September 2019

Sunday, 1st September
Evening Service at St Andrew’s Church – 6pm
Thursday, 5th September
Clergy and Warden Meeting at St Andrew’s Centre – 7.30pm
Thursday, 12th September
Meeting Point at St Andrew’s Centre at 6.30pm



Clergy and Wardens Meetings – 7.30-9.00pm @St Andrew’s Centre 1st Thursday of each month
5th September
3rd October
7th November

Team Council Meetings – 7.30-9.00pm
3rd Tuesday of each month
17th September @ St Lawrence
19th October @ St Andrew’s

Congregation Meetings
St Helens after Sunday service
13th October
15th December

St Mary’s 7.30pm St Lawrence’s including St Andrew’s 7.00pm
15th October
17th December

Please pray for all those who serve us on these groups and try to attend your congregation meeting.

Editorial – Sept 2019

by Chris Butler

Who would you consider to be the greatest role model for your Christian life? I’m sure that many of us know of many mighty men and women of God, yet perhaps most of us would list the Apostle Paul as the greatest Christian who ever lived and the one they would most like the emulate. In fact, Paul often held himself up as a pattern for all Christians to follow. “Imitate me,” he urged, “just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). He knew, of course, that he could serve as a godly example only if he faithfully followed the Lord Jesus.

Throughout September our services at the Rivers Team will focus on the life of Paul. We will be looking at the full extent of his life – his conversion, the change in his life, the training he received, his empowerment by the Spirit, his leadership and his preparations for those who would follow after him. No matter what stage we are in our Christian walk, whether a new convert to the faith or a church leader, there will be something from his life that we can apply to our own.

Paul’s life has inspired countless ministers, teachers, missionaries, and evangelists. If you read through the book of Acts it’s easy to see why. The exploits of Paul will take your breath away. He made three long missionary journeys throughout the Roman Empire, planting churches, preaching the gospel, and giving strength and encouragement to early Christians.

The apostle was a spiritual father to many and his inspired letters to the churches he founded formed half of the New Testament, thus becoming the foundation for Christian theology, but despite those achievements he endured enormous physical hardships. He was whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, stranded, and faced dangers in the city and the country. He was also made weak through tiredness, hunger, sleeplessness, and the “thorn in his flesh” which continually tormented him, but he soon realised that it was through these weaknesses he was made strong as he depended more and more upon the Lord for his strength (2 Cor 12:9).

No other churchman has had a greater impact on Christianity. And Paul’s attitudes, motivations, and methods are elements that we can reproduce in our own lives to help us impact lives the way he did. And as we copy Paul, who himself was copying Christ, then we in turn will become role models for the next generation of Christians who follow after us.

Doggedly Defending Despite the Dangers

Bob Luntby Bob Lunt

A human rights and religious freedom defender working in South India recently shared his thoughts on the current climate in the country.

My experience has considerably worsened since Modi’s government came to power in 2014. The government relies heavily on the backing of Hindu fundamentalists, which has led to an increase in the threat to religious minorities, particularly Christians. In Tamil Nadu where I work, human rights defenders have faced extreme hostility. Some have been shot, raped and threatened by both government and non-government people. And now Modi has won a landslide victory in the 2019 elections.

I work to defend the rights of people of all faiths. Those who support Hindu supremacy in India argue that human rights defenders work against the country’s interests, but this simply isn’t true. I’m proud that my country has such a great constitution, which protects fundamental freedoms. India was among the first countries to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

This is why I find it so sad that, as human rights defenders, we now face the threat of violence on a daily basis. I hear noises outside my house at night, and banging on my windows. It’s tragic that in India, a country of such diverse cultures, languages, religions and beliefs, these things now happen to those of us who are trying to uphold the basic human right to practise one’s religion or belief of choice.

The government uses the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to target human rights defenders. The law deals with people who are considered to be working against the state, and some human rights defenders have been accused of being members of terrorist organisations. A person can be detained without bail for six months under this law, which can be extended. We constantly live in fear that another of us could be the next person charged.

I’m also constantly harassed and monitored by the authorities. I give a speech somewhere or go to speak with victims of human rights abuses, and before I get home I’m called by the authorities asking how the trip went – a constant reminder that my every move is being watched. The support of the international community is really important. Training for human rights defenders, like CSW’s Defend the Defender project, is vital to our safety and work.

Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)

Centenary Project Update

Screen-Shot-2016-10-06-at-17.21.10[1]An update on what is happening with the Children’s and family’s work across the team.

I have a new objective which is very exciting and that is to oversee the Sunday Kid’s work. I have visited both St Lawrence’s and St Mary’s where this work is taking place. I am looking forward to working with both teams of volunteers.

Work has already started at St Mary’s where the volunteers and I had a chat over scones to discuss where this group is going and how it may change in the future.

St Andrew’s Toddler Church increased in families on the second time it opened in May. Carrying on with the story of Noah and the promise God made with a colour theme of the Rainbow. The jelly rainbows were a hit.

God Bless – Sarah Clayton

Catcliffe Heritage Day

15481299297_0cdae45b2a_mCatcliffe Kiln is a listed monument with Historic England, and is an undervalued asset to that community. Catcliffe Parish Council and other community groups share an interest in promoting the kiln and looking at ways to raise its profile, to showcase it to the wider community, not just across the borough but Nationwide.

Councillors used some of their ward budget as match funding with Rother Valley West Area Housing Panel, which enabled them to provide a power supply to the Kiln. This has allowed us to work with Museum staff, Friends of Catcliffe the Church group and the Brinsworth and Catcliffe local History Group to hold an annual
nativity scene and carol service.

Plans are now underway for the next Catcliffe Heritage day which will take place on Saturday 21 September 2019 from 10.00am and 3.00pm. This family-orientated event will celebrate the heritage of Catcliffe, with a number of historical displays, photographic talks, and glass and pebble decorating.

The kiln will be opened by museum staff who will be giving a guided tour at 11.00am, 12 noon and 1.00pm.

We will be running a Catcliffe Heritage day arts competition for local children to take part in. We are asking children to draw or paint a picture of the Kiln or St Mary’s church. The images will then be displayed on the day and the Mayor of Rotherham will be awarding the winners with their prizes. Twelve of the images will be chosen to make into a 2020 Calendar that will be available in December.

We have two new lambs for the Catcliffe Kiln Christmas tableau, bought by St Mary’s Coffee Pot, and there will be a competition to ‘Name the Lamb’. St Mary’s is hosting this event, i.e Tea/Coffee/Squash and nibbles which will be provided by Morrisons.

Spotlight on Mission – Discretionary Fund

spotlightAs part of our Mission Giving there is a fund so that we can respond to specific needs such as natural disasters and families and individuals who over the year have been in need in various ways, and giving from this fund has helped in a small way. Please pray for the many groups that help people in times of crisis that money sent will be used wisely.

Thank you on behalf of our Mission partners to all those you who during August at our Team Services supported them, they really do appreciate our help over the year.

Don’t feel that this is the only time you can give, pop an envelope in to the collection plate clearly marked for our Mission Partners at any service across the Team and it can be added to the fund.

Hansi Jain our missionary link in Nagpur, India, working with families and children from the slums and running a school.

CPAS are patrons of our churches and are an evangelical organisation, working to support local churches in mission.

Tear Fund is an evangelical Christian relief agency working through local churches in the poorest parts of the world.

The Barnabas Fund works to support Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith.

Rotherham Holiday Aid is a local charity seeking to provide holidays for some of the neediest families around Rotherham.

Samaritans offer 24 hours a day confidential telephone service, giving emotional support to people who are experiencing feelings of distress,
despair or suicidal thoughts, and is a registered charity based in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Rotherham Street Pastors are a group of trained volunteers from local churches who care about their community. They patrol the town in teams of men and woman, usually from 10pm to 4am on Friday and Saturday nights, to care for, listen to and help people, showing, in practical ways, that they are loved by people and by God.

Catch up of more recent news/development and specific prayer requests of any of them on their own web sites.


Editorial – August 2019


A Break From Work, Not Worship

by Eddie Short

August is traditionally a time for family holidays, for taking a break from work, relaxing and recharging our batteries. Which, of course, is a biblical principle. After the creation narrative in Genesis 1, we read at the beginning of Genesis 2 that God took a break on the seventh day, setting it apart and blessing it. It is good and right to balance our work – both secular and serving God – with time off to reflect, recharge and relax.

Time away on holiday is also a great opportunity to experience different expressions of church. We are part of a global fellowship of believers, which means however far we travel, in this country or abroad, there is likely to be a Christian church within easy reach. Visiting other churches, especially those in different parts of the world, gives us the opportunity to broaden our horizons and strengthen our faith. There is something quite spiritually profound in worshipping with a group of complete strangers from another culture who share the same faith in Jesus. Over the past couple of years I have had two very different, but equally positive, experiences of visiting churches while away on holiday.

When Nic and I were visiting Nashville a couple of years ago to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, we visited a ‘mega church’ on the outskirts of the city. The worship was more like a concert than a church service; not something we’d want to be a part of on a regular basis, but great as a one-off. However, it was the sermon from a visiting preacher that I really connected with. It spoke directly to my situation at the time and afterwards I looked him up online. Since then I have found the podcasts from the church he was in the process of planting to be a huge blessing.

Then, earlier this year, we visited Norway over Easter. While we were there we attended, as a family, the Easter Sunday service at the Anglican Church in Bergen, which is also incidentally called St. Mary’s. This turned out to be a joint service between the English-speaking Anglican congregation and the Norwegian-speaking Church of Norway congregation. While the sermon was (thankfully) in English, the liturgy and hymns were in a mixture of the two languages. Being part of this multilingual celebration of Jesus’ resurrection was both poignant and affirming: Jesus defeated death for all people, of all nationalities, from all over the world!

At both of these churches, and the many others we have visited while traveling, we were made to feel very welcome and included. So, the next time you are away on holiday, I’d encourage you to seek out a local church service and expand your ecclesiastical horizons! And, even if you aren’t going away, there is an opportunity to worship at three different churches throughout August without leaving the team! There will be just one joint service in each of our four churches on the four Sundays of this month. This isn’t an excuse to have three weeks off, but rather a great opportunity to experience all four of the congregations that make up our team and also to get to know the wider church family a little better.

I won’t be there, as our family is spending the summer in America. But I will be joining you in worship, visiting yet another new church…

Rotherham Deanery Pilgrimage Report

Rotherham Deanery Pilgrimage to Bolton Abbey Priory and Skipton – by Thelma Maguire

On Saturday 6 July we set off in pouring rain, but arrived at Bolton Abbey Priory on Lord Devonshire’s Estate two hours later in glorious sunshine.

For over 800 years people have come to the Priory to worship God: some to thank, praise and glorify Him; others asking Him for help, even pleading with prayers and penitence. The order who lived in the Priory were the Austin Canons, or the Black Canons. They tried to follow the example of Jesus by helping and caring for the community and travellers.

The 11am Communion service was led by Peter Hughes, Rector of St Albans, Wickersley, assisted by Neil Bowler, House for Duty Priest in the Silverwood Mission Partnership, with Andrew Rose leading the prayers.

The theme was “The Wine of the Kingdom”: Matthew 9 v 14-17. “No one pours new wine into old wineskins.” No, they pour new wine into new wineskins and both are preserved. Jesus is referring to the making of wine and the new wine has to be poured into new skins. The tradition was to pour the newly fermenting wine into new goat skins where the wine would expand and continue to ferment and the skins would stretch with the volume of the wine. Jesus was illustrating the importance of renewing religious structures and emphasising that He brings us a newness of life that cannot be confined to old forms.

Peter’s father had taken up wine-making; unfortunately he didn’t secure the flagon tightly, causing the wine to explode loudly! He explained that Jesus came to bring newness of life to us all, but this cannot be constrained in the old law – that is, the goat skins. However, new life in new skins brings us Grace and makes us new when we receive the Holy Spirit and become more like Jesus. Jesus will change us. He will renew us in our hearts and faith.

Peter referred to the problems facing Sheffield Diocese where many churches are without a vicar and we face reduction in numbers of stipendiary incumbents. The diocese needs to lead the way of change within our own structure. New groups of disciples will meet not necessarily in churches but in houses, cafés, community centres.

All were in agreement that both service and setting were among the best we have celebrated on or Pilgrimages, and we look forward to the next one.

After the service the coach took us to the historic town of Skipton for a really enjoyable afternoon.

Diocesan Development Day

Untitled5th October 2019

Freed to be God’s People

The annual Diocesan Development Day for 2019 will be held at St Thomas Philadelphia on Saturday, 5 October.  The day will focus on the Renewed and Released elements of the Diocesan Strategy.

The keynote speakers are Bishop Emma Ineson, Bishop Philip North and Joëlle and Andrew Warren.

In addition to the keynote speakers there will also be workshops on:
Resilience in Prayer - Sources of strength in a time of change.
This Time Tomorrow - Making connections between our everyday lives & Sunday services.
Shape course - Releasing church members into their gifts and calling.
Focal Ministry - Leadership roles in a changing church.
The reality of living out Monday to Saturday callings -
Joëlle & Andrew will speak from their experience in business and education
Chaplaincy - Explore lay chaplaincy with a variety of chaplains.
Prayer stations - The popular prayer stations (from 2018) are back and will be running both morning & afternoon.
Lights for Christ - The diocese is working to equip and encourage all the baptised (ie people like you) to be Lights for Christ – living for Jesus in your daily life.

More details about this initiative will be given in a dedicated slot on the day.

There are limited numbers allocated to each church. If you would like to book a place, please contact Linda Read (01709 361630).



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