Derby Cathedral has been highly commended for its work in restoring the cathedral roof in the Construction Project of the Year category at the East Midlands Property Dinner 2018.

The award follows the renewal of the nave roof after design faults 50 years ago meant the lead had split causing leaks.  Repairs included a new lead roof, stonework, coping stone, balustrade repairs, strengthening rotten roof joists and the provision of overflows. Two roof access hatches were installed to allow access, to the parapet gutters for maintenance.

The project, which took nine months to complete, was managed by Rachel Morris, Chief Executive at Derby Cathedral. The work also included a huge, temporary roof being built over the nave to protect the interior and visitors during the renovation.

Mrs Morris said: “Derby Cathedral is delighted to have been Highly Recommended for this project.  It was only possible with funding from the ‘First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund’, and a great project team including architect Robert Kilgour, main contractors Midland Stonemasonry and subcontractors Tamworth Scaffolding, to all of whom Derby Cathedral Chapter is very grateful.

“The professionalism and commitment of all the contractors means that the roof is watertight and fit for purpose, ensuring that Derby Cathedral is safe and dry for the people of Derby and visitors to enjoy for decades to come.”

The Construction Project of the Year category rewards innovative and challenging construction projects that have been delivered on time and to budget in the East Midlands.

Derby Cathedral is a Church of England ‘parish church cathedral’ and was an important medieval collegiate church.  All that remains of this is the 1530s tower which dominates the City’s skyline and holds the oldest ring of ten bells in the world. The nave was completed by James Gibbs in 1723 and is a symbol of Derby’s place in the Enlightenment at the start of the Industrial Revolution. 

It became a cathedral in 1927.  The building sits at the top of Iron Gate in the award-winning Cathedral Quarter, close to the World Heritage site including the Silk Mill Museum next to the River Derwent.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

A day of activities with

the Bishop of Repton, the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane,

at St Francis, Prince Charles Avenue, Mackworth DE22 4FQ

On Saturday, 6 October, churches in Derbyshire will come together to work for the Mackworth estate in Derby.

Between 11 am and 12.30 pm, teams of people will get stuck in to some gardening around the Peace Memorial.

From 1pm, the church will be open for tea and cake (free!) and there will be a special Eco Church Café in which we ask: how can we better look after our world?

Teams of people will be out on the estate between 3 and 4 pm offering prayers and blessings, and at 4 o'clock, Bishop Jan will consecrate the War Memorial on Prince Charles Avenue.

Finally, there is a chance to thank God for all our animal companions as Bishop Jan leads our St Francis Pet Service at 5.30 pm.


Download the Festival of Life Poster (jpeg)




Our Spirituality Day 2018 will be held on Tuesday, 16th October 09:30 - 15:30 at St Thomas Brampton, Chesterfield, S40 3AW.

The day will offer a marketplace of stalls and a choice of workshops.

We have a wide-ranging mix of groups attending which will include the World Community for Christian Meditation; the Third Order of the Society of St Francis; the Julian Group; Café Writers; Sozein Trust; Focolare; Inclusive Church; the Royal School of Church Music; Derby Diocese Spirituality Group; Diocese of Derby Vocations Team; Harlequin Arts; Whirlow Spirituality Centre; The Mothers Union; Contemplative Outreach and Derby Intercessors. Derby Cathedral Bookshop will also be present.

Essential info

The morning session will start with the opportunity to network over tea, coffee and a pastry at 9.30 am, and the day will formally open with Welcome and Worship at 10 am.

There will be three workshop streams where you can choose from 11 different workshops (see below).

Drinks are provided at break times. Please bring a packed lunch - or you can order a lunch from the café at the St Thomas Centre on arrival.

There is no charge for the day but a collection plate will be available if you would like to make a contribution to help with the costs of this event.

Car parking is available but please car share wherever possible.

The day will end at approx 3.30 pm.

This event - ‘The Morley Gathering’ - is being organised by the Diocesan Spirituality Group, which promotes prayer and spirituality locally and helps people explore, develop and deepen their own spirituality, prayer life and relationship with God.

It brings together many of the groups and organisations operating locally that are involved in this sort of work.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see the breadth of activity across Derbyshire, to network, to learn, and to experience some of the work of these groups in a series of workshops.

Don't miss out!

You do need to book and we need to know which workshops you would like to attend.

Allocation will be on a first-come, first-served basis -  So please download and complete the Workshop Booking Form and return it to

We look forward to welcoming you to the day!

Spirituality Day 2018 - Workshops

1. World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM)

Christian Meditation – This workshop will  include a little bit of the story of Christian meditation, an introductory teaching on it, a short practice of meditation, and time for questions.

2. A Spirituality of Unity - Introducing the Focolare Movement

Come and hear more on the Focolare Movement - The spiritual life can no longer be simply about withdrawing from other people, nor just about serving them.  It is also about living in unity with others, growing and travelling together in God.

3. Cafe Writers, Derbyshire's Christian Writers Group

Story Time - Come and learn about your local Christian Writers Group, where we welcome all levels of writer, from novice to novelist. And you can try out three short exercises for creating ideas for both fiction and non-fiction writing. Come and create a story. 

4. Francis of Assisi Today

St Francis and the Franciscan way of following Jesus Christ has been described as 'chaotic and intuitive, creative and affectionate, radical and obedient'. This workshop explores what makes the life and influence of this 12th century saint so enduring, attractive, profound and relevant for today and for the future

5. Whirlow Spirituality Centre

Learn about the essence of Whirlow and get a taste for the sort of programmes that are running over the next 12 months.  

6. Encountering God Through Scripture - Sister Teresa Kennedy

Sister Teresa will look at different ways of praying and using Scripture, including Lectio Divina and imaginative meditation with a focus on themes of freedom and justice.

7. Inclusive Church

‘Drawing the circle wider… and wider’ - an introduction to the work of the educational charity, Inclusive Church, and why the principles of inclusion are central to the mission of the Church.  (This is not a workshop to ‘take issue’ with a particular theology but for those interested in exploring practical issues of inclusion in areas like disability, addiction, mental health, gender, age, sexuality and poverty.)

8. I will sing with the spirit - The Royal School of Church Music

RSCM is the heart and home of church music. Whether your church has a vibrant worship band, a traditional choir or no music at all, RSCM has something to help. Learn about our educational and music resources, courses and activities in your area.

9. Contemplative Outreach

Centering Prayer is a form of Christian meditation in which we deepen our communion with God.  The session will look at how Centering prayer works and provide an opportunity to practise it.

10. Intercessors for Derbyshire

Our workshop will major on 'listening to God' in prayer, so that we pray according to His will, as per 1.John 5:14-15. This gives the comfort of praying in faith that we are heard, and that God will act, because we are asking for what He wants to give.  "Your Kingdom come, your will be done in Derbyshire, as it is in heaven."  Amen

11. Harlequin Arts - Creative Spirituality

Karen is a textile artist who explores faith through creativity and stitch, facilitating others to draw closer to God through creativity. Experience a brief introduction to what she can offer through the ministry of creativity; a look at how her artwork encompasses lessons from life through Biblical narrative & truths and a short reflection on Scripture using textiles.


Many of our churchyards are known for being a haven for wildlife - but it seems our bell towers and outbuildings are hotbeds for hibernation.

Ken Orpe is the butterfly recorder for Butterfly Conservation in Derbyshire. He writes:

"Due to the very hot weather many Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies have gone into hibernation very early this year.

"In fact, a lady from Denby checked out the bell room at her local church last week and found 25 butterflies hibernating there – 10 Peacocks & 15 Small Tortoiseshells!

"I wonder whether any of your colleagues at the various churches in Derby and Derbyshire area have noticed an increase of this early hibernation recently?"

The very hot weather in July 2018 was too much for the coloured butterflies to withstand – they usually fly between 10° C and 23° C so a week of 30° C was too hot for them!  

The white butterflies kept on flying because they reflect the heat (rather than absorb it) so we were seeing only white butterflies on our buddleias as the Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells decided to go into hibernation very early – they don't usually do that until mid to late September when the weather cools down.

All in all, this summer has been quite extraordinary – some butterflies have really taken advantage of it such as the Wall Brown in the Peak District where it is usually up to 5° C cooler than in Derby, whereas other species just wanted to get out of the heat!

Have you seen hibernating butterflies in your belfry?

Please, let us know (and take some photos!)

Jill Hancock: ordained deacon, 1 July 2018

Jill is now the Assistant Curate with the East Scarsdale Team Ministry. She writes:

From an early age I knew how important it was to share and care for others.

Hospitality was at the heart of our family and there would always be an extra place at our dinner table for visitors.

Growing up, I never really had a desire to ‘be something’ and took up all sorts of jobs. I tried hair dressing, travel consultancy, care work, ambulance driving, I joined the Special Constabulary and eventually settled in a job as a nursing auxiliary.

My work as a nurse opened my eyes to life, life at its beginning, life in its fullness, in its messiness and life at its end.

It was during this time that I had the sense that I didn’t actually have to ‘become something’ all I needed was to be myself and to be myself was to simply offer hospitality. I felt a nudge from God.

In 2007, I trained as a Church Army Evangelist and I spent nine years ministering to the vulnerable and marginalised in deprived and fractured communities.

And that’s what I think the role of a deacon is, to share in the life of the community, to offer those in need God’s hospitality; to share in the celebrations, struggles and mess.

I recently finished my theological training at The College of The Resurrection in Mirfield near Wakefield.

The college is situated in 24 acres of beautiful gardens, orchards and woodland within the grounds of a monastery. It’s home to a community of monks who root their lives in the Benedictine tradition.

This monastic rhythm of life teaches the importance of a balance between prayer, study, work, rest, and hospitality - principles which I think are the key in ministry.

I feel very privileged as a curate to have the freedom to get to know the area and to listen to people’s stories.

During September - the start of the new school year - I’ll be getting to know the students and staff at the local schools and joining the chaplaincy team - and I've been very much looking forward to this.

I should also mention…… I am married to Dave and have two grown-up daughters and we live in Bolsover with our little dog Bugsy!

Among my leisure activities are fishing, wine making and crafting.

See also: Explore your calling with us

Favourite Bible passage: 

My favourite Bible passage is Roman’s 8:28.

‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’

This passage has got me through some tough times, times when my faith was in my boots and I struggled to understand what good could possibly come out of such pain.

Favourite prayer: 

My favourite prayer has to be The Lords Prayer. It is filled with incredible meaning and summarises our faith.

You don’t have to think about it, you can say it in every situation, most people can share in it and it does what it says on the tin. Its a prayer of praise, petition, penitence and grace.

Favourite hymn: 

My favourite hymn is "I will offer up my life", by Matt Redman.

When I was a little girl, I always knew I was loved by Jesus because I met him one evening in my mum's 'best room'; he was sat on the settee. He didn't say anything to me but I just knew I belonged to him.

I guess I've always had a sense of being 'called' but was never quite sure what that would look like, so I just followed.

I will offer up my life in spirit and truth
Pouring out the oil of love, as my worship to you
In surrender I must give my every part
Lord, receive this sacrifice of a broken heart

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a Friend, to so loving a King?
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name for the things You have done?
Oh, my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart

You deserve my every breath, for You've paid the great cost
Giving up your life to death, even death on the cross
You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin
Open up the gates of heaven and have beckoned me in

Bruce Johnson: ordained deacon, 1 July 2018

Bruce Johnson, a former IT project consultant, joined the Diocese of Derby as an assistant curate following his Petertide ordination on 1 July 2018. He is currently serving the parishes of Heanor, Langley Mill, Aldercar and Marlpool.

He trained part time for ordination, firstly with Lancashire and Cumbria Theological Partnership and then with All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry, whilst undertaking roles in the Netherlands and the UK. 

Bruce said: "Working and studying part time is not an easy option but, like many, we are proof that it can be done!"

He would be the first to admit that his journey to ordination wasn't entirely easy, but was definitely rewarding: "It has led me to many interesting places and through a great deal of varied and different experiences that I certainly wouldn’t have expected to ever go through.

"Reflecting upon these, both at the time and in retrospect, I can clearly see God’s hand guiding me throughout and, as a result, my vocation has developed. 

"As I continue on my vocational journey I am very much looking forward to this next challenging but very exciting new phase of ministry and life.

"I am enjoying meeting my new communities and having the opportunity to share God’s love and sacraments with everyone I meet."

Hearing God's call

Like many, Bruce can't put his finger on 'the moment' he felt the call to ordination, but rembers clearly two significant incidents that left him in no doubt it was the right way to go: "The first was my first week at university when, aged around 18, I began to see with increasing clarity that the gifts God had given me were able to help others around me grow in faith and knowledge. 

"The second was perhaps the most poignant; whilst working in Romania I had the opportunity to be involved in helping various communities grow both through physical action and also the support of the sacraments.  

"For me the centrality of the sacraments, whether it be the Mass/Holy Communion/Eucharist/Lords Supper/ Breaking of the Bread or the other sacred sacraments, is principle to my calling and therefore very important to my spiritual life. 

"Being able to partake in these, leading and walking with others is a central element in my life.

ordinations 2018 4824 1500 72dpi social"Time and time again it has been confirmed to me that I am following God’s pathway and I am really looking forward to getting to know more about Derbyshire, the diversity of the districts and the people who make this county their own. 

"I am sure I will soon get to know more of this vibrant county, the fabulous Christians who are active in their communities and the wonderful explorations and expressions of faith which I know are being constantly blessed here."

So would he recommend others to follow their calling? Of that he has no doubt: "God calls each of us to be ourselves firstly but to also allow those in the vocational exploration process to help and support us in determining what that call may be.

"It may take some time but if you feel called, trust in God and, with the help of the vocations team, allow yourself to explore what he is calling you to be."

Bruce is married to Sarah and has three grown-up children and one grandchild; some of whom live locally.

Bruce said: "Prior to moving house in June, we lived near Lancaster in a very rural setting. We now live in Ripley; a very different community setting - but everyone has made us feel extremely welcome."

See also: Explore your calling with us

Favourite hymns: 

‘Will your anchor hold?’ and ‘Longing for light, Christ be our light’, both having very specific lyrics which mean a lot for Bruce in his ministry today

Favourite Bible passage: 

Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11 - ‘For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope’ 

Favourite prayers include: 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. Amen

St. Francis of Assisi

Children and groups across the Diocese have received their Bishop's Badge awards from Bishop Alastair and Bishop Jan.

These awards are a version of the Bishop's Badge awards that were extended to Church Schools to mark the 90th anniversary of the diocese. Schools were invited to nominate the child in their school who they feel best embodies the Diocesan Church School value of the Year, community, in an age-appropriate way.

Nineteen individuals were nominated for a Bishop’s Badge from fifteen different church schools.

>> Pictures from the award presentation at Derby Cathedral (on Flickr)

>> Pictures from the award presentation at St John's Tideswell (on Flickr)

Several children were nominated for their work raising funds for charity – Rosie baked and sold cakes to buy mosquito nets, Joshua and Lily raised money to support two different linked slum schools in Kolkata, Maiya supports Sheffield Hospital Charities, Esme helped fund the rescuing of rabbits while Ryan supported the work of the Stroke Association after his Grandma died and Daisy and Tyler both support the Red Cross shop in Matlock to make people smile.

Helping other children fit into school and make friends and giving up their playtime to help and support other children and staff were the reasons Tillie, Liam, Millie, Rufus, Matthew, Riley and Lily Rose were put forward for an award.

Lauren and Ruby were chosen because of their talent in spotting, naming, encouraging and nominating for awards other children who embody the school’s values.

Ruby volunteers with Derbyshire Volunteer Police Cadets, in residential homes and at a Christmas soup lunch. Katie used her first aid skills to save her Grandma’s life when she was choking at a restaurant.

Rosie and Corey are involved in waste recycling projects and litter picking and Amelie brings beauty to the community through the school gardening club and flower festivals .

These awards were presented by Bishop Alastair at a special celebration at Derby Cathedral and by Bishop Jan at St John's Tideswell at services planned and led by children from Longford C of E Primary School at the Cathedral and Bishop Pursglove C of E Primary School in Tideswell.

Tideswell Badge awards

Bishop's Badge School awards in Tideswell

Both schools planned very imaginative and creative worship using various media and resources including a live fig tree, golden magic pennies, a values quiz, large paper people, action prayers and songs and even a Tibetan prayer bowl to help us explore the theme of Christian community in our worship.

Alongside the awards for individuals, six separate projects received awards. Bishop Pursglove C of E Primary School had been doing some joint partnership work with a local residential home including  the children sharing work about WW2 in the residential home and the elderly people visiting school for an art exhibition.

Darley Churchtown C of E Primary School have also been working with the elderly, sharing artwork, crafts and music with dementia patients in their Ringing the Changes Project  through the auspices of First Taste Charity as well as running a community café to raise funds for their local church.

Newbold C of E School have formed their own Early help Team to offer family support to all these needing support along the lines of play therapy, emotional literacy, pet therapy and access to the Foodbank. St Luke’s C of E Primary School have been giving posies of flowers and gratitude messages to members of the community they consider to be unsung heroes.

Carsington and Hopton C of E primary School have been raising funds to buy resources and uniforms for their link school in Kolkata and one of their teachers Mrs Tinkler has written a phonics teaching manual which fifteen of the schools in Kolkata are now using each day.

Following the success of these new awards, we shall be inviting awards for next year for children and projects embodying the Diocesan Church School value of hope.

When the Diocese of Derby was founded in 1927, Bishop Edmund Courtenay Pearce – the first Bishop of Derby – arranged for a medal to be struck and copies presented to distinguished members of the Diocese and to all those being confirmed in that year.

In more recent years, Bishop Alastair arranged for a replica of this medal to be minted and mounted in the form of a badge to be awarded to lay people across the diocese each year to acknowledge outstanding service to the mission and ministry of the church.

To mark the 90th Anniversary of the Diocese of Derby, these awards were extended to Church Schools who were invited to nominate the child in their school who they feel best embodies the Diocesan Church School value of the Year, community,  in an age-appropriate way.

There was also a category for projects where schools were creating and building community and these projects were awarded a Certificate of Excellence.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has paid tribute to The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, who retires at the end of August after 13 years in the Diocese.

In a speech delivered at General Synod, the Archbishop talked about Bishop Alastair's commitment to the Diocese of Derby in the deaneries and in schools.

archbishop of york john sentamuArchbishop John (pictured right) said: "Alastair, you have overseen the development of new ‘super deaneries’ in the diocese where the area deans are paid half-time in that role (with the other half of the stipend for their parish ministry).

"I understand it has been a joy to see the eight area deans grow into their leadership roles and plan mission and ministry locally and contextually.

"You have spoken time and time again of the mission opportunities our church schools afford and have built up a first-rate team under an outstanding Director of Education."

Archbishop John also cited Bishop Alastair's work in the fight against human trafficking: "Of course, Alastair we are all impressed with the work you have done to highlight the horror that is modern slavery and the huge amount of effort you have given to leading on this area not only for the Church of England but for all denominations to ensure this matter is taken seriously."

He concluded by saying: "Your vast wisdom and deep spiritual leadership will be greatly missed both in the Diocese and in the life of the national church."

Read Archbishop John's tribute in full

Bishop Alastair has ordained eight new deacons in Derby Cathedral.

The eight men and women have begun ministry as deacons in parish churches across the Diocese of Derby following a service on Sunday, 1 July in Derby Cathedral.

The special service was lead by the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern.

The new deacons include a former IT project manager, an international business director and former teachers.

Rod Prince, Amanda Marshall, Bruce Johnson, Jan Hutchinson, Caro Hemmings, Joel Bird, Carolyn Baker and Jill Hancock will now start a three-to-four-year post of curate, training alongside experienced vicars.

Deacons are normally ordained as priests after a year.

For more pictures, please see us on Flickr.



Around 5,000 clay figures, depicting players and spectators of Ashbourne’s Shrovetide football game, have gone on display in St Oswald’s church in the town.

The ‘Our Game’ project, launched by Ashbourne Festival and The Clayrooms, is the culmination of four months’ work involving more than 2,000 school children and hundreds of adults from communities in and around Ashbourne.

Between them they have created the individual small clay figures, which have been installed in the church and will remain there until September.

The figures include players in the hug, followers of the game, mums carrying babies and even some ‘out-of-town’ characters, such as Gandalf and ET. Each figure is unique and has its own character.

The Revd Duncan Ballard, vicar of St Oswald’s said: “In a fast-changing, busy world some communities struggle to retain their identity; however, Ashbourne is a place where tradition, community and pride come together every year for Shrovetide Football.

“It’s therefore very fitting that the clay figures, symbolically representing the whole of the town, have found a home surrounding the high altar at St Oswald’s church.

“St Oswald’s church is delighted to be a part of this project, demonstrating that the church is here for everyone, and that our doors will always be wide open.”

This ambitious project was developed for the Ashbourne Festival in partnership with The Clayrooms pottery in Ashbourne. Local ceramicists and teachers, Helen Cammiss and Sarah Heaton, who founded the pottery last year, originated the idea for ‘Our Game’.


st oswald clay figures 6895 full res

The 5,000 small figures have been created by schoolchildren, local residents and visitors during school visits, ‘pop-up’ workshops and in The Clayrooms studio.

It represents the sense of community involvement and inclusiveness and, of course, the pride in celebrating ‘Our Game’ shown by every maker of every figure.

To top off the centrepiece of the ‘hug’, a special ‘Our Game’ ball has been painted by Shrovetide ball painter Tim Baker.

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