Old News ......

Please see below for some of our older news stories.

Rectors Letter from September's St Andrew's Parish Magazine on the Re-ordereding Scheme and the removal of the Box pews.

In August I was able to visit the Beamish Museum. Project officer, John, took me over to St. Helen’s Church, a redundant building dating from 1822, which they have rebuilt within the grounds. I met Paul, who did the stonework and was busy with the Churchyard wall, and I saw dozens of tourists enjoying a great day out.

The Museum is the 14th top attraction in the UK and the most visited place in the North East after Durham cathedral. The 450 acre site includes a high street with houses and olde worlde shops, a farm, school, park, funfair, cricket pitch, tramway, horse and cart rides, a coal mine and much more.

The Church is the latest addition and is being beautifully restored. It houses several interesting items from various places including stone carvings, a gallery, bells, pulpit, communion table, chancel, vestry, wood stove,weighted candelabras and even a preaching cross outside. All they now need is some Georgian box pews!


In the year 2000, our former Churchwarden, the late Dixon Luxton, wrote to the Chancellor of Bath and Wells for advice concerning our 1922 Faculty to ‘reseat the Church’. He replied that a new application should be made and, if permission were to be given to remove any box pews, ‘enquires should be made as to whether they can be preserved elsewhere’. A few days after my August visit, the Chancellor (still in post after 15 years) issued a license authorizing the ‘gift to the trustees of the Beamish Museum the collection of box pews with the exception of the eight rows to be retained at the back of the

This ‘happy solution’, as the Curator, Jim Rees, calls it, originated with an appeal put out by the museum nearly three years ago and has proved the key to the progress St. Andrew’s ‘re-ordering scheme’. After 15 years of plans, consultations, advice and modifications, we can at last begin to make our impressive Church building more versatile and user friendly.
The pews are due to be removed during October and it is likely that we will need install temporary seating for a few weeks or months as we decide which chairs to buyand wait for delivery. At the same time we will make a plan regarding the order in which the different parts of our scheme can be tackled. We can also begin fundraising – something we could not do until we knew what we might be allowed to do.


Inevitably some will be disappointed with what has been agreed. Some will wish more pews could be removed, while others will be sad, even upset, at the change. Yet Simon of English Heritage, now called ‘Historic England, has said: “I do feel that the scheme that has now been arrived at represents a balance, accommodating the changes required whilst also respecting the national significance of this important listed building.”

In the 5th Century before Christ, the prophet Haggai reassured those who were still grieving over the loss of their earlier temple that the new temple would be even better. That is our intention at St. Andrew’s - that we will be able to make it more beautiful, more accessible, more welcoming, and more suitable as a place of God’s life and peace for the whole community, for many generations to come.

David Widdows

Celebrate Christmas 2011

This year fo the second year running we put on a combined children's nativity service and carol concert. An incredible sucess once again everybody enjoyed the mix of children's performace with classic carols. We look forward to next years event.


Rememberance Service 2011

A classic service in Wiveliscombe the rememberance service in Wiveliscombe was well attended bringing the scout and guide groups into the churh for their annual parade. An opportunity to bring the oldest and youngest groups together within the town the minutes silnet is always an poignant event.


Harvest Supper 2011

Our harvest supper annual barn dance is a firm favorite for the whole congregation both young and old. Hosted at the school everybody seems to have a greate time and it is a great time of fellowship between all goups of friends within the church family.


October 2011 - New Plans for Family Worship

In October 2011 we launched our new style seating arrangemnets for the family service with everybody sat together at the front of the church and all the children sat in the middle. A great sucess one parent was quotes saying "it was the first time I have ever truly felt part of a service". Be sure to come along on the 3rd Sunday of the month to experince this new arrangement.


Baptism Austin Leigh Firbank May 2011

....... and another one ...... welcome welcome welcome .......


Palm Sunday Service

Donkeys Donkeys Donkeys ! - everybody loves the donkeys and they brought a great turn out into the square for brief service followed by a procession from the square into the church for the rest of the service.

Baptism William Barrington April 2011

Families are always welcome at St Andrew's especially when they bring children to be baptised into our church family. The Barrington family brought William to be baptised during April and was supported by many friends and family. We welcome him to St Andrew's.

St Andrew's New PCC for 2011

Following a successful and positive AGM St Andrew's PCC welcomed two new members following the departure of Geraldine Ingram and Clive North. New members Richard Newby and Delwyn Bunting ensure numbers stay constant and we welcome them to the PCC hoping we can continue to work closely together. Our thanks also go to Geraldine and Clive for their dedicated work and membership of the PCC over the years.

Baptism of HAYLEY and KIAN Rowe March 2011In March 2011 not only did James and Hayley bring their son Kian along to join the St Andrews church family but after several years as a dedicated tiddler Mum and the baptism of Jonathan Haley also decided to take the step and be baptised at the same time. We welcome them all with love and prayers.

Baptism of Grace Smith - January 2011 Family ServiceOne of our own was baptised in our January family service. Grace Elizabeth Smith daughter of Stuart and Katie who help lead our children's groups and worship brought a church full of friends and family to welcome their daughter into the church family. A real star performer Grace took it all in her stride and beamed throughout her big moment. We all welcome Grace into our church family and pray that she grows strong in the Christian faith along whatever path God chooses for her.

Christmas Nativity and Carol Concert at St Andrew's 2011Those that braved the cold and snow in December were in for a treat at St Andrew's with the combined Carol Concert and Nativity Play. We may have been a few characters and choir members who couldn't make it due to the snow but everybody came together to put on a fantastic performance which was enjoyed by an almost full church. Click here for a short (and shaky) video.

Messy Advent 2010 - What an Event!

Messy Advent at St Andrew's brought a congregation of young and old to join together in 'Messy' activities including making advent candle wreaths, decorated angel cakes, ping pong ball angels, and donkey dung modeling, donkeys. Lots of mess was also enjoyed by all with making your mark in shaving foam and play dough. The band then led a series of songs to get us all moving including God Loves Me, God's People Aren't Superheros and Give me Joy in my heart.

The session was followed off by a group 'tea' in the crypt of hotdogs and cake! All in all a fantastic event enjoyed by everybody across the church family. Watch this space for more Messy church activities!

Revd Canon Ian Hardaker

We are very sad to announce that Ian died peacefully and prayerfully at home last Sunday evening. Ian has been a wonderful support to the Christian ministry in Wiveliscombe and the Hills during his years of retirement and it was very special to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination in June at St. Andrew‟s. The rapid progression of his final illness has been a shock to us all and naturally our thoughts and prayers go out to Sue and the family at this time.

Ian will be brought in to St. Andrew‟s Church at 6.00pm on Thursday 18th November, when a private family Compline will be said. The funeral service will be at 2.00pm on Friday 19th November, followed by a quiet family burial at St. Peter‟s, Huish Champflower. Refreshments will be served in St.Andrew‟s after the service, and Ian‟s family hope everyone will stay to meet them on their return from the burial.


Messy AdventFollowing success of the Family Service at St Andrew's and the great community spirit that was in the church mixing all ages of the congregation and mixing old and contemporary styles of worship we move onto our next great event which will be Messy Advent. Based on the acclaimed Messy Church formula all members of the church family are welcome to join in with messy activities together! We hope you will all be able to join us in what will be something unique for St Andrews.

Bible ExplorersExplorers will be studying the OT book of Ecclesiastes between now and Christmas.
Dates: Nov 9th and 23rd, Dec 7th and 21st.
Time: 7.30 pm.
Venue: For November the venue will by kind invitation be 25, Spring Gardens, Wiveliscombe, the home of Mr and Mrs Matcham. For December; please look out for info in weekly flyer or call Vigdis directly on 01984 623869. .


Puppet Ministry and Worship Band (October 17th 2010)

There was a great warmth of noise and enthusiasm as everybody enjoyed themselves at the October family Service. The congregation both young and old were entertained by puppets from St. Andrew’s Church Cullompton and our own Worship Band which played a mixture of old and new songs. The theme of the Service was what it means to be a Christian and the talk following the puppet show was given by Wayne Hackman. Children and Families Minister from Cullompton. He reminded the congregation of the points made by the puppets and their relevance to our Christian beliefs.

William Amphlett [aged 10] said “I really enjoyed the puppets and his sister Katharine [aged 11] added “I though the puppets were really fun and I’m looking forward to them coming back to St Andrew’s”

Samm Gee brought her three young children along and said “It was wonderful to see the Church so full and especially so many children there. Everyone clapping, smiling and even dancing at the end made for such a fantastic atmosphere”

The new Priest-in-Charge Revd. David Widdows added “the puppets could be a difficult act to follow but everyone felt it was really refreshing to see so many new faces in the congregation for this special event; particularly the younger ones”.

We hope the puppets will reinvigorate all members of the church family in Wiveliscombe and remind us how we need to join together as a church family to worship God. We all look forward to Messy Advent in November where we hope we can continue to worship together as a church family.

Harvest Supper October 2010
Dancing, food and great company were enjoyed by many members of the St Andrew's church family at the Harvest Supper and Barn Dance in the Primary School on the 16th October. A great event enjoyed by all which really got everybody buzzing before the puppets took over our family service. Hopefully this is one event that we will be repeating for many years to come!

Zambian Exchange
As many in Wivey will know Kingsmead have formed an exchange with a local school in Zambia and we all look forward to when the Zambians come over as they join our worship whilst also showing us all their style of worship with great signing and dancing. An event we all enjoy and look forward to being repeated again.

Baptism of Dougal Gee Families are always welcome at St Andrew's especially when they bring children to be baptised into our church family. In an action packed September Family Service the Gee family brought their third child Dougal George John Sadler Gee to be baptised we welcome him to St Andrew's.

New Benefice Signed and Sealed

After a number of months and years’ discussion and gradual reconfiguration of the parishes in the Tone Deanery, the legal processes were completed and signed on September 21st. The new benefice of Wiveliscombe with Brompton Ralph, Chipstable with Raddington, Clatworthy, Huish Champflower and Tolland officially came into being on October 1st!
Perhaps we should have a party !


Special Family Service in Wivey - 17th October
Come and join us for a special family service in Wivey with Puppet Ministry and Worship Band!
for more information contact Alan on 01984 629030 alan@wiveychurches.corg.uk . Guaranteed to be something completely different which will be loved by all both young and old!

Tolland ConcertAs promised extra details of the concert at Tolland are now available. If you would like to go booking early is highly recommended!


Friday 1st October 2010

Starting at 7.30pm


• Ensembles and soloists from Taunton School in a variety of music styles
• Tolland’s Jules Reason, composer and performer


£10 in advance (£12.50 on the door), which includes a glass of wine and canapés after the concert. Children welcome at half price.

To reserve seats, please ring Fiona Racher on 01984 667566 email: martin.racher@virgin.net or
Caroline Longstreet on 01984 667460 email: caroline.longstreet@tiscali.co.uk


Summer Events across the benefice
Summer is here and with it the usual list of events across the benefice aimed at getting people together, building the community, raising money and above all enjoying themselves.

Two events to note and watch this space as there will be more to come are:-


Friday 1st October - Autumn Concert at Tolland Church, with the Taunton School Choir.
(more details to follow or contact Beverlie Atkins)

Community Coffee Morning

Come along to the at the Waterrow Church Hall for a
morning of catching up with the gossip and village
news with friends over a sociable coffee (or tea) and cake.

Proceeds in aid of Chipstable Parish Community Hall”

Face painting for the children (or young at heart)
Plant Stall,
Bric a Brac and Book Stall
Cake Stall (including guess the weight)

26th July Licensing Service for David Widdows26th July was a special day at Wivey and the Hills and over 300 people crowded into St Andrews for the licensing service of David Widdows our new Priest in Charge and Rector Designate. This was a fantastic service supported musically by the combined choirs and the St Andrews Church Band followed by nibbles and drinks. Hopefully it gave David a taste of a Wivey welcome and showed him the enthusiasm and passion of the family of the church in his new benefice. We welcome him with open hearts and minds.

Weddings and Baptisms!Summer seems to have been a busy period and in St Andrews we were blessed with a wedding and double baptism which was officiated by Helene Steiner from Milverton. We welcome these news member to our church family both young and old and hope they will grow with us in faith.

July 2010 - Chill Refresh and Revive with SNAZ at Wimbleball Lake

”On 3-4 July SNAZ spent 24 hours away at Wimbleball Lake, camping overnight & enjoying the sunshine. The weekend’s theme was ‘Chill, Refresh, Revive’ and we re-told some of the stories of Jesus and followers beside the lake. Helene Stainer joined us on Saturday night as we shared an agape meal on the lakeside.” The photos below tell the story from our happy campers with their cool blankets, to the tent city erected for one night and relaxing by the lake.

Pet Service at TollandA firm favorite with the local residents both human and canine alike the annual pet service was held in Tolland Church during June. The article below for the parish magazine written by one of the participants (!) sums up the event perfectly. Watch this space for news of other alternative services as they happen throughout the benefice
It was a lovely sunny day and I awoke excited and full of anticipation for what I consider the best day of the year - the pet service where in past years, I have had much fun with other canines of the village and surrounding area. This year dogs were again well represented with terriers (3 of us) in a slight majority over collies (2), jack russells (1) and black labs (1). I kept my distance as have a tendency to argue with the latter but although I say it myself I was rather better behaved than two years ago when I slipped my collar and chased the large but friendly Irish wolfhound around the graveyard during the service…

Brother John officiated. Nice chap, talked about the unconditional love us pets give our owners which of course is what we are all about and it‘s nice to have that bit of public recognition.
We then trooped outside and he came around and blessed us all individually. What’s more didn’t seem to mind a variety of welcomes from us canines - mine was in the form of a slobbery lick which always goes down well. Gertie was a bit noisy in Church but she likes a good sing-song so no-one much minded. I had my eye on that very good-looking jack russell but she departed before I could have a chat, maybe next year?

With thanks to all the owners for taking us along for our special day and to Brother John of course for conducting such a fun service. We’ll be back for more!

Archiebald Arthur (of Tolland)

Family Services Autumn 2010In exciting developments a full program of activities are planned for the Autumn run of family services in Wiveliscombe.
  • September - Zambian exchange students singing, praising and all worships together
  • October - Puppet Ministry from St Andrews Church Cullompton
  • November - not part of the family service but something new is coming!!!!
Come along and join us in praising and worshiping God together.



In June we were blessed with another Baptism young Harvey Batten was welcomed into our church family in a lovely service to a full church led by Ian Ainsworth Smith. Welcome to the family Harvey may your future life and member of the family of the church be rewarding and full of happiness.

Happy Birthday to the Church 2010 "Pentecost in St Andrews"Celebrating the traditional church birthday in St Andrews was done is the usual way of decorating (and eating) a cake. With many thanks to Anne Summerfield who prepared the cake little hands made light work of decorating the celebration cake for Pentecost in the traditional red colour. Childrens' activities that day were also slightly different with a party theme with balloons and party games.

And whilst the children decorated the cake it wasn't all them that polished it off with the rest of the church joining in the party by eating it!

2010 Spring Harvest "Different Eyes"Spring Harvest this year was a popular place for Wiveyites. The Swan family joined Cullompton Church and spend week 2 there to be joined for the day by a number of the SNAZ crew plus old friends back from university. To complete the gathering Stuart and Katie Smith also came along for one of the evening celebrations.

Everybody enjoyed their time there sharing worship, fun, laughter and education with thousands of other Christians. If anybody is interested in Spring Harvest in the future (and it is an event that is fully accessible to all) check out their fantastic website!

2010 Palm Sunday Festivities - He is the Messiah!

Celebrating Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back on a Colt the son of a Donkey thus fulfilling the Old Testament Prophesy from Zechariah “See your king come to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a Donkey, on a Colt, the son of a Donkey” the crowds of Wivey gathered on a cold and what seemed like a very early Sunday morning to walk with our visitor donkeys Honey and Jenny. Following brief words by Alison Vercoe the choir and members of the congregation both young and old enjoying making the journey from the square to the church where they were welcomed in.

St Andrews PCC 2010

Continuing to provide support for the St Andrews whilst we are without and incumbent priest the St Andrews PCC were reelected in March in an lively AGM chaired by Dixon Luxton which was attended by many non PCC members. Everybody will be pleased to note that all positions are filled and there are no changes to the general personnel so hopefully the excellent service shall continue as usual.

Baptism JAMIE LEE HANNAFORDBabies, Babies, Babies they just keep on coming at St Andrews and in March we celebrated the baptism of another Jamie Lee Hannaford who was joined by his family including his big brother who proudly help his candle for him. Welcome to the family Jamie!

STOP PRESS ......... Appointment of Priest-in-charge and Rector designate for our Benefice Parishes of Wiveliscombe with Langley Marsh, Chipstable with Raddington, Huish Champflower, Clatworthy, Tolland and Brompton Ralph.

We are delighted to announce that the Revd David Widdows has been appointed by the Bishop as Priest-in-charge and Rector designate for our Benefice of Wiveliscombe and The Hills.

David is currently the Senior Chaplin at Lee Abbey in Devon http://www.leeabbey.org.uk/devon/ and will be coming with his wife Becky to live and minister amongst us in July. Many of you have already had an opportunity to meet with David and Becky when they visited and stayed in the Benefice last month. They both felt a strong call to come and serve here and we believe we are going to be enormously blessed by their ministry.

David’s institution will take place at St Andrew’s on Monday 26th July, 7pm with the Bishop of Taunton and you are all invited to be part of this special service of welcome.


SNAZ Programme Spring 2010

SNAZ is for young people 11-18 (school year 7+) and run by youth leaders from St Andrew’s Church, Wiveliscombe and St Michael’s Church, Milverton.

First Baptism of 2010 - Ruan

Christmas and the fact that we do not have a vicar does not stop the churn of Baptisms at St Andrews and on the January 3rd little Ruan was baptised as a member of the church family by an old friend the Rev Andrews Norris formerly of Milverton.

December 09 - Family Service

As is now traditional at St Andrews the last family service the All Sorts children get to have a go and are led by Alison Vercoe in delivery of a Christmas play. Challenged this year by a much younger cast Alison went with a simple nativity play which was enjoyed by all and really set off the start of the Christmas season of services.

St Andrew's Church Christmas Bazaar - 18th December 2009

Food drink, music, shopping, entertainment and a warm church welcomed a full church just prior to Christmas. A good time was had by all and much needed monies were raised for the church.

All Sorts Party - 13/12/09

The Christmas party session is now on and all our groups are celebrating in their own way. Sundays All Sorts is no exception and they held their party on the 13th December with 8 children attending a special session with games, plays and food! Sunday All Sorts is held every Sunday during term time during the main part of the service for 5-11 year olds, everybody is welcome.

Posada Family 2009 Benefice Tour - 2 weeks on the road (13/12/2009)

After a week spent traveling new abodes and visiting the dizzy heights that can only be experienced in Tolland the Poasda family have returned to Wivvey and the home of the Smiths for a brief respite but the journey doesn't end there they are straight back out to the hills tonight to continue their epic tour.

Posada Family 2009 Benefice Tour - 1 week on the road (6/12/2009)

So far the journey has been short as they have traveled around Wiveliscombe. They have so far visited Nordens Meadow, Lion D'Anger, Culverhead Lodge and tonight are being looked after in Maundowm before traveling tomorrow to Tolland.

The Posada Family

Our set of wooden nativity figures have now begun their journey around the Benefice. They left St Andrew's with the Amphlett family at the Advent Carol service on 29th November and are planning to visit a different home every night. Check back here for photo updates of the grand benefice tour.
The Posada Family is a great way to get to know your fellow church members you collect the family and invite the next family into your house the next evening to continue the journey. There is a fantastic text that goes with the family which is said as the link is made. For the text and more information please click here.


Christmas Event ........18th December 2009

For all of your Christmas shopping needs as well as a thoroughly enjoyable evening over a glass of wine and a mince pie please come along to the St Andrew's Church Christmas Bazaar.
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The advert is in!!! - December 2009

After what has seemed like an age since the Owens left the advert for a new priest in charge has appeared in the Church times. With a closing date for applicants of the 11th January we'd better hope and pray that people realise what a great opportunity we have here in Somerset. The final comments a "GSOH and reversing skills" are very relevant give
n the width of the country lanes that link our rural churches! For those that are interested the Benefice Profile which gives more details on the vacancy can be found here.
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Remembrance Services - November 2009

On the 8th November many of churches held remembrance services this service at Chipstaple was one of many such moving occasions and we draw together as a country to remember.

8th November - St Andrew's Baptism

A glorious welcome to the church family was given to Ethan and Elizabeth at St Andrews on the 8th November. The service on the 8th October was led by the Rev Josie Harrison and was well attended by the family and the congregation.

8 young people confirmed at St Michael’s Milverton

Congratulations to the 8 young people who were confirmed by Bishop Peter Maurice on the 29th October at St Michael’s Church in Milverton. In the lead up to the special service the group of young people met over 6 weeks in Cotford St Luke, giving them the opportunity to explore their faith in God and step of confirmation together, with sessions led by Rev Alison Norris, Rev Helene Stainer & Andy Levett. The young people come from various churches in the Deanery—St Peter & St Paul Runnington, All Saints Rockwell Green, St Andrew’s Wiveliscombe and St Michael’s Milverton — and we celebrate with them in taking this step of faith

11th October 2009 - St Andrew's Harvest Festival

Cakes, tea and an aution of produce brought in waves of additional visitors to the St Andrew's Harvest Festival on the 11th October. Led by Ian Ainsworth Smith the traditional serves was very well attended and most people stayed behind for coffee cakes, a friendly chat and the chance to take home some of the local produce. As part of the Operation Christmas Child initive childrens and adults made up a shoebox of childrens gifts to send to children across the world.

5th October 2009 - New Lay Reader

After what has probably seemed like an eternity training Vigdis Adams has now been licensed as a Lay Reader for the Wiveliscombe Benefice joining a relieved Martin Valuks who for several years has been our only Reader. Vigdis was joined on her big day by friends and family including supporters from both Chipstaple and Wiveliscombe parishes. We all thank Vigdis for joining our leadership team and wish her well as starts to support more of our services.

St Andrew's Parish Profile Now Available!!!

After much though and prayer the Parish Profile for St Andrew’s and St Luke’s has now been prepared and can be found on our year of opportunity page. For those of you that don’t know what a Parish Profile is it sets out what the congregation thinks of it self to a potential new priest. It also sets out what the congregation feels are their strengths, weaknesses and hopes together with what they are looking for a new Priest to do. An important document which will sell the church to potential new priests it will eventually be brought together with the profiles from the other parishes to form a benefice profile. Lets hope that the profile will attract the sort of priest that will serve all of our requirements!


The hunt for a new church leader goes on

For an update on how we are getting on searching for a new church leader please check out our year of opportunity page.


New Website - 23rd September

After much prayer, thought, work and patience with an exceedingly frustrating piece of software I have managed to put together what I consider to be an acceptable website for the church in Wiveliscombe and the Hills going forward into a new era. It isn't perfect I grant you and there are many things which could be done better. If anybody has anything to add or make suggestions for what they want please e-mail me.... Alan

Contact us today!

If you would like to contact the PCC please e-mail the secretary  or one of the church wardens

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Alan Swan