June’s Magazine 2021
June’s Thought (Part 1)
You may feel that in lockdown you’ve been locked literally in your homes or in your workplace. Maybe, until this forced cessation of everyday normal activity we have been living much too fast, too restlessly, too feverishly, forgetting to pay attention to what is happening here and now, right under our noses. There’s an irony that sometimes though, that when we’re forced into doing very little, our minds race with worries, thoughts, and anxieties.
Yet, as we move into June, we’re called to remember that there’s a whole world of beauty to be rediscovered in just one flower, so the great grace of God can be tasted in one small moment. Just as no great journeys are necessary to see the beauty of creation, so no great visions are needed to discover the love of God. But you have to be still and wait so that you can realize that God is not in the earthquake, the storm, or the lightning, but in the gentle breeze
with which he touches your back or the sunlight warming you or the scent of a flower or the fellowship of finally hugging your loved ones.
As lockdown is rolled back, I pray that we will do two important things. Firstly, that we’ll celebrate our newfound freedom to live and move among other people, sharing in friendships which may
have been put on hold or certainly only experienced from a great distance. Yet secondly, I think we also need to keep that special
place within where we can meet the Crucified and Risen Lord; where we can find peace and stillness. Some call this mindfulness other contemplation, but post Covid we are called to be more balanced in being both active and in being contemplative.
Post Covid could we be more loving; sharing more with those who have nothing with love and joy? Also being more tolerant with each other and more open to celebrating the simple things in life.
Now our church buildings are open and as safe as we can make them, may I once more invite you to join us in our services if you so wish or simply to come when they are open and rest awhile from the business of life. Finally, please know that you are all in the prayers of our church communities. We remember your loss and we celebrate your new life post Covid.
May peace and love be seen more fully in all our communities.
God bless you all and your loved ones.
Revd. Stephen Monk
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
Churches to launch nature count within
the ‘National Park’ of churchyards (from PP)
Hundreds of churches have signed up to a week-long ‘nature count’ occurring this month (June), which will encourage people to visit churchyards and record what they see.
Churches Count on Nature, to run between 5th-13th June, is a citizen-science event covering churchyards across England and Wales.
Communities and visitors will be asked to make a note of the animals, birds, insects, or fungi in their local churchyard. Their data will then be collated on the National Biodiversity Network.
It is being jointly run by the conservation charities Caring for God’s Acre, A Rocha UK, the Church of England, and the Church in Wales.
Church land, often uniquely unploughed and undeveloped, can be a habitat for precious, endangered plants and wildlife. Together, churchyards cover a huge area –estimated to be equivalent to a small national park.
The week is open to anyone with a love of nature, and churches are seeking links with local schools and local wildlife groups.
Various online guidance about getting to know fauna and flora is being shared with the churches who are participating.
A similar national event Love Your Burial Ground Week will be combined with this project.
N.B., We have already signed up to do this and are inviting the local schools to help out and take part but if any of you would like to join in just let Stephen, one of the wardens or me know. I think we could plan a group activity. I am keen to do an early morning bird-watch and record. Any bird watchers or twitchers or beginners keen to learn, just let me know.
Gardening really is good for you
According to a recent study conducted by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and two universities, people who garden every day have well-being scores 6.6 per cent higher, and stress levels 4.2 per cent lower than those who do not garden at all.
Dr Lauriane Chalmin-Pui, RHS well-being fellow and lead author says, “The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden, the greater the health benefits.
“In fact, gardening every day has the same positive impact on your well-being as undertaking regular, vigorous exercise like cycling or running.
“Gardening is like effortless exercise: it doesn’t feel as strenuous as going to the gym, but we can expend similar amounts of energy.”
(from the Parish Pump)
St Helen’s Peace Garden
“Kiss of the sun for pardon.
Song of the birds for mirth.
You’re closer to God’s heart in a garden
Than any place on earth.”
– Dorothy Frances Gurney
Thankfully, as planned and hoped and prayed about, the Peace Garden is beginning to look after itself to some extent, as most of the perennials and shrubs settle in and mature.
There is, of course, ongoing maintenance, tidying and weeding, so given that gardening is good for you, how about offering an hour or two to help out – either as a one off or on a regular basis? Just get in touch with me and I’ll arrange to meet you there to show you what needs doing and to set some possible times for working together.
Training on weed identification will be give if you are keen to lend a hand but not very green-fingered! On a nice day bring a snack and a flask of coffee or tea and reward yourself with a calming sit on one of the benches.
The garden is well used. Please pray that it will continue to be a place of peace and blessing.
Chris, wearing ‘Head Gardener’ hat
June Thought (Part II)
I’m not sure if you’ve ever been afraid; if you’ve ever been worn down by the events of daily life or an imbalance of chemicals in one’s body. Often after a crisis when people’s adrenalin dissipates. depression, anxiety, a blue mood, etc. can hit you. Let’s remember that this is as sadly true for our young people as well as adults. None of these things are ’caused by a lack of faith or because you’re not Christian. My first simple comment is: God does not punish us. God loves each one of us. Down the ages of the Church men and women and young people have died professing this truth. Saintly people are and always have been on the front line in caring for people hit by disease, famine, natural disaster, etc
Let me make a second simple comment: Christians – both new Christians and old ones – suffer from mental health problems. This I’ve seen called a lack of faith in the past, or immaturity in faith, even having the wrong Christian tradition!! Let me be clear this is absolute rubbish! Everyone at some time in their lives has a mental health crisis. If you don’t, you are very lucky.
Pre Covid this was a serious issue in our rural areas of Derby Diocese. But during and post-Covid mental health issues, faith crises, and physical and spiritual and mental breakdowns are prevalent. Below I include a list of symptoms and consequences of long-term fear:
Fatigue, depression, and PTSD (PTSD isn’t simply a soldier’s illness), shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain
A feeling of overwhelming fear; a feeling of going crazy or losing control; feeling you are in grave danger; feeling you might pass out
a surge of doom and gloom; an urgency to escape;
Dizziness, palpitations, trembling, sweating, panic attacks; turning pale, burning skin; feeling detached from reality; weak in the knees; pulsing in the ear
Stomach upset, nervous stomach, pins and needles; hot and cold flushes; can’t pray or talk to people, etc, etc, etc…
As a United Benefice, we have always taken this seriously. But as we continue to move forward, I want us to be aware and be gentle with each other. We never know what’s going on in people’s minds. In June we will look at how we can serve each other and also our local communities. If you have an idea on how we can support both the younger members of our communities and also our adults please let me know. Mental Health is serious. It’s affecting our spiritual life and our physical life. Let’s remember some words from the Bible:
1 Peter 5.7 tells us: Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.
John 14.27 tells us: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
If you’re not OK, that’s OK but please talk to someone. May the Holy Spirit help you move from the place of darkness and depression to the place of God’s amazing grace and wonderful love. In our Benefice, we hold you all in our prayers.
As Ever Yours.
Revd. Stephen Monk
Talk to your friends and family or contact:
Revd. Stephen Monk on 01629 734257 email@example.com
Sources of help if you are experiencing severe depression
or mental health issues:
- Careline (the free befriending service) on 01335 210353
- Silverline (aged 55+) on 0800 470 80 90 to arrange for a weekly 30 min phone call from a friendly volunteer who will be there to listen
- NHS 111 Service (open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Offering advice and support about what to do in a crisis). Call 111
- Samaritans on 116 123 (offering emotional support 24 hours a day. Just having someone to talk to that isn’t family or friends can be a tremendous help.
- Call Derbyshire (open between 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 4pm Saturdays. The customer care assistant who takes your call will ‘own’ your enquiry and will do everything possible to ensure you receive the information and help you need) on 01629 533190.
- Sane Line (Offering specialist mental health emotional support 6pm to 11pm everyday) on 0845 767 8000.
- Call the Derbyshire Mental Health Support Line:
0800 028 0077 (24 hours per day, 7 days per week)
- Childline helps children and young people under 19 with any issue they’re going through. Tel: 0800 1111 free – the helpline number won’t show up on your phone bill. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, you can only speak to a Childline counsellor online or on the phone from 9am to midnight.
- PAPYRUS HOPELineUK (Mon to Fri 10am – 5pm and 7pm – 10pn & Weekends 2pm – 5pm). PAPYRUS aims to prevent young people taking their own lives. A professionally staffed helpline provides support, practical advice and information both to young people worried about themselves and to anyone concerned that a young person may harm themselves. 0800 068 41 41.
Text: 07860039967 3. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you, or a friend or relative are experiencing mental health problems for the first time and need emergency treatment or advice during office hours, then you should contact your general practitioner (GP). Your GP is your family doctor, the doctor you would normally see if you are ill or concerned about any aspect of your health. They will be able to refer you to the most appropriate mental health service in your area.
Church of England News
The Church of England and Racism:
Archbishop of York’s Presidential Address
to the General Synod
It was “sobering and shameful” for the Church of England to be “confronted by the recent Panorama documentary”, which looked at “a number of shockingly specific instances where sisters and brothers in Christ have experienced racism in the Church of England.”
So said the Archbishop of York in his recent Presidential Address to the General Synod.
He went on to say that the Anti-Racism Task Force set up by the Church last autumn had now published its “inspiring, challenging, and – God willing – far reaching report” to deal with the “institutional racism” found in the church.
“It identifies five areas where urgent action is needed, namely: participation, including appointments and shortlists for appointments; education; training and mentoring; work with young people; and governance and structures.”
The Archbishop looked forward to the discussion of all this at a future Synod. “However, we couldn’t let this group of sessions pass without acknowledging the scale of the challenge and the call to action.”
The Archbishop went on: “I’m not standing here to defend our record. Nor am I saying everything will be ok. …I’m saying that there is racism in the Church, and it must be confronted.”
The Archbishop agreed with a statement by the Revd Arun Arora which said: ‘Apologies and lament must now be accompanied by swift actions leading to real change.’
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, (and we should add neither black nor white) for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Bishop tells General Synod to speak against persecution of religious believers and atheists
The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, recently told General Synod that “human dignity and flourishing is diminished” when religious believers and atheists are persecuted.
He also warned the Church of England’s decision-making body that it would be an “act of self-harm” only to speak up for persecuted Christians.
Speaking in a debate on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), Bishop Nick addressed many abuses including against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China, atheists in Saudi Arabia, and Christians in Pakistan.
“If human rights mean anything, then the freedom to choose our religion or belief, the freedom to change our religion or belief and the freedom to have no religion or stated belief at all is a right we all have by virtue of being human,” Bishop Nick said.
He continued: “Violations are increasing and intensifying involving not just intolerance and exclusion but active discrimination.
In its ultimate form this can culminate in genocide, a phenomenon that has sadly been seen with increasing frequency, whether that of Christians and Yazidis at the hands of Isis in Iraq, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar or Uighurs in China.”
While we do need to remember and support in prayer and in giving, (as we are able), our many Christian brothers and sisters who face persecution, we need to be aware of and pray for all facing discrimination and persecution, whatever their beliefs.
An estate agent’s board outside a redundant church:
Suitable for conversion
Arriving at church to attend a wedding, a formidable looking lady in a large hat was greeted by the usher. “Are you a friend of the groom?” he ventured.
“Certainly not,” she said indignantly. “I’m the bride’s mother.”
A minister said to a precocious six-year-old boy, “So your mother says a prayer over you each night? That’s very commendable. What does she say?”
The little boy replied, “Thank God he’s in bed!”
In one small rural village the local vet also led the local Neighbourhood Watch group. Late one night the phone rang, and his wife answered. An agitated voice inquired, “Is your husband there?”
“He is, but tell me, do you need him as the vet or the Neighbourhood Watch?” the wife asked.
“Both!” was the reply. “We can’t get our dog’s mouth open, and there’s a burglar in it!”
Update from Darley Dale in Bloom
As Lockdown is continuing to ease, we have seized the opportunity to start organising events again subject to current restrictions. Last month we held the ever-popular Bunny Hunt and Carriage Rides around the Whitworth Park, a litter pick in Darley Dale and helped out at the Darley Dale Community Garden in Churchtown.
Our thanks to committee member Caroline Dale-Leech from Red House Stables who organised the event and provided the carriage and handsome horses, and to ‘Peter Rabbit’ who accompanied Caroline for the rides.
The following day an intrepid group set out from the Whitworth Centre to litter pick selected areas of Darley Dale. You might have seen us around the park and the surrounding area with our litter pickers and pink bags, kindly provided by our Town Council. One of the most difficult areas to clean up was behind the pavement wall at the Medical Centre which involved forking out the submerged rubbish; it certainly looks a lot better now! We are grateful for the many residents of Darley Dale who litter pick regularly themselves, but of course it would be a lot better if this was not necessary in the first place, so let’s all take our own rubbish home with us or put it in a bin!
Later that month we went to help out at the Darley Dale Community Project Garden at Church Road in Churchtown, initiated by Cllr. Dave Oakley and involving children from Churchtown Primary School. A group of ‘in Bloom’ volunteers cut back shrubs, weeded and did a bit of planting in one of the beds,
Our Sensory Garden in the Whitworth Park is an ongoing project, for which the Darley Dale Co-op has recently awarded us a generous grant of £200 to buy more grasses and other perennials. We are looking forward to buying and planting them up before the summer.
The summer plant order has been done so we are looking forward to replanting at the beginning of June. The clearing of the winter bedding started on Monday 17 May with the five beds in the Whitworth Park. As ever, we could always use more help with our work around Darley Dale, so we would be very pleased to hear from you. You can follow us on our Facebook page.
9th June We remember:
Columba of Iona, missionary to the UK
In 563 AD St Columba sailed from Ireland to Iona – a tiny island off Mull, in the Western Highlands. He brought Christianity with him.
Columba (c. 521 -97) was born in Donegal of the royal Ui Neill clan, and he trained as a monk. He founded the monasteries of Derry (546), Durrow (c.556) and probably Kells. But in 565 Columba left Ireland with twelve companions for Iona, an island off southwest Scotland. Iona had been given to him for a monastery by the ruler of the Irish Dalriada.
Why would a monk in his mid-40s go into such voluntary exile? Various explanations include going into voluntary exile for Christ, an attempt to help overseas compatriots in their struggle for survival, or even as some sort of punishment for his part in a row over a psalter in Ireland. Whatever the reason, Columba went to Iona and spent the rest of his life in Scotland, returning to Ireland only for occasional visits.
Columba’s biographer, Adomnan, portrays him as a tall, striking figure of powerful build and impressive presence, who combined the skills of scholar, poet and ruler with a fearless commitment to God’s cause. Able, ardent, and sometimes harsh, Columba seems to have mellowed with age.
As well as building his monastery on Iona, Columba also converted Brude, king of the Picts. Columba had great skill as a scribe, and an example of this can be seen in the Cathach of Columba, a late 6th century psalter in the Irish Academy, which is the oldest surviving example of Irish majuscule writing. In his later years Columba spent much time transcribing books.
Columba’s death was apparently foreseen by his community, and even, it seems, sensed by his favourite horse. He died in the church just before Matins, and it is a tribute to this man that his traditions were upheld by his followers for about a century, not least in the Synod of Whitby and in Irish monasteries on the continent of Europe.
Here is a prayer of St Columba:
Christ With Us
My dearest Lord,
Be Thou a bright flame before me,
Be Thou a guiding star above me,
Be Thou a smooth path beneath me,
Be Thou a kindly shepherd behind me,
Today and evermore.
A People of Prayer
Editor: This is adapted from an article by Matt Jolley of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC).
First, you simply have to be willing to listen
… the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. …he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3-4)
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:27)
“Bad listeners do not make good disciples.” So said the well-known Christian writer John Stott, whose centenary we celebrate this year. And Stott’s ‘listening ear’ still remains at the heart of what disciples are called upon to do, today.
We listen to God because God speaks, and He speaks to us primarily through Scripture. Through the Spirit’s animation (His presence and power at work within us), these ancient scrolls remain living and active, addressing our contemporary world. Listening to this living Word is to receive life itself; to ignore it leads to death.
Such high stakes explain why our Bibles are packed with urgent reminders and stark warnings to listen to what God is saying. If we turn away from His Word, our hearts, speech, and actions follow.
But if we listen, we discover nothing less than Christ’s riches imbuing our everyday lives. His words will inform our minds, reform our hearts, and transform our actions. That’s why for Hebrew writers, hearing God was inseparable from obeying what He said – to hear and NOT obey is as ludicrous as building a house on a beach in hurricane season
So, what does it look like for us to be obedient hearers of the Word?
First, we listen to God for our frontlines, prayerfully carrying our workplaces, our families, and our streets with us to Scripture, seeking wisdom for how to live gospel-soaked lives in ordinary places. As we read the text, and let it read us, the way we go about our day – from replying to an email to greeting a shop assistant – should look different as a result.
Then, we listen to God on our frontlines, sensitive to where the Good Shepherd is at work in the everyday. Where might His voice lead us if we expected to hear Him not just in our morning quiet time, but on the bus, in the pub garden, at the supermarket? What might He say to us, and through us, for the places we go and the people we meet, if we’d only make time to pause, and hear? What starts as a gentle whisper to us could outwork shalom through us to demonstrate the kingdom to those around us.
Because, as Stott reminds us, often being the hands and feet of Jesus first requires us to simply use our ears
Prayer Tool: How to Pray the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is the most famous prayer in history, crafted by Jesus himself. This prayer tool will unpack its significance and demonstrate how it can be used as a model and a map.
“To this day I am still nursing myself on the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and am still eating and drinking of it like an old man without getting bored of it.” Martin Luther
“The Lord’s Prayer correctly understood is one of the high roads into the central mystery of Christian salvation and Christian experience.” N.T. Wright
“To cultivate a deeper prayer life all you have to do is say the Lord’s Prayer, but take an hour to do it.” Timothy Jones
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:9-13
A quick introduction to the Lord’s Prayer
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he crafted a meticulous, memorable, rhyming prototype.
The Lord’s Prayer are words we can actually say – and when we repeat these familiar lines, we echo the words of Christ himself, alongside billions of Christians throughout time, all over the world.
This prayer given by Jesus can be used in two quite distinct ways:
As a model. The Lord’s Prayer serves as the ultimate prototype. It is a condensed liturgical poem clearly intended for frequent repetition.
It teaches us what to pray
As a map. The Lord’s Prayer guides us as we express the things on our hearts. Each line can be applied and expanded in personal conversation with the Father.
It teaches us how to pray.
Do it: How to pray the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer as a model: knowing what to pray
It was traditional for rabbinic bands at the time of Jesus to have their own unique creedal prayer. John the Baptist’s followers seem to have had such a prayer because, when Jesus’ disciples asked, ‘Lord teach us to pray,’ they added ‘just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)
They weren’t just asking Jesus for a few good prayer tips. They were also saying ‘We need a statement of faith!’ This makes the Lord’s Prayer the earliest Christian creed, given to us by Jesus himself some three centuries before the Council of Nicaea.
As such, it is our primary doctrinal foundation for life and faith, well worth repeating regularly so that its foundational truths can slowly shape our hearts and our minds.
An easy way to build the Lord’s Prayer into your regular routine is to set a daily reminder for midday.
This will be annoying. That’s the whole point. It will interrupt your relentless busyness with a reminder to pause and put first things first, to focus for a minute on what you most truly believe.
And this is not a new idea. In fact, the didache which was written in the first century AD instructs the first Christians to pray the Lord’s Prayer ‘three times in the day’ – probably mirroring the three fixed times of prayer in the temple, at 9am, midday, and around 6pm.
Understandably, some people worry that mechanical recitation might turn into the kind of ‘vain repetition’ that Jesus explicitly warns us against, just before he gives the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.
Clearly, it’s important that we don’t recite the Lord’s Prayer mindlessly, or treat it superstitiously- but rather use this powerful prayer to shape our lives and earth our beliefs.
The Lord’s Prayer as a map: knowing how to pray
The Lord’s Prayer is also a map that helps us to pray our own prayers from the heart. When Jesus said, ‘this then is how you should pray,’ he was telling his disciples to use it more as a guide than a destination.
Many people find prayer difficult. We get distracted and struggle to know what to say. But praying the Lord’s Prayer is a simple answer to these problems.
Just its first two words, ‘Our Father’ prompt us to pause and pray for our families. ‘Hallowed be your name’ is an invitation to worship. ‘Let your Kingdom come’ is an opportunity to request help for the particular people, places and situations on our hearts. ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ invites us to pray about our most practical needs. ‘Forgive us our sins’ is a challenge to name the ways in which we have sinned.
Prayed in this way, each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer becomes an invitation to embark upon our own personal adventures of adoration, petition, intercession, confession and spiritual warfare.
Books on the Lord’s Prayer (You could contact Cornerstone bookshop about sourcing these)
- The Lord’s Prayer – William Barclay
- Fifty-Seven Words That Changed the World – Darrell W. Johnson
- Praying the Lord’s Prayer – J.I. Packer
- The Lord and his Prayer – Tom Wright
Online sources of Christian books: