The Benefice Profile
of Elham with Denton and Wootton, and Acrise
The Key Summary. 3
St Mary the Virgin Elham.. 4
Our Mission. 4
What we have to offer5
The Wider Context of the Parish. 6
The Buildings. 7
CURRENT Pattern of services. 8
Worship Leaders. 9
Life of the Church. 10
Occasional Offices for the
whole Benefice. 10
Bell Ringers. 11
Social Events. 11
Links with the wider world. 13
St Martin’s – Wootton and St
Mary Magdalene – Denton. 14
Our Mission. 14
Electoral Rolls. 14
Parish Profiles. 14
Current Pattern of Services. 14
The Churches. 15
St Mary Magdalene Denton. 15
St Martin’s Wootton. 15
St Martin’s, Acrise with
Our Mission. 17
The Team.. 17
Current Pattern of Services. 18
Current Worship. 18
Friends of St Martin’s. 19
Archdeacon’s Note to
Applicants Considering the Post at Elham.. 20
See also the Archdeacon’s notes on the back
page for more detail.
- The pastoral reorganisation needed to address
viability and deployment questions in the Elham Valley, for the medium to long
term, is completed. To this end we have implemented a pastoral scheme which
includes the appointment of a Half Time stipendiary priest to the Elham
Benefice in the context of a Group Ministry in association with the
neighbouring Benefice of Lyminge. There
are therefore now three parishes (four Churches) in the new Benefice – Elham,
Denton/Wootton and Acrise.
- We are working on building relationships in
mission and ministry within both the Benefice and the Group and we are
developing new ways of working with the support of a part time priestly ministry.
We are praying for someone who will join us in leading and sharing in that
- We would welcome a male or female priest.
- All the PCCs
in the benefice recognise that administrative support would be an essential for
a part time priest, this is under consideration.
1. Vision of benefice. We recognise that the
PCC’s will need to be flexible in negotiating the shape of a part-time ministry
in the context of this overarching vision.
- To share the
good news of the Gospel with all, for we are eager for growth.
- To make our
worship welcoming, exciting, reverent and relevant.
2. What we, the congregations, bring to
ministry in church and community:
lay involvement in our regular worship.
involvement in the community
ecumenical relations with the Methodist Church in worship, study Groups, Sunday
School, and with the local Roman Catholics.
3. What we are looking for in a new priest:
- Someone with
a vision and mission to serve in rural churches and villages – to be a prayerful,
- Someone who
will lead us and share the Gospel in new ways with young & old in the
community, and in the village church schools. This needs a new working basis
for the incoming part time priest.
- Someone who
can be flexible in worship especially for newcomers, whilst respectful of our
We are searching for a priest who
is friendly, energetic and outgoing; who will participate in village events and be a presence in the
community within the boundaries that a half time offering can allow. The Church
of St Mary’s is traditional – the worship is Eucharistic based and vestments
are normally worn. We are aware that many on the periphery, who seldom or never
come, may find this difficult. We are looking for someone who will maintain and
revitalise services that we have for the enthusiastic congregation, but also be
willing to develop new styles of worship.
look upon this ministry as a partnership between the priest and the PCC, and we
want to work together to achieve this. We appreciate that we need to take this
message out into the community to engage with them.
Judging by the number of families
who came to our Crib Service at Christmas (200-250), there is a huge potential
to include people of all ages who are seeking a spiritual dimension.
We are seeking someone who will
be in the community through a pastoral presence. This visible presence of the
church in the community is supported by the Care Circle and by those who
administer home communion. The Church School is geographically next to the
Vicarage and the link between the church community and school is a top priority.
Links with the community: Elham is a vibrant busy village with huge
potential for the church congregation to grow. The Church is at the centre of
the village and is always open during daylight hours for visitors, private
prayer, and there is a second hand book store which people visit regularly and
it encourages them to come inside the building. Church members are widely involved in village activities and
societies, and we have a representative on the Village Hall Committee. The Village
Magazine, delivered free to all households, has a “Church Matters” page.
Church School: We have an excellent Church of England School
in the village. A new Headmaster, Mr Dan File has recently arrived. The
Incumbent is ex officio a School Governor and is welcomed in taking an active
part in School Assemblies. The Church hosts many regular School services and
events. The already strong links need to be encouraged, but a large number of
children do come from outside the village boundary.
The Headteacher writes: “As a Church of England Aided Primary School,
Elham Primary’s ethos and morals are centred on key Christian values. We enjoy our links with St Mary’s Church and
visit often. We would like to strengthen these links with our new vicar. We
hope that he or she will be able to lead weekly collective worship in our school
and also in St Mary’s Church, when possible. The children would like someone
with a sense of fun and someone who can make assemblies interesting and
inspiring, linking to the modern global community. We would also value someone
who can contribute to the everyday learning in our school by visiting outside
of worship times.”
A beautiful mediaeval church – well maintained and a lovely modern vicarage.
Good links with the MethodistChurch, the Roman Catholics, and a Bible Study group
led by a local Baptist. Regular Prayer
breakfast in Methodist Church Hall, every 2/3 months which are well attended.
Well organised and enthusiastic Church, with established committees organizing most
of church life, for example a Worship Committee, and a Social & Fundraising
Committee. There are also the “Friends of St Mary’s” raising money for church
maintenance – recently redecorated the interior and provided new flood lights
BUT we need an inspirational leader, who will
be welcomed by the enthusiastic PCCs and congregations to work closely together
and help us all to flourish.
Set in the beautiful Elham Valley
running between Canterbury and Folkestone, Elham is a picturesque and vibrant
village yet is only one hour by fast train from London and 45 minutes by
Eurotunnel from the Continent. The ancient cathedral city of Canterbury
and the bustling port of Dover are 30 minutes by car as is Ashford
International Station providing another link with Europe
With the fast rail link to London it would be
possible for a spouse to maintain a professional or working link in London.
- Map of wider area & parish. There is a good bus service every hour to Folkestone &
- Social Geography. Elham is 10 miles
equidistant between Canterbury,
Folkestone and Ashford. The population is approx. 1500, a mixture of retired & young families
and part of Shepway District Council based in Folkestone. The parish extends beyond the village to
include houses and farms in the surrounding rolling chalk down land in the
County of Kent – renowned as the Garden of England with its stunning weald
& hop farms. Elham has 2 Public Houses, 1 hotel/restaurant, 1 cafe
open 7 days / week, 1 village shop, estate agent & P/O held 3 mornings
/week in the Kings Arms in the Square.
- Economy. Farming. Many commute to work in
Canterbury/Folkestone. An increasing number work from home or have an
office in village. A large number are retired.
- Leisure facilities. A
new Village Hall was built at the time of the millennium with superb
facilities on the north side of the village. The village hall is the
centre for many social activities and the church uses the hall as well as
the church building. There are thriving cricket, tennis and football
clubs, & other sports activities at the village hall which also hosts
adult education courses. East Kent Hunt have their kennels here. A flourishing
Gardening Society with many events in the village and organised outings.
Lace making, Art Classes, a Historical Society & for the younger ones
we have Guides & Brownies who regularly participate in Village life
and go camping further afield in the summer. At the last count there were
over 60 village societies or groups!
- Education. An excellent C of E (aided) Primary
School in village – also in nearby Lyminge and Barham. Kent is one of the
few remaining counties to still have Grammar Schools. GoodState
secondary schools in Canterbury/
Folkestone with bus access. 3 well known Public Schools in Canterbury. Canterbury has 2 large universities – University of Kent & ChristchurchUniversity as well as CanterburyCollege. Kent still has a school
- Health. A
Doctors Surgery is in the village. Large District Hospitals in
Ashford (William Harvey), Canterbury (Kent & Canterbury), and Margate (QEQM) all
under a single Hospital Trust.
- Parish boundaries. The parishes of
Denton and Wootton are about 5 miles over the hill by road from Elham. These
churches have become one parish.
The parish of Acrise which has just become part of the Benefice is
on the boundary of Elham parish to the east. Regular joint Churchwardens
meetings are held. There are Joint Benefice services about 6 times per
year at present but we know that the pattern of worship may need to be
reviewed in the light of who is appointed and their availability across
The Ukulele Group
Both village and church have
ancient origins. The manor of Elham was one of those bequeathed by William the
Conqueror to his half- brother Odo of Bayeux after the Norman Conquest. The
Saxon church was rebuilt by the Normans.
It is situated on one side of the old market square, about 50 metres away from
the “main” road through the village.
Although altered and added to
over the centuries the building is in good repair, and has been lovingly cared
for. It can seat about 180 people comfortably. A large amount of internal work
was done about 100 years ago by the architect F.C.Eden together with the
incumbent Alard de Bourbel. It is highly
regarded by both English Heritage and the Victorian Society, and is featured in
Simon Jenkins’ book England’s 1000 Best Churches. The pews can be moved to
provide a large community space for village and church events.
Elham vicarage, built during the
1960’s, stands in well- proportioned private and safe gardens to front and rear
set back from Vicarage Lane and yet in a central position in the village. The
accommodation is well balanced and flexible with the ability to be used as a 5
bedroom family house, or a 4 bedroom house with guest accommodation. The original glazing has recently been
replaced with quality UPVC throughout, and during this Interregnum much work
has been completed with additional insulation and a new oil fired boiler.
The accommodation consists of the
Spacious entrance hall, cloakroom, sitting room, dining room, modern
kitchen, utility, 3rd reception /bedroom 5 (plumbing for shower
available), study and store room, integral garage.
Galleried Landing, 2 double bedrooms and 2 single bedrooms, bathroom
with power shower over bath and separate WC.
OUTSIDE: Store/machinery shed.
Built at the same time as the
Clergy House and situated on the main road through the village, this can cater
for gatherings of about 40-50 people and has toilets and a small kitchen. There
is a 3 bedroom flat above, currently let, and a reasonable garden.
8.00 am CW2
9.30 am CW1
Parish Sung Eucharist
On a 5th Sunday -
Benefice Service, rotating between the 4 churches and the Cathedral.
9.00am: Morning Prayer daily.
Friday Candle – 15 mins silent
prayer for current issues.
Sundays average 70 approx.
Christmas – Crib Service 200 -- 250 / Midnight Mass 120 – 150 per service.
per year. 25 – 40
services with Methodists – about 6 per year. Good Friday/Harvest etc
service on Christmas Eve – with donkey and the children dress up.
procession with donkey
Rider service in Square.
Sunday morning prayer
Sunday with British Legion
Sunday Walk to Benefice Churches.
Drama & music with pews cleared and participation with children as a fun act of
Worship – e.g. “Joshua”.
Choir – Experienced
organist & choirmaster & composer – 18 in choir.
Hymn Books – English Hymnal, Hymns & Psalms in
Eucharist settings – 4 in rotation (2 composed by our organist)
readers/administration of chalice on rota and an enthusiastic group of 12
Servers on a rota (4 per team)
Non Eucharistic – Members of
Worship Committee & others who also organize Taize services.
Taken by Priest/ lay people each
week as required (rota) Ministry
charge (part time; to be appointed)
teacher - SSM who lives in Elham, attached to a parish in Folkestone
Committee which helps plan services, Taize and non – Eucharistic services and
meets four times per year.
team of Sacristans who prepare vestments and vessels for the Eucharist.
Electoral Roll in Elham – 119
Elham – 1500 approx
Sunday School – joint with the Methodist Church. Meet in St Mary’s
Hall & come into the two churches alternate weeks.
Servers – group
of 12 organized by Head Server who also have occasional social events.
Discussion Groups – not on a regular basis, but Joint Lent Groups
with Methodists in 2014. York Course “Build on the Rock – Faith, doubt, Jesus”.
New groups planned for 2015 “Songs of praise in the New Testament”.
Guides/Brownies – No direct link but organized by one of our
In 2014: Baptisms - 5
Weddings - 8
Funerals - 12
A new Tower Captain and Steeple
Keeper have recently taken over. We have
8 bells and there is renewed enthusiasm.
The Social & Fundraising
Committee organise regular events during the year e.g.
A Harvest Soiree
with Supper in Church (pews can be moved)
for village events e.g. Boxing Day Hunt etc.
Sometimes these events are held
in the Church, sometimes in the Village Hall.
A village farmers market is held
twice a year in Square where we provide refreshments.
When the church is cleared of
pews this provides a wonderful community space. In 2014, the Christmas Market
will use this with many of the stalls inside the church.
FAQs – An
initiative of St Mary’s to the wider community to discuss important issues of
our Day. Held in Village hall/pub/school. Topics discussed include Environment,
Stem Cell Research, Dr John Polkinghorne on Science & Religion, Baroness
Cox on world poverty etc.
Friends of St Mary’s – A very enthusiastic group with their own
chairman & committee whose aim is to raise money through subscriptions
& social events, to support the fabric of the church. Recent projects: new
floodlighting, redecoration of the interior of the church and clearing the churchyard.
Lent Lunches – during Lent in the Methodist Hall – donations
to Christian Aid.
Each parish in the benefice has
its own PCC. The Elham PCC meets six times per year.
The PCC has the following
subcommittees which meet separately and report to the PCC.
Worship Committee – Meets about 4 times per year to plan all
aspects of Worship.
Care Circle – to visit and support the sick, the housebound
and those in need.
Social & Fundraising – see above.
Church Hall - Looks after maintenance, letting, & flat
above hall which is rented out.
Education & FAQs
Friends of St Mary’s
2013 – overall income £55,000 of
which £23,000 was planned giving, and the remainder recovered tax, Church collections, donations, fundraising and rent
from Church Hall flat.
Outgoings £71,000, the greatest
part of this being the Parish Quota.
Number of covenanted standing
orders per month is 27.
Number of regular weekly envelopes
on top of this averages 11.
Rainbow Centre in Folkestone – We support this financially & also with regular
gifts of food etc. during the year.
Christmas Hampers for Socially deprived in
Folkestone – help financially at Christmas.
Advent/Christmas Charity – each year we support giving abroad to a small
charity with local connection. In 2013
to Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (Baroness Cox from FAQ’s meeting)
In 2014 to the Community Radio
Project for those in need on our doorstep in Folkestone.
John Williams Trust –
money left in trust to provide education for poor children. Now used to
give educational grants to youngsters living in the village and often going on
to Further Education. Under the terms
of the Trust, 50 % of the annual allocation must be given to Support the
village church school.
We have an excellent and informative
website: www.elhamchurches.com Elham
Church News is sent by email. Regular news, service details and special events
are circulated by email to interested parties. A weekly bulletin is published
for Sunday worship.
The post holder will be Priest in
Charge of both Churches – now a single parish following the reorganisation of
the Benefice and we look forward to developing a sustainable pattern of
ministry given the half time nature of the post.
1115 1st Sunday of the month Holy Communion/New Day at St
1115 2nd Sunday of the month Holy Communion at St Martin’s
1115 3rd Sunday of the month Holy Communion at St Mary’s Denton
Sunday of the month Holy
Communion/Wootton Worship at St Martin’s Wootton
Sunday of the Month Holy
Communion Benefice Service, alternating
through the four parishes
On alternate months the 1st
Sunday is a New Day service at Denton and on the 3rd Sunday of the
following month there is a Wootton Worship service at Wootton.
Wootton Worship and New Day
services are non-Eucharistic and follow a similar pattern of hymns, readings,
sermon and prayers, lasting about 45 minutes.
The aim of these services is to encourage parishioners who are more
comfortable with a non-Eucharistic service to attend church. Refreshments are served at the end of the
The earliest reference to the
hamlet of Denton is a charter of 799 AD wherein the name occurs as
Denetun. There can be little doubt that
Denton church is of Saxon foundation, however, there are no visible signs
The present church is largely of
early 13th century construction as evidenced by the simple form of
the building itself, the chancel arch and the lancet windows which occur in
both the chancel and nave. Most of the
lancet windows have been renewed at a later date but the building remains
typically characteristic of the small English village church of the period.
The earliest recorded reference
to the village of Wootton is in a charter of 687 AD wherein the name occurs as
Uudeton. Wootton is not mentioned in the
Domesday Book, but the church occurs in the Domesday Monachorum in the list of
priests and churches paying customary to the Archbishop of Canterbury. We can, therefore, say with some assurance that
Wootton church is of Saxon foundation, however there are no visible signs of
the remains today.
The church is largely of 13th
century construction with lancet windows in both the nave and chancel. The church was restored by public
subscription in 1879. There is one
working bell in working order, made by Joseph Hatch in 1629.
Denton and Wootton are small and
rural villages but both have active and dedicated communities who are
passionate about preserving their country way of life. Both parishes look
forward to welcoming a priest who would have a visible presence, build
relationships locally and enjoy sharing village life with the residents.
St Martin’s and St Mary’s have
small but dedicated congregations who support the services and the general
running of the church. Average
attendance throughout the year is 15 and this includes members from both
parishes. More attend festival services
such as Christmas, Easter, Harvest, Patronal and Remembrance. The congregation,
who tend to be of mature years, prefer traditional services but also enjoy the
variety offered by the other services in the Benefice. The Wootton Worship and New Day services have
been particularly successful and members of the congregation play an active
part in the worship. Although the
average size of congregations is small the village population support both
churches financially and are actively involved in fund raising. St Martin’s has a part time organist
supplemented by an HT-300 Hymnal Plus, St Mary’s has a full time organist.
St Martin’s has two accounts, a
General Fund and a Churchyard & Church Fabric Fund.
The General Fund currently stands
at £23,000 of which £19,000 is invested and the Church Churchyard and Fabric
fund is worth £8,500 which is all invested.
The annual average income is £6,000 with an expenditure of roughly the
same. In 2012 there was a small excess
of expenditure (£669) over income.
St Mary’s has a Business
(Current) account of approximately £3,500 and £5,800 on deposit with CCLA. Bequests amounting to £44,000 are invested in
a Unit Trust.
- To spread the good news of the Gospel to
- To offer fellowship to an isolated
community of all ages.
- To offer a place of worship to those who
feel drawn to the Book of Common Prayer as their main worship style.
Being a hamlet Acrise has a very small
community. However, the congregation of St Martin’s at Acrise is drawn from a
very wide area, with people travelling from Hawkinge, Swingfield, Denton,
Folkestone, Alkham, Capel-le-Ferne and many parts of the Elham valley to seek
the style of worship and friendly welcoming congregation at this church.
Our mission is inclusively to spread the good
news far and wide, supporting all ages by offering a traditional service and
St Martin’s current electoral roll stands at
retired PTO Minister
- 2 x Lay
- 2 x Churchwardens
- A full
and active PCC.
St Martin’s, Acrise holds Holy Communion and
Matins services on alternate Sundays.
The First Sunday of every month and any
special festivals, Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and Mothering Sunday are all
Holy Communion held at 09:30.
All other weekly services start at 08:45.
With occasional “specials” in the afternoon; examples of these would be Taize
services, Good Friday meditation and passion, 9 lessons and Carols for advent
Worship at the church is led by a local PTO
Minister who as a retired priest offers his services out of love for this
congregation. He would like to continue to offer ministry for as long as he is
able to do so. He is ably supported by two lay ministers.
Services usually follow the Book of Common
Prayer. However alternative forms of worship have been used including; Taize,
Lessons and Carols and Hymn Sandwiches.
All ages are welcome to our services with
children mixing with retired people freely.
The congregation varies depending on the
service start times. The 08:45 services attract an attendance numbering in the
upper 20’s with the 09:30 service attracting in the upper 40’s. Last Christmas
the church was full with an attendance of 60+ worshippers.
Weddings and christenings have been held in
the church over the last year.
St Martin’s, Acrise has a varied social life.
Including the Flower Festival, annual ‘Beating the Bounds’ walk, a patronal
breakfast, annual cycle ride, coffee evenings/mornings, Harvest Festival and
refreshments after Holy Communion.
The congregation offers a healthy plate
collection each week supported by planned giving by standing order. Gift aid is
used by many donors. The main church fund raising events of the year are the
annual flower festival which is held on the first weekend in August each year
and our Christmas church fete which is usually held in Elham village hall. These raise sufficient funds to pay our parish
share in full, maintain our beautiful building and to allow support to
charities each year.
There is an active Friends of St
Martin’s fund raising and support club.
“St Martin’s Church, Acrise, dating back some 900 years, continues to
retain the simplicity and atmosphere of its original early Norman construction.
Comprised of a nave and chancel, topped by massive wooden tie beams and king
posts, it lies quietly hidden from the road. Approached through an avenue of
trees, rooks seemingly act as sentinels, protecting the small church and
ancient yard they have chosen as their home”.
The Elham Deanery has in the last couple of
years been making many changes through pastoral reorganisation. This has been
necessary in order to address a number of sustainability questions across the
The Elham Benefice has been involved in this
along with other rural parishes within the Elham Valley. In addition we have
made a realignment for the parish of Acrise (nearer Folkestone and previously
coupled with Hawkinge which is the site of a rapidly developing ‘small town’).
The result of these changes will achieve the
hamlet parish church of Acrise will join with Elham, Denton and Wootton in
a new multi-parish rural benefice with a population of approximately 3500
- A Group
Ministry will be formed comprising the new Elham Benefice and the present
Lyminge Benefice similarly configured in 3 parishes. The Benefice
population there is approximately 2700
- The new
post delivered by scheme at Elham will be a 0.5 FTE post.
Group will eventually incorporate the further reduction of the Lyminge
post also to a 0.5 FTE post (currently 1 FTE post). This will occur upon
the resignation or retirement of the present incumbent priest. This change
is agreed by both Deanery and Benefice.
new deployment of staff is sustainable and maintains a good missional presence
of stipendiary ministry in the Elham Valley.
Archdeacon has asked that facilitation is offered to the congregations of
the Group Ministry in addressing the formation and development of the
Group. This work has begun and will take time to evolve.
It is essential that clergy interested in
applying for this new 0.5FTE post at Elham have in mind the following ministry
and missional points:
formation of a Group Ministry necessitates the regular meeting together of the
licensed ministers involved for the better sharing and planning of mission
across the area of the Group.
term development of lay ministry across the Group Ministry is essential to the
wellbeing of the ministry and mission of these small village churches. This is
consistent with the aspirational diocesan objective of ‘reimagining ministry’.
ministry skills are essential.
relational skills are essential both in terms of relations within the Group and
Benefice but also in terms of church-village relations. The post requires a
exploration of opportunities in the area of ‘communities and partnership’ is a
priority for the mission of these churches.
in Charge needs to have a passion for growing churches and helping the
congregations to address this as a priority of mission.
Archdeacon of Ashford – March 2015