Mease Valley Churches
Jesus Christ lies at the heart of our worship…’To know Christ and Him crucified’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2). The death of Jesus on the cross was the single most important act in human history. Without his death, we would have no lasting hope of any kind. For the apostle Paul, like other writers of the New Testament, the cross of Christ represented salvation itself.
Our part of the Kingdom of God consists of 5 principal worshipping communities along with 2 estate churches. We are part of the wider ‘family’ of the Diocese of Lichfield collaborating under the diocesan ‘Covenanting Parishes’ initiative and became a single benefice in 2015. ‘The Mease Valley Benefice’.
A team comprising clergy and lay representation of each of the principal churches provides leadership on spiritual matters and common issues relating to the benefice. Each or our four parishes retains its own Parochial Church Council.
A range of styles of worship at Sunday services is offered, ranging from traditional Book of Common Prayer to contemporary informal services with modern choruses. Parishioners regularly come together in joint services, held at each of the churches on a rotational basis, which may be jointly clergy and lay led. Church members are encouraged to actively participate in the delivery of worship by reading scripture and leading prayers.
Weekdays provide opportunities for Morning Prayer in 2 churches, 2 weekly home based informal groups, open to all, which meet for a short time of worship, followed by Bible study prepared by one of the Group Leaders and include a time for sharing, refreshments and fellowship. Group members are encouraged to increase their numbers by sharing their faith and inviting individuals from the local community to attend. A monthly ‘knit and natter’ group produces beautiful baby clothes for a charity in South Africa and the monthly men’s breakfast meets in a local pub on a Saturday morning for worship, discussion and ‘fried stuff.’
Prayer life within the benefice has been sustained by the ‘Prayer Group’ meeting monthly and feeding the ‘prayer chains’ which operate across the benefice. This group is having a break at present while looking for new members. Prayer cards are left in each church together with invitations for prayer requests and offered during a service of worship.
Occasional themed ‘quiet days’ are held in one of the churches and particularly lend themselves to events requiring space and the environment for silent reflection and contemplation. During daylight hours all our churches are open for private visits and prayer. Historical information is available for visitors to these beautiful buildings.
A particular focus of church life in the Mease Valley is the strong relationship between the Church and the 3 primary schools within the valley. School Assemblies are taken weekly in two of our schools, St. Andrews CofE school, Clifton Campville and The Mary Howard, Edingale. These are lead by a church leader and services are held in three of our churches on a regular basis for each school. An after-school club with a Christian theme is run by church volunteers at the Howard School, Elford and is well attended.
Each church remains a focal part of village life and pastoral care of residents is a key part our local ministry. Each churchyard is well maintained by church members and villagers or by contract for the larger churches.
The churches remain popular with wedding couples. Church bells are feature of St Peter’s and are rung at most services by the ‘bell-ringing’ team. St Peter’s and St Andrew’s churches serve as venues for fund raising events such as concerts, and the recently installed facilities at St Andrew’s means that events including concerts, craft fairs and small-scale suppers are readily accommodated.