A volunteer opportunity to make a difference

If you have skills in administration and/or finance, enjoy helping people, and want to help the amazing heritage of our historic churches too, this could be for you. The Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust is looking for a new Grants Secretary: read on to find out more.

We need someone with administrative experience to take on this important role. You will be in sympathy with the ambitions of applicants and the problems they face, and may have some experience of project work or applying for grants yourself.

Responsibilities include:-

Maintain a record of initial enquiries regarding grants. These may translate to only one or two formal applications each month, max 30 per annum. Correspondence may be by post or – increasingly – by email.

Prepare a summary Report and present it to the Executive Committee’s 6 meetings. Meetings are held every other month, usually in Ely.

Advise applicants of Committee decisions in writing using the existing pro-forma documents (currently in MS Word). In addition, one or two recommendations are made each year to the National Churches Trust for Partnership Grants, using NCT’s own web-based procedure.

Receive requests for loan drawdowns and recommend them to the Treasurer, who will monitor the subsequent repayments. These are usually over 4 years with equal annual instalments, although occasionally bridging loans are offered.

Receive and process claims from churches for the release of grant monies and advise the Treasurer accordingly.

Using your records of the above, prepare a short narrative for inclusion in our Spring and Autumn Newsletters.

These duties are estimated to take 2-3 hours of home-working each week on average, plus attendance at meetings.

The Trust runs an Annual Conference, and 4 church tours each summer. The Grants Secretary is warmly invited to attend but is not part of the job description.

To find out more please contact the Chair of the Trust, Bishop David Thomson (bishop.huntingdon@elydiocese.org) or the present Grants Secretary Andy Clarke (andy.clarke@tesco.net).


Funding round open for Cambridgeshire community grants

Cambs County Council has announced new Summer and Autumn funding rounds for Cambridgeshire County Council’s Innovate & Cultivate Fund. The aim of the fund is to support initiatives that strengthen our communities and reduce pressure on County Council services, thereby giving a return on investment. Council services that are inviting applications include adult social care, children and families services, and the waste service.

So how do you apply?

The fund is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire.

The Innovate and Cultivate Fund has two funding streams: a ‘Cultivate’ stream for small grants of £2,000-£10,000 aimed at encouraging local networks where people help themselves and each other, and an ‘Innovate’ stream for larger grants of up to £50,000 larger grants of up to £50,000, for big projects with big ideas that demonstrate an innovative approach within one of the seven funding priorities for Cambridgeshire

Application deadlines are:

1 August – small ‘cultivate’ grants

1 November – large ‘innovate’ grants and small ‘cultivate’ grants


Watch Innovate and Cultivate Fund short film

Book an Innovate and Cultivate Fund application advice session

Do you want to talk through your ideas before you submit your application?  If so, bookings are now open for our Innovate and Cultivate Fund Advice Session on Wednesday 27 June, 9:30am-11:30am at Shire Hall, Cambridgefor applicants planning to submit on 1 August. Please book here.

Another advice session will be held on Monday 24 September, 9:45am-12pm at March Community Centre for applicants planning to submit on 1 November (bookings not yet available – please email lianne.parrett@cambridgeshire.gov.uk to be added to the circulation list).

If you have any queries about the application advice sessions please email lianne.parrett@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.  Cambridgeshire Community Foundation can answer questions about applying for the Fund info@cambscf.org.uk.

Applications and further information about the fund may be found on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website, including eligibility and how to apply, is given below but three important points to note are that all projects must

  • be either new, or build on an existing project in a new location or with new beneficiaries
  • show that they will reduce pressure on council services and/or offer direct savings for the council.
  • focus on one (or more) of the seven key outcomes (see below) that are prioritised by Cambridgeshire County Council for Cambridgeshire residents.

Cambridgeshire County Council is working hard to make Cambridgeshire a great place to call home, where people live independently and safely in strong communities that help and support each other. To realise the Council’s vision, there is focus on seven key outcomes for Cambridgeshire residents:

1. Older people live well independently.
2. People with disabilities live well independently.
3. Adults and children at risk of harm are kept safe.
4. Places that work with children help them to reach their potential.
5. The Cambridgeshire economy prospers to the benefit of all residents.
6. People live in a safe environment.
7. People lead a healthy lifestyle and stay healthy for longer.

The Innovate & Cultivate Fund will now focus on the key areas that will support this vision and will invest in initiatives that specifically help to achieve these outcomes.

A sermon for Trinity Sunday

Preached at Carlisle Cathedral

Carlisle Cathedral has a special form of torture that it reserves for its friends. It invites them back to preach on its feast day, which is wonderful, and Jean and I are so glad to be here – and then confronts them with the Trinity as the obvious subject for the sermon. Ouch! Having to live up to Bishop Michael Curry who is so fresh in folks’ memory just adds insult to injury. I am reminded of the new curate, a short chap like me, who was told by his vastly experienced six-foot incumbent to preach on Zacchaeus. Not so bad, you might think, but he was incapacitated with nerves; so on ascending the huge pulpit he kept his sermon short: “Zacchaeus was a little man. So am I. Zacchaeus was up a tree. So am I. Zacchaeus got down. So will I. Amen.” Continue reading

Safe Car Wash campaign launch

From June 3 sees the launch of the Safe Car Wash App, a campaign by The Clewer Initiative which is asking parishioners to help the police map the problem of modern slavery in hand car washes. Many hand car washes are legitimate businesses, but some of them are not, instead forcing victims to wash cars for hours on end for little or no pay. Police raids of hand car washes in towns and cities up and down the country have unearthed victims living in horrendous conditions. Once downloaded, the app asks the user to input the location and name of their hand car wash, before taking them through the top indicators of forced labour. If they tick yes to a high enough number, they will be prompted to call the Modern Slavery Helpline and report the business. The data will also be shared anonymously with the National Crime Agency.

Church of England Amazon Alexa skill

The Bishop of Oxford, with staff from Church House, launched the Church of England’s ‘Ask Alexa’ skill this week. The new resource will allow millions of users to ask for prayers, resources and church information from the Church of England. The skill is also integrated with A Church Near You, the national church finder, to locate the nearest services and events and to seek to increase users’ knowledge of the Christian faith by answering questions such as, “what is the Bible?”, “who is God?”, and “what is a Christian?” The launch has already received widespread publicity with coverage from the BBC and national newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, Telegraph and The Economist. The new facility has been developed by the Church House Digital team, working with Church House Publishing and Renewal and Reform.


30 May 2018 10am

After the success of the first

Ely Cathedral Science Festival we are proud to host a Pop-up Science Festival: Shape and Colour

10am – 1pm | Interactive activities for all the family including stalls from:

Ely Cathedral’s Education Department
The Stained Glass Museum
The Faraday Institute

3pm | Children’s Lecture by The Cambridge Science Centre ‘Spectrum Science’

We will be exploring Shape & Colour from a number of angles and through many different lenses
Come and see the world in a different way with the appliance of science!

Everyone welcome
Free admission for families

An interesting read for St Bede’s Day

Bede, as I mentioned in my school sermon, was a great computist, “computus” being the art of calculating times and in particular the times of the Christian calendar. It was a major topic of interest in the Middle Ages – cue the Synod of Whitby – and is a popular subject of scholarly study now. You might think that everything that could be said about the Synod of Whitby had been said by now, but the journal Peritia has kindly put a new article on free access to 31 July in which Erin T Dailey argues convincingly that this was not just a matter of Rome 1 Iona 0, but

  • there were not 2 but 3 factions, since the Roman computus had just been updated to a new model – which was the one that won out
  • the bloody politics of the Northumbrian royal families was in play too, with Oswiu cleverly getting his judgment in first before his son Alchfrith (who was about to go on pilgrimage to Rome) could trump him

If you like the Anglo-Saxon period, you’ll love the article, though it’s not a quick read.

Erin T. Dailey, ‘To choose one Easter from three: Oswiu’s decision and the Northumbrian synod of AD 664’, Peritia 26 (2015) 47-64.