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Here in the five churches we believe that at the heart of Christian faith is the Love of God. We hold this not in a dogmatic way, but in a way which leaves room for doubt and uncertainty. This love is always greater than we imagine – it is beyond comprehension and cannot be turned into a set of ‘beliefs’. However, a story, with all the riddle and enigma that stories embody, can point to what sterile statements never can. So the story of the life, death and resurrection of Christ is to us a demonstration of the love of God, God accompanying us in our greatest sufferings not as a ‘God-on-high-condescending’ but as ‘God-in-the-mess’. It speaks to us of Love overcoming even the very worst injustice, violence and trauma. That we are loved and that we may love are the beating heart of Christian community. We often fall short in our little churches, but we try to live it out by the grace of God, and give thanks daily for God’s help. We have begun to discover that doubts and questions, far from diminishing faith, actually make our faith authentic.

In the light of this, our five churches are places where we seek to extend to all people an inclusive welcome, without judgement or moral exclusion, in the name of Christ who opened wide his arms to the least, the misunderstood, the marginalised and the doubtful.

The United Benefice consists of two parishes (this has recently changed from three):

Old Cleeve is one parish with two churches (St Andrew’s Parish Church, Old Cleeve and St Mary’s Chapel of Ease, Washford). The parish consists of the two main villages of Old Cleeve and Washford and the small villages/hamlets of Bilbrook, Chapel Cleeve and Hungerford.

Roadwater, Leighland and Treborough  is one parish with three churches (St Giles’ Parish Church, Leighland, St Peter’s Parish Church, Treborough and St Luke’s in the Chapel, Roadwater, the congregation of St Luke’s which meets in the Methodist Chapel in Roadwater). The parish consists of the main village of Roadwater and the two hill farm hamlets of Leighland and Treborough.

Have a brows of the website – we hope it gives you both some practical information and a little glimpse into our church communities. However, if you want to really get to know us, why not contact us (details below) or come and meet us. We’d love to meet you! Please contact the church wardens (details below) for any other information you require.

Interregnum

The Benefice is entering an interregnum, after the departure of our Rector Rev’d Kenneth Cross who is taking up the position of Vicar of Alcombe and Associate Vicar of Minehead.  While interregnums can be unsettling, the life and witness of the Churches in this Benefice will continue as we prayerfully begin to look to appoint a new incumbent. One of our gifts is the way people rally round and rise to the occasion, and we are confident that this will happen. Nonetheless, extra support is being offered by local retired clergy and the Rural Dean.

The Appointment process:  The Church Wardens together with other PCC representatives from both parishes, with help from the Diocese, Archdeacon, and Rural Dean, will be beginning the Appointment process. This begins with the compilation of a Parish profile, which will involve consultation with the churches and communities. More information will follow.

Pastoral arrangements:  These will be as follows:- for day to day pastoral matters the Church Wardens are the first port of call, and Mike Currie in particular (01984 640078) will be acting as a pastoral link for the Benefice. The active retired clergy in the Benefice will support them, and support will also be offered by other local retired clergy and the rural dean and others.

Day to day matters:  For day to day matters, the Benefice Office telephone will still be live (01984 641808) and will be checked every few days. Tracey will be in every week on Tuesday mornings.

Services:  A rota has been organised to ensure that all our services are led by local lay people and clergy.

We look forward to a different but exciting year ahead.