News from your diocese
Derby: St Thomas’, Brampton, had a bumper Christmas this year reporting a 27 per cent increase in attendance over its six main Christmas services. Some 1,348 people attended church over the Christmas period, up from 1,064 visits last year and other local churches have also reported growth in congregations over the Christmas period. St Thomas’ Carol service on 23 December was the most popular service with well over 500 people coming to the church to enjoy traditional carols, the church’s celebration choir and the Holymoorside Brass Band. The Rector of St Thomas’, the Rev Matthew Barnes, said: “It was wonderful to see so many from our community come to church this year; it’s clear people in Brampton appreciate traditional Christian values at Christmas!”
Liverpool: Liverpool Cathedral is offering three opportunities to explore faith and learn about the Bible this month and running until March, with The Alpha Course, Breakfast with the Bible and Supper with the Scriptures and the Cathedral’s School of Theology’s drop-in course ‘The Holy Spirit and the Church’. Dean Pete Wilcox said: “January is the perfect time to try new things, and each course offers something different. If you do not consider yourself a Christian but want to find out more about Christianity, or if you have been away from Church for a long time then Alpha is for you. If you prefer to unpick Bible stories in detail, Breakfast with the Bible and Supper with the Scriptures is a good choice. Those interested in the links between Church history and current practice will find the ‘Holy Spirit and the Church’ extremely stimulating. We are passionate about making theological education and faith exploration open to all so the courses are as flexible as possible and we hope there is something for everybody. The courses are either free or a minimal cost, there are no assessments, and there is no pressure to commit to them for a long time – just come to the sessions that you want.” For more information, visit www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk.
Rochester: At a service to celebrate 75 years of worship at the church, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, dedicated a new stained glass window at St Mary’s Church, Green Street Green. But this new window is unique as it has been designed and made by members of the congregation: there is no other contemporary example in this country of a stained glass window being made for a church by its members rather than by a professional artist. The initial idea started in late 2008, when, after a small group visited Leonie Seliger, head of the stained glass studio at Canterbury Cathedral, they were inspired to have a go themselves and invested in training five members of the St Mary’s congregation in the art of stained glass making. The theme was affirmed by a dream experienced by one member which displayed strong connections to the vision described in Ezekiel 47 – that of the life-giving river flowing from the temple. Finally a design was created by Marina Price, a church member with artistic gifts. The £20,000 cost of the window was raised by the congregation and the work finally began in September 2011.
Southwell & Nottingham: Former Nottingham City Council chief, Jane Todd, is to head up a brand new venture by the Church of England and the Church Urban Fund, aiming to tackle poverty in communities across Nottinghamshire. The venture with the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham and CUF will be called ‘Transforming Notts Together’ and will enable financial and practical support to be channelled into local schemes such as homeless centres, debt counselling and food banks. Jane Todd said: “I’m very excited about the potential this venture has to transform people’s lives across Nottinghamshire and make a real difference to the hardships people are facing in the current economic crisis. We hope the venture will enable projects to be established and give groups and especially churches the confidence to step out to help tackle the desperate needs in some of our communities.”