Working as a Benefice

Much work has been done over the past 5 years to bring the parishes together into a benefice that works well and provides mutual support. All the parishes are committed to making the benefice work and appreciate the benefits of sharing services and activities with other congregations. Some examples of how we work as a benefice are:

 

  • 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 Benefice Communion service, which is rotated round the Churches.
  • Weekly there is a benefice 8am Morning Prayer service at Little Harrowden on three mornings and at Great Harrowden on Fridays.
  • Bi-monthly there is a Said Communion service at 8 am on a Sunday at one of the Churches.
  • Great Harrowden holds a monthly Taize Service for the benefice.
  • We hold shared benefice services to celebrate special festivals e.g. Ascension Day, Ash Wednesday and Advent, and Orlingbury holds an annual service for Pets.
  • Bible Study Groups: there is Benefice 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.
  • We have a benefice youth group called Routz, which meets every other week during term time.

 

  • 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.
  • We have a shared monthly newsletter called Connect 5, which is delivered free to all households in the Benefice and includes Church and Community news.
  • We hold a one week benefice holiday course for children and young people annually, in All Saints’ Church, Pytchley, attended by 60+ children and supported by all the parishes.
  • All the Churches run social and fund raising events and support each other e.g. Great Harrowden and Orlingbury run an Art Exhibition in alternate years and plans are being made for a joint celebration of our first 10 years as Benefice in 2015.