The benefice comprises four adjacent parishes: Farleigh, The Candovers with Bradley, Northington and Wield. The parish of Farleigh has four churches; Cliddesden, Dummer, Ellisfield and Farleigh Wallop. The parish of The Candovers with Bradley has three churches; Preston Candover, Brown Candover and Bradley.
The parishes together form the benefice of Farleigh, Candover and Wield which is served by two full time Priests: the Rector, David Chattell who takes primary responsibility for the Parishes of The Candovers with Bradley, Northington and Wield and the Assistant Rector, Stephen Mourant who has primary responsibility for the Parish of Farleigh.
Parish Prayer/Bible Reading Diary
The January-February edition is now available. We include prayers for our communities, those in need, and some of our regular church events across the benefice.
We are planning to employ a part-time benefice administrator, who will take on a lot of the administration Stephen currently does. Plans are almost complete – getting in place a job description, contract, handbook, application form, finances, timescale etc – and soon that role will be advertised across the benefice. You may have an interest as it would suit someone working from home for just a few hours a week, but will be vital, in due course, in managing service rotas, much of the wedding and some funeral administration, and serving the Lord by freeing clergy to focus on other pastoral areas that remain undeveloped. We pray that God will call the right person to this role – it could be you!
Dear Friends - A monthly letter from our priests
Before we celebrate Christmas 2019, we have a General Election. Who would Jesus vote for? He never voted: in His lifetime Israel was ruled by Rome with a puppet government, without local elected officials to represent anyone.
Jesus does not have a favourite political party – for He is above politics – and we, who know Him, are citizens of heaven, living channels of heaven on earth, for being a Christian is not about looking forward to heaven but living heaven’s values on earth as we pray and live daily, “Your kingdom come, your will be done – in ME today.”
The principles we deduce from scripture are to look for candidates and parties whose intentions and manifestos come closest to Christian values: sometimes citizens want a party whose economic policies will benefit them most, when money is not the most important criterion: are not moral issues more important? A nation prospers when its’ family structures are strong: marriage and family lie at the heart of every society and social cohesion: if the home breaks down, you destroy the foundations of society.
What promises are the candidates making about the most vulnerable in our society at each end of life - what is done to protect the unborn child? Jesus Himself was a survivor of a massacre of babies (Matthew 2:13-20), Satan through Herod trying to kill the One who would save the world. Today many find themselves on the receiving end of hatred if they dare to stand up for the unborn baby, being “Pro-life.” Why is standing up for truth and life now perceived a hate crime? Isaiah 5:20,”Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” What about the elderly, whose primary carers – family – are supporting and honouring those with much greater wisdom fashioned in the crucible of life? There are many other issues that concern us all.
The great truth about the Christmas Story is that we hear about the God who made promises and kept them: from Genesis 3 when God promised He’d send a Saviour, through the Old Testament prophets who spoke of one day when an Anointed One (Hebrew – Messiah) would come to the mess of humanity, through to Jesus’ arrival as a baby at Bethlehem, fulfilling all those predictions, God becoming human, born as we are, and Who has changed countless millions of lives for the better. His promises are always fulfilled, personally as He lives in us, guiding when we listen, His powerful presence when we make time to pray privately, and His long term promise of His return, for which we all pray and watch. No other religion has a God who became human – far too many people have aspired to be gods and tried to control others by deifying themselves: only One God has become human, like us, to redeem us.
God’s track record on promises made and fulfilled is endless and good: do political parties asking for our support have a good track record in being transparent, honest, fair, just, truthful and who deliver on their promises?
As we exercise our democratic privilege, we vote for those who seek the common good, who reflect Godly values the closest, and who serve their country and constituents rather than their party. At this time in our history, we may have to vote for the least worst option rather than the best, given the present state of our political parties in their rejection of Christian values to do with life, marriage, morals, truth, justice, and undermining parental responsibility over sex education for children in the RSE Act. “Lord, have mercy on our divided country, so that truth, reason, common sense and humility may triumph over lies, foolishness and pride: guide us to vote wisely, compassionately, sensibly, and grant us candidates with integrity, faith, honesty, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”
We look forward to seeing you during our Christmas programme of services, worshipping and encountering the One alone who is Truth, Hope and Righteousness.
May the Living Lord Jesus make Himself known to every one of you this Christmas time, and in this time of great political turmoil, remember that Jesus is in control, who is the only One to whom we can turn in order to find peace and hope.
With Christmas greetings from David and Ruth, myself and Julia,