Over 100 people attended the special service in All Saints’ Church today for the new North Downs Benefice which includes the parishes of Hollingbourne, Bearsted, Boxley, Broomfield, Detling, Grove Green, Hucking, Kingswood, Langley, Leeds, Otham, and Thurnham. The new Benefice has been created following a merger of the existing local Church Benefices.
The new Benefice will be served by a Team Rector who is Canon John Corbyn and who is based in Bearsted and by a Team Vicar who is the Reverend Steve Hughes and who will minister to Broomfield, Kingswood, Langley, Leeds, and Otham. The parishes along the Pilgrim’s Way including Hollingbourne and Boxley will be served by a new Team Vicar who is yet to be appointed but who will be based in the Hollingbourne Vicarage. Until the new Team Vicar is appointed the Reverend Steve Hughes will act as Chairman of All Saints’ Parochial Church Council. A Missioner is also to be appointed who will live in Grove Green and whose responsibilitoies will include working in the new housing developments in the area.
The service was led by the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover and the Venerable Stephen Taylor MBE, the Archdeacon of Maidstone. Other local clergy attended including the Reverend Nigel Fry who retired as Priest in Charge of the former Leeds and Hollingbourne Benefice in April 2015.
Members of church choirs from the new Team led the singing and sang the Te Deum. They were conducted by Andrew Snowdon who lives in Hollingbourne and sings in the Holy Cross Choir.
The service which was followed by light refreshments. A collection was taken in aid of the refugees in the Calais Jungle which is a cause that is being publicly supported by the Bishop.
Pictured below in All Saints’ Church are left to right, the Venerable Stephen Taylor MBE, Archdeacon of Maidstone, The Reverend Steve Hughes (Team Vicar), The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, and Canon John Corbyn (Team Rector).