St. Stephen's Church,


Open air Benefice Service held in August

Easter Services-2021

Click HERE 



Sadly we are in the opening days of a new Lockdown.  The Pandemic statistics are grim reading and the numbers of people in hospital and with Covid-19 are at the highest at any point so far.  Thankfully, a light that shines in the darkness is the roll out of the vaccines and we keep that process, all involved with it, and all receiving it, in our prayers.  May it be speedy, safe, and effective.


Covid-19 is in our area, and not insignificantly.  It is a very real threat to all of us.  The core message of the new lockdown is clear – we must all stay at home if at all possible.


Unlike in previous lockdowns, the government has not chosen to close the church buildings.  Instead, that decision has been left to churches themselves, to take in view of local context. 


Yesterday I discussed and considered our response with Churchwardens and the Area Dean, taking into account our core congregation demographic, advice from the Diocese, and the tenet of the lockdown that has started.  Here is a link to the letter recently sent from Bishop Ruth -


I have therefore agreed in principle that until further notice we are suspending all public worship in churches, which includes all Sunday services and midweek Holy Communions.  I have also attended a Zoom meeting for the Archdeaconry this afternoon and can confirm that this is very much the position for the great majority of churches in the Diocese.  I will be writing to PCC members tomorrow for their formal consent to the suspension.  


However, we will endeavour to keep churches open once a week, as we have been doing, for private prayer.  This time is only for people to be able to sit in the church building for their own devotions.


It is imperative that in these times we keep ourselves and each other as safe as possible. 


Here is a summary of the general lockdown conditions that we must all observe except where specific exemptions apply (such as ‘bubbles’):


·       Everyone must stay at home.

·       If working, this should be from home only if possible.

·       Exercise outside should start and finish from your home.

·       We can only meet with one other person outside our homes.

·       We cannot make home visits to others either inside or outside.

·       We should not be travelling outside of our villages unless absolutely necessary.


Here is a link to the detailed wording:


With regards to visiting a church for private prayer, please follow instructions as published in the churches but taking particular care as to the following:


·       Do not visit with anyone from outside your own household.

·       Do not attend if you are unwell in any way

·       There must be a 2m social distance between you and others at all times

·       There must be no interaction with others.


Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals:


In line with the lockdown restrictions we will only offer weddings and baptisms on an emergency basis and with numbers limited to 6 attending.


Funerals are able to take place as more recently in the pandemic, and numbers allowed will be assessed on a church-by-church basis at 2m social distancing up to the maximum allowed ‘cap’ of 30. 


Online Church


Although we are not able to worship together in church, we can do so remotely.  A Sunday service will be available each week online, alternating weekly as a live Zoom service and pre-recorded video service.  There will also be our normal Thursday evening Zoom services during term-time. 





Upcoming online worship is as follows:


Thursday Evening Zoom: 


7:30pm on 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th January.


Meeting ID: 761 0841 9112

Passcode: twoshires


Sunday Worship:


10 January – Live Zoom

17 January – Video

24 January – Live Zoom

31 January – Video


Sunday Zoom link:


Meeting ID: 759 1823 9934

Passcode: twoshires


Live Sunday services will also be recorded and uploaded as video for those not able to access Zoom.


All Service videos are available at:






Thank you to everyone for everything we were able to do in the Benefice over Advent and Christmas.  It was a very different season, and I very much hope and pray that this year we will be able to be in the same places at the same times in ways that we couldn’t in 2020.  That said, it was truly wonderful how all five churches worked hard to have nativity displays that people could access at all times, and with such variance, creativity and generosity.  The weather undid two of the four planned outdoor carols events, but those that happened did so in good spirits and sang boldly.  Thank you also to the merry band of helpers who helped us deliver bags of comfort and joy on Christmas Day across the villages. 




All churches continue to be open during the week for an hour for private individual prayer.  This will be kept under constant review in light of the Lockdown.


Wednesdays – Tatworth, Cricket Malherbie & Thorncombe at 11am

Thursdays – Chaffcombe & Winsham at 11am



Prayer Requests:


·       The schools as they move to remote learning, and for school children and students in these times.

·       Those organizing and delivering vaccines.

·       Those suffering with Covid or in isolation at this time.



We also pray for those we know who are sick, and those we don’t know, including those we are asked to pray by name for:


Bishop Peter Hancock; Hannah Knott; Rob Allen; Lynne and Bruce Applegarth; Phyllis Baker; Margaret Bandy; Sue Bennett; Sue Cheese; Terry Conway; Nick Frankau; David Goodwill; Mike Heywood; Joy Howard; Ann Jarvis; Frank Long; Peter McHugh;  Diana Rowlands; Ann Ricketts; Jim Tucker; Rosemary Walley; Rosemary Walton; Vivien Wheaton; Alan Wills, Anna Woodward; Pamala Young; Milly granddaughter of Jane & Alan Rudkin; Gillian Muggeridge; Chris Gould; Brian Griffiths; Peter Hathway; Dorothy Down; Brian Turner; Max Woehrle; Michael Mutch; Kelvin Yendell; Winnie Barge.





Our Big Community Scrap Book

Click HERE for details


Click HERE to return to Home page