Parish Profile - The Diocese of Hereford
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Parish Profile - The Diocese of Hereford

Benefice of Kingsland with Eardisland,Aymestrey & Leinthall EarlesLeominster Deanery, Diocese of HerefordStatement of NeedsParish ProfileSpring 2013

Our VisionOur vision is to work together and draw on our combinedstrengths better to reflect God’s love in our communities,and to develop our gifts and skills to strengthen our missionto those we serve.We wish to benefit from our strong traditions, which areappropriate to rural Parishes, whilst exploring different waysof worship to appeal to our wider communities.We want to strengthen ties with other organizationswithin the community, such as the school, sporting clubs,local businesses, Brownies, Guides, the doctor’s surgery andlocal charities.We would like to engage with local residents so they feelthe church is part of their lives and not solely for regularchurch-goers.A larger church membership, encouraged by a vigorousand dynamic leader, is our ultimate aim. This wouldsubstantially improve the diversity of our congregation,improve our finances, and ease the workload falling on thesame small group of hard-working but ageing members.2

Leominster Deanery(it’s pronounced “Lemster”)lies about fifteen miles to thenorth of Hereford, mainly tothe west of the A49 betweenHereford and Ludlow.The three parishes in thebenefice adjoin one another(parish maps here not to samescale), though some thinlypopulatedportions ofEardisland are detached fromthe main part of their parish.St Andrew’s,Leinthall EarlesSt John the Baptist &St Alkmund,AymestreySt Michael & All Angels,KingslandSt Mary’sEardisland4

The Parish of St Michael and All Angels, KingslandWorship in ChurchSunday morning services attract between thirty to forty people, more on special occasions. The age profile isbiased toward those over 55, with some young children attending the Sunday School (the age profile of the localcommunity is similarly skewed: see table on p.7 below). There are 134 people on the Electoral Roll, although thatwill change as the Roll is updated.We are ambitious for excellence in music and worship. The11am services are sung, using the “Kingsland Service”,specially written for the church, for Common WorshipCommunions. Once a month a Book of Common Prayercommunion service is held, sung to Merbecke. The morningservice on the first Sunday of the month is usually Matins,and sung. The fourth Sunday hosts a sung Evensong. Choirpractice is held on Thursday evenings.We are open to other approaches in worship. Twice a monththere is an 8am said Eucharist and a lay-led Family servicebefore Matins on the first Sunday. This is very successful andgrowing attendance (25 children and their parents) testifiesto its success. A Thursday morning Communion completesthe service pattern. See details in appendix.The church bells attract visits from campanologists, and our ringers add to the diversity of our worship offering.Prayer groups are held, but have been in abeyance during the Vacancy; there is a desire to restart them.Retired Clergy and other SupportA number of retired clergy regularly assist in leading Sunday worship, and sometimes also with occasional offices.Support is also available from members of the Team Ministry in Leominster.5

Lay MinistriesIn recent years the laity has increased its involvement inservices and elsewhere. Intercessions, chalice bearers, andreadings are usually done by laity at the main services. Inthe past, children were engaged as servers, but this haslapsed recently, although we would like to see it reintroduced,as it is an excellent way to involve children inthe services. In addition, the monthly Matins and Evensongservices are lay-led.We would like to develop lay involvement in pastoral work.A limited amount is done at the moment, but there is scope for more with the right leadership and guidance.Pastoral visiting, prayer groups, fundraising and voluntary work within the church are all functioning, and shouldbe developed further.The School Mrs Angela Daniel, Head of Kingsland CE Primary School, writes“Kingsland CE Primary School presently serves 147 children from Kingsland,Eardisland, the surrounding rural area and Leominster town.“In 2011 it was re-awarded an ‘outstanding’ judgement by Ofsted and in 2010 wasamongst the top 100 performing primary schools in terms of attainment and progressin the county. In our last Statutory Inspection as an Anglican School (2007) we alsoachieved the highest endorsement for our Christian Distinctiveness, Worship, RE andLeadership and Management.“The school is fully committed to building on its Christian foundation and endeavours to place Christian values atthe centre of its policy and practice. In 1999 the General Synod passed a strongly supported motion stating that,‘Church schools stand at the heart of the mission to the nation’. We would be excited to work with a newincumbent, the churches and the local community to extend God’s kingdom in new ways in the future; makingthis vision a reality.”6

Kingsland VillageThere are around 1000residents in Kingslandparish.Source: 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2012Historically, this was a farming community of mixed arable and livestock farming. There are still large commercialfarms for potatoes and cereals, beef, sheep and equestrianism. We hold a Benefice Rogation service on one of thefarms. Farmers turn out in force for Plough Sunday and Harvest Festival services, along with villagers.For its size, the village is well served by businesses and services: a community hall withtennis courts, a doctor’s surgery with dispensary, a shop and tea rooms, a Post Office, agarage, two pubs, a coal merchant, a sawmill, Border Oak Construction and Design, aninternational standard jewellery factory, several B&Bs, Luctonians Sports Club andgrounds, printers, a bowling club and a fire station. Other activities in the village includemilk and paper rounds and professional photographers, along with several artistsworking in diverse media. There is a Methodist chapel in Kingsland village.Community activitiesCongregation members actively contribute to community life, for example as members ofthe Parish Council, of the Luctonians Rugby and Cricket Club, the Bowling Club, theBritish Legion, school governorship, and supporting St Michael’s Hospice.Our strong links with community activities are vital to us. Localactivities include the Women’s Institute, Brownies and Guides, aregular Flower Show, a Music Circle, Friends of St Michael’sHospice, a branch of the Royal British Legion, and a local YoungFarmers. Many of these groups have good links with the church,and their members—even those who are not regularworshippers—join in for special services.7

Village CommunicationsTransport links are reasonable with buses to Leominster, Kington and Presteigne.Buses provide transport to the local secondary school in Wigmore, a few miles tothe north.A monthly magazine, The Kingsland News, although not ‘the parish magazine’, isa useful publicity vehicle for the church. Its finances are part of the churchbookstall account. It is distributed free to every house in the parish by churchmembers, and pays for itself by charging to advertise local businesses. It isprinted on a Risograph machine currently housed in the Rectory. The Rector ofKingsland would not be required to administer or produce this magazine, but willbe free to contribute to the content as appropriate, traditionally on the front page.There is a church website which is in grave need of refreshment anddevelopment, and a successful village website called ‘Kingslandlife’.“Kingslandlife” screenshotKingsland’s Church buildingThe 12th Century church of St Michael and All Angels standswithin a three acre churchyard, surrounded by extensive glebeland. An ancient motte and bailey, and the original Queen Anne Rectory (now privately owned)are nearby. This is a substantial church with Croft family connections, and historic links toEdward Mortimer, the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross (1461) and the delightful Volka Chapel on theside of the North Porch.There is an oil-fired central heating system and a sound system with hearing loop. A kitchenand WC are in the South Porch, and the church has both clergy and choir vestries. Recent reorderinghas lowered the font at the west end, and established a carpeted platform withmoveable altar in front of the choir stalls.8

Music is very important to the parishioners. We hope to develop this side ofchurch life, both as a money-raising endeavour, and to enhance worshipduring services.There is an excellent two-manual and pedalboard pipe organ, played by anexperienced organist. The robed choir sings four-part harmony in hymns,chanted psalms and canticles, and anthems when appropriate. Occasionalconcerts are given, both by the resident choir and visiting performers.Discussions are also taking place about the development of a Gospel Choirand Worship Band to extend the appeal of the church, particularly foryounger people. It is envisaged that this will not be an “either/or”development, but an interesting addition to the diversity of worship options.Maintaining the fabricAn appeal is continuing to raise money for necessary repairs to the roof andother items as funds allow. Decoration is becoming necessary, as are repairsto stained glass windows, many of medievalorigin.There are several exciting new ideas for raisingour profile and enhancing our fund-raisingefforts being discussed at the moment.Annual running costs, including the ParishShare, are around £45,000. Without large-scalefund-raising events it would be impossible toreach this figure.Palm Sunday in Kingsland9

The Parish of St. Mary the Virgin, EardislandThe CongregationOur regular congregation numbers about 12 to 15, most of whom are over 60: but we get significantly morepeople than this at the major festivals.Our normal pattern of services at themoment consists of a weekly HolyCommunion, with the exception ofone Sunday in the month when wehave Matins, usually lay-led.The congregation is a mixture offamilies who have been here formany generations, and those whohave come to the village morerecently.We have an organist/choir mistress,and a small but enthusiastic choir.We have approximately 50 people onour Electoral Roll.Transformed church buildingOur attractive, historic church hasundergone major refurbishment andre-ordering during the last two years.The major work was finished in 2011.The Victorian pews were removedand replaced by modern chairs, a10

new stone floor was laid, a refurbished heating system installed and the whole interior redecorated. Yet we haveretained some of the best traditional features: we have a 20th century organ and a well-known peal of eight bellsthat attracts ringers from all over the county.The total cost of the project exceeded £250,000 of which the villagers raised approximately £100,000. This is anenormous sum for a small village to raise and it was only possible through the energy and dedication which thewhole village put into fund-raising for their church. Even those who are not regular churchgoers treasure thisbuilding. Such goodwill is a priceless asset for our mission to tell our community the good news of Jesus Christ.We still have some debt outstanding so we arecontinuing with fund-raising events throughout2013. This has the added advantage of bringing thecommunity together.We are using our warm, comfortable and flexiblespace for worship and other events. As part of ouroutreach and Lent observance, we have recentlyhosted a production in-the-round by the RidingLights Theatre Company on the theme of sacrificeand transformation. This was a major departurefrom any other event we have done in moderntimes. In fact, such an event probably hasn't beenstaged since the late medieval period! It provedvery popular and was extremely well-received.Riding Lights Theatre Company’s production of A Different DrumEardisland, March 2013Engagement with the villageEardisland is an outstandingly pretty village on theBlack and White trail. Its 400 residents, many ofwhom are incomers to the area, are proud of theircommunity. They are wonderful in supporting fund11

aising events and view the church as a communityasset. But despite their goodwill, and despite goodattendances at Christmas, Harvest and Easter, welong to grow our regular Sunday congregation. If weget about 100 people to our special services andevents, we realize that there are still 300 whom weare not reaching!We still have a fairly traditional worship pattern; butwe believe we have need of a more informal serviceto attract young families and children.During the vacancy, there have been significantchanges in the lay leadership of the congregation.We have a new churchwarden, assisted by threedeputies, a sacristan, a crucifer who is also our PCCsecretary, and a small but dedicated PCC. We runthe church on democratic lines. We share out thejobs according to our talents and interests.During the last year this system has been working very well, but we know that we need to engage more with thecommunity, improve our communication, and make our church life more relevant to those in our village whonever come near us. We would like to explore new ways and maybe even new times of service in order to engagethe parishioners.We believe that transformation of our building must be matched by transformation of us who worship here. Thereis a need amongst those of us who are regular churchgoers to deepen our faith and strengthen our commitmentand we would look to a new incumbent to encourage us in this.12

The Parish of Aymestrey and Leinthall EarlesThe ParishSheep handily outnumber people in the parish of Aymestrey and LeinthallEarles, which is reputed to be the largest in the diocese, but also the mostsparsely populated. Farmer Stuart Hutchins, churchwarden at LeinthallEarles, has a flock of 1600. However the total human population of theparish is around 360.The village of Aymestrey straddles theA4110 road three miles north west ofKingsland. Leinthall Earles is located in awooded valley a further three miles distant. Both villages and their outlyinghamlets of Yatton, Lye and Covenhope are set in beautiful countryside. This areais famous historically as the site of the battle of Mortimers Cross (1461). It ismuch visited by walkers (following The Mortimer Trail) and country lovers alike.Visitors commonly attend our church services.The community we serveThe villages have worked together as one parish for many years and have avery strong community spirit. The interplay between church and community is akey feature of our life. For example, members of the PCC and the AymestreyVillage Hall Committee jointly organize the traditional Summer Fete. This is thebiggest annual event in the village. It is extremely well supported, and raisesmoney for both the Church and Village Hall funds.The community has a passionate commitment to maintaining its churches, evenwhen it doesn’t come to church! Fundraising activities are about much morethan money: they are the heartbeat of community life, and bring worshippersinto contact with their neighbours. The money given by the community hasAymestrey Summer Fete13

enabled apparently impossible church restoration and improvement projects to be completed. We are also luckyto have support from and involvement with our local thriving Young Farmers Club. PCC meetings take placequarterly at members’ houses.Aymestrey has remarkable amenities and equally remarkable gaps. We have an award winning inn andrestaurant, active village hall (with bowls club, petanque, Nature Trust, dancing classes and poetry monthly groupamong other activities). Employment opportunities include a busy timber yard,a number of holiday chalets and cottages for visitors, and a large quarry atLeinthall Earles.However, there is no village school, shop or post office and only a very poorbus service. Children’s playgroups, nurseries and junior schooling are availablein Kingsland and nearby Wigmore. Significantly, the village is in the catchmentarea for the highly sought after Wigmore High School.Effective mission in the parish is determined by the geographical nature of theparish with its strong farming community and scattered population. Theculture of country life places a high priority on personal warmth, humancontact and visiting (both at home and in hospital). We are also veryconscious of our need for rapport with young people.The parish has two twelfth-century church buildings: very different from oneanother, but each a gem. Both churches remain unlocked and available forvisitors, for quiet prayer and contemplation.These buildings are important toour discipleship.Aymestrey’s preaching cross,recently restoredSt John the Baptist and St Alkmund, AymestreyThe regular congregation may appear small: 12-15 is average. However, whenwe consult the registers we find that in the 1950s the average congregationwas only 5, so revival has taken place…14

The population of Aymestrey is weighted to the older generations: it is notsurprising that the congregation reflects this bias. Nevertheless children attendchurch in disproportionately large numbers. We have excellent involvement fromchildren on special occasions such as Mothering Sunday, Plough Sunday, Easter(including an egg hunt), and Rogation Sunday (on a farm) and Christingle. Children(youngsters and teenagers) providing music and readings and even dance as part ofthe worship.Church is usually packed for the Carol services; while Harvest Festival includes aharvest supper which can draw in almost 100 people—over a quarter of the parish.This list reveals that the traditional rhythms of country life, and traditional patternsof engagement with the community, remain important and effective.Churchyard working parties and church spring cleans is anothervery successful way of encouraging non-churchgoers andyoungsters to get involved in ‘their’ church. During the lasttwelve months, Aymestrey has joined the God’s Acre churchyardproject. This is attracting interest from a different section of parishioners.Aymestrey Church contains remarkable historical features, such as a 16th century screen.More practically, it comfortably seats 150 people. Because of its wonderful acoustics, it hostsverysuccessful spring and autumn concerts each year with increased following year on year. Wehave hosted a myriad of talented young musicians including members of the Kensington Sinfonia, violinistRebecca Sewell, The Cann Twins, violinist Litsa Tunnah, Robert Huxford (tenor), Crispian Steele Perkins andJeremy Cole (organ scholar at Hereford Cathedral).Community support plus grant funding enabled a comprehensive restoration of Aymestrey church in 2004,followed by new (and effective) heating in 2007 and restoration of the medieval preaching cross in 2010.Aymestrey’s worshipping life is built round the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: but this statement needs to be15

ead with understanding. We are committed to creative andimaginative worship, which brings the richness of the old tradition tolight, and draws in people of every age.St Andrews, Leinthall EarlesSt Andrews, Leinthall Earles is small and unpretentious, but full ofatmosphere. There is beauty in its very simplicity. It is an intimatespace for worship.St Andrew’s is in excellentcondition after being fullyrestored and re-opened inspring 2009. The churchbuilding also provides community use, as the parish hall is at the other endof the parish in Aymestrey.The congregation at St Andrews (usually around 14) enjoys services incontemporary language, and is open to new patterns of worship and theuse of new media. Members appreciate biblical teaching, and want to taketheir discipleship deeper. Both churches in the parish want to grow: inAymestrey, the congregation wants newcomers to share their delight intraditional pattern of worship. In Leinthall Earles, the congregation wants to create a style of worship which isimmediately accessible to unchurched neighbours.Numbers and FinanceNumber on electoral roll: 58 Average congregation: Aymestrey: 12-l5 Leinthall Earles: 14The parish share and agreed expenses are fully paid up and there is an effective gift aid scheme in operation.16

Appendix:Pattern of Services within the BeneficeThe pattern of services within the Benefice broadly follows the pattern below, although there may be exceptionsto accommodate baptisms, or major festivals for instance.1st Sunday: Kingsland 09:30 Family Service (lay-led)Eardisland 09:30 Holy Eucharist (CW)Kingsland 11:00 Choral Matins (BCP, lay-led)Aymestrey 11:00 Holy Eucharist (BCP)2nd Sunday: Kingsland 08:00 Said Holy Eucharist (BCP)Eardisland 09:30 Matins (lay-led)Aymestrey 09:30 Holy Eucharist (BCP)Kingsland 11:00 Choral Holy Eucharist (BCP)3rd Sunday: Eardisland 09:30 Holy Eucharist (CW)Kingsland 11:00 Choral Holy Eucharist (CW)Leinthall Earles 15:30 Holy Eucharist (CW)4th Sunday: Kingsland 08:00 Said Holy Eucharist (CW)Eardisland 09:00 Holy Eucharist (CW)Kingsland 11:00 Choral Holy Eucharist (CW)Kingsland 18:30 Choral Evensong (BCP, lay-led)5th Sunday: Joint Benefice Sung Holy Eucharist in rotation.Each Thursday there is a said Holy Eucharist at Kingsland at 10 amThe pattern above is current during the Vacancy. This simplified pattern was introduced to minimise the need forextra clergy. In the past, more services were held to give Aymestrey more than one service a month for instance.17

Occasional OfficesOver the last year, Kingsland held 7 weddings, 7 baptisms, 12 funerals, one internment of ashes, and 2 memorialservices. There were several funerals held at the Hereford Crematorium as well. Occasional offices in the otherparishes are… occasional.The RectoryThe Rectory is next to the largest church in the largest village, Kingsland. It is a good-sized modern four bedroomhouse, overlooking pasture land and adjacent to the village Millennium Green. It has a manageable good-sizedgarden, two reception rooms, two studies and a modern kitchen, all with gas central heating.The Diocese of Hereford has a good reputation among clergy for the high standard of its parsonage houses. Whenrural parishes have been united, unused rectories have been sold. This has released funds with which to maintainand improve the stock of current clergy housing.18

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