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2017 in St Matthew's church

New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, so we met to start the year with Choral Communion. The Feast of Epiphany falls on 6 January, so we had a service in the evening with both our choirs. Edd sang the solo in “Three Kings from Persian Lands afar” by Peter Cornelius. On Sunday 8 January we had a Christingle Service – Alison Gratton took this photo.


Railway Films filled the Fellowship Room for two showings on Saturday 14 January, and there was a happy Third Thursday lunch the following week. January was a fifth Sunday and we had a United Service at St Matthew’s. We celebrated the Feast of Candlemas, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Peter the Vicar took this photo while we were holding candles and singing a hymn.


On the evening of Sunday 5 February, several members of the St Matthew’s choir joined St Edmund’s to sing Choral Evensong on the Eve of the 65th anniversary of the Accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. “O taste and see” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, the “Queen’s Hymn” by Elizabeth Poston (words written for the Accession of Elizabeth I) and “All people that on earth do dwell” with a very exciting organ part. At All Age Worship the following week, Melonie had us thinking about our emotions. Peter and Julie hosted a Coffee Morning at the Vicarage on Friday 10 February, and raised £330 for the British Heart Foundation. In March a FOSM Coffee Morning on 14 March raised £298.


Mike Sole, Instrumentalist, composer and improviser, gave an illustrated talk and recital for Derby & District Organists’ Association in St Matthew’s on Monday 13 February. 40 people enjoyed a very musical evening. Bertie, one of our choristers, received his blue RSCM ribbon at a morning service.


Sunday 19 February was busy. We started with a Big Breakfast in the Fellowship Room – and had so many people we had two sittings. Then William was baptised at Choral Communion – we had 102 people in church. Here he is with mum Rachel and dad Luke after the service, before we all had cake with our after-service coffee. In the evening the choir sang Choral Evensong.

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Ash Wednesday we had 492 people through our churches – we should have found the extra 8. There was a morning service at St Edmund’s, then two services at St Matthew’s with the children, staff and parents from Walter Evans School. In the evening, Choral Communion with the Imposition of Ashes was a quiet, thoughtful service with some lovely music. We didn’t get any photos, so here is Orlando Gibbons. The choir sang his anthem “Drop, drop, slow tears” after Communion.


On Mothering Sunday Julie Barham led the Service of the Word at St Matthew’s, while Peter led Communion at St Edmund’s. The Old Testament lesson told the story of Jochebed, Moses’ mother, having to protect her son from being killed, then leaving him in a basket in the rushes beside the Nile in the hope he would be safe and find a better life. The Gospel spoke of Simeon telling Mary “a sword will pierce your own heart too”. Despite such difficult passages, and the knowledge that motherhood is seldom easy, we celebrated, gave thanks, and handed out daffodils.


St Matthew’s held its annual meeting after the morning service on 2 April. Trevor Snelling and David Brierley were re-elected as churchwardens, and new people were elected to the PCC and Deanery Synod. Barbara Martin stepped down after serving for 16 years as PCC Secretary, and Phil Cunliffe stepped into her shoes. We received the Annual Reports and Accounts, noting that we broke even last year (but only with the help of a legacy). We ended by having a delicious lunch together.


Our church clock was made by Smith of Derby, and on 24 April, a small group of those who climb the tower to wind it every week, went on a fascinating visit.


The Old Vicarage School ended their Lent term with an Easter assembly at St Matthew’s. This photo is posted with permission of the school. A week later it took three services to get the whole of Walter Evans school (plus parents and friends) in for their Easter services. This term Walter Evans School was graded as “Outstanding” in their SIAMS (Church School) inspection. 

Holy Week was busy in both our churches. At St Matthew’s on Palm Sunday we had All Age Worship. “We were able to report live from the roads in Jerusalem where large crowds had gathered, waving Palm branches and clothing and saying that the Messiah had arrived. The crowds claimed that the Messiah was one Jesus of Nazareth, the son of a carpenter. Expectations were high, and our reporter spoke to members of the crowd who though that the new King had come, and that he would free Jerusalem. With so many people arriving for Passover, Pontius Pilate had increased security. Religious leaders were not happy, speaking of blasphemy. Tensions are running high. What is clear from our report is that things could take a nasty and unexpected turn, if this Nazarene does not come up with the goods.” At the evening service we held our brother and sisters from the Coptic Church in Egypt in our prayers – a bomb attack on two Egyptian churches this morning had killed many. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” seemed all too appropriate.

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On Maundy Thursday we had a United Choral Communion Service in St Edmund’s, ending with the altars being stripped and people leaving in silence. The Last Hour at the Cross was marked at St Edmund’s, then families from both churches came together for a Children’s Workshop. 20 children and 20 adults did a variety of Easter crafts, listened to the story, and ate hot cross buns.


Good Friday evening saw a performance of the Requiem by Gabriel Faure, sung at St Matthew’s by both choirs. John Gratton conducted and Geoff Howell played the organ. Alison Gratton and Edd Cunliffe were the soloists. Peter Barham used the words of Woodbine Willie, the Reverend Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, a First World War Chaplain, as a focus for reflection. There were 108 people in church, so we ran out of programmes. It is attached here as a pdf. Here is the choir in rehearsal.


On Easter Sunday, Neil Broadbent led a lively service at St Matthew’s, and Kid’s Church had fun too. St Edmund’s was full as well; Peter led the service there. In the evening we had a Joint Choral Evensong, with some lovely music by Charles Villiers Stanford. This is some of the St Matthew’s congregation over coffee, and the craft enjoyed by Kid’s Church.


On Saturday 29 April members of choirs from across Derby came for a RSCM Choral Evensong, and on Sunday 30 April we had a United Service at St Edmund’s (as it was the fifth Sunday). The church was full, and our preacher was Canon Michael Hampel, the Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral in London (formerly a colleague of Peter's at St Edmundsbury Cathedral). 


Sunday 7 May saw a different afternoon service. We joined with other Augustinian foundations around the country to say the monastic office of Nones at 3 pm. Peter used it as an opportunity to talk about the history of the abbey of Darley Abbey. We had three lectures on the Reformation, starting on Wednesday 24 April. Peter talked about the Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries, then did a second talk about the Reformation and Music. Julie talked about the Reformation in Fiction. The lectures, which took place in St Edmund’s one week and were then repeated in St Matthew’s the following week, had audiences of about 60 across the two sessions. There is a separate webpage (Archive > Reformation) with all the material.

We hosted the Archdeacon’s service on Thursday 11 May. Being a churchwarden is a legal responsibility as well as a religious one, so all churchwardens have to attend an event which is a mixture of a service and a court of law. St Matthew’s was full with wardens and clergy from across Derby, plus their friends and supporters. Archdeacon Chris gave his “charge”, the wardens signed their paperwork under the eagle eye of Nadine, the Diocesan Registrar, and we thanked them and prayed for them. The singing was excellent, the atmosphere friendly, the wine much appreciated – and many people were very complimentary about the welcoming people at St Matthew’s.

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Christian Aid week was marked with an All Age Worship. We had a large world map and thought about the places refugees come from and the journeys they must have made. Julie works with refugees in Derby, and asked why they needed mobile phones. Collectors were out around the village, collecting a splendid £1228 plus £515 gift aid. Thank you.

The choir, with a few friends, went to Blackburn Cathedral on Saturday 20 May to sing Choral Evensong. The cathedral is an easy marriage of ancient and modern art and architecture, the café was good, and the gorgeous acoustics meant we had to work hard on diction and keeping time. It was an exhilarating place to sing. The service was precented by Shaun Turnbull, the assistant director of music, and the Dean invited us to return soon. 


On Tuesday 23 May we hosted an Education morning for Derbyshire teachers, and on Ascension Day (Thursday 25 May) 45 people came for an evening Choral Communion. There was a Face Equality Coffee Morning at the Vicarage on Friday 26 May, which raised £250 for “Changing Faces”. The following day, Peter’s railway films took us to Scotland, and raised £250 for Action for Kids.


Jonathan and Rosa were married on Saturday 27 May. Peter always gives the congregation a “paparazzi break” after marrying the couple, and on this occasion the official photographer caught him at work. (Photo posted with permission of Jonathan and Rosa).

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On Sunday 4 June we had a Thanksgiving Service for Isabella and Evelyn (parents Catherine and Jeremy)  - a lovely family celebration.

Darley Abbey Day was Saturday 10 June. There are photos on the a page Archive > Darley Abbey Day 2017 DA, but here is one of the church filling up for the Opening Ceremony.

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June’s All Age Worship was on Trinity Sunday. Julie had “A Trinity of Trinities” – a shamrock, water/ice/steam, and LOVE. A good time was had by all! After Darley Abbey Day we started opening the church every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons. One day we had an American couple arrive. They were friends of a lady whose funeral had taken place here, a funeral they had not been able to attend. They were so pleased to be able to enjoy the church, and share Evening Prayer with us.


The lads of the Beavers came to help clean church, and do some work as part of their Faith badge. This photo is posted with their permission (and therefore permission of the parents). They all had great fun! On 20 June FOSM went to Trentham Gardens. In July they had a Tea Party and raised £155 for Treetops Hospice Care. In August Margaret had a coffee morning at her house, though the weather wasn’t ideal for exploring her lovely garden.


On Saturday 1 July Sean and Kelly were married. On Sunday 2 July Janice and Steve celebrated their Golden Wedding – they had been married at St Matthew’s 50 years before Sean and Kelly. It seemed like a good excuse for a group photo. Later that Sunday morning Lucas was baptised. Here he is with mum Elaine, dad David, and sisters Emmeline and Isabella. Also that Sunday morning (it was a busy day) Sarah Watson was ordained at Derby Cathedral. Sarah started her training while at St Matthew’s, remains a parent and governor at Walter Evans School, and will be serving her curacy in the Walbrook Epiphany Team Ministry. Here she is with +Jan.


July was a five Sunday month, and on the fifth Sunday we had a United Service at St Matthew’s. 84 people came from the two churches – 40 from one and 44 from the other – and a good time was had by all. Our choir does not spend all their time in the Paper Mill. On this occasion in July, several birthdays were celebrated – including our newest and youngest chorister, Kionie, aged 7.


Peter the Vicar celebrated his 55th Birthday on 3 August. 64 people from the two churches, ranging in age from 2 to 90-something, had a ride on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, then a fish and chip supper at St Edmund’s Church Hall. We put £1000 into the local economy (the railway and George’s fish and chips), sent a donation of £200 to the British Heart Foundation, and had a good party.


On Sunday 6 August Dennis and Kathleen Johnson renewed their wedding vows at the 10 am Communion service. A week later, Jay and Olivia were married at St Matthew’s. They had prepared for the weather, but the umbrellas were not needed.


Hydrangea Derby held their open day at the Walled Garden in Darley Park on Sunday 6 August. They maintain the largest collection of hydrangeas in Britain and the third largest in the world. A particular specialism in the Darley Abbey collection is the paniculata cultivar (cone-shaped flowers) and they are working towards a full collection of these.

August’s service of All Age Worship was led by Clive and Sara and focused on Jesus walking on the water. A week later Kid’s Church had 15 children, and there were 60 adults in the congregation. Not bad for August when everyone is supposed to be on holiday.


While St Matthew’s has been open during the summer, a small group used the time to give the Fellowship Room and link corridor a coat of paint. Here are two of them, Lyndon and David – there is more paint on David than on the walls. Thank you to everyone – it looks so much better.

We soon back into the swing of things in September. On Tuesday 5 September the Friends of St Matthew’s started their year with a Communion. Peter told them about St Aidan and Bamburgh in Northumberland.

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Sunday 17 September was busy. A good sized congregation for the 10 am Communion Service and the children making lots of things for Harvest in Kid’s Church. We baptised baby Felix at 11.30. In the evening 35 people enjoyed Choral Evensong, then went back to the Attwood’s for a hog roast. A lovely evening.

Our September Parochial Church Council meeting covered a multitude of topics. We agreed to formally ask permission to put a defibrillator on the Fellowship Room wall, thanked those who had painted the Fellowship Room and agreed to buy new curtains, looked at the dates through until Christmas, heard a report from David (the Head of Walter Evans school) about the new term, and spent some time considering finance and stewardship.

St Matthew’s day is the 21 September, and this year it fell on a Thursday. 94 people came to church for a Confirmation Service with the Bishop of Derby. He confirmed Bertie from St Matthew’s, Alex from St Edmund’s, and Thomas, Annie and William from other parishes. It was a joyous celebration, and the cake was excellent too.


The Friends of St Matthew’s welcomed Brian Naylor to talk about Heage Windmill. On Sunday 8 October we celebrated Harvest. Two harvest loaves, three morning services, an excellent lunch (our thanks to the Catering Committee and Nic), and an evening Songs of Praise with an Orcadian theme and the poetry of George Mackay Brown.

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Three baptisms on Sunday 15 October. Caitlin and Arthur were baptised at 10 am (here with parents Victoria and Michael). Emily was baptised at 11.30 (here with Richard, Kimberley and Peter).

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Darley Abbey Heritage Day (21 October) saw a good number of visitors through St Matthew’s. In the evening we has a “Last Night of the Proms” – a good sing and refreshments afterwards.

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On Saturday 11 November we planted a hydrangea paniculata – well, one person planted, several stood and watched! Across at St Edmund’s they had their German Christmas Market and Crib Exhibition. Several cribs loaned by St Matthew’s people added to the atmosphere in church.


On Saturday 11 November we planted a hydrangea paniculata – well, one person planted, several stood and watched! Across at St Edmund’s they had their German Christmas Market and Crib Exhibition. Several cribs loaned by St Matthew’s people added to the atmosphere in church.

Remembrance Sunday saw a full church in the morning. Clive Lemmon took the service. The choir from the Old Vicarage School sang “Peace, perfect peace” and the church choir sang “For the fallen”. Lessons were read by Irene Thomas and Sir Andrew Walker-Okeover Bt (Deputy Lieutenant) and prayers were read by David Brown, Head of Walter Evans School. The procession to the War Memorial was led by Bas Bowyer (BEM) and Ethan Tatum was the standard bearer. The names of the fallen were read, and children from Walter Evans planted wooden crosses at the war memorial. In the evening we had a Communion Service with the music of the Requiem by Gabriel Faure, sung by the choirs of St Matthew’s and St Edmund’s. The choirs were photographed in rehearsal.


Walter Evans School held their Carol Service in the Cathedral on Wednesday 29 November – St Matthew’s is not big enough to take all the children, plus parents and grandparents. Peter led a very special service which involved lots of the children. The school have also produced an Advent video for the Diocese of Derby – it was on the Diocesan website during Advent, and can be viewed on youtube – click here.

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The Church’s Christmas Fair was held in the Old Vicarage School on Saturday 2 December. Lots of mince pies were eaten, lots of things were purchased, and the choir sang.

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Advent Sunday was 3 December – the latest date it can possibly be. In the evening there was a good congregation for the annual Advent Procession, a joint service with both choirs. The service starts in darkness. From the darkness comes the solo Tenor – “I look from afar, and lo, I see the power of God coming, and a cloud covering the whole earth.” The service is built around the Advent hymn “O come, O come Emmanuel”, with the relevant bible passage being read for each verse. There were refreshments afterwards – the Catering Committee will be busy in Advent.

Several people went to the Allestree Churches Together Quiet Evening at Holy Family Church, and others were involved in Carols at Park Farm (with lovely angels) on Saturday 9 December.


In the evening Derventio Choir presented a Christmas Concert at St Matthew’s. There were lots of other Christmas events the same evening, so the audience was not as big as hoped – but those who came thoroughly enjoyed it. £270 was raised for Treetops Hospice. Excellent refreshments. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.

The Friends of St Matthew’s had their Christmas Celebrations on 5 December. Peter Taylor writes a pantomime – and it is wonderfully acted. Lots of food, but no alcohol.

On Sunday morning 10 December Melonie and Sara led the service, and the children stole the show (photographed posted with parental permissions).


Church was full on Monday 11 December for Village Carols, with our choir and the choir of Walter Evans – more refreshments. Year 1 and 2 from Walter Evans had a German Christmas Market on Friday 15 December, and came to church for a short service (picture posted with the school’s permission). In the evening, our choir sang at a Carol Service for the Alzheimer’s Society at Broadway Baptist Church before having their own Christmas Party.


On Sunday 17 December there was a good turn out for the Carol Service – the bible readings tell the story of God’s love. They were read by a variety of people from the church and village, the choir sang several pieces, and we all sang our favourite carols.


We had a Christmas Lunch on Thursday 21 December, then a full Crib Service on Christmas Eve afternoon. Bertie is an angel – our thanks to children and their parents.

At Midnight Mass Peter lit the final candle on the Advent Wreath - Christ is born!


The final Sunday of the year was a Fifth Sunday, so we had a United Service and folk from St Edmund’s came to us. There were 97 people in church, including a large choir. It was a joyful act of worship. The service – the year – ended with a mistake. The last hymn was supposed to be a Christmas hymn: 182

“Good Christians all, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say:
News! News!
Jesus Christ is born today.”

Due to a typo we sang 181:

“Good Christians all, rejoice and sing,

Now is the triumph of our King.

To all the world, glad news we bring:


Not a bad mistake to make!

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