Bishop Steven’s Visit to Ecclesfield Deanery
A memorable first Deanery Day in Ecclesfield. I met with the clergy chapter in the beautiful rural setting of Bradfield then travelled on with Martyn Snow, the Area Dean to visit Pitstop in Chapeltown. Pitstop is a brilliant project working with disaffected and vulnerable students from two secondary schools in the area. The young people were very lively and asked great questions. One of the boys I met is a national junior quadbike champion.
We then went on to explore the Parsons Cross estates: the heart of the deanery. The statistics are sobering. 70,000 people live on these estates to the north of Sheffield. 300 attend Anglican churches and about the same number attend other denominations. We met some very good people from the redevelopment agencies and walked round some of the estates.
Curry in Pitsmoor followed with the Deanery Council. The Deanery is focusing on mission, working strategically and has appointed David Jeans to work part time on leadership development. They have a great leaflet to explain what they are about and a very good strap line:
Ecclesfield Deanery: a community of churches working together in mission
The evening open meeting was at Christ Church Pitsmoor. About 130 people came. There was good worship. I talked about the need for the church to be poor in spirit and then took questions. The question time was expertly chaired by Huw, a local headteacher who made sure I gave clear answers. We had questions on everything from vision and strategy to women bishops to non-violent demonstrations. From my perspective there was a strong sense of meeting people and hearing what they thought. Refreshments followed.
Highlight of the day? The Pitstop and Question Time. Big question of the day: engaging with the Parson’s Cross estate. Overall a very good start.