Revd David Owen

Welcome to Revd David Owen

I was born in East London, South Africa to a British father and a French Huguenot and British descendant mother, and baptised at St Andrews Presbyterian Church in 1958. My parents began my real Christian nurture in the first multi-racial Presbyterian Church in South Africa, which we joined when I was four years old, because they, together with their minister, the Revd Robbie Robertson, could not reconcile segregated worship with the message of Jesus. When we moved to Kimberley when I was 12, they found another kindred spirit in the Methodist Minister, the Revd Sydney Friedland, and so we as a family became Methodists.

I attended a very mediocre state boarding school but had the privilege of coming under the influence of the Revd Canon George Pressley, my English master, who was frequently locked up because of his anti-apartheid activities. Together with the support of the school Chaplain, I ‘converted’ to the Anglican Church and felt called to ordination (and possibly the monastic life) in my penultimate year at school. I came under pressure to read law, and so did so for a year, but was more influenced by a sojourn in the Community of the Resurrection (CR), the onetime home of Trevor Huddleston, which confirmed my desire to begin the path to ordination. I moved to the University of Natal, during which time I was accepted as an Anglican ordinand. The bishop told to me to complete my degree and then do compulsory military service first, and then return for further vocational advice. I found this a bit strange and disappointing, because I was hoping for some advice as to how, as a Christian, I could deal with the crisis of conscience military service under an apartheid government, presented!

A very effective way of deferring national service was to be a registered full-time student. I had met Trish at an Anglican / Methodist youth group, and we had decided to get married. Trish is a cradle Methodist raised in a family where all people were accepted without reservation and so experienced much of Asian African as well as the traditional Zulu culture of Natal. Her Father was a fluent Zulu speaker and was much loved by these people.

On graduating, I explored the possibility of a vocation as a teacher before ordination, as I saw the importance of education in the liberation of the people. In addition, if I trained as a teacher, I was offered a bursary which was just enough for us to live on, and so I completed a diploma in education specialising in History, Biblical Studies and Religious Education. I was then invited to do a postgraduate history degree, which meant deferring military service for yet another year. By now, Trish had qualified as a teacher and was able to support us, even though, as a married woman, she was never allowed to hold a permanent position and earned significantly less than any male teacher with the same qualification!

On completion of this degree, I planned to continue with further post-graduate work, but was refused deferment and landed up in the training unit for officers in the Military Intelligence Corps. After some abuse during basic, second and third phase military training, I refused a commission and was eventually allowed to work as a social worker in a poverty stricken Griqua and so-called ‘Coloured’ community, as a non-combatant. While here I was licensed as a sub-deacon in the Anglican church and began to preach reasonably regularly. On completion of National Service, I returned to the Church for vocational advice, but found my ministry fulfilling as a school teacher and lay minister in the Church, and so was happy to wait. However, I became increasingly uncomfortable as history teacher especially teaching exam classes, because of the pro-apartheid propaganda that was so central to the syllabus. As a result, I left teaching and worked with an archaeologist researching Zulu history on a contract. I briefly returned to my alma mater teaching RE and non-examined History, until I was invited to be head of the History division of a research institute associated to Rhodes University in Grahamstown. My new employers encouraged me to publish my misgivings about the schools’ history syllabuses, and to do research into the Xhosa leadership in the region from the late Iron Age to the release of Nelson Mandela (leading to two minor volumes). While doing this, I also worked on a thesis on Methodist and Anglican mission history and theology (eventually graduating with a Master of Theology degree) and felt drawn back into the Methodist fold.


Newmount’s 80th Anniversary

Newmount’s 80th Anniversary

In September 2019, Newmount Methodist Church celebrated its 80th Anniversary. There were two weekends of special services combined with a weeklong exhibition of Stories from the Knitted Bible. For the Anniversary Sunday we were delighted to welcome Rev David King to lead our services. David is the son of Rev Kenneth King who had been our Minister during the period 1964-69, and David and his wife Margaret and their children were part of our church family until the early 1990’s when David became a Minster himself and they moved to the North West. After the morning service our invited guests were able to catch up on old times as we served a sit down lunch for ninety! During the rest of the week the exhibition of thirty one stories from across the Old and New Testaments and church archives were open every afternoon and evening and it was good to see a steady trickle of visitors from far and near, including some from northern Scotland.

Our celebrations continued the following weekend with a family activity afternoon and the dedication of a new pulpit fall given in memory of Mary Loydall. The design, for Harvest, was mostly hand sewn by one of Mary’s daughters, Ann Malkin. We concluded the anniversary celebrations in style with a rousing Sing Sankey! evening which, as always, brought friends from across the Circuit to join us. Our anniversary prayer is printed below.

We give thanks for the vision and commitment of all the members and friends at Newmount who have gone before us.  We pray now, that the same Lord whom they served, will continue working in us by the power and presence of His Holy Spirit, to grant us grace and love such that this church will be sustained as a place of worship and fellowship, a centre of teaching the biblical truths and a place of mission to our community.

Ruth Croft, Church Steward

St Martins Transformation


Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 2pm (1pm Saturday)

Chatterbox Lunch Club every Tuesday for the over 60’s



For the last decade the church congregation has been faithfully praying about how they could use their building to serve their community.

In 2012 Allenton was given ‘Big Local’ Funding and a community organisation ‘Allenton Big Local’ (ABL) was set up. One of the founding members of the ABL Partnership was also a member at St Martin’s and it soon became evident that there were several groups in Allenton who shared the same social objectives and vision.

Working together with the community groups and with a grant of £70,000 from ABL, ambitious plans were drawn up to extend and refurbish the existing church buildings and develop a community hub. However it soon became obvious that this funding would not be enough to fulfil the dream.

Thinking ‘out of the box’ the partnership viewed the challenge as one not simply about monetary funding. Guided by the church vision and shared group aspiration, the team has built on local network and agency contacts which has resulted in the wider Derby community coming on-board in support. The result is a DIY SOS style project, with much of the work being provided free of charge or at cost by local tradesmen.

What it will deliver

St Martin’s working with and alongside other community groups will provide:

  • An affordable community café providing a meeting place for the deprived in the area.
  • Toddler groups (much needed in this poor area)
  • A community garden set within this busy urban area, boasting ‘plot to plate’ initiatives, sensory garden and outdoor play
  • A community project (involving the café) supporting adults with learning difficulties
  • Strengthening existing links with ‘Enthusiasm’ providing a place for youth clubs and dance groups
  • New community rooms for local groups to meet and hold events
  • New toilets and disabled facilities that local shoppers can use
  • Provide a refurbished Church building fit for 21st Century Worship

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Read the latest articles and media releases to follow this exciting project:

August 2017 – Derby Telegraph: £350k community centre being created in Allenton

August 2017 – Connect East Midlands Article: Major new community centre in Allenton

July 2017 – East Midlands Business Link Report: ‘Demolition Day’ Swings Into Action

News from St Thomas’s Road Methodist Church

News from St Thomas’s Road Methodist Church

Our ‘Simply Worship’ service on the 4th Sunday of the month aims to be accessible to people with learning difficulties or dementia.  Here is the story of how it started:

On one particularly poorly attended Sunday at St Thomas’ Road Methodist Church in Derby, Revd Jenny Dyer found herself preaching to about a dozen people, two of whom had learning difficulties.  “I was preaching about the Chilcot Report,” she says, “and thinking what on earth are they making of this.  Not only did two of the worshippers have learning difficulties, but another had left an adult son with learning difficulties at home.  Others on our membership list have either learning difficulties or dementia.  It was a lightbulb moment.  I thought: we have to change our worship to be more accessible to these people.”

It was the beginning of a new initiative.  The church got together with Prospects (now part of Livability), an organisation that promotes worship groups for people with special needs.  Prospects came and led a training day, attended not only by the faithful few from the church but by Local Preachers and Worship Leaders from around the circuit, and people from other churches in Derby and beyond.

Then the services started.  Since February, St Thomas’ Road has been running a service it calls ‘Simply Worship’, at its usual service time, once a month.  ‘Simply Worship’ aims to be accessible to everyone, including people with special needs or dementia.  “It is a bit of a challenge though,” says Revd Jenny, “because it also needs to have enough meat in it for our other worshippers.  But so far everyone seems to enjoy it.”

The congregation sit café-style round tables, and tea, coffee and squash are served as people arrive.  There is always something on the table for people to do and help each other to do, as they settle in.  Sometimes it has been craft, and once it was a puzzle.  Once it was baking: “It was a Sunday soon after Easter and we made ‘empty tomb marshmallow croissants!’”  The worship is informal, interactive, visual, colourful.  “We aim to keep it simple, but with depth,” says Revd Jenny.  And it always finishes with the Lord’s Prayer with actions.

Future challenges?  “We need to get it better advertised,” says Revd Jenny.  “So far we have not been successful in attracting people who are not already connected with us, but we hope that will change soon.  And also I’d like us to learn some simple Makaton signs to go with some of the songs.”

News from Mickleover Methodist Church

    News from Mickleover Methodist Church

  • Our Spark to a Flame Service of Alternative Worship is held at 10.00am on the Third Sunday of most months. This provides an informal worshiping and learning environment for both children and adults. It runs in the large hall in parallel with the morning service in the Chapel and normally attracts about 60 people.  The next service will be TBC
  • This was our Latest service.

  • Messy Church is held monthly on the first Tuesday in the month from 4 – 6 pm. Come and share in play, games, worship, teaching, craft and a meal together.The next service is 5th May 2020 via Zoom. This was our Latest Messy Church

  • Women’s Fellowship meets at 2,15 pm on Tuesdays.The meeting starts with devotions, followed by speaker each week.The meeting ends with a cup of tea, biscuits and a chat. it is a very friendly group and would be delighted if you joined in. Our Autumn Programme is being prepared
  • Wesley Guild meets at 7.30pm on a Wednesday. It has a wide range of interesting speakers and an opportunity for a chat over coffee. Our Autumn Programme is being prepared
  • Funtime. Do you like to relax and chat over tea or coffee, play games, puzzle over quizzes together and have fun? Then why not come along to Funtime at the Methodist Church on alternate Wednesday mornings.
  • If you want to relax and have a chat for a while on a Friday morning, come along to the Mickleover Methodist Church for Coffee and Cakes. It is open from 9.00 am to 12.00 every Friday but will not be open until September.  You could also join in the Scrabble Club at the same time on the last Friday of the month from 10 am.