Recovery after lockdown: Our church building remains open for individual private prayer daily between 9am and 3.30pm, except on Mondays when the church remains closed. Our worship together on Sundays is now back to a full programme: for details see the schedule on the Services page.
Following the general deregulation of 19th July, we shall keep many of our safety measures in place, to give those attending worship confidence. Social distancing and the wearing of face-coverings will no longer by mandatory, but we will encourage those attending to considering retaining masks and spacing for the wellbeing of others. We will continue to provide hand-sanitiser, both as you enter and as you leave. We will maintain our daily and weekly cleaning regime for the time being. We will continue to record names and contact details with explicit consent on Sundays and retain the QR-code for use with NHS App. We will be resuming gentle congregation singing from 25th July.
We have carried out all necessary checks to try to ensure everyone’s safety, but the clinically vulnerable may wish to come into church during the week when they can be safe on their own, or to our smaller ‘said’ services at 8am on Sundays at St Giles or at Plaxtol Church, or to Morning Prayer at 8.30am on Mondays to Thursdays in Plaxtol Church.
daily prayer, and the streaming and filming of worship for social media. Services resumed from Sunday 12 July but were suspended again from 5 November to 6 December 2020 and again from 17 January to 13 March 2021.
We continue to be the Church: a people of prayer and action.
Shipbourne Church on Facebook
You can now follow St Giles Church Shipbourne on Facebook at
Our friends at All Saints’, Chatham have been in touch to say that there is considerable increased need at the present time. There is, once again, difficulty handling gifts of provisions, so they are commending on-line giving in either of two ways:
1) You can purchase items for the Medway Foodbank’s ‘need list’ held at www.spareable.co.uk or
2) By donating at medway.foodbank.org.uk/give-help.
There was a celebration of the Harvest at the Family Service on Sunday 20 September 2020.
In view of the lockdown restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, we were asked to make donations in money at the service rather than food offerings. The collection money from the family service went to Medway Foodbank, which we regularly support. You may also make a donation by bank transfer:
account name: Help in the Community
sort code: 40-52-40
account number: 00029546
Reference: Shipbourne Church
Facing the Financial Black Hole in the Church’s Finances
Just as the COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant challenge to the global and national economy, it also poses a significant challenge to the economy of the national and local church.
The church relies on different sources of income: collections from services, fees from weddings and funerals, funds raised on special occasions such as the Summer Fete and the Harvest Supper. These have all ground to a halt, and there is simply no knowing when ‘normality’ will return. We may be facing a long period of time when social distancing remains the rule, and this is bound to affect our normal streams of income.
The most straightforward way to avoid the worst of these effects is to commit to regular monthly giving by standing order. If you already do this, many thanks! Amounts given are known only to the PCC Treasurers. Please use the following co-ordinates:
Account: St Giles’ Church
Sort code: 09-01-51
Account: Plaxtol PCC
Sort Code: 40-52-40
Another way you can help is by fundraising in lieu of the Summer Fete. Adrienne is making face-masks and inviting donations. Peter C is turning his new-found cycling into a sponsored ride and he is hoping to use the ‘Just-giving’ App to invite donations. Please think if you could make and sell cakes or jams, or chutneys or…………………………………………………………………………… The possibilities are endless, but every little will help!
Ride and Stride
Lionel Stielow went cycling around Kent to visit as many churches as he could on Saturday 12 September 2020, to raise money for St Giles Church Shipbourne and for the charity Friends of Kent Churches. If you were kind enough to sponsor Lionel, please let him have the sponsorship money, if you have not already done so.
The Friends of Kent Churches Sponsored Ride and Stride takes place on the second Saturday in September each year with 740 churches participating. It raises over £130,000 a year for Kent churches. Half the sponsorship money raised goes straight back to the church nominated by participants and half goes to the Friends.
Annual Parochial Church Meeting
Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting took place on Monday 26 April 2021. There were presentations on the life of the church over the period since the APCM in October 2020 and the Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2020 were presented for approval.
Giving to St Giles – the blue envelopes
You can use the blue envelope scheme to give to Shipbourne church. Here’s how it works.
Pick up a box of blue envelopes at the back of the church. Put your cash donation in one of the envelopes and drop it in the plate at services. If you sign up for Gift Aid on your donations, it will save you having to write down your name and address details each time you make a donation.
Blue books of envelopes for the year June 2021 to May 2022 are now at the back of the church, just inside the main door.
If you are already signed on for the scheme, take the envelopes with your serial number from the box.
If you are not a member of the scheme but would like to support the work of the church in a tax efficient way, please take a set of envelopes marked ‘NEW GIVERS’ write your details on the list above the box of envelopes against the serial number of the set you have taken and if you wish, tick the Gift Aid box.
Good Friday: the Rector doing our traditional walk carrying the cross between the two churches of the benefice
Coronavirus – Shipbourne Farmers’ Market
Special opportunity: Oberammergau 2022
This renowned Passion Play was due to run this year, but the whole season has been postponed till 2022 because of the pandemic. A Meopham- and Eynesford-based group with whom Donna and I will be travelling now has up to seven places available for a week’s tour with McCabe Travel beginning Wed 31st August 2022. Please contact Jan Thompson if you are interested on [email protected] 01322-683062.
Harvest Supper 2019
The Barn of the Fairlawne Home Farm was the magnificent setting on Friday 11 October 2019 for the Benefice Harvest Supper, to celebrate the Harvest Festival. Long trestle tables were decorated with squashes and apples, and straw bales provided rustic seating. Guests arrived to the sounds of English folk tunes played on various accordions. We all sung two harvest hymns, accompanied by John Young, Nick Ward provided a quiz and the Rector acted as our Master of Ceremonies.
Our thanks to the Fairlawne Estate for generously allowing us the the use of the barn; to James Sheldrick and his team for clearing and setting up the barn with tables and straw bales for us to sit on; to all those who provided lasagne, apple crumbles and salads, and apple juice; to the many people who set up on the day, helped with the serving and clearing up afterwards and helped with the bar. Particular thanks for the generosity of local businesses and individuals who donated prizes for our raffle.
Special thanks also go to our organisers, Kate Symonds and Andy Doughty for such a wonderful evening.
St Giles Fair 2019
The St Giles Summer Fete took place in sweltering heat on Shipbourne Green, by kind permission of the Fairlawne Estate, on Bank Holiday Monday 26 August 2019. Mr James Swartz of Fairlawne welcomed visitors and opened the fete. The Tonbridge and Sevenoaks Training Band played a variety of great music throughout the afternoon. Sadly the dog show was cancelled this year because of the heat. Visitors enjoyed the various sideshows – they included face painting, lifting bricks, throwing sponges at people in the stocks – and there was a range of cakes, jams, vegetables and other produce as well as the popular book and bric a brac stalls. The raffle was a success again. Burgers were on sale from the new barbecue and drinks were available from the bar. Kathy and her team were offering tea and cakes in the Village Hall.
Warmest thanks to all the numerous people who helped with energy and enthusiasm in running the stalls, setting up or clearing away, or who contributed prizes or produce, and in particular to Lindsay Miles and Viv Packer who organised the fete and made it such a successful day.
A reception was held in the Village Hall on Friday 1 November to thank all those who helped with the fete.
Shipbourne 1919 – 2019: commemoration of the centenary of the signing of the treaty of Versailles over the weekend o f 29/30 June 2019
The window sills in St Giles Church were specially decorated by local organisations and gave an insight into the life of Shipbourne village in 1919.
A Commemorative Family Service took place on a sunny Sunday morning. White flowers of remembrance were left on the War Memorial to pay respects to the local young men who lost their lives in the Great War.
The service was followed by traditional games and picnics on the village Green, with adults and children taking part in egg and spoon races, a sack race, a 3 legged race and a tug of war.
Special thanks go to all the numerous people involved in organising the events over the weekend and making it a memorable and enjoyable occasion.
From War into Peace: Remembering 1919. A concert held in St Giles Church on Sunday 12 May 2019
Hal and Lara Cazalet, Georgia Ginsberg, Timothy End, Tom Humphreys and Emily Ward presented a concert of words and music on 12 May, to remember the ending of the First World War. The music included songs written by Butterworth and Denis Browne, who both died in the war, and songs written at the time by John Ireland, Ivor Gurney and Frank Bridge. Hal Cazalet led the audience in singing a medley of the songs which became popular marching songs in the First World War and then introduced some of the music Jerome Kern wrote for Broadway musicals at the time, to words written by P G Wodehouse. The readings included poetry, memoirs and letters from Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Vera Brittain and others. Hal Cazalet read a moving account by his great uncle, Victor Cazalet, of his experiences of life on the front line.
Proceeds from the concert go to St Giles Church Shipbourne Restoration Appeal and to the Royal British Legion.
Sir Edward Cazalet
On Sunday 10 February 2019 there was a Service of Thanksgiving at St Giles during which the choir sang a special anthem as a tribute to Sir Edward Cazalet. This was followed by a lunch to bid him farewell as our Patron of many years standing. Our new Patron, Francis Read, and the Rector thanked him in their speeches after lunch for all that he and his family had done for our village over so many years. Sir Edward in his reply recalled his family’s long association with, and affection for, Fairlawne, St Giles’ Church and the village.
Shipbourne Farmers’ Market was the winner of the Best Farmers’ Market category at the 2018 Kent Food and Drinks Awards. The Farmers’ Market has also reached the finals in the Best Farmers’ Market category in the Farm Retail Association Awards 2019.
The Roux’s return
Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr returned to Shipbourne on Tuesday 5 June 2018 for the Roux Two dinner, five years after their last dinner here in Shipbourne, this time to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Shipbourne Farmers’ Market. This black tie event started with a champagne reception in the Church Room of the Chaser Inn, followed by dinner in a marquee in the garden.
Profits made from the Roux Two Dinner were split between the following good causes:
- St Giles Church, Shipbourne: the restoration of the wall paintings in the church
- The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (R.A.B.I.), supporting farmers in England and Wales who are struggling financially
- Shipbourne Farmers’ Market Click and Collect project
- Nourish Community Foodbank