We drove out of Chesterfield and climbed into Derbyshire. In a village of stone houses there was the church also built of stone and on the opposite side of the road was the Anglican church. We climbed the hill to the front door and after the service we went back down the hill to the hall for tea – typical of churches in such locations the hall was directly under the sanctuary.
We were there to celebrate 150 years of worship and many of the people I spoke to were people who had lived in the village all their lives. The Church Secretary told me how she had never lived anywhere else and how her family all lived in or near the village but it was during the service that she realised that she could trace her family links with the church back to its beginning in 1862 when the
local mill owner, having allowed rooms in the mill to be used for worship, purchased a piece of land for £5.00 on which the church was built!
But this wasn’t a church looking only backwards. The ecumenical and community links in the village are strong. This service was attended by a number of people from the Anglican church. The whole community works together at different times of the year on an Easter Garden and Nativity Scene and being in this part of Derbyshire they also work together on Well Dressing.
Though only small in number, the congregation run a monthly club for people with learning difficulties and from the photos on display and the conversations with those involved the range of activities offered is much appreciated.
During the service we read Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in chapter 17 of John’s gospel and reminded ourselves that the last 150 years had been in God’s hands, as will the next 150 years.