The Benefice of West Sheppey
The Benefice of West Sheppey came into being on 1st February 2012 combining the churches of Minster Abbey, Holy Trinity Queenborough, St Peter's Halfway and Holy Trinity with St Paul, Sheerness. The benfice website can be found at:
The Benefice of West Sheppey is combined with the churches of Eastchurch and Harty Ferry to form the Isle of Sheppey Group Ministry.
Rev'd Tim Hall is the first incumbent of the West Sheppey Benefice. Tim has been Priest in Charge of Stonham Aspel with Mickfield, Crowfield, Coddenham, Gosbeck and Hemingstone in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich for the past eight years. Prior to that he was Curate of Kingsnorth in Ashford. Tim is married to Georgina and they have two children, Floss (16) and Berry (14).
Tim took up his new position at a celebratory service held in Minster Abbey on the evening of Weds 5th September 2012.
The service, attended by members of the congregations from the four churches, representatives from other churches and local dignatories, was conducted by the Right Rev'd Trevor Willmott, Bishop in Canterbury & Bishop of Dover and the Venerable Stephen Taylor, Archdeacon of Maidstone.
Holy Trinity with St Paul Sheerness
Holy Trinity was one of twenty churches built in the ten year period from 1832 to 1841. It was dedicated by the then Archbishop of Canterbury on the 30th August 1836. In the early 1960s the old St Paul’s Church in Blue Town was demolished and the congregation, after a brief spell at the Dockyard Church, and then a hall type church in St George’s Avenue, merged with Holy Trinity, and since then we have been known as Holy Trinity with St Paul, Sheerness. The panelling on either side of the door at the west end of the church and the altar were once part of the Royal Dockyard Church in Sheerness. Attached to the church is the church hall, which was recently refurbished and is used by the uniformed organisations for their weekly meetings and by many other organisations for fund raising events.
Holy Trinity Queenborough
Built around 1367 the church has a tower of 6 bells. The view from the tower is greatly admired. The painted ceiling believed to be painted by a Dutchman circa 1698 portraying the firmament of the sky was unfortunately damaged by a serious fire in the 1930’s. The church is visited by many tourists who sail to the town and it is planned to keep the church open all year during daylight hours. Queenborough owns its own church hall which is situated behind the church in North Road opposite the Vicarage. It is fully equipped, is used for church functions and is also hired out.
The Abbey Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Sexburgha,is a Grade 1 listed building and National Monument which was founded in 664AD by Queen Sexburga. Having been badly damaged in the 9th century it was rebuilt in the 12th century with an unusual arrangement of two adjacent “churches”, the Northern Church being for the nuns and the Southern Church for parishioners It also houses the famous de Northwode brasses dating from 1330 and an interesting array of monuments dating from the 14th to the 16th century. The west tower was added in the 15th century and contains a ring of six bells. Nearby buildings are Minster Abbey Hall as well as the Historical Minster Gate House Museum, which is privately owned.
St Peter’s Halfway
The Church, built in 1973, is of modern brick octagonal layout, with moveable seats allowing flexible worship and community activities, situated in Halfway (which incidentally is halfway between the other three Churches in the new benefice, each approximately 3 miles away). The previous church building is now used as a Hall; this is very well used and serves our community in a variety of ways.
Isle of Sheppey Group Ministry
The two other churches on the island, Eastchurch and Harty, are in the separate Eastchurch with Leysdown and Harty parish. This parish is linked to the West Sheppey Benefice by an Island Group Ministry.
Eastchurch All Saints
At the centre of the village of Eastchurch is the large and extravagant All Saints church built in 1432 The church reflects the history of British aviation which started in the area in the early twentieth century.and a stained glass window in the south side the church is dedicated to Rolls and Grace, who were killed in July and December 1910 respectively. An aviation memorial is located in the centre of the village, opposite the church.
St Thomas the Apostle Harty
This small church, which dates from the fifteenth century, has no gas or electricity and is lit entirely by candles and paraffin lamps which adds a very special glow and warmth to services. It is unique amongst churches on the Isle of Sheppey, and perhaps throughout the whole of East Kent, in that all its services are conducted in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer - a tradition that sits very comfortably with the historic origins of the building itself.
See here: http://www.hartychurch.org.uk/