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. We reach 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.
Please start giving some thought to your favourites. The Sunday worship at Stoke St Gregory on 18th July will be a combined “Songs of Praise” with the Baptist church. It will be outdoors and so we will be able to sing openly and without masks… O Joy! There will be a suggestion form in church in Lyng on 13th June and subsequently in Stoke St Gregory.
We are gathering tomorrow (13th June) for our monthly united benefice Eucharist. This month it is at St Bartholomew's, Lyng. Parking is available in the "Old Pub Carpark": thank you!
It is not fully formed, and there are some odd gaps but as of this week (10th June 2021) it is going live. Please be patient as we continue to develop it and add many more features. Thanks!