Revd Richard Reade
Revd Anne Phillips
As has been mentioned in a previous magazine, this month we mark the centenary of the Armistice that brought the First World War to a close. Over the last four years at various points we have marked significant moments in that conflict which was supposed to be ´the war that ends all wars´. Sadly, as we are well aware with the benefit of time and hindsight, the way in which the peace was conducted sowed the seeds that some twenty years later led to the next big conflict. One of the important themes that lies behind this November´s commemorations is the whole area of how we go about the work of peace and reconciliation.
As many writers have pointed out through the years, ´Peace´ involves more than just the absence of conflict. The Hebrew concept of ´Shalom´ has a far richer content than the word peace might convey. Shalom means the absence of conflict but also an idea of healing of relationships whether with God, other people or the wider creation. Shalom contains within it the rich imagery of the Divine kingdom or rule, where there is restoration and right relationship. It´s in that sense that we gather to remember and to honour the memory of all the fallen and the families who were directly affected either by loss or the return of those mentally and physically scarred by their experiences in the war. We remember, we honour and we re-commit ourselves in the pursuit of all that makes for peace and justice; the richness of God´s Shalom.
On a different note, our Diocese is going through a time of great change and transformation. We need to keep praying for Bishop Jan, Archdeacon Carol and all who work to keep Derby Diocese up and running as we await the appointment of a new Diocesan Bishop. In addition, we need to be praying for the right person to be discerned and appointed as Bishop. Whatever happens, there are some profound changes that we will be undergoing, both as a Diocese and as a Deanery. Already the Matlock clergy have begun meeting to look to the future in the light of difficulties with regard to the deployment of clergy. In the spirit of sharing, can I quote a recent letter from Fr. Mark on the St. Giles´ website where he refers to a visit of the Area Dean, the Revd. Duncan Ballard to meet the PCCs:
" ...over the next five years a considerable number of clergy are due to retire, there will be a lot fewer priests available. Although there has been a upturn in vocations in recent years, it will be a long time before the decline in clergy numbers is reversed.
This will mean that the Deanery of Carsington, in which our United Benefice is located, will probably only have six stipendiary priests, two in the Ashbourne area, two in the Wirksworth team, and two in Matlock. Matlock, Matlock Bank, Matlock Bath, and Darley Dale at the moment have four stipendiary clergy between them.
.....in due course we will all have to get used to there being fewer priests. So the PCCs and myself will have to work out over the next year or so what is a realistic rota of services in the United Benefice."
"Also, a priest is there primarily to lead the congregation in worship and to do pastoral work. Sometimes, our time is taken up more than it should be in administrative duties. We must examine what can be done to lighten the burden of administrative work. These are tasks which the Rector, the PCCs and the congregation must carefully face over the coming months."
These are important issues that Fr. Mark has raised that not only St. Giles but ourselves, Matlock Bath and Darley Dale are going to have to grapple with. Please bear all the clergy, readers and PCC members in your prayers as we look to the future to serve God faithfully in mission and ministry, fostering the gifts of the Spirit and the spread of God´s Shalom throughout this area.
With every blessing