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District News – 20 December 2022

xmas jumper day 2022cam january meeting

This Week's News

Christmas Greetings from the District Staff Team!

The office will be closed from Friday (23 Dec) until 3 January 2023 while we take a well-earned break!

District Digital Advent Calendar

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our District Digital Advent Calendar and helped to guide us through Advent so far. The videos will continue to Epiphany and provide more thought provoking challenges and share more stories about how there is room for everyone this Christmas.

You can find the videos on social media and on our youtube channel

District Safeguarding Update

From Monday 19th to Tuesday 3rd January I will continue to respond to emergency calls and emails. If you have a practical safeguarding concerns please get in touch. All other emails and calls will be dealt with in the New Year.

Christmas can be a lonely time of year for the most vulnerable people in our society. While others are out celebrating with mulled wine and mince pies or snuggling up under cosy blankets to watch the Christmas special of their favourite sitcom, others in more vulnerable positions are much less fortunate. Christmas can be an isolating time for the elderly, particularly those who live alone or have health problems that mean they can't spend the holidays with their family. You might assume that Christmas is the happiest time of year for every child, but for children whose families are in crisis or who are victims of abuse or neglect, Christmas can be one of the most upsetting times of the year.

Safeguarding is all about protecting the welfare of individuals at risk, which means looking out for the health and wellbeing of individuals in vulnerable positions. As the holidays approach, spare a thought for the steps you could be taking to care more for vulnerable people of any age, in your life.

I have complied a list of useful organisations and their contact details, should you need to signpost people to support services – this list can be found here and by clicking on the box entitled 'Help'.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and to thank all involved in safeguarding, throughout the District, whatever your role.

As ever, if you have any questions or concerns please give me a call on 07483 362 735 or email me at

Many thanks
Alison Hill -District Safeguarding Officer.


Church at the Margins Community of Practice

The Church at the Margins Community of Practice (CaM COP) is aimed at individuals ministering alongside financially marginalised people.

CaM COP meets four times each year and seeks to be a safe space to share joys, concerns and learning. It is a place to consider and promote good practice and provide opportunity to raise awareness and conversation around pertinent issues.

The CaM COP will next meet on Wednesday 11th January 2023, 7.30pm, where we will spend time reflecting on 'What is Change?' with Paul Bridges from the Huddersfield Mission.

Wednesday 11th January 2023, 7.30pm-9pm
Conversation focus: What is change? (facilitated by Paul Bridges)
Meeting ID: 933 2439 5880
Passcode: 231149

Future CaM COPS will be held on:

Tuesday 14th March 2023, 7.30pm-9pm
Conversation focus: Sharing food justly (facilitated by Debora Marschner)
Meeting ID: 951 9974 4329
Passcode: 097197

Thursday 15th June 2023, 7.30pm-9pm
Conversation with Eunice Attwood (Connexional CAM Officer)
Meeting ID: 975 0121 5588

Learning the art of OutoftheBox

17 March 2023 from 9am

OutoftheBox uses story and play for personal and community wellbeing. Our storytellers create brave relational space to breathe, trust, listen, feel, wonder, play and love. OutoftheBox stories are in use in a range of settings, including schools, care homes, workplaces, community groups, families, therapeutic settings, chaplaincy, spiritual accompaniment and faith communities.

Courses to learn the art of OutoftheBox can be found here and a grant of £100 towards the cost is available for people in the Sheffield area.
To book the course in March
To find details of other courses

Lay Employees Retreat

5-7 June 2023 at Wydale Hall

Lost, Found, Reclaimed
Apologies – I didn't put the link to book a place in last week's mailing:
Register link:
Registration deadline: 3 April (places are limited)

Dates for your diary

Regional Retreats for Ministers (Presbyters and Deacons) and Lay Employees

Two retreats are being planned for 2023 which are open to all ministers and lay employees of the Methodist Church within the Yorkshire Plus region. The full cost is £240, but the Districts will subsidise by half the cost of attending one Retreat a year.

  • 9-11 May at Wydale Hall, Near Scarborough
  • 14-16 November at The Briery, Ilkley

More information will be circulated next year!

Job Vacancies

Admissions Officer (15 hours per week)

Cliff College is seeking to appoint a new part-time role of Admissions Officer. Working with the Recruitment Manager and the Academic Administrators, the Admissions Officer will support the application and admissions process for all programmes at Cliff College that are validated by the University of Manchester. The decision to apply for a validated programme of study at Cliff College is a significant one, and the role of the Admissions Officer is to support applicants through this process with care, attention to accuracy and detail, and professionalism, ensuring an excellent impression and experience of the College. The Admissions Officer will be responsible for assisting applicants in their journey from first contact to enrolment.

The postholder will ideally normally work this part-time role over five days, to ensure that applications to the college are dealt with promptly and efficiently. While the post is based in the Academic Administration Office at Cliff College, a hybrid/home working arrangement is negotiable.
This role requires someone who:

  • has a high standard of IT and administrative skills, preferably with work experience in a higher education context
  • has excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • enjoys working in a dynamic environment, with the ability to stay calm and work with a high degree of accuracy
  • is able to work effectively in a team and independently
  • is passionate about connecting people with a range of training and education opportunities

If this is you then please download the details from our website:

Salary: £26,000 pro rata
Closing date: 12 noon on Tuesday 10th January 2023
Interviews: Thursday 19th January 2023

Applications are welcomed on a College application form or through a CV with covering letter, outlining suitability for the criteria required.
For more information or to arrange an informal conversation about this post please contact Michelle at or 01246 584200.

Mission Development Officer (Ref MDO)

The East Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church is seeking to appoint a MIssion Development Officer.
This is a full-time post for 37.5 hours/week(including evening and weekends) on a permanent contract.
Salary: £40,000 per annum for a lay person or a minister from outside the URC.
The purpose of this role is to help equip churches in their missional discipleship and growth and to facilitate the sharing of good news, practice and opportunities across the Synod and beyond, holding the whole-of-life discipleship ethos of Walking the Way at the heart of their work.
More information in the advert here.

For an application pack (no CVs) please contact:
Mrs Chris Willis
East Midlands Synod Office
1 Edwards Lane, Sherwood
Nottingham, NG5 3AA
Tel: 0115 9609241

Closing date for applications: 28th February 2023

And finally...

A Christmas Reflection by the Revd Pete Evens, Associate Agricultural Chaplain for Derbyshire Rural Chaplaincy.

What can I give him?

Birthdays or Christmas, it's a perennial question when it comes to presents for many men. 'What can I give him?' To give what he needs seems inadequate; to buy what he wants... too extravagant!

As a student, I found relief milking to be a lucrative holiday job, even if unsocial. Christmas morning was just another day: same long walk up the farm drive, same wind cutting through my sleepiness. I'd got the routine by now. But this morning something was different. In the far corner of the loose yard was a new-born calf, the only one born in the days I was there. Once milking and feeding were done, breakfast beckoned. Yet for a moment I paused to stare at the wonder of a new life. Hardly a 'Christmas present', for me: just a routine birth in the annual cycle of a dairy herd. Yet a 'gift' I've remembered for 45 years.

That morning the Christmas calf pointed me to another birth, long ago and far away: a routine birth in the cycle of human generations.

Or was it? Unusual circumstances meant he was 'laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn.' With no further facts, our cards, carols and nativity plays have embroidered the scene around the baby in the manger: a cattle shed; a lambing shelter; the quarters of a home for ox and ass... We only know that, in the hour of need, some sort of feeding equipment was pressed into service. Nothing like the salt-glazed half-pipe that the herd had earlier licked clean of concentrates, and were tossing hay out of, even now. Definitely not the normal place for a new-born. So unusual it could be used as a signpost for visiting shepherds. 'Find a baby in a manger and you'll know you've found The One!' What were the chances? Those shepherds took the chance – and it paid off! There really was a baby in the manger. 'This is our saviour, Christ the Lord,' they blurted to Mary and Joseph and everyone else in the town's thronging nightlife. 'Amazing!' they all said. Did they rush to see this wonderful child for themselves? Or wonder how down-to-earth shepherds had gone off with the fairies?

The other recorded visitors were a good deal more presentable – but no more believable. Their signpost, they said, was a new star pointing them to a new king. Really? Astronomers having been searching ever since for independent verification. At least these guys had enough wisdom to ask, 'What shall we give him?' They came up with some lavish answers. To them, the gifts were treasure: valuable and full of meaning, a sharing of themselves and their cultures in order to esteem the one before them.

Maybe the shepherds did ask 'What shall we give him?' In the Bleak Midwinter certainly thinks so, and generations of children have acted it out:

What can I give him, poor though I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would play my part...

It's heading towards a conclusion that is both inadequate and extravagant: something which is hardly a thing at all; the part of us that we guard most fiercely from public gaze, which contains all that we most value of ourselves, and all that causes us most shame...

Yet what I can I give him, give my heart.

Sounds like taking a big chance, doesn't it? Yet the baby in the manger receives such a gift, considering it neither inadequate nor too extravagant. He holds it as the priceless treasure it is – and multiplies its value.

A chance worth taking? Or one not to be missed?

You can download the full reflection here: DRC Christmas Reflection

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