North Hampshire Downs Benefice
The North Hampshire Downs Benefice (NHDB) was formed in June 2008 when 8 parishes and 12 village churches were brought together in one benefice, part of the Odiham Deanery within the Diocese of Winchester.
The latest edition of the monthly newsletter The Villager, which serves the communities of the five churches in the United Parish (Greywell, Mapledurwell, Nately Scures, Newnham and Up Nately) is available here; and the Parish Magazine for the four churches Herriard, Tunworth, Upton Grey and Weston Patrick may be viewed or downloaded here.
The benefice gives the small church communities the benefit of being able to share resources and offer a richer tapestry of worship, teaching and pastoral care to those who would like it. The clergy and lay leaders of the benefice are able to support one another, and the provision of local cover for sickness and holidays means that there is nearly always a familiar face leading worship on a Sunday.
Within the benefice there is daily prayer, regular Sunday and weekday services, preparation for baptism (christening), marriage, funerals and confirmation, prayer and Bible study groups, Christian teaching, children’s and youth activities, pastoral care, involvement with each local community, four parish magazines, a branch of the Mothers’ Union, and together we support Hoima, a town in Uganda.
We aim to ensure a vibrant and open church presence in each of our 12 villages, with a particular clergyperson responsible for each particular church or group of churches:
St Mary Herriard
All Saints Tunworth
St Mary Upton Grey
St Lawrence Weston PatrickThe Revd Simon Butler, Benefice Rector, 01256 861706
All Saints Long Sutton
St Andrew South WarnboroughThe Revd Mary-Beth Hawrish, 01256 861758
The United Parish, comprising
St Mary Greywell
St Mary Mapledurwell
St Swithun Nately Scures
St Nicholas Newnham
St Stephen Up NatelyThe Revd Linda Scard, 01256 704835
All Saints OdihamThe Revd Alison Brown, Associate Benefice Rector, 01256 703220
The Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) serving within the benefice are:Alan Hoar, 01256 395077
Jill Lestrille, 01256 862131
Peter Moore, 01256 703085
There is a benefice leadership team consisting of Clergy and LLMs, and each church is represented on a Benefice Council which meets twice a year. The Clergy meet together for morning prayer on a daily basis.
The administration of the benefice and its churches is supported by Sonja Smedley and Sian Taylor.
Our village churches are a visible sign of God’s presence in our villages over many centuries. Changes in society mean that some adjustments have to be made in the ways we organise ourselves, but our village churches will always be the main focus of local church activity. Their very presence is a reminder of our past and a symbol of hope for the future. The following take place at the local parish church level: regular Sunday services, baptism, marriage and funerals, house groups, Sunday clubs, youth clubs, Mums & Toddler groups, parish magazines and pastoral care.
At the same time we combine for those activities which can be more effective when done together: organising special services; Lent, Alpha and other training courses; supporting the people of Hoima in Uganda; communications; and Mothers’ Union.
As a benefice and as part of the Church of England we believe in an open and inclusive church trying to reflect the openness and love of Jesus Christ, where everyone is welcome in any of our churches and to any of our events. This open inclusive approach is reflected in the Baptism and Marriage policies across all our churches.
If you would like to know more, please contact any of the Clergy or LLMs set out above.