A Thought For November From the Rector

The Church hasn’t always been respectful of women.  In fact it seems safe to say that religion in general has had very little respect for women, their talents, their skills and even their lives. I want to state clearly that in our Benefice no one has the right to judge another person because of their sex, sexuality, age, background or economic circumstance. If you feel that Jesus and religion gives you the right to do any of the above then you don’t know Jesus and you’ve misunderstood what religion is about.

Thinking of this I want to ask; do you feel loved?  I know this question can be embarrassing, but I want to ask you again Post Covid, do you really feel loved?  Do you feel loved by your family, your partner and also by God?  

In November we Remember lots of people who we may well have loved.  We celebrate the Feast of All Saints – this is the people who have been the men, women and children whose lives have poured out love into our world.  Then there’s the feast of All Souls.  This is the feast where we remember our family members, friends or people who live in our communities. Our Prayer for them is summed up in the old prayer “May they rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.” The glory is the gift Jesus gave to all of us from the Cross. His love poured out upon our world down the ages, tells all people that they are supremely precious in God’s eyes.

Someone Jesus loved was Mary of Magdala and she loved him. These are two people who loved each other.  After His three days in the tomb Jesus, in the love of His Father, rose from the dead.  Mary met him while weeping for her loss of his body at the tomb and his death three days earlier. Jesus says “Mary.”  She recognizes him and says, “Rabboni!” which means Master (John 20:16).  This simple and deeply moving story brings me in touch with my fear as well as my desire to be known.  Often, I am tempted to think that I am loved only if I remain partially unknown. I fear that the love I receive is conditional and then say to myself, “If they really knew me, they would not love me.” But when Jesus calls Mary by name he speaks to her entire being. And that’s just how God sees all of us. God loves the real you!  

Mary realizes that the One who knows her most deeply is not moving away from her but is coming to her, offering her his unconditional love.  Mary feels at once fully known and fully loved. As Henri Nouwen said: The division between what she feels safe to show and what she does not dare to reveal no longer exists.  She is fully seen and she knows that the eyes that see her are the eyes of forgiveness, mercy, love, and unconditional acceptance…… What a joy to be fully known and fully loved at the same time! It is the joy of belonging through Jesus to God and being fully safe and fully free.

In November, may you remember those whom you have loved but also remember that you are loved by God, by God’s Church and by your family and friends.  May God’s love enfold you because, and I truly mean this, you are immensely precious and you are very special.

With my prayers and very best wishes.

Rev’d Stephen Monk

 

 

February Thought

It’s quite appropriate that some Christian Traditions use the month of February as a time to hold in thoughts and prayers the sick and dying of the world. For anyone who is chronically sick or even terminally ill no fine words make much of a difference. People who are sick want the eloquence of real prayerfulness and a real sense of witnessing in concrete terms. I remember after one major surgery in Leicester. My mobility was almost none existent for a while and so I couldn’t do anything for a time. Well, a local Evangelical church with which we had close links brought around a meal but not a simple meal – it was a three-course meal (with an amazing pudding!!) These Christians were not only kind and gracious but they were over the top in their kindness. When I’d recovered enough to visit an Elder she said, something like. “God gives us everything – we too should do the same”! Radical generosity is our challenge and calling in this still difficult time! Churches are going through the pain of fewer services or very different structure etc. We may feel a bit lost; a bit put out that our church is not working as it did in the past. And I’ll be honest; I have a lot of sympathy with people who are feeling; anxious, worried even put out or angry. We have to do the best week can with what we’ve got. As most of you know as well as our United Benefice I’m now looking after (along with Richard Reade) the parishes of Matlock Bath and Cromford. So, what can I offer as a model of moving forward? Well, definitely that evangelical church with their amazing generosity. But also the people of our NHS. While navigating their way through Covid, they’ve never lost sight of why they do what they do: They’re Extending the compassionate ministry of human compassion and love by improving the health and well-being of our communities and bringing good help to those in need. So, as we use the Front line NHS staff as our example We also hold them all in our prayers today. For that, we wanted to take a second and say thank you.

“Thank you for your sacrifices.

Thank you for the countless hours you’ve spent serving others.

Thank you for being flexible.

Thank you for your understanding.

Thank you for your strength.

Thank you for your courage.

Thank you for your selflessness.”

I know that some churches are not having the regular services we have had in the past. I think this may go on until March or even further depending on the Situation with Covid in this area. Please let me be clear. Our main Sunday services are 10 am Zoom where people from all over can join us in a totally safe way. Then the next service is at 11 am in St Helen’s because the building is easier to work in a safe way. This isn’t about St Helen’s being more important but it’s about the safest worship we can offer and St Helen’s building offers that. It’s also about the people I can get to help with services. Here I want to thank Julie Stanton for her help with Sunday and also with Pastoral Services. I also want to thank those who help with our None- Eucharistic worship. Especially those who see the importance of serving our United Benefice and not simply their own parishes. I can only say sorry for those who feel that their church life has been disturbed. It has for every one of us if we’re honest. We’re thinking outside the box at the moment and praying about how best to serve our local communities. For some, it may well mean a midweek Church Service. For others, it may mean moving safely to a different church in our Benefice or working with other Christian Communities. But to close I want to remind us all: As DR. David Jeremiah said; “Evangelism was not a program in the Jerusalem church; it was a way of life. The believers’ lives and behaviors created such favor with the population of Jerusalem that people we are drawn to the Lord.” This American Scholar sums up the truth that the church is really the people of God. This means the Church is where you are – in our schools and workplaces; in our meetings and in our alone time and also for better or worse the church is judged by our behavior – think, when someone meets you, what do they learn about the church in Darley, South Darley, and Winster (and Matlock Bath and Cromford)? What do our words and actions in these difficult times tell people of Jesus Christ?

Are we infallible? Do I make the right choices concerning what our churches are doing at this time? Sadly, I may well look back in a few years and I may well say I wish I did this or that? You may well say the same about your own choices. I guess now more than ever we realize our churches are not perfect. We are just trying to do the best we can in good faith. It always seems a bit strange to me when people comment that they are disappointed in the fact that the church is at times too worldly, maybe even sinful at times. The church can be self-absorbed and bigotted. But Nicky Gumble sums this up well., He said, “Stop looking for the perfect church. It does not exist. Even if it did exist, the moment you or I joined it, it would no longer be perfect.” We are not perfect. But we are followers of Jesus Christ. We try to listen with the ear of our hearts and minds and we try to do what Jesus calls us to. So, try not to b too hard on yourself and certainly don’t be too hard on each other. May love be our own motto, mantra, and vision as we move forward in service of our communities and our world and trusting that whatever the future looks like. Please know that God will never leave us.

God bless you all at this difficult time. God bless you and your loved ones.

Yours.

Stephen Monk (Revd)

 

 

Thursday Home Group,

7.30 p.m. alternating between meetings in person and on Zoom.

For more information please use the Contact Us page

 

Children’s Ministry at St. Helen’s
We keep in close contact with the Churchtown School.
There is an assembly in church each month for the whole school. parents and carers are invited to attend.
 
Messy Church involves all children at Churchtown Primary School and is held twice a year. It includes stories from the Bible and creative activities.
 
Coffee Chill and Chat, 8.45 a.m. every Thursday during term time. Toddler, parent, grandparent, adult friendly! Do come and have a cup of coffee and a chat after dropping youngsters off at school or any time up to 11.30 a.m.  We look forward to seeing you.
 
 
 

Food Bank

There is a box in the church for donations to Matlock Food Bank. Tins and dry goods please, not perishable items. During December we are also asked for Christmas goods such as Christmas puddings, chocolates and so on. Thank you to all who have supported the Food Bank over the last 12 months.

Weddings

We are very lucky to have three beautiful churches in our United Benefice and last year we were lucky to celebrate weddings in each church. Sadly, many people think they cannot get married in church for various reasons. The reality is people are very welcome to get married in our churches. They are also very welcome to have their wedding blessed if they are getting married abroad. Please pass on the message “ ALL are very welcome to get married in our three churches”. If anyone wishes to talk about getting married I am very happy to speak to them.

Rev. Stephen Monk.

Churchyard Maintenance

We need volunteers to give just an hour of their time, once a week on a Monday evening, to help to mow the grass and keep the churchyard tidy. Please contact Chris Long using the Contacts page on this web site. Any help you can give will be much appreciated.

Peace Garden
A great deal of hard work has been done to create a Peace Garden at the back of the Area for Cremated Remains in the church yard. Benches have been donated, digging and planting has been done. The church is very grateful to all who have given and continue to give their time and expertise to creating this peaceful area and to those who have donated the benches, paving slabs and money to make this possible. Work is ongoing and help is appreciated. If you feel you can help please see Chris Townsend.

Being alone in our churches.

I know people work really hard in our churches throughout the week but could I please remind everyone that we all need to be responsible for our health and safety and so try not to be in church on your own. If you have to be in church on your own you MUST do the following THREE things: have a phone with you; tell someone you’re going to be at church and arrange to call them when you return home; lock yourself in church. Sadly we’ve heard of many people attacked in churches over the last few years. I don’t want any of you being harmed in the place where you should be safest.

Stephen

Christmas Wreaths

When we’ve lost a loved one, it doesn’t matter how recent or how long ago, Christmas is a bitter sweet time. It’s lovely to see the wreaths in the churchyard over Christmas and it’s great to think of the love which never dies. I know that, for many of you, visiting your loved ones grave is painful and so to help over this difficult season the PCC have decided to remove any Christmas wreaths which haven’t been taken away by the end of February. This gives those who look after the churchyard a clear scope at keeping your loved ones graves tidy and reverent. Of course if you wish to remove the wreaths before that it is totally up to you. May all our PCC members assure you of our prayers over the Christmas Season. God Bless.

With Kind Regards and every prayer.

 Rev’d Stephen Monk

 

United Benefice of St Helen, St Mary, and St John the Baptist.

Fees for 2022

Funerals and Burials. (No fee for stillborn infant or person under the age of 16)

Service in church

Fee payable to Diocese £

Fee payable to PCC £

Total fee payable £

Funeral service in church taking place before or after burial or cremation

   

 

Statutory fee

112.00

94.00

206.00

Heating (October to May)

 

30.00

  30.00

Verger

 

30.00

  30.00

Organist

 

75.00

  75.00

Total if all options taken for service in church

   

341.00

Thanksgiving service

 

220.00

240.00

Burial of body in churchyard following service

15.00

316.00

331.00

Burial of body or cremated remains in cemetery following service

30.00

…………….

  30.00

Cremation immediately preceding or following service in church

30.00

…………….

  30.00

Burial of body in churchyard on separate occasion

44.00

316.00

360.00

Burial of cremated remains in churchyard on separate occasion

44.00

128.00

172.00

Burial of body or cremated remains in cemetery on separate occasion

58.00

16.00

  74.00

No service in church

   

 

Funeral service (including burial of body) at graveside in churchyard

112.00

316.00

428.00

Funeral service (including burial of cremated remains) at graveside in churchyard

112.00

128.00

240.00

Funeral service at crematorium or funeral service (including burial of body or cremated remains) in cemetery

206.00

 

206.00

Funeral service in premises belonging to funeral director, whether taking place before or after burial or cremation.

206.00

 

206.00

Cremation immediately preceding or following on from service in premises belonging to funeral director.

30.00

 

30.00

Burial of body in churchyard not following service at graveside (committal only)

44.00

316.00

360.00

Burial of cremated remains in churchyard or other lawful disposal of cremated remains (committal only).

44.00

128.00

172.00

Burial of body or other lawful disposal of cremated remains, in cemetery (committal only).

30.00

 

30.00

Certificate issued at time of burial

………………

16.00

16.00

N.B. burial of cremated remains includes other lawful disposal

   

 

Monuments in churchyard

Small cross in wood

15.00

34.00

  49.00

Small vase not exceeding 12”x8”x8” or tablet, plaque

15.00

64.00

  79.00

Any other monument

15.00

135.00

150.00

Additional inscription on existing monument

15.00

16.00

  31.00

MARRIAGES

Marriage service in church

Fee payable to Diocese £

Fee payable to PCC £

Total fee payable £

Statutory fee

211.00

253.00

480.00

Heating (October to May)

 

30.00

30.00

Verger

 

30.00

30.00

Organist

 

95.00

95.00

Total if all options taken

   

635.00

        Video

 

20.00

20.00

         Bells – St Helen’s

 

160.00

160.00

                    St John’s

 

70.00

70.00

                    St Mary’s

 

25.00

25.00

Publication of banns of marriage

 

31.00

32.00

Certificate of banns issued at time of publication

 

14.00

16.00