Dear friends


The first Sunday of Advent will soon be here. The year seems to be galloping on and there is a danger, for each of us, of getting caught up in the frantic rush towards Christmas. The commercialism of Christmas seems to get more intense each year but increasingly I hear voices questioning what Christmas is all about. I have had several conversations recently with people, who do not have any active church involvement, asking just that sort of question. So, there are, I believe, opportunities for us to point people towards the wonder and mystery of ‘The Word’ becoming flesh and dwelling amongst us (to use the imagery of John’s gospel) and to indicate how the birth of Jesus 2000 plus years ago is not merely an historical event, but something that, potentially, impacts our lives today, in the 21st century. There are opportunities for us to share our own faith journeys. In many of our churches we will use an Advent ring to help us focus on the Advent themes.









The circular shape of the Advent ring can be seen as symbolising God's infinite love. The evergreen leaves can be seen as representing the hope of eternal life brought by Jesus. Within the Advent wreath are candles that represent the four weeks of the Advent season as well as the light of God coming into the darkness of world through the birth of Jesus. The individual candles have their own symbolism:- the people waiting for the Messiah, the prophets who spoke of a coming Messiah, John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry and Mary who said ‘Here I am. I am the Lord’s servant’. The candles are also seen as pointing to the hope, peace, joy and love that is brought through Jesus. Many Advent wreaths also have a white candle in the centre known as the "Christ candle." It is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and symbolizes Jesus the light of the world.


Although we tend to think that Christmas is celebrated solely on 25th December, in the Christian tradition the Christmas season lasts for the twelve days from December 25th to January 6th. Taylor Burton-Edwards of the United Methodist Church in the USA comments that the Christmas Season 

"begins with the birth of Jesus and gives us two full weeks to encounter the extraordinary love, threats, dangers and opportunities God's Incarnation [in the birth of Jesus] set off then and still sets off today."



There are many opportunities, across the circuit, for us to be part of and invite others to be part of, Christmas worship. 

I know that a number of churches are also making arrangements to go out into the community with carol singing and bags of Christmas blessings and there are opportunities for us all to be part of the carol singing of the Delph beginning at 11.00am on Saturday 23rd December and also to support the Churches Together Christmas Market stall on Friday 15th December.



May we each know and share God’s love, peace, joy, hope and challenge in Jesus this Christmas and in the coming year. Christmas Blessings

Sue Rolls







The deadline for articles for the next newsletter is Monday 19th February 2018.

Please email to or post through the door of the Circuit Office, 51 Tennyson Avenue, Midway, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 0DT. If emailing please would you mark your email- item for Circuit Newsletter. Many thanks.



Saying Goodbye to the West Street church buildings.


Most of you will be aware that the West Street church buildings, including the shops 1014 West Street have now been sold.



We ask for your continued prayers for the West Street church congregation as they look to the future and we ask your prayers for the whole of the circuit as we seek

God’s leading and God’s wisdom in finding the way to continue with and develop mission, worship and ministry in Swadlincote town centre. 

As we left behind the old West Street buildings, there was a Day of Thanksgiving, celebrating just over 200 years of worship on that site. One item that was rediscovered in the move was a splendid banner with the date 1806, showing that the foundation of the West Street society went back beyond the first buildings on the site.






The congregation came up with the name “Amen Day” for the Day of Thanksgiving. “Amen” is the word that marks the end of a prayer, and so the day marked the end of our time in West Street.


Many smaller historical items were displayed alongside the banner, including magazines and service sheets, missionary collecting boxes, and photos from the many dramatic productions that the church hosted in the

1940s and 1950s


During the day, people from the church and circuit and from the Oasis community dropped in to see the display, drink tea,


Some wrote


memories in a special book. Other wrote prayers to hang on the “Prayer Tree”.

Stories and memories were shared of the ways in which the worship and mission of West Street Methodist Church had touched people’s lives.


All these things were gathered up in an act of worship at 6 o’clock. We sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving. We thought in turn about the different elements of the church building, such as the font and the organ, and thanked God for the part they had played in people’s lives.


And we prayed,

‘Hold our memories, travel with us into the future, and give us your peace’.


Rev Moira Biggins & Rev Sue Rolls






























90th Birthday at Rowland Memorial


July 16th, another year’s anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Rowland Memorial in 1927. Ninety years before any of the present attenders ever had been taken to Sunday School. Yes, it was a time for a little nostalgia as old documents were read and photographs mulled over. It was also a time to remember how the visiting preacher, Rev. Alan Swann, had lived in the circuit with his parents and brothers, how he trained as a local preacher and progressed into the ministry.


Looking so much like his father, Trevor, and like him, showing so much energy and zealousness, Alan reminded us of how hard Trevor worked in the circuit to bring witness to Station Street Methodist Chapel and to Swadlincote.


Anniversary day was a time to hear of the work which goes on in Nettleham, Alan’s church within the Lincoln Circuit. Joyful yet a little dismaying to hear that two morning services are needed because so many wish to attend.

That church and others deal with social needs in the locality and in Lincoln.


It was inspirational! Seeing our consternation Alan highlighted the faithful work at Rowland and in the Circuit, both in the past and now and the obedience shown to God in the work and witness which is the church’s life here.

The evening service in Rowland Memorial was also inspirational as Mrs Margaret Eames led the attenders to celebrate and praise God with singing well known and loved hymns.


Joyce Greenwood.


Most of you will be aware that since Joyce wrote this article Margaret has died after a short illness. We give thanks to God for Margaret and for her ministry in the circuit as a local preacher. She will be greatly missed.

Sue Rolls






News from Blackfordby

It has been a sad few months for our small congregation. On May 20th one of our oldest members Jackie Johnstone died and since then we have lost a number of other people from the extended church community.

The Summer Fayre at Ticknall was a great success and all our thanks go to Jennifer for her organisation.


We had our annual coffee day on August 9th, this year it was at Jean Mason’s house. The weather was a bit damp to start with but by lunch time the sun was shining. Once again thanks to Richard for his excellent scones and to everyone who helped organise it and those who came to support us.

Note from S ue

Since this article was written Richard has very sadly died. One of the fond memories of him will be of his exceptional baking and also of his willingness to help out in so many practical ways. Sue Rolls



The Midsummer Fayre

17th June 2017


This year we decided not to continue with the Midsummer Fete at Woodville. This was because of all the hard work and worry involved in car parking, putting up and taking down of gazebos etc and last but not least the unpredictable nature of the British weather!


Some of us thought it was a pity to miss the chance of a circuit get-together and also of boosting Church Funds by having a stall, so we decided to hold a Midsummer Fayre at Ticknall Village Hall. I was surprised that the

Village Hall was free on the third Saturday in June (the day we had the fayre) as they have a lot of bookings for Weddings on Saturdays. Luckily, the same Saturday (16th June 2018) is available and already booked for next year.


We had quite a serious worry in the week leading up to the Fayre, due to an accident which had demolished the window and part of the wall of the committee room, unfortunately this meant the room could not be used and this room is where refreshments are usually served and eaten at events. However, Paul our treasurer at the Village Hall and Helen our booking secretary and caretaker put tables and chairs in another small room and we put a couple of tables in three of the corners of the Village Hall, so that eased the situation considerably. Blackfordby kindly offered to have their stall outside as did Kevin Banton (the bird man) and Church Gresley with their ‘Splat the Rat’. Everybody was delighted when the morning of the 17th June dawned fine and sunny and remained so all day, in fact one of the best days this year! Blackfordby were rewarded for their kindness by being able to sit in the sun all afternoon, while Gresley sought the shade of one of the Village Hall trees for

their games. Kevin kept his bird foods out of the sun under the gazebo where he stayed himself.

Meanwhile in the Village Hall it was rather hot, especially at the beginning when there was a good crowd. Must definitely not grumble though after having been blessed with such a wonderful day, and we did have ice-cream and lollies to cool us down. All in all, it was a very happy and enjoyable day and all seemed pleased with the proceeds of their stalls.



Jenny Illsley.










We have held a coffee morning in the garden of our home for quite a few years now and one thing that worries us more than anything else is the weather. The week leading up to the event was very showery – actually some of the showers were monsoon like and it seemed that every weather report was different. However, we were extremely fortunate. There were a few rain free and even sunny hours on that Saturday morning and we were so pleased to see so many church friends, neighbours and some of Simon’s gardening customers all on our lawn enjoying coffee, cake and chat.


Many thanks to all who came, £280 was raised from donations which was split between the church and other charities. It was well worth all the frantic weather watching!!


Terry, Christine, Simon and Mark.





It was difficult to know what to do this year about the Holiday Club. It was 9 years ago when Rev. Andrea Sims persuaded Church Gresley, Linton along with Overseal to have a week-long Holiday Club. Of course, they have proved very successful but over the years they have had to be scaled down as the willing volunteers have grown older and the energy levels have decreased. A case of the heart is willing but the flesh is weak! That said, we felt we wanted to carry on somehow, so a meeting was called – very Methodist – and it was decided that Church Gresley and Linton (Trinity) would combine and have 2 days at Church Gresley. So, Friday July 28th and Monday July 31st were decided upon with a special service on the Sunday between.


The Children’s Activity Team and Dynamite

Children’s Club very kindly agreed to sponsor this special event and 2 entertainers were booked. The popular Professor Pop-up was with us on the Friday morning. The theme was Noah’s Ark and we made animal masks of all shapes and sizes. This took us to lunchtime quite nicely. Then 22 children along with leaders / helpers sat down to eat our sandwiches and gather strength for an afternoon of games, crafts and fun. We watched a DVD of the story of Noah and sang our favourite song “Our God is a Great Big God”.


We felt very pleased when 8 of those children with some parents came back on the Sunday and we had a lovely informal service again based on the Noah theme.


Monday dawned and we registered 36 children for another day of fun. This time the morning was led by “Jugalubs” a Christian Entertainer, who taught us many circus skills and the kids lapped it up (so did the adults by the way). The morning flew by and lunchtime was a great affair with excited chatter about the morning’s activities. The afternoon started with a DVD again and games and crafts based on Noah were thoroughly enjoyed. We ended the day with “Our God is a Great Big God” which was sung with great gusto as the parents filed in. we said goodbye to our 36 children – yes, they all survived!


A big thank you to all the adults who gave up their time and energy to make the club a success including Graham from Youth for Christ, with a special mention to Celia who controlled things wonderfully. From my point of view, I think the two days were very worthwhile and I do hope we can carry on working with the children in our area – they are very important. Also, another thank you to CAT (Children’s Activity Team) and Dynamite Children’s Club who provided the funding. It was a special few days.

P.S. Dynamite meets on alternative Thursdays 5.15 – 6.45pm, all school children welcome, further details can be obtained from the Circuit Office.


Watch out for panto details from CAT.


Christine Chandler, Church Gresley.
















Work among young people in the circuit

Developing youth work in the circuit is something that has been identified as a priority for us.

The good news is that we now have a small group of young people in school years 6 to 8 (aged almost 11 to13yrs) who are interested in forming a circuit youth group.

What we now need is a team of leaders to help with the work. To start with meetings would probably be on a monthly basis.

All leaders will need to be recruited through the Safeguarding Safer Recruiting procedures which will involve a DBS check.

If you feel you may be able to help please speak to or email Rev Sue

Rolls (01283 217295

It will be great if we can take this forward.

Thank you.


                            Circuit Meeting Secretary

We are looking for someone who would be able to take on the role of Circuit Meeting Secretary.

This involves: 

Helping to put together the agenda and supporting papers for the meeting

Taking the minutes of the meetings (usually 4 per year) 

(Distribution of the minutes and agenda are done through the circuit office)

Please talk to Rev Sue Rolls if you think you could help. Thank you.




Church Gresley Coffee Mornings and




December 9th 2017 10-11.30, please book in with either Wendy or Christine prior to the lunch. Suggested donation is £5









Newhall Saturday cafe

First Saturday of each month

11.00am – 1.00pm










The Methodist Conference       



28th June – 5th July 2018

Taking place at Nottingham University

You are needed for the following

Stewards                                            Help Desk                

Collators and paper distributors

Creche                                                 Drivers

Meeters and Greeters’ (Birmingham Airport)

Interested? Please make initial contact with 

Carole Booth of The Methodist Conference Arrangements Team






Christmas Worship


Sunday 3rd Dec

10.30 am Christingle at Overseal Toy and Gift Service at Trinity


Sunday 10th Dec

10.30 am Christingle Service at Church Gresley Christingle at Trinity 6pm Carols at Acresford



Sunday 17th Dec

10.30am All Age Christmas Worship at Blackfordby


4pm Nativity / Carol Service at Church Gresley


5pm Carols by Candlelight at Ticknall


6pm Carols at Overseal



Tuesday 19th Dec

7pm Carols by Candlelight at Newhall


 Sunday 24th Dec

10.30am Carol Service at Rowland Memorial


3pm Crib Service at Overseal Carols, Tea & Toast at Ticknall Carol Service at Trinity


7pm Carols around the village Christmas Tree in Ticknall followed by refreshments at the chapel


11.15 pm Midnight Service at Rowland Memorial






Monday 25th Dec

10am Christmas Day Worship for all ages at Church Gresley


Christmas Day Worship for all ages at Newhall


10.30 am

Christmas Day Worship for all ages at Woodville