Interesting items to inform and pray for

Blog for the churches in the North Wingfield Team Ministry

To inform about what's happening in Christian circles.

Also included are some cartoons and items to make you smile if you are having a bad day.

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20 October 2018

What does God do all day?

Ever wonder what God does up there in heaven?  Some of us imagine God the Father resting on a great gold throne, surrounded by angels dressed in white, eternally playing on harps.  And beyond them are millions of people, standing about.  After all, as one hymn (Jerusalem, my happy home) puts it:  where ‘congregations ne’er break up and Sabbaths never end’. To be honest, a fairly awful prospect.

But the Bible says differently. Jesus talks of His Father as being engaged with the world, working with us, giving us our daily bread, guiding us, caring for us, protecting us from evil, answering prayer, judging wrong and welcoming those who turn to Him.  Where Christians are working, there the Lord is too: ‘And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them’. (Mark 16.20) So God does not merely sit there and watch us work, He actually works with us.

In our diocese, over 70 people of all ages have learnt to ring this year ready for Remembrance Sunday, 11 November 2018, for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. They are some of the 2000 people who have joined the national #RingingRemembers campaign to honour the bell ringers who died in WW1. 

The new bell ringers have joined teams of current ringers in churches throughout the Diocese of Derby, giving their local churches and communities that iconic soundscape for Sundays, Christmas, weddings and special occasions. New bell ringers soon become 'hooked' on their new activity, enjoying exhilarating new experiences, effective workouts, challenges and rewards and a fun social life.

New ringers are still being recruited. If you are interested, please sign up before 11 November 2018.

On the morning of 11 November 2018, muffles will be used to make bells sound alternately loud then soft when they are rung in remembrance of those who gave their lives serving our country.
In the afternoon and evening the muffles will be removed and bells will ring out in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice: at 12:30pm for 'Ringing Remembers' and at 7:05pm for 'Battle's Over - Ringing Out for Peace'.

For more information email
Facebook: Bell Ringing Derbyshire

Halloween is on the way

It is that time of year again – when the pumpkins with scary faces appear in our shops, surrounded by skeleton costumes, zombie masks, witch’s hats and sweets with gruesome names. 

How do Christian parents deal with this annual celebration of evil and death?  For of course 31st October has pagan Celtic roots – it was the evening when the souls of the dead were meant to revisit their old homes on earth. 

Most kids just want the fun of dressing up and scaring their friends half to death.  They are oblivious to the darker forces behind it all, or at least do not take them seriously.

Many Christian families and churches have resolved the problem not by ignoring Halloween, but by taking it as only the starting point in a festival, not the end in itself.  Hence, they allow their children to dress up, but then take them to a Lights Party, where the whole story is told, not just the pagan bit.  Instead of discouraging any thoughts of evil and death, they encourage the children to consider the darkness – but through a Christian lens.  Christians do not deny death and dying and evil, but they know that death has no real terrors for us at all, because it has been defeated through the cross and resurrection of Jesus.  Halloween is only half the story:  Christianity is the completion, because God in his love sent Jesus to save us from darkness. 

So - Halloween is a time to remind our children that Jesus is with us in both the good and bad times of life. 


"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they
are genuine." -  Winston Churchill.

13 October 2018

Christian fair trade business Traidcraft may stop selling goods

Traidcraft plc is in trouble.  With very poor recent trading figures and despite enormous efforts by the staff and management and Fair Traders, it warns that the present model for the company may be no longer viable.

Traidcraft's charity branch, Traidcraft Exchange, will continue to support farmers and lobby government through its charitable arm, and the decision about closing the trading arm is still in a consultation period and not final. 

Traidcraft plc first started in 1979, selling fair-trade coffee, sugar and chocolate as well as rugs and handmade baskets from Bangladesh. They went on to sell fair-trade clothes and wine.

Most of us remember them from church stalls and markets. Their aim was to keep a close link between producer and purchaser.

A spokesperson for Traidcraft said:  'Traidcraft plc's mission to put the principles of fair trade into commercial practice is not, in any sense, fulfilled but we appreciate that it is time to consider new approaches.'

The worse you feel, the more likely you are to believe in God.

At least that is a finding from the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, which has found that patients admitted to hospital are more likely to have religious faith than people in the general public.

It seems that more than half of us are happy to say that we have 'no religion', according to the latest BSA survey, which found that 52 per cent of us deny any religious affiliation.   But this figure drops to only 15 per cent once you become a NHS patient.

Data from the Manchester University NHS Trust also shows that while 40 per cent of the population identify as Christian, this figure soars to 66 per cent once people are admitted to hospital. 

Love, loss, and remembering

Autumn has traditionally been a time when Christians explore the big questions about life and death. Watching the leaves fall and the nights draw in is an opportunity for all ages to think about love and loss and remember in special ways.

Children ask questions about death for all kinds of reasons. It may come from seeing a local war memorial, or closer to home with the death of a pet. Or maybe your child has lost a great-grandparent, grandparent, a family friend, a teacher, a neighbour, an aunt or uncle.

For some children, the impact of loss has huge consequences, especially if it’s the death of a parent or a sibling. However and whenever those questions come, there are good ways to remember those we see no longer with family at home:

• Light a candle on important days and say a prayer. “Loving God, thank you for _ and help us to remember them well.” This is a simple prayer to say together.

• Gather some items that remind you of that person – letters they wrote, photos of them, items of clothing – and keep them in a nice box. Children can add things to the box.

• Taking part in charities connected to the person who died; Race for Life is a family-friendly event that can honour people who died from cancer, for example.

• Children can help taking care of a gravesite – pulling weeds, choosing flowers or other items to bring at special times, washing a memorial stone, etc.

The church also has ways of remembering those we love who have died. This happens at the start of November, at All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. A week later, at Remembrance Sunday, we remember those who died in wars, and pray for peace.

At All Saints’ Day (November 1st), we remember those Christians who have died, who we don’t know personally. A “saint” is someone whose life shows us how to follow Jesus. There are all kinds of saints – teachers, artists, scientists, social reformers, troublemakers, writers, and many more.

Say that again?

A woman telephoned her bank and spoke to the accountant who looked after her holdings. 'I want to make some changes,' she said. 

The accountant asked for more details. 'Are you interested in Conversion or Redemption?' he asked. 

'Good heavens,' came the reply. 'I must have got the wrong number.  I wanted the Bank of England, not the Church of England.'

Temptations are everywhere, and so is the grace of God.  - Anon

6 October 2018

Welcome to Autumn

Prayer for changing seasons

 Faithful Father,     As the leaves change colour and fall we are reminded of life’s changing seasons. We become aware that time passes more quickly than we expect or plan for. Help us to make the most of each day You give us  - and to be thankful. Thank you that through all the changing seasons You are unchanging. Your love goes on reaching out. Thank you for sending Jesus who died to make it possible for us to know You and come to You when our days on earth are completed. Help us to trust Him, to receive Him and to live in the power of His Spirit, now and forever.     In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Follow The Star is the Church of England’s 2018 Christmas campaign. Thousands of Christmas services and events will be taking place in churches all over the country in the run up to Christmas.

The campaign will serve a number of purposes:

1. To remind everyone that Christmas doesn't end on Christmas day - in fact, that is just the start!                            2. To encourage people to remember that their church is there all year round, not just at Christmas.                         3. To guide people to the A Church Near You website so they can discover more about our churches to experience and explore.

More details on their website.

The Revd Barbara Dale who retired in 2013, died on Sunday, 2 September 2018. Revd Barbara was Deaconess from 1981, Parish Deacon 1987-1990 of North Wingfield, Pilsley and Tupton (Diocese of Derby), Parish Deacon 1990-1994 then Team Vicar 1994-2000 of North Wingfield, Clay Cross and Pilsley; Assistant Curate of Eckington and Ridgeway 2000-2004, and Team Vicar in the East Scarsdale Team Ministry 2004-2013. Her funeral was held on 18 September 2018.

30 September 2018

Growing numbers of young people train as priests

Growing numbers of young people are seeking ordination to the priesthood, as the Church of England makes progress towards achieving a key target of recruiting more candidates for ordained ministry.

The number of people aged under 32 years old recommended for training for ordination this year rose by nearly a third, or 32%, to 169, compared to 128 in 2016, a report on vocations from the Church of England shows. This means nearly one in three, or 29%, of those entering training for the priesthood this year are expected to be under 32 years old.

The overall number of people recommended for ordination training is up 7% on last year, from 541 to 580. This follows a 14% increase the year before, putting the Church on course to achieving a key target of recruiting 50% more candidates for ordination by 2020.

The figures have been published alongside Ministry Statistics for 2017 showing just over 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England, with women making up nearly a third, or 30% of the total.  But the number of clergy in paid positions in 2017 fell by 50 from 7,790 to 7,740 compared to 2016.

Nearly a quarter, or 23% of paid clergy in senior posts, such as Bishops, Cathedral Deans or Archdeacons were women in 2017, compared to 12% in 2012.  

Meanwhile, the vocations report shows that women are set to be the majority entering ordination training for the second year running, with 54% of this year’s recommended candidates being female.

Director of the Church of England's Ministry Division, Julian Hubbard, said: “I am delighted that the Church of England has seen a rise in the number of vocations to the priesthood for the second year running. We are particularly pleased to see the increase in the number of young women and men entering training.

Catherine Nancekievill, Head of Discipleship and Vocation for the Church of England, said: “The Church of England is investing in worshipping communities across the country from coastal towns to rural areas and urban housing estates. This rise in vocations to ordained ministry is a welcome answer to our prayers and hard work across the country to ensure that we continue to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to every community.”

The Church of England is aiming to achieve an increase in the diversity of those entering ministry and a 50% increase in the total number of candidates for ordained ministry by 2020. This is part of its Renewal and Reform programme . 


Safe houses for persecuted Bangladeshi Christians

Barnabas Fund has been building new houses for Christians among the Santal people of Gaibandah District in Bangladesh, who have been victims of violent persecution. One such is Dijen Tado, who was shot in the chest when he and his family fled a riot back in 2016.

Helped by local Muslims, the police had set fire to the wooden shacks of all the Christians in the village, killing at least three, and making about 5,500 of them homeless. 

When local church leaders told Dijen that he would get one of the new homes, he could scarcely believe it.  “Every day when work was progressing I came to see. I prayed and waited … I saw a small light that is from Jesus Christ that I will get a place to live,” said Dijen.

After living in a wooden shack and then a makeshift tent for endless months, the sturdy brick house was a dream come true for Dijen. “Now I have a real place to live. Not only that, now we have a good toilet, school for the children and church nearby so we can worship.”  Brick buildings, on church-owned land, make the Christians far less vulnerable to attack in future.

Fifty homeless Santal families have recently moved into their brand-new houses. But thousands more still need to be re-housed.  If you would like to help build new homes, or donate towards some wells that will provide water, please go to:


Whose fault is it, anyway?

In a small town a businessman put in planning permission to build a nightclub complete with dancing girls.  The local church started a vigorous campaign to block it from opening.  The church launched a petition and held prayers in public.  Work progressed, however, right up until the week before opening.  Then one night a bolt of lightning strike hit the nightclub and it burned to the ground.

The church members were rather smug after that, until the nightclub owner sued them all -on the grounds that they were responsible for the fire. Loudly protesting their total non-involvement and innocence, the church members were all taken to court. 

As the case began, the judge looked over the paperwork and observed: ‘I don't know how I'm going to decide this.  It appears that we have a nightclub owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that doesn't!’


Something definite

Are you in the right place? Are you doing the right thing?

God has created me to do him some definite service.  He has committed some work to me that he has not committed to another.  I have my mission.  John Henry Newman.

22 Setember 2018

Closer ties with the Metodist Church

The Methodist Conference has welcomed the Mission and Ministry in Covenant joint report by the Methodist Church and the Church of England. The report outlines proposals for bringing the Methodist Church and the Church of England into communion with each other.  

If accepted, the proposals would enable interchangeability between presbyteral ministries and see increased missional opportunities as the two churches work closer together to support the communities they serve.

The joint report has already been welcomed by the Church of England at its General Synod. The Methodist Conference asked for a further report to be brought to the 2019 Conference.

The story behind the HYMN:  Stand by me

We’ve recently mourned the death of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. So it is a good time to remember another African American song-writer, Charles Tindley. He not only used his gift to give voice to thousands of people struggling with pain and rejection, he also gave them good reason for hope – in God. 

Charles Albert Tindley knew all about hardship and suffering. He was born to a slave father in Maryland in 1851, ten years before the Civil War began.  Although his mother was free, she died when he was very young, and so he was raised by his aunt and father. They lived in poverty, and from early childhood he was hired out – ‘wherever my father could place me’. 

Yet Charles wanted more out of life.  As a teenager he taught himself to read, and managed to get to night-school. He had become a devout Christian and felt called to the ministry.  And so, after completing a seminary course by correspondence, he was ordained a Methodist pastor, and went to Philadelphia.  He did not go alone; when just 17 he had married a local girl, Daisy. They would share 56 years of marriage and produce eight children.

In Philadelphia, Charles and Daisy began a small church in a poor section of town.  He was quickly noticed – at 6 foot four inches, it was hard not to see him!  He was a born leader, and his little church soon began to grow…. from nothing to finally 10,000 people.  When he spoke, people could hear an authentic voice of painful experience, and yet always Christian hope as well.  Charles knew about poverty and believed Christians should help: his church offered food banks and clothing drives to the local community, as well as a soup kitchen from the church basement.  Charles often went out into the streets of his rough neighbourhood, visiting the bars to talk to desperate people about Jesus Christ.  

Like Aretha Franklin, Charles knew that most African-Americans felt trapped in hopeless situations, and that they were regarded as second class citizens.  So his music urged them to have hope in the love of God, and in His protection for them.  This hymn reflects that shining faith. 

Stand by me

1. When the storms of life are raging, stand by me;
when the storms of life are raging, stand by me.
When the world is tossing me, like a ship upon the sea,
Lord, who rules the wind and water, stand by me.

2. In the midst of tribulation, stand by me;
in the midst of tribulation, stand by me.
When the host of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail,
Lord, who never lost a battle, stand by me.

3. In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me;
in the midst of faults and failures, stand by me.
When I’ve done the best I can, and my friends misunderstand,
Lord, who knows all about me, stand by me.

4. In the midst of persecution, stand by me;
in the midst of persecution, stand by me.
When my foes in war array undertake to stop my way,
Lord, who saved Paul and Silas, stand by me.

5. When I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me;
when I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me.
When my life becomes a burden and I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
Lord, the Lily of the Valley, stand by me.


Say again? Three elderly church ministers, all hard of hearing, were playing golf one sunny spring morning.  The Methodist minister observed, ‘Windy, isn’t it?’  ‘No,’ the Baptist pastor said, ‘it’s Thursday.’  The Anglican vicar agreed: ‘So am I!  Let’s go and get a pint.’

20 September 2018

Give some ‘mustard seeds’ this Harvest

Did you know that half the population of this country is financially vulnerable? In fact, England has one of the lowest levels of financial capability in the developed world, according to the Just Finance Foundation. A good reason why the Mustard Seed Appeal has returned for another year.                           

The Mustard Seed Appeal was born out of the Archbishop’s vision for a fairer, more just and equitable financial system that works for all sectors of society. The Appeal, now in its third year was founded by the Archbishop, who made the very first gift to the appeal, which raises vital funds for the work of the Just Finance Foundation.                                                                                                                                       

The Archbishop shares how the Parable of the Mustard Seed relates to the vision of the Just Finance Foundation being a place of refuge and support for all who need it.                                                          

With five out of six people who are over-indebted not seeking the help they need, there is still much work to be done. So this autumn the Archbishop is inviting Christians across the country to send a gift to the appeal, and by doing so, help to build financial resilience back into our communities.




Deliver us... I had been teaching my three-year-old daughter the Lord's Prayer. Then one evening at bedtime she attempted it solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer. ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ she prayed, ‘but deliver us from e-mail. Amen.’






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