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Within the Church of England, a diocese is a geographical area representing a regional worshipping community in the UK.

The Bishop of Derby has certain responsibilities for this whole area. Two Archdeacons who each supervise half of the Diocese assist the Bishop in these responsibilities. The two halves are therefore called Archdeaconries: the Northern, or Chesterfield Archdeaconry, and; the Southern, or Derby Archdeaconry.

The Diocese is then split further into 16 Deaneries, or smaller regions, each with a Rural Dean who can assist the Archdeacon in his role. They have special responsibilities in their region and are usually also parish priests.

Finally, each deanery is split into parishes. Each parish has a priest-in-charge or a vicar, although some parishes are joined with others under one priest and these are called united benefices.

Meet your Bishop

The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Lord Bishop of Derby

Bishop Alastair came to Derbyshire from the Diocese of Lincoln where he was the Bishop of Grantham.

As the Suffragan (or 'number two') Bishop in the Lincoln Diocese, Bishop Alastair already had eight years' experience of bishop's duties and an impressive resumé of expertise and knowledge in the areas of theology, church history, social justice, training clergy and developing the spiritual life and faith of lay Christians.

As well as having a broad range of experience in these and other areas of Church leadership, Bishop Alastair is also an accomplished lecturer, teacher, speaker and writer of books and papers on a variety of Christian themes, including the recently republished 'Being Anglican'.

In wider community circles he has volunteered for several roles throughout his ordained ministry, including work in night shelters for the homeless, working with Oxfam and Christian Aid, being a member of a steering group for regeneration in Lincolnshire communities and contributing to local radio, to name but a few.

In March 2005, at the time of his appointment as Bishop of Derby, he said: "In this day and age the Church recognises that it is important to be open to different ways of reaching out into the heart of community life, responding to human need at many levels. I have considered Derby's quite radical but realistic strategy for that mission and ministry in this part of the country, and this provides an excellent foundation on which to build. I am looking forward to following through with this work, while listening and learning at the same time. I am committed to a partnership style of working, so I am keen to come together with colleagues, fellow Christians and a whole host of people who want to make positive changes in Derbyshire."

Our Vision and Priorities

The Bishop's Council set itself the task of developing mission, ministry and discipleship in the Diocese of Derby. This was the outcome of a working day at Eyam in February 2002.

Ever since the Ministry Strategy, A Better Way, was adopted by the Diocesan Synod in March 1998, the Bishop's Council has wanted to focus successively on selected tasks in promoting the proposed developments.

The starting point was provided by the Diocesan Purpose and Vision statements which were affirmed by Synod and addressed by A Better Way:

Purpose: To love and worship God in unity with other Christians offering witness and service to those communities in which we live and work.

Vision: To be a Christian community recognised as experiencing and sharing God's salvation.

Building on this Purpose and Vision, the Bishop's Council has now adopted three priorities for its own work. These are:

• Enabling evangelism and witness
• Releasing new ministries and refreshing established ones
• Building confidence and growth in faith

As a result of this development there is much work to be done by Diocesan Boards and Councils and their related Advisers and Officers. First of all there is the need to consider how work in these three areas in parishes and beyond might be significantly resourced and enhanced.

The Bishop has often been challenged by those who have expressed a hope that the Diocese as a whole - parishes and people - might feel they have a sense of direction, of 'going somewhere'. These three priorities offer scope not only to focus the work of diocesan organisations and personnel, but also to inspire our prayer and life at large -through and beyond the remaining events in 2002.

May these priorities encourage us, in the words of the 75th Anniversary prayer, to 'open our eyes to a vision of tomorrow that will bring hope and faith in your world'.