St Leonard’s Church

If you would like to contact the Priest-in-Charge or find out more about the church, please send a message via this page.

Diocesan message February 2024
The February Diocesan message is from Archdeacon Nicky. You can read or download it here.

New Year Church of England message 2024
In heaven the bells are ringing
As we look ahead to a New Year, what do we long for – for ourselves, for our world?
Each person unique, different, made in the image of God. Jesus came into the world to save each one of us.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true ….

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant and the free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.


St Leonard’s from the south-east, January 2023

Church opening times and services
St Leonard’s reopened after the pandemic on 1st June 2021 and is now open every day from 10:00 to 15:00.

All ten churches across the White Peak and Youlgrave Benefices list their services to the excellent and informative website “A Church Near You”.
We still add services to our diary.

We are looking forward to welcoming you inside our historic village church and know that you will help keep our village safe. Please take sensible precautions to avoid passing on any infection.

New Priest-in-Charge
Following the licensing service & installation of Revd. Adele Barker on Tuesday 24th May at the Parish Church of All Saints, Youlgreave Revd Adele writes:
I am delighted to have been called to the people, churches and communities of the Youlgrave and White Peak Benefices. At the licensing service on 24th May at All Saints, Youlgrave I was warmly welcomed as Priest in Charge – it was such a wonderful service attended by many across the benefices. I feel privileged to be called to such a wonderful place and have a sense of anticipation about all that God will do with us and through us in the years ahead.

Rev’d Adele Barker Licensing Service

Jeremy and I have moved from Kent and the Rochester Diocese. We have lived in North West Kent for all our married life, having met at University; Jeremy is from Kent but I have deep Lancastrian roots! We have four adult sons – Freddie, Alex, Ed and Nic, and Nic will be joining us in the Vicarage in Youlgrave when he finishes his last term at Lancaster University.

My first degree from Reading University is in Biochemistry and Physiology. After that I trained as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen in London and after qualifying worked as an analyst at Cazenove and Co.. I then worked for OMF International, where I remained until I started my training for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.

I served both my curacy (St Philip and St James Church, Walderslade) and first post (The Parishes of Fawkham and Hartley and Longfield) in the Rochester Diocese before sensing the call of God to ‘move North’ and after a period of discernment and prayer I applied for this post…and the rest you know.
I am passionate about God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the transformative encounter that enables life to be lived in all its fullness (John10:10). I am very interested in the links between spirituality and mission and enjoy exploring creativity in prayer, worship and mission.
I love walking and am often accompanied by our two dogs, Milo and Stella. I enjoy travelling, good food and wine and enjoy the creative arts; theatre, opera, music and art, and I keep chickens! Most of all I enjoy spending time with close family and friends.
Over the next months, I am very much looking forward to getting to know you all and hearing your stories. I am excited about all the future holds for us together and to see God’s Kingdom come more and more amongst us and within our communities.

Archdeacon Appointments
The Right Reverend Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, has announced the three archdeacons who will help oversee and shape ministry in the Diocese of Derby. The new Archdeacons are expected to formally take up their roles in early June. The Archdeacon of Derbyshire Peak and Dales will be the Venerable Carol Coslett, who has served as the Archdeacon of Chesterfield for the past four years. You can read the full announcement, including a statement posted by Carol, on this page on the Diocese website.

Ukraine. Hope, and Unchanging Truth
The church shares “A new light arrives”, a poem from Gideon Heugh, who writes for Tearfund and is a poet and environmentalist. You can read or download it here.

The invasion of Ukraine
Please read this statement following Thursday’s chilling events.
Prayers will be said at the 10 am service held in church this coming Sunday & church is open every day from 10 am for anyone to come in for private prayer.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell have condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine as “an act of great evil”.
They are urging Christians to make this Sunday a special day of prayer for Ukraine, Russia and for peace. They are also supporting a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday.
In a joint statement, they said: “The horrific and unprovoked attack on Ukraine is an act of great evil.
“Placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the author of peace, we pray for an urgent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces. We call for a public decision to choose the way of peace and an international conference to secure long-term agreements for stability and lasting peace.
“We invite Christians to make this Sunday a day for prayer for Ukraine, Russia and for peace.
“We also give our support to the call from Pope Francis for a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday, March 2.”
Their statement was published on this page on the Church of England website, where you can also find a link to Archbishop Justin’s “Thought for the Day” on Radio 4’s Today Programme broadcast on 24/2/2022.

From the north

Photograph by Shirley Johnston

St Leonard’s is a surprisingly large church for such a small village and has an equally surprising history. It contains many unusual and intriguing features including a sedilia and piscina which were installed around 1199. The church, built out of local limestone, dates back to before 1200 when it comprised a chancel and nave. By the end of the 14th century, the church had grown to its present size with north and south aisles and transepts and a three-stage tower capped by an octagonal spire. The church is a grade II* listed building of national importance.

View from Behind Bars #62 – Harvest Festival
Villagers may remember that articles from our previous vicar in Chinley featured regularly in Contact Magazine. This is her latest, which you can download here, talking about Harvest Festival. We thought it might be of interest, especially to those villagers who supported our own food bank harvest appeal.

Church and climate change
The Bishop of Norwich, Graham Usher, the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment, said: “The message of today’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report is loud and clear: ‘Wake up world!’” You can see his full statement in the Church of England’s press release here. The Church of England also has a set of web pages dedicated to Environment and climate change, starting here.

Majority of mourners during pandemic unable to say goodbye properly
The Church of England has published research from a sample of over 2000 adults which showed that more than 70% of people wanted to attend a funeral but were unable to do so. The findings have been released as Church of England cathedrals and parishes prepare to help mark the National Day of Reflection on Tuesday 23rd March marking the first anniversary of lockdown. The day is being led by the Marie Curie charity and supported by a number of organisations. More information at this page on the Church of England’s website.

Giving thanks for our vaccines in Derbyshire
The Diocese of Derby is supporting an initiative by Christian Aid to give both thanks and a donation once they have received the vaccine. More information on this page on the Diocese’s website.

Churchwarden Vacancy
St. Leonard’s now has a vacancy for a churchwarden and the PCC (Parochial Church Council) are looking for someone from within the village to fill this position, as described in the flyer which you can download here. If you’re interested in the position or would just like more information, send a message via our Contact Us page here.

Restoration Project

A major restoration project was completed in 2006. It involved major work to the tower, the repair of crumbling stone work around some of the medieval windows, an improved heating system and improvements to the interior, including new lighting, lime washing of the rendered wall surfaces, the relocation of the organ, restoration of the woodwork, new carpets and kneelers.
(Click here for a full report of the 1996-2006 restoration and information about more recent maintenance work and future plans.)

Seeing the Chancel in a New Light

Photographs by Robert Johnston

The Redecorated Church
Organ relocated, new carpets and kneelers