The Athelney Benefice

Who, why and what next

The Athelney Benefice was established in 2007. It comprises the churches of St Michael (Burrowbridge), St Bartholomew (Lyng), St Peter and St Paul (North Curry) and St Gregory (Stoke St Gregory). But why “Athelney”? Just off the road from Burrowbridge to Lyng there is a small area of higher ground—the Isle of Athelney. It is here that King Alfred regrouped his Anglo-Saxon forces before defeating the Danes at the battle of Edington.

Burrowbridge Parish comprises the hamlet of Stathe, and Burrowbridge village which houses the Parish Church of St Michael.

Lyng Parish contains the hamlet of Outwood, and the two main settlements of West Lyng and the larger village of East Lyng which houses the Parish Church of St Bartholomew.

North Curry is the largest of the four parishes, both by area and population. It comprises North Curry village, which houses the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, plus Methodist and Independent Baptist churches. Outlying hamlets include Borough Post, Knapp, Wrantage, Lillesdon, Helland, Newport and Huntham (shared between North Curry and Stoke St Gregory).

Stoke St Gregory is a large dispersed parish comprising Stoke St Gregory village, Curload, Meare Green, and Huntham (shared with North Curry). The Parish Church of St Gregory is in the village centre and there is a Baptist Church nearby.

Since its creation the parishes within the Athelney Benefice have been working with increasing collaboration.

The deep and significant history of the four parishes is founded on the Christian desire to reach out and build fellowship, not solely as a Sunday experience in each of the four beautiful buildings, but beyond, well beyond, into the communiteis that are our neighbourhoods.

All churches need to be centres of outreach, and we have four of them.

Then came COVID which brought out the best in our communities with a great deal of support, concern and action to ensure people wre looked after. This was not led by the parish churches, but everyone was involved in some way. This reminds us that we need to take the Church into the community and bring the community back into the church. Most of the members of the PCCs are already “movers and shakers” in the villages and we have good links with the two C of E primary schools. Wreach out in faith, reflecting the teaching of Jesus, to foster the eternally necedsary sense of community, while strengthening our Churches.

All the bricks have been in place for a while except for not having an active vicar: an inspirational pastoral teacher and spiritual leader of our Benefice.

Revd Dr Simon Bale arrived early in February 2021, in the middle of the last lockdown. He is now in post and we are gathering momentum.

Diary

Upcoming Events

18 Sep 2021;
10:30AM - 12:30PM
Coffee
19 Sep 2021;
08:00AM - 09:00AM
Eucharist (BCP): NC (SB)
19 Sep 2021;
09:30AM - 10:30AM
Holy Communion: BB (SB)
19 Sep 2021;
11:00AM - 12:00PM
Eucharist (sung): SSG (SB)
19 Sep 2021;
06:00PM - 07:00PM
Evensong: NC (SB)
All Souls and All Saints

Some advance notice: All Saints (1st November) and All Souls (2nd November) will both be marked on 31st October this year. As each is a distinct feast day, we shall be holding two distinct services, and both be Benefice services: All Saints at 10am in North Curry and All Souls at 5pm in Burrowbridge.

Liturgically and theologically All Saints is a moment to celebrate the saints in heaven, known and unknown, and is a more general acknowledgement of the lives of those who have gone before as disciples of Christ across the millennia. All Souls is a much more intimate moment in the calendar, when we remember those known to us who have died recently. The last time we gathered for All Souls was 2019, before covid and before funerals were required to be so curtailed. During the pandemic so many of us lost loved ones and were unable to mark their passing in the desired way. All Souls will be a time to acknowledge this, to give thanks for all those who have died and to mark the moment appropriately. The service is open to any who grieve the loss of anyone dear to them, across all four benefice parishes.

Vivaldi Re-Imagined

Thank you to everyone who organised and provided a fine welcome at the charity concert last Saturday in North Curry. The concert was in aid of the North Curry "Appeal of Bells" and featured stunning performances, in particular the re-imaging of Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Fenella Humphreys (violin) for violin, percussion (George Barton), accordion (Iñigo Mikeleiz Berrade) and double bass (Ben Griffiths): an entrancing sound that gave everyone a great deal of enjoyment. And funds were raised!

Harvest Festivals

The season of harvest is upon us. Our four parishes will be celebrating harvest as follows: Lyng on 5th September at 6.30pm, Burrowbridge on 26th September at 10am, North Curry also on 26th September and also at 10am and Stoke St Gregory on 3rd October at 11am.

Bible Study: The Epistle of James

I have already publicised the bible study we are doing next month, beginning this coming Thursday in fact. There has been a little rethinking about the times and venues. I picked the date from mid-air: it seemed the only way to get things underway. However, I have since discovered that because there is so much going on beyond the churches on Thursdays (still getting the hang of this...) I have decided to on the study twice on a Thursday. This will hopefully enable people to come along according to their own schedule.

So, the sessions will run at 4pm in North Curry (in church) and 7pm in Stoke St Gregory (in the church room). Yo can mix and match, come to one (or both!) and change from week to week. I hope that will be flexible enough for people.

Just to remind you what the study is all about, the Epistle of James has much to offer as to how we view the world as Christians. In these times of global turmoil and the ever impending onset of climate change, we need to be aware of how our faith directs our behaviour. James writes about the rich and poor, the powerful and powerless, the need to follow Christ and live in "The Way" as the early followers of Jesus described themselves. As COP26 looms over the horizon, it is worth reflecting how we, the Athelney Benefice, are part of this bigger picture.

What you need to do in preparation for the study sessions:

Not much. And nothing is obligatory! However, if you can, please do have a look at James's Epistle. Also, if you can, please do give some thought to how you step out into a world of challenge and turmoil. Also, also, if you can, please pray for how we learn together. Other than that, just turn up.

Weekly Bulletin

Our weekly bulletin contains information about upcoming worship times and a few news items, prayer lists and "The Vicar's Letter". Please enter your email address below.
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