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Dear Friends,

Recently there was a series of three programmes on BBC 4, about life in three different monasteries. There was no commentary, only the occasional caption and it was as if we were invited into the timeless rhythm of prayer, work, rest and reflection.

It was a good example of slow television. A sort of counter to the glitzy, fast paced, loud and frenetic pace of many programmes and of course our everyday lives.

Such programmes attract interest because the monastic life is counter cultural. There have been programmes in the past when people were invited to enter a monastery for a few weeks to experience an alternative to the constant connectivity, the dominance of mobile devices, the pressure to be over busy. Many who took these opportunities were not religious but they were profoundly moved by the experience. They had the chance to talk about what they experienced with some of the monks or nuns, some were deeply moved by sharing in the communal faith experience.

We may find the whole monastic thing very alien. But maybe we should think about many people today who regard the church in the same way, strange, counter-cultural, perhaps a little scary.  There are increasing numbers of people who have never been inside a church and some who have not had any contact with a church for three generations.

Where do you begin to explain what we are about? How dare we assume that people know what to do? Where, and in what ways do we bridge the gaps? What do you think we have to offer?

These are easy questions to ask, but so easy to answer. One thing is very clear from the massive fall in church attendance over the last century, we have a long way to go and there is no simple magic solution. But maybe the monks and nuns do offer something for us to ponder.  Simplicity, silence, communal living and a regular focussing on God in prayer.

Finding the place and time to be still, finding others to walk the journey of faith with, and being willing to be changed by it, is at the heart of our discipleship.


Services during November

Sunday 5th

Mrs Sylvia Runciman




Rev. Sally Coleman








Sunday 12th

Dr Michael Gagan




Rev. Jill Pullan



Holy Communion


Sunday 19th

Mr Stephen Crabtree





Rev. Gareth Jones
Holy Communion




Sunday 26th


Rev. Tim Crome
Holy Communion




Mr David Battye






Lifts to Church on Sunday Mornings

If you are able to give someone a lift to Church and back on a Sunday morning, please put your name and telephone number on the list in the porch. Some people are unable to attend especially if their regular lift is on holiday. This can be a regular arrangement or a one off occasion.

If you need a lift or know of someone who does, please check the list in the porch and make your arrangements.

Thank you


Church Family News


We think of, and pray for:

Bob Dickinson, who at the time of writing was in P3 in Royal Hallamshire Hospital having antibiotics and tests, and Pat and the girls are with him. Please remember them all in your prayers. 

Remember all who are unwell at this time and not able to attend church or the activities they normally do:

We have been thinking of and praying for the Ashton family, Sean has had a hernia repair. Beth Heselden has had surgery at Rotherham Hospital and Reuben has had surgery in the Children's Hospital. We also remember Doreen’s husband, Geoff; Sheila Gilbert and Tim Wilson’s Dad and we continue to pray for the Aisthorpe family.

Margaret Elliott sadly lost her sister, Jean, who lived in the south - and Margaret has recently travelled down for her funeral. Thoughts are with her.

We also continue to think of and pray for Jane and Duncan Storey. Duncan has a little break now from treatment and resumes in early November.

Bryan Coates, although having a continuing struggle, had some good news recently, he's happy to share that with you!

Congratulations to Brian Payne who will be 85 on 28th October, and we wish him well and much happiness in his new home in Broomcroft Nursing Home.



Bits ‘n Bobs

Christmas Fair

  1. this year is 25th November. Anyone able to help please see Peggy Etchells or Pat Dickinson

Holy Communion

  1. Please note that Gluten free bread is now used for everyone, in all Communion Services here at Banner Cross.


28th September 2017



  1. Caretaker's house – kitchen renewal complete.
  2. Schoolroom Development – Planning Dept have now stated the need for three on site parking places – under discussion.
  3. Luncheon Club hygiene Inspection – loose wall tiles to replace.
  4. Main Front Doors & Rm 1 Front Doors – to be re-stained and re-varnished.
  5. Entrance Porch and Room 2 – to be re-decorated.
  6. Front floodlights – no replacement considered at present.
  7. Energy Conservation – investigation re the possibility of solar panels on Room 1.
  8. Communications –  Banners to be obtained for use on railings, to advertise special events.
  9. Library area in coffee lounge – to be moved downstairs into Room 5.
  10. 'Footprint' – marking to be considered to highlight entrance routes.
  11. Vestibule – area to be cleared as first step to improving this area with a view to eventually using front doors (at times).
  12. Main boiler – annual checks due – keep in mind possible need for new boilers before too long.
  13. Schoolroom roof repairs – insurance claim received.
  14. Carpets – replacement in entrance & coffee lounge deferred for now.
  15. Energy – still looking for best 'green' suppliers
  16. Worship Space – exploring lowering platform etc and eventually presenting costed plan for consideration.
  17. Laptop – to be purchased specifically for church use and the safe storing of Safeguarding material.


If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking.      Buddha

Welcome to My World

Beryl Durkin


Can you briefly tell us little about yourself ?

I was brought up on a farm in Lincolnshire, one of five children. I went to Louth Girls Grammar School and on leaving I became a Student Nurse, then Staff Nurse and Ward Sister. Later, I trained as a Midwife. I married and we had four children. Subsequently I trained as a Health Visitor and worked on the Manor Estate and Gleadless Valley. Quite an education, challenging and interesting. I became more politically aware. Now I am retired and have six grandchildren.

What role(s) do you have in our Church ?

I have been Communion Steward, Church Steward, Church Council Secretary and member of the Church Council. Currently I am a Pastoral Leader.

Who was, or what were the main influences in your early life ?

My parents. My dad was a local preacher, we attended Chapel and Sunday School regularly, and the Sunday School teachers played a big role in my life. Looking back, the whole village seems to have been a very caring community. We often went to local village Chapels with my dad. The congregations were small but very inter-active and lively and often interrupting my dad as he was delivering the Sermon and an entertaining discussion would follow. They taught me to question.

When did you first come to Banner Cross Methodist Church and what were your impressions at that time ?

I first came when my children were small. At that time there was a large membership. My husband was a Catholic and a number of people found that difficult. It took me a long time to feel at ease, it felt altogether impersonal. I had to make the first effort to get to know people.

Have your first impressions changed at all ?

Although membership now is considerably smaller, I think we have a more loving Community, more welcoming, and with a wider outlook. Services are more varied and relaxed (sometimes !)

What hobbies or interests fill any spare time ?

Visiting family, including great-great-great nephews and nieces. My

grandchildren are all so full of ideas. I belong to a U3A walking group and the Sheffield National Trust, going on days out and holidays. They have some interesting speakers. I am a member of CND, although the Sheffield branch has recently disbanded. I have attended various U3A courses. I have spent some time tracing our Family History, now going back as far as 1541. I spent time finding the places where my ancestors lived and have learned much more about social history. I have also enjoyed travels to far-away places.  After retiring I joined an African drumming class. I write stories and poetry, mostly for my grandchildren and am writing the story of our family through the ages. I have some garden around my flat to potter in or to relax in the sun. I am interested in other Faiths and have belonged to an inter-faith group.

What books do you enjoy reading ?

Classics such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. Also Alan Bennett and John Grisham. Historical or political novels. I usually manage to read the final six books selected for the Man-Booker Prize each year.

What music do you enjoy listening to ?

Light classical, some jazz, some sacred music. Music and songs from old musicals.

Please give us one fact about yourself that we may find surprising ?

Two facts ! One of my ancestors was a lady-in-waiting at the court of Queen Elizabeth 1st. I was once an Honorary Member of the Railway Working Man’s Club.

If you had one prayer request for moving forward the life on Banner Cross Methodist Church in any way, what would it be ?

To attract more people in the middle age group, hopefully with inspirational ideas.


Ecclesall Welcoming Scheme

After months of deliberation, it has finally been decided to cease production of the Welcome leaflet which many of our volunteers have distributed to introduce themselves and bring useful information to newcomers on their street. For some time we have realised that most folk nowadays use the internet to access information about churches or any local services.

This does not alter the fact that, for at least the past eleven years, folk in our several Ecclesall churches have been actively involved in looking out for newcomers and welcoming them to our area, taking the leaflet which has been painstakingly produced and updated by Michael Granger of All Saints Church – many thanks to him!

I believe Richard Warren was our first Banner Cross coordinator, followed by Liz Valance, from whom I took over. Grateful thanks to all those currently on our delivery list:- Christine and Jonathan Rowe, Christine Martin, Aubrey Emerson, Mandy, Jean Rodgers, Brenda Martin, Sue Cox, Kathleen Koerner, Bob Mellers, the Tomlinson family, Pat Dickinson and Lorna Marshall. Many more Banner Cross people have taken part over the years.

Of course, we can continue our active welcoming of new people to our streets; we have our Weekly Diary and our Headlines if we need an excuse to call and introduce ourselves.

Once again, thank you.

Jackie Dunn 


..\My Pictures\BC Headlines\2015_06_19\Hiking boots.jpgTen go to Ashbourne

Walking and Camping Weekend

Our walking group had a lovely weekend 22nd – 24th September, staying near Ashbourne. Ann and Chris Barker and Paula and Tim were in their caravans, Sean and Gen and Christine and Jonathan were in tents. Richard and Kathryn slept at a local hotel but spent all of their daytime with us all.

Our walk on the Saturday was in beautiful Dovedale. The area typically has some quite slippery limestone, jutting from the paths before we’d even got our boots muddy - but we managed not to fall down!  On Sunday we did a round walk from Ilam Hall. They were both expertly led by Chris Barker, assisted by Gen’s even-more-expert map reading skills!

We took turns to prepare a cooked breakfast (all hands on deck to wash the dishes) took both lunches out with us and had both evening meals at the local pub, a short walk away, with a gorgeous menu. Over our afternoon cuppa on the campsite we enjoyed some of Paula’s amazing prize-winning cake recipes.

It’s fair to say – just because everyone has had a busy year - that we went a little late this time, especially for those of us sleeping under nylon! However, despite the nip in the air, the weather was very kind to us. 

Please know that you can join in with any part of these weekends, we go every year in all different months – come for the Saturday or the Sunday and join us for walking if you don’t want to stay, or do your own thing and meet up for some meals and drinks? These are frequent!  Next year we intend going to Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire, 11th – 13th May. Please let us know if you’d like to pitch a tent, caravan or motorhome – otherwise you can book a nearby hotel nearer the time. You can be assured of a lot of laughs!

Our next walk will be on Saturday 4th November. Why not come and join us. We will be meeting at church a 9.30am.


The Ten Commandments

Of Walking


The First Commandment is

      Thou shalt walk, if thou wouldst keep well.

The Second Commandment is

      Thou shalt set out properly equipped.

The Third Commandment is

      Thou shalt have no programme

The Fourth Commandment is

      With all thy walking thou shalt get knowledge

The Fifth Commandment is

Thou shalt choose thy companions of the road with the utmost discretion.

The Sixth Commandment is

      Thou shalt not despise the passer-by.

The Seventh Commandment is

Thou shalt not destroy anything that is thy neighbour’s.

The Eighth Commandment is

Thou shalt often keep silent if thou wouldst hear what the voice of nature has to say.

The Ninth Commandment is

      Thou shalt blaze thy trail with good deeds

The Tenth Commandment is

Secure good lodgement for the night, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

From Autumns in Skye, Ross and Sutherland by T. Ratcliffe Barnett


Our wildlife garden

As the year comes to its close the taller flowers have been removed from the wild garden and the Goat Willow has been pruned at its base.

Two shieldbug species have been found on site. The Common Green Shieldbug, which can be found on a variety of plants, and the Hawthorn Shieldbug, which as its name suggests is found with Hawthorn trees. Photos of these can be seen on the church website together with some other sightings. Both shieldbugs go through five nymph stages (instar) before becoming a fully grown adult. The Cuckoo-spit bug (Philaenus spumarius) can also be found all over the site.

The compost bin has proved a to be a haunt of slugs, snails, worms and woodlice. I have entered my sightings on the iRecord website to get them verified, but I am having difficulty with the slugs and worms. The Black Slug belongs to a species complex that can only be differentiated by dissecting the genitalia, so it is usual to record them as Arion ater agg. A distinguishing feature is the foot fringe which is often coloured orange. The Brown and Orange form have been found on site. Other slugs include the Iberian Threeband Slug and the Green Cellar Slug. The Brown Lipped and Common Garden Snail have been found in the vegetable plots.

After the demonstration of beekeeping at the Eco Garden Open Day

sightings of the Honey Bee and Buff Tailed Bumble Bee have been recorded and verified.

Andrew Watchorn


Jesus missing years

Brian Speed has a book, just published, that tells of the missing years of Jesus. He has written a story called Joseph. 

Joseph is a tense and nail-biting thriller that will have you questioning many things you thought to be true. An ancient document has been found, secrets are contained in it and some people will do anything in order for these secrets to remain hidden forever.

Not everyone is so keen to stay quiet, lecturers at a university work together to unearth the truth and threaten to change the course of history forever.

Could it be true that the greatest story ever told is actually slightly different? Where Joseph and Mary's lives really that different to what we believe and what of those missing years of Jesus?

This historical piece of writing will keep you on the edge of your seats and ask you questions of what did really happen long, long ago?

Look out for the release of the book "Joseph" by Brian Speed, Novum publishing.


Doing good better

by Ian Macaskill

A review of the above book by Sean Ashton

This is a book about effective altruism (https://www.effectivealtruism.org/) which is, essentially, about using the skills and resources you have to make the MOST difference to the problems facing the world today, specifically global poverty.  This is an important point to emphasise: it is not saying that giving to certain causes is ineffective; simply that they may not be as effective as others.  The book is an interesting read, posing some challenging questions and I would recommend it if you haven’t already read it.  However, I didn’t necessarily agree with all the arguments and the book has a slightly personal slant from the point of view of the author’s own preferences.  The following comments are very a quick synopsis of the book picking out key points and other interesting ones.

As mentioned, the book poses some challenging questions.  For example, chapter 3 argues against donating to disaster relief because disasters evoke a massive emotional response from the general public and usually generate a huge amount of money.  The argument is that your small donation will make little impact based on the law of diminishing returns.

In chapter 5, the concept of earning to give is explored i.e. that for many people the most effective way to make a difference is to pursue a career with a high earning potential and then donate to effective charities.  The example chosen is whether you would make a difference as a doctor by saving lives in a first world country, a third world country or by simply donating a large slice of your income as a doctor.  Each scenario is measured in terms of QALYs (quality-adjusted life years) and in this example the doctor saves many more lives by donating than in either of the other scenarios.  In fact, the philosophical argument is made that if you are only an average candidate, you can actually do harm by getting a place on a medical degree course by preventing a better candidate from obtaining a place.

Chapter 8, “The moral case for sweatshop goods”, is possibly the most challenging chapter and the one that most people will intuitively react against.  He argues that ethical consumerism may not necessarily be a good thing based on point 4 of effective altruism: what would have happened otherwise?  For example, the author states that we should not boycott sweatshop goods as by doing so we can make conditions worse for people in developing countries.  He argues sweatshop goods are the ‘good’ jobs and people choose to work there.  If we boycott sweatshops goods, they may go out of business and the workers are forced into more poorly paid jobs or crime and prostitution.  There is also an economic argument that sweatshops are a stepping stone to industrialisation in developing countries.

A proposal that, rather than boycotting sweatshops, we buy from companies which claim to have higher labour standards is examined and uses Fairtrade as an example.  Fairtrade has two main advantages: a guaranteed price for a product and an additional social premium to spend on community programmes.  He says the growth of the Fairtrade label is heartening because it indicates that people are willing to pay more to ensure that farmers in other countries achieve a fair wage.

However, he argues that Fairtrade doesn’t necessarily help the very poorest, most of the extra money paid is siphoned off by middlemen and that the money doesn’t necessarily translate into higher wages for the farmers.  He gives references to support his argument but, in separate correspondence from Fairtrade, these are refuted.

The author also takes a look at climate change and argues that some of the things that people do to make a difference, such as not using standby and turning off lights make very little difference to a person’s carbon footprint.  He also states that buying locally produced food is over-hyped as only 10% of the carbon footprint of food is from transportation, although buying locally is about more than climate change.  Much better ways to cut greenhouse emissions are to eat less meat, only make essential car journeys, cut out flying and to make sure your home is energy efficient – this is certainly true.

The author argues that carbon offsetting, which involves donating to projects that mitigate the effect of climate change, can work instead of cutting your own emissions.  I disagree with this point because this tends to lead to complacency, and the effectiveness of carbon offsetting is not universally agreed.  He also uses the argument of moral licensing, a phenomenon where a person who does a good act may be less likely to do good acts in the future, against reducing your emissions. He then fails to apply the same argument to carbon offsetting.  He recommends a charity called Cool Earth (https://www.coolearth.org/) which achieves carbon offsetting by protecting the rainforests.  This is a worthwhile charity but, in my opinion, donation to these charities should be in addition to reducing your carbon footprint rather than instead of.  The need for action on climate change is urgent and requires action now.

The closing chapters of the book look at which career to choose in order to make the largest impact and which charity or cause to choose.  In terms of career, there is advice on a variety of careers to choose, from those which will give you the greatest earning capacity to those where you can make a direct impact.  A project which the author is involved in called 80,000 hours (https://80000hours.org/) gives guidance and information on this aspect of making a difference.

From the perspective of choosing a cause, the author admits that the primary focus of the book is global poverty but the book examines other options.  Other suggested causes are US criminal justice reform, international labour mobility (increased migration for economic benefits), factory farming and climate change.

So what steps should you take to become an effective altruist according to the author?  There are 4 things you can do: start regular giving to an effective cause; make a plan of how you are going to make a difference; join the effective altruism community; and spread the word (in this final point he admits that this can be difficult as you don’t want to come across as holier than thou or to be seen to be critical of less effective causes).

To donate to effective causes, GiveWell (http://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities) provides information on charities to choose and https://www.effectivealtruism.org/ also has the facility to donate.

The Sheffield Methodist Circuit is hoping to host an event in spring 2018 looking at global poverty, ethical consumerism and Fairtrade.  Watch out for further details.

Sean Ashton
Charlottesville, USA

12th August 2017

Rev. Robert Lewis, our previous Minister is currently a Pastor in Charlottesville and sent us the following article.

I was very much involved, but my presence was a block away from the Rally where people were praying, seeking shelter, food and water, and medical attention. We dealt with some minor incidents of violence but nothing so grievous as the vehicular attack. 

Two short documentaries (about 20 min each) may be of interest – 

the Katie Couric one in particular has a brief glimpse of me, features my colleagues who directly confronted the Nazis, and shows one of the fights outside the church where I was – I'm not on camera but about 5 feet away around the corner of a hedge.

Rev. Robert Lewis, Pastor, Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church

Knuckleheads, Nazis, and the KKK:

A Fearful Tide Rising

It’s been a month since Charlottesville made international news for the violence and destruction of August 12th. You will have seen and heard terrible things from our small city and may have wondered how such vile and noxious behaviour came to us. Sadly, it’s nothing new or surprising, but rather a predictable outgrowth of the white supremacist ideology that has been present since Virginia was settled at Jamestown in 1607.

Although over 80% of the white supremacist demonstrators came to Charlottesville from out of town and out of state, the organizers had local roots. Jason Kessler, who led the rally, lives in Charlottesville and is locally well known. Richard Spencer, who you may have seen as having led the “Heil Trump!” cheers at a gathering not long after the election, lives in Northern Virginia but attended UVA. Both tap into and exploit a vitriolic white supremacy that targets not just African Americans, but indigenous peoples, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, women, the disabled, and anyone else they deem “less than.” It’s built upon a foundational myth of white marginalisation and exclusion that masks the petty grievances of white males. Those who were afforded exclusive privileges resent now being asked to share basic human rights – to human dignity, to economic opportunity, to equal protection under the law – with others. For them it is a zero sum game and if someone else benefits, “I” must be losing.

These grievances have been stoked and exploited by opportunist politicians, conspiracy theorists, and hate mongers ever since the Emancipation Proclamation. We saw a tremendous backlash at the end of Reconstruction in which Jim Crow laws, Confederate Monuments, and frenzied Klan activity marked a deliberate project of suppressing freed blacks. After the gains of the Civil Rights movement, another wave of KKK rallies, anti-government conspiracy theorists, and “Christian Identity” groups pledging devotion to “God and guns” swept this country. It was mingled not only with colour-based racism, but virulent anti-Semitism that saw a global conspiracy of Jews promoting others’ agendas at white Europeans’ expense. After the first presidency of an African-American, it should be no surprise that white supremacist voices have ridden a populist wave of support and are seeking to become ever bolder and more mainstream. The greatest danger they pose is that otherwise tolerant, kind, and generous Americans fail to appreciate how longstanding, pernicious, and well-organized is the core of this white supremacist tide.

Those of us in Charlottesville paying attention were in no way surprised at the size, scope, or aims of the rally. For weeks, an internet subculture had been boasting, strategizing, and gloating at all the ways they would come out of the woodwork, demonstrate their real-world power, provoke and commit acts of violence, and terrorize this town. Even the idea of using vehicles as weapons was much discussed on white supremacist chatboards. The guns, shields, armour, and chemical weapons for which the police seemed unprepared weren’t unexpected – they were part of the script.

Meanwhile, local residents said “just ignore them and they’ll go away.” “We never had a problem with the statues.” “It’s that Yankee city council’s fault.” These sentiments not only underestimated the threat of August 12, but failed to see the grievous wound that still exists not just in this community, but in cities and towns like it all across our nation. Just because the slaves were freed did not mean whites regarded blacks as equals. Just because new groups received statutory rights and protections did not mean that those who’d opposed them acknowledged their equality. Just because ugly words and sentiments weren’t aired in public spaces didn’t

mean they didn’t find space to breathe and grow around dinner tables, on smoke breaks, and even in the hushed whispers of church fellowship halls.

Similar right-wing tides have risen across Europe, and they will continue to swell in response to the mounting pressures of technologically-driven job loss, economic migration, and climate and conflict refugees. The undercurrents of this movement, however are not economic – as much as our politicians would like to assure us that they are.  They are driven by the human heart and its fears. May God give us each the grace to recognize the fears and suspicions that lurk within us, the courage to challenge and confront them, and the holy boldness to lift our heads and our voices to defend and embrace those most vulnerable to the latest wave of this hateful tide. 

Rev. Robert Lewis


If some people got their rights they would complain about being deprived of their wrongs.

Items for the December/January edition of the Headlines

                                    can be sent via e-mail to

 terrykirkwood@virginmedia.com or by using the good old-fashioned methods of either popping it into the pigeonhole at church, through my front door or even by phoning me on 255 3771 but whatever method you use, can I have it no later than 15th November, please.

Thank you, 



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