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An update from Rev Louise on the Benefice lockdown situation 

Rev Louise Vincer
Interim Priest in Charge
Chartham and Upper Hardres with Stelling
tel:  07913 843526

25th February 2021
Dear Friends
For the past seven weeks of lockdown we have been worshipping together as a benefice by zoom. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this shared endeavour – especially those who have tried something new whether writing intercessions or bravely going into a zoom room full of people you didn’t know after the service, or downloading the service to share with others during the week. Thank you to those who have made this possible especially by connecting up the websites between the churches.
As promised in our letter of 7th January, I met with the wardens yesterday to review worship in our churches in the light of the new government roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions.
We noted:

  • Bishop Rose’s permission to suspend public worship until 28 March.
  • The new government roadmap easing restrictions beginning with school phased returns on 8 March.
  • The greatly reduced levels of coronavirus infection locally
  • The increasing numbers of people now vaccinated nationally
  • The desire within all congregations in the benefice to return to church for Sunday worship as soon as possible. 

It was agreed to start opening Upper Hardres and Chartham churches for worship after 8 March, where the wardens will advise about specific requirements needed to open the churches safely and in accordance with all necessary social distancing guidelines. The first Sunday for worship in Upper Hardres and Chartham churches will be 14 March – Mothering Sunday. We still don’t know how long it will be before social distance is relaxed further and we will continue to zoom and record services to enable the greatest possible access to fellowship and worship. Stelling will review worship arrangements at a later date.
Whilst we will all be delighted to be moving towards seeing one another again, can I encourage you to be aware that everyone will be experiencing many different emotions, among them thanksgiving, grief, anxiety, and joy. We will need to be especially sensitive to each other’s needs, giving space for people to process their feelings in the special space of the church building. We will need to look to Jesus Christ who in holding all things together offers a peace beyond our human understanding.
In these coming weeks it is really important that we don’t lose contact with each other. Can I encourage everyone to continue to pray for each other in the benefice as we face ongoing challenges. Please continue to build on the relationships you have made in lockdown as we look to a new and more hopeful time ahead for our communities.

on behalf of the Benefice Wardens Group
Cathy Arnold, Anne Barlow, Ros Browne, Pam Burgess, Angela Hirst & Robin Slowe
Robin Slowe, 26/02/2021
Hello and welcome to our church. If you are a new visitor, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Welcome 

The following information is specifically for those planning a visit, so that you know, beforehand, what to expect on a Sunday morning.

Where and When

We meet at St.Mary's (details below) for our Sunday Service starting at 10am. When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team.

We serve tea, coffee and biscuits afterward. It is a great way to meet people, or simply take time to find your bearings. All refreshments are free.

Plan your journey: 

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There are disabled toilets in the main foyer.

Our Service

The main service begins at 10am with a warm welcome..
Visit our This Sunday page for more information


Getting Connected

Small Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week, some afternoons and some evenings. Check out Small Groups and see if there’s one that you could join, or we can put you in touch with a small group leader who will be more than happy to invite you along to their group.

Serving and Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team

Get in touch with us to plan your visit
If you would like to come and visit the church beforehand you are more than welcome! Get in touch and we can arrange a time that suits you.
Email Address:
Comments / Questions or anything you would like to say?

Next, we will contact you by email to say hello and help arrange anything necessary for your visit.
We hope that whoever you are, you will feel at home at our church.

Best Wishes