District Newsletter

District Newsletter – September 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.


Ration Challenge 2020


We have signed up to eat the exact same food rations as a Syrian refugee for one week and we need your support!

From the 13th-19th September, we'll be taking the Ration Challenge and raising money to help provide emergency food, hygiene kits and life-saving support to Syrian refugees as well as supporting Concern's wider work of ending hunger and extreme poverty in the world's poorest places.

What will we be eating? Just a small amount of rice, flour, lentils, chickpeas, beans, fish and oil. That’s it! No coffee, no sugar, no alcohol.

Please pray for us and support our fundraising efforts. As little as £39 can provide a refugee with food rations for three months and £63 can fund medical referrals for 5 refugees!

We’re all affected by the coronavirus, but not equally. Sponsor us today and let’s show refugees we really are #inthistogether.

Simply click on our fundraising page link below to support our Ration Challenge and provide life-saving support for refugees.


Thank you so much for your support – it is truly appreciated.

Nat and Jez Hackett 

p.s. please feel free to forward this to anyone who might interested 
p.p.s. please pray for us, we're going to need it! 


Lockdown Book A book of around 100 lockdown observations, experiences and reflections is being brought out by Church in the Market Place Publications next month. The book has been compiled by Methodist minister the Rev Robert Davies and consists of items with a Coronavirus Lockdown flavour written during the lockdown. The items are in A-Z order and the title is Lockdown: Lexicon and Legacy. 

Please see the attached flyer for an order form and pre-publication special offer at £10 including P&P – a £2 reduction on the full price.

All proceeds from sales will be divided between British Red Cross, the Salford homelessness charity Emmaus, and Oldham Gravelhole Methodist Church’s community shop.


From Spotland Methodist Church - Rochdale.

Good things still happen in lockdown. As a Church we have been able to help a local young man. This gentleman due to circumstances found himself living in a hostel earlier this year with very little. When a flat became available things started to look up. The only problem being it was unfurnished we were in lockdown and he had very little money.  I had been asked if there was any way we could help. Well of course we could. So off I went to church (for the usual flushing of toilets, running taps, collecting post and checking the building) and sourced all sorts. It's amazing what we have been donated over the years…plates, cups, cutlery, bedding, pots and pans, dish cloths, washing up liquid, I even emptied the Meet and Eat cupboard of food as it would most likely be out of date when we get back.  Some of the items had been donated for the summer fair and I hope you will forgive me for using some of that, but this felt like the right thing to do. I even managed to source a table!  One of our church members donated some money to help which was greatly appreciated. 

Well the feedback I got from this gentleman was wonderful. I received a message from the volunteer who passed the items over saying she had not seen a grown man cry like that before. He was overwhelmed and so very very thankful.  I later received a photograph showing a microwave and second hand sofa that changes into a bed which he had bought with the money.  I have since been told that this gentleman’s outlook on life is so much better, he is getting so much better, getting help and hoping to have his children move in with him very soon.  

I can only go into so much detail due to confidentiality but I thank you all as a Church and thank God that we were able to help and could.  

Leonie O'Donoghue

Church and Community Lay worker
Rochdale and Littleborough Circuit.


Future Programme of Evangelism and Growth Team Webinars

A new programme of Evangelism and Growth Team webinars will be starting on 1st September. The first webinar, ‘Planning to reopen for mission’, introduces the new-look mission planning toolkit and will be focused on helping churches with mission planning as they contemplate reopening their buildings. This webinar will take place on three dates, at different times, with identical content, so as to enable as many people as possible to attend live. Registration is already open at this link:


Also, a Mission Planning Workbook is now available as a free download as part of the new-look mission planning toolkit. This has been designed to walk churches and circuits through a simple, thorough and adaptable eight-step mission planning process.

If you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact Emma Nash at nashe@methodistchurch.org.uk.


Church and me: conversations about lifting lockdown.

Is the church building going to open up again soon – am I ready for this? Many feel they cannot return yet, others are straining at the leash. What emotions and practical considerations are running through your head? Let’s take time to reflect and listen to our fears as well as our dreams. In a small group or with a friend or by yourself, ponder on these bite size conversation starters.


All We Can (Newsletter)

All We Can’s Harvest materials for 2020 are now ready to be downloaded or ordered. All you have to do is visit allwecan.org.uk/cycle and follow the links. We have produced these so that they will work whether churches are meeting physically for Harvest Festivals, or are meeting online, or a mixture of both. We have also produced a series of videos to help facilitate the service, including prayers, sermons, an all age talk and some pre-recorded hymns for you to join in with. I hope you will enjoy them, and join us on this journey as travel to Uganda and discover how change begins with a bicycle…

If you want to find out more about the resources and how you could use them in your church, please do sign up for one of our volunteer training sessions, entitled ‘Change Bringers’, which we are running via Zoom. We will explore some of the stories behind this year’s harvest materials, as well as some ‘best practice’ for how you and your church could function online (including input from Cliff College’s Digital Evangelist Ali Johnson and Holly Adams from the Methodist Church’s Evangelism and Growth Team). We will also hear from the President and Vice President of Conference – Richard Teal and Carolyn Lawrence. If you are interested, please just fill in the form here (allwecan.org.uk/changebringers) with your preferred time-slot (morning / afternoon / evening are available) and we’ll send you the details about how to join.


Cliff College Update

We are very excited to announce that Cliff College will be open for Bed and Breakfast bookings from 1 August 2020!

Our summer saver offer gives you the opportunity to discover and explore the beautiful setting of Cliff College and the amazing Peak District. You will be staying in one of our quality en-suite rooms, with your breakfast included, for the great price of £39 per night for a single room and £59 per night for a double. If you want a family room then please contact us and we'll let you know what's available.

More details at https://cliffcollege.ac.uk/venue/summer-saver or from Debra at conferences@cliffcollege.ac.uk. We're looking forward to welcoming you to Cliff College this summer.


The attached events are being run by the North West & Mann Regional Learning Network - Bullying & Harrassment & Growing Through Change and Conflict


There is an online coffee morning every Tuesday 11am for 45 minutes – could this be for you or someone in your church?

What is it like?

It’s like a coffee morning (although you have to bring your own drink and biscuit)!

  • Spend time with other people informally chatting
  • Each week there is a reflection and prayer, and then we go in to small groups to chat. We either about the things the reflection made us think about or we chat about anything we want to chat about.
  • Here’s some reasons why people who currently go like it

“I like hearing what’s happening in other people’s churches”

“it’s nice to see people’s faces”

“It’s relaxed and is great fellowship”

  • If you are a steward, or a preacher or some other sort of church leader, this is a great place to hear stories and take inspiration from others.
  • If you know you are in lockdown for some more time to come, and would like company, and a routine, and have internet, access this might be for you.
  • If you are missing contact with groups, then this could be a place for you. You can listen and/or you can talk. No pressure to talk!

Different members of the Learning Network are there most weeks, they host the reflections, as do others from the group from time to time.

How do I give it a try?

If you would like the link to the zoom coffee morning, please email Rob and he will send you the link.


Updates and more info on this and other events at


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 2020. If you’re wanting to find ways to bring your community together in a joyful way after lockdown, then why not 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 engrossed and bags of good humour for the grown-ups, Journey of the Magi delights audiences of all ages and offers a chance to reflect, refocus and bring strength to the community.  

“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 from 21st November to 23rd December 2020. If a performance in 2020 cannot go ahead due to COVID-19, bookings will be fully refundable or postponed until Advent 2021. 

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 


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:-




A FREE phone service to hear prayers and news from the Methodist Church has been launched.

Listen to a prayer: 0808 281 2514

Listen to news: 0808 281 2478

Content is updated weekly on Thursday evening


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.


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




Centre for Chaplaincy in Education. We are delighted to share a new Chaplaincy Vacancy in the Midlands.

Resident Pastoral (Chaplaincy) Assistant, Oswestry School, Shropshire.
Oswestry School is an independent, co-educational day & boarding school, with an 11-18 senior school of c.350 pupils and a 4-11 junior school (Bellan House) of c.120 pupils. The strong ethos of the school is reflected in its fabulous pastoral care and sense of community. The School recently underwent inspection, with an excellent report. As well as providing a fantastic learning and living environment for young people, Oswestry School offers an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding working environment. The School has a Christian foundation and has its own small chapel.

St Oswald’s Parish Church is at the heart of the town of Oswestry, a Church of England Church led by the Reverend Harvey Gibbons. It is an environment which enables all to come closer to God through prayer and worship, reflection and action.

St Oswald’s and Oswestry School have a relationship of more than six centuries, with the original school building still standing beside the churchyard. The School supports the Church’s musical life with generous scholarships. Oswestry School holds weekly chapel services as well as its larger celebrations, including Founder’s Day, in St Oswald’s Church.

Resident Pastoral (Chaplaincy) Assistant Oswestry School and St Oswald’s Parish Church offer an exciting opportunity to serve two close-knit communities. We are looking for a suitably experienced person to be a Pastoral (Chaplaincy) Assistant.
Click here for further details and application pack


LANCASHIRE WEST METHODIST CIRCUIT is seeking to appoint a: Family & Schools Worker

To support our ministry in schools and with families across the Lancashire West Methodist Circuit. The Post is offered on a three year contract for which funding has been secured. The salary offered for 20 hours per week is £9672 p.a.

Application Forms are available from: office@lancashirewest.org.uk

Closing date for applications: 25/09/20 Interviews will be held week beginning 5th Oct 2020


Southport Methodist Circuit (Registered Charity No 1134383) is seeking to recruit a CIRCUIT SAFEGUARDING OFFICER

Part-time: 16 hours per month Salary: £12.50 per hour (Hours to be reviewed after 6 months)

The Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable adults is a priority for the Southport Methodist Circuit. The appointed person will administer and lead on the delivery of all aspects of Safeguarding policy, practice, training and record keeping. With a knowledge of Safeguarding and child protection procedures you will work closely with the Circuit Superintendent, District Safeguarding Officer and Church Safeguarding Officers in supporting the mission of the local Churches.

For more information and an application pack please email the Circuit Administrative Assistant: admin@southportmethodist.org.uk

Closing Date for Applications: 4pm on 4th October 2020 Date for Interviews: w/c 12th October 2020




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