Each month we turn the spotlight on one of the parishes in our Diocese to see how individual churches are responding to and serving the needs of their communities.
In other words, we are exploring how parishes are putting ‘changing lives, changing churches for changing communities’ into practice.
This month we find out about…
Revd Mike Perry introduces a parish where a warm welcome awaits
Corton Denham is set in a beautiful ‘secret valley’ north of Sherborne, with Corton Ridge towering above. The community is warm, supportive, and friendly, and newcomers are valued as members of the community right from the start.
St Andrews Church plays an important role, providing a friendly and safe space for people to explore their faith, and genuine community links.
The Tuesday morning coffee and travelling Post Office in the village hall is a key meeting point where joys and difficulties are shared. The special Rogation service travels around local people’s gardens (with permission!) and end up with hymns in the pub! The church cemetery is managed for wildlife and hay making involves the entire village. A new tradition in the last few years has been a travelling nativity which makes its way around the village with prayers and reflections, visiting newcomers, people on their own and those with children. Next Easter the sunrise service on top of Corton Ridge will again be held.
The church is twinned with St Cyprians, Mufulira in Zambia and there have been regular visits back and forth over the years. Links have developed between the local secondary school and that in Mufulira, leading to links between local primary schools and the town. There’s also a medical link between a local retired GP and one of Mufulira’s hospitals. These other links are fully independent but the church generated the initial interest. The current project is to build a new building for St Cyprians, which will include a HIV clinic.
There are many local heroes that help make St Andrews such a colourful parish. Derek Wheeler, a local amateur artist paints our church Christmas cards; Marion Chapman helps with so many things, particularly when people are finding life difficult; Chris Chapman does the parish books and audits many churches and charities in the area; John Griffin has, with others, helped transform the village hall, Gerarda Solomon has helped to organise and coordinate so much in a short time and Jackie Smith keeps us sustained with fantastic tea cake and sandwiches for any church event!
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