When it comes to getting married, not every bride can tie the knot in their first choice of church. One lucky bride who did is Kelly Hewitt.

As did her mum. And her grandmother. And her great grandma and three previous generations before her.

It’s understood that no fewer than seven generations of Kelly’s family have taken their vows in Tissington parish church - St Mary’s. For some reason, brides-to-be just seem to want to get married there.

The small village of Tissington is nestled in the western part of the Diocese - around 160 people live in the parish as a whole (Tissington and Lea Hall). Kelly was born and baptised there before tying the knot there in 2017.

“I’ve always been part of the church and would not have wanted to marry anywhere else,” she said.

“In fact, I remember telling Chris, ‘if you don’t marry me in Tissington church, I won’t marry you at all!’”

But as well as being her parish church, St Mary’s holds another special significance for Kelly.

Sadly, Kelly’s dad, Paul Greatorex, died suddenly when she was only 9 – and he is buried at the church.

She recalls: “After he died, Mum wanted to get something for the church where they had got married.

She decided on a kneeler and an Advent wreath and I used the kneeler at my wedding. “The vicar, Carollyn McDonald, then took the wreath and placed a lighted candle in it in remembrance of my dad.”

It was Kelly’s granddad, Kenneth Unwin, who also married in St Mary’s in 1966, that gave her away – so for Kelly, it was like the church had brought them all together again: “It was very emotional – though I managed to hold it together!

“It was the most lovely day and it really felt like Dad was present.”

For Kelly’s mum, Wendy, it was an emotional day, too: “The memories came flooding back, but I felt really proud of the way I’d brought her up and that she married in the same church as me.

“I would always tell people to marry in church. It’s part of my faith and, to me, you’re not getting married unless you’re in a church.”

You can read more about Kelly and Wendy in the first issue of Together Magazine - available free in churches in the Diocese of Derby from 1st May.

Tissington church interior

Inside Tissington church

IMG 8963 preview.jpegThe Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, has received the Langton Award for Community Service, for national and international work in combating human trafficking and modern slavery.

Bishop Alastair, who will retire later this year, was honoured by Archbishop Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace on Friday.

The citation on the Archbishop of Canterbury's website reads: "Alastair Redfern has been the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative for combating modern slavery, both nationally and internationally, for a number of years.

"As a member of the House of Lords, he was on the Select Committee that scrutinised the draft Modern Slavery Bill and worked exceptionally hard to take it through Parliament for enactment in 2015. This was only the second piece of anti-slavery legislation in British history since 1807 and the first in Europe."

It concludes: "Alastair Redfern has made an outstanding personal contribution to the Church of England and wider society in combating modern slavery."

Bishop Alastair founded the Clewer Initiative, a national project linked to the Church of England, working with dioceses to tackle modern slavery. 

Read the full citation here

Poppy opening 2 1500 72dpi socialA unique poppy memorial has been unveiled in Chesterfield's Crooked Spire.

Chesterfield Parish Church has partnered with the Royal British Legion to commemorate the 1,574 soldiers from Chesterfield killed in the First World War. 

To mark the centenary of the end of the war, local volunteers have knitted an individual poppy for each serviceperson from the town who gave their life.

The 1,574 poppies have been pieced together to create a magnificent handcrafted sculpture, hanging in the medieval church.

The cascade of flowers was formally blessed and opened by Revd Patrick Coleman, vicar of Chesterfield, on Saturday with Councillor Maureen Davenport, the mayor of Chesterfield, in attendance.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Revd Patrick Coleman said: “This display is an important remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice made by over 1,500 people from this town - around one in seventy of the local population at the time.

“It also gives us, today, the opportunity to pledge to redouble our resolve to pray and work for peace, so that this disastrous loss of life isn’t repeated.

“I thank all the volunteers – aged from 18 months to over 90 – for creating this poignant piece of art.” 

The poppy installation can be viewed whenever the church is open.

Opening times are from 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Saturday (closing is at 6pm on Thursdays), and for services at 10.30 am and 6.30 pm on Sundays.

See also: The Crooked Spire | Follow the Crooked Spire on Facebook


OldBramptonRingers RingingChamber brightChurches across the Diocese of Derby are recruiting new bell ringers as part of a nationwide campaign to honour the ringers who lost their lives in the First World War.

In total, 1,400 bell ringers died - including a number from Derbyshire.

Ringing Remembers is a nation-wide campaign to recruit 1,400 new bell ringers in their honour to ring in November 2018 for the centenary of the Armistice.

Churches across the Diocese of Derby are recruiting now.

Bell ringing is an inclusive community with people of all faiths and none, and there is no need to be musical or strong. It is a family-friendly, social activity that is good for you and your church community:

  • For all ages (10+), teens and adults
  • Children and parents/carers can learn togetherGreat all-year round exercise for the mind and body
  • Builds teamwork and leadership skills as part of a friendly team
  • Opportunities to visit new places and try new things.

Recent recruits have said:

“It forces me to go out, exercise my mind and my body and there’s something about being part of a group of people that have a focus and it’s very satisfying to be a part of that. It’s not that hard to learn – the more you practise the easier it gets, but personally I find it very enjoyable and I look forward to coming to practise.” - an adult bell ringer.

“Bell ringing has helped me with my shyness – I’ve had to conduct and shout at people I don’t know so it’s taught me to speak up a bit. It’s helped me build my teamwork skills too when I’m doing complicated patterns. I want to try and carry it on because it’s a fun thing to do. People are nice and everyone is involved with what’s going on." - a teenage bell ringer.

Would you like to come along and play a part in it?

To get involved visit a100.cccbr.org.uk

Find us on Facebook: BellRingingDerbyshire


The Bishop of Repton, the Rt. Revd Jan McFarlane, was among those who celebrated a major construction milestone at St Thomas’ Church, Pear Tree.

Bishop Jan attended the topping out ceremony – the traditional way builders mark reaching the highest point of a construction project – and saw the refurbishment work for herself.

The work is part of a long-term project to restore the building and provide accessible space that can be used by the whole community.

Thanks to the National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund has been able to grant St Thomas’ £217,000 to repair the east gable wall and a stunning rose window.

Bishop Jan was able to view the two-tonne apex stone that has recently been hoisted to the top of the building and she thanked contractor Peter Pearce, architect Richard Brook and their teams for their hard work.

Following a tour of the building, Bishop Jan said: “This is exactly where the Church should be – in the heart of the community with its sleeves rolled up offering space, sanctuary and Gospel hope.

“I’m very impressed indeed to see the vision turned into reality and look forward to visiting again when the church is fully open.”

The Revd Dr Simon Cartwright, vicar of St Thomas’, said: "Today is a significant milestone in the restoration of the church in this busy inner-city location.

“This is just one more step towards re-opening the church that was closed in 2011, so that it can serve the needs of people of Pear Tree once again."

Bishop Jan also met members of the St. Thomas Community, a new group of people who have come together to breathe new life into the church. The group has an ambitious vision to reopen St Thomas’ as a Community Hub that will not only incorporate worship but be a place to meet people at their point of need.

Bishop Jan said said: “When I visited the church and saw its location right in the very centre of a community with very significant issues around poverty, refugees, modern day slavery, unemployment, crime and drug abuse, I completely understood why renovating this church is so important.”

Now the high-level work has been done, the scaffolding that has shrouded the church for the last year should be down by end of March.

The next stage will be to go underground – with a trench being dug to allow new sources of electricity, gas and water into the church, enabling the welcome return of the heating!

The Revd Dr Simon Cartwright expressed his thanks to the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund for £29,553 and Derbyshire Environmental Trust for £8,474 to enable the next stage of works to go ahead.

You may be aware that, this morning, a large number of schools around the country – including Derbyshire – were targeted with what we now know to be hoax emails containing bomb threats.

The Diocese of Derby takes the security of pupils and staff in its schools and academies extremely seriously and as soon as we were made aware of these emails, appropriate action was taken.

The Diocesan Board of Education was immediately in touch with Derbyshire Police and their advice was followed.

As a result, it was not necessary to evacuate any of our schools or academies on this occasion.

Canon Dave Channon, the director of education, said: ”Working closely with the police, the course of action taken not only ensured the safety of pupils, but resulted in minimal disruption and also made sure that children were not unnecessarily panicked and stressed.

“We will always follow the advice of the police and other emergency services in the event of any potential threat to the security and safety of our schools, churches and other buildings.”

The Venerable Carol Coslett has been collated as the Archdeacon of Chesterfield.

The role will see her responsible for the northern half of the Diocese of Derby – the Chesterfield Archdeaconry - including a large area of the Peak District and the High Peak, and North East Derbyshire – a total of 131 parishes.

Archdeacon Carol was formally welcomed to the Diocese of Derby on Saturday (10 March) by the Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, together with the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, Bishop of Repton, and other senior clergy from the diocese. The service was held in the parish church of Chesterfield, St Mary and All Saints – the Crooked Spire.

As well as clergy from her new diocese, the Archdeacon was supported by members of her family, together with friends and colleagues from the Diocese of Southwark, where she served as a parish priest, an Honorary Canon of Southwark Cathedral and Acting Archdeacon.

Being no stranger to the duties of an archdeacon, she said: “I see myself being the eyes and ears of the Bishop in the archdeaconry, the diocese and the parishes – helping to work out problems, assisting with strategies and looking after church buildings and legalities.”

At her collation service, the new Archdeacon emphasised that one of the priorities must be to work together to ensure the Church stays fit for the future: “I hope to support your church and one another in the community and build our Church for the next generation.

“If we are to leave a wonderful legacy for those who come after us, we have to nurture the church family to meet the needs of people whom we are serving.”

And having been a teacher before her ordination in 2003, she said she intends to spend time in schools and being involved with the Diocesan Board of Education.

Carol is married with two grown-up children. She lists swimming, baking and walking her dog, Fudge, as being among her interests and also enjoys amateur dramatics and singing.

See also: In pictures: welcoming the new Archdeacon of Chesterfield.

geraldine pond chaplain 6148 1500 72dpi socialBuckingham Palace has announced that the Revd Canon Geraldine Pond, the Diocese of Derby’s Director of Vocations, has been appointed as a Chaplain to the Queen.

The former Ashbourne vicar will be allowed to preach to the Queen at the Chapel Royal in St James’ Palace, London, and wear a scarlet cassock in recognition of her status.

“I am overwhelmed, excited, humbled – and terrified!” said Geraldine. “When they contacted me, at first I wondered if they had got the right person.

“I am just very ordinary - so it is an amazing honour to serve the Queen and the Royal Household and I am very much looking forward to it.”

See also: In pictures: Geraldine's TV moment

See also: Geraldine on BBC East Midlands Today

The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, said: “To be made a Chaplain to the Queen is an acknowledgement of outstanding service to the Church and the wider community. 

“There are a limited number, and we have not had anyone appointed to this Office in the Diocese for a number of years. 

“Geraldine has been an exemplary parish priest, and now plays a significant role in the leadership of the Diocese. 

“We should give thanks for this gracious act of recognition, and pray for her in this new role.”

Queen’s chaplains are members of the College of Royal Chaplains, which forms part of The Queen’s Ecclesiastical Household.

Before being ordained, Geraldine had a background in the NHS as a district nurse and health visitor.

She did her ordination training at St John’s Church, Nottingham before moving to Lincolnshire where, among other roles, she undertook a mental health chaplaincy.

Geraldine served as the vicar of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, 2007 - 2015.

The Secretary of State for Education has agreed to enter into a Funding Agreement with Derby Diocesan Academy Trust (DDAT) for Derby Cathedral School. Derby Cathedral School is set to open this September, welcoming Year 7 classes at its temporary site; Midland House (Nelson Street, Derby).

Mr Gordon Inglis, Headteacher Designate of Derby Cathedral School, says: “We are all absolutely thrilled to hear the news that The Secretary of State for Education has agreed to enter into a Funding Agreement with DDAT for Derby Cathedral School, as this legal document is the Government’s formal commitment that we will open as planned.

“It is a clear sign that the Department for Education is happy that we are in a strong position to deliver a high-quality education to the children of Derby. It also means that we have been able to make unconditional offers to students on 1st March 2018, and accelerate the procurement of everything we need to successfully open in September.

Following this announcement, we have taken the decision to re-open applications. With the opening of the school in September 2018 and permanent site secured, parents and carers can be fully confident in their applications. I would encourage any interested parents and carers to do this as soon as possible as Derby Cathedral School is proving a popular choice.”

Parents and Carers can apply for a Year 7 place at Derby Cathedral School through the website here: derbycathedralschool.org.uk/apply/.

It was announced in December 2017 that the permanent site for the first ever Church of England Secondary School in the Diocese had been secured at the former Friar Gate Goods Yard.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has purchased the nine-acre site on behalf of the Trust.

A Technical Adviser has been appointed by the ESFA to work on plans for both the refurbishment of Midland House and the development of brand new buildings on the permanent site, currently due for completion by September 2020.

Open evenings are taking place on Wednesday 28th February and Wednesday 7th March, 6.30pm, at Derby Cathedral. Please do come along and meet Mr Gordon Inglis who will happily answer any questions.

bakewell 5706 2Ashes were offered on the streets in several parts of Derbyshire to mark Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.

Clergy and laity in Bakewell, Matlock, Ilkeston and Derby braved sleet and cold winds to offer prayers and ashes to shoppers, business people, cleaners, builders and tourists as they went about their daily lives.

Passers-by received a blessing and prayer card and were given the chance to receive ashes.

Some opted to have the sign of the cross, in ash, on their forehead, whilst others preferred to have it marked on the back of their hand.

“Ashes-To-Go” is a way of allowing those who are unable to attend services in churches to share a prayer, receive ashes, remember God and take a moment of reflection.

> See our Ashes-To-Go Photogallery on Flickr

Some of the prayer stations also offered red chocolate hearts as a reminder of both Valentine's Day and God's love.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm crosses that were blessed on the previous year's Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants as a sign of penitence.

The ashing is usually accompanied by the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" - a reminder that our lives are short and we should live them to the fullest and change ourselves for the better.

 IMG 5729 2

The Bishop of Repton, the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, was among those who formed part of the 'ashing' team in Derby, together with the Dean of Derby, the Very Revd Stephen Hance.

Also on the Streets was Derby's Canon Chancellor, the Revd Dr Simon Taylor.

He said: "We've met many different people. Some thought we were a bit mad and crossed the road to avoid us!

"Others were far more receptive.

"I bumped into one woman who had just got engaged this morning - Valentine's Day - and it's her birthday. She willingly showed off her ring - and as well as congratulating her, I also prayed for her. 

"Her partner is an atheist, but even he seemed pleased his new fiancée had been blessed!"

In Matlock, the Revd Richard Reade said Ashes-To-Go had definitely been worth the effort, despite the cold wind and some snow: "We've done good trade! A good number of people have stopped to receive ashes - more than I expected. It's been heart-warming."

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