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District News – 09 March 2021

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This Week's News

District Chair on Sabbatical – advance notice

Gill Newton, our District chair will be on sabbatical from March 23rd – June 22nd and will then be attending the Methodist Conference immediately following that period. Gill will therefore return to the District in her role as Chair from July 2nd.
During Gill's absence, Revd Sean Adair, Deputy Chair of District will be covering Gill's responsibilities and you can contact him on Any administrative enquiries should be sent to the District Office on

District Safeguarding Update

Returning to school Safely

The NSPCC are promoting a 'Returning to school – a guide for parents and carers'
Promoting Well-Being, a social enterprise, has developed a guide explaining the actions parents and caregivers can take to minimise the risk of Covid-19 virus transmission as children and young people return to school across the UK. The guide also includes advice on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing.
Read the guide: Return to education: keeping your children safe from Covid (PDF)

Dangers of Omegle

"Global child protection groups are increasingly concerned about predators using Omegle to gather self-generated child sexual abuse material."
This BBC News item raises concerns for "Omegle" – an online chat platform which can pair the users with complete strangers in order to have virtual video chat. The site claims to be moderated – but has a reputation for unpredictable and shocking content. 'Warning: this article contains disturbing adult themes.'
Read the article: Omegle: Children expose themselves on video chat site – BBC News

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

Please note that from Monday 15th to Sunday 21st March I will be on Annual leave. Katy Spencer Madden (District Safeguarding Officer for Yorkshire North & East) will be covering for me and con be contacted by either phoning: 07596 515021 or emailing:
Many thanks
Alison Hill
District Safeguarding Officer

Joined Up Conference

The Joined Up Conference took place last Saturday, with over 270 people from across the country attending.
The keynote talks, short stories and many of the workshops are now online for people to catch up on at

Born in Song

Brian Hoare, a supernumerary presbyter in the Nidd Valley Circuit, has recently published his new book of sixty-three hymns, songs, liturgical settings and anthems entitled 'Born in Song: Texts and Tunes for Worship' It is available for £7.50 plus p&p from or, with a foreword by BBC TV Songs of Praise presenter Pam Rhodes.

Zoom – a learning experience

John Mellar, a Returned Mission Partner in Zimbabwe, writes:
'Lockdown' happened very suddenly in March 2020 and left us all facing a very strange and unprecedented situation. The most difficult aspect of this was not being able to have our usual opportunities of meeting together. This affected meetings with families, friends, church services, fellowships, and choir practices, among others. Phones were an obvious means of helping to fill this gap but, gradually, another way has emerged of communicating together – Zoom, which I had never used before.

Learning to use Zoom has become an essential life skill.

I'd not heard of Zoom before this 'lockdown' started and it's been a steep learning curve, but it's proving to be a vital means of communication. It certainly saves a lot of travelling! We find it very useful in keeping in touch with our families in Cardiff and Birmingham. Also, further afield, I've been able to attend meetings of former students from Zimbabwe who have set up an alumni association to provide funding for their former school (Tegwani) which has been going through difficult times. They are now scattered around the world doing amazing things; the association includes members from Japan, Canada, U.S.A., as well as Zimbabwe and the UK.

Katrin in the District Office is considering running some short training sessions on how to use Zoom as a host or as a participant. Please get in touch if this is something that would interest you.


Simple Quiet Day – Whirlow Spirituality Centre

16 March – 11am to 4pm

Space to "be"; to relax, reflect, pray and renew spiritual resources. £5 (£5.98 with booking fee) on Zoom.

Use our weekly reflection as preparation if you wish.

11am – welcome and introduction
Lunchtime prayers
Gathering together and closing prayers
4pm – depart

The programme is kept simple to provide maximum space. Use what is offered in so far as it is helpful. If you are fairly new to spending time in silence, the Simple Quiet Day is a good introduction.

Book for Zoom access and advance materials.

Advance notice – Waiting on the Word

Sunday 7th-Friday 12th November 2021 – Cliff College

Through a programme of worship, teaching, silence and reflection based on a Benedictine monastic pattern, the Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation aims to

  • root spirituality in Christian faith and tradition
  • provide opportunity for participation in community life
  • form people for life in a changing world

For more details including how to book, see the flyer here: CSF Flyer

Training and Learning Opportunities

Ministry with Older People

18 March: exploring chaplaincy

Our next ministry with older people webinar will be 1 – 2:30pm on Thursday 18 March.
Open to volunteers, lay workers and ministers, these webinars are an opportunity to share experiences, ask questions, and explore new resources and approaches to support you in your ministry in your context.
We will be joined on 18 March by Julia Burton-Jones who will explore the impact of chaplaincy approaches when working with older people in a wide variety of contexts, speaking from her involvement with the rapidly growing Anna Chaplaincy movement.
Book your space by Fri 12 March at

Evangelism, and Growth

New free guidebook now available: Take Your Next Steps in Evangelism and Growth

This booklet provides an overview of some of the key programmes and resources to help churches, circuits, districts, and leaders take an intentional step into action. Paper copies will be distributed widely in the post in May, but you can download and share an online version now here.

Other E+G Webinars and Archive

Every month we host a number of webinars that dive into missional reflection and practice. Click here to see our upcoming offerings as well as a teeming archive on subjects from pioneering to antiracism to Methodist Way of Life and more.

Community engagement

A webinar on Wednesday 14 April at 7pm will ask What is God asking of us now? Our churches may well look very different to how they did in 2019, and our communities' needs may well have changed. Join Mission and Community Engagement Officer, Emma Nash to hear about fresh mission opportunities, pick up ideas and resources and, most importantly, you'll find a space to ask yourself: what is the one thing God is asking of our church now? Find out more here.

News from Outside Organisations

TASTE Prayer Letter

You can read the lasted from the TASTE team, including the good news around the purchase of a new drilling rig, here: Taste March Prayer Letter

Rural Action Derbyshire

Thought for the Day

This week the message is provided by Hon David Legh, Chair of the DRC Steering Group, reflecting on time spent in South Africa. You can read it here.

Methodist Church News

Covid-19 Updates

Although the announcement was made for the roadmap out of lockdown in England, the guidance for churches has not changed because churches have been allowed to remain open during this latest lockdown. Thus, the guidance listed on the Coronavirus Guidance for Property page is current until the government makes changes to guidance for the Safe Use of Places of Worship or the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Facilities.

However, the guidance for Out of School Settings has been updated, which may impact some churches. From 8 March 2021, providers should only offer indoor and outdoor face-to-face provision for:

  • Vulnerable children and young people
  • Reasonably necessary to enable their parents and carers to work, search for work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need, or attend a support group
  • Being used by electively home educating parents as part of their existing arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education
  • Being used as part of their efforts to obtain a regulated qualification, meet the entry requirements for an education institution, or to undertake exams and assessments

Get In Touch
0114 270 9990 / 0114 430 0255

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

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