Welcome to St John the Baptist Church in Smalley, Derbyshire.


I believe the Church of England got it wrong when it came to the closure of our churches. I think we should have at least tried to create a situation where it was possible to allow people to find a space for prayer and reflection in our churches; worse was the decision initially not to allow clergy to stream their online services from a church building.

What does it say of a Church that says it is committed to every community in the country when we literally shut up shop and go online? While I have admitted that “virtual church” does not really do it for me, I recognise and applaud the tremendous effort and creativity that has emerged with streamed services.

Online worship has apparently drawn in an extraordinarily large and diverse fringe, with a quarter of the UK population having tuned in to at least one of our services (and a still larger proportion of younger people).

A recent correspondent has reminded me of the original meaning of the word ‘broadcast’ – that it was first an agricultural term, referring to the practice of scattering seeds rather than planting them in drills or furrows.

And while that was a somewhat wasteful approach (as Jesus’ Parable of the Sower demonstrates) it is clear that at this time when we have been forced to broadcast our services we are reaching a far wider audience than before, whatever the merits of our more normal practice of meticulously planting the seed along the rows of pews! In the ‘new normal’ will we have to be both in church and online?

Geoffrey Marshall.


As a church we take safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults very seriously. If you have any concerns or queries, however small, please contact our vicar or safeguarding lead. Rev. Kate Plant 01332 834928/ kateplant2610@gmail.com or Carol Davidson 07747 871560/ caroldavidson2808@gmail.com


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