District Newsletter

District Newsletter – February 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 Shaun Swithenbank, Superintendent of the Wigan Circuit


Pilgrimage, Passion and Resurrection


“Whoever serves me must follow me,

and where I am, there will my servant be also …...

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,

will draw all people to myself.”

                                                                                                                                                                John 12v26 & 32

Life in the Desert

Deserts are some of the most inhospitable environments in the world, often seeming bereft of life. Yet even in deserts there is life, sometimes underground, sometimes microscopic, but plants and animals do live in seemingly impossible places: Drought resistant plants; animals that adapt to extreme heat; bacteria which can survive heat and chemicals which should be deadly to life. Our understanding of what defines life is changing as we explore the earth and but the universe: What new understanding of life will future generations uncover?

Early Christians, prophets, John the Baptist, and Jesus spent time in the desert wilderness. They retreated to these desolate places to seek spiritual enlightenment and guidance for the difficult challenges they faced. Just as Jesus faced his temptations during his desert pilgrimage, and found the true direction for the next steps of his life, we too this Lent need to reflect and seek guidance for our new direction as churches, circuits and districts. Jesus’ way and truth and life will lead us to new places and new people.


Life with Meaning

If life is merely existence, and religion is only about believing seemingly impossible things, then these are no different to a science which asks me simply to believe that atoms exist and the moon is not made of cheese. I have no problem with believing in something I cannot see - both oxygen and love are invisible but essential to a healthy life. However, religion has to be more than just stories about what we might call ‘supernature’. We serve Christ in others so that poverty and injustice, war and famine are relieved or removed; meaning and security, love, mindfulness and worth are restored.  

So, let us renew our awareness of the miracles in creation around us and God’s spirit within us. Let us show by our words and actions that the purpose, meaning and message which is revealed in the miracle of resurrection, is also the purpose, meaning and message for peace and healing in the world.


“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10)


This is the message of Holy Week as we journey with Christ towards Easter, and the promise is for everyone who is on the pilgrimage. Eternal life is a quality of life which we can know now, a life which uplifts and renews. Jesus’ pilgrimage, passion and death show us that all things are possible with God, and if we share this ‘Life of Life’ with others, then earth and heaven will indeed be made new.


May your preparation and celebration this Easter be blessed with the light of God’s love in Christ.




LGBT+ History Month 


With February being LGBT+ History Month, Pam Gold, coordinator for the Methodist LGBT+ Solidarity Circle, has written this prayer which can be shared with your churches.

Discover the prayer here  






Dear Friends,

We have various dates and flyers to share with you all, and hope that you will please circulate these widely in your Circuits and Churches:


1. Equip Series

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. These evenings will include:

  • Devotions
  • An update from each sub group, to increase our knowledge and understanding of how the new district will look and feel
  • Q and A session

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

  • Tue 12 March 2024

  • Wed 17 April 2024

  • Thu 16 May 2024 

  • Mon 10 June 2024 

  • Tue 16 July 2024

  • Wed 14 August 2024

7:30-8:30pm (join from 7:20pm for a 7:30pm start)

To Join: https://zoom.us/j/94658927054?pwd=ZmNKUGl3SWdIeXJsckZyZW5tT3MrZz09

(Meeting ID: 946 5892 7054 Passcode: 125750)

You may also access the session by phone:

  1. Dial the number (0203 481 5237 or 0203 481 5240)
  2. Enter the meeting ID when prompted (Meeting ID: 946 5892 7054)
  3. Enter the passcode when prompted (Passcode: 125750)

To mute or unmute, press *6

Please note if any noise is detected in the background the host will mute participants but please do unmute yourself if you wish to speak or raise hand and host will invite you.


2. 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. 


3. 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.

In this video, 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.


4. 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. 


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



Jill Orrell

(On behalf of the Communications Subgroup)



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Methodist Women in Britain

Bolton & Rochdale District.

Preparing for the Passion


An opportunity for gathering together to share reflective time in preparation for Holy Week         

Wednesday March 20th 2024: 11:00 - 2:30

Connections Community Methodist Church,

St Helens Road, Bolton, BL3 3TP


Refreshments will be served including a soup lunch


Biblical Justice for Transforming the World - Wesley House - March 2024

Biblical Justice for Transforming the World is designed both for those working in social justice ministry and for anyone else seeking to relate their faith more effectively to public life. Through readings, conversation and reflection on participant’s experience, we will explore a compelling biblical and theological underpinning for justice work in our contemporary world, with a focus on poverty.

Join us for this online course being run throughout March. For further information and to register CLICK HERE



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.


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)


Courses at Cliff College

What skills and knowledge do you need to gain this year? Maybe how to support families in faith development, or how to help your church respond to issues like climate justice and health & wellbeing? Maybe you’re exploring pioneer work or wanting to better navigate change and conflict in your congregations and communities.

Whatever your context and challenge, Cliff College can develop your theology and practice and help you respond to God’s call to mission and ministry in 2024. Find out more on our website or contact us at [email protected].

Cliff College’s new MA Theology and Mission* programme, available from September 2024, equips students to explore missional theology and practice in depth, to inform and enhance their own engagement in the work of God’s Kingdom. Students can choose from a variety of units including biblical studies, chaplaincy, Methodist and Wesleyan identity and leadership, alongside core Missional Theology and Missional Theology in Practice units.

This course can be studied either online or at our College campus in Derbyshire, full-time or part-time. Applications are now open: find out more and apply here.

*subject to approval from the University of Manchester

Seasonal retreats at Cliff College

Join Cliff College for a guided day retreat just before the beginning of Lent, to pray and reflect. Retreat spaces available on Saturday 10 February: book now on the Cliff College website.


Wesley House - Reflective Pastoral Supervision Courses 2024

Please find attached a flyer and a link to relevant page of the website - https://www.wesley.cam.ac.uk/centre-for-leadership-and-ministy-development/pastoral-supervision/supervision/


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




Youth Representative Introduction

I greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour,

I am writing to introduce myself as the newly appointed Methodist Youth Representative (Agent for Change). My name is Jamie Nyirenda-Scott (JJ) and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with all of you in this role.

I have always been passionate about social justice and community service, which led me to become actively involved as a Youth Representative.

I am looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you and working together to serve the youth in our district. I am confident that with our collective passion and dedication, we can make a positive impact and create a strong and vibrant Methodist community.

I am excited to see what we can accomplish together.

Grace and Peace to you in Christ,

Jamie Nyirenda-Scott


Could your magazine be this year’s winner?

The search is on for Britain's best church magazine. Entries are now invited for the annual competition run by the Association for Church Editors (ACE), which is an independent, not for profit organisation that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

"Judging from the number of brochures and leaflets that land on our doormats and the array of magazines in newsagents, other organisations still value printed material," says Sally Churchus, Chair of the national organisation, "so we are keen to encourage church editors everywhere".

For the coming 2024 competition, which closes on Tuesday 2nd April, awards will be made for any size of magazine using colour printing. The Gold Award winner will receive the John King Trophy, to be held for one year, while Silver and Bronze Awards will receive an inscribed trophy to keep, together with a Certificate of Excellence for display.

A panel of judges assesses each magazine, giving points for various aspects including cover design, headlines and clarity of the Christian message.

The prize-giving will take place on Saturday 28th September in Westminster Central Hall, London, and is open to everyone. The meeting will include an address by our Keynote Speaker, Neil Pugmire, (author of 100 Ways To Get Your Church Noticed), and talks on various ways to improve church magazines.



Unbounded Love worship resources now available 

A range of resources that connect the Gospel readings from the Sunday lectionary throughout Lent to weekly themes, each one a line lifted from “Love divine, all loves excelling”.

Charles Wesley's famous hymn Love Divine, All Loves Excelling talks about Jesus as ‘unbounded love’ – a kind of love that cannot be contained, that works in our lives and in our world to free us and heal us. Unbounded Love is the theme of the Lent campaign of the Methodist Church in 2024 – holding together our commitments to be a justice-seeking church, and a people who experience and proclaim the good news of God’s uncontainable love.

For individuals - Forty daily discipleship prompts, delivered straight to your email inbox every day of Lent, excluding Sundays. Daily emails will include Bible studies, creative activities and challenges to take an action.

For churches - A poster to advertise the email reflections, digital assets to advertise the email reflections, light-touch guidance for either Sunday services or small groups, a social media campaign pointing people to local churches.

Find out more on our websiteUnbounded Love - Lent 2024 reflections (methodist.org.uk)


All We Can

This year, All We Can invites you to think about ‘what is mine to do’, which feels like an important question for each of us as disciples – and for the whole church – to be asking ourselves at the moment. With postcards, reflection questions, creative colouring ideas and suggestions for a Lent group outline, you can pre-order your resources here: allwecan.org.uk/lent2024


Action for Children

We’re hopeful. We believe the UK could be the best place in the world to grow up.

But right now, it isn’t. In fact, only a third of adults feel optimistic about the future for children living in the UK.

That’s why today we’re coming together with our friends at Barnardo’s, NSPCC, The National Children’s Bureau, and The Children’s Society to launch a new campaign: "Children at the Table." The aim of this campaign is to influence political parties to commit to a set of policies to transform childhoods in the UK.

Will you join us?

Sign our petition

We know we have a much greater chance of making change happen together than on our own.

We need your help, too. We’re asking all the political parties running in this year’s General Election to commit to the change that children need. We’re calling for the next Prime Minister to be a champion for children. Add your name to the call.

This afternoon, we’re heading to Parliament with twenty-five young campaigners. They’re going to tell MPs their vision for a better future. They’re passionate about ending child poverty. About ensuring every young person can get mental-health support when they need it. About transforming the care system so all children grow up in a safe and loving home.

Join the campaign to follow their journey

Thanks for your support,


Action for Children

Children's Charities Coalition


The Methodist News

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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.





Youth development worker - Bolton

Part time for 12 hours per week on a fixed term contract for 2 years.

Salary; £8,555/annum (£13.71/hr)


The Triangle Community Methodist Church is a welcoming, family orientated mission church in Bolton.  We are looking for someone who will work with us and has a passion and expertise to develop our mission and ministry to young people aged 11 – 18.   We have a growing children’s and youth programme to the young people within our existing church family with a desire to further extend our outreach into the local community.


There is a genuine occupational requirement that the post-holder is a practising Christian in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

This role will require a satisfactory Enhanced DBS disclosure & the completion of the Advanced Safeguarding training course of the Methodist Church.

A JNC recognised qualification would be advantageous.


The nature of this role necessitates flexible working hours, including evenings and weekends.


Closing date for applications: 29th February 2024

Interviews: March 2024


If you have any questions or require the job description & personal specification please contact: [email protected]

To apply please forward your CV to: [email protected]



Circuit Operations Manager

Full-time - 40 hours per week (some flexible working is necessary)

Do you think strategically? Are you someone who wants to see people released for mission and ministry? Have you got experience in management and oversight?

The North Lancashire Methodist Circuit seeks to appoint a full-time Operations Manager. The successful applicant will play a leading role in operational matters across the Circuit.  This role will release resources for mission by helping to provide professional management, advice and oversight in the areas of property management, operations, compliance and administration.

The successful applicant will be required to work within the strategic direction of the circuit as shaped by the Circuit Leadership Team and in line with Methodist Church disciplines.

We are an equal opportunities employer but the role requires a sympathy with the aims and ethos of the Methodist Church. Please note - the post is subject to obtaining a satisfactory enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) disclosure.

Salary starting at: £31,000 per annum

Closing date for applications: Friday 29th February 2024.

The Interviews will be held in the week beginning 18th March

or further information and for an application form, please contact: Mrs Ruth Champley - [email protected] or 01524-417031 / 07394 591 394 www.northlancsmethodist.org.uk



Job Description for MWiB District Vice President/President

You will be joining a friendly, supportive team who have all been District Vice Presidents and Presidents of MWiB previously. Initially your role as Vice President will be to shadow and support the President with the guidance of this team. After one year in this role you will become President for two years with the continuing support of your Vice President and team of MWiB Officers, followed by a further year as Vice President, making it altogether a 4-year role.

The job description of MWiB District President is as follows :

  • The President will lead the team in organising three MWiB District Gatherings a year.
  • The President will promote the aims and activities of MWiB in the Manchester and Stockport area (formerly district).
  • She will oversee a Newsletter which will be circulated throughout the churches/circuits in the District.
  • She will chair business meetings on Zoom and at the Gatherings.

The President is also invited to sponsor a charity of her choice. To support this charity she could invite speakers from it to the MWiB Gatherings and raise further funds by visiting church groups in the District informing them about her chosen charity.

If you are interested in this role and would like to discuss it further, please contact Chris Gregory, Phone No. 07975 503019, email [email protected], who is the current Vice President.


Two roles: MHA Head of Chaplaincy - North and MHA Head of Chaplaincy - South

Permanent - Full Time - 37 hours per week.

Based at home

Salary £52,000 + car allowance

Click here for more details.


District Vacancy

We have a vacancy for a District Ecumenical Officer. Please have a look at the role description. If you are interested in this or would like to discuss it further, please contact the District Office on 01204 843302 or [email protected]


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