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

 

 

Monthly Thought & Easter Reflection.

 “The Gospel is the Gospel of the Risen Christ. There would be no Gospel for sinners if Christ had not been raised.” – H.A. Ironside.

Down the ages many good men and women have died for their beliefs.  Everyone from the heroes of the War on Terror to the other extreme – men and women who died in 1916 in the Easter uprising in Dublin. My point is that some people live for their beliefs and others die for their beliefs.  But Jesus is the only Man who has been raised to New Life.

Be clear here – Jesus was not resuscitated.  He was truly dead.  He was in a tomb for three days. He’d lost too much blood to live and His body was truly destroyed by hatred and military torture. Then he was raised in the power of God. Jesus came through the death and is waiting for all of us to share His resurrection life here and in eternity. 

Jesus lost everything.  Jesus was the pioneer.  Jesus came through death and so offers to you and me, to all people, a new choice.  Do I choose life or death?  Do I serve love or hate? People simply cannot claim to be Christians and then have hatred in their hearts.  It’s not possible. The heart of the Christian must be rooted in self-sacrificing love.

God is love and he has defeated evil.”  Pope Francis. Pope Francis often speaks of love and hope and a deep sense of being a community.  These ideals really threaten some people. But I have to suggest as we continue through the months of 2022, that we all have to question ourselves.  “Do I love enough?” Well, do we? Do you?  

“The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.” – N. T. Wright.  The world seems the same, doesn’t it?  We still have wars, injustice, hateful words and actions in the news both locally and far off.  Yet, the mystery is that the world is changed by the Easter Events.  There are new possibilities; new chances to turn back to love and care for others.

Before the Easter event religion was really for a select few.  It was a gift to the pious and the morality police!  But no, now in the world that seems not to have changed, Jesus has torn in two the thick curtain in the Temple in Jerusalem, meaning that there is no longer a block between you or me and God.  Now in Jesus Christ, God the Father wants to listen to you. God wants to listen to your worries, fears pain and anxieties; and to your joys, hopes, dreams and love.  

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in the books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”  Martin Luther.  Brother Luther is spot on. For those who feel a bit claustrophobic in Churches they can walk in the Derbyshire Dales and see the Revelation of God in Creation.  Sadly, Churches have let some people down in their way of expressing Jesus` teaching and love.  But The Body of Christ is the people of God gathered around the Table of the Lord. Then Jesus` sends us out to serve and love in His name.

I invite you to come along to our churches.  Help us be what we should be. Tell us your stories and your joys and sorrows. Then we can all become closer to God. 

Today we are like the people of the RAF in WWII.  A Lancaster Bomb Aimer writes of there being 8 passengers on their bombing raids.  Now, any war historian will know that the Lancaster had a crew of 7 not 8?  Miles Tripp (author) said the 8th passenger was Fear!!  In the post Covid-lockdowns and the madness and pain in Afghanistan and the Ukraine (to name but two places) there is a lot of fear to deal with this Eastertide.  I have no magic answers other than the truth of Jesus Christ when He Spoke in Holy Scripture “Love casts out Fear.”   Please pause and say this out loud! “Love casts out Fear.”

Please help our churches and all churches to be the best we can be.  Please share your experiences and your stories; good and bad.  We need humility and a listening ear. The Church is rooted in the events of Good Friday when all was lost, and it is truly connected to Easter Sunday when in the words of Frederick Buechner “Resurrection means that the worst thing is never the last thing.” 

God loves all of us.  God will always walk with us and God will never, never leave us alone in our pain and brokenness.  The price God’ paid to show His love was far too much to be wasted.  Now, I pray you know that you are deeply loved and you are deeply special.

May the love of the Holy Spirit touch your lives and your families and may you all, in moments of peace, know that you are valued immensely.  Finally, before you feel totally powerless, please know the truth of this final quotation.  “A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me.”  Andrew Murray.   Trust Jesus.  You don’t have to carry everything alone. Let us help each other and all people in need.

God bless you all. Before I write again there are some very important Feasts in the church. So, may you continue to know the joy of Easter and the joy to come of Trinity Sunday; Ascension and Pentecost!

Yours.

Revd. Stephen Monk

 

Your Help is Needed!!

After a First Aid course held last November it was agreed that a Defibrillator, an essential piece of First Aid equipment, was needed at St. Helen’s Church for use by the local community.  Over the past few months, we have established a local source for the Defibrillator, an Electrician and Builder are on stand-by and fundraising has been taking place.  To date, we have had donations from Local Businesses, Councillors, Darley Dale Town Council, The Rotary Club and The Lions. We now need your help to complete our fund raising efforts to ensure that once we get the Faculty from the diocese the Defibrillator can be installed.  Any amount you can give will be most welcome. Cheques should be made payable to St. Helen’s Church, Darley and all donations can be handed to Rev’d Stephen Monk, our treasurer or myself.  If you are unable to come to Church but wish to send a donation please use the Contact Us page and we will make arrangements for your donation to be made.

Many thanks for your help, and God Bless you all.

Ann Bradley

 

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