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St Peter's Church,
Willersey Village

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St Peter's Church, Willersey Village as the sun sets.

Sunset St Peter's

Our parish Church is beautifully positioned at the end of Church Lane and is surrounded by a traditional churchyard.
St Peter's has a fifteenth century bell tower with traditional pinnacles and gargoyles. The little north porch is thirteenth century. The filled up Norman door can be seen on the west side of the Church. The font is pure Norman and the internal pillars and arches are 13th century. These arches are quite remarkable for a village Church.

Following the announcement of new ‘rule of six’ restrictions to help limit the spread of coronavirus, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England's recovery group, said: “I welcome confirmation from the Prime Minister that places of worship can still hold more than six people in total, despite the new restrictions on gatherings, and the reassurance that public worship can continue. We will continue to work with the Government on specific areas relating to our churches and church-based activities.”

Masks must be worn at Church services. Please sit spaced out on alternate pews. There is no singing.

Services in Saint Peter's Church for September

Sunday 6th September, Morning Prayer at 10am
Sunday 13th September, Holy Communion at 9am
Sunday 20th September, Harvest Festival Family Service at 11am,
Sunday 27th September, Morning Prayer at 10am

Church services during the week:
A said service of Evensong at 4.30 pm at Willersey on Tuesday
11.00 am service of Holy Communion (Traditional Language) at Willersey on Wednesday

Our Church in Willersey is also still open most days for quiet prayer.

Sunday Services in our Benefice.

8.00 am Holy Communion (Traditional language)at Mickleton
9.30 am Morning Prayer at Ebrington
11.00 am Holy Communion (Modern language) at Weston sub Edge
At present, these four churches in the Benefice are open at limited times for private prayer, initially, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm :
Monday - Mickleton
Tuesday – Ebrington
Wednesday - Blockley
Thursday - Chipping Campden

Online Church services; While services in church are suspended, Saint Peter's Benefice will be running online services, led by Revd. Scott Watts or Revd. Kevin Grumball You can access these at 10:30 on Sundays via Zoom the link (which is constant from week to week) is
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/354938573 (Meeting ID: 354 938573) or if we use Skype https://join.skype.com/hIEBWSZrl0qX .

Please go to this website for details of our Worship at a Distance Services. I'm gradually populating the service sheet files as I get them done, so do check back from time to time. Kevin.

We cannot celebrate Holy Communion while we are all segregated, so we will be holding services of Spiritual Communion instead.
These have long been recognised in the Church as a means for people who could not physically receive the bread and wine (usually because of illness) to still participate in the Eucharist.

We remain part of God's family, even though we are currently separated. May he bless us all richly.
Regards, Fr Kevin.

Here is a booklet of prayers for use during the Coronavirus outbreak produced by the Church of England.

Benefice October 2020 Services.

Some time ago the Historic Churches Preservation Trust changed its name to The National Churches Trust. If you look at Explore Churches on their website you can find a range of old churches in the area, some of which you may not be aware. Annual membership is from £30 and can be arranged on line; this seems a very worthy and necessary cause at this present time of uncertainty.

A Message from Revd. Craig Bishop September 2020.

The Revd. Craig Bishop has posted a new video on YouTube. It's at When Easter is hard.
All of Craig's recent Videos and reflections can also be found on the St James' Church website.
Here is Craig's congregation letter for early July 2020.

The Diocese has asked us to make a few points about virtual services from a safeguarding perspective.
You are free to join with or without a camera.
You may turn off the camera at any point, especially if someone walks in unexpectedly in a state of undress!
Parents of under 18s and those caring for vulnerable adults: please could you drop me a note to say that you’re happy for them to appear on screen (and in recordings if we make any).
If you have any safeguarding concerns, please speak to your parish safeguarding officer, or the diocesan safeguarding office. More details can be found Here.

We want to play our part in helping those affected or worried by Coronavirus. If there is anything at all that I or others in the Church family can do to support you - pastorally or practically - please be in touch.
Be assured of my love, prayers and thoughts,

There is a car park at the rear of St Peter's Church, with access from Church Street alongside the Church, opened in January 2018 with generous support from a local charity. It is for the use of those attending services or functions at the Church and will provide a much needed and long awaited, facility. It will always be open for those visiting the Church for any reason, but not for overnight parking. It will prove to be especially useful when larger numbers of people attend the Church for eg: funerals, weddings, Christmas, Easter, Harvest Festival, and Remembrance Sunday etc. It will prevent congestion in Church Street.

Our rector is the The Rev'd Scott Watts     The New Vicarage, Stratford Road, Honeybourne, WR11 7PP     Tel: 01386 834946     email:     twitter https://twitter.com/revsw

St Peter's scaffolding1      St Peter's scaffolding2

At this time of the virus in 2020, it is quite coincidental that we are having work being done on St Peter's roof.

A Message from Craig Bishop June 2020.

What is the difference between a rector and a vicar?
Every edition of our Church and Village News contains a message from our rector.

St Peter's in Willersey, St Lawrence with St John the Baptist in Weston-sub-Edge, St Andrew's in Aston Sub-Edge, St Lawrence in Mickleton, St Ecgwin's in Honeybourne, St Peter's in Pebworth, St Peter's in Dorsington and St.Nicholas' Church in Saintbury are all part of the Vale and Cotswold Edge benefice.
Enquiries to the Team Rector, The Rev'd Craig Bishop, The Vicarage, Church Street, Chipping Campden
Tel 01386 841927     admin@stjameschurchcampden.co.uk
The Vale and Cotswold Edge ministry team includes the Rev'd Dana Delap in Blockley 01386 700676 and Rev'd Mark Taylor (email:     tel: 07715 301278 ),
The United Benefice of Chipping Campden, Ebrington and Mickleton is also under the care of the Rev'd Craig Bishop.

For more details about our services look on pages 10 and 11 of the appropiate Church and Village Newsletter.

Our Christmas Card for 2019.

Bishop Rachel Treweek at Willersey School

Willersey primary school had a visit from the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, as part of its ongoing 175th anniversary celebrations. She blessed a new mosaic, commemorating the Church of England school's founding in 1844. The mozaic is based on illustrations by the pupils and features the school, the parish's church of Saint Peter and the village's distinctive duck pond. It includes the school's values of “Respect, Friendship, Compassion and Creativity” and is being installed on the school's outside wall. Churchwarden, Robert McNeil-Wilson, said: “Our Bishop being able to be with us at short notice shows that God and our Bishop have smiled on our parish and this important celebration”.

Our Harvest Festival Lunch in St Peter's Church on 15th September 2019 was a great success. Here are two pictures taken in the Church.
One      Two

As of June 2020, one in three Church of England priests are female. There are 6,290 working women priests.
The number of male clergy is now 13,680. As congregations decline, there are now 35 woshippers for every priest.


‘And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.’ Genesis, Chapter 2, verse 3 (NLT)

Back in the 1980s, the Jubilee Centre in Cambridge launched a national campaign entitled ‘Keep Sunday Special’. It was a response to the efforts of the government of the day to relax Sunday trading laws. As we know, the government had its way and, at the stroke of a pen, shops could open and trade much more freely and the character and essence of Sunday – the Christian sabbath – changed forever.

In an article that she wrote in the Sunday Times Magazine, India Knight rues the day that the law was changed. Although not a regular churchgoer, she writes,
‘Sundays are so specifically Sundays. They have their own texture, their own rhythm and pace, their own taste even…Christian church services have everything to do with this – the enshrinement of a day of rest, the time spent with family and community, the space for reflection and contemplation, and for quiet…Protecting Sundays is socially and culturally important, regardless of whether or not you are religious…’

India Knight makes an important point. But, God made the same point a long time before her! The words above, taken from the Old Testament Book of Genesis, remind us how imperative it is that we all have a day of rest and refreshment; a day to spend with family, friends and community; a day that isn't dominated by work, business and the pressures associated with the other six days of the week. If God needed to rest and take some ‘time out’, how much more do we, irrespective of our inner strength and resilience, need to make time to rest. The economy may be ‘richer’ because of Sunday trading but society, the community and, so, we, regardless of whether or not we are religious, let alone go to Church, are all the poorer.

You may well be reading this and thinking, “It's all right for him to say all this, he doesn't have to do what I have to do. I don't have time to rest!” I know from personal experience how easy it is to convince yourself of that. Even so, I pray that you will make time to rest, relax and refresh on Sundays, cherishing this God-given time and space. If that's really not possible, as it isn't for many people who have to work on Sundays (including vicars) then I pray that you'll find your own sabbath time each week – because you're worth it!

With love,

Rev Scott Watts
Team Rector

Here is our Easter Card for Easter 2019.
Please note that the date for Good Friday in the printed version was incorrect. Its corrected here.

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Here is a 2018/2019 Christmas message from Bishop Rachael.

Pastoral Letter – January 2019

According to a YouGov poll, the most popular New Year's resolutions for 2018 were: To eat healthier; to get more exercise; to save more money. What resolutions, if any, have you made for 2019, I wonder? I suspect that the ones I've just mentioned will be familiar to many of us. Depending on when you read this, you may be in the process of making your New Year's resolutions. Or, you might be marking with satisfaction that, a few days into 2019, you've so far been successful in doing, or not doing, what you resolved to. Or, of course, you might be lamenting that resolutions made with such sincere intent have already gone by the wayside. If that's you, be kind to yourself!

At the time of writing this, we've gone through a turbulent week in British politics – a reminder that, as we stand at the threshold of 2019, many of us will have very little, if any, idea of what's in store for us in the year to come. Perhaps the only thing that we can be certain of is uncertainty and living in a world of uncertainty can, to say the least, be difficult. It often makes us feel lonely and afraid. Our unrealistic expectation is that politicians will somehow make it all better. That won't do, though, because it absolves us of the responsibility that we all have to make the world a better place. Whilst there's nothing wrong at all with the resolutions that I've cited from last year’s YouGov poll, they are all about us and I'd like to suggest a different and, dare I say, a better, kind of New Year's resolution, one in which we, together, resolve to make better the places where we live, work, learn and play.

My inspiration for this comes from the children at Honeybourne Primary Academy. At an assembly that I was privileged to lead a few weeks ago, they sang a Michael Jackson song called ‘Man in the Mirror’. The song talks of making changes for good in our lives, of making a difference, of not ignoring those who have no money, no food, no place to go or no place to belong. The chorus, which stays with me, largely because the children sang the words with such gusto and understanding, says:

‘I'm starting with the man in the mirror,
I'm asking him to change his ways,
And no message could have been any clearer:
If you want to make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

Each one of us really can make a difference. I'm pledging to do that, in whatever ways I can, in 2019. Please join me. And remember, that no matter what happens in 2019, the good news of Christmas is that God is with us in Jesus Christ and has promised, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ (Hebrews, chapter 5, verse 5, NIV)

Happy New Year.

With love,

Rev Scott Watts
Team Rector

St Peter's Churchyard Mowing Rota 2020 (not the erroneous Rowing Motor!) TBA

Some of the dogs at our Pet Service in July 2019 in Willersey.

Dogs at 2019 Willersey Pet Service

At Christmas time the tower of St Peter's is lit by a star.

Here is our Benefice Christmas card for 2018.

St Peter's has a famous peal of six bells which are rung regularly.

St Peter's is a stone cruciform building, in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, north porch and an embattled central tower, with pinnacles. It is a Grade I listed Church and is therefore judged to be of exceptional interest and the highest architectural merit.

C12th nave with blocked South doorway. C13th North porch. North aisle rebuilt in the C13th. C15th tower. C19th vestry and restoration.
The ancient font, supposed to date from the 13th century, is preserved, though not now in use. There are some remains of 13th or 14th century stained glass. The church affords 250 sittings.
Nave and North aisle: coursed and squared limestone, with angle buttresses and a racking buttress on the North Transepts:coursed, squared and dressed limestone. The communion cloth has the date 1664 woven into it.

In 1897, the living was a rectory, yearly value £275, with residence, in the gift of E. Gibbon esq. of Gateacre, Liverpool, and held since 1891 by the Rev. Charles Oldfeld Bartlett MA. of Exeter College, Oxford. There is a charge by will, of £8, on a farm here, paid annually to descendants of the Pendrell family, who harboured Charles II in 1651 when a fugitive.

St Peter's is largely C14th with significant Perpendicular modifications. It has a splendid ashlar-faced central tower with diagonal buttresses on the lower stage, and an embattled parapet with pinnacles and prominent gargoyles. The church has some Minton floor-tiles. The font is a Norman tub-shaped bowl set on a pillar and plinth of 1905. There is stained glass in the church by James Powell & Sons, 1849; and by Frederick Preedy with portraits commemorating a shipwreck in 1862. The wall memorial tablets in the church are for Rev John Scott, the only son of Rev William Scott; John Scott's wife Grace; Jane Susannah Scott, the daughter of John and Grace; and Mary Combe, the sister of Grace Scott; Rev William Mould and his wife Mary, daughter of William Scott.

The Rev Scott Watts and his dog Marigold at the Pet Service in June 2018 in Willersey.

Scott and Marigold

Tell me there's a heaven      Amazing Grace

New Year, New Beginnings 2017/2018

I approach the New Year with a mixture of excitement, anticipation and with a bit of nervousness! I look forward it. I love looking at my new diary, not yet full with commitments, and wondering what events will fill its pages. Some will be happy, things to really look forward to, and some, of course, will be sad.

When I feel that twinge of nervousness, which many of you may relate to, I turn to these words, written many thousands of years ago by the Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah,
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart…” Jeremiah 29: 11-13 (NRSV) and those words fill me with hope.

God is Sovereign and whatever the year ahead has in store for us, we can be absolutely confident that God will be with us. This is good news for us as individuals and for our villages and communities. Over the last six months that I've been with you as your Vicar, I have a growing sense that God has good and positive plans for our churches and communities. There is something for us to do, though, and Jeremiah sets it out clearly. We are to be a people who pray and who seek God and His will. And what happens when we do those things? In Jeremiah’s words, God will hear us and we will find Him if we seek Him with all our hearts.

In his Christmas Broadcast to the Empire in 1939, a year overshadowed with troubles of the worst kind, King George VIth quoted these words from a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins,

‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.’

What wonderful words. Even when we walk into the darkness of uncertainty, we do not walk alone. God is with us – that Good News is at the heart of the message of Christmas, the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, so recently celebrated and so fresh in our minds.

So, I encourage you in the year the lies ahead to ‘put your hand in the Hand of God’ and, if I can help and support you in anyway, regardless of whether or not you come to church, please let me know.
I wish you a very Happy New Year.
With love,
Rev Scott Watts Team Vicar

There is a list of Rectors on display in our Church. The list is taken mostly from the Hockaday Abstracts (in Gloucester) and the Bishops' Certificates of Institution (Public Records Office). There are periodic gaps in the list (eg between 1444 and 1553). The first ten listed Rectors apparently all served within the space of two decades! What could the explanation be? Perhaps, that they were actually a succession of religious (monks) visiting to put in periods of service from Evesham Abbey?
This list does give you some sense of the antiquity of St Peter's. Notice also that historically spelling was inconsistent - hence the many spelling variations of Willersey.

Saintbury Church is visible from St Peter's Churchyard.

Here is the order of service for the licensing of Rev Scott Watts, our new vicar in June 2017.

The Bishop of Gloucester came to Willersey to lead the licensing of the Rev'd Scott Watts.

Bishop Treweek and Rev Watts

Here is our Easter Card for Easter 2018.

Safeguarding and St Peter's Parochial Church Council

We have policies for safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable people.
Support is available from the following Diocesan safeguarding officers:-
Judith Knight 07801 750664     jknight@glosdioc.org.uk
Becca Faal      07944 680320     bfaal@glosdioc.org.uk    

Gloucester Cathedral Roof

Two hundred solar panels are being fitted to the south nave roof of Gloucester Catherdral from September 2016 onwards at part of a £6 million overhaul of the 15th century building. This should cut its carbon footprint and save 25 per cent on its energy bills. This is part of Project Pilgrim.

Welby bids to defuse Church of England's ‘demographic time bomb’

Divisions on ways to modernise an ageing church will trouble the new synod. (Harriet Sherwood, Religion Correspondent, The Guardian, 22nd November 2015).
Discord over a radical programme to make the Church of England “fit for purpose” in the 21st century is set to spill into the open this week when the new synod meets at the start of its five-year term. The Reform and Renewal programme was initiated by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and is being enthusiastically driven forward by a cohort of senior figures who share his zeal for modernising and evangelising the church. However, critics fear that traditional values could be lost amid the speed of change, lack of consultation and a new culture of setting goals and targets. “Some of those driving the Reform and Renewal agenda don’t seem to understand the complex nature of the institution they are seeking to improve. In trying to change the church, there is a significant risk of unintentional vandalism,” said Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church, Oxford.

The programme – which includes the redistribution of financial resources, training and education, and simplifying the arcane governance of the church – springs from alarm at the steady decline of congregations over recent decades. “We're in the last chance saloon,” said Pete Broadbent, bishop of Willesden and one of the architects of Reform and Renewal. “All the demographic evidence shows that, unless we do something in the next five or 10 years, we're shot. There are those who say this [programme] is alien and who want to dig their heels in, but we're facing a demographic time bomb.” The evidence was “indisputable”, said John Spence, chair of the church's finance committee and a former Lloyds Bank executive. “Twenty years ago the demographics matched the population as a whole. Now we''re 20 years older than the population. Unless we do something, the church will face a real crisis.”

Among the changes is a redistribution of funding, largely away from struggling rural parishes to churches in deprived urban areas and those seen as innovative and energetic in adapting to social change. “Some dioceses are being funded to do not very much,” said Broadbent. “And some dioceses are underfunded, but are doing an amazing job in trying circumstances. It's about how we divvy up the money to go to places that can use it well and have the greatest need.”
Another key area is recruitment and training. Around 40% of the church's clergy will retire in the next decade, yet fewer people are putting themselves forward for ordination. The church needs to attract recruits, especially those described by Spence as “game changers”, and provide accelerated career paths and appropriate training. The selection of a “talent pool” – clergy to be fast-tracked to leadership positions – has caused consternation among those accustomed to a system of quiet recommendations for preferment. Their unease has been compounded by bishops and deans being enrolled on MBA-style management courses.
“Bishops are well trained at one level – being priests – but at another level they aren't fit for purpose in terms of leadership and management,” said Broadbent. “We're running multimillion-pound organisations which need CEO-type roles. Of course there's a spiritual dimension, but people are also called to be managers and leaders. It's difficult to run a diocese if you're just being learned; you need theological skills, pastoral care skills and management skills – you need to be multi-talented.”
But, he insisted, “money and business is not the model. We're still meant to be the church of Jesus Christ, but we just need to be more hard-headed and pragmatic about it.We're in the last-chance saloon. Unless we do something in the next five or 10 years, we're shot. Some have expressed anxiety over talk of efficiency, success, targets and data. According to Percy, there are real concerns about “the uncritical use of business principles, which are mostly untested in the church and may not be the most appropriate fit”. Under Welby's leadership, he said, the church was being run by people with an “executive managerial mindset”. Welby is a former oil executive and many in his inner circle have business or banking backgrounds.

Some critics also claim that the Reform and Renewal programme is being driven by a zeal associated with Holy Trinity Brompton, the London church which pioneered the successful Alpha course to attract new blood to the C of E. One of Percy's principal criticisms is a lack of consultation – particularly among scholars – over the measures. “The feeling in some quarters has been that the exclusion of intellectual voices has been deliberate. They're not wanted because they would slow the work down and cause lots of questions to be asked,” he said. “If you can't value the past, you may then decide it needs to go or needs modification. If you've never taken the time to understand it in the first place, there are risks.”
Linda Woodhead, professor of the sociology of religion at Lancaster University, shared the view that Reform and Renewal “true believers” were not sufficiently reflective. Evangelism with a business-model spin was not the solution. “Rather than stepping back and asking, ‘why are we going down this path [of decline]’, they think, ‘let's preach the message louder, let's keep being more prophetic, and that will somehow attract people’,” she said.
“Well, it won't. It will make the C of E increasingly into a little sect. It will never get back its broader social significance unless it can rethink its whole strategy. The church is in freefall and of course action needs to be taken, but their solution is much too unambitious.”

She advocates increasing lay and community involvement, inclusivity and multi-functional use of church buildings. The synod will debate Reform and Renewal after being inaugurated by the Queen on Tuesday. The previous synod strongly endorsed the programme, but most members of this synod are new, making the depth of support or criticism hard to predict. The main danger, said Broadbent, was of the programme “dying the death of a thousand qualifications. But I hope not – a lot of us have staked the future of the Church of England on this.”

A letter from our last vicar.
Dear Friends,

We are now safely installed in the vicarage in Addington and have just reached the point of deciding where to put pictures on the walls, so before any more time elapses I wanted to write to say thank you. Firstly thank you to the many of you who came to my last service in Honeybourne. It was a wonderful experience to see the church so full of friends, there firstly to worship God and secondly to wish us God speed. Thank you too to the many who could not be there but who sent cards to wish us well. It was good to be able to spend time eating together after the service in Weston sub Edge so thank you to those who made that possible – I know that these things don’t happen on their own! Worshipping together and eating together, what better way could there be to celebrate our common life in Christ and the journey we have made together?

Which brings me to our beautiful gifts: I grew up in Gloucestershire so its countryside is special to me and holds many precious memories of childhood, of parents, of people who have been saints along my journey so it is wonderful to have a book which captures so delightfully the essence of its landscape and life and combined with poetry, another of my loves, could not have been more aptly chosen. One of the things that we have enjoyed learning while being in Honeybourne, has been gardening. We are still amateurs, but have come to appreciate time spent wondering at the beauty of plants, at their determination to flourish and time spent with the soil as a way of getting life in perspective. Here in Addington we have a big garden. It is a good time of year to move because we shall discover over the next few months what is in the garden. Edward's book on Making a Garden will be an invaluable resource as we move through the seasons and as he discovers the joys of retirement. I said at the beginning of this letter that we are in the process of deciding where pictures are to go. We are very much looking forward to deciding on a place for the two wonderful paintings of Gloucester Cathedral, the Cathedral that has played such an important part in our lives. For me that goes back a long way to picnics as a child with my Nan and Mum in the Cathedral precincts, to playing in the Youth Orchestra there and finally, after a gap of many years, being ordained there in 2008 when it became a part of Edward’s life too. I love the Cathedral at night which speaks of the unfailing caring presence of mother church and Edward’s, ”The organ plays” says all that can be said about the way in which music transcends bricks and mortar and any possible boundary we might attempt to put in place. The picture of the churches in the group will likewise find a special place and be a reminder of the gift that being among you was. Thank you too for the very generous cheque which accompanied these lovely gifts. We shall spend it wisely.

So now, another chapter in our walk with God is beginning for both you and for us. I keep you daily in my prayers as you enter a period of discernment. For us we are in that strange place of belonging but not belonging before my Institution on the 28th April. Last Sunday we worshipped at Southwark Cathedral and we have yet to decide where we shall worship tomorrow. Although it feels rootless it is good to have time to reflect and to pray and I am grateful for these in between days.

May God bless you as you journey together.
With our love and prayers

Debbie and Edward

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