District Newsletter

District Newsletter – April 2020

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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.


A message from the Chair of District, Rev Paul Martin:

In these unprecedented times the church is challenged to respond and to continue to offer God’s love. In times of need and crisis, Christians come together to pray and support each other and those in greatest need. Presently, that opportunity is not physically possible. However, I have been impressed by the creativity which has been shown in making on-line worship available and by posting or delivering (with the necessary precautions) worship material through letterboxes.

As we approach the most important festival in the Christian calendar it is important to underline the fact that we will be journeying through the remainder of Lent and into Easter in a different yet significant way; we might say it is business as unusual.

I am hoping to provide some information on this website about virtual services which will be available online and to post that in the next week. Please also refer to the Methodist Church website which not only provides worship material but other advice.

As ever, if anyone wishes to speak to me privately then please get in touch either by telephone or email.

God bless



A prayer from the President of the Conference:

Loving God

If we are ill, strengthen us

If we are tired

Fortify our spirits

If we are anxious

Help us to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders!

Don't let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves

Fix our eyes on your story

And our hearts on your grace

Help us always to hold fast to the good and see the good in others.

And remember there is just one world, one hope,

One everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone.

In Jesus we make our prayer,

The one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,

In whom we trust, these days and all days. Amen


While we are struggling with COVID-19, how are our sisters and brothers in Kenya and Haiti getting on?

We have had news from Methodist churches in both Kenya and Haiti, telling us of their preparations for, and the impacts on their lives of, COVID-19.

Kenya: We have information from Maua Methodist Hospital about the preparations they are making for the time when COVID-19 infections have spread north from Nairobi and reached Meru and Nyambene districts.  The hospital has already sent home all staff over the age of 65 years, and all those who are pregnant.  The remaining staff and students have been trained/retrained how to manage highly infectious patients and the symptoms these patients are likely to present. They have protective equipment for the clinical staff, but they do not have large stocks of these items, and their procurement is not easy.  Please keep them in prayer as they face the arrival of the virus.


Haiti :

The first cases of COVID-19 in Haiti have only come in the past week or so, but as soon as the first 2 cases were identified the government introduced the same ‘lock-down’ instructions which we are now following, so they have been matching us for the past few days.  The schools for the wealthier families are sending work out by e-mail and returning it for marking in the same way.  People are making brief forays to the shops for essential supplies as infrequently as possible and most businesses are closed.  The churches were virtually closed last Sunday as they are only allowed 10 people there at one time (irrespective of the size of the church).  The services must have been made up of the Preacher, Worship Leader, Music director, one or two musicians (keyboard, guitar or drums), possibly 2 stewards and then about 3 congregational members, so most folk will have had to worship at home.  We understand Facebook, and WhatsApp we used so that some people could receive worship materials.  We assume the church radio stations were also broadcasting worship in some form.

We received an email and photographs telling us of the preparations for the virus. Members of church had been to the poorer areas giving health talks, showing posters in Creole, teaching people how to wash their hands and distributing toilet paper and bottles of water. So many families live in single rooms with no kitchen or bathroom and are dependent on communal toilets and buying food cooked on the streets. Isolation is a problem so washing well is essential. We were touched by the comment “For years while you lived in Haiti you went about teaching health procedures to the community, and here we are doing it for ourselves. We’re for ever thankful for your ministry.”

Let us remember them all in prayer at this time, and especially all those who normally survive on street food.






Thelma's Prayer Journal - Thy Kingdom Come 2020

Dear Friends,

We are in uncharted waters that's for sure but there are already so many good news stories from around the world, the nation and the Connexion of how people are supporting one another through these crazy and difficult times.

An initiative I wanted to signpost is one being encouraged across the churches in Bolton through the Passion for Bolton 2030 network but I hope could be extended around the District and this is 'TryPraying'. A link for more information and resources can be found here www.trypraying.co.uk

Alos, our Methodist Youth President, Thelma Commey, has written an inspiring prayer journal to accompany us all through the ten days of Thy Kingdom Come. I am writing to let you know how you can get hold of free copies of this beautiful journal. You can order online using this link to the CPO website: www.cpo.org.uk/tkcmethodist . I do hope you enjoy using the journal, a PDF copy of which is attached for your reference.

I pray for safety and blessing on those who are already feeling vulnerable and isolated and may God unite us as we seek to be an expression of his love at this time of need.

In Christ

Darren Holland

District Ecumenical Officer and Thy Kingdom Come Rep


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



The Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic and exciting team player to the fulltime post of PIONEER MISSIONER

Who will:

¨ lead the work of making new places for new people in a specific area in Shaw, Oldham.(80%)
¨ enable and encourage existing congregations across the Circuit to become places of mission (20%)

Annual Salary: £21345.60 pa. plus rent-free housing.

Appointment Start Date: 1 September 2020/earlier if possible

Applications to be received by: Noon 27 April 2020 Interviews in Shaw on 6 May 2020

Further details and application papers from https://www.shawroytonmethodist.org.uk/vacancies.html or by email from adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

Appointment to this post is subject to an enhanced DBS check


For details of the various jobs around the Connexion please visit: www.methodist.org.uk/jobs



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: New email address Kev Brabrook - boltonandrochdaledso@dso.methodist.org.uk


Training Opportunities:

Learning Network: North West & Mann Region

See:  www.methodist.org.uk/nwm

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

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/



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 Fairtrade 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