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January to June 2022 in the churches

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We start 2022 in a very similar place to where we were in 2021 - a lot of Covid about, masks and social distancing in church, very few social events, and services on Zoom as well as in the church buildings (these are archived on the Worship page). Congregations are smaller than they were two years ago, but larger than they were a year ago! We moved Epiphany to Sunday 2 January, but also had an Epiphany Carol Service in St Edmund's on 9 January. At St Matthew's we baptised Louis, here with parents Jamie and Rosie, and his big brother and sister (photo posted with permission). 

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Toddler Group in St Edmund's Church Hall restarted with the story of "The Wonky Donkey" one week, and lovely fox pictures the next. At St Matthew's we baptised Lana on 16 January, here with mum Tianna and the Godparents. 

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At the end of the month the graveyard working party was out at St Matthew's, just as (a week later) Groundforce met at St Edmund's. Storm Malik brought down a large branch in St Edmund's churchyard - another thing to be sorted!

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On Sunday 30 January we celebrated the Feast of Candlemas (The Presentation of Christ in the Temple) with a United Choral Communion at St Matthew's. The service started as we made Anabelle a full member of the choir, we held our candles aloft as we greeted the light that has come into the world, and we welcomed Peter Robinson, the Dean of Derby, as our preacher. We also did a Candlemas service on Zoom. 

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February started with some changes as positive Covid tests affected the Vicarage and Church Office. We also had a busy time with funerals - not, we're glad to say, Covid-related. Obviously we don't post photos of those, but it is worth acknowledging that this is a very important part of the life and ministry of our churches - space to celebrate a life, to mourn a passing, to ask God's forgiveness and mercy, and to celebrate the faith that proclaims that "nothing can separate us from the love of God."

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Derby Cathedral’s new chamber organ was dedicated by the Dean at a special evensong on Tuesday 15th February. It was purchased by the Derby & District Organists’ Association through the generosity of the late Ed Stow, former organist at St Edmund’s. The organ was built by Robin Jennings, who has built many high-quality small organs for cathedrals and prestigious venues. The Cathedral music staff love the instrument and the Director of Music, Alex Binns (pictured), says that it is used to accompany the choir at some stage in almost all choral services. Peter was the cantor for the service, and Tony Westerman, Margaret Eades and Geoff Howell (who have all played for us at St Edmund’s) were in the congregation.

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Covid and other illnesses played havoc with the service rota, and Clive stepped in at short notice to take Morning Prayer at St Edmund's on Sunday 20 February. He mentioned that it was the thousandth sermon that he had preached. A celebration cup was delivered to him at home a couple of days later. Julie, another of our Readers, was in full flow telling the story at Baby and Toddler Group. 

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On Sunday 27 February we celebrated the baptism of Lucas, here with his mum Claire and big brother Jack. Julie talked to the Friends of St Matthew's about her "Bookshop Tour on Four Wheels" - here she is outside The Accidental Bookshop in Alnwick. You can read about her tours on her blog -


Ash Wednesday was busy - a 10 am service at St Edmund's, four services wtth the children of Walter Evans School, and a Choral Communion Service in the evening - that's over 500 people through our churches in one day. Traditionally churches do not do baptisms in Lent, but the Covid backlog means that sometimes you don't do what is liturgically correct. On Sunday 6 March we celebrated at St Matthew's with the baptism of Vivienne. Mum and dad Peter and Phoebe were married here, and granny is Sarah in the choir. It was a lovely celebration. In the afternoon we baptised Theo - mum Lauren, sisters Olivia and Rose, and lots of Godparents. 

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On Monday evening St Matthew's was full of Cub Scouts exploring the church and going down into the Crypt. Then it was Peter's turn to go down with Covid. On Tuesday 8 March a year group from St Matthew's came to plant a tree for Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee. They knew that Her Majesty, being very old and very wise, cares a lot for the environment, and they knew all about the importance of trees and the benefits they bring. The tree planted is a Rowan or Mountain Ash, and head teacher David Brown did the honours, assisted by two of the pupils (photo posted with permission of the school and the parents). The children had learned the National Anthem, so led everyone in a spirited rendition of it.

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On Sunday 13 March, Clive was back in action again - sermon 1,001 now preached. Milo was baptised, here with parents Jamie and Jessica and big brother Jody. On Tuesday 15 March there was a Memorial Service for Joyce Redman, whose husband Arthur was Vicar here from 1980 to 1996. Here they are at his (their) retirement. She came back in 2008 and worshipped with us for the rest of her life - we thank God for her faith and ministry. The service was led by The Reverend Chris Dyer and was a great celebration. In the 1980s Joyce was one of those who helped found the Padley Centre - work which continues to this day. 

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Toddler Group made Mothering Sunday cards. We marked the Feast of the Annunciation with a Choral Compline service at St Edmund's - this painting is by the Ukrainian artist Oleksandr Murashko (1909). As war rages across that country, prayers are included at all our services, and several church members are involved in the work to send humanitarian aid to that country from a collection point at Darley Abbey Mills. Our Mothering Sunday services were quiet, and we returned to the altar for the first time at St Edmund's. Our Zoom service ended with Vivian Ellis' piece "Coronation Scot" - Selwyn the Vicarage cat was bemused where the noises were coming from. 

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On Saturday 26 March we baptised Pierre, with parents Emile and Raki and big sister Marla. The photos are by Jess Buxton Photography - our thanks to her for giving us permission to share them. The following day we baptised Phoebe, with parents Thomas and Hannah and big sister Isabella.

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Easter started on Thursday 7 April with the Baby and Toddler Group and St Edmund's Preschool coming to church for their Easter Service. Then the Toddlers made stained glass egg windows! The following day the whole of Walter Evans School came into St Matthew's which had been decorated with pictures and Easter Gardens they had made. Then the whole school was involved in telling the story of Jesus's journey to the cross. 

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As if welcoming the whole school wasn't enough excitement for one day, Friday evening saw the first Concert since Covid, when Derventio Choir came to St Matthew's. Then on Saturday we welcomed a Legacy Makers Group from Nottingham.


On Palm Sunday we read the Passion Narrative, the story of Jesus's journey to the cross, at our morning services - different people reading the different parts, and the whole congregation acting the role of the crowd: "Crucify him, crucify him!". It seemed a very different atmosphere to the joyful baptism of Astraea in the afternoon - here with parents Anna and Daniel Maunder, and sisters Athina and Avenna. A quiet, reflective Choral Evensong ended the day nicely. We had evening services every night through Holy Week as we journeyed to the cross together. As we came out of St Matthew's on Good Friday evening, even the moon was struggling to come out through the clouds. We were able to share a communion service with the residents of Stanley House, though our friends at Abbeydale were back in isolation due to Covid, and Peter took communion to the homes of several of those who would have been active participants in church when we last 'did' Holy Week in 2019. 

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Paula Gooder's book provided the basis for some of our Holy Week talks.

Easter Sunday was a joy in both churches and on Zoom. Chris Dyer led the service at St Edmund's, Peter was at St Matthew's, Julie and Peter led Zoom. In 2020 our buildings had been locked on Easter Sunday (you can find pictures here), last year we were able to worship but not to sing (and the Easter Greeting had to be said quietly) - pictures here. This year we could shout "Christ is Risen, Alleluia" and reply with similar fervour "He is risen indeed, Alleluia!". Peter reflected on this picture by Eugene Burnand, "The disciples Peter and John rushing to the tomb on the morning of the Resurrection", 1898. It is in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. In the evening Julie used the reading of the Road to Emmaus and the story from Paula Gooder's book. The choirs came together and raised the roof with the "Hallelujah Chorus". Both churches were beautifully decorated - lots of people helping make Easter special. 


On 23 April we had a  St George’s Day Concert in the Church Hall, the first of our events for Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee. David played the Compton Miniatura organ, Julie and Peter read Shakespeare, A.E. Housman and Rupert Brooke, and we had a couple of railway films, including a view of the Cotswolds and Shakespeare's country in 1954. Sadly only 19 people turned up (and seven of those were involved in the organisation of the evening). However we had a good time, and raised £100 which will be split between St Edmund's church and the DEC Appeal for Ukraine. This St George is from a window in St Peter's church Cockfield in Suffolk - where Peter was Vicar from 1997 to 2001.

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The following day we baptised Robyn with parents Hugin and Christina and the Godparents. The first Baby and Toddler Group of the summer term was packed - so popular we ran out of biscuits! They made great cards.

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On Saturday 30 April we had the first Big Book Sale in St Edmund's for two years. A steady flow of people, over £300 raised for church and Ukraine, and lots of people found great purchases. You could pick up a Penguin, or find a book on almost anything. Thanks team!

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St Edmund's Annual Parochial Church Meeting saw a change in churchwarden - Paul Smith replaced Michele Aspinall. Huge thanks to her for the work she has done over the last six years. No change in wardens at St Matthew's. Both churches have a need for more people to be involved, there are jobs that need to be filled - but after the last two years, is it any wonder?

The wedding season started a bit late this year, but once it started we were busy.  Billie and Phoebe at St Edmund's on 12 May, with baby Grayston. Matt and Nicole, with baby Aurella Rose came to St Matthew's on 16 May. They had been married in November 2020, a very small wedding (following the rules) on a Wednesday evening before lockdown came in again, now we had a big celebration. Mark and Emilie at St Edmund's on Friday 22 May, then on Saturday Matthew and Megan at St Matthew's, closely followed by James and Zoe at St Edmund's.

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We baptised Anna and Alexander on Sunday 15 May, photographed here with parents Nicola and Richard and all the Godparents - another couple of baptisms which were delayed by Covid. St Matthew's is now open during the day (as is St Edmund's), and there has been a good number of people coming in to enjoy the peace, history and to find space to pray. The young people from Walter Evans School have had some of their Collective Worships in the building, and Peter spent an hour with members of Year 3 as we discussed why it is here and what we use it for. 

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We started our Celebrations of Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee on Sunday 22 May with a Family Activity afternoon. These photos, and all the others from a busy fortnight, are on this page.


We celebrated Ascension Day with an evening servce at St Matthew's sung by both choirs. Elizabeth, our Director of Music at St Edmund's,  had a Zero birthday, so we celebrated with her as well.

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Sunday 29 May was a fifth Sunday, so we had a United Service at St Edmund's. It included the baptism of Gwenllian, so was a real celebration - and we learned about Welsh Princesses with the same name, one killed on the battlefield, the other sent off to a nunnery. The family invited us for lunch in the Church Hall afterwards. Photos to follow.

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After the Jubilee it seemed as if everyone who wasn't already on holiday went away, and Sunday 12 June was quiet. We started Sunday coffee again at St Edmund's (St Matthew's started a few weeks ago, but no one got any photos). In the afternoon we baptised Dylan, photoed here with parents Peter and Sarah, brother Liam, and lots of Godparents. The following week we welcome three classes from Portway Infants to St Edmund's for a good explore. 

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Peter regularly takes Communion to those who struggle to get to church. One lady decided he needed feeding up! Meanwhile at St Matthew's a group called Good Gym have come on several occasions to work in the churchyard. They run here, work hard, then run back. Peter will not be joining them!

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On Sunday 19 June St Matthew's hosted a Green Afternoon. More details and photos here. It was wonderful to bring the community, school and University together, and we had some thought-provoking speakers.

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The following day the Jubilee Birds at St Matthew's flew down and some found a new home.  On Sunday 26 June William was baptised at St Matthew's, here with his parents Matthew and Laura and his Godparents. We have also welcomed most of St Benedict's School to St Matthew's.


The year continues on a new page. 

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