Last week the Conference met in hybrid form – 60 representatives in the meeting hall in Birmingham and the rest via a Zoom link. Thanks must go to the technical team for enabling this to run so smoothly. The biggest news item was the debate on the God in Love Unites Us report, but there was much more going on that just that.
Do visit the website to see what else was discussed, debated and voted. You can even "watch again" : the-methodist-conference/conference-2021/
The President and Vice President of the Conference, Revd Sonia Hicks and Barbara Easton, have written a letter to be read in all churches last Sunday. If you were not there, you can read the full letter here: Pastoral letter
At this very moment young Christians are making their way in stages between Cornwall ( where the G7 met last month) to Glasgow (where COP 26 climate conference will be held in early November. Young Christian Climate Network is an action-focused community of young Christians aged 18-30, choosing to follow Jesus in the pursuit of climate justice.
Rather than commit to going the whole waypeople have volunteered to be lead walkers or cyclists on particular legs of the relay route. They will be joined by others perhaps just for a day or two or three days. Local churches are arranging events along the route as well as providing hospitality. Having zigzagged across Southern England and the Midlands with longer stops in Exeter, Bristol, Reading, London and Birmingham, they are due to arrive in Nottingham on 3 September. The next leg on 4 September is via Hucknall to Chesterfield, and on 5 September from Chesterfield to Sheffield. Have we any takers to join in either of those legs?
On Sunday 5 September there is to be a Climate Sunday Service livestreamed from Glasgow Cathedral at 4pm.This will substitute for Evensong at Sheffield Cathedral, where local Christians are urged to share in this inspirational act of worship and then greet the YCCN when it arrives about 5pm. Faith Leaders, MPs and local councillors are being invited to meet the walkers and respond to their climate justice demands.
Having been fed and watered and hopefully had a good night's sleep, the next leg of the relay will set off about 9am going west via Hope Valley and Chapel en le Frith en route to Manchester. Then it's Leeds, York, Stockton, Durham, Newcastle, Berwick, and Edinburgh arriving in Glasgow on 31 October, ready for involvement in lobbying activity in the few days leading up to COP 26.
Please pray for YCCN and encourage 18-30 year old Christians to get actively involved. Derbyshire North East, Sheffield and Peak Circuits take particular note. You can sign up to keep in touch with progress and offer to help in various ways.
Do you believe your church or circuit has a role to play in responding to our climate crisis? Are you bursting with ideas? Or unsure where to start? A lone voice? Or part of a congregation already enthused?
Our damaged and changing climate will affect every neighbourhood and each of our churches. This new community of practice is for anyone across our district who wants to make a difference where they are. We will share ideas, find practical solutions and discover new ways to articulate what is possible.
Our first gathering will be 7:30pm Monday 26 July on Zoom. All are welcome.
Register here to express interest: https://210726climate.eventbrite.co.uk
The new national Methodist Community of Evangelists is now open for applicants. The community will offer spiritual and practical support to people gifted as Evangelists. An Evangelist could be somebody in a formal ministry role, or somebody who informally engages in evangelism – but either way, evangelism (in diverse expressions) is their thing!
Find out more and download the guidance and application pack here: www.methodist.org.uk/evangelistcommunity
Please do share with people you know who might be interested, as not all Evangelists will necessarily be receivers of this mailing. Note of course that we all have a calling to be lower case evangelists sharing the Good News through our words, lives and prayers.
We were delighted to learn that the Revd Canon Abigail Thompson will be returning from St Albans to take up her role as Dean of Sheffield. Abi was ordained a Priest in 2007, serving her curacy at Sheffield Manor Parish. Prior to her move to St Albans, she was the vicar of St James, Clifton in Rotherham from 2010 to 2018. Abi also served on the Bishop of Sheffield's Senior Staff Team as the Dean of Women's Ministry from 2015 to 2018.
"Sheffield Cathedral is the place where I was ordained deacon in 2006 and I got married here in 2010. I've made vows here, I've wept into the stone floor, I've rejoiced here and I've lit candles here for people I have loved and lost. I share these very personal connections with you because I know that I am only one of thousands of people who have experienced the deepest of emotions and sought sanctuary within these old walls. Sheffield Cathedral is a holy place because of the people who have come here to find peace, to pray, to worship and to seek the true and living God. I am blessed and honoured and totally thrilled that this is the place where I will soon daily say my prayers and get to love and serve the people of this great city, this wonderful Cathedral and the whole Diocese of Sheffield."
MWiB (Methodist Women in Britai) had planned to meet in Alsager for this event, but due to local Covid restrictions, this has now had to be cancelled. However, they are working hard to produce a recorded event (similar to the recorded Easter Offering service), which should be available to watch on their YouTube channel from Saturday 10th July. A link to this will appear on the MWiB website (www.mwib.org.uk) and on Facebook a few days beforehand – keep a look-out for it!
The Yorkshire Plus region of the Learning Network organises residential retreats for Presbyters, Deacons and Lay Employees within the Methodist Church. These are subsidised for those stationed/working with the three Districts (Sheffield; Yorkshire North & East, and Yorkshire West) and priority will go to those in active work. Supernumeraries and those outside the three Districts can apply for a place, but this cannot be guaranteed until 8 weeks before the date of the residential.
Last year these were held as one day online events, but we are very hopeful that the next one will go ahead in person!
Art is rich with symbolic traditions for expressing visually power and authority. It can also reveal profound value in the most impoverished material and the most desolating experiences. On this retreat we will explore a wide range of visual art, old and new, to open up some of the theological implications of what we value and where we find wealth. This is an opportunity to engage with creative ways of seeing and to reflect on our theological 'images' as people of faith today.
Debbie is Senior Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Glasgow. She is a regular speaker and teacher in churches, theological colleges and at festivals and retreats on the rich relationship between art and faith. She is passionate about making art history accessible to all. You can learn a little more about what makes Debbie tick from her biography on the University of Glasgow website.
Cost: £200. Those in the Yorkshire Plus Region will receive a £100 subsidy from their District. You are also free to seek further funding locally.
Priority will go to those in active work. Supernumeraries and those outside the three Districts can apply for a place, but this cannot be guaranteed until 8 weeks before the date of the residential.
To register a place: https://yp21-11-16retreat.eventbrite.co.uk
For more information: Katrin Hackett, firstname.lastname@example.org 0114 270 9990 / 07552 131455
Booking deadline: 16 September
Cliff is now seeking to appoint to the new role of Learning Lead and Tutor in Evangelism & Missiology, which will link the newly formed Evangelism and Mission team with the academic team of the College. This will be a key role at Cliff College but will also have responsibilities within the Methodist Church in terms of research into evangelism and growth and the development of new learning programmes.
Full details can be found on the Vacancies page of our Website: https://www.sheffieldmethodist.org/recruitment/vacancies.html
Worship materials for this year's Action for Children Sunday on 11 July are now available to download. The theme is 'Peace within, peace around'.
You'll be pleased to see activities that children can do whether they are worshipping at home or meeting in a church building. Our thanks to Vickie and Chris Heydon-Matterface (Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District) who did an amazing job creating such engaging activities for children of different ages.
To download, worship materials visit https://bit.ly/FaithFR
A "thought for the month" from our friends in Derbyshire can be downloaded here: July 2021