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Bishops’ Letter, 5 September 2022
Dear friends
It is good to be able to write to you at the beginning of a new academic year. This is the first of our letters which will come to you monthly, throughout the year ahead. We trust that many of you will have managed a break with some rest and refreshment during the summer or that you have at least managed to inhabit a different rhythm for a while.

Often the summer is a good time to read and recharge. Some may have been able to attend a festival or meet with those who support and encourage you through the year. This year, I (Bishop Sophie) have greatly benefitted from reading Pete Grieg’s latest book ‘How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People’. At a time when there is so much to challenge us in our daily news, both at home and abroad, it has reminded me that hearing from God is the most urgent and pressing need of our days.
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

With so much information available to us, really hearing, savouring the words of the Lord, including meaningful meditation on scripture, can be challenged by our fast-paced media age. Hearing cannot really be done in a hurry and requires disciplined attention and determination. Fortunately, the Lord is so often gracious in communicating with us in spite of ourselves, but I am convinced that if we truly are to flourish as Lights for Christ, if we really are to be the Church for England not just in England, then a renewal of our hearts, through hearing from God, by all the means available to us, is key.
We are so blessed to have Pete Grieg as our keynote speaker at our upcoming Development Day. An internationally renowned writer and speaker on prayer and one of the founders of the influential 24-7 prayer movement, he confesses in his book that the reason for his passion for prayer is only because of Jesus and the simple desire to know him more and for others to know him too.
Whatever our tradition, our differing views on the topics of the day and even in the church, we can all surely unite around this. As we begin this next season here in the Diocese of Sheffield, our prayer as your bishops is that we will be people who are expectant to hear from God and so delighted in our hearing that we will not only know fullness of life for ourselves but that others may come to hear too.

Diocesan Development Day 1 October 2022 09:30 – 16:00 (STC Sheffield S10 1UL)
The theme of this year’s Development Day is prayer. Archbishop Stephen said at our Diocesan Conference that prayer must be our priority, as we seek a deep renewal of our life in Christ.
We are excited to welcome as our keynote speaker, Pete Greig, founder of 24-7 Prayer International, which seeks to facilitate round the clock prayer across the world and to resource Christians to engage more deeply with God. Supporting him, we have a range of onsite and online workshops by people local and from afar to help us with different aspects of prayer. There will also be a range of prayer stations onsite in the neighbouring Methodist Church for those who long to not just learn but also to pray as part of this day.
We are delighted that Rev Toby Hole will be licensed to his ministry as Director of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry during this event. Please pray for him as he prepares to take up this new role.
We are pleased to be able to offer refreshments this year but please bring your own packed lunch. Book here.

New Appointments
We would like to thank you and especially members of the Diocesan Prayer Community, that following our request for prayer for new appointments we have been able to make nine superb appointments in the Diocese in recent months. Some have resulted directly from our inaugural ‘Open Day’ in May, attended by clergy from right across the country.
Our next Open Day takes place on Tuesday 27th September. We are encouraged by the bookings so far and there is still space to attend so if you know of clergy from other places who are beginning to seek their next move or first post after curacy, we would be delighted to welcome them. To book a place clergy should e mail:
May we also take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank those priests who have recently retired or written to let us know their intended retirement plans. We are grateful to God for their faithful service and significant contribution to the ministry and mission of Sheffield, some over many years.

Lambeth Conference
We would also like to thank you for your prayers for the recent 15th Lambeth Conference entitled: ‘God’s Church for God’s World’. Though there will be more to say on other occasions, we have both returned with renewed hope for God’s global church. A real highlight was the opportunity to share in studies of 1 Peter with episcopal colleagues from all over the world. We were truly able to hear from God through the lens of saints from other contexts, many facing unimaginable challenges and threats. The reality of climate emergency, war, poverty and displacement and for some, desperate daily persecution, drew us into deep fellowship together.  
The conversations around the Lambeth ‘calls’ were handled with dignity and respect and the fact that so many expressed that they felt heard was testimony to this. We recognise that for some, in particular those observing the conference from a distance, the matter of human dignity and human sexuality appeared as a dominant theme. This was not in fact the case, but where it was addressed directly, the discussions took place in the context of relationship, seeking to hear from God together, even where difference was manifest.
We trust that this same spirit will be evident at the College of Bishops meeting in Oxford next week, dedicated to the next stage of the ‘Living in Love and Faith’ process together. We would greatly value your prayers for this gathering too.

Learning Opportunities
We know that there are some situations in which we are prevented from hearing properly because of our own prejudice or preconceived views. In order to give ourselves the very best chance to be open to hearing God we may benefit from these events coming up in the next few weeks:

Unconscious Bias training.  September 27th in Sheffield, November 15th online - Read more

For clergy, Leading Well, September 21st online.  Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones will be helping us to become more creative and reflective thinkers.  This promises to be something a little different (and fun!) his title for the day is IN PRAISE OF HANGING ABOUT - How slowing down, paying attention and delaying action can bring the kingdom nearer, quicker. Book here

New term for schools
As schools return for a new academic year, our prayers are with all those providing and participating in education. We are particularly mindful of the calculations schools have been making about energy bills and hope there will be creative ways of meeting this impending crisis.
One Diocesan activity we wanted to bring to the attention of all readers of this letter with a view towards getting the message out to all schools concerns our popular and engaging training course, “Understanding Christianity.”
This is a nationally recognised training course enabling good quality delivery about Christianity, in RE.
Our church schools are already engaged, but we also have a regular intake of teachers from other schools, and this is something we are keen to welcome and encourage. If you have a connection with a community school please make them aware of this training. In some contexts it costs hundreds of pounds, whereas in our Diocese we provide the training for free. It involves two days in November and March, and two twilight sessions 

More information can be found at  and anyone interested can contact Huw Thomas, the Diocesan Director of Education

Harvest Donations
The Archer Project which serves the homeless community in Sheffield City Centre from the Cathedral building is facing a difficult winter with donations of food, clothes and money running very low. They do amazing, innovative work both with those whose lives are in crisis and with those on the path to finding settled housing. You can find out more about their work at If you don’t currently donate to a local charity or foodbank at harvest time, please consider sending your church harvest donations to the Archer Project. These are the items they currently need:
Tinned meats
Tinned foods
Shaving Foam
Washing Powder
Sleeping bags
Brand new men’s underwear (particularly small sizes)
Please note, no fresh food or food that is out of date. Please also avoid things in glass jars.

Baby news!
We were thrilled and delighted to hear of the safe arrival of baby George Aaron Bissett, born on 10th August to Lucy Nunn, Parish Support Team administrator and also Harrison (Harry) Theodore Bell on 24th August to Katie Bell, Diocesan Secretary & CEO of the Diocesan Board of Finance.
Just a reminder that Katie’s role will be covered by members of the existing team during her maternity leave: LJ Buxton and Keith Mallon. Andy Brookes will also be joining us part time during this period. Andy is no stranger to Sheffield as he has provided support to us in the past, prior to Katie’s appointment. We are grateful for the generous flexibility and willingness of our colleagues.

Twinned Deanery events
We are very much looking forward to being with every deanery over the Autumn term as each of the twinned deaneries meet together. We will be seeking to hear from you as we listen to one another in the context of worship, prayer and encouragement. Please do come along and be part of the conversation.

Running the Race!
Finally, after much Covid disruption, Bishop Sophie will finally be running the London Marathon on Sunday 2 October. This is 2.5 years later than planned and will not make the history books for speed (!) but she is probably the first female bishop to run this race. If you would like to show your support, she would be very glad of your prayers for an injury free finish and also for your sponsorship to help improve the lives of those living with learning disabilities. Read more.

As ever this comes with our prayers and gratitude,
The Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox
Bishop of Sheffield
The Rt Revd Sophie Jelley
Bishop of Doncaster
Copyright © 2022 Diocese of Sheffield, All rights reserved.

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