Our five very different village parishes lie between the Northamptonshire towns of Wellingborough and Kettering, in the Wellingborough Deanery.
In the 1960’s, the three Churches of All Saints’ Great Harrowden, St Mary’s Little Harrowden and St Mary’s Orlingbury were joined under one rector. In 2005, All Saints’ Church Pytchley and St Peter’s Church Isham joined the group. The Vicarage is situated in Little Harrowden.
This is a rural area and the villages are mostly surrounded by farmland, although Great Harrowden includes a housing estate on the edge of Wellingborough. There are a few small companies, but no major employers. A number of people work wholly or partly from home. Orlingbury has a wonderful coffee shop, and the villages also share 4 pubs and a club between them, as well as three cricket clubs!
Isham and Pytchley have Church of England primary schools, and Little Harrowden has a primary school with strong links to the Church. All the schools have good OFSTED reports and the Rector takes services at all 3 schools.
Much work has been done to bring the parishes together to provide mutual support. All the parishes are committed to making the group work and appreciate the benefits of sharing services and activities with other congregations.
Please note most regular in-person activities are currently suspended during the Covid-19 emergency. However typically these activities go on around the five villages.
- Administration: we share a part time administrator, who is based at the Vicarage and assists the Rector with benefice administration, arranging services, completing returns and producing our newsletters. There is a benefice photocopier based at the Vicarage.
- We worship as a benefice on the third Sunday each month when the congregations come together for a shared Communion service, which is rotated round the Churches.
- We hold shared services to celebrate special festivals e.g. Ascension Day, Ash Wednesday and Advent, and Orlingbury and Pytchley hold an annual service for Pets.
- Bible Study Groups: there is a Group which meets monthly in Orlingbury.
- Lent Groups: each year there are study groups during Lent.
- The Benefice runs courses as need e.g. Alpha, Marriage preparation and Christianity explored, as well as Confirmation classes.
- Little Fishes, the benefice group for Mums and Tots, meets weekly on Mondays at St Mary’s Little Harrowden for a mini service, activities, chat and snacks.
- The benefice Mothers’ Union meets monthly in one of the Churches and plays an important role in supporting families preparing for baptism.
- St Mary’s Little Harrowden hosts a monthly benefice Men’s Breakfast for discussion and a ‘full English’
- The churchwardens of the 5 parishes meet 4-5 times per year with the Rector, to discuss the administration of the benefice and to share ideas and issues.
- The benefice has shared policies for Safeguarding, Baptism and Health and Safety.
- We have a benefice website at www.5churches.co.uk which links the five churches providing shared information about the parishes. And the Facebook Page.
- We have a shared newsletter called Connect 5, which is delivered free to all households in the Benefice every other month and includes Church and Community news.
- All the Churches run social and fund raising events and support each other