St. Stephen's Church,


Open air Benefice Service

Visit Winsham Web Museum for more information about St. Stephen's long history. Click HERE


Pictures by David Vickers

Outdoor Carol Service-Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 4.00pm
Due to the threat of the Covid virus, the Carol service was held out doors. The congregation was rewarded with fine, if cold weather.
It was followed by a visit to Tony and Jean Meech , at their home in Back Street. Tony, now into his nineties, had been a member of the St Stephen's choir, since the age of nine, only to retire in his ninetieth year. Not quite so mobile these days, a visit to his home ensuring that he could still enjoy the carols was a very nice thing to do.
Tony is a very talented musician, with great keyboard skills. Tony's last public appearance was at the party of the Winsham Parish Council to celebrate its 120th Anniversary in 2014. Click HERE if you would like to know more

Covid Response-Friday 10th December-From Rev. Philip Butcher -Rector

Dear all


Yesterday the Church of England provided their updated guidance for churches following the implementation of 'Plan B' by the Government.  With effect from today (Friday 10th Dec) we must wear face masks (unless specifically exempt) when attending any church.  


It is my responsibility as the Incumbent to decide what additional measures we take as Parish Churches, taking into consideration the wider recommendations of the Government and of the Church of England.  Therefore, I request the following:



  • Face masks must be worn by all people in church and church buildings (this is now mandatory).  There are certain exemptions, which you can find on the link at the end of this email.
  • Hand Sanitiser should be used on arriving and on leaving church.
  • Social distancing of 1m+ is preferable in both standing and sitting congregations. 
  • Congregations can sing in church, but should continue to wear masks.
  • Choirs, readers, service leaders and performers do not need to mask provided they are appropriately distanced from each other and the congregation.
  • Refreshments can be served, but please do not offer shared plates, and those serving must wear masks and hand sanitise as often as possible.
  • Please avoid physical contact with others. 
  • The above also relates to groups and activities happening on church property.


Lateral Flow Tests


With the size and uses of our churches we do need to bring in COVID passports or request proof of negative Lateral Flow Tests (LFT).  However, it is good practice for everyone to be testing themselves regularly with a LFT, and you are entitled to collect free kits from pharmacies.  It is recommended guidance to consider taking a LFT before attending a gathering of people from outside your household.


Bell Ringing


Bell ringing can continue, and it is up to each tower to make their own risk assessment and decide what is safe for them.  The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) have specific guidance in that regard.


Meetings and Church Business


'Plan B' requires those who can work from home now to do so.  Therefore, during this phase I am recommending that where possible meetings and discussions should happen remotely through online means, telephone or email.


Pastoral Visiting (including Home Communions)


Pastoral presence is really important and, if possible and safe, pastoral visiting can continue.  However, very often such visits are being made because somebody is vulnerable or ill and therefore it is vital that those visiting must take extra precautions.  I would request that anybody making a pastoral visit is either fully vaccinated (and is asymptomatic) or has taken a Lateral Flow Test on the day of the visit, and is confident that the context they are entering has also taken similar precautions.    


Open Churches


Churches will remain open as they currently are unless we are ordered to close them.  They are therefore available to all for use for private space and prayer and services as planned.


Current Church of England guidance 


Here: COVID 19 Guidance v2.3.pdf (


Attached is an updated poster / flier that summarises the above.


With many thanks, 


Philip Butcher

Rector - Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)

The Vicarage

3 Home Farm



TA20 2SH

01460 221286


PASTORAL EMAILS - please to:




Rest Days - Mondays (Tuesdays where following a bank holiday)

For non-urgent enquiries please allow up to a week for responses



Rector:                                 Rev. Philip Butcher,  The Rectory,  3 Home Farm,  Tatworth  TA20 4SH  Tel: 01460 221286

                                           e-mail:   Day off:  Monday

Asst. priest:                             Rev. Judith Abbot,  ‘Brayton’,  Wreath Green,  Tatworth  TA20 2SN  Tel:  01460 220689                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Readers:                                             Mrs   Mary Dewar,  11 Watermead,  Tatworth  TA20 2QN  Tel: 01460 221268                            

Mrs   Diana Kershaw,  7 Church St,  Winsham,  Chard  TA20 4HU   Tel:  01460 30273

 Benefice Services for October 2021-Click HERE



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