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

I always think of February as a time of becoming. We have been in winter and are not yet into spring but we are ‘becoming’. One of my favourite flowers is the snowdrop, those precious white tear drops that signal the return of life. I love visiting Hopton Hall in February with its precious carpets of snowdrops and can recommend this to anyone.

During February we also begin Lent, a time in the Christian calendar for reflection and, if you can do it, fasting. This is to commemorate the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness as he was becoming. Back in December we celebrated his birth and welcomed the Messiah, God in man on earth as one of us but we sometimes forget that the baby born to Mary was just that, a baby. God allowed himself to become a vulnerable infant and that infant has grown to manhood and has now reached the time when he is to truly become the Christ, God in man as one of us.

God gives all of us free will and he gives himself as man this also. Jesus could have returned to Nazareth and continued a normal life. This is not an easy decision for anyone and Jesus wanders on his own in a conflicted state. We know the outcome now but at the time there was no foregone conclusion. Jesus needed to think about not only becoming the Christ but what that meant for him.

What kind of creature would the Christ be? He was capable of great acts of power but how should these be used? We all know the decision he came to but at the time of his wonderings he was still ‘becoming’ and till he’d fully thought it out he didn’t know what he was becoming.

Our lives don’t have foregone conclusions either. We have complete free will. It may be an idea, no matter our age, during February, and particularly during Lent, for us to reflect on what we are becoming.

Fran Monahan


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