Sunday Service Rota

How and when we gather to worship together matters.  It is time to review our current practice and the PCC’s have started discussions, that will include listening to everyone.  Please do look at the proposed new service pattern that is displayed in each church

If you have any questions or comments please do talk to Rev. Chris and PCC members, who are keen to hear from you.

Thank You.

New Sunday Service Rota

Why Now? – There has been no review of the service rota since the parishes were brought together.  Not only are there increased pressures within the benefice and more effort spent on ‘keeping the show on the road’ – there will be increased pressure on resources as we enter what could be a long period of vacancies within the Deanery –retired clergy will be desperately needed to help in other interregnum parishes.  Re-working the service rota has become urgent and needs to be in place by January 2019 if possible! Any rota change will need to be agreed by all PCC’s and signed off by Bishop Helen-Ann and would be a trial for 12 months.

We need to think about what is required, what is achievable, what is both sustainable and will lead to growth.  It is important to say from the outset that there is no simple solution and there will need to be an element of change and compromise from each of the churches.  The current pattern is both unsustainable and inequitable and relies on 2 Clergy most weeks.  The biggest change across all options is the removal of monthly joint services, replacing them with 5th Sundays instead.  Currently, we have about 50% lower attendance on first Sundays compared to other weeks and I have received numerous comments that people actively avoid this service.  Each worshipping community can shape the type of service, E.G. Evensong could just as easily be BCP or a modern worship service or a Taizé service etc…

There is good evidence that fixing the time a church meets leads to growth and nationally it is the churches that engage with children and young people that tend to grow the fastest.  Therefore, each of the worshipping communities with children has a family-focused service once a month with an option for families each week within the benefice.  Each of the options allows the Communions to be covered by a single priest, only relying on retired clergy to cover leave or when the Rector is needed at non-Eucharistic services.

Current Pattern

This rota reflects the combination of the previous parish grouping and requires at least two priests to operate and is seen as deeply unfair by some.

In the options below, different approaches have been taken to try and satisfy all the requirements that have been identified.  Each option takes a particular focus, be it number of communions or recognition of much-valued services (e.g. BCP Evensong) but to achieve a workable solution each has had to make compromises.

Option 1 – Stable Time

Rationale – Each worshipping community receives a service each week at the same time. This pattern is the most equitable, howeverdoes rely on the churches committing to a single service time.

Option 2-Finghall & Hauxwell Shared Evening Services

Rationale -Each worshipping community (Treating Finghall & Hauxwell as a single worshipping community) receives a service each week at the same time –each large church has 2 communion services, the smaller 1 per month.  This pattern is sustainable, achievable and somewhat equitable, but does rely on the churches committing to a single service time and does not allow the Rector to be at the family services.


Option 3 – Spennithorne and Hauxwell Evening Churches

Rationale – Similar to option 2 but Spennithorne and Hauxwell becoming the evening communities.  This pattern is achievable and somewhat equitable; however, it does rely on the churches committing to a single service time. It also does not allow the rector to be at the family services.

Option 4 – Differing Times

Option 5 – Festal/Growth Focus

Rationale Each worshipping community receives its preferred style of service. Each worshipping community has one communion service, per month.  This pattern is sustainable and achievable but does rely on rotating service times and is far from ideal if we are aiming to grow.  This pattern does not allow the Rector to be at all the family services.

This pattern is geared for growth, it is sustainable, achievable and equitable, but does rely on Finghall & Hauxwell committing to becoming Festal Churches.Rationale – This pattern concentrates on having the Rector at all the Eucharist and ALL the family services.  It also recognises the need to treat Finghall and Hauxwell in a different manner, shifting the focus from a twice-monthly Sunday service pattern to one of festal invitation.  They would both identify a number of special days to celebrate and make those our main focus in that place.  For example; Harvest, Carol Service, Patronal Festival, Summer Songs of Praise, Rural Cycle etc.  Whilst this may seem like the church is missing out on regular Sundays it is important to remember that most of the congregation already drive to these services and are used to worshipping elsewhere within the benefice on the weeks that they don’t have a service.  By putting our effort into a few large celebrations, I believe we will see an increase in attendance and commitment as has been seen in other parishes where this has been tried.

C Clergy
R Reader
LWL Lay Worship Leader


A PDF copy of this proposal is available to download – LW Benefice Rota 2019 D2


3 thoughts on “Sunday Service Rota

  1. Regarding the 5 Options presented :-

    Please could you clarify Option 5 as I found it difficult to decide whether it was a good idea or not from the wording.
    At the start of the Option the Rationale seemed to suggest that it was far from ideal if aiming for growth whereas later on it suggests the opposite.

    • Hi Marjorie

      Thank you for taking the time to engage with the rota consultation. Option 5 approaches the challenge in a very different manner. I believe it is the option that will lead to growth for each of the 6 Church communities, recognising that we can’t simply expect the same approach to work in each place. In the villages where the church is geographically at the heart of the community, it seems wise to commit to a stable pattern of weekly worship (wherever possible without changing the service time). Both Finghall and Hauxwell face different challenges, with smaller local populations that are geographically separated from the Church building, and with small and elderly congregations. Both have significant heritage and we have experienced good results with special services when we have focused on invitation and hospitality. The festal approach suggested has been tried in other similar rural communities and has found to work well offering hope to what might seem a hopeless situation. It concentrates on invitation and hospitality rather than weekly pattern and seeks to speak into the narrative of location and holiness.

      Hope that helps – always happy to chat if you need further info. Rev Chris

      • On paper it sounds as if the festal approach might suit Finghall best, taking into account it’s heritage and particular circumstances.
        I like the idea of a focus on special services involving invitation and hospitality but I would be happy to offer my prayerful support whatever the final decision.

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