The three communities of Upottery, Rawridge, and Smeatharpe worship together at St Mary’s Church, in Upottery, the oldest parts of which date from the 12th Century. All three villages contain a mixture of agricultural land and buildings together with some more modern housing developments. Upottery has a primary school and a pub but no shop. Smeatharpe and Upottery have village halls which are used for a variety of local events and clubs.
The church offers a rich variety of monthly services including all types of worship from Book of Common Prayer to modern, non-liturgical services. Sidesmen and the regular congregation afford a warm welcome to those who attend services, including newcomers and visitors, who often comment on this. We make a special effort to welcome children at all of our services and have an area especially dedicated for their use. Refreshments are served after each service and the majority stay to share fellowship.
Our choir which was declining has suddenly got a new lease of life with the addition of four new members including a child. We no longer have a resident organist but have been fortunate enough to secure the services of two organists from outside the village who cover three of our services monthly. We also have a growing music group who play for our All Age Worship services. There are many people who are able and willing to lead services or contribute to them.
We have many home groups who meet regularly: Young Wives group, Women’s bible study group, Prayer group, Men’s breakfast group and a Men’s fellowship group.
There is a thriving Junior Church who meet twice a month in the church and members are encouraged to attend and take part in All Age Worship services. The Youth Club has links to the church through its committee, leader and helpers. The school uses the church for its Harvest and Christmas Services and the school staff and children lead an annual All Age Worship Service. As part of our outreach the church provided coffee at the weekly Post Office in the village hall and donations are sent to water aid.
A weekly leaflet provides the congregation with information about forthcoming events and services, as well as a prayer list and some personal messages. The Parish Pump is published monthly (for ten months of the year) and church information is included, as well as a letter from the Vicar.
There is a strong emphasis on caring within the parish. A lay Pastoral Team helps with the church’s outreach to those in particular need. The Vicar and other church members regularly visit the elderly, sick or vulnerable members of the community. One member of the congregation is responsible for sending greetings cards and messages to anyone who is ill, bereaved or in need.
The current Church Officers are;
Parish Reader; Mr Terry Anning; Tel; 01404 861652
Churchwarden; Mrs Susan Key; Tel; 01404 861287
Churchwarden; Mrs Marion Anning, Tel: 07706089616
Bellringers Captain; Mrs Marianne Sheard; Tel; 01404 861504
Parochial Church Council;
Chairman; Revd John Hayhoe
Lay Chairman; Mr David Key
Treasurer; Mr David Stenning
Secretary; Laura Barker Baul
Deanery Synod Rep’s; Stella Thompson, Caroline Shuttleworth
Chairman Church & Grounds; Mr David Key
Chairman Youth & Families; Mrs Nicki Dowson
Chairman Mission & Outreach; Mr David Seamark
Chairman Worship Committee; Mr Terry Anning
Church Notices; Mrs Susan Key; 01404 861287
Flower Rota; Melanie Gibson, Sandra Fox
Junior Church; Mrs Nicki Dowson; 01823 601613