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Spring 20131



WHAT’S INSIDE 04 Planning for the future Chris Blake writes about the forthcoming move of the Girls’ Brigade to Cliff College, and updates us on news of the Network.

06 MA News Whilst MA enrolment is down nationally, Steve Emery-Wright explains why the numbers at Cliff are remaining stable.

08 Festival 2013 Piers Lane reveals how at this year’s Festival we will be taking seriously Jesus’ command to ‘make disciples’.

10 Buildings update Russ Gamble gives us the lowdown on the refurbishment of the Broadbelt/Eagles Buildings.


When not at Cliff

Gary Jones reveals how he switches from counting to karting at the weekends…

Editor: Chris Blake / Cathi Thacker Design: Koda Digital Media Print and Distribution: Moorleys Print & Publishing 0115 932 0643

Published by: Cliff College, Calver, Hope Valley Derbyshire, S32 3XG Tel: 01246 584 200

12 Archive Tales of the unexpected… the life of an archivist is not necessarily what you would expect.

The content and design of this magazine are © Cliff College 2013

...and much more 2


PRINCIPAL Dear Friends, Welcome to the Spring edition of Cliff Today! Once again the pages of Cliff Today are packed with news of the exciting and ever-developing life of the College. I pray that you will be encouraged as you read of what God is doing here at Cliff and I hope that you will continue to pray for us. Please use this whole magazine – not just the ‘Praying for Cliff’ page – as information to help you as you remember Cliff in your prayers.

the vision of equipping individuals and churches for mission appropriate for today’s context and culture In this edition you will be able to read about our new course which is to be taught in Jerusalem, about the exciting developments in Festival and in our Summer School – which is going to be bigger again this year with its five different streams – and of the exciting new relationship with the Girls’ Brigade who are moving their headquarters to Cliff College ready for early 2014. There is so much happening at Cliff at the moment. Each day is filled with planning and activity, with meeting those new to Cliff as well as renewing contact with familiar friends, while seeking always to be obedient to the vision that we believe God is still holding before us at the College: the vision of equipping individuals and churches for mission appropriate for today’s context and culture. Gathering news for Cliff Today provides an opportunity to step back from the detail of daily busyness and to remember all that has happened since the last edition (and all that is planned to happen before the next!) and to thank God for His continued work in this very special place. As I look out from my study window I see a range of sights as the seasons change. In early February, for instance, I watched various students build a sixfoot high igloo with snow ‘bricks’ made in washingup bowls! At the far end of the terrace lawn there is

a very large wooden cross which was put in place for Festival last year. It was made with tree trunks and set in a firm base of concrete – dead wood in a concrete foundation. Much to everyone’s surprise, in the weeks after Festival, the cross began to grow small branches and leaves – new life coming where it might have seemed impossible. It is a powerful reminder of the life-giving and transforming power of the death of Jesus on the cross.

new life coming where it might have seemed impossible This is the message of the gospel – the message of God’s transforming love in Jesus Christ. It is the message which was at the very centre of the ‘Joyful News Mission’ where Cliff had its roots in the 1880s – it is still at the very heart of all of Cliff’s mission and ministry today. If you would like to learn more about what it is like to study and stay at Cliff College, why not come along to one of our open days? Each open day is tailored to a specific course, providing an opportunity for potential students to find out about the course, the college and the Cliff community. You will be able to meet current students, sit in on lectures, and meet and ask questions of the teaching and admissions staff. For more information – or to register – please visit our website: open_day. Yours in His service,

Chris We hold Open Days regularly throughout the year. For more information visit: page/open_day






Cliff College is busy planning for the future as we look ahead to developing even more exciting partnerships and new opportunities for training.

Cliff College is thrilled to welcome Dr Justin Thacker to our faculty as Lecturer in Contextual Mission and Ministry. Justin began his working career as a paediatrician, initially in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and later in Kenya. He then felt God call him out of medicine and studied for a theology degree at LST, followed by a PhD at Kings College London. His doctoral thesis was on postmodernism and Christian ethics. Justin was formerly the Head of International Operations at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Head of Theology at the Evangelical Alliance and Executive Director of the World Evangelical Alliance Theological Commission. He and his family have recently relocated to Chesterfield from Hemel Hempstead in order for Justin to take up this post. His wife Cathi is a freelance editor and they have three children: Grace, Joel and Alicia. Justin’s passions include skiing (a dream), Arsenal (a hope), the cinema (an achievable goal) and spending time with his family (reality).

The Girls’ Brigade announced in November of last year that they would be moving their headquarters to Cliff College as part of their continuing programme of engaging with the missional challenges of the early part of the 21st century. In announcing this move, National Director of both Girls’ Brigade and GB Ministries Ruth Gilson said, ‘This exciting and bold move will take place by spring 2014, just as Girls’ Brigade rounds up celebrations for its 120th year in local church mission, primarily amongst girls and young women. The 120-year legacy of lives transformed as GB has enabled girls to discover and follow Jesus Christ is evident in communities, work places, family life and church leadership across the globe, and GB is thrilled to be taking this new step as part of the continuing story of God at work through their mission. To be based within Cliff’s missional learning community provides new opportunities for us both to develop further in relevant mission for this new context - and we’re expectant of what God is going to do through this new relationship.’ Currently Cliff College is working with the Girls’ Brigade to provide the appropriate premises for their base at the College and we look forward to this exciting new partnership with them from the start of 2014 onwards. 4

Alongside the developments with the Girls’ Brigade, Cliff College has been identified as one of the two centres to be developed within the new Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network of the Methodist Church. The details of what additional training will be carried out at Cliff and what additional staff will be based at the College are still being discussed, but we look ahead to increasing the ways in which Cliff can serve the work of God by equipping men and women for effective contextual missional activity. We will have more news of these developments in the next edition of Cliff Today.

Just before Christmas, Cliff College was visited by faculty members and other key staff from the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham. Cliff College and the Queen’s Foundation will be working together within the new Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network. The day involved time to tour the Cliff campus as well as opportunities to talk, eat and worship together. A return visit to the Queen’s Foundation is planned for May.

These two exciting additional aspects of the work of Cliff are just a part of the many developments in the work of the College that have taken place over recent years. The campus buildings are being transformed (see page 10 for news of the work that is currently being carried out in the Broadbelt/Eagles block), new courses are being developed (eg in Schools Mission and Ministry, Arts Mission and Ministry, and Rural Mission) and new partnerships are being explored.

JULY IN JERUSALEM Depending when you read this, we will either be going to Jerusalem, be in Jerusalem or be back home again, but the good news is that a group of approx. eight students, two ‘friends of Cliff’ and two staff will be in Jerusalem in early July, considering Luke’s Gospel and how context impacts the reading of the Bible story. This study is a first for the College, but hopefully this Jerusalem study tour will become a regular feature, and also point to a more imaginative way to deliver other courses.

While something like this is likely to appear to most as a good idea, the reality of making it happen is somewhat trickier. One thing which has helped us greatly has been generous financial support from the Highway Trust. This has enabled us to reduce student costs by approx. £200 each, thus making the visit more affordable. A further individual donation is a good demonstration of others’ interest in this, and of their prayerful and practical support many thanks to all concerned.

A future edition of Cliff Today will carry a fuller report of the week, and no doubt the internet will be flooded in July with pictures of happy Cliff College students returning to their accommodation after walking along cobbled streets for hours in what turns out to be, on average, the hottest month of the year in Jerusalem. What can possibly go wrong? STEPHEN SKUCE

These are exciting and busy days – and your continued prayers for the College are much appreciated.




MA NEWS The Times Higher Education publication reported that part-time enrolment in MA programmes is down by 13% nationwide this year. The article speculated that this was due to the economic crisis. The MA students at Cliff do feel the economic squeeze, but our enrolment numbers have remained stable.

Will Abbott People are still responding to the call of God to train for new ministries and reflect more deeply on current practice. We have a student, Will Abbott, who left his career as a prison governor to respond to a leading to train for some type of ministry. He has just taken up the post of pastor at Guithavon Valley Evangelical Church. Becky McWatt went part-time in her profession as a speech and language therapist to grow in her theological understanding and learn how to become more effective missionally. Jane Bentley - an early years education specialist who runs a pre-school - is creating time in her busy schedule to learn how to become more effective in mission both at work and in life generally. Other students come in as local preachers without a degree, questioning their academic ability, but desiring to be faithful servants in the mission of God. These stories of people


Becky McWatt

Jane Bentley

stepping out in spite of fears about their academic ability or concerns over financial hardships are repeated many times over. I am constantly challenged by these students who demonstrate the willingness and courage to step out and take the risk of responding to God’s call.

their relationship to mission, evangelism and renewal. As the students explored the current and historical, cultural and theological nature of worship they entered into deeper understandings and discovered practical applications for their worship and ministries.

If you have a sense that God might be leading you to do an MA - or you would like to sharpen your thoughts about God’s mission in the world and your part in that - I encourage you to get in touch with us. Even if you do not have a degree you might qualify due to experience, local preacher’s training or by taking a short course.

Pioneering Ministry and Fresh Expression (PM/FX) is a new stream that is taking over from our Emerging Church stream. This stream looks at the cultural milieu, practical skills and theological issues surrounding the pioneering of new churches, ministries and mission outreach. The third unit in this stream, which involves pioneering a new ministry, will now be open to all MA students. This unit empowers those whose passion or learning style is geared towards action and provides them with an opportunity to reflect on that action.

We also have several new developments in the MA programme: We have now successfully launched our new Worship unit (LRM3) that examines new and old trends in worship and


Have you seen the promotional video about this year’s Festival (24-27 May 2013)? We’re really pleased with the news that lots of people are watching the video online, and indeed downloading it and showing it in their churches. It really gives a flavour of what this special weekend in the College’s year is all about. You can find it at where you will also find booking forms for accommodation and camping plots, as well as other important information about Festival.




I had a warm feeling in my tummy today. I think it was Jesus. Cara, aged 6

The photos and quotes on these pages give a flavour of Festival. If, however, you are the sort of person who needs facts as well as flavour, you might be wondering what is this year’s event focussing on, and what actually happens during the weekend? There will be a programme available soon, and these will be purchasable from Reception (01246 584200) - unless you book accommodation, in which case you’ll be sent one without extra charge. This year we take seriously the command of Jesus to ‘make disciples’ and there will be a kaleidoscope of happenings over the weekend to enable people of every age to engage with this important theme. We’ll be glad to be hosting three streams of Bible study each morning, for example. As well as in-depth, expository investigation with Malcolm Duncan, there’ll be interactive engagement with Jenny Ellis and exciting, applied learning for youth with Ben Topham. The children too will be exploring similar themes in the creative, exploratory environment of the Awesome programme, led by Lianne Smith of Scripture Union. Seminars too will provide opportunities to consider the working out of our discipleship in the real world. Some examples of topics to be covered are:

Can’t believe it! Got up in time for a Bible study in the Pulse tent which started at half nine! It was worth it, cos it was so relevant to what’s going on in my life right now. Tom, aged 15

This will be my 17th Festival, but I’ve got to say it’s better than ever. They really have injected more energy over the last few years. I understand that there is a large choir and orchestra coming this year amongst other things.

„ Discipleship as Learning, Trusting and Obeying with our new testament expert Peter Ensor „ Whole Life, Whole Person and Whole World Discipleship with newlyappointed faculty member Justin Thacker „ Celtic Christian Discipleship with Stephen Skuce, Academic Dean at the college „ Living as spiritual/physical beings in a spiritual and physical world with Nick Dawson, leader of an exciting and growing church in Sheffield „ Why doing nothing but receiving is not an option (The call to missional discipleship) with Andy Hawthorne of the Eden Trust „ The Simple Life: good news for God’s creation with Ruth Valerio, the manager of A Rocha’s Living Lightly initiative. I could go on, but space prevents! Instead let me tell you of some other events over the weekend where you can simply let your hair down and enjoy fellowship with others. You could: „ Listen to one of the top class bands or performers taking to our stages, including Philippa Hanna, Golddigger, 12twentyfour, Jonathan Veira, John Archer, The Gentlemen, Oddments Theatre Co.

„ Dance at the Ceilidh, sing at the Mamma-Mia sing-along, learn street dance, have a go on the climbing wall, try the mountain bike challenge, play in the football cage tournament, watch a movie… And if it’s re-filling in worship you need, then there are many opportunities indeed: quiet, contemplative communion in the Woodland Theatre; the passionate worship of the Pulse tent; the charismatic encounters of the Chapel celebration; the Big Family Gathering and Funky Sunday all-age worship opportunities; and the inspirational testimonies, performances and music of the Big Tent celebration. All of our worship opportunities centre around meeting God by his Spirit and hearing him through his word, and we are privileged to welcome both our own community and many guests to preach and lead worship. Add onto all of the above a crèche, great catering options, sensible affordable pricing, friendly team, guaranteed beautiful weather* and you have Festival. I hope you’ll be joining us! PIERS LANE FESTIVAL DIRECTOR

I really want to study the Bible more and learn about my faith, so I’m going to Cliff Festival this year. I have mapped out what I will be doing, as the timetable is so full. I’m also looking forward to hearing some great preaching, and am delighted that there are at least as many women as men on the platform. Late nights sound good too – they’ve got John Archer, Jonathan Veira and, on the last night, ‘The Big Fat Festival Ball’ with a live jazz band. There are also different ways to pray: a prayer journey, a prayer team in case you want to talk to someone, and lots of opportunities to be quiet DQG²QGVRPHVSDFH

Gemma, aged 36

* This is not true. Everything else is.

Michael, aged 68:

More information online 8





BROADBELT EAGLES REFURBISHMENT Many of you reading this will be familiar with the Broadbelt Eagles Buildings, the ‘new’ stone buildings above the marquee lawn. They were built in 1988/90 to replace the Nissan huts that we were instructed to remove by the local authority at the time, as their temporary status had long since lapsed. The buildings were built predominantly as mini dormitories with shared facilities - something that was a modern replacement for the old huts that had previously been sited nearby. The buildings have served the College well, but in recent years there has been a subtle change in how people want to use communal buildings, and this has coincided with the interior of the buildings needing a re-vamp to bring them in line with modern standards. With this change and the muchneeded re-vamp, the College estates team were tasked with

developing the buildings into a modern and more userfriendly state. Planning for these changes started in August 2012 with a start onsite on 3 December 2012. The works are being undertaken by contractors who have worked on the recent refurbishment of the College buildings and they are a familiar team. The works are being project-managed by Russ Gamble and his team from the estates department. It is intended that we will be providing 21 new rooms, along with a single-storey lecture space at the rear of the building and a roof terrace overlooking the

beautiful Calver countryside. Work is anticipated to be complete in time for the May 2013 Festival (assuming we don’t have any more snow!). Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward on the project.

In the first of an occasional series, we take a look at what Gary Jones gets up to when he’s not behind his desk number-crunching. Gary Jones works in the Finance Office at Cliff College and on Sundays he helps leads worship at the Dales Christian Centre in Matlock. As the Financial Assistant, he oversees the dayto-day tasks of the department – invoices, payments, bank reconciliations etc – but on the weekend his life takes on an altogether faster pace as a karting champion. Gary began karting at the age of 9. He was watching a CBBC


programme which featured the sport. The programme gave out the Motor Sports Association (MSA) address, Gary wrote off and got some information. He watched a few races and shortly afterwards his dad bought him a kart. After a shaky start – his initial outing ended up with him banked on a grass verge 50m from the track – Gary’s career took off. He enjoyed moderate success early on, working his

way up through the MSA classes and has latterly been successful in the national Covkartsport Championship, winning the Lightweight Class in 2010 and 2012. He’s hoping to repeat his success this year. Although he enjoys travelling to new places and meeting up with friends, when asked what he enjoys most about karting, Gary replies: ‘Winning!’




BORING? NO UNEXPECTED? YES Large branches falling from a tree; meeting a former student two hundred plus miles from Cliff and four hundred plus miles from their place of work; using state-of-the-art IT equipment; seeing a building completely refurbished… these and other incidents make up part of the life and work in the Archive Library here at Cliff. It was a surprise when last autumn, a very large branch fell from one of the cedar trees bordering the Terrace lawn. This has resulted in the tree having to be removed on safety grounds – most unexpected. In October it was a joy to be able to meet up with John, one of our former students, now working with the London City Mission. The amazing thing was that we met on a Scottish island! John was there to preach and also speak about the work of the London City Mission, at the Baptist church on the Island of Arran. It was great to attend the service and catch up on all that had happened since we last met, including finding out he had been one of the Olympic torch bearers, and in fact had the torch with him. At the start of the academic year we had, as a result of a generous donation for the purpose, our new IT equipment up and running. This has made some of the routine work easier and much more efficient, and the gift for this purpose was most unexpected. Having been employed by Cliff to act as ‘Clerk of Works’ on the Eagles/Broadbelt building during construction in 1989/90, I never at that time thought that I would still be working at the

Fallen tree on the terrace lawn

College when the time came for the complete refurbishment of the buildings. It is exciting to know that the space is being made suitable for present and future use by Cliff. A leader with one of the school parties, who were amongst the first to use the buildings so many years ago, remarked at the time that they were very ‘posh’. When the present work is completed, any visitor may possibly express the same sentiment. Visiting the College in connection with many of the courses are former students, some of whom come to further their studies, others as part-time tutors, sharing with a new batch of people here. Some who are remembered for their physical fitness when first at Cliff, now admit that they are not as agile as they once were! It is good that we do not know what the future holds for each of us, but we can be sure that it will hold some unexpected surprises as God leads each of us on step by step. I have known a number of people who have arrived for study at Cliff who have said they do not know what they will be doing in the future, but God has shown them the way and they rejoice in what he is doing. CLIVE TAYLOR VOLUNTEER ARCHIVIST

SUMMER SCHOOL 2013 Are you booked in yet for another great Summer School week here at Cliff? There’s room for 75 participants, and we have an exciting line-up of subjects for you to study, taught by the College tutorial staff and other invited guest lecturers. And there are new en-suite facilities in the main college and conference centre for you to enjoy. There’s lots of choice, and something for everyone. Which stream will you choose? Encounters with the Word - Bible Summer School An overview of the story of scripture helping participants to handle biblical text in a deeper and more creative way. Hebrew in a week - Biblical Language Summer School A framework to begin exploring the language of the Old Testament. Worship matters - Worship Summer School An opportunity to explore understandings of worship, the importance of worship in the life of the Christian community, and different ways of creating and offering worship. Real Christianity - Wesley Summer School An exploration into the story, spirituality and impact of John and Charles Wesley, with practical implications for the life of discipleship in the 21st century.

John and his torch

Thinking it through - Theology Summer School An opportunity to discover more about important Christian doctrines, such as the nature of God, the importance of the cross and an understanding of the Trinity.

Last year participants said the following. What will you say? ‘I came to Cliff anticipating a week of learning and equipping, in an interactive environment of spiritual calm, encouragement and devotion. I found all of that to be true…’ ‘The Bible has to be unlocked to be understood and properly used, thank you for the opportunity to come and learn.’ ‘The devotions were so helpful, all of them, I was touched by them and I hope that others will see the difference that they have made to me.’ ‘The Cliff College Summer School was beyond my expectation and I cannot see how it would have failed to be a blessing to all those who attended.’ Click on school or contact us direct on 01246 584200 / Looking forward to your booking! IAN WHITE SUMMER SCHOOL CO-ORDINATOR







At Cliff College we continue to give thanks to God for the prayerful and generous support of our many friends and former students. Some of that support comes in terms of time offered as a volunteer, some comes through a commitment to regular prayer for Cliff and some is offered through financial gifts. Each of these ways of supporting the College is much appreciated. In terms of financial support, there are various ways to give to the work of the College. Single gifts can be given to the College using the “donation slip” included in each edition of Cliff Today. Regular monthly giving can be arranged by setting up a direct debit arrangement while some people will be able to support our work by arranging to leave a legacy to Cliff College in their will.

SUNDAY Please pray for the continuing life and development of Cliff College, for its vision and activities; praying that the College will continue to proclaim ‘Christ for all and all for Christ’. Pray for the College as its work and witness continues to grow and develop. Pray for the Girls’ Brigade and their leadership as they prepare to move their headquarters to Cliff College and for the new training opportunities that this will provide.

MONDAY Please play for the College Principal and staff as we train and equip people in mission and ministry. Pray for Justin Thacker who joined the faculty in January, for other members of the faculty and for all who offer administrative, financial, housekeeping, estates and catering skills to support and develop the work of the College. Pray for further growth in our annual Festival event and for all the preparation and planning involved.

TUESDAY Pray for the full-time undergraduate students on the BA Theology course and particularly for those in their final year who are seeking to discern where God is leading them when they complete their course of study at Cliff.


Thank you all for your continuing support for the work of the College. CHRIS BLAKE PRINCIPAL

WEDNESDAY Please pray for all the students on our various parttime undergraduate courses – Diploma in Children Mission and Ministry, Diploma in Youth Mission and Ministry, and the BA in Mission and Ministry. Pray especially for the students on the first year of the new Diploma in Third Age Mission and Ministry.


THURSDAY Please pray for the many students on our various MA streams focusing on many aspects of mission including evangelism, leadership and renewal, emerging church, Celtic mission, Wesleyan theology, children and youth work, religious pluralism, the world of work, and Christian mentoring. Pray especially for the introduction of the unit on worship in the leadership stream.

FRIDAY Please pray for our research students working towards an MPhil or PhD qualification and for the students on our PhD in Missiology programme.


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Please pray for those who participate in our various short courses including our Summer School programme which will have five streams when it meets in June of this year. Pray for the continuing development of new relationships and partnerships within the new Discipleship and Ministries Network of the Methodist Church.

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If you want to start to give to the College by Direct Debit, or to speak in confidence about how to include Cliff College in your will, then please feel free to contact me on 01246 584209, on or by writing to me at Cliff College, Calver, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S32 3XG.

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THIRD AGE MISSION AND MINISTRY LIFTS OFF! Autumn 2012, and it was great to see the start of another part-time course here at Cliff in the undergraduate Mission and Ministry programme.

With an emphasis on the important work done amongst older people, the Third Age Mission and Ministry diploma course focused in its first teaching week on the biblical, historical and contemporary worlds of older people, and in its second week on some of the key issues that face older people, such as care, independence, living and leisure, growth and contraction. It is really turning out to be an amazing academic journey as the students and I reflect together on this important ministry. We are all learning so much. At the heart of the course is an important agenda that we in the church must face. In a fast ageing

population, and increasingly ageing church, what is the place of older people, how do we best serve and minister to them, and what is an appropriate and respectful way to reach out to those who have had little or no contact with the Christian gospel during their lives? I remain convinced that this agenda will need responding to by a church that has trained its volunteers and paid staff to think theologically and biblically about these issues, as well as supporting them in practical and creative ways of mission and ministry. Can I appeal to you as a Cliff supporter to both pray about this issue – and also see if there are folk in your church

or fellowship who should be joining us on this creative course this autumn? Maybe you are in a position to help resource a student, and so be on the cutting edge in responding to the spiritual needs of an age group that is often marginalised. As we train workers with children and young people, so we need to have the same urgency now. More details about the Third Age Mission and Ministry course can be found on www.cliffcollege. IAN WHITE PROGRAMME LEADER, VOCATIONAL MINISTRY COURSES

Published by: Cliff College, Calver, Hope Valley Derbyshire, S32 3XG Tel: 01246 584 200

Cliff Today Spring 2013  

Cliff College's magazine, Cliff Today, which describes activities within the college for supporters and for those interested in studying at...