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14th NOVEMBER 2021
It’s Remembrance Sunday this week – an important opportunity for churches in our parish to welcome the wider community to share in prayer, thanksgiving and reflection together. Times of services may be different from normal to accommodate that, so do check if you’re not sure.

There is a tradition of the Archbishop of Canterbury making unannounced visits to churches in the diocese on Sunday mornings when he’s staying here, and last week he came to St Mary the Virgin Willesborough. At the end of his sermon, he challenged us to get into pairs and explain to one another why we have faith – in no more than a minute and without using jargon. Judging by the hubbub that broke out around the building, people responded really well.

There may have been some hesitation, repetition, and deviation. I know I could benefit from more practice in talking about faith to people for whom it can sound like a foreign language. If you had just a minute to explain why you’re a Christian, what would you say?

Jeremy Worthen

… will be open this Sunday at St Francis’ Church. Refreshments are served from 6 p.m. and we’ll start at 6.30 p.m. We meet monthly for informal worship, teaching, and ministry. It’s a service for the whole parish – everyone welcome. Sophie Carnaby, our Parish Mission Enabler, will be speaking.
‘How do questions about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage fit within the bigger picture of the good news of Jesus Christ? What does it mean to live in love and faith together as a Church?’ The Church of England has produced a five-session course to help explore this, and we’re hoping to run it for the four parishes in our deanery on five Tuesday evenings beginning on the 18th of January.

The hope is to have ‘in-person’ sessions at St Mary’s Ashford but also enable groups meeting elsewhere to join in remotely. If you’re in a home group, please consider whether you might make this part of your programme for the new year and if you’re not – why not save the dates?

In September, Ignite reopened at St Mary’s Ashford on a Thursday lunchtime, having been closed since the start of the pandemic here. It’s been great to reconnect with many of those previously involved and to see some new faces.

It’s good news for Dawn Evans, our Ignite Enabler in Ashford, that she’s got a new job at Archbishop’s School in Canterbury. But not such good news for us! Fortunately, we have some very capable people who will be ensuring we continue to support Ignite as a parish, including Sophie Carnaby, Geoff Abasolo-Munnery, and Derek Goodwin. If you would be interested in helping with this wonderful initiative, please do speak to one of them.

Ashford Deanery has now received updated information with regards to the Oberammergau Passion Play trip. Ashford Deanery has secured group space to follow the original itinerary from June 24th to July 1st 2022. For further information, please email Canon Paul Miller at

To receive a copy of the brochure and booking form, please contact Phil Sibbald in the Parish Office.

The Repton Community Trust, Ashford have started a support project for those who have Covid and are self-isolating.  They are distributing wellbeing and activity packs and any food that maybe needed.  If you would like to know more or know someone who might benefit from a wellbeing pack, please contact Victoria Roper at Repton Community Trust on 01233 808023

Parish Daily Prayer: Monday – Thursday – 5pm
From 11th November, the credentials for the evening prayer Monday to Thursday changed to the credentials stated below

Join the meeting:

Meeting ID: 816 2512 8941
Passcode: 344713

Join by Phone:
Dial: 0203 481 5237 
Meeting ID: 816 2512 8941
Passcode: 344713
The church of St Mary’s Great Chart has always been a vitally important focus for the local community.  As well as providing a warm welcome to its regular and growing worshipping congregation, it is frequently used as a venue for weddings, baptisms and funerals for the wider community.  Situated on the top of the hill, it is a powerful and visible symbol of God’s presence in Great Chart, Chilmington Green and the surrounding area.

But it needs help to survive.  The Church is a Grade 1 listed ancient building and it needs some significant work done to secure it for the future.  A fundraising project was launched some years ago, named the Janus Project, to reflect the double focus for the work needed on the church – looking back to preserve its history and looking forward to developing it and making it fit for purpose for the future.  So far, the project has raised the funds needed to completely renew the roof and to install a toilet in the church building.  The next phase is to renew the path and entrance to the church building, to make it more accessible and welcoming for all.  This part of the project we are calling Prepare the Way!

We need £100k for this phase of the work and whilst we are seeking grants towards this sum, a significant proportion of the costs will need to come from direct giving and from fundraising events. 
Once the path and entrance are complete, the next phase of the Janus Project will be to re-order the interior of the church to make it more suitable for community events and activities.  This will include opening out the space to create a warm and bright area, installing a kitchen and, we hope, building an extension to house extra rooms and toilets.

We have great plans for our lovely church at Great Chart.  The church has been at the centre of the community for generations in the past and we want to secure its place there for generations to come.
If you would like to make a contribution, you can do so via bank transfer to Ashford Town PCC— Account Number 30686611      Sort Code 20-02-62   using reference “Prepare the Way”
Or send a cheque to the Parish Treasurer, Shirley Leslie, at the Church Office, marking your donation “Prepare the Way”.
If you would like to support the Janus Project over a longer period, you can set up a monthly standing order using the account details above.
If you are a UK taxpayer and would like to Gift Aid your contribution(s) please contact Shirley Leslie at the Parish Office or by phone 07532 310266 or e-mail
Look out for our fundraising events, too, and come and join us if you can.
20th November – St Mary’s Willesborough, Christmas Fayre – 10 am – 1 pm

20th November – Christ Church, Chocolate Bingo – 6.00 pm – 9.00 pm

26th November – Link Lunch at St Mary’s Willesborough.

27th November – St Mary’s Kennington, Christmas Fayre – From 1.30 pm

27th November – St Mary’s Ashford Christmas Fayre – 10 am – 12 noon

Every Saturday – 10 am – 12 noon – Community Cafe, St Mary’s Ashford.
Every Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 1.00 pm – inSpire Café, St Mary’s Willesborough.

4th December – 7.30 pm St Mary’s Willesborough – Ashford Invicta Singers Concert

6th December – 7.30 pm St Mary’s Ashford – Ashford Sinfonia Concert

10th December – St Mary’s Willesborough – “Brother’s from Another Cover”
Brothers from Another Cover are a four-piece function band “with a mission to entertain”; covering classics from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, noughties and today’s chart-toppers! So come along to be entertained by and dance to hits from across the years. Tickets £20.00 per person (Payable at time of booking) which will include a light supper. Drinks can be bought at the bar. Call the Parish Office on 01233 620433 to book your tickets for an evening of fun with this high energy cover band.

10th December – Christ Church – Christmas Fayre, 1.00 pm – 4.00 pm

Every Saturday – 10 am – 12 noon – Community Cafe, St Mary’s Ashford.
Every Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 1.00 pm – in inSpire Café, St Mary’s Willesborough.

To book your places at any of the social events, please contact the Parish Office on 01233 620433 or email at

Ready for Christmas? What about Lent? You may not be thinking that far ahead, but we wanted to let people know that we’re planning to put on another parish-wide Lent course in 2022, probably aiming for some combination of in-person and online participation. Homegroup leaders and members – please do factor that into your planning.
  • For all from our parish who serve in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces today, that they would know the presence of Christ
  • For all from our parish who have served in the past, especially those who died, giving thanks for their bravery and commitment
  • For the right words to say when we have opportunities to talk about our faith
  • For Dawn Evans as she prepares to say goodbye to the Ignite community here in Ashford and to begin a new post in Canterbury, and for Sophie, Geoff, and Derek as they seek to ensure we continue to share the gospel in word and deed with those who attend
  • Diocesan Prayer: Lord of mercy, Lord of life, give us peace in lands of strife, wars and conflict spoil creation in many a generation; so in our mortal trembling honour sacrificial giving, of brave souls, lost – present and past on land, air, sea, we hold them fast; help transform destructive wares into the peace of ploughshares, take rage and darkness from the heart and from the tree of life impart; leaves of healing, fruits of light, Christ within who shines so bright; Lord eternal, hear us, we pray, this our nations’ Remembrance Day. Amen
  • Anglican Communion: The Anglican Church of Australia

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