a traveller to Jericho, left beaten unconscious by the roadside, was unexpectedly rescued by a marginalised stranger;
  • how a son who had ruined his life was welcomed home through a parent's unconditional love;
  • and how a sheep, lost on a lonely hillside, was brought to safety by the faithful care of the shepherd.

So may we, whatever our needs, find help and support

  • sometimes where we least expect -

and when human resources fail,
discover the riches of God's grace and the depth of his love,
holding us safe forever. Amen.

Rachel Larkinson
Supernumerary presbyter, Kennet and Test Valley Circuit

Get In Touch
0114 270 9990 / 0114 430 0255

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Room 47, Victoria Hall Methodist Church
Norfolk Street
S1 2JB

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