Ever wondered what it's like to be a churchwarden?

Hazel Massey, the churchwarden at St Wilfred's, West Hallam, says it's more than just a position, it's a vocation. 

So if you've ever thought that you might be called to do work for the church, but not inclined to be ordained, read on...

Hazel writes:

I’m sure most of you are aware that as a churchwarden generally we have responsibility for the fabric of the building and work with the Priest to enable worship to happen. 

I am a volunteer and this a part of how I can give back to my faith and church.

However, don’t be fooled - I’ve found that it can be a full time job if I let it and can spend hours in church. But it is a privilege and pleasure to hold this role and that so varied are the tasks from one day to another.

I may be risk-assessing the tower, or being woken up by someone wanting to know the venue and time of that days services. 

I may be baking for an event or in a meeting with Archdeacons and registrar etc.  Churchwardens are contacted about so many things from ”we need more loo rolls”, people are hanging around the church yard or the alarm is going off or maybe we need a verger for a wedding, baptism or funeral. 

However I will never be the one to remove spiders! That’s definitely the other warden's remit!

Sundays are the busiest – it’s not just setting up for services and opening doors etc, it’s making sure the right linen is on and as we’re a multi parish benefice – that when the minister does arrive to lead the service only moments before its due to begin they have all they need already prepared for them as they will have come from another church. 

Quite often we also hear all the moans and groans that occur – ‘the church is too cold/ too warm’ the children were too loud, the sound system didn’t work, the vicar didn’t… or we haven’t seen the vicar, just a few examples. 

Also, when people on the rotas don’t turn up – we find someone else if we can or just do it ourselves.  I’m really grateful that there are two of us otherwise it would be an impossible task. 

But to be fair we also get to sit in meetings, have regular meetings/catch ups with the vicar, and generally, hopefully, know what’s going on. 

Most churchwardens are also on other committees, school governors, youth, safeguarding or whatever they can do to use their gifts to enable the church to function and when we are in an interregnum there are more committee meetings about ‘who will be the next parish priest?’

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all committees or moans and groans, although we hear a lot of those, there are also the fun things like helping people come to faith, prepare for their wedding, being a listening ear, …. and so much more.

A churchwarden also holds a license from the Bishop, to whom we are responsible.   

I love my role and all the fascinating rules and regulations that you find out about the Church of England – some can really be annoying when you want to do something and need something called a 'faculty form' but there are others which are fascinating and rather bizarre -….?

Being a churchwarden is a vocation – you have to love what you do.  Vocation is something that emerges, and continues to emerge, throughout life — coaxed out by prayer and conversation, shaped by God, and confirmed by the church community.

God has a plan for you; it just may be a surprising one not what you think it will be.

Hazel's Diary

Sunday: Busy day! I arrive for 10.15am but it’s not just setting
up for services and opening doors, it’s making sure the
right linen is on the altar and as we’re a multi-parish
benefice, the minis ter has all they need for when they
arrive from another church. After church, I go for lunch
with a group of older single ladies from church -
always a treat and enjoy the catch-up. At 4.30pm, back
to church to prepare for evening Holy Communion.

Monday: This morning I had a deanery safeguarding leads
meeting. In the afternoon I rang a member of the
congregation to arrange to go for coffee and a chat
re an issue for church. After, I went along to the local
school for a meeting with s taff and governors.

Tuesday Off to church for 8.30am to attend Morning Prayer.
Attended the Deanery Synod Meeting in the evening.

Wednesday Met with the person I rang on Monday for the coffee
and chat.

Thursday This morning, I attended “News Chat”. We are extremely
pro ud as it was awarded the diocese Best New Fresh
Expression last year.

Saturday Picked up my friend and drove to Loscoe for Jason
Kennedy’s session on “Talking faith”. Busy afternoon as
took sandwiches to the “Refectory at the Rectory” faith
lunch. Started on some preparations for tomorrow -
which you already know is my busiest day of the week!

Next weekend will be very busy due to the village well
dressings. The church seating needs to be moved around
completely. I will be in church a lot of Thursday,
Friday and Saturday. Thursday and Friday to set up
the displays and refreshment tables then risk assess;
Saturday whilst people are in the church as it gets VERY
busy and we have to address health and safety issues.


Hazel's story also appeared in issue 2 of Together Magazine.

west hallam st wilfrid 7192 1500 72



More than 100 volunteers in the Diocese of Derby have been awarded a Bishop’s Badge for service to their church community. The awards were made in two special services in Derby Cathedral by the Bishop of Repton, the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane.

Bishop’s Badge was introduced by Bishop Alastair a few years ago as a way of commending those who had gone the extra mile to help their local parishes and associated communities.

> In pictures (on Flickr):Bishop's Badge - Chesterfield Archdeaconry | Derby Archdeaconry

Among those receiving a Bishop’s Badge this year were:

  • Jean Redfern from Hulland Ward. She was awarded her badge for 75 years' service to the RBL Poppy appeal. She started when she was 10, is now 85 and hasn't missed a single year. At the age of 71 she had a pacemaker fitted. The operation was on a Monday and by the Thursday she was out selling poppies again.

  • Neil Seviour, who gave life-saving first aid

  • Jackie Ainley, who continued to do administrative work for All Saints, Mugginton, from her hospital bed after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Sadly, Jackie died a week after being told she was to be awarded a badge, but her family were able to tell her about the award and show her pictures before she died. Her Badge was collected on her behalf by her Daughter, Carlotte.
  • Alison Barnett is the Tower Captain at St Wilfrid's, West Hallam. She has completely revitalised and re-energised the ringing crew and spent hours training a number of new ringers. They will take part in the ringing event to mark the end of WW1 next month too.

Bishop's Badge has historic links, based on a medal that the very first Bishop of Derby, Bishop Edmund Pearce, had struck to celebrate this new beginning.

Medals were presented to distinguished members of the Diocese and to all those being confirmed in that year. In recent years, Bishop Alastair arranged for a replica of this medal to be minted and mounted in the form of a badge. 

Each year, the diocesan Bishop awards these badges, based upon recommendations made, to acknowledge outstanding service to the church.

When Youlgreave first started to consider how to remember the First World War 100 years on, little did the villagers know how the project would develop.

A one-day workshop to help churches get started with social media.

Thursday, 13 December 2018, 10.30 am - 3 pm | Venue: Derby Church House | Cost: Free

Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 10.30 am - 3 pm | Venue: Derby Church House | Cost: Free

Do you use social media for your church?

If you've thought about using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get your message, mission and events out to a wider audience but aren't really sure how to get started, then this is an ideal workshop to get you started.

This workshop is for beginners. In it, we'll look at setting up your accounts and pages, how to use them, how (and what) to post and we'll look at ideas and best practice.

What you will need:

  • Wi-Fi-enabled laptop or tablet (don't forget the power lead!)
  • Smartphone (optional)
  • Notepad and pen
  • Packed lunch (tea and coffee will be provided)

It would also be useful for you to bring the login details for your church's email address (if you're going to use it to run your social media accounts from).

Book your place via Eventbrite (13 December 2018)

Book your place via Eventbrite (9 January 2019)


The Social

From January 2019, we'll be sending out a regular email with social media hints, tips and ideas to churches and church officers who subscribe.

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Sharon and Peter are mother-in-law and son-in-law and are both training for ordination having found their faith through entirely different paths. 

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.

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)




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

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

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