Monthly Message from the Ministry Team

The Reverend Peter Bold, Rector of All Saints Church, Ashover
Revd Peter Bold

David Russell
David Russell

The Reverend Alan Telford
Revd Alan Telford

Monthly Message

Here are some of the recent letters that have been written for Amber News.

December 2022

Come and join the celebration

One of my favourite modern Christmas carols has the chorus:

Come and join the celebration,

It’s a very special day;

Come and share our jubilation,

There’s a new King born today!

I like it partly because it draws me into the celebration, but also because it contains such a vital message—the reason for all our celebrations, our jubilation, is the birth of Jesus our king.

Sadly it is not always easy to celebrate, with the stress of the preparations—presents, food, cards, decorations and more — and this year we have the football World Cup!

Perhaps that is why Silent Night often comes top of votes for our Christmas carols:

Silent night! Holy night!

All is calm, all is bright,

Round yon virgin and her child,

Holy infant, so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

In all the busyness of Christmas I love the moments of calm and peace. Time to pause and marvel at the wonderful events of the past. Time to appreciate all the good things we have now.

I imagine Mary, content but exhausted, looking back in amazement at all the events of the previous nine months—looking forward with excitement and concern as to what lies ahead. I imagine Mary, content for that moment to relax, trusting in God and in Joseph to do their parts, looking in awe at the baby in her arms, remembering the angel’s words, amazed that they have come true.

Mary’s circumstances were of course uncomfortable. She was far from home and there was no room in the inn. In the months that followed they would have to flee for their lives to Egypt, and it would be years before she could again have a settled life in Nazareth.

But perhaps Mary was able to cope because she knew how to stop, how to look back and marvel, and how to look forward from the solid foundation of God’s words, and face whatever might come next.

We hope and pray that you have a wonderful, peaceful and joyful Christmas, and that God will bless us all in the years ahead;

with love,


July 2022

Rest and Relaxation…

Dear Friends,

Jesus once said: “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will refresh you.”

On hot days like we are having as I write, those words make me think of sitting in the shade with a large cold drink… We are also in the tennis season, when we might see matches lasting for hours, with players physically pushing themselves to the limit – and they can do that because every 3 games, they sit, and drink.

Sometimes the need to drink is not so obvious.

The actor Brian Blessed once got a job attempting to climb Mount Everest. He was playing the part of the 1920’s climber Mallory, following Mallory’s footsteps. Brian did not know how much he needed to drink. One day he could not understand why he was so tired. He was struggling to get up slopes that he had managed easily the day before.

It was only when a guide saw his condition that he was made to drink and his strength came back.

As Jesus said, we need to be refreshed. We need to drink spiritually as well as physically. But like Brian Blessed we may not realise our need. Perhaps we cope, but don’t flourish as perhaps we might. As someone said, a cactus is good at surviving in the desert, but they make uncomfortable company.

Jesus led by example. He spent time each day in prayer, and made sure he had time away from the crowds. He also made sure the disciples had time away from their work, and that they had quality time with him.

But sometimes our plans can get completely disrupted, especially over these last 2 years. When Jesus and his disciples went to what they thought was a deserted place, they found a crowd of over 5000. Jesus cared for the crowd, as a good shepherd, but then he made sure he and the disciples had some peace after he had dismissed the crowd.

May we all find the right time and way to relax and refresh ourselves, physically, mentally and spiritually. May we have a good summer,

With our love and prayers,


June 2022

Servant Queen…

Dear Friends,

On the night Jesus was arrested, shortly before the “last supper”, Jesus was with his disciples.

Just before they ate, Jesus got up, took off his outer robe, put a towel around his waist, and washed his disciples feet.

The disciples were shocked. In that culture washing feet was considered a horrible job, perhap like washing toilets today.

When he had finished Jesus said:

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

I’m told this passage is one of many that has inspired our wonderful queen, shown in her commitment to serve. Yes she does live in palaces, and has many servants, but she has made serving our country and the commonwealth her passion. She has worked extraordinary hours, accepting her role, her duty and all the restrictions etc. I gather she also has a wonderful sense of humour. She stands in contrast to so many other leaders.

As we celebrate her 70 years on the throne, may we all give thanks for her dedication, pray for more leaders with her integrity, and follow her example in our lives. May all who lead be servant leaders.

And may we also enjoy ourselves, rejoicing in the wonderful places we live, the end of most Covid restrictions, friends and family and so much more. May we be thankful for local leaders who are working so hard to put on our Jubilee celebrations.

With our love and prayers,


April 2022

Dear Friends,

As I’m writing, and trying to get on with many of my rector’s roles, the awful situation in the Ukraine is always nagging at the back of my mind – the evil, uncaring bullying of the invasion, the lies put out on Russian TV and the tragedy of so many deaths. To me it makes no sense, and at times I do feel despair. I could go on, but that would be depressing.

However, in all that darkness, the courage of the Ukrainians and some Russians in standing up to the evil has been inspiring, though potentially at great personal cost. It has also been wonderful to see the welcome to so many Ukrainian refugees in the surrounding countries, and it was good this afternoon to meet with many from Ashover and our surrounding communities to consider how we might offer that welcome too.

And those mixed feelings have also made me think about our plans for Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, at the start of that first Holy Week, Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem with shouts of Hosanna. But when he went into the temple he was appalled at the corruption he saw – a den of robbers instead of a house of prayer and welcome. He responded to the evil by turning over the tables of the money changers, and challenging the arrogant, oppressive temple leaders. In response they plotted against him. He was betrayed by a friend, falsely accused, and convicted by a weak corrupt leader who knew he was innocent. He suffered a gruesome death. The evil we see now has parallels then. But it wasn’t the end of the story.

As part of Holy Week we will have meditations in our churches considering how Jesus confronted evil with truth and love, and then on Maundy Thursday we will have a combined Passover Meal / remembrance of the Last Supper. We will take time to remember the awful events of 2000 years ago as the Jews remembered the awful events surrounding the First passover. But for the Jews, the Passover was primarily a time of celebration – they remembered the awful events, and they celebrated that they were no more. Evil had been defeated. So they drank wine and had a feast. We will too. And of course our week continues to the celebrations of Easter, remembering how the disciples’ grief was turned to joy. Easter was not the end of evil. Many of those disciples were killed for their faith, but for those disciples Easter was proof that ultimately they had nothing to fear, that one day God will wipe away every tear and death and dying will be no more. That doesn’t stop the horror of war, but it gives me hope for the future.


March 2022

It is a delight to have finally moved to Ashover, and we are really looking forward to getting started and getting to know you. Everyone we have met so far has been wonderfully welcoming, while also giving us space to unpack and get sorted. Thank you.

I am married to Candy, who has taken early retirement from being a community paediatric physiotherapist. We don’t have children of our own, but we have a large extended family, and are always delighted to be part of an even larger family in the church.

We both enjoy walking and bird watching and are looking forward to getting to know our local footpaths and Ogston Reservoir. I’m also a cyclist, runner and climber, though none of them to a high standard. Any other climbers or cyclists?

We have moved from Dronfield, where I was team rector of 5 churches for over 10 years. They were exciting, fruitful but also challenging years. As I am beginning to feel my age I’m looking forward to having more time off for all my interests – I’m employed to work 3 days a week plus Sundays – but my enthusiasm for working with you, sharing my faith, leading worship, preaching, and working with all ages is undiminished. I also have a growing passion and concern for the environment.

Before I was ordained I worked as a mechanical engineer, specialising in research into metal fatigue in railway lines, based at Sheffield University and sponsored by British Rail. I’ve combined the two very different parts of my career by writing Building Bridges not Walls, and Engineer’s Guide to Theology, available from book shops or I’ve got a box full. I’ve found for me, the practical, logical and down to earth approach of engineering leads to a good way of thinking and approaching questions of faith and uncertainty. Though that approach needs to be balanced by other approaches, including remembering we are all children of God, and so we learn and grow like children.

My wife, Candy, and I are also both gardeners, and we are just beginning to think about what we might do with our new garden. The advice for all gardeners is that we need to get to know a garden before taking significant action. Our garden here is a bit of a blank canvas but even here we are delighted to see snowdrops and daffodils appearing that we knew nothing about.

So in the next few weeks at least my priority is to get to know you and our community. From what we know so far, we are delighted with all that is flourishing and growing, and the healthy, prayerful, loving soil that lies underneath.

With our love and prayers, Peter