It has been tremendously encouraging to see so many of our congregations engaging with their local communities in street parties and other events over the past few days, as we celebrated Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and also marked, as usual, the ten days of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost, praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.
Personally, I was also much encouraged by the sermon preached by the Archbishop of York at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday 3 June. I would usually expect to preach for more than 8 minutes (!), but with an exemplary light touch, Archbishop Stephen managed to hold the attention of the congregation on site, and of commentators, while addressing not only our Sovereign, but the nation – encouraging all of us, with the Queen, to lean on Jesus. He finished by saying, ‘What I see in Her Majesty the Queen is someone who has been able to serve our nation faithfully, because of her faith in Jesus Christ. Perhaps there is no better way of celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, than by doing the same ourselves’. If you haven’t read or watched it, I recommend that you do! It’s available here
Meanwhile, we have celebrated yesterday the glorious Feast of Pentecost! What a joy to mark again with glad thanksgiving the lavish outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. In Romans 5 we read: ‘hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us’.
You’ll find references to the Holy Spirit as ‘poured out’ also in Acts 2.33, Acts 10.45 and Titus 3.6. It’s a very evocative image. You measure out antibiotics and gin with great care, but you pour out water when you have it in abundance. ‘Pouring out’ speaks of the lavish generosity of God. May we, this Pentecost, enter into that lavishness and generosity, in pouring ourselves out in the service of others, to the glory of God.
As we rejoice in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, we pray especially for those who are due to be ordained deacon and priest in a few weeks’ time. Do please hold them before God in the coming weeks.
God willing, I will ordain 8 priests
in Sheffield Cathedral on Saturday, 25 June at 4.00 pm: Sue Armstrong - serving in the parishes of All Saints, Rotherham Minster and St Paul, Masbrough (SSM); Jordan Betts - serving in the parish of Wadsley; Chris Bishop - serving in the parish of St Peter, Warmsworth; Kathy Green - serving in the parishes of St James, Woodhouse, Christ Church, Gleadless with St Peter and Christ Church, Hackenthorpe (SSM); Amy Hole - serving in the parishes of St Timothy, Crookes and The Vine, Sheffield; Stella McHugh - in the parish of St Francis of Assisi, West Bessacarr; Ben Shires - serving at St Thomas, Kilnhurst; and Claire Welch - serving in the parish of St Paul, Wordsworth Avenue.
Then Bishop Sophie will ordain 16 deacons
in Sheffield Cathedral on Sunday, 26 June (10.30 AM): Scott Bright - to serve in the parish of St Mary’s, Stainforth; Peter Delafield - to serve in the parish of St Mark’s, Mosborough (SSM); Sam Ellmore - to serve in the parish of St Mary’s, Ecclesfield; Luke Graham - to serve in the parish of St Thomas, Crookes; Christine Herbert - to serve in the parish of St Mary the Virgin, Sprotborough (SSM); Kirsty Massey - to serve in the parish of St John’s, Owlerton (SSM); Philip McKenning - to serve in the parish of Resurrection, Doncaster; Simon Oatridge - to serve in the parish of All Saints, Ecclesall; Geraldine Pearce - to serve as distinctive deacon in the parish of Holy Trinity, Thorpe Hesley (SSM); Rachel Price - to serve in the parish of St Peter’s, Bentley; David James Reynolds - to serve in the parish of St Paul’s Wordsworth Avenue (SSM); Annabel Stott - to serve in the parishes of St John the Baptist, Penistone and St Saviour, Thurlstone; Michael Towle - to serve in the parish of Great Snaith (SSM); Rose Upson - to serve in the parish of St Peter’s and St Paul’s, Todwick; Zak Venable - to serve at St Thomas at Philadelphia; Alison Wragg - to serve in the parish of St John’s, Ranmoor (SSM).
In addition, the Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, will ordain Rob Mullock as deacon
in Sheffield Cathedral on Sunday, 26 June at 4.00pm to serve in the parish of Christ Church, Fulwood (SSM); and the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, will ordain Michael Dixon as deacon
at 6.30 pm, to serve in the parish of St Wilfrid, Cantley.
Diocesan Conference: Released to Shine
We are very much looking forward to our Diocesan Conference at Swanwick, from 4th
of July, when Archbishop Stephen will join us on the final day.
There are both residential and non-residential places still available, and both on site and online. It is now clear that a very good representation of the Diocesan family will be present, as together we seek the renewing, releasing and rejuvenating touch of God the Father, given in Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In addition to Archbishop Stephen, speakers will include the Revd Prof Jennifer Strawbridge, G.B. Caird Fellow in Theology at Oxford University; and Prof Steve Moyise, Associate Professor at St Hild College. You can find more details about the Conference here
We invite you to join with us in praying the following Conference Prayer:
in baptism you have called each one of us
to shine as a Light for Christ in the world to your glory
and have equipped us in the power of your Spirit;
look with mercy on us, your people in the Diocese of Sheffield,
bless our Conference, onsite and online,
and as we gather around Word and Sacrament
renew, release and rejuvenate us,
that we may be ever more fruitful in your service,
for the sake of Jesus the Lord.
Diocese of Sheffield Open Day
Thank you to all of you who were praying a fortnight ago for our Open Day on 25th
May. I believe your prayers were answered. 23 had registered for the event, and 21 attended, including 8 women.
Bishop Sophie and I, together with a fine ‘home team’ were able to commend to participants the joys (as well as the challenges) of ordained ministry in this Diocese. Time will tell, of course, but those of us present on the day came way encouraged by the degree of engagement we met and by the sense that there are those who will feel called by God not just to a particular vacancy (vital as that is), but to the revitalisation of our Diocese as a whole.
Please do continue to pray as we follow up with individuals on their sense of vocation.
Garden Party at Bishopscroft
Cathy and I gladly invite you to join us on Saturday 18th
June, between 2pm and 5pm, for a Garden Party here at Bishopscroft – the first we have been able to host since 2018!
The day has a strong theme of Creation Care, Eco Church and Upcycling and all proceeds will be divided between Christian Aid and ‘Refurnish’ – a Doncaster charity dedicated to saving resources and enriches the lives of those most deprived.
There will be an array of theme-appropriate stalls, entertainment, children’s activities and refreshments. We are hoping for a great crowd, and a significant impact. No need to register, just come to Snaithing Lane, Sheffield, S10 3LG. You can be certain of a warm welcome!
National Register of Clergy
And finally… the Church of England has recently published a ‘National Register of Clergy’ – the first of its kind! To view the register click here
The Register contains the name, Diocese, and ‘form of authority’ for everyone
who holds a licence in the Church of England. But this is the only information shown – no personal details are shared. The Register is easy to search, whether by name or by role.
We are bringing this to your attention because (strictly speaking!) whenever an incumbent invites a priest from another Diocese to lead worship and/or to preach, either in their absence or to share in ministry with them, it is necessary for the incumbent to assure themselves that the visitor is ‘in good standing’.
It is, of course, perfectly fine to invite anyone who holds a Bishop’s licence to preach, lead worship or to preside. However, Canon Law specifies that you must be ‘satisfied either by actual personal knowledge or by good and sufficient evidence that the minister is of good life and standing and has authority to officiate.’
This canon is especially helpful in ensuring good safeguarding practice in our Diocese.
In practice, this means that you need to be confident, if you invite an ordained minister to our Diocese, that the person holds a licence, is in good standing with their diocese, and has up to date safeguarding training and DBS. If the person is listed on the National Register of Clergy, you can be confident that they have a licence; and if they have a licence, the Diocese in which they hold that licence ought to have ensured that their safeguarding training and DBS are up to date – however, it would be good practice for you nevertheless to ask them that is the case!
There is a chance that someone does have a licence but isn’t on the National Register of Clergy (the website has a good FAQ section that deals with this). If in doubt please be in touch with the Diocesan Office of the Diocese where the minister you are inviting holds a licence. If there remain any doubts, please be in touch with my chaplain, Harry.