Letter from Bishop Patrick to Kathy Gorman and fellow parishioners, dated 18th August 2023

Published Thu, 14/09/2023 by

Dear Ms Gorman, and fellow parishioners,

Thank you for your letter of 24th May, and my apologies that it is only now that I’m replying to you.

I have heard all you’ve written about the process of consultation regarding Saint Margaret Clitherow, Duffield, and the churches of Saint Joseph, Ripley, and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Belper. I have also spoken with Father Michael Kirkham about the possibilities for these three communities on various occasions, as well being present at the Deanery Roadshow in Lent 2022. More recently my secretary, Father Simon Gillespie, met with Father Michael to discuss the present situation and the ways forward.

The outcome of these various consultations and discussions seems to be that there would be merit in a formal proposal being discussed by the diocesan Council of Priests for the amalgamation of the three communities into one new parish, comprising all those who currently worship in Duffield, Belper and Ripley. However this would be a coming together of the parishes, the territory if you like, and the resources and parishioners therein. At this stage there would be no suggestion of closing any of the three churches, nor of removing Sunday Masses, etc. I know that Father Michael currently celebrates three Masses across the three churches, and I see no reason for this to change in the short term, even should a new, enlarged parish be created.

In due course, once a new parish is fully established, there would be opportunity then to discuss the best use of the resources, including the buildings, of the parishes. But that would be once the currently-three communities had become a single community, and a united parish been well established.

I hope that such a course, which I believe is Father Michael’s preferred course of action, would find favour with you also. Please keep praying about these difficult decisions which have to be made, and discussing as a family of parishioners across the three churches what God is calling us to do.

With an assurance of prayers, and all good wishes,


Rt Rev Patrick McKinney

Bishop of Nottingham

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