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News and Stories For Your Church

Spring 2014 : Issue 12

In Shape

The vision of Shaped by God is of flourishing mission in the four hundred established and new Anglican churches of the City and County, with each church growing in the number of followers of Jesus, in the depth of that discipleship, and in the effect that our faith has on the world around us. This is the magazine of the Diocese of Leicester (The Church of England in Leicester and Leicestershire) and is published three times a year. The themes of In Shape are centred around the nine marks of mission identified in the diocesan vision “Shaped by God” (see list to the right)

lives and communities transformed worship in a way that renews and inspires self-giving service to the community being rooted in prayer confident and sensitive evangelism lifelong Christian nurture the welcome of newcomers becoming child friendly celebration of people and places

In This Issue


3. Bishop’s Letter 4. Pilgrimage Perspectives & I Couldn’t Do That 5. Giving Faith a Face 6. Friday with Friends & God’s Story 7. Think Hunger 8. Child Friendly? 9. Being Rooted in Prayer 10. Parenting Together in Kibworth 11. Parish Nursing Ministeries 12. Taking Lent Seriously 13. Well-being in life in abundance 14. 15. 16. Lent Appeal & Garden of Life

Cover Image: The Eucharist on the shores of the Sea of Galilee during In His Footsteps Pilgrimage (see page 4)


In Shape is edited by: Liz Hudson Keith Cousins Mike Harrison Barry Hill Andy Rhoades e-mail: The Diocese of Leicester administration and Leicester Cathedral Tel 0116 261 5200 The Office of the Bishop of Leicester Tel 0116 270 8985 Diary Dates should be sent to or entered at by Monday 5th May. Inclusion is dependent on space available. Signup to Diomail at Commercial advertisers are invited to call for current rates. The inclusion of an advertisement in this publication does not constitute any endorsement of a product or service by either the editors or the Diocese of Leicester

Bishop’s Letter During the course of this year, there will be a number of events which raise questions about our national identity. As Christians, and especially if we are members of the Church of England, these are questions about our understanding of God and about His place in our national life. Perhaps three things in particular will raise these questions for us. First, there will be the centenary events commemorating the First World War. Inevitably this raises questions about our nation’s story. Were the appalling conditions in the trenches and the outrageous slaughter of the great battles justified in our national cause? Was it clear what we were fighting for and how history was changed by this war? During the commemorations to come, it is vital that as Christians we remain open to these kinds of questions so that we can discern where God’s hand is to be seen. After all, much of the Old Testament is taken up with the history of the people of Israel, and their constant search for an understanding of God’s place in their story. Second, there will be the referendum on Scottish independence. However that turns out, it is likely to have a significant impact on the United Kingdom. The family of nations which make up our collective identity are always changing and adapting their relationships, and it is quite possible this year that a significant and historic change will occur. What will that say about our identity, our nationhood, our sense of national purpose? Thirdly, during this year we shall see continued

pressure and strain on those who rely on benefits because of disability or worklessness. The risk of becoming two nations – those who have enough to participate as citizens in our national life, and those who are effectively excluded because they depend on food banks or have to live hand to mouth is growing all the time.

Pictured outside The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

The New Testament has much to say about identity including those identities which are defined by ethnicity or nationality. Paul tells us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek and St Matthew’s Gospel gives us the Great Commission in which Jesus sends his followers to go and “make disciples of all nations”. This marks a major transformation brought about by the coming of Christ. There is to be a universal spread of the Good News through identification with Christ which transcends national boundaries. This is why as Christians it must be our identity in Christ that transcends our national identity. In February I travelled to South India to meet with our Link Bishop in Trichy and was joined by our two African Link Bishops from Mount Kilimanjaro and Kiteto in Tanzania. The Bishop of Wyoming who is also linked with Tanzania joined us. This brings together North America, Great Britain, Africa and India in a conversation represented by five Bishops who will explore how Christian identity is expressed in very different cultural contexts. We learned much from each other and. We had much to learn about who Jesus Christ is in our different contexts. Above all, no doubt

we learned that we are Christians first and Americans, Europeans, Africans or Indians second. Please pray for us and for the deepening of these international links in the service of Jesus Christ.

Reducing Frequency of In Shape As readers of In Shape may know, this year the Diocese of Leicester moved from a Parish Share to a Parish Contribution system. This meant that the costs of our common life together (such as training, development, costs of clergy, and support for churches and communities in a host of other ways), changed from parishes being asked for a specific amount of money based on a complex formula (a share, sometimes called a tax), to one where they were invited to join in a process of generosity where each church decides (with some guidance) how much they would like to give as gift to our common costs. For the first year of a new way of doing things, there were a great deal of encouraging signs, with many churches prayerfully and

sacrificially giving to our common life. However, the amount offered thus far doesn’t meet our shared costs. Diocesan Synod (the deciding body for the Church of England in Leicestershire) made the decision, therefore, that unless there were substantial increases in the amount given, we needed to cut some costs. As part of this, the number of editions of In Shape will fall from four to three per a year. Hopefully, as churches adjust to the new system, and with additional resources on financial giving being made available later this year, it might be possible to return to four editions, but in the meantime we’ll try to cram a cross section of the inspiring work of God across the Diocese into one fewer edition per year.


News and Stories For Your


Winter 2013 : Issue 11

In Shape In Shape Winter 13.indd 1 14/10/2013 15:46:08

lifelong Christian nurture

Pilgrimage perspectives on Lent, Holy Week and Easter

Judean Desert and the Dead Sea taken from Masada courtesy of Richard Curtis In Autumn 2012 a group of almost a hundred pilgrims from Leicester Diocese journeyed to the Holy Land. Here one of the leaders, Archdeacon of Loughborough David Newman, with insights from fellow pilgrim Pam Howe, reflects on what we might learn from that pilgrimage as we enter into Lent and prepare for Easter… “From an air-conditioned bus we could only begin to experience the barren heat of the Judean desert. Masada, the dramatic mountaintop fortress where Jewish zealots held out for years against the Romans till they eventually committed mass suicide rather than surrender, was reached by cable car, and the remains of the austere Essene community at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found were explored after a nourishing lunch in the restaurant. The Dead Sea is peppered with health spas. Yet even today the desert strikes

back. Former hotels and cafes from which you once stepped out into the water are now empty shells with the water now as much as a mile away. So much water is now pulled out of the Jordan that only a comparative trickle reaches the Dead Sea from the north. Meanwhile, at the sea’s southern end, enormous factories pump out water to extract minerals. What’s left behind in the sea evaporates fast in the desert sun. Even so we played and floated in it and rubbed ourselves with the mud. How different was the desert for Jesus from which we shape the season of Lent. With some imagination we could begin to appreciate this context for the temptations, with its capacity to strip down life to essentials, to focus on the big themes of life and death, who we really are and in whom or what we are placing our trust. Yet consumer-shaped discipline is never far away. Our world does not easily do deferred

“I couldn’t do that!” “I couldn’t do that” is often a first response to a calling – witness people like Amos and Moses in the Bible, and many people who are now Churchwardens, Pastoral Assistants or vicars. What’s also clear from the Bible is that God calls people in a variety of ways to be and do different things – so Paul writes in Ephesians 3.11-13, “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…” In fact, God calls each one of us and the question is not whether God calls us but what

God might be calling us to do and be. There’s no foolproof way of working out what that might be but there might be some pretty good clues lying around. For example it is likely to have a fit with our gifts or what we can be equipped with. It is likely to be in an area which may be daunting but also draws us, and it might well meet a need we know needs addressing. Frederick Buechner described vocation as “where my passion meets the world’s need”. It’s also likely God calls each of us into life – When Jesus calls ‘follow me’ it’s a call to ‘life in all its fullness’, catching up with God’s image in us – both individuals and as members of the body of Christ. It might include taking risks, leaving


gratification, whether physical or emotional or spiritual, but Lent offers us the opportunity to make space to nourish ourselves more in God so that we can be more honest, prophetic and unmanipulatively loving and caring to others. In Jerusalem we realized how the desert had prepared Jesus for the ultimate challenges of his mission. Pam Howe writes about The Church of St Peter Gallicanti “Underneath this beautiful Church are what are believed to be the ruins of the palace of Caiaphas and a complex of caves which many feel are dungeons, in one of which Jesus would have spent the last night before he was crucified. Of all the holy sites we visited this one had the most profound effect on me. I immediately had in my mind’s eye the immensely moving picture by the Dutch artist Gerard van Honthorst entitled “Jesus before the High Priest”. (right) The darkness and gloom in the picture and the resignation of Jesus as he stood before his accusers seemed to permeate the place where we were gathered. The atmosphere of that dreadful interrogation seemed to live again in that dismal space where we were sitting. But it was when we moved down lower into the caves

comfort zones, and going into the unknown. And of course calling isn’t just about personal fulfilment – what I want to do – but includes service & sacrifice for the greater good. Some of us might be called to continue doing what we’re doing but to do so more intentionally as disciples – to paraphrase Jean Vanier it may not be about doing extraordinary things but ‘ordinary things with extraordinary love’. As Christians we are all members of the body of Christ – and we all have a role to play within the body. Have you thought about the possibilities … from welcomer to PCC secretary, Evangelist to Reader, chorister to clergy person? God calls us to different roles within the body – some will be very up front, others will be hidden – but all are important.

lives and communities transformed below the palace that I had a very real sense of Jesus alone and crouched down in the darkness of the dungeon and the darkness of despair as he waited for the night to pass. This became even more vivid as David Monteith read Psalm 88.

“O Lord, God of my salvation, When, at night, I cry out in your presence, Let my prayer come before you; Incline your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draws near to She’ol. I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; I am like those who have no help………” The realisation that the world’s and our darkness contains the presence of Jesus is a profound one, and that resurrection insight was felt most powerfully on the shores of Galilee, being fed at the Eucharist (front cover photo) as Jesus had fed the disciples, back there after the crucifixion and a frustrating night of fishing. “I am with you always to the end of the age” he said. May each of us know his resurrected presence as we make our Lenten pilgrimage once again.” See back cover for details of this years Lent Appeal

Finally, one role we’re all called to is “encouragers” - looking for the gifts in others and matching them to the needs of the church and community. Simply to say “have you ever thought about? Or “I can really see you have gifts for …”. And be encouraged if the reply you receive at first is “I couldn’t do that!” Why not come along to a day on calling at St Martins House, 7, Peacock Lane, Leicester LE1 5PZ on Saturday 22nd March 2014, 10am – 3.30pm?. It’s an opportunity to find out more about calling in general (with a key note speaker, Andrew Watson, the Bishop of Aston), and hear about different possible ministries. Yo book please contact Claire Stapleton on 0116 261 5317 or

Giving Faith a Face Do you feel a gulf between sharing the peace on Sunday and greeting colleagues at work on Monday? Between the support given by your house-group and your colleagues? Is work something to “get through” until you can do “The Lord’s Work”? Andy Smith (pictured)knows these feelings all too well; recently licensed as a Reader in the Diocese, Andy is now running his own consulting business after 35 years of leading teams in the Royal Navy and Industry. He shares some thoughts that have helped him when these challenges arose. “I chat frequently to people about the challenges they face in being a Christian at work; and I sympathise totally with them because I’ve often faced that challenge – and still do. But over the years I’ve come to recognise that actually... I find being a Christian a challenge FULL STOP. And if I struggle to be the person God wants me to be in church, at a PCC meeting, in prayer, while writing sermons, well, why should the workplace be any different? I understand the apparent attraction to people of compartmentalising their lives and separating “work” from “church” but at heart aren’t the “work person” and the “church person” one and the same?; “work” and “church” all part of God’s creation? So perhaps that’s not the answer?

I don’t pretend this is easy but look for help and support in prayer, from your church family and from scripture Work is a blessing from God. All work. God worked himself in creating our universe, and creating us in his image made us to work. Work is an integral, magnificent part of his creation and we serve God by playing our part in that creation - he needs his people working everywhere. Christian witness, discipleship, happens in the thick of life, and for most people – especially those yet to come to faith - that


includes the workplace. Today’s workplace is frequently stressful and pressurised, but try to remember that at work YOU give faith a face – which is done best by being yourself, and trusting in God. You don’t have to organise lunchtime Bible Studies, or prayer groups or start sporting a huge wooden cross. Just mentioning that you’re involved in church gives people an opening to talk about faith, to ask questions. Depending on circumstances (and some judgment is required here) offering to pray for people as they go through a crisis can bear fruit. Sometimes people will see in you a quality that’s “different”, especially if you can get through a crisis without losing that “something”. When the values and behaviours in the workplace are far removed from those of the God’s kingdom, in modelling God’s values you will be noticed, as that “Face of Faith”. I don’t pretend this is easy to do, but look for help and support in prayer, from your church family, and from Scripture - try looking at 1 Peter 3: 15 and Colossians 3:23 for a start. And one last thought to close: how about reversing the situation? Consider the workplace as a training ground where you can develop skills and experience useful in helping your church grow. Team-working, administration, customer service, training, cleaning, project work – these skills and many more are used daily in the workplace. They’re also vital to churches looking to grow and develop their missional activities in the twenty first century. So, what do you do at work that could make a difference to your church? Final words from St. Paul (Romans 12:1) as paraphrased in The Message: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life - and place it before God as an offering” Andy Smith

self giving service to the community

Friday with Friends

Fenny Drayton is a lovely village on the edge of Leicestershire. Although it is made up of over 200 homes, its only community facilities are the post box, the phone box and, of course, the church: St. Michael’s and All Angels. The village pub closed down over a decade ago and the nearest pub, though less than a mile away, is along a busy road and so not easily accessible on foot. Consequently, there is no real village centre for people to meet and socialise in. The Church worked hard to raise money to build a small kitchen area and toilet facility with the desire to make the building a place where our community could meet and hold events; but we found that, with the exception of a well-attended fortnightly coffee morning, there was a reluctance to use it for secular activities outside of the usual fund-raisers. This reluctance seemed to stem from outside the Church itself. We have hosted a Zumba class there but there was still the sense of ‘is it ok to wiggle in church?’! Clearly such activities do not appeal to all! As Christians we were keen to be involved in our wider community and wanted to do something to bring people together from all over the village without targeting it at particular age or interest groups. We felt that, without a pub or coffee shop there was nowhere for people to meet on a regular basis without a particular purpose. After a number of ‘if only we had a pub’ type discussions we hit upon the idea of opening the church up for people to come along to without specific activities being scheduled. We were clear that people could bring their own drink of choice and that children were welcome. Linda, our vicar, kindly agreed to support us and

we put signs up around the village advertising the event; the first week there were just four families but that totalled 18. It was a great opportunity to sit and chat over a sociable drink and the children, whose ages ranged from 5 to 13, happily entertained themselves. We agreed to extend the trial. The next month 26 came, with more the month after. There were a mixture of ages and family circumstances but the atmosphere remained relaxed and friendly; people spoke to others who had lived within the village for years and yet whose paths had not crossed; we found shared interests and opportunity for lively debate, too! I think the moment that, for me, confirmed we were doing the right thing was when someone said “I am so glad this was on tonight; it is the first time in three days I have seen anyone to speak to”. We were clear from the outset that this was not a different way of doing church, but offering the church building as a central focus for the community. Having said that, there have been a lot of fruitful conversations about people’s faith and their reasons for not attending church on a Sunday; many of which may be food for thought in the future. For now, there are still some people who may be a little uncomfortable with using the church as a ‘pub’ but, overall, there is a strong desire for Friday with Friends to continue and so it will continue into 2014, the first Friday of each month. Michelle Nelson


God, as we know, does not restrict himself to the Church and the Church school but pervades all aspects of our life and community. Our task, I feel, is how do we let people know about a living God in their lives, and that includes our community schools. There does appear to be openness from these schools to work with their local Church. After all the Church is also part of the community. During the last months of 2013 Reality Youth project partnered with local churches to bring God’s story in a form that young people in secondary schools could relate to. Matt Brown explains. “As part of “Hope Revolution.....We Are Leicester” Reality Youth project in partnership with local churches spent four unforgettable weeks in four local secondary schools with Christian bands Twelve24 and MaLoKai. During the four weeks in October and November 2013 we saw 4250 students in 14 assemblies and 104 RE lessons. We held lunchtime concerts, battle of the band competitions and visited lots of evening youth groups. We saw 600 young people attended the Friday night gigs at the end of each week where the gospel was preached and we saw 158 people respond to the message of Hope (including two Mums who had brought their teenage children to the gigs). We are now busy following these young people up through Christian Unions in the schools and through the local churches. There are so many stories of how God touched the lives of young people and staff alike with all the schools saying that the week of Mission has had a positive impact on the students, staff and the school as a whole. I honestly believe that as a result all four schools will never be the same again”. Two of these secondary schools were

non Church schools. In my own parish of St David’s, Broom Leys, we have found a welcome from our local community high school to run a Christian after school club in partnership with ‘Heartland Youth for Christ’ and to take part in school assemblies where God’s story is told and explored. Our strongest partnership, however has been with our two Community Primary schools who encourage us to bring God’s story to over 180 children each week via ‘Open the Book’ where we read God’s story from the Lion storyteller Bible written by Bob Hartman and act out the story with teams of people from the Church dressed up as the characters and bringing along lots of innovative props such as boats and trees which are used in the stories. Both of these projects have been funded by the Diocesan growth fund and the schools are now asking us to expand our activities with them. God’s story is the same today as it was yesterday and as it will be forever and people are continually drawn to our living God through Jesus Christ, it’s just the way the story is presented and told! Perhaps you are already involved with your community school but if not, be confident in approaching them, they can be very welcoming to the Church in their community. Andrew Rhoades

Do you wonder about the causes of food poverty? That an estimated 3.5 million children live in poverty in Britain? That ordinary families, even those in work, struggle to put food on the table? Do you support a food bank? Perhaps you’ve met someone struggling? Food poverty cuts across different social groups. Money can be so tight that others are just a step away from crisis. Or turn to payday lenders. Thank God for food banks and the generosity which enables them to flourish! But what lies behind this? Wages and the benefits system - why haven’t we got this right? Why are people still hungry? What should we ask of our policy makers? Do you know what the situation is here, on our ‘patch’? How about focussing on this in Lent? Getting your head around what goes on and why? Learning more about local issues? Doing something in solidarity with your hungry neighbour? And with God, whose heart aches for the plight of his people? Nationally during Lent many Christians will address this issue. Here the Bishop is committed to launching a campaign including a fasting chain, and a recommendation to A TOUR OF JORDAN, including Petra, the rose-red city in the rock, has been organised by Revd Kevin Ashby for 22nd – 30th September. We will also visit the Roman remains at Jerash, Wadi Rum with its link to Lawrence of Arabia, Madaba where the earliest mosaic map of the Holy Land can be seen, the Jordan, the Dead Sea and many other places. Itineraries are now available on the Melton Mowbray Team Parish web-site or by ringing 01664 503535 or emailing


spend time in Lent raising our local awareness. Leicester Cathedral has plans also. I hope that many others may also commit to study, prayer and action. A fasting chain will only be that - a chain - of people fast on each day during Lent. If it’s not your thing, don’t worry - but I really hope some are willing to join us in fasting for a day or half, or skipping a meal. Prayer and study are always important in Lent. What better than to focus your Lent around this core issue? Of course the Bible activates those spiritual ‘juices’; but I shall shortly be making available other materials. You may have ideas. Getting out and about to learn more? Living off the minimum wage? A visual display to stimulate reflection? There may be a themed blog. Please contact me about any of this, especially if you’re joining in the fasting (I hope plenty are!) or have other suggestions. I shall be in touch as the campaign progresses. Alison Adams

#Mini-Reviews “Richard III - The King under the Car Park” by Matthew Morris and Richard Buckley is the story of the search for the remains the last Plantagenet King, written by two of the archaeologists who found him. At the special price of £9.49 if you mention In Shape. From Christian Resources Leicester (0116 261 5222, enquiries@ Minireviews by Christian Resources.

becoming child friendly

being rooted in prayer

Child Friendly?

Being Rooted in Prayer

If a child walked into your church what would they find and how would they feel?

Recently In Shape heard about two people using different reflective habits to hear more from God. Here they share their stories and some starters for ten for those looking to go deeper with God…

Would they feel that they were included? Would they feel that they were an inconvenience? Would they feel they were not worthy of being given a service sheet or hymn book or of being able to see the projection screen? Would they think that children were an important part of church life? Would they think that the church values their relationship with God or believes that they can’t have one?

A leap into the depths of silence When interviewed for this job I was asked about prayer and had to admit how difficult I find it. With a sense of dissatisfaction in my spiritual life and yearning for the depths a dream emerged of how the church might be transformed by groups of Christians seeking deeper immersion in God.

Each week there are children that attend churches across the diocese, for a range of services, but do we ever take the time to consider the experience they have? If a child were asked to talk about their experience of church, would it be positive or negative? Would you discover what they really thought or would you get the answer they think you want to hear? It takes a lot for children to be honest about their experience, I’ve known children try and gloss over a poor experience because they think they should be positive and only reveal the truth when convinced they could say what they really felt.

In trepidation I have been asking God to show me the way and that way has begun in a practice of regular silent prayer. I would like to report that this has been a trip of sublime spiritual experience but no -it has been a lonely journey into the wilderness where, in parching thirst, I have had to re-evaluate prayer. Often prayer can feel like a trip to Starbucks; we give our order at the counter then shuffle to the end and wait for our request to be handed to us. But possibly in prayer we are invited to a meal by a generous host, to eat what is served to us though not all of it might be to our taste. However, it has all been prepared for us and nothing is required of us but our presence.

If parents were asked to talk about their experience of church, what would the result be? Would it be somewhere that they would recommend to their friends or somewhere that, as much as they might like it to be different, they wouldn’t want others to experience it? Would they feel that they should only inhabit one area of the church? Would they feel that they are judged if their children make a noise? It is not always the things that are said that have the biggest impact on an experience, the reality is that sometimes it is the nonverbal communication, positive or negative. There could be the tuts, the looks, the not giving a child the things that adults are automatically given, singing songs that are difficult to pick up, forgetting that not everyone can read and so excluding some by not telling them words that they could join in with, not including everyone in church life. Equally there could be a child friendly font that can be easily read, nice biscuits for everyone, children leading prayers or on the welcome team, people taking a genuine interest in children and children’s Bibles that look interesting and are not falling to bits.

This idea of prayer takes the focus away from us and onto the host: prayer as worship. In Hope Hamilton Church we have been adopting habits of silence which requires us to approach prayer with no agenda but to simply make ourselves available to God; to act as conduits for

So perhaps it’s worth taking some time to consider whether your church is child friendly and whether everyone that enters it, young and old, regular or visitor, would give the same response. It’s not always an easy question to ask, or hear the response to, but it is an important question to ask because the reality is that judgements are made regardless of whether we want them to be or not and experience informs actions. If you would like some support to explore this area within your church or would like some support concerning ministry with children and families, feel free to contact Louise Warner, Children and Families Officer,, 0116 2615313


being rooted in prayer some of the ways in which God spoke in the Bible, he studies the way Jesus heard his Father’s voice and spoke about his followers hearing his own voice, particularly quoting John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice.” He also considers the place of the Holy Spirit in communication and unpacks exactly how we might hear him, whether by human messengers, through life circumstances such as coincidences and parables, or more directly using the eyes and ears of our heart, or simply sensing God. All very interesting but the proof of the pudding is in the eating ...

his Spirit, to abide in the place where heaven and earth meet. We have an inheritance of such prayer from ancient monastic communities - is it possible their prayers bear fruit in our own time? In this church we are learning what it means to be a community of prayer: a diverse group of people bonded by our commitment to the depths with God and each other. We are convinced that prayer is our primary tool for mission, that habits of silent prayer do not bring instant Starbucks results but are more about the long-term transformation of our neighbourhood by changing its spiritual climate. Our church is small, poor, homeless and fragile but we hope our faithfulness in prayer may bear fruit into eternity.

So, studded through the book are little exercises. They’re quick and even if you’re not a visual/intuitive type of person, God seems to be able to use them! You are encouraged not to try to switch off your imagination, but to turn it over to God and ask him to use it. Questions to ask God like “If you could play a game with me, what would it be and why?” may sound banal, but I have been moved to tears by many of the answers I have received. Finally, how do we know we’re not just making it all up or worse still, being deceived by the devil? This has traditionally been dealt with by requiring ‘words’ to be tested against scripture by the church community. Clearly this is necessary for more weighty matters, but the author is convinced that Jesus is powerful enough to keep his promise that his sheep will be able to tell the difference between his voice and the stranger’s, if only we’ll ask! I have found this to be much simpler than I’d thought. If I have what I think is something from Jesus, I simply ask “Is that you, Jesus of Nazareth?” It seems Jesus is actually able to get through to even someone like me.

Liz Rawlings

Hearing Gods Voice

Peppie Hill

Hands up anyone who wishes God was on the end of a telephone?! Well, I have been having a small adventure in learning to listen better to God. I’m not by any means a master but I’m getting more confident not only in my ability to hear from God but more importantly, in God’s desire and ability to teach me how to hear and recognise his voice. After all, it’s not much of a relationship if only one side (and the less interesting one at that!) gets to talk! For me, although I would love to be able to hear from God for other people, particularly those you don’t yet know Jesus, my immediate desire is to know more of God myself, to love him better, to walk more closely with him. For true transformation, we need to encounter God so that he may renew our minds and make us able to perceive his will maybe this is a way we can encounter him in a more creative and active way? It started with a book called ‘Can you Hear Me?’ by Brad Jersak, which I heartily recommend. In this book, the author lays down a thoroughly biblical foundation for the fact that our God is a God of communication and he doesn’t limit himself to the written word! As well as examining


confident and sensitive evangelism

Parenting Together in Kibworth

2013 was a year for uniting as parents in Kibworth and the surrounding area. After spending the day at a Launch for ‘Relationship Central’ (Holy Trinity Brompton’s collective organisation for all courses concerning the family). It became clear to a couple of us mums that the Parenting Courses were exactly what was needed, not just for us, but for our community too.

positive comments and families grew closer and stronger.

Our husbands too were keen to come on board and so we kicked off the year with a rather bold plan of back to back children’s and teenager’s courses running through to the Autumn!

My over all memory and feel of last year is one of fun. Yes it was hard work, but mostly it was fun, a popular joke amongst many of us in the village now when we are struggling is “sounds

By promoting the Parenting Courses through our pre-school, primary school and our high school there has been real community cohesion taking place and am delighted that now it is the school contacting us about more courses.

The HTB material had been seven years in the making. Nicky & Sila Lee who produced the courses joined us weekly on our TV screens, through this DVD based course with their own vast and varied experiences as parents. They were joined by professionals such as Rob Parsons and Gary Chapman, along with open and honest sharing from parents interviewed on the DVD. Their lovely children were also interviewed which was cause for lots of laughter! Such openness created a relaxed atmosphere amongst us all encouraging our own openness. Our sessions included two course meals and coffee weekly which was provided by different teams from our congregation who also were so keen to be involved in some way. Sharing over a meal helped to put people at ease and some real bonding took place between families and the church too. Several couples went on to do the ‘Marriage Course’, families became firm friends, and the course recommendations were passed on. Through the Parenting Course and our conversations many of the issues that can become huge problems within parenting, truly fell back into perspective and we regularly experienced stressful subjects turning into subjects that we could all really see the funny side of as and as we laughed and shared together, the size of issues started to shrink. Our feed back forms were full of


like you need a parenting course!” and of course, yes we do, each parent, grandparent, or even child-minder will find this course beneficial. Our children are such a wonderful gift from God to us and these courses mostly help in reminding us of that and what a privilege we have in steering them in their development, placing them on the path of their own little individual journeys. Sarah Collins Find out more at

the welcome of newcomers

Do you have any nurses in your church? Or are you one yourself? Then you might be interested in the concept of Parish nursing.... The Bible gives us a model of health that includes physical, mental, community and spiritual wellbeing. In other words, whole person health. Yet often these things are divided up and provided for in separate ways. Parish nurses seek to do some joined up interventions for public health. Not dressings or injections, but health advice, advocacy and accompaniment. They are appointed or employed and line-managed by the local church, for one or more sessions a week, which can be on a paid basis or just expenses only. They are registered nurses, so they follow their professional code of practice. All of them have some community experience and many of them work in the NHS for the rest of the week. They build good relationships with other health providers in the area, and with the pastoral team, offering extra help with understanding of medical conditions, risk factors and treatments. This enables the church to reach out to its community in a new way, through health ministry, helping people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy better health, to use the health services more effectively, to manage any chronic conditions they may have, to volunteer to help others, and to pray, sometimes for the first time. Interested? Then contact Helen Wordsworth ( or Barry Hill (0116 261 5335). If there is sufficient interest then Parish Nursing and the Mission and Ministry Team hope to co-host a seminar after Easter to explore more. Or check out the website for Parish Nursing Ministries UK, They provide a one week introductory course, study days, resourcing, professional and coordination support for churches and nurses.

#Mini-Reviews “Cross Roads” from ‘The Shack’ author W. Paul is the story of a man who only realises how bad his life has been when it’s too late - yet is miraculously given a chance to put things right. Will he take it? £7.99, or 10% off when you mention In Shape. From Christian Resources Leicester (0116 261 5222, Minireviews by Christian Resources.

Widen Your Horizons with a Part-time, Postgraduate Qualification


Delivering a full postgraduate programme on behalf of De Montfort University, St Philip’s Centre is one of the UK’s leading inter-faith training and engagement organisations. Our one and two year courses provide a unique opportunity to learn alongside those of other faiths, international and mature students who share a passion for inter-religious dialogue. Leicester’s rich diversity in both religion and culture provide the ideal backdrop for stimulating teaching and discussion sessions exploring different perspectives and shared experiences. The programme is delivered by skilled and dedicated staff enriched by guest speakers who offer a personal perspective on religion in the community together with invited academics in the field of religious dialogue. A generous bursary scheme is available for this course. For a prospectus, to find out more or make an application, go to

email: or telephone 0116 273 3459


worship in a way that renews and inspires

Taking Lent seriously “Do not fast with the hypocrites. They fast on Monday and Thursday, so you fast on Wednesday and Friday.” (Didache 8:1) The Eucharist is a meal that is not filling. We only eat a little piece of bread and drink a small sip of wine. The small measure, the too little of the Eucharist shall remind us, that there are other things to come; that we cannot be filled by the gifts of this earth, that we may expect more in God’s kingdom. The Eucharist is like an aperitif; a foretaste of God’s heavenly celebration. The small amount we take in can make us sensitive for the things our soul is hungry for. This is the meaning of fasting. Our Lord took it for granted that the disciples would fast: ‘whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting.’ (Mt 6.16). But until fairly recently the Christian discipline of fasting (which we have in common with all other faiths) has been widely ridiculed. Lenten observance including physical abstinence has been denounced as silly and old-fashioned. However, in the past decade this has changed. ◊ A vegetarian day reduces one’s carbon footprint by about 20% for that day. To eat large quantities of meat is not only unhealthy but has environmental consequences. ◊ It is much more efficient to produce calories via plants than via meat. Considering that millions of people do not have enough to eat eating less or to have meat-free days has moral implications. ◊ Fasting in the sense of temporarily abstaining from food has been rediscovered as something extremely healthy. The success of the 5:2 diet is phenomenal (and it fits the Christian tradition of fasting twice a week – it’s the Prayer Book Diet!). One of the most powerful ways in my life to make myself more aware of the presence of God, to become more aware that God is in love with me has been bodily fasting and making time for God. It is important to remember that physical discipline like fasting or giving something up is a tool to return to God and to improve my relationship with him – nothing else. It’s not punishment, masochism and it is not dieting. + Fasting of the body is supposed to lead

to a different kind of fasting, fasting from slander, from envy, from negativity, from fury and resentment, from gluttony and any wrong conviction about all the things I really need. + Fasting can mean fasting of the tongue: not to talk negatively about anybody for one day (particularly not to anybody else but the person whom it concerns). Usually the opposite is true: all my teeth seem to be powerless against my tongue. - and ask God to take it from you if you prove + Fasting can mean the fasting of the eye: to to be powerless (and most times you will be see the beauty of God’s creation instead of the powerless towards yourself!). Fasting of the dirt. body is a tried and tested tool helping towards + Fasting can mean the fasting of the mind: this – nothing else. God provides – I don’t need to make an effort to see the image of God in to force-feed myself to find happiness. others and not my own fears and weaknesses mirrored in them. Johannes Arens + Fasting can mean to notice what is good and Johannes Arens is Canon Precentor of Leicester holy about my church, to celebrate it and speak Cathedral and a member of the College of about it – and to ignore the rest. Evangelists. + Fasting is about making my own Winner Digital Printer Awards 2011 inventory – we are all experts in making other people’s inventory and telling them how to be better, nicer or less Soar Valley Press works with a broad range of annoying (and then we wonder why churches, church organisations and commercial they do not agree clients to improve their designs and deliver cost with our bright effective print solutions. suggestions). Don’t you sometimes Whether you want to rethink a parish magazine, create feel that you are a welcome brochure, produce an annual report or surrounded by publicise a forthcoming event – speak to the experts. idiots? + Fasting can mean Soar Valley Press are an award winning design to make an effort and print company who will offer the help you to realize that I need, including free advice and consultation, to am surrounded by images of God. communicate your message more effectively. Fasting is about myself, not the Call Chris on 0116 259 9955 others. DESIGN + PRINT Email: Soar Valley Press Visit: Why not try to fast during Lent in Working with Diocese of Leicester, Launde Abbey and churches throughout the diocese whatever form is suitable for you? Try for just one Visit our new website hour to give up Print For resentment, to stop for more advice and info Churches blaming, to stop any MA R K E T I N G | D E S I G N | P R I N T kind of negativity

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celebration of people and places

Well-being and life in abundance In the Grand Hall of St Martins House you’ll see above the main stage a rose window with a quote from John’s Gospel, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” John 10.10 So what does abundant life look like? The last ten years have seen a proliferation of books on the idea of happiness and wellbeing so there is no lack of suggestions. At our diocesan clergy conference last September the author and Headteacher of Wellington School, Anthony Seldon,(pictured right) spoke on this theme of well-being, listing no less than 10 ways of promoting well-being, using the acronym GREAT DREAM. These were giving, relating, exercising, appreciating, trying out, direction, resilience, emotion, acceptance and meaning. Following on from this I undertook an impromptu and limited survey of what some people felt were top tips for well-being for themselves in the diocese. Exercise was clearly well up there – and it is noted by various surveys as the biggest stress reducer and most effective single way of contributing to good mental health. One person said “saying ‘yes’ to family and friends when the default is to say ‘no’”. This relates to Seldon’s ‘trying out’ and ‘relating’, a willingness to be constructively disrupted in our routines by what and who really matter. Another mentioned laughing and “being able to have a laugh” – which connects with Seldon’s qualities of appreciating and cultivation of positive emotions. Others mentioned were time with family and friends, prayer and celebrating well.

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But is there anything distinctive about Christian well-being? Scripture would suggest so – for example the letter to the Ephesians understands our flourishing as liberation from all that oppresses us and growing into the full stature of Jesus Christ. To know what it is for us to be truly “well” we need to have a sense of what a perfectly “well” human being looks like, and this as Christians we see in the person and teaching of Jesus. If this is the case then clearly there’s overlap with some of the practices in the literature on well-being. So for example the practices of gratitude, of marvelling or wonder, of savouring and delighting, of deep celebration. But there are other practices which don’t easily fit with the literature, such as “taking up our cross”, loving one another as Jesus loves us, the joy of realising that we lost ones have been found and are on our way home….to name but a few. Finally, as some early Christian writers such as Augustine pointed out, there is a danger with obsessing with our own well-being as an end itself because it can cause us to be turned in on ourselves and result in a never-ending, exhausting and ultimately disappointing preoccupation with satisfying ourselves. Perhaps it is better to see well-being and happiness as a corollary of a life lived committed to the way, the truth and the life, the Jesus shaped life. Mike Harrison



■ ■ ■

Opening Times: 9am - 5pm Mon -Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm Sat St Martins House 7 Peacock Lane Leicester, LE1 5PZ t: 0116 261 5222 buy online on our new website

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Leicester Grammar Junior School and Leicester Grammar School located together on one 75 acre site in Great Glen, offering independent, co-education based upon Christian principles for pupils aged 3 to 18.

Expert, independent advice ■

Christian Bookshop

Savings Investments Protection Retirement

Contact Darrel Foulk, Independent Financial Adviser for Leicester Diocese and area Direct tel: 01295 256 715 Mobile: 07730 672 353 or email:

For more details contact

0116 2591900 [senior school] or 0116 2591950 [junior school] Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg. No. 2046087. This company is registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ, UK. EFAS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

London Road, Great Glen, Leics. LE8 9FL 13 Revd Sonya Brown

Revd Canon Anne Horton

Revd Mike Smith

New Appointment: Priest in Charge in the Parish of All Saints, Queen’s Park, Bedford in the Diocese of St Albans Previous Appointment: Curate in the Benefice of St Philip, Leicester

The Bishop announces that the Revd Canon Anne Horton, Rector of the Benefice of Woodhouse, Woodhouse Eaves and Swithland, will be retiring with effect from Saturday, 8 February 2014.

Revd Dr Adrian Furse

New Appointment: Non-Stipendiary Pioneer Priest amongst the homeless in West Leicester Mission Partnership Previous Appointment: Curate NSM in the Benefice of the Bradgate Team – Ratby cum Groby with Newtown Linford

New Appointment: Rector of Caversham, Thameside and Mapledurham in the Diocese of Oxford Previous Appointment: Policy Adviser and Chaplain to the Bishop of Leicester Institution: Sunday March 16th at 3.30pm at St Peter’s Caversham by the Bishop of Reading

New Appointment: Minor Canon of St David’s Cathedral and Team Vicar in the Benefice of Dewisland with particular responsibility for Whitchurch Solva and Brawdy (Church of Wales) Previous Appointment: Assistant Curate in The Wistow Benefice in the Gartree Second Deanery

Revd Steve Bailey In addition: Warden of Readers Current Appointment: Team Vicar in the Oadby Team Ministry

Revd Carol Lacey New Appointment: Vicar Christ Church, Brampton Bierlow in the Diocese of Sheffield Previous Appointment: Curate in the Benefice of St St Anne, St Paul and St Augustine, Leicester Licensing: Tbc

Revd Helen Hayes

Revd Rachel Ross

The Bishop announces the resignation of the Revd Rachel Ross, Rector of All Saints with Holy Trinity, Loughborough with effect from 15 March 2013. Rachel is leaving to move with her husband the Revd Mike Smith who has been Revd Canon David Jennings The Bishop announces that the Revd Canon David appointed as Rector of Caversham, Thameside Jennings, Rector of the Benefice of Burbage, cum and Mapledurham in the Diocese of Oxford. Aston Flamville, will be retiring with effect from 31 March 2014.  David will retain his role as Canon Revd Trevor Thurston-Smith Theologian at Leicester Cathedral. New Appointment: Incumbent (designate) of the new Benefice of Wigston Previous Appointment: Priest in Charge in the Revd Adrian Jones Benefice of Broughton Astley, with Croft, and New Appointment: Policy Adviser and Chaplain Stoney Stanton to the Bishop of Leicester Previous Appointment: Holding the Bishop’s Permission to Officiate.

Preparation for Life...

Award Winning Pilgrim Gardens


ur award-winning retirement housing is open and only a few apartments are still available!

Pilgrim Gardens is a warden managed, assisted living complex next to Evington Park, Leicester, with 31 one and two-bedroom apartments for rental or leasehold purchase. Prices range from £115,000 to £145,900.

Open MOrning

find out more at Saturday, 5th October 9.00am - 12.30pm

• Scholarships/financial assistance • Guided tours of the schools • Address by Heads of the Schools available at Senior Schools • Exhibitions and demonstrations • On site parking on the day

We look forward to meeting you on the 5th October Loughborough grAmmAr SchooL and Loughborough high SchooL Burton Walks, Loughborough, Leics LE11 2DU FAirFieLd PrePArAtory SchooL Leicester Road, Loughborough, Leics LE11 2AE

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Loughborough Endowed Schools

Call 0300 303 8455, or email to arrange a time to visit. See the virtual tour on Michelle Hydon, Warden, Pilgrim Gardens, Evington, Leicester LE5 6AL. Whetstone Youth Drama Group Friday 28th February - present acclaimed WWI play ‘My Boy Jack’ 7.30pm. Also on Saturday 1st March. Tickets from 01455 274342 - cost £7.00 Personal Prayer Ministry Course. Saturday 1st March - Also Saturday 8th March. Seagrave and Sileby, just off A46 north of Leicester. Seeks to bring healing to the lives of God’s people. St Margaret’s, Leicester Coffee Morning Saturday 1st March - 10 am - 12 noon. In aid of Lord Mayor’s Appeal - Macmillan Cancer Support.. The Lord May will be in attendance. For more contact Concert for Passion, Shepshed Saturday 1st March - 7.30pm St Botolph’s Church, Shepshed. A musical evening presented by Churches Together in Shepshed to raise funds for Passion, the Youth Centre in Shepshed. Tickets £6 Mission & Ministry Drop-in Day Monday 3rd March 10am - 3pm at Monos, Abbey Grange, Whitwick. Drop in, plan up, reflect out. An opportunity to meet with the Mission & Ministry team for one to one support. All Age Worship Day Tuesday 11th March 10am - 4pm at St Martins House. Come and join us to think about all-age worship with Sandra Millar, Head of Developmnt for the Church of England St Margaret’s Church Lunchtime recital Thursday 13th March - 1 pm - 1.30 pm (approx.) Given by David Cowan - Organ. Admission free. For more contact Kay Harpin 0116 2993241. Art and Spirituality Thursday 13th March 7.30 - 9.30pm at St Martins House. An evening with Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ, writer and speaker on Christian Spirituality and lecturer at Heytrhrop College London. Emmanuel Lunchtime Concert Thursday 13th March - 12.45 Emmanuel Church, Forest Road, Loughborough LE11 3NW Something on Your Mind? Tuesday 18th March 10am - 4pm at St Martins House. A session on mental health issues? Recognising and knowing how to provide help, where to signpost and support the person, family and colleagues can make a huge difference to all concerned.

Line Management Training Wednseday 19th & 26th March 7pm - 9pm at St Martins House. A two part course, those taking part must come to both evenings. What makes a great line manager or supervisor? Vocations Day Saturday 22nd March 2014, 10am - 3:30pm. For all those sensing God’s calling and considering how to respond; the day will include key note addresses as well as workshops looking at authorised ministries inc. Ordination, Reader, Pastoral Assistant, Evangelist, Youth & Children’s Work, Pioneer Ministry and more. Church Administration and Why Am I Here? Tuesday 25th March 2pm - 4.30pm & 7.30pm - 9.30pm. The afternoon session (2-4.30pm) is primarily for clergy and will focus on reasons to appoint administrators (or not) together with their management and development.

Emmanuel Lunchtime Concert Thurday 3rd April - 12.45 Emmanuel Church, Forest Road, Loughborough, LE11 3NW Thomas Merton Society Conference Friday 4th April - Oakham School, Rutland on 4-6 April 2014. For further details visit www. St Margaret’s Church Coffee Morning Saturday 5th April - 10 am - 12 noon. For more e-mail Lunchtime Recital St Margaret’s Leicester Thursday 10th April - 1 pm - 1.30 pm (approx.). Iain Harvey - Organ. Admission free. For more contact Kay Harpin 0116 2993241

Daffodil teas Saturday 29th March - The Church of St James the Greater at Oaks in Charnwood. 3pm to 5pm

M & M Drop-in Day Friday 2nd May 2014 10am - 3pm. Drop in. plan up, reflect out. An opportunity to meet with the M&M team for one to one support, to allow space for you to engage with some of the tools available for tem dynamics, vision building and understanding change.

Feminism and Faith Seminar Saturday 29th March - 10am - 1pm at the Barnabas Centre, Oadby LE2 4NX - Dr Slee will discuss feminist theology’s response to third wave feminism

Christian Aid Coffee Morning Saturday 3rd May - St. Margaret’s Church, Leicester 10am - 12noon. For more contact Janet Bass - 0116 2244307 or e-mail .

Craft Fair Scraptoft Saturday 29th March - Annual craft fair at All Saints Church 10am until 3.30pm. Entry fee £1.00, accompanied children free.

Lunchtime Recital St Margaret’s Leicester Thursday 8th May - 1 pm - 1.30 pm (approx.) Anne de Graeve - Harpsichord. For more contact Kay Harpin - 0116 2003241

2020 Skills Toolkit : Purposeful Conversations Wednesday 2nd April 2014 7pm - 9:30pm A standalone evening to develop your skills in making the most out of conversations. Free but booking is essential (with beth.marvin@ or 0116 261 5348).

Children and Youth Work Training Day Saturday 17th May 10am - 4pm at St Martins House - A day to equip, encourage and inspire all those working with children and young people.

Leading well under pressure Wednesday 2nd April - A workshop training day for people in church leadership led by Bridge Builders. St Michael’s House, Coventry, 9.30am - 4.30pm. Women and Men in the priesthood Wednesday 2nd April 10am - 4pm (Venue to be confirmed) How does a theology-in-practice recognise sexual difference? Developing a Learning Plan Thursday 3rd April 2014 - 1pm - 3pm. A well prepared Learning Plan is key to effective Ministerial Development.


#Mini-Reviews “God Church Etc.” by Jane Maycock gives instant information on everything from church furniture to theological ideas to social networking. Ideal for those new to the church, or who just want to know what it is about. Includes cartoons by Dave Walker, the Church Times cartoonist. £7.99 , or 10% off when you mention In Shape.From Christian Resources Leicester (0116 261 5222, enquiries@christianresourcesleicester. com). Mini-reviews by Christian Resources.

The Lent Appeal 2014 During the Diocesan Pilgrimage we learned of the effect of the shortage of water in Israel. With 90% of the water being used by Isrealies and 10%, highly taxed, being available inconsistently for Palestinians, and many people struggle. St Phillip Church in Nablus has a clogged up well within the church which, is cleared, would provide clean water for the church and the community. This will cost £5000 and this is the Bishop’s Lent Appeal 2014. However there are many other projects in equal need of support, and the Bishop hopes this target will be met quickly and easily such that our brothers and sisters in Christ, the Living Stones of Holy Land, can all benefit.

How you can help! Donate at

Above: Bishop Tim with Father Ibrahim at StPhillip Church Nablus and below shots of the repair work needed at the church.

or by cheque Cheques should be made payable to Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance marked ‘Nablus’ and sent to Rob Hull, St Martins House, 7 Peacock Lane, Leicester, LE1 5PZ. with a covering note. Please remember Gift Aid! Use forms made out to “Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance (Nablus)’ Diocese’s Gift Aid reference number - X37616 available

Saturday 5th July from midday A festival for the people of Leicestershire to which all are welcome, including Diocesan Assembly, opening of Cathedral Gardens and the King Richard IIII visitor centre

Garden Zone in Cathedral Gardens - Speakers including Mark Russell & the Bishop of

Leicester, comedians Paul Kerensa & Andy Kind, magician Steve Price, music, dance, mobile climbing wall, free hot dogs and otherfood stalls, workshops – drumming, nail painting, face painting. Culminating in a service of open air baptisms and confirmations at 5pm.

Spirituality Zone in Cathedral – ways of praying, 24/7 prayer, stillness. Learning Zone in St Martins House – seminars on the Bible, growth, Richard III & Leicester, baptism and all age worship, multi-faith communities and more. ‘Lego Club’ for all ages, puppet workshops, soft play area, Messy Church session & resourcing. Leicester, LE1 5PZ. Free! No booking required. For more on the day and on Cathedral Gardens visit 16

In Shape Spring 14  

The Magazine of the Diocese of Leicester

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