Congratulations to our Lay Pastoral Assistants who were commissioned to their new ministry on Sunday 4 June. It was a wonderful service where we welcomed many people from across our Deanery as well as our own Benefice. Our new LPAs are available to visit anyone who is sick, housebound or would like some support. Just to remind you, they are: Ruishton – Margaret Gibbins, Sonia Tucker and Shelly Froom, and at Creech – Maggie Savage and Gill Underhay. They don’t have to be a church member, just a parishioner from our villages.

Please ask if you, or someone you know, would like a visit. We will require their name and contact details, and their permission before visiting.

Rebecca Harris

Lee Abbey May Trip 2017

After much anticipation and prayer our Resource, Renew and Fresh weekend finally happened in May, when 16 of us from across the Benefice met in the stunning location of Lee Abbey. Some had been before, and others were there for the first time. For all of us it was a very special time as we set aside time to meet with each other and God.

As part of the weekend there were talks…about being a blessing, and regular worship, but also lots of space to relax and chat and walk. Even a chance to have a go at writing a Psalm or have your face painted (and yes there were a few takers from our midst). Personally I was much relieved when the activity for the weekend was archery and not the zip wire! Included here are a couple of examples of the creativity and honesty that came out of the weekend, I hope you enjoy reading them and find encouragement through them.

‘During Saturday morning's prayer walk, I was immersed in experiencing God through the sights, sounds, smells and textures of his creation when suddenly, I noticed an embankment full of little rocks. I was instantly taken back to my work pressures (which currently relate to trying to divert gas and water mains through rocky ground) and felt life's distractions and stresses starting to weigh down on me once more. But, just as these 'burdens' started to overcome me, I saw this huge rock rising above my eye line, standing steady, solid and firm. I could hear a voice in my head saying 'But my rock is much bigger' and I felt an instant calm, knowing that God had a rock upon which he has set my feet and given me a firm place to stand (Psalm 40).

Then, when we came in for morning worship, the first song hit me so powerfully:

In Christ Alone, my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song...

This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand...

Till he returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ, I'll stand.

So I felt moved to go back to that rock in the afternoon and spent some time in quiet with God, creating some artwork to represent my experience. I selected the particular page, just because it was the first blank page in my journal but the quote at the top then jumped out at me, reassuring me that the heavy burdens I started to drift back to during that prayer walk, can be lightened through Christ. Finally, as a little extra 'Godincidence', mid way through my drawing, I took a photo which unknowingly but wonderfully captured God's light shining through the trees, in just the right way!’

Emma’s beautiful artwork is reproduced as part of this article.

At the psalm workshop, Shelly started writing furiously whilst the leader was talking. The words just seemed to flow from her pen onto the paper. In a pause Shelly looked at her words, almost disbelievingly and said “I’ve just written this – no idea where the words came from”. I think God knows exactly where – and if anyone feels inspired to add music to it, I think it would make a wonderful song!

Today my heart sings your praise.

The sun is shining

The roaring sea

and the wind blows your name

in the breeze.

My blessings are great.

Praise to you, oh Lord!


Today my heart sings your praise.

The ruggedness in the rocks

The greenery in the trees.

The birds twitter your praises

in their singing.

My blessings are great.

Praise to you, oh Lord!


Today my heart sings your praise.

The food that you provide

the friendships that I have made

the love my family gives me

shows your love for me.

My blessings are great.

Praise to you, oh Lord!

As a result of the weekend we each hope to be a blessing to our congregations. If anyone is interested in joining a similar trip next year, or has another idea for a Benefice away weekend do get in touch with me and we will see what is possible.

Rev Julia Curtis































We were pleased to welcome a representative from Taunton Food Bank to our service at Creech St Michael on Sunday 11 June. She came to present to us a certificate for collecting one tonne of food items for the Food bank over the last few years! This is from the whole Benefice, from the collections we have made at our Harvest services and also during the year. This is a great achievement and encouragement, and was much appreciated by the Food Bank.

Copies of the certificate will be put up in our three churches. Well done to everyone for your donations!

Rebecca Harris

Dying to Know Café, Saturday 29th April 2017

Jenny and I were quite intrigued when we heard about the Saturday morning talks and discussion about dying, and the preparations that can be made.

In the event it was a most useful and interesting session in which we learned quite a bit. There were talks from experts, time for questions and structured discussions with others in the audience.

Rebecca welcomed us to Creech St Michael Village Hall, where about 35 people had come to listen and to learn. Her short talk was reassuring and set a friendly tone. This was followed by a talk from a young funeral director, which turned out to be refreshingly down-to-earth and informative. Questions were asked and he dealt with them well, including enquiries about why the cost of funerals seems to be rising significantly faster than inflation. We learned how we could save money by paying for your funeral before we die, which in turn helps families.

We had time for a break and a cup of tea or coffee and a selection from a vast range of delicious cakes, which made the whole thing even more enjoyable. Who would have thought we would come to a time when we considered our demise and found it quite enjoyable?

A volunteer from St Margaret's Hospice spoke interestingly about the wide support that is offered, both to those who are unwell and their families. St Margaret's is about so much more than the end of our life. They even run courses to support carers.

We also had a talk by a solicitor who was knowledgeable but quite light-hearted. He talked in general terms about how one needs to be organised and think ahead including discussions with your nearest and dearest about your feelings and wishes. We were reminded how important it is to make a will.

Jenny and I found the structured discussions on our table to be one of the most helpful aspects of the event. It's surprising how our questions were so similar to others we talked to, and how simple it was to find the answers.

Before we came away we collected useful pamphlets and booklets which we will take time to browse. Thank you to the organisers; it was both a useful and enjoyable time. If you have not been to a session like this, we hope it can be repeated so that you can go. You will find it useful.

Tony and Jenny Murray