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2018 in St Matthew's church


We started the year with a wedding – James and Gilly. A lovely service, with the church choir in good voice (after an excellent party the night before).

We baptised India and Alexia on Saturday 13 January, and then raised £325 for the British Heart Foundation with two showings of Railway Films. The following day we had a Christingle service – Selwyn the Vicarage cat helped make them.

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Sunday 21 January was a day of snow. It started as we arrived for the Big Breakfast – which raised £272. We began the service by installing Miranda as our new Head Chorister, and giving Kionie, our newest chorister, her surplice. Here they are with John Gratton, our Director of Music. Kids' Church made biscuit Christingles. The snow was getting thicker, and after coffee we struggled to get home. By the evening it was melting – and we had Choral Evensong. All these photos are posted with parental permission.

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We marked Candlemas on Sunday 28 January, and in the afternoon several of us went to St John’s Methodist Church for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service organised by Allestree Churches Together. We ended the month by taking possession of new – well, new to us – Common Praise hymnbooks. St Edmundbury Cathedral in Suffolk had replaced them, but they still have several years of life left. It now means that our two churches have the same hymnbook – we are very grateful.

St Matthew’s was the venue for a concert by the Derbyshire Constabulary Male Voice Choir on Friday 9 February. It was in aid of the 63rd Derby Scouts Hall Fund – our Darley Abbey Scouts are refurbishing the old Methodist chapel – and there were over 70 in the audience. As a Valentine’s Concert, all the ladies got flowers.


On Shrove Tuesday St Edmund’s organised “Pancake Lite”. One of those eating too many pancakes was Caroline our new administrator. She is pictured here with husband Dave, son Noah – and with Peter the Vicar and Julie.

Ash Wednesday had four services – one at St Edmund’s and three at St Matthew’s – an evening Choral Communion, and two School services. The children read various prayers they had written, and these were displayed on the Fellowship Room noticeboard for Lent. During Lent we had two groups looking at the topic of Stewardship – 17 people squeezed into the Vicarage sitting room on Monday evening, and another group met at Clive and Gareth’s on Wednesday. We also supported the Nagpur Link Lent Lunches in the Allestree churches.

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The Third Thursday lunch remains popular – served to members of our church and community with help of young people from Walter Evans school. Here is the team who served on Thursday 15 February (photo taken by David Brown, headteacher, and posted with permission of the school).

Kids’ Church met on Sunday 25 February – their noticeboard is very colourful. The choir sang traditional Choral Mattins – including the Benedicite for Lent.


We had a few snow days at the beginning of March. It was melting by Sunday 4 March, but the temperature was still cold. Guess which Sunday the boiler decided it was going to sleep. 55 people sang loudly at 10 am in an attempt to keep ourselves warm. By the time the Baptism party arrived for 11.15 it was no long Arctic, and by Evensong at 6.15 it was almost Tropical. Here is Olivia with mum and dad Maddy and Stefan, Godparents Laura and William, and a very tempting candle.

Melonie led the All Age Worship on Mothering Sunday, and Peter took the wedding of James and Anna in the afternoon (photos posted with parental permission, and permission of the happy couple).

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Our final Thursday Lunch of the season was on 15 March. Sausage and mash, plus pudding and cake.

Sunday 18 March was Stewardship Sunday. There is lots of information on the “Stewardship” page. It snowed, but we had envelopes to hand out, and (more) cake to eat.

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The last week of term saw four Easter services for Walter Evans School, and an Easter assembly for the Old Vicarage. A wonderful selection of crosses from Walter Evans. The photo montage is posted by permission of OVS.

Adam and Laura were married on Saturday 24 March. In the evening Geoff and David climbed the tower to adjust the clock to British Summer Time, and Peter took some photos.

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On Palm Sunday the clock was correct. We read the Passion Narrative at the main service, and then journeyed with Jesus to the Cross as we travelled through Holy Week (with Morning Prayer each day, a United Service at St Edmund’s on Maundy Thursday and a United Service at St Matthew’s on Good Friday).

We had a full church on Easter Sunday morning. The choir sang Karl Jenkins’ Armed Man: a mass for peace, which was well-received. It was a wonderful celebration that “Christ is Risen”. In the evening we had a United Evensong at St Edmund’s.

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Julie Barham spoke to FOSM on Tuesday 3 April, and entertained with “Books – a passion for life”.

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Marc and Olivia were married on Saturday 7 April – a very full church. The photos are by Matt Horan Photography, and are posted with permission of the couple.


We had our Church AGM after the morning service on Sunday 15 April. Trevor stood down as churchwarden – our thank to him for all his hard work – and no one came forward in his place. David remained as the other churchwarden. We received the accounts and annual report – then had lunch together. A few weeks later Peter Taylor stepped forward and filled the vacancy. Most PCC members (and others) attended a Safeguarding training evening in the Church Hall.

Sunday 29 April was a Fifth Sunday. We had a United Service at St Edmund’s in the morning. In the afternoon we baptised Audrey (photo posted with permission of the family), and then a small congregation said the Office of Nones together. Nones is one of the old services of the monastery, the ninth hour, 3 pm.

The first weekend of May was busy. We were involved in the Local History Fair at the Village Hall, married Russell and Kelly, showed Railway Films, had our normal Sunday services, and married Adrian and Annabel.


Ascension Day on Thursday 10 May saw two school services and an evening celebration. We stick to the old tradition of blowing out the Easter Candle – there is something wonderfully symbolic of the smoke drifting upwards out of sight.

Our choir had a trip to sing Evensong at Leicester Cathedral on Saturday 12 May.


At Pentecost we had lovely flowers with the fire of the Spirit, an excellent Kids’ Church, and Choral Evensong followed by a party in Duffield.

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On Saturday 26 May we married Megan and Sam.


At the end of the month we started opening St Matthew’s on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. We also had five World War One talks – Julie Barham talked about the War poets, Peter about Woodbine Willie, Peter Barham about the sinking of the Lusitania and the memorial in our churchyard, Peter Taylor about the Somme Battlefields, and Adrian Farmer about the War in Belper and the Darley Abbey Millworkers strike of 1917. Each was attended by at least 20 people, from the church and village, and further afield. There is more information at Archive > World War 1 at St Matthew's

Peter the Vicar started June by climbing Snowdon for the British Heart Foundation. Members of the churches, and other friends, helped him raise well over £1,100 – thank you.

Kids’ Church marked Father’s Day on Sunday 17 June by singing “Jesus is my superhero” (photo posted with everyone’s permission).

Several members of the church were trained to be Darley Abbey Ambassadors, ambassadors for the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site

On Saturday 23 June we married Anthony and Victoria at 1, then we had a blessing service for the 10th Wedding Anniversary of Edd and Phil at 4. A good party afterwards in the Village Hall.

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St Edmund’s Allestree had an Open Gardens event on Sunday 24 June, and a lot of people from Darley Abbey came and supported the event. The WW1 display in the Vicarage Garden is by Spiral Arts (and was then moved to St Matthew’s for the following month).

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Sunday 24 June would have Walter Evans 254th birthday, and was the 199th anniversary of the consecration of the church. We sang him “Happy Birthday” at the 10 am service.

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The Churchyard working party meet on the fourth Saturday of each month. This is their tea break.

We started July with a Sunday Church Lunch at the Old Vicarage School. Excellent food! Then the Friends of St Matthew’s had a Tuesday afternoon tea with scones, jam and cream. On the Friday we came together to give thanks to God for the life of Barbara, who had been our PCC Secretary for many years.


Since England was doing so well in the World Cup we took the decision to move Choral Evensong on 15 July to 3 pm – this could be why we didn’t make the Final! The choir had supper in Longford after the service.


We married James and Amber on Sunday 22 July, and had all the Walter Evans leavers in church on Monday.

Church Opening continued through the summer. Lesley has produced a prayer corner in church.

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Sam and Ruth married on Saturday 28 July, then we had a Vicarage Tea Party. We have had a drought for several weeks – it started raining half an hour after the Tea Party started! We “sang in the rain” and enjoyed ourselves. Sunday 29 July was a fifth Sunday, and 94 people worshipped at St Matthew’s.

On Saturday 16 August we married George and Grace, then had a Friends of St Matthew’s afternoon tea.


Caroline (on the right), our administrator, left to go on maternity leave. Ineta (on the left) started work. Peter took them both to lunch, and Julie (in the centre) came too.

Our choirs sang the services at Derby Cathedral on Sunday 26 August, and Peter preached at Evensong. Here they are practising in the afternoon.

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On Sunday 2 September we baptised Rupert and Hugo, here with mum and dad Amy and Daniel.

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The following Saturday (1 September) they were at Peterborough Cathedral, while Nigel and Carolyn married in St Matthew’s.


We are part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, and they held one of their five year management plan Consultation Events in the Fellowship Room on 17 September. Sukie, Ian, Helen and Adrian were on hand to welcome visitors and talk about the DVMWHS, there was a huge map, a film show, a slide show, and feedback sheets. A positive afternoon.

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Friday 21 September is St Matthew’s Day. We had an evening service with 46 people, and a party afterwards.

At the end of the month we had a Macmillan Coffee Morning at the Vicarage which raised over £335, a Big Book Sale at St Edmund’s Church Hall raised £310 for Book Aid, and on Sunday, a Fifth Sunday, Simon Taylor, the Area Dean, can come to a United 10 o’clock at St Edmund’s. 106 others came too.

After choir practice on Friday 5 October, several members came to help with a Toy Clean for the Toddler Group at St Edmund’s. On Saturday several people joined in the Deanery Festival of Life Festival at Mackworth, including the dedication of a new Sculpture entitled ‘Conflict’ by Peter Maris. Peter spent the day at a Derbyshire Churches Together event in Matlock. In the evening we had a Harvest Supper and Barn Dance. The profit of £709 was sent to Christian Aid – with match-funding from the EU that means we raised £3,547 – not bad for an evening’s work!

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Sunday 6 October was our Harvest Festival. Kionie received her blue medal (here with John the Director of Music and Julie the Reader). In the evening we went to St Chad’s Longford and sang Evensong with their choir. Members of the Longford family were very impressed – for more details see Peter’s blog.

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On Monday 15 October we hosted an evening for the Derby Organists Association to commemorate the centenary of the death of the composer C.H.H. Parry. We also had Harvest Festivals for Walter Evans School.


On Saturday 20 October Tom and Amy married at St Matthew’s, and on Sunday we baptised Sophie – here with dad Jon, Anna and big sister Eleanor. In the afternoon we had a United Service at Broadway Baptist Church to mark Holiday at Home. On Saturday 27 October Peter and Phoebe married – and the bridesmaids had their mobile phones ready (photos taken with permission) – then we ended the month with the wedding of Simon and Claire.

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November was a month of Remembrance. Last Night of the Proms on Friday 2 November, and Remembrance Sunday on 11 November. There is more information on Archive > World War 1 at St Matthew's. They were very moving services.

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Sunday 18 November was St Edmund’s Day. Julie led a Celebration Service at St Edmund’s in the morning, while Peter led Communion here. Kids’ Church was very well attended, and one of the dads did some colouring. In the evening we had a Joint Patronal Festival at St Edmund’s.

Ellie and Kat from the Diocese came and led a very useful Dementia Training evening for people from the two churches and further afield.


Thousands of shoeboxes of gifts have been arriving at Darley Abbey Mills and are being prepared for transport to help needy children overseas. Many church people are involved, and boxes have come from St Matthew’s and the School. Others are involved with the Derby Churches Nightshelter, and St Matthew’s has been used as a venue for some of the training for volunteers. On Sunday 25 November Richard Dawson from the charity Safe Families for Children was the preacher at our morning service.


St Edmund’s had a German-style Christmas Market on Saturday 24 November, with an Exhibition of Cribs in church. In the evening Voices choir gave a Concert in St Matthew’s - and no one had a camera.


St Matthew’s had a Christmas Fair on Saturday 1 December at the Scout Hall. It was a great morning, and raised about £500. The choir had a good sing! In the afternoon Phil had organised a Crafternoon in aid of MIND, an opportunity for 15 people to make some crafts, and raise money for another charity we like to support.

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Advent Sunday had a morning Communion, and an evening Advent procession with the joint choirs. The words of the Matin Responsary by Palestrina (“I look from afar, and lo, I see the power of God coming, and a cloud covering the whole earth”) coming out of the darkness at the back of the church is very atmospheric, but not very photogenic. On Tuesday the Friends of St Matthew’s had their Christmas Party, and then Peter led the Walter Evans School Carol Service at Derby cathedral.

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The Nativity on Sunday 9 December was great fun – the photos are published with permission.


We had a full church and children from Walter Evans for Village Carols on Monday 10 December (raising £245 for the Derby Churches Nightshelter), then Old Vicarage School came for their Christmas services on 12 December. We had another full church (120 people) for the Service of Eight Lessons and Carols on Sunday 16 December – lots of lovely music, and a great atmosphere.


The choir sang Carols at the Paper Mill and the Wine Bar, and third Thursday lunch was the full turkey dinner.

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Christmas was its normal busy self. When term finished the Christmas Tree from Walter Evans School came down to church – it’s either because we are too mean to buy our own, or we are being Green. The Broomstick figures for the Crib Service received a fresh coat of paint. The Christmas flowers and Nativity were in place.

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We had five main Christmas services at St Matthew’s (Village carols, Carols, Crib, Midnight and Christmas morning). Total footfall 613 people (up from 583 in 2017). Some lovely worship – and good to welcome so many.

The year ended with the wedding of Ben and Jenny on Friday 28 December, and a United Service on Sunday 30 December.

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