District Newsletter

District Newsletter – September 2021

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Welcome to the Bolton and Rochdale District Newsletter.

This edition includes details about events, dates for your diaries, training opportunities, vacancies, links and contacts.

If you have any information to share, please contact us so we can include in future editions.

Please share this newsletter around your churches, circuits and contacts.


Message from Rev Paul Martin, Chair of District


A Happy New Methodist Year to you!


I am just getting back into the swing of things after my sabbatical. It has been a good time of reflection and looking forward. In a year’s time I will have retired from the “active work” and I have been able to pray and think around what I might do (or not do!) when I am retired. I am very grateful to the church for the gift of the sabbatical. Not only have I done some reflection, more exercise, more guitar playing, and more time with family and friends, I have also (with the help of Heather) done much tidying in the office which will make it easier when I hand over to my successor.


Although my opening salutation contained the word “happy”, I am aware that many begin the new year with a sense of anxiety. We are still working through the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the church and our communities. During the pandemic we were forced to do things differently; two examples would be worship and pastoral care. I hope and pray that in our understandable hope to “get back to normal” we do not forget what we have learned, and indeed learned from God, during the time of the pandemic. New opportunities have arisen and if we do not take them now we will have missed out.


One of my first tasks on return from sabbatical was to preach at the welcome services for Wilfred Robinson in the Leigh and Hindley Circuit and Simon Rose in the Wigan Circuit. Both services were well attended and joyful occasions. From one of the readings appointed for welcome services I was moved to preach on encouragement. I hope and pray that at the start of this new and challenging year that encouraging each other will be our starting point. And let us pray that God will guide us and give us wisdom to discern what is willed for the church.


God bless you all.




Paul Martin's Sabbatical Report - please click here.


The Conference Digest has details of decisions taken at the 2021 Conference, including minimum numbers for churches and online worship. You can download a copy here.

A video of the 2021 Conference highlights has been uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo







3Generate - Save the Date & Volunteer

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I hope this email finds you all well. I am emailing first and foremost to introduce myself. As many of you would be aware, my name is Daud Irfan and I am the Youth President for 2021-22. The theme for my year in office is ‘God’s Church; A Home for All’, which was a result of my firm belief in the fact that our churches throughout the country need to be a warm and welcoming hub in our communities for all people as we steer our way out of the devastating impacts of COVID-19, that have left many people feeling lost, vulnerable or deprived. Furthermore, as the story of creation teaches us, we are all made in the image of God. Therefore, no one should be treated any differently to their neighbors. God’s love is the same for all humanity, no matter our backgrounds.

Following on from Phoebe’s email on 25th August, preparations for 3Generate 2021 are readily underway and there are many inclusive and exciting activities planned for the event.

I look forward to working alongside you all over the course of this year and hopefully I will get to meet you personally through my visits – please do get in touch with me directly if you would like to discuss or arrange any visits in your district.

Every Blessing,

Daud Irfan | Youth President, The Methodist Church of Great Britain


Taster session for Worship: Leading & Preaching - Monday 20th September 2021 7.30pm to 9pm on Zoom

Wondering if Worship Leading and/or Preaching is for you? Have you had a nudge from God (maybe via the people you know)?

Come along to this taster session for conversation with accredited Worship Leaders and Local Preachers.

To book your place email Rob Glassonbury: NWMannNetwork@gmail.com
For more information contact Jasmine Devadason: devadasonj@methodistchurch.org.uk


Growing Through Change and Conflict - Thursday 30th September 9.30am to 4pm on zoom.

A one-day workshop to consider how conflict works in ourselves and in our church community, and develop some simple tools to transform situations of tension, conflict and change.

Please only book one day. To book your place on one of these two days, please email Rob Glassonbury at least 2 weeks in advance:  Your postal address (to receive a booklet)  Your Circuit or denomination if not Methodist NWMannNetwork@gmail.com

For more information contact Brec Seaton: seatonb@methodistchurch.org.uk

The Methodist Church has a training partnership with Place for Hope and there will be a small charge for non-Methodists sharing with us on this day. Please do not let costs deter you from joining with us


Reflect Quiet Morning via Zoom

September 25 or 27; 9.30am till 12.15pm

Aldersgate Part 2: An Evangelical Mystic

Further details from Reflect | Retreats (reflectretreats.co.uk)


An opportunity to hear about the Free Churches report on the Church and Social Cohesion in the North of England Context

Register now for an exciting and thought provoking event coming up in Liverpool on 30th September! Connecting Communities, Serving People, The Church & Social Cohesion will take place on the afternoon and be hosted at Liverpool Town Hall. Find out more and register here:



Inernational Coffee Shop Sunday Convention Sat 16th October 2021 9.30am - 3.30pm Methodist Central Hall, Coventry.

Welcome to the first International Coffee Shop Sunday Convention. “Meeting God in an Ordinary Place”.

Our internationally renowned speakers Rev Ashley Cooper and Rev Dr Pete Phillips will be speaking and leading workshops about the different models of being missional people in a coronavirus world.

“The Coffee Shop Sunday” family openly invite you to a day of worship, fellowship and learning on encountering God in an ordinary place.

Join us at Central Hall or Online via Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube. For further details please go to our Facebook Page or visit https://cssconvention21.wixsite.com/website


Sight Loss Sunday, October 17th 2021, from Torch Trust

20% of your local community experience sight loss. Many find it impossible to attend or contribute to church life. Break those barriers down by taking part in Sight Loss Sunday and encourage blind and partially sighted people to participate in your church.
Be part of the solution on Sight Loss Sunday, October 17th 2021.

Find out more at sightlossfriendlychurch.org.uk/slsunday


MWiB – District Day – 20th October

Bolton & Rochdale Methodist Women in Britain  would like to invite you to join us on  Wednesday 20th  October 10:00am – 1:00pm  at Harwood Methodist Church, Bolton, BL2 3HX for a morning of fellowship, conversation and worship.

Guest speaker is Chair of District Revd Paul Martin who has always been a strong supporter of the work of MWiB and will share some of his own  journey. During the morning commissioning of our new District President will take place and will include  a service of communion and celebration of the work of MWiB both locally and nationally.

Drinks will be served both before and after,  and all are invited to bring their own packed lunch to enjoy at the end of the morning.  ALL are welcome (including men)

Normal Covid restrictions and guidelines will be in place including the option to wear a  mask if preferred, regular hand washing and maintaining safe distance. If suffering from Covid symptoms we respectfully ask people  not to attend. A register will be kept of all present.

Further information from Philippa Hill (District Secretary) phhill28@gmail.com  


Bullying and Harassment  Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th November 09:30 to 13:00 on zoom

Join a group to explore some basic techniques to create good practices in ministry that address negative behaviour. This course takes place over two mornings, please be available for both Wednesday and Thursday.

Email Rob Glassonbury to book you place and include:
 Your postal address
 Your Circuit or denomination if not Methodist

For more information contact Brec Seaton seatonb@methodistchurch.org.uk

Bookings close on Wednesday 20th October

The Methodist Church has a training partnership with Place for Hope and there will be a small charge for non-Methodists sharing with us on this day. Please do not let costs deter you from joining with us.


Journey of the Magi – a festive, light-hearted, joyful event with a moving and profound message. 

Following a sell-out year in 2019, Journey of the Magi is back, for churches to host for Advent 2021. Share the joy and wonder of Christmas with your church and local community through this exhilarating, critically acclaimed performance. The show offers a bridge between contemporary life and Jesus’s birth, comparing our own personal journey to Christmas day with the journey that the wise men took. With sparkle and songs to keep the children entertained and bags of good humour for the grown-ups, Journey of the Magi delights audiences of all ages and offers a chance to reflect and refocus.

“Absolutely fabulous show. Wonderful mix of fun, wit, and meaning. It made me laugh and it made me cry all in a couple of minutes. (Hope you'll come back.)”  Richard, Poynton Methodist Church

Springs is inviting churches to host a performance of Journey of the Magi, which we are planning to tour nationally in December 2021. If the tour cannot go ahead due to Covid-19, bookings will be postponed until Advent 2022 or will be fully refunded .

Further information can be found on the Springs Dance Company website page https://springsdancecompany.org.uk/productions/journey-of-the-magi/, by emailing touring@springsdancecompany.org.uk or by calling 07876 752 910


Dates for your diary: visit the District Website: www.barmd.org.uk





Progress at Syke Methodist Church, Rochdale

The five year building refurbishment programme at Syke Methodist Church in Rochdale is just about complete and is a story in itself. Deciding to become a community church back in 2014, in order to head off likely closure, was the first step taken by the congregation.  In 2015, an independent local community charity, Syke Community Base were facing closure as their rent had been increased to unaffordable levels and were invited to provide their many community groups from the church. Suddenly, 350 people a week were attending a huge variety of activities from 9am-9pm five days a week.

Back in 2014, the building was far from perfect – a hole in the roof, no heating and a kitchen to be ashamed of were just some of the issues. The congregation rolled up their sleeves, used their existing funding to fit a new roof and began the task of raising money to fix the rest. Funding has come from a variety of sources – our own regular fundraising activities, Methodist linked funding as well as external funding from a variety of foundations and trusts. With an architect’s plan and a lot of hard work by many at the church and Syke Community Base, phases 1-3 found funding for the heating, a new kitchen and new external render. The big job – phases 4 and 5 ripped out the internal structures to provide a building fit for modern purpose. We doubled the useable space and made sure we had good disabled access into the building and between floors. The attached photos show some of the many improvements we have achieved. The only thing we were unable to afford was the lift – though all building work associated with it was completed and we are hoping a current application to a landfill foundation will provide the £22,000 required to completely finish the job.  

Our building had to be closed during the pandemic and we were fortunate to be able to complete phases 4 and 5 during lockdown without having to close again in the future. We are working hard to prepare to re-open as soon as we are able, ready to welcome our community back into the building. We have worked with the most vulnerable during lockdown and appreciate that for many, things have been tough with new issues arising around isolation, unemployment and greater poverty for an already deprived community. Now we have a building fit for purpose and twice the space and are well placed to face the challenges ahead.


Malham Chapel 

Malham Methodist Chapel has been recently converted to provide a splendid worship area and meeting space. It has a small kitchen and toilet and is fully accessible. There is digital projector for presentations.

It would make an excellent base for a day visit with great walks for all abilities and could be combined with an auto of worship or church training session.

If you would like further details please do not hesitate to get in touch.


MWiB Autumn mailing.

Dear All,

Welcome to this Autumn mailing from MWiB. Available to download from the website you will find:

~ The MWiB Autumn Newsletter https://mwib.org.uk/index.php/2018/03/15/spring-2018-newsletter/

~ Prayer Diary September-November 2021 https://mwib.org.uk/index.php/2017/07/29/prayer-diary-august-2017/

~ September's World Federation 'Call to Pray' https://mwib.org.uk/index.php/2018/03/05/call-to-pray/

You may remember that last year, when our World Federation Officer Carolyn Lawrence took on the role of Vice President of the Methodist Conference, we encouraged Districts to commit to praying for her for one month during the year. This year, our incoming WF Officer Barbara Easton is also Vice President of the Conference, and we would like to encourage you to pray for her as we did for Carolyn. See attached document 'Prayer for Barbara Easton' - and do please encourage others to pray during your District's allocated month.

Some important announcements:

~ World Federation Day 2021 - Unfortunately, this event has had to be postponed once again due to ongoing uncertainties caused by Covid regulations and restrictions.

~ World Assembly, Gothenburg 2022 - This will now be an online event - see newsletter for further details.

~ A Methodist Way of Life - Irene Hayes (the new Communications Coordinator) is inviting women around the Connexion to join her via Zoom to explore 'A Methodist Way of Life' - see page one of the newsletter for further details.

Please feel free to forward any or all of this information to others in your District.

And finally, this will be my last communication with you as I'll be handing over the Communications role this week to Irene Hayes, and the website and social media role to Amy Walters. You can contact Irene on this email address, and Amy can be emailed at: website@mwib.org.uk   

Thanks for the support you've shown me over the last five years, and for your continuing support for MWiB.

Best wishes

Judith R Simms
Communications Officer
Methodist Women in Britain


All We Can  (the Methodist relief and development agency) host a live broadcast on Facebook and YouTube every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:17 pm (inspired by Col 1:17 – ‘In Christ all things hold together’). You can watch these by following All We Can on Facebook or YouTube – just search for allwecanuk or visit allwecan.org.uk


News from Action for Children

Thank you for boycotting your bed


We'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in Boycott your Bed on 9 July.

You've helped us raise over £180,000. You are amazing!

We'd also like to thank the churches that have held an Action for Children Sunday service or are planning to hold one. We appreciate your thoughtful prayers and donations.

God bless you!

Watch our thank you video

Craftivism to urge MPs to make children a priority

Are you passionate about social justice and would like to do something to ensure children can fulfil their potential?

Can you make a craft to make a point?

If so, we'd love to get you involved in our September craftivism campaign.

You would be helping us to urge your MPs to commit to making children a personal priority by sending them a handcrafted star.  

We believe there’s a star in every child.

When a child has the safe and happy childhood they deserve, their star shines brightly. But too many children in the UK right now don’t have the chance to shine.

Their childhoods are overshadowed by poverty, abuse, neglect and poor mental health. And the pandemic has only made things worse..

Our elected politicians can change this.

Sign up and we'll send you information on how you can make a difference.

Sign up for craftivism

Tell us what you think about Action for Children

Each year Action for Children sends out a survey to understand how we can improve.

It doesn't matter how you've supported us, we would still love to hear from you.

The survey should only take between 10 and 15 minutes.

Once you’ve completed the survey, you can enter the prize draw to win one of three £50 One4all gift cards.

Thank you for your time. 

Complete survey

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you

Jude 1:2


Coronavirus/ COVID 19

Government advice can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

Advice from Connexion (Methodist Church House is closed), being updated regularly online at: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus/official-guidance/

Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus/official-guidance/#faqs


The Methodist News

The Media Office of The Methodist Church has changed “The Week Ahead” weekly e-bulletin, which has been replaced by “The Methodist News”.

If you don’t already receive this you can subscribe online at:-




FREEPHONE numbers for prayers, reflections and news from the Methodist Church

Listen to a prayer: 0808 281 2514

Listen to a pastoral message from the President and Vice President: 0808 281 2695

Listen to our Podcast: 0808 281 2478 

Prayer updated every Thursday, Presidential message updated every Monday, Methodist Podcast updated fortnightly on Thursday.


A Methodist Way of Life

A Methodist Way of Life commitment card is available online at www.methodistchurch.org.uk/MWoL. Many people are downloading and finding it useful in this current situation.




The Brick - Queen's Hall Action on Poverty 

We are recruiting Trustees.

Who are we? The Brick is Wigan and Leigh’s leading homelessness and food poverty Charity. We help hundreds of people access temporary accommodation and food. However, we are much more than just a provision for homelessness services. Our vision, “to work with people in need within our community and to provide RELIEF, RESTORATION and REFORMATION by offering tailored support, hope, and opportunity to those looking to improve their quality of life”, reflects our commitment to making a real and sustained contribution to our community. The Brick is not about hand-outs, but a hand-up to get people back on their feet and back on track. We have grown significantly in the last few years and are looking to increase the number of trustees on our board to reflect this, as well as to benefit from a wider range of skills and expertise in the governance of our charity.

Who are we looking for? We are seeking trustees who are passionate about our cause and want to use their skills and experience to help us make a difference to people’s lives. Trustees are unpaid directors of the charity, who work together to oversee the strategy, direction and aims of the organisation. Previous trustee experience is not required. The charity is founded on Christian principles and suitable candidates will have values which align with these. We encourage applications from people of any faith or none and welcome the opportunity for a varied board. We are interested in hearing from people from diverse backgrounds, ages and ethnicity. We particularly welcome applications from people with lived experience of homelessness, addiction or who have suffered poor mental health. We would like to hear from people with a range of skills. Particularly desirable is experience in: financial control, legal framework, risk management, e-commerce and marketing and PR.

What's involved? Trustee meetings are every other month (2/3 hours) and one full day a year, which includes some training. Some additional time is required to read the papers prior to meetings and a willingness to give time to sub commitees (ad hoc) would be appreciated. Trustees will get a full induction, ongoing training and can claim out of pocket expenses.

How to applyApplication will be by letter. For an information pack email recruitment@thebrick.org.uk To arrange an informal chat with our CEO, Louise Green, email Louise@thebrick.org.uk


For employment and voluntary opportunities in the Methodist Church Connexionally: http://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/connect/jobs-volunteering/



Advanced Module Training Dates – please visit the Events section of the District Website to book places on these training days.

Policies and guidance – the most recent are now available on the Methodist Church website: https://www.methodist.org.uk/for-ministers-and-office-holders/safeguarding/policies-procedure-and-information/policies-and-guidance/

District Safeguarding Officer: Email address Kev Brabrook - boltonandrochdaledso@dso.methodist.org.uk

Update from Connexional Safeguarding Team:

Managing Trustees are advised that there are now 4 new data protection resources available to them on TMCP’s website:

1. Updated Document Retention Schedule for Managing Trustees - Updated Retention Schedule and other new Data Protection Resources – June 2021 –Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes (tmcp.org.uk)

2. The Annual Checklist in a shortened Word version.

3. Guest Wi-Fi Acceptable Use Policy - TMCP has been working with the Connexional team on producing an Acceptable Use Policy (Policy) for guests using Church Wi-Fi. This is available to download from the Safeguarding Forms section of the Methodist Church Website:

The Policy sets out the terms and conditions of the contract between the Managing Trustees and the guest using the Wi-Fi network.

The Policy should be displayed or be accessible to guest users by means of a prominent hyperlink before the user gains access to the Wi-Fi network.

The Policy must be available in a way that allows the user to store and reproduce it. You could do this by encouraging users to print the Policy/ the terms and conditions.

4. Zoom Guidance - New guidance has been produced by the Connexional Team as part of the Digital Communication Guidance for Churches. From a data protection perspective, please bear in mind the implications particularly with regard to recording Zoom sessions, deleting those recordings and locking the meeting to guard against “Zoom Bombing”: How to use Zoom safely and with integrity



Learning Network: North West & Mann Region

See:  www.methodist.org.uk/nwm

The Learning Network write a regular e-newsletter which is very informative. If you are new to the Region and / or don’t already receive this, please could you sign up by filling out your details here:https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-work/learning/network-regions/north-west-mann-region/subscribe-to-the-dmln-north-west-and-mann-newsletter/

Our Learning Network Team have various events and training coming up so please visit the website for further information of what is coming up - http://www.methodist.org.uk/learning/network-regions/north-west-mann-region

To book onto North West & Mann Region events contact Rob by email: - NWMannNetwork@gmail.com



General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on 25th May 2018.

Training and resources from TMCP are fine tuned for The Methodist Church context:



HOW TO BECOME A FAIR TRADE CHURCH: The three goals: To be part of the campaign by becoming a Fairtrade Church, please register with us www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/get-involved/in-your-community/faith-groups/fairtrade-churches