At the name of Jesus…
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
The common lectionary gospel reading set for yesterday, recounts the story of a man liberated by Jesus from oppression of body, mind and spirit. Travelling through this Gentile area Jesus’ teaching was accompanied by miracles and healing, all signs that the kingdom was drawing near. At the end of the encounter between Jesus and the man, Jesus refuses the man’s request to go with him, instead sending him away to share the news of what God had done in his life. But the next verse describes the man, specifically witnessing to the work of Jesus in his life throughout the city.
Like the man we may be aware of the transformation that Jesus
has brought in our lives, even the kind of liberation from some form of oppression that this man experienced, whether on a small or large scale. As we enter ordination week, we recognise that the work of God in human lives is always transformative. Those who are ordained have a particular responsibility to ‘tell the story of God’s love’ but also to call out those stories from within both church and wider community.
Why? So that God may be glorified, and Jesus
proclaimed. That as Paul writes ‘at the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow.’ As Lights for Christ
in the Diocese of Sheffield, there will be many whom we know and love who are desperate for relief just as the man was. It may be that in some small, or even large way, God wants to use us to share his hope with them this week. To remember the work of God available to all people, a work of liberation and love, a work of infinite care and attentiveness. We pray that we may indeed shine as lights in the world so that others may be able to find their way to Jesus
through the witness we show, as together we continue to receive, walk, and reflect his light to those who seek him. As the declarations within the Ordination service for deacons reminds us, we must always give special attention to those who are ‘oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.’
The Bishop of Sheffield’s Garden Party
The first Garden Party at Bishopscroft since 2018 took place on Saturday afternoon and was a great success. Notwithstanding the words of Jesus in Matthew 5.45, Bishop Pete and Cathy were immensely relieved that despite gloomy forecasts for most of the week before, the weather stayed pretty much dry. The Garden Party had a strong ‘creation care, eco-church, upcycling’ theme and there were hundreds in attendance including civic dignitaries. The Garden Party involved a good deal of hard work from a great number of people, but Bishop Pete and Cathy particularly wish to record their thanks to the home team at Bishopscroft (Neil, the gardener; Wendy, the PA; Harry, the chaplain; and Clare, the admin assistant), as well as Dr Cathy Rhodes, the Diocesan Environment Officer, and the ‘refreshments team’ from St John’s Ranmoor. In addition to themed stalls and the refreshments, there were activities for children, a prayer and healing tent, and various live music performances. The event sought to raise funds for two charities: Refurnish and Christian Aid. Refurnish is a Doncaster-based charity, seeking to make upcycled furniture available to local people at affordable prices, through an up-skilling and training employability programme. Christian Aid is heavily involved in supporting some of the poorest communities in our world, who are inevitably bearing the brunt already of climate change. Bishop Pete and Cathy also wish to record their thanks to all who attended and lent their support to these two fine charities.
We are thrilled that we now have 44 churches registered as Eco Churches
and many more who have set out to become Eco Churches in the near future. If you haven’t yet explored this please do discuss it with your PCC please do contact Sally Hunter (Environment Project Support) on email@example.com
for further information.
National Register of Clergy
In our last letter we included a note about the National Register of Clergy, especially noting how helpful it can be in checking, that any visiting Clergy hold a Bishop’s licence. Since then, it has come to light that our diocese, along with some others, has information on the National Register that is not as up to date as it ought to be. We are working as swiftly as we can with the national team who update the Register, to correct these inaccuracies. Unfortunately, this is at a time when the whole system is going through a major redevelopment meaning changes and corrections must be done manually. Thank you for your patience in this. Do help us by letting Harry Steele, Bishop Pete’s chaplain, know of any inaccuracies that you find, while we also cross check our own records with the national records. It is important to emphasise that if there is ever any
doubt about a person’s Safeguarding training, whether their DBS is current, or if they hold a Bishop’s licence, it is best to ask Harry to contact that person’s diocese on your behalf to check these details. Harry can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Gathering of female clergy
As some will be aware, over the past there months three gatherings were held for our female clergy at the invitation of Bishop Sophie, Rev Canon Amanda Barraclough (Dean of Women’s Ministry) and Very Rev Abi Thompson (Dean of Sheffield) these were well supported as we sought to provide an opportunity to voice our collective experience over recent years. Many different suggestions and comments were made which were all carefully recorded, and we are now working through the matters raised in order to address these. There will be more information to follow but we wanted to let you know that these meetings will be followed through over the coming months.
St Luke’s Healthcare for the Clergy
We have recently received news of St Luke’s recent decision to refocus their work:
St Luke’s is now concentrating all its resources on improving mental health and psychological wellbeing for clergy. This is in response to increasing demand seen since before the closure of the Hospital, and exacerbated by the pandemic, and confirms their 2019 strategic decision to focus increasingly on this area of work.
This means that they will no longer offer support and expertise to clergy for physical healthcare needs. It has been a difficult decision for the trustees to take, and was not taken lightly, but they believe that focussing our resources on mental health and wellbeing is the necessary response to growing need.
From now on they will be using ‘St Luke’s for Clergy Wellbeing’ as their working name, though the registered name will continue to be St Luke’s Healthcare for the Clergy for the time being.
They hope that this tighter focus will bring clarity to their fundraising ‘ask’ and thereby help them to increase their income to meet the increasing demand for their services.
They will continue to:
- Work confidentially with individuals, providing expert mental health services for clergy, their spouses and children up to the age of 18
- Offer a range of preventative training, workshops and resources in support of clergy wellbeing, made available via the dioceses
- Be an objective advocate for clergy wellbeing, as a charity independent of the Church
All information about St. Luke’s is on their website at: www.stlukesforclergy.org.uk
It was very good for Bishop Sophie to share in the celebration of Reader ministry over many years at their Annual General Meeting held at St Alban’s Wickersley on June 8th
. This was shared with Interim warden of Readers Rev Toby Hole who has been working to support Readers especially since Imogen Clout stepped down after many years of supporting and enabling this ministry so effectively in our diocese and is now acting Chair of the Central Readers Council. A celebratory afternoon tea was offered to mark the outstanding service of many decades as a significant number of Readers were thanked for their ministry even including up to 40 years’ service. This really is a remarkable offering! The Reader Executive Committee led us through a very helpful overview of the year including a reminder of the excellent Ongoing Ministerial Development programme for readers from which many have benefitted including topics such as ‘Preaching Poetically’ and ‘All age worship’. There was a specific request for a reader who might be willing to become secretary to the Reader Executive committee and they would be most grateful to hear from anyone who may be willing. It is not an onerous task and every little helps! If you would like to know more, please contact Beryl Adamson on email@example.com
We are so thrilled that for the first time in three years, we are able to celebrate Ordination week in the usual way, filling the Cathedral with friends and supporters for the joyful occasion of ordaining 8 Priests and 18 Deacons in the Diocese of Sheffield. You can read the details of all our Ordinands on the Diocesan website
. You can also read their stories online this week as they are being featured on social media daily through Sheffield Diocese’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.
We would like to thank the Vocations Team for all their work over many hours through the years in supporting these individuals. Much of the care and attention they have given goes unseen but we, together with the candidates, want to honour all that they have done to help and support them. We also recognise the enormous generosity of Training Incumbents as they work with curates to train and develop them over the years, we are so blessed to have such an able and willing group of Priests and supporting parishes and Mission Areas, serving in this way.
Please continue to pray for the ordinands and their families in this time of change, for the people and places where they will serve as curates and for us as we ordain, together with Bishops Rod and Tony. Ordinands will rehearse on Wednesday at the cathedral before heading to Cliff College on Thursday for a retreat directed by Rev Canon Andrew Moughtin-Mumby (Diocese of Southwark) who will also be our preacher at the Ordinations on Saturday and Sunday morning.
As ever this comes to you with our gratitude and blessing,