News & Photos of Events

Parish BBQ, Sunday 31st August 2014

The Parish BBQ on the afternoon of Sunday 31st August was a great success – over 80 people came from across all four parishes. It didn't rain and the sun shone (occasionally) and a great feast was enjoyed. Alongside the conversations and catching up were some of the more energetic folk engaged in a ‘nerf’ gun war (they fire foam bullets) and a ridiculous game of sardines.

Church Day out to Detling Summer Celebration

You may remember Sunday 10th August for the tropical storm, but 47 adults and a number of children from Sheppey Churches remember something else entirely!! They were experiencing Detling The Christian gathering --- with this year’s theme 'free and fearless'. This annual event was running at the Kent Showground on Detling from Saturday 9th to Thursday 14th August and was a brilliant time of learning, worship and sharing with thousands of Christians from Kent.

Some quotes from those who attended from West Sheppey Church of England Parish on Sunday:- ‘I’d never done anything like this before but I feel very comfortable here’ ‘We keep thinking we ought to go home but there is always one more interesting thing to attend’ and ‘a good educational experience’.

Many of those who came for the day said they would like to come for another day later in the week.
Next year’s dates 8-13th August so book Sunday 9th in your diary NOW or better still, book the whole week! The cheapest price is available now !!

Leaflets for 2015 are available from Rev. Tim or Georgina. Booking details can also be found here:

Farmers Blessing Service, Sunday 12th January 2014

A horse was a guest at a ceremony to pray for bumper crops on Sheppey this year. The annual blessing service for farmers and gardeners was held in the grounds of Minster Abbey and led by Rev Tim Hall, priest in charge of the West Sheppey Benefice.

As well as the heavy horse and cart there were several tractors, lawnmowers and garden tools and a good turnout from local gardeners and farmers, who were all thanked for their efforts during the last year. They then asked God for a blessing for their work in 2014. Fortunately the sun stayed out allowing the whole service to be held in the open air.

After the service a ploughman’s lunch was held in the Abbey Hall where Rev Tim commented that so often we enjoy our food without remembering to give thanks for those that produce it.

Festival of Light 3rd to 9th March 2013

"A time when we can take our eyes off the negativity of our world and media to focus in on and share in the blessings that God richly pours over us, with the peace and grace that we are given so freely. "

So what did this week aim to do?

The week was put together in the form of a festival, to emphasise the importance of celebrating in God's goodness and blessing. The time consisted of a string of events, which drew different reactions from people; depending on where they were in their journey with God. For some of us, it brought to light the goodness of God and the gifts He pours out over us without recognition. For some, it simply enhanced our beliefs about God's graciousness.

Some were inspired by what was going on, compelled or called to continue in their everyday ministry; at work, in the doctors, at the supermarket, in the home. Some were encouraged by the reassurance that God is there- no matter what we may go through. Some were sparked to engage more fully with the Father; in the knowledge and better understanding of the longing He has to share intimacy with us. For others, this time was there to recreate the joy we felt at first coming
to Christ, even if that was many years ago.

A 'Daily Devotional' was also created to help people to engage in some of the topics we focussed on over the week- beginning with 'Blessing'; followed by 'Fellowship'; ''Love'; 'Hope'; 'Relationship'; and finishing with 'Vision'. Each insert had a different author, with varying stories to tell- to ensure that everybody could be inspired by at least one of the subjects!

I hope that people were able to dedicate this week to God- to get involved in the events- to get immersed in the love of God- to get alongside the others around, and to share in fellowship with them.

Floss Hall

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Blessing service for farm workers and gardeners
13th January 2013

On Sunday 13th January, farm workers, gardeners and those who work the land on the Isle of Sheppey, were invited to a special service of blessing at Minster Abbey led by the Vicar of West Sheppey Benefice, the Rev’d Tim Hall. The outside blessing included farm equipment, tractors and ploughs. Farm animals, including a shire horse, were also blessed.

Revd Tim Hall commented: “This year has been a terrible year for farmers: - far too dry, and then far too wet. Harvests (where they have been able to happen) have given low yields – next year’s crop couldn’t be sown at the correct time because the land was too wet. Far too many people take the countryside for granted – they do not realise that hedgerows, trees and fields do not remain tidy and beautiful on their own, but only by careful and hard work by the farmers.” We want to give thanks for farmers, gardeners and all who work the land - for all that is done, and pray for all that must be done in 2013.”

The blessing service was the first of four services of blessing within the West Sheppey Benefice, which includes the churches of Halfway, Minster Abbey, Queenborough and Sheerness.

In April there will be a special service in Halfway to bless the communities of Queenborough, Sheerness and Minster. In June all shopkeepers and business owners will be blessed in Sheerness and in September, at Queenborough, schools and school representatives will be invited to a special service of thanks giving.

Village Fayre, Saturday 1st September 2012

As usual, the 2012 Minster Village Fayre held on Saturday 1st September in the Abbey grounds was jointly organised by Minster Abbey, Minster Gatehouse Museum & Minster Parish Council. The day was opened by Neil Bell, sports presenter for BBC South East.

Neil also judged the fancy dress competition. First prize went to cowboy Sam Martin and, second prize to Amy Parr who was dressed as a fairy (complete with wand)

Displays were given by St John's Band, Hopscotch dance group, singers Sounds Familiar, Belly Dancers Maud Medley & Sylvia Fairbrace (with audience participation!) and Big Fish (who performed their life size Punch & Judy). An ongoing war-games demonstration by the Milton Hundreds war-games club was held in the Abbey Hall

Around 500 people attended (based on the fact that we sold over 300 burgers and sausages). Warburtons Bakery kindly provided 250 rolls free of charge for the event 


Bartons Point model club had a miniature steam railway and a model steam traction, people could ride on both of these. In addition a full size steam roller trundled around the site

There were many games and entertainment around the grounds (including a bouncy castle and the ever popular coconut shy)

Unique visits to the Abbey bell tower were available to see how bell ringing works (the bells do not move in the way most people think they do!). These visits up the spiral staircase to the bell tower platform were very popular.

There were over thirty stalls selling a range of goods Chilled drinks were available from a bar provided by The Flying Dutchman and as usual refreshments in the Abbey Hall were provided by the Abbey crew.

Possibly the most popular game was the "wet sponge stocks". Brave victims were "Mad Mike" Young, Rev'd Sue Martin, Cynthia Snelling (churchwarden for Minster Abbey), Simon Martin and (bravest of all) Gordon Henderson, our local MP. One of the photos above shows the mayor, Cllr Pat Sandle, throwing sponges at Gordon Henderson (she rarely missed!)

Thanks to everyone who came and everyone who helped (there are too many to name individually).

 The 2013 Village Fayre will be on Saturday 13th July. Put the date in your diary now! To raise money for the 2013 public liability insurance a Craft Day will be held in the Abbey Hall on Saturday November 3rd. To book a stall contact Andrew on 01795-875835

Messy Church 
Messy by name, messy by nature. Messy Church happens at Minster Abbey usually on the 4th Sunday of the month from 3.30pm to 5pm.

Each month we look at different Bible Stories or Characters and bring them alive. This is a great experience for all the family. We have a time of making things relevant to the theme for the month, followed by a short service with children’s songs, imaginative ways to pray and, of course, stories that have us all thinking.

We have had some great times walking paint footprints down the aisle to pray at the cross to making spoon characters. After the service we have tea which is provided on a “bring and share” basis. Our Messy Fellowship has grown to between 40 to 50 and we would love to see more come along. For more information please contact our Assistant Curate Rev Sue Martin on 01795 663791. Messy Services up to Christmas:
Sunday 23rd October - Sunday 27th November,  Sunday 18th December 11am service Nativity

Children’s Church 
At the Abbey we really love to see children come along and they have their own little church that they go out to part way through the 11am service each week.

We have a enthusiastic team of leaders who provide a fun and secure setting for our young folk to explore the Christian faith at their relevant levels. We always look forward to hearing or seeing what the children have been up to. With Harvest in mind the children have been looking at the seasons and have made a beautiful mural on display in the Church do come along and have a look.

Village Fayre, Saturday 9th July 2011 

The Minster Village Fayre, held under a Royal Charter dating back to 1280AD, was blessed with very good weather and was attended by over 500 people. The day was was jointly supported by Minster Abbey, The Gatehouse Museum, The Sheppey Historical Society and Minster Parish Council.

The day was opened by an interesting speech by ceramics expert Lars Tharp (from the BBC's Antiques Roadshow) who, through research into the 18C artist William Hogarth, has a long interest in the Abbey. He travelled down from Leicester for the day and after his speech judged the first event which was a fancy dress parade lead by the Bethel Girls' Brigade band through the Gatehouse arch (where the children received sweets) and round the Abbey grounds.

The cup for the parade was won by St George's School (who were dressed to a theme of St George and the Dragon) and Primary Colours Nursery (who had a theme of Princes & Princesses) won the second place cup.

During the day there were displays by the Bethel Girls' Brigade band, Belly dancers (who invited spectators to participate, a sight to be seen), St Johns Swing band, Hopscotch dancers, the Safe Singers and Big Fish Arts (who performed an entertaining life sized Punch & Judy show)

There were over thirty stalls from local residents and groups throughout the grounds with a vast range of products for sale.

There were also traditional games including a coconut shy run by the Abbey, "Splat the Rat" and other games from the Abbey family unit from the Academy plus children's games from "Noise"

Thanks to everybody who helped and took part, including Abbey volunteers (who worked hard providing refreshments from a BBQ and the Hall kitchen), BRFM (who provided the PA system and music for the display groups), James Palmer (who provided the PA system for the stalls), the Working Mens' Club for allowing visitors to use their car park and who also, with the Aviator, provided the beer tent (which on a hot day was very welcome).

The organising committee hope this will become an annual event which helps to create a community spirit in the village of Minster.

Minster Abbey 23rd December 2010

Minster Abbey History Day, Saturday 9th October

Over 500 people visited Minster Abbey on Saturday 9th October when the de Northwode brasses were on public display for the first time in over thirty years. Information boards were placed around the church drawing attention to the many historical items on display.

Brass rubbing of full-sized replicas and smaller miniature brasses was available, and proved very popular. Visitors could also try calligraphy with real quill pens and old style ink bottles, and outlines of some of the stained glass windows in the church were available for colouring.

Outside, the bell ringers set up a remarkable mini bell tower with a peal of six bells. They rung at regular interval and many of the visitors were given quick lessons and joined in.

Inside the church there were regular organ performances by Julie Palmer and harp recitals by Claire Houston.

Art work about the Abbey and the island from St George’s primary school, Elliott Park School and the Isle of Sheppey Academy was on display in the Abbey Hall

Big Fish Arts were present all day in medieval costumes to add a real sense of atmosphere.

The Mothers Union provided light refreshments in the newly opened public area of the church.

Among the many visitors were the Mayor (Cllr Steve Worrall), our MP Gordon Henderson and  the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover.

Kent Police Choir Concert, Saturday 2nd October

An audience of over 100 people enjoyed a concert by the Kent Police Choir led by their conductor David Vening in the Abbey church on Saturday 2nd October. Wine and nibbles were served in the Abbey Hall during the interval. The Abbey acoustics are superb for musical concerts and we hope to see the choir again in 2011

Minster Abbey Summer Fair 

Minster Abbey held its annual Summer Fair in the Abbey grounds on Saturday 17th July. Fortunately we had exceptionally good weather. Visitors were entertained by the Hopscotch Dancers, the Sapphire Baton Twirlers and Sophie the steam driven road roller in the capable hands of driver John.

Amongst the many stallholders were The Gatehouse, the Cats' Protection League and the RSPCA in addition to those provided by the Abbey congregation.. There were many traditional childrens’ games (run by ‘Noise on Sheppey’) such as hoopla and duck fishing and Abbey stalwarts ran a traditional coconut shy. Ploughman’s lunches and sandwiches were provided in the Abbey Hall and freshly cooked beefburgers and sausages were available from an outside BBQ.

The event raised over £800 for the Abbey funds.