West Sheppey Benefice reveals exciting plans to work with more local people in 2015

The Reverend Tim Hall, the Vicar of West Sheppey Benefice, says he is excited about 2015 and plans that are in hand for more outreach work across the community. During the year, the Benefice, which includes churches in Minster, Halfway, Queensborough and Sheerness, will see a new School Chaplain, a new Minister employed to work as a Town Centre Chaplain in Sheerness, they will review church buildings for community use, and offer a full programme of school and community events and services.

Mr Hall said: “We’ve just had a very busy Christmas and have welcomed more people into our churches than in the recent past and we have also engaged with around 1,000 children in local schools through our ‘Christmas Alive’ experience. We want to build on this excellent work during 2015 and have exciting plans in place where we hope to meet more local people and help them build their faith.”

The start of term has seen the appointment of a new School Chaplain, Paul Wintle, who will work three days a week at the Oasis Academy and two days a week in schools across the Benefice. Paul, a trained careers adviser and voluntary church youth worker of many years, commented: “I have received a really warm welcome from Reverend Tim Hall, and I look forward to building some positive relationships in the community, at the Oasis Academy, with local primary schools and beyond.”

In the spring, Reverend Jeanette McLaren will join the team at West Sheppey Benefice as the new Town Centre Chaplain, with a focus on Sheerness.  Mr Hall commented: “Working with small business, shop keepers and residents, the new Town Centre Chaplain will listen and respond to local needs, and will work with other ordained and lay colleagues to build strong links with this part of our community.” Reverend Jeanette McLaren, previously Vicar St Mark’s Biggin Hill in the Diocese of Rochester, will be licensed at Holy Trinity Sheerness on Wednesday 22 April at 7pm.

During the year, West Sheppey Benefice will work with Diocesan officers to review church buildings with the aim of improving community use and outreach, including St Peter’s Halfway, where services are currently suspended, pending the review.

The Benefice are organising a range of special services and home groups during Lent, and Easter, to which local people will be warmly welcomed. Pupils from local schools will also be invited to participate in ‘Easter Alive’ programme at Minster Abbey, now in its third year.

For more details of services and events visit: http://www.westsheppeyparish.org.uk/

Ends

Further information from:

Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446, eshepherd@diocant.org

Photo shows, new School Chaplain, Paul Wintle.

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