Theft of Metal

Historic England is aware of the issues of crime surrounding historic places of worship. Heritage crime can manifest itself through, amongst other things, lead theft from roofs or the theft of artwork or sculptures.

Lead roofing stripped from a church roof as a result of heritage crime
Metal stripped from the roof of a church © Historic England

Metal theft

Historic England knows that metal theft is a significant part of a wider problem of heritage crime. At a time of high global demand for raw materials many historic places of worship are targeted by thieves in search of metals including lead, copper and zinc.

Roofs are often the target but gutters, downpipes, lightning conductors, stone walling and paving also get taken. Every day we identify sites that have had metal stolen and have frequent communication with the Police, Crown Prosecution Service and local authorities so that information can be shared and perpetrators identified, arrested and punished.

Can metal theft be prevented?

Metal, and other, theft causes huge stress for people caring for historic places of worship. Often it is not only the immediate damage that is a problem but further problems caused by water ingress before repairs can be done.  

On top of that there is the cost of dealing with the situation, which may not be fully covered by insurance.  Preventing potential theft is preferable to dealing with dealing with the unfortunate aftermath and we have produced guidance which is useful to all historic places of worship regardless of faith or denomination. Ecclesiastical Insurance have useful information on roof alarms and products such as SmartWater, a system used to mark valuable items which can be traced.

Theft of Metal from Church Buildings (2011) concentrates on the theft of metals from roofs but is equally applicable to other metals and materials. The guidance outlines our approach and advice on the significance of lead, how to protect it and to respond to theft.  It also offers detailed practical advice on selecting the materials to be used for historic church roofs and making it secure.

How should metal theft be reported?

Contact the Police Directly. If you see thieves in action do not confront them but immediately call 999.  If you find that a theft has already happened then report it on 101.

If you have information about a crime and are happy to give the police your name and address you should contact the police directly either by phone or by attending the nearest police station.

You can find contact details for your local police force through their website or by visiting Ask the Police to access an extensive bank of police-based frequently asked questions.

However you report the crime make sure the call-handler knows:

  • That it is an attack on an historic, protected, community building
  • That the building is managed and maintained by volunteers
  • That you must have a crime number so there is a clear identification for insurance purposes

Remember also to contact someone with responsibility for the building.  It is possible that you are the first person to report the crime and if further damage is to be avoided it is imperative that emergency protection is provided.

What to do once you have reported the crime?

To remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers (to pass on information about crime or criminal activity. You will never have to give a formal statement, talk to police or be a witness in court, and you could receive a reward of up to £1,000 if the information you give leads to the arrest and charge of at least one person. You can contact Crimestoppers 24 hours a day by calling 0800 555 111 or via their online information giving page.

Once the crime has been reported to the police there are a number of steps to take:

  • Notify your insurance company
  • Notify your architect or surveyor so they can inspect the damage and help you arrange emergency coverings to minimise further damage
  • Ask a contractor to inspect the damage and surrounding area and implement short-term repairs to prevent water ingress. It is strongly recommended that competent, experienced lead workers are employed; Lead Contractors Association (LCA) members receive specialist training and have their work vetted and guaranteed
  • Methodist, and United Reformed Church congregations should notify their respective Advisory Committees
  • If your building is listed grade I or II* seek advice from your local Historic England team
  • Tell neighbouring congregations what has happened, as they are likely to be at heightened risk

Historic England provides more detailed advice on dealing with crime and the impact of crime in their guidance note Theft of Metal from Church Buildings. When considering repairs to any damage caused you will need to ensure you obtain the relevant permissions and more guidance is available on their page Listings and Permissions.

Terror Attack in London

Thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved in the van & car attack last night.

A statement from the Chairs of the London District in response to the attack at London Bridge and Borough Market.

Today marks the feast of Pentecost within the Christian Church – a day when we remember people from all over the world gathering in Jerusalem for a festival. We remember God’s Holy Spirit of peace and love being poured into the world in a new and dynamic way, breaking down barriers of language and nation.

The area around Borough Market and London Bridge on a Saturday night is usually a place of festival – a vibrant place where people from all over the world gather to enjoy each other’s company. It is shocking to wake up to the news of the devastating attack that took place last night.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have died, those who are injured and those who mourn. We are again deeply moved by stories of courage shown by our emergency services and by members of the public who put themselves at risk to shield others from harm.

As we offer prayers in churches and homes today, we pray that these events will not lead to the spread of fear in our city but that, once again, Londoners will stand united against those who would have us turn on each other in hate.

Michaela Youngson and Nigel Cowgill
Chairs of the London District of the Methodist Church

A Prayer

Loving God,
Your Son, Jesus Christ, is the Prince of Peace.
We pray that his peace might bring comfort into the lives of those who mourn,
We remember those who have died and pray for the healing of those wounded.
We give thanks for all the emergency services, for their skill and courage.
We ask that witnesses and those traumatized by violence will find peace.
At this time of festivals we pray,
for Christians celebrating the birth of the church at Pentecost;
for our Jewish sisters and brothers who have celebrated their festival of Shavout;
for our Muslim sisters and brothers in this holy month of Ramadan;
for all people of faith and good will.
May your world know peace and may we have the courage to be peacemakers in our homes our community and our world.
In the name of Christ.


Manchester Bomb attack – “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

Image result for manchester

My thoughts and prayers are with all those who were involved in the horrific events in Manchester last night.

Below is a statement from the President & Vice-President of Conference

The Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference and Vice-President, Rachel Lampard, have responded to last night’s attack in Manchester. Andrew Lunn, Chair of Manchester and Stockport District, and Peter Martin, Chair of Bolton and Rochdale District, have written a prayer. Youth President, Tim Annan, has also released a statement.

From the Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference, and Rachel Lampard, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference:

We are appalled by the horrific bombing at the Manchester Arena. We pray for the families of those who have been killed or who are injured, and for those, many of whom will be young, who have been scarred and scared by what they have witnessed.


We give thanks for the emergency services and for the many ordinary people who demonstrated compassion in responding to those caught up in the tragedy. We ask the Methodist people to hold the people of Manchester and beyond in their prayers as we remember the words of Psalm 34, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”


From Andrew Lunn, Chair of Manchester and Stockport District, and Paul Martin, Chair of Bolton and Rochdale District of the Methodist Church:


In the face of the violent and deadly attack at the Manchester Arena last night, the Methodist people in Manchester are united with many others in their sense of shock, and in their prayers for all those who have been bereaved, wounded, or traumatised.


As we seek to respond to this terrible event we are grateful for those who have affirmed that, so far as it is possible, we will not let this attack change our daily lives. Some people have been tweeting using the hashtag #WeAreNotAfraid – in this way those who are stronger support those who feel the weight of anxiety, pain and fear.


Among the stories beginning to emerge there are many about the ways people have sought to help others: providing safe places, or lifts home, or passing on messages to help those who were separated find each other. It is through such small acts that we reaffirm our commitment to one another. Every such act makes a stand against violence and fear.


In a diverse city one thing we can be sure of is that people in Manchester will not let this event divide us.


Manchester is the home of a movement called We Stand Together (#WeStandTogether), in which people of many different faiths and backgrounds recognise that we find strength in our common humanity.


We are deeply grateful for the many assurances of prayer which we have received from around the country.


God of compassion and mercy,
amidst the pain and trauma of this day we turn to you,
for through Christ crucified we know that you have taken to heart the suffering of our people.


In fear and anxiety, strengthen us.
In despair and pain, comfort us.
In incomprehension and anger, reassure us that your love and life are stronger than the hatred and violence which overshadows our city today.

Console those who carry a burden of loss, injury, or trauma and empower all who support them.
Strengthen all who seek to stand together in peace and unity.   

We pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

From Tim Annan, Youth President of the Methodist Church:

It’s hard to look at the images and stories coming out of Manchester today and not feel rage at this horrific act of violence against people; all of whom were just going to live life to its fullest.

Lives have been irreconcilably changed last night. An empty seat at the table. A smile and warm embrace; now missing. We stand with all those who grieve this morning, in our thoughts and prayers. Holding the pain with the anger.

Yet, in the face of the anger, confusion and grief, the response of the people of Manchester was love and compassion. From the emergency services responding quickly and effectively, to the many people who opened up their homes to those who needed a place to stay, to cab drivers transporting distraught people for free to a place to rest. Even at the darkest moment, humanity, compassion and hope shone through.

Beautiful and terrible things will happen, but don’t give in to anger or fear. Know that you are surrounded by God’s love.

Click HERE for the Pastoral letter from the Secretary of Conference

Just as I posted the above, Pinterest sent the below to me, I share it with you:

Prayer station: Peace

Elephants of Surprise in Bristol Shopping Quarter over Easter


How do you hide a herd of elephants in Bristol Shopping Quarter? You get the retailers to help – and over the school Easter holidays 40 shops in Broadmead and The Galleries will host a unique and beautifully decorated elephant.

The hefty herd is currently being decorated in schools across Bristol and South Gloucestershire in readiness for the annual event, now in its sixth year and featuring a different beast each time.

Trail organiser, Jenny Bourne of The Ark Project, says: “The Elephant Trail is a great way of keeping your children entertained during the school holidays. It starts on Saturday 8 April, and free trail maps can be collected from The New Room, John Wesley’s Chapel on The Horsefair as well as from the information desk in Cabot Circus, Specsavers in Merchant Street, and Barber Brown on Bond Street. You can also download a copy HERE.

“The idea is to find each of the elephants and write their names in the grid on the back of the map. When all the elephants have been ticked off and named, children can take their completed map to The New Room and claim a chocolate reward.”

The theme for this year’s trail is ‘Memorable Moments’ because elephants never forget, with each elephant being named after a different well-known person.

Jenny adds: “The people who inspired our elephants’ names range from famous Bristolians, past and present, to international celebrities. What they all have in common is that they followed their beliefs and passion to achieve something amazing”.

“Many of these people had no idea of the legacy they would leave behind because of their moment in history. It is a reminder to us all that we all have the capacity to do amazing things and that we can all make a difference in a moment.”

Last year’s Zebra Trail attracted over 800 visitors to The New Room. This year the chapel, tucked away in the heart of Broadmead, will play host to the entire collection for a further week at the end of the school holidays (24-30 April) to give people an opportunity to see the herd displayed together.

The New Room will also be offering other great activities throughout the Easter holidays, including inviting visitors – young and old alike – to draw a memorable moment to add to the ‘Memory Wall’, and to help make bunting for the grand opening in July of its new education centre.

The Galleries will also host jungle themed events on Saturday 8 and Thursday 20 April and Cabot Circus are joining in the fun too, playing host to a giant colouring-in elephant throughout the holidays and transforming the Central Space outside House of Fraser into an exciting jungle world on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 April when families can expect free jungle-themed activities such as mask decorating and games, led by their very own jungle ranger.

The Ark Project is part of The Bristol and South Gloucestershire Methodist Circuit that runs out of two converted VW vans and supports both local Methodist Churches and community events across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Further information and updates on The Elephant Trail are available at For more details on events at The New Room see

Shrove Tuesday

Lent starts on Tuesday, so whilst you get the frying pans out a prayer for the day:

A prayer for Shrove Tuesday

I go to the store cupboard
looking for eggs and
They need to be broken and
blended with flour,
left to stand.

I heat a pan, hot,
very hot.
The batter spreads thin
and quickly browns
at the edges.
Choosing the moment I
make my move:
toss it, flip it, turn it over,

A few more seconds
and it is done.
Sugared and soured, it is
ready for the feast . . . 

that initiates the fast.
The long, slow,
rambling fast, the
wilderness fast,
the map-less fast where no
recollection can find the way ahead.

All the more reason, then, to
travel light
to leave my bags
at the station,
to lose my property,
to empty the pantry of its
tinned regrets, its
bottled remorse, its
mildewed mass of mistakes.

No point curating this lot,
or carting it about any more.
Let me throw it all away,

From ‘Feast’ by Stephen Cherry, Barefoot Prayers
Copyright © Stephen Cherry 2013

Resources for Lent

As we continue to journey through Epiphany, Churches are beginning to think about Lent.

Some Resources below


As Christmas ends and we journey towards Lent here are resources you
may wish to use in Lent. And for the super-efficient who have programmes planned, worry not, these resources can be used at other times too.

The DLMN have had permission to use material from Roger Walton, Rachel Lampard and Ric Stott based on this Connexional year’s Presidential theme of Holiness andJustice. The DLMN team are producing a five week small group resource to explore the theme. The resource will be made available as free downloads and will comprise material for 5 -7 sessions exploring four pictures of what a Church of Holiness and justice might look like, and (the fifth session) six steps to seeing that picture emerge more fully. The materials will include;
• Notes for leaders and group members including; bible study material, prayers, narrative from Roger and Rachel and questions for discussion.

CLICK on each session below to download


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7

holiness-and-justice Images 


Stations of the Cross

ClickHERE to view Stations of the Cross including video clips and ideas.


Other Resources

  • 50 days to let your life speak         Click:       HERE
  • Ideas from Christian Aid 2017       Click:       HERE
  • 40 Acts for Lent                                 Click:       HERE
  • From HOPE 2017                                Click:       HERE
  • Holy Week Lego Challenge             Click:       HERE
  • 20 films for Lent                                 Click:       HERE  
  •  Prayer Stations                                  Click:       HERE
  • Plastic Easter Egg surprise             Click:       HERE


Bible Studies

  • Cover to Cover  Study books            Click:     HERE
  • Churches Together Lent Course     Click:     HERE    
  • York Course for Lent 2017                 Click:     HERE
  •  The Nail by Stephen Cottrell; – SPCK – Stephen Cottrell
    This Lent book offers imaginative reflections on Christ’s crucifixion. Each of the seven chapters is focused on a different key character, who describes his or her experience of the Passion. The nails used to crucify Christ are used as a jumping off point for their reflections. Each character considers the questions, ‘who killed Christ’ and ‘who was responsible’ Each chapter includes a Biblical passage, a meditative hymn, a reflection from the point of view of the character, and a short prayer. The book finishes with practical suggestions on how it can be used as a Lent study course.



ONE FRIDAY can help you to do something exciting in 2017; something unique and public that will engage your community in re-telling the story of the Passion of Jesus.


To keep the story of Jesus alive we need to find new ways of telling it in public places.

For more Information and free resources about how your church can get involved         Click:  HERE



An All Age activity that you can do at church or at home to teach symbols and meanings of the  season of Lent. A simple bag and basic objects that can be used for each of the 4 weeks of lent. Click:  HERE to find out more


Image result for Holy week in a box

Holy Week in a Box uses simple objects tucked into a small box, along with scripture, to tell the story of Holy Week. Each item in the box is a symbol, representing a piece of the gospel narrative: from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, through the Last Supper, betrayal, burial, and finally the empty tomb on Easter morning.                                                      Click: HERE to find out more.


Easter Wreath


Lent Candle


Good Friday (tiles) Cross


Easter Sunday Cross



New Year and Covenant Sunday

Wise men seeking Jesus

As we start another New Year, thank you to those who have been following this blog during the last 12 months. I hope you have found some of the resources helpful.

The New Year is marked in many churches by holding a Covenant Service, for more details about this see last years January blog entry click HERE.

Below are some useful resources for Preachers and Worship Leaders, Housegroups to reflect on what the Covenant  service is about.


Covenant Service Liturgy                              Click  HERE                                                             (please note Copyright restrictions)

A Brief Guide to the Covenant Service     Click:  HERE

Covenant Service Study Material               Click:  HERE

Covenant Prayer YouTube Doodle              Click:   HERE


Local Preachers Resources

Hymn & Song Search

Combined Index for Hymns & Psalms, Singing the Faith, Mission Praise, Songs of Fellowship and others.

If like me you find it difficult to keep up with the different hymn and song books used by Churches when preparing Orders of Services, you may find my Christmas holiday project helpful!

The excel database below allows you to search for hymns/songs (in alphabetical order) for the relevant number in the most used hymn books found across the Circuit, from H&P and StF to Mission Praise and Songs of fellowship. Over time other books will be added as the database is updated.

The database can be used direct from the Blog by using the scrolling tabs or if you prefer downloaded on to your PC. There are various search option in Excel which allow you to check which books have the hymn you require by using hymn numbers rather than using the alphabetical order. Have a play and discover the best ways of using this resource.



Don’t forget that each week Singing the Faith Plus has a list of suitable hymns and songs based around the Lectionary theme, together with other useful material to find out more click:  HERE



Image result for Graham Kendrick


The singer songwriter Graham Kendrick allow free downloads of words and backing tracks on his website: Click HERE for more details.



Christmas 2016

The Methodist Church in Britain | An unpromising Christmas

Christmas Letter from the President and Vice-President

The shabby collection of rooms was perched on the edge of a steep hill above Amman in Jordan.  We were visiting a family of Syrian refugees who had just had a baby, and were being helped by funding provided by the Methodist charity, All We Can. 

A woman, who we assumed was the grandmother, answered the door and invited us in.  We sat on the floor, along with a local health worker.  The father appeared with the baby, Yosra, and three other small children.  It turned out that the woman was not the grandmother, but rather the mother of the family.  She was just in her 30s, prematurely aged by the privations and stresses of recent years.  They had left Syria four years ago, and now lived in a couple of basic rooms.  The three children were similar ages to my own, but were tiny.  As a refugee the father was banned from working and the family was reliant on support from a charity in order to be able to survive.

What an unpromising situation they were in.  The family were underfed, with very little prospect of being able to improve their circumstances.  They were desperate to go back to Syria, but recognised that this was unlikely any time soon.  And their tiny baby, who slept in my arms, faced growing into adulthood in a foreign country, in poverty.

And yet.  When we asked the father of the family what he wanted for the future, instead of talking about better housing, more food, or even a return to Syria, said “I want my children to be the best people that they can be”.  It was breath-taking.  A family were facing immense poverty and dislocation, yet had the highest hopes for the character and contribution of their children.

A similarly unpromising set of circumstances surrounded another young family less than 50 miles away in Bethlehem two millennia ago.  A young girl had given birth to a baby, far from her home and her family, in an outhouse, shared with animals.  She had become pregnant outside marriage, and was only rescued from shame and rejection by her fiancé taking on a baby that wasn’t his.  Ahead lay real danger, as the ruler of the area would soon order his soldiers to slaughter all the baby boys.  A dirty, shameful, dangerous situation.  An unpromising set of circumstances.  And yet. This is exactly the place the Messiah, the son of God, was born into.

But should we really be surprised?  This is a God who said that the kingdom of heaven belonged, not to the rich or powerful or religious, but to little children.  This is a God who chose women, tax collectors, fishermen to begin a worldwide movement for the salvation of all people.  Unpromising is not a word which seems to put God off; on the contrary the Bible seems to suggest that God seeks out the unpromising, the weak, the outcast in order to build his kingdom.  The apostle Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, said “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 27-19)

We are living in times which might be described as unpromising, or even “interesting” according to the old Chinese proverb.  We face great uncertainty in our politics, our economics, our relationships with one another.  Around the planet there is apparently relentless violence, and the poorest, as ever, bear the consequences of our inability to restrain our use of resources. Our own Methodist Church is seeing a continuing decline in members and a shortage of ministers for the churches we have.  The future is surely unpromising.

And yet. Our faith surely prompts us not to turn away purely because any situation looks unpromising.  This doesn’t mean facing it with blind and passive optimism.  Instead we have a hope which is grounded in the foolishness of God, which is wiser and stronger than wisdom and strength of the world.  And God is at work in our world, and invites us to join in.  As the theologian Ken Leech said: “hope isn’t a state of mind; it’s a piece of work”.  In the unpromising situations in our world, where is God inviting us to join in?  Where is God asking us to see the treasure that is hidden within the clay jars?  Where is God asking us, not to be optimistic, but rather to be hopeful?

We would like to suggest that you do three things over this “unpromising” Christmas season.

Firstly, the Methodist Church, together with the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union and the Church of Scotland, have produced a short film, “A Very British Nativity”, which suggests how Mary and Joseph might have fared arriving in the UK as asylum seekers.  Why not watch it, share it and perhaps show it as part of your Christmas celebrations at church – and reflect on what this unpromising small family might mean for others, asylum seekers and refugees in particular, and how we can make their future more hopeful.

Secondly, we invite you to reflect on something that initially appeared unpromising.  This might be something in your own life, the life of your church, or in the wider society or world.  How was the potential or transformation within each situation revealed?  What was the treasure in the clay jars?

And thirdly ask yourself: what is unpromising in your life or church or community at the moment?  What might God be doing there already – or what might God do if only you would join in?   

In this season we pray that you will have a happy and peace-filled Christmas, and that you will know the love of God who acts through the most unpromising things and people to bring about his kingdom of holiness and justice.

The Revd Dr Roger Walton and Rachel Lampard MBE

Advent – Year A

dscn3800Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”) is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve.

Advent is one of anticipation and hope, although at its beginnings the emphasis was much more on penitence, fasting and sin. For Christians it is not just a celebration of a moment in time when a baby was born, but also looks beyond to a time when the Bible tells us that Jesus will come again, not as a weak and vulnerable baby but in power and with authority.

As with many Christian festivals, the dates probably do not reflect the date of the event, but were chosen possibly as an alternate to pagan festivals which they eventually replaced. Therefore it’s widely accepted that the date of Christmas Day is not thought to be Jesus’ actual date of birth, and may have been chosen to coincide with ancient Roman solar festivals that were held on December 25.

It was the Roman emperor Aurelian who fixed December 25th as a winter solstice holiday in AD 274,  the early Christians adopted this day for their Christ-mass so that they would be less conspicuous in the observance of their holiday.

Advent Resources

Advent Candle liturgy year A click:       HERE

Advent Spiral Walk click:                         HERE

Advent Mix click:                                        HERE

Advent Challenge click:                            HERE

Christmas Lego story video click:         HERE

What sort of welcome would Mary and Joseph receive if they wound up in the UK, instead of Bethlehem, this Christmas? to watch a  Very British Nativity click:  HERE  – A Joint production by the Methodist Church JPiT