District Newsletter

District Newsletter – April 2024

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Welcome to the Bolton and Rochdale District Newsletter.

This edition includes details about events, dates for your diaries, training opportunities, vacancies, links and contacts.

If you have any information to share, please contact us so we can include in future editions.

Please share this newsletter around your churches, circuits and contacts.


Letter from Rev Kathy Selby, Superintendent of the Bury Circuit


Dear Friends,


I’m writing this at the beginning of Holy Week.  During Holy Week and Easter we reflect on the amazing sacrifice Jesus made willingly for us all.  Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we can each receive forgiveness for the things we do wrong and a new, eternal life as a child of God, guided by the Holy Spirit. 


When the risen Lord Jesus appeared to the disciples, who were hiding away in the locked room, his first words reassured them of forgiveness and gave them peace.  He then said, ‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ (John 20: 21 & 22).  Forgiven and set free by Jesus’ sacrifice, they were sent out in the power of the Holy Spirit to continue Jesus’ work. 


The same is true for us as Jesus’ present-day disciples – he sends us out, in the power of the Spirit, to continue his work.


In this time of great change in our District and Circuits, it might be easy to focus in upon ourselves and our organisation, as we learn new ways of working together.  Let’s make sure that we keep our focus where it needs to be – on our risen Lord Jesus – and go where He sends us, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit.


You might like to pray this prayer, from a prayer written by Izwe Nkosi for Lectio 365:

Lord, save us from being inwardly focussed.

Send us out to tell the story of your love.  Amen


Yours in Christ,


Kathy Selby






Dear Friends

Our second Equip Series webinar is taking place soon, on Wed 17th April 7:30pm. 

Equip Series on Zoom

Come along to these information evenings and be equipped as we move towards the launch of the North West England District. 

A flyer is attached for circulation.

The recording of the first session is now available to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dANf2e2mX0I 

These events will run on a monthly basis, and you are invited to attend any/all of these sessions. 

To Join: https://zoom.us/j/94658927054?pwd=ZmNKUGl3SWdIeXJsckZyZW5tT3MrZz09  (Meeting ID: 946 5892 7054 Passcode: 125750) 

To access via phone dial 0203 481 5237 or 0203 481 5240 and follow prompts

The other upcoming dates are: 

  • Thu 16 May 2024 
  • Mon 10 June 2024 
  • Tue 16 July 2024
  • Wed 14 August 2024

Perhaps you might wish to invite a representative from each circuit to join us. 


Reminder of the following date for your diaries:

Launch Event - Saturday 31st August 2024

This event is an opportunity to celebrate as five districts become one, to form the North West England District. Starting at 2.30pm, the event will include the welcome service for Rev. Dr. James Tebbutt, our District Chair (subject to Methodist Conference), and will also welcome the wider District Team. The President of Conference will be preaching, along with the Vice-President and Secretary of Conference in attendance.

To be held at Victoria Hall, Knowsley Street, Bolton, BL1 2AS. A save the date flyer is attached for circulation. 

Autumn Synod for the NWE District - Saturday 14th September 2024

More details about this will come to DPC meetings and Spring Synods regarding the Constitution of the new Synod and the arrangements. 


Video from James Tebbutt 

This video can be shared, and also watched in church councils and circuit meetings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLnRNxKjGq4

In this video Tori Allen interviews Rev Dr James Tebbutt, the nominated District Chair of the North West England District. James tells us:

- About himself and his background

- Some facts that people may not know about him!

- What is important about our new district

- Why this matters to churches and circuits

- What he hopes to achieve as our new District Chair (subject to Methodist Conference)

- And a word of encouragement to us all.


Video from Phil Gough

Tori Allen interviews Rev Phil Gough, the nominated District Secretary of Ministries and Vocations of the North West England District. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g43r4J22Xb0

In this video, Phil tells us:

- About himself and his background

- A fact that people may not know about him!

- What drew him to the role

- What excites him about the North West England District

- What he hopes to achieve in his role (subject to Methodist Conference)

- And a word of encouragement to us all.


If you have any queries or comments, please do email [email protected]



Jill Orrell

(on behalf of the Communications Subgroup)


For your diary - Save the Date


Sunday 14th July 2024 at 2.30pm at Harwood Methodist Church, Longsight, Bolton.

For entry to the car park, off Longsight Lane, set your Satnav to BL2 3JP.

You are all invited to a Service on 14th July to celebrate God's work in the Bolton and Rochdale District.

It will be an opportunity to give thanks and share fellowship together prior to the amalgamation of 5 Districts in the new one District to be called North West England District.  

We, as Bolton and Rochdale District, have made a unique contribution to Methodism over the years, so come and join us at Harwood Methodist Church, where there is room for all and a good car park.





Threads Through Creation @ Blackburn Cathedral

Wednesday 6th March - Sunday 14th April 2024

An extraordinary, uplifting art exhibition at Blackburn Cathedral, on show from 6th March to 14th April as part of a nationwide tour of 20 cathedrals.

Admission free. See Blackburn Cathedral for details.


Mission Planning for Circuit Stewards

This 2-hour session takes place on Monday evening 15th April, 2024, 7-9pm. It is designed to introduce Circuit Stewards to their role in mission planning and support ongoing learning and development.

The session will introduce 8 steps for taking a church through the process of discerning, writing and putting into practice a really useful mission plan, from start to finish. Guidance will be offered for mission planning at circuit level too, and there will be opportunities to explore ideas and share experiences as well as to identify areas for action.

Click here for more information.



Local Preachers’ Retreat 2024

The Ammerdown Centre, 19th – 21st April 2024

Oh, how I love your law…?

Leader : Bob Bartindale, Connexional Officer for Worship and Local Preachers

Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long. 

So says the author of Psalm 119, several times!

As Christians who emphasise God’s love and grace, how can God’s Law be at the centre of our faith?

On this Retreat, we shall reflect on the relationship of law and grace, and on Jesus coming to “fulfil the Law”.

And on how this might affect our discipleship and our calling as worship leaders and preachers.

A time to think, to reflect, and possibly to discover a new insight to inspire our faith and our calling.

The retreat will be in silence from Friday night to Sunday lunch time and will follow the familiar format of short inputs of approximately 20 minutes, each followed by ample time for private reflection, in the peaceful stillness of the presence of God.

A wonderfully peaceful and comfortable retreat house set in the countryside near Bath, Ammerdown offers space and peace for this time with God.

The cost for the weekend (accommodation and full board) is £250

Click here for the booking form.


Vocations Sunday

Vocations Sunday is Sunday 5th May.  It's a great opportunity to celebrate all those who serve faithfully in the life of the Church.

If you are leading worship on that day, you may wish to use the liturgy for 2024, which is available in English and Welsh here. Vocations Sunday - Methodist Church

You could incorporate into the service an act of appreciation and thanksgiving for particular people in the life of the church, such as Stewards, Pastoral Visitors, Property Team etc. etc. as well as Local Preachers and Worship Leaders. The

liturgy may be used on any suitable Sunday. It would be appropriate to advertise in advance so that those who are to be recognised know in advance.

Torch Trust for the Blind - Publicity Events

Dear Friends

I work for Torch Trust, the Christian sight loss charity. 

Sight Loss Friendly Church (SLFC) is our exciting initiative to help churches to become accessible for people with sight loss. We are providing some free sessions on Zoom for churches to find out more about SLFC. 

The sessions we currently have to offer are: 

Introduction to SLFC 

Thursday 9th May at 2pm (45 minutes)

Registration Link - https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrd-CqpjsqGd0mlgz3tuIkQAHmsgq_vBDU

This session covers a brief overview of what it means to be a sight loss friendly church. There is an interactive element in the form of an informal quiz, personal stories and videos about sight loss and an overview of our services. Come along if you’re thinking of signing up your church or if you’d like to refresh old knowledge.


Monday 3rd June at 2pm (1 hour)

Registration Link - https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIlce2srzIsGtwxyB-sNnmx_qgmDGzAzVaL 

Meet our expert panel from Torch Trust and ask your questions around welcoming and including blind and partially sighted people in all aspects of your church.  No question is too embarrassing, we’re all at different stages in our sight loss friendly journey.  As well as asking our experts, churches with experience of inclusion are also welcome to chip in with hints and tips on how they have overcome any challenges.

If you would like any further information please let me know. You can also visit our website www.sightlossfriendlychurch.org.uk

Many thanks


Ruth Johansson
Development Team and Operations Team Administration Worker
Torch Trust
Torch House, Torch Way,
Market Harborough, Leics. LE16 9HL, UK


Lay employee gathering: Endings and Beginnings
Tuesday 21st May, 9.30am-12.00pm

An online session to equip ourselves to understand endings & beginnings, and enable others to navigate through endings & beginnings.

Navigating our way to the new normal. 

Join us and other lay employees in the North West as we explore moving from an ending to a new beginning, where one phase concludes, making room for another to commence. 

A space to consider:

- A time of endings and letting go

- moving to the uncertain

- stepping over the threshold to the new

Bookings: Lay employee gathering: Endings and Beginnings Registration, Tue 21 May 2024 at 09:30 | Eventbrite

Welcome packs will be sent to those who give an address when booking on. 

Any questions please email Kristie on [email protected]

Kristie Eve (she/her) 

Learning & Development Officer | The Connexional Team  
Phone: 07799902582 | Mobile: 07799902582

Methodist Church House, 25 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SF   
| +44 (0) 20 7486 5502 | Registered Charity no. 1132208


Cliff College

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting (slowly) warmer – and at Cliff College, that means we’re getting ready for Cliff Festival! We’d love for you to join us from 24-27 May 2024 on the Cliff College site, where together we’ll be exploring the journey of the exodus and God’s faithfulness to his people and his promises. Come and encounter God through a weekend of music and art, Bible studies and seminars, prayer and conversations. Day and weekend tickets are available now at www.cliffcollege.ac.uk/festival.

The Learning Network are offering some sessions for anyone in church life to explore endings and beginnings, there are a number of opportunities for anyone to get involved;

Wednesday 5th June 1:30-3:30 OR Tuesday 18th June 7-9pm.

Book your place here

Safeguarding Training - there are several sessions planned between now and July 2024 in various formats. Have a look at the Events section of our website for more details and to register your place. District Events | Bolton and Rochdale Methodist District (barmd.org.uk)


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




ArtServe - an organisation for Christian creativity

Dear fellow Christians,
My name is Rachel Gallehawk and I am a Methodist Local Preacher in the South Essex Circuit but also a member of an organisation called ArtServe. I hope you don't mind me sending this email but I wanted to share the existence of ArtServe with you which I joined in 2019..
ArtServe seeks to explore and share creativity, develop ideas about how the arts can be used in worship, and to worship together. Its roots go back to 1935 as a fellowship of Methodist organists and choirmasters but in 2010 developed into an organisation with a much wider creative remit for Christians. 
ArtServe has many things to offer including an annual festival in October, a magazine published 3-4 times a year, facebook groups, financial support through the Freeman Trust grants for young people (although adults are not excluded) needing tuition to help with music in worship, a monthly online members chat, a website and a bi-monthly email newsletter. 
I have attached a copy of the latest newsletter which I would be grateful if you could share with others in your circuit. The newsletter is free to subscribe to and is delivered via email. Please also explore the website if you wish to know more about how ArtServe can support your Christian creativity https://www.artserve.org.uk/
Many thanks and blessings to you.

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Methodist Women in Britain


Please find attached our spring newsletter and prayer diary for March to May.

Prayer Diary March to May 2024

Remember that our website www.mwib.org.uk has all the up to date information and news about all things Methodist Women in Britain as well as every Saturday a new Prayer for the Week, regular blogs from our co-chairs and details of our merchandise and upcoming events.

Bronwen Braisdell
Communications Officer

An extra mailing this spring.

* Our Swanwick conference is now full but booking is still open if you would like to join with us by zoom.

* A poster attached for our Garden Party at Epworth Old Rectory (the previous one had an error on it!); booking opens on 28th March for this event.

Bronwen Braisdell

Communications Officer
Action for Children

You can make a difference during stress awareness month ❤️

We hope you had a great Easter bank holiday weekend! Can you believe it’s already April? This month also marks stress awareness month. Stress can affect anyone at any age so its important to have a greater understanding of it and how we can look after ourselves and loved ones having to cope with stressful situations.     

There's growing concern about the mental health of children and young people in the UK. Youth mental health has declined in the last few years, for various factors such as poverty, money worries and social media. But there is support available including our Blues Programme - a six-week wellbeing programme for those aged 13-19. The programme gets young people talking about their mental health.

I’ve always struggled with stress and anxiety, however Blues has helped me to come up with ways to combat my negative thoughts and feelings so that I feel more positive about myself.

Feedback from a young person on The Blues Programme

We also have a growing number of local mental health services across the UK. With your help, we could support even more children and young people across the UK.

New Methodist Church website launched

A new Methodist Church website has been launched, designed for individuals exploring faith and seeking to deepen their spiritual journey. The site features a contemporary, user-friendly design, improved functionality, and easy access to essential resources to assist visitors in their exploration of faith. The website is available at the normal address, methodist.org.uk, and you can read a short news release about the launch

Visit the new website here


The Methodist News

If you don’t already receive this you can subscribe online at:-



A Methodist Way of Life

A Methodist Way of Life commitment card is available online at www.methodistchurch.org.uk/MWoL. Many people are downloading and finding it useful.



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Methodist Women in Britain


Here is an advert and role description for the position of Co-Chair to take over from Ruth when her term of office finishes in September. Please consider prayerfully whether this is a role you could consider, or pass the information to someone you know who might be interested in joining us.


Bronwen Braisdell
Communications Officer

For employment and voluntary opportunities in the Methodist Church Connexionally: http://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/connect/jobs-volunteering/



Advanced Module Training Dates – please visit the Events section of the District Website to book places on these training days. District Events | Bolton and Rochdale Methodist District (barmd.org.uk)

Policies and guidance – the most recent are now available on the Methodist Church website: https://www.methodist.org.uk/for-ministers-and-office-holders/safeguarding/policies-procedure-and-information/policies-and-guidance/

District Safeguarding Officer: Email address Helen Bolton - [email protected]

Update from Connexional Safeguarding Team:

Managing Trustees are advised that there are now 4 new data protection resources available to them on TMCP’s website:

1. Updated Document Retention Schedule for Managing Trustees - Updated Retention Schedule and other new Data Protection Resources – June 2021 –Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes (tmcp.org.uk)

2. The Annual Checklist in a shortened Word version.

3. Guest Wi-Fi Acceptable Use Policy - TMCP has been working with the Connexional team on producing an Acceptable Use Policy (Policy) for guests using Church Wi-Fi. This is available to download from the Safeguarding Forms section of the Methodist Church Website:

The Policy sets out the terms and conditions of the contract between the Managing Trustees and the guest using the Wi-Fi network.

The Policy should be displayed or be accessible to guest users by means of a prominent hyperlink before the user gains access to the Wi-Fi network.

The Policy must be available in a way that allows the user to store and reproduce it. You could do this by encouraging users to print the Policy/ the terms and conditions.

4. Zoom Guidance - New guidance has been produced by the Connexional Team as part of the Digital Communication Guidance for Churches. From a data protection perspective, please bear in mind the implications particularly with regard to recording Zoom sessions, deleting those recordings and locking the meeting to guard against “Zoom Bombing”: How to use Zoom safely and with integrity


GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on 25th May 2018. Training and resources from TMCP are fine tuned for The Methodist Church context: https://www.tmcp.org.uk/about/data-protection