Benefice Diary

Here’s the monthly Diary for the A20 Benefice of six churches – Brabourne, Smeeth, Monks Horton, Stowting, Mersham and Sellindge. The Diary lists all the services and social events in the Benefice

Click here to download the Diary

Kathy’s monthly newsletter:


Dear All,

You may recall that in the covering letter for November I claimed, rather rashly as it happens, that that letter was to be my last. But here I am again! (Sorry about that). I was unaware that Rev Chris had some leave due and as he won’t be back to work till 2nd December, it seemed sensible for me to write the December letter. You’ll be relieved to hear that Rev Chris will take over from next month.

From the Diary you’ll see that we have a veritable feast of services and social events in December but may I first ask you, please, to tune in to KMFM Radio Ashford (107.1) on Monday, 10th December at 8am, as Rev Chris is presenting a 3-minute talk on the meaning of Advent – and it’s sure to be an uplifting three minutes.

Every Monday afternoon in Advent, at Smeeth Rectory, from 2.30-4pm, we have ‘Advent for All’. Run by Rev Chris, these meetings give us the opportunity to reflect, and chat (while enjoying refreshments), on our journey through Advent. As the title says, this is Advent for All, so everyone is welcome.

Focusing on services, Mersham starts early with a Christingle service led by Liz Richardson on 2nd Dec, and if you enjoy carols, you can sing your way round the Parish at carol services at Mersham on 15th, Brabourne on 16th, Stowting on 22nd, Sellindge on 23rd and Monks Horton on 24th. Little is more evocative of the warmth and joy of Christmas than carols, so do come along, and please don’t forget that carols are usually followed by warming refreshments which need to be eaten and drunk.

In the midst of carol singing and preparations for Christmas there is a quiet, informal service at Mersham on 21st Dec. for those who have been bereaved, either recently or in the past, to help with their loss at this time of year.

For those who love the Christmas story there are Crib Services at Mersham and Smeeth on 24th. And on Christmas night, at Communion services at Mersham, Sellindge and Smeeth, the joy, peace and warmth of fellowship that Christmas brings is palpable. If you aren’t a ‘night bird’ then there are Christmas Day services at Brabourne, Mersham and Stowting which allow an hour’s blissful peace and relaxation while the Christmas dinner cooks.

We are constantly reminded that Christmas is a time of loneliness when people can feel marginalised and isolated. There is no need for this in Stour Downs where our churches are welcoming and inclusive. If you would like a lift to any service or event, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Begin by phoning Rev Chris at Smeeth Rectory (01303-470791) and if he’s not there, kindly leave an answerphone message. Conversely, if you know of anyone who might be lonely, please don’t keep this to yourself, follow the same procedure. Thank you.

Turning to social events in the Diary, these are in abundance in Stour Downs Parish this December, right from the start of the month. On Saturday 1st, Mersham has its Christmas Tree Fair in the church which promises to be both festive and fun with mince pies, cake, light lunches, craft stalls and books. Mersham has its final Craft Morning of the year on 5th and there’s a Christmas Coffee Morning in aid of Smeeth Church on Friday 7th at Keen’s Meadow, West Brabourne, courtesy of Maggie and David Smith.  In addition to there being an abundance of goodies to buy, this is the place to catch up with friends and find suitable material for quiet reading in the peaceful days that follow Christmas. By the evening of 7th you should be invigorated and ready for First Friday at Brabourne when it’s the First Friday Christmas Party, hosted by Julia and Donna. Please do not miss any of these events – and please bring friends.

By 14th you may be starting to flag so a quiet afternoon at Knit and Natter is an excellent place to recharge batteries ready for the final fortnight to Christmas. And after it’s all over, relax at Fridays@3 on 28th with a Sing-song of carols and old songs followed by a lovely tea over which you can reflect on Christmas with friends. This is an action packed calendar where no one need be lonely or left out.

Thank you for all your support for our Parish churches over the past year. Please do continue to support them and make it a resolution in 2019 to encourage at least one [new] person along to a church event.

With warmest wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas, and all that’s good in the New Year. 


Kathleen Embleton-Smith                                                                                  

Chair, Brabourne Church Management Team