Welcome to the Upper Kennet Benefice
Welcome to the Upper Kennet Benefice. Comprised of 8 villages and their churches, our benefice is blessed by being in an area of outstanding natural beauty which includes the UNESCO World Heritage site of Avebury. As Christians we are working out what it means to follow Jesus and we invite you, whatever your situation and wherever you are on your journey, to join us.
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You can also find some of our archive material on the Services and Events page, near the bottom.
Corona Virus and latest news - May 5th
We continue to keep the situation regarding Covid 19 under review and the following safe measures are taken as a minimum:
Please sanitise hands on entry
Please do feel free to wear a face covering if you wish. You may be asked to wear face coverings at very large services in our smaller less well-ventilated churches – please make every effort to do so.
Distribution of Holy Communion may be in one kind only for now due to the vulnerability of our congregation members. The wafers for the congregation will be kept covered until distribution, the president will sanitise hands before distribution, and will wear a face covering when doing.
We will keep this under constant review and there may be adjustments made should cases increase or the pandemic be declared at an end.
Editions – Upper Kennet News
The Upper Kennet News is published monthly and distributed freely. The views expressed in the Upper Kennet News are those of the individual contributors.
Offer Each Day as a Worship
An alternative Covid 2020 day by day of prayer ( inspired by a Bishop Friend in USA)
May the bird song of the morning be a hymn of praise to you Oh Lord
May my feet on the floor and the first daily step be a sign that I Walk In Your Way
May the water that washes my face and body be a sign of you washing away all that is not good in my life
May the towel that dries me be a sign of your forgiveness
The news that causes my heart to tighten and my soul to ache
May this be the Kyrie – Lord Have Mercy
Words of hope, support encouragement, singing along to a favorite song or Radio 2
May this be A hymn of Praise
On Feeling Despondent
Low spirits, tears, soul aches, loneliness, anxiety
May these and more be prayers in your eyes
Endless emails, uncertainty on furlough, fearful for the future, swamped by the present, longing for a holiday, or time with my loved ones, working from a noisy kitchen while teaching the kids May these be times when I hear your Word ‘BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD’ as you preach
In the prepping of a meal, the sitting at a table, the aloneness or in company, May I remember to value each bite, and taste and texture, grateful for creation, and in it find Eucharist
As my head hits the pillow and I stretch out my limbs May all I have done and said and thought be for you a Vesper Hymn
The PCCs of the Upper Kennet Benefice have formally adopted the House of Bishops’ Promoting a Safer Church; Safeguarding Policy Statement and reviews this policy annually at APCM .
This is the Parish Policy Statement
We take the Safeguarding of Young People and Vulnerable Adults very seriously and are committed to providing a safe space for all to gather for worship and community fellowship. All PCC members, post holders and licenced Clergy and Lay ministers are trained to appropriate levels under the Diocese of Salisbury Safeguarding Policies. A copy of these can be found in each of our churches along with a list of helpful contacts and phone numbers for national and local help organisations.
Benefice Safeguarding Officers
Children and Young People
Mrs Elizabeth Daley
Mr Rod Palfrey
Rev Maria Shepherdson
Diocesan Safeguarding Team
Mrs Heather Bland
REVEREND MARIA SHEPHERDSON
Rev Maria has been Rector of the Benefice for over 7 years and is married to Phil, a New Zealander, whom she met while working in North Africa. While not blessed with children of their own they often joke that their children are aged between 3 months and 96 years of age and are far too many to mention! Their family encompasses people of varied races and faiths something that brings both great joy and challenge.
Her first vocation was in teaching. Her work has taken her to Africa, Russia, Canada, USA and more recently Gaza, where she is involved in Teacher Training for The Hope Christian Trust. She is a Foundation Governor at both Benefice primary schools. The Benefice enjoys a rich diversity of worship, traditional and contemporary, and Maria has a deep and abiding interest in all things Celtic and has been known to play a ‘mean’ fiddle.
Rev Maria believes God loves us ‘just as we are’ but cares too much for us to leave us unchanged.
To contact Rev Maria please phone 01672 539643.
Graham has been a Licensed Pastoral Assistant for over 7 years and lives in East Kennett.
His ministry includes providing pastoral support for people who are ill, bereaved or house bound and leading Worship, especially Taizé and Evening Prayer at East Kennett.
Claire has been a Licensed Pastoral Assistant for over 7 years and lives in Winterbourne Bassett.
She is also a Lay Worship Leader and leads a service of Morning Prayer regularly at Winterbourne Bassett, and helps occasionally at Celtic Morning Prayer at Avebury.
Claire is also involved with Prospect Hospice, Wroughton, working alongside both patients and carers, an aspect of ministry she enjoys greatly .
Licenced Lay Minister
Sibella joined the team in late 2019 and brings a wealth of experience in serving in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and in academia.
While living in the old family home in West Overton , she will exercise her ministry across all the churches of the Benefice, contributing to the development of prayer, leading of services and pastoral care of all.
Anne Robinson & Sophie roberts
Anne shares the role of Benefice Administrator with her colleague Sophie.
Anne has offered valuable support for over 16 years to all who contact the office. Sophie joined the team in August 2018 and comes with a wealth of experience including working as Clerk for the local Parish Council. Anne and Sophie may be your first point of contact to book a baptism or a wedding or make general enquires about our Benefice – you are assured of a warm welcome and every assistance they can offer.
Letter from the Rector
We are ordinary people from 8 villages that make up the Upper Kennet Benefice. We are blessed to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty and together we are working out what it means to follow Jesus. Our pilgrim history runs deep and we welcome thousands of visitors each year from all nations and all faiths visiting the World Heritage Site of Avebury and environs.
Whatever your situation and wherever you are on your journey, you are warmly invited to join us on ours alongside Him to where he will have us walk together.
As followers of Jesus we want to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to ALL and be ‘good news’ by serving and loving those around us. We welcome you if you come to give thanks or because you are facing difficult times, if you would like your child to be christened, or you would like to get married or to arrange a funeral, if you have a strong faith or are not sure you have any. Our vision is to be the heart of the church sharing God’s love in and around the community.
I hope you will find in each of the churches of the Kennet Valley a place of welcome, safety, joy, and peace- a place where we can accept and meet each other, just as we are, in God’s presence and within Gods love. Come with an open mind and in the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, searching, seeking and questioning. Come not because you must but because you can, come not because you are good but because we are all imperfect, come in quiet solitude, or to a festival, come often or less than often, come because you are grieving or because you wish to give thanks, come expecting to find others just like you, looking for meaning and purpose and searching for that something more some of us find easier than others to call God.
These are YOUR churches, whatever your age, background or beliefs, from all church traditions or a newcomer to Jesus, an enquirer; a doubter; a struggler with life’s complexities; someone who is thinking about coming back to church after a while; or just someone who wants simply to come and sit quietly at the back. However you come to be here, Welcome Pilgrim. Welcome home.
Rev Maria Shepherdson