Top: Barbeque at Corpus Christi, 2013. Below: St Peter's Henfield, Fete 2015
The churches regularly hold public events ranging from the annual Summer Fete in the vicarage garden to a Pet Blessing Service at St Giles and an Easter Monday open morning at Woodmancote with refreshments, organ recitals, floral displays inside the church and stalls lining its entrance outside.
Above: St Giles' flower festival 2019 (photo credits : left, B. Chaston; right, P. Chaston)
The churches are all well supported with large congregations for all the major Christian Festivals – Christmas, Easter, Harvest etc and in previous years St Peter’s Henfield has had a wonderful turnout on Remembrance Sunday with over 400 people! A local speciality is the biennial event 'Beating the Bounds' when Shermanbury Parish Council and the Friends of St Giles join forces to walk the Parish boundary (some 12 miles) starting at St Giles (photo below by Barry Chaston, 2019).
Each of our churches has voluntary organisations that fundraise through a variety of talks, flower festivals, concerts and other activities which have been featured on the Hub.
Above: Cotillion in concert in St Peter's Church, Henfield 2014
In 2018, St Peter’s Church, Henfield came together with St Giles Church, Shermanbury and St Peter’s Church, Woodmancote to become a single parish, with a Church Council made up of representatives from all three churches. It has been very exciting to see ‘Three Become One’ and the story of how and why it happened appeared on all three churches’ Hub Pages.
Our Parish with three churches offering both traditional and modern worship is an ideal candidate for the Diocese to use as a ‘training parish’ so we are fortunate in frequently being allocated the services of a curate usually for about three years. Each curate arrives straight after the conclusion of their time at theological college and serves the first year as a ‘deacon‘ whilst they learn first-hand alongside the incumbent the workings of parish life. During this first year they can take some services under instruction but are not permitted to take Holy Communion until after ordination at the end of this time.
The sad thing is of course that when the three years is up we have to say goodbye because they then look for vacancies so they can have their own parishes elsewhere. When the Hub started we had Rev'd Angela Martin here until she moved to be a vicar in Crawley then we had Rev'd Peter O’Connell - now in Godstone – then Rev'd Harriet Neale-Stevens who left recently to go to her new parish in Midhurst, and now we are all getting to know Revd Heather Wilkin. So our current clergy team includes the Vicar/Rector - the Rev’d Paul Doick, Assistant Curate - Rev’d Heather Wilkin and the Honorary Assistant Priest - The Rev'd Christina Bennett, who has lived in Henfield for many years.
Even sadder was the passing of Father David Maskell, much-loved Parish Priest at Corpus Christi, who died on 4th March 2018 after a short illness.
The Coronavirus brought about the unthinkable with all our churches being shut. This has however given the opportunity for them to look for new ways of spreading the Gospel by taking full advantage of modern technology. Live worship has been received by many in the comfort of their own homes and the statistics have shown just how many people have welcomed this facility, which may well continue after we have the ‘New Normal’.
Each of our churches has its own gallery of photos on the Hub for you to enjoy: