Message from The Rector

Dear Friends

It is good to be writing to you again this week. We are at an exciting juncture in our church lives this week as we prepare to have worship again in our buildings. Please see the information below and as attached for more detail.

It is really important to stress that, in re-introducing worship in our church buildings, we are not seeking to return to what we knew before and that there is now an expectation that you should come to church on a Sunday. We are in new times, and to one degree or another this ‘new normal’ will be with us for a significant length of time. In many ways we are having to re-imagine what it is to worship together in church buildings and recognise that this will not be for everyone, and that our Christian Community extends in a great many different ways; all with great value.

Indeed, we will be continuing with newly discovered forms of collective prayer and worship in balance with re-integrating use of church buildings.

None of us have been in these circumstances before, and therefore we are all feeling our way over new horizons, and we can only but trust in the guidance and wisdom we have available and of course the ever presence of Jesus in our midst. Not every step will be straight forward, and many may have to be taken more than once and possibly not always forwards. Psalm 23 is a great source of hope in these times.

It seems very appropriate that as I write to you today we celebrate Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Do see for some related content.

The Collect for today:

God our Father,
whose Son enjoyed the love of his friends,
Mary, Martha and Lazarus,
in learning, argument and hospitality:
may we so rejoice in your love
that the world may come to know
the depths of your wisdom, the wonder of your compassion,
and your power to bring life out of death;
through the merits of Jesus Christ,
our friend and brother,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.



Thursday Evening Zoom – 7:30pm – 30th July

Join us on the link below for the regular Thursday evening worship. This week we will be thinking about William Wilberforce, whose commemoration falls at this time.

Join Zoom Service at 7:30pm:

Meeting ID: 717 4519 2963
Passcode: twoshires


The liturgy for the church services below will be available online, and I will upload an audio recording of the sermon at Winsham later in the day on Sunday.

Next week there will be a full online Sunday service available, as there will be every 2nd and 4th Sunday.


Worship Sunday 2nd August:

Holy Communion – 8am Forde Abbey (BCP); 10am St Stephen’s Church, Winsham

Service of the Word – 4pm St John’s, Tatworth

Wednesday 5th August

Holy Communion – 11am; St Mary Magdalene, Cricket Malherbie

Please see attached service schedule and notes with details of all services in church and online for the coming month.

Please also see the updates below on safety and protection while attending church.


All churches will continue to be open during the week for private individual prayer. To maintain safe quarantine times around Sunday services, to keep our buildings as safe as possible, prayer times will now be on Wednesdays or Thursdays as following (please note changes from previous communication):

Wednesdays – Tatworth, Cricket Malherbie & Thorncombe at 11am
Thursdays – Chaffcombe & Winsham at 11am


Face masks

As much as it is possible to plan, we do have to try and keep abreast of developments and changes as they occur. Since I last wrote the significant change has been face masks.

In line with government regulations on use of face masks in shops and public enclosed spaces, the Church of England has now issued guidance that this should also be observed in churches.

Please therefore, if you are attending any of our churches for any reason, please can you wear a face mask. The exemptions to this are those exemptions as specified for other public places; e.g. due to medical exemption or other allowances.

Other specifics:

When attending church buildings for worship you will need to follow the guidance and instructions given as you arrive. This may be different from church to church given the differences in the buildings. This will however always include:

• Maintaining 2m social distancing with people not in your own household or ‘bubble’.
• Seating as directed and not changing seats during your visit.
• Signing in on the NHS track and trace register as you arrive.
• Using hand sanitizer as you arrive and leave.
• Following the instructions of the stewards at all times, especially arrangements about entering and leaving the building.

Holy Communion:

In celebrating Holy Communion, the priest, and anybody involved in preparing for service, will be following current Church of England guidance. This will include the priest wearing a face visor and gloves for the distribution of the bread. Whilst the wine will be consecrated, it will not be distributed. Specific instructions on how to receive the bread will be given during the service as this may vary depending on the building concerned.

Gatherings outside of church premises:

I am aware that there is some confusion about what we can do, and where, outside of church buildings. The current government regulations still stipulate that gatherings of people, unless specifically exempt, outside or inside are limited to 2 households together, up to a maximum of 30 people (of those two households). Up to six households can meet up, but then the total group size must not exceed 6.

Churches are exempt for activities that are a) on church property, and b) are activities that are part of the worshipping life of the church, but remain subject to all other requirements for protection and distancing.

For this reason, at this time it is not legal for us to have church gatherings that are outside of either the buildings or the church grounds. Until the regulations relax further our 5th Sunday service will be held in the church grounds of the church indicated (August – Cricket Malherbie).


We have had a few submissions for the community scrapbooks – but we really need lots more!! Please do engage with that – it is for everyone – not just children! Further information on the link below:
Big Community Scrapbook


I invite you to hold the following in your prayers this week. As always, please do let me know of any additions or changes needed:

• All forms of Christian Community at this time. We pray that people who follow Jesus know that, whoever they are, and whatever their personal circumstances and restrictions, they know they are together in their faith with the community of saints, past, present and future.

• That in this traditional time of holiday, people are able to find the right time and space to relax, reflect and refresh, be it at home or away.

• We pray for those we know who are sick, and those we don’t know, including those we are asked to pray by name for:

Hannah Knott; Rob Allen; Lynne Applegarth; Phyllis Baker; Margaret Bandy; Sue Bennett; Sue Cheese; Terry Conway; Nick Frankau; Paul Glazier; David Goodwill; Mike Heywood; Joy Howard; Ann Jarvis; Val Joslin; Mark Lindsey; Frank Long; Peter McHugh; Diana Rowlands; Ann Ricketts; Jim Tucker; Rosemary Walley; Rosemary Walton; Vivien Wheaton; Alan Wills, Anna Woodward; Pamala Young ; Hannah (Dennis Hunt’s granddaughter); Milly granddaughter of Jane & Alan Rudkin; Gillian Muggeridge; Chris Gould

• For the Bereaved – The family & friends of: Kathy Bostock-Smith, Ian Mcdonald, Peter Fulljames.


Wednesday 29 July: Isa 25:6-9; John 12:1-8 (Mary, Martha & Lazarus)
Thursday 30th July: Job 31:16-23; Luke 4:16-21 (William Wilberforce)
Friday 31st July: Jer 26:1-19; Matt 13:54-end
Saturday 1st August: Jer 26:11-16, 24; Matt 14:1-12
Sunday 2nd August: Gen 32:22-31; Matt 14:13-21
Monday 3rd August: Jer 28; Matt 14:22-end
Tuesday 4th August: Jer 30:1-2,12-15,18-22; Matt 15:1-2, 10-14


I found this prayer from Richard Harries in an anthology published by the Mothers’ Union:

O God, the Spirit of truth,
help us to be truthful with one another.
O God, the Spirit of gentleness,
help us to be gentle with one another.
O God, who knows what is in our hearts,
more clearly than we do ourselves,
help us to hear one another.
O God, lead us in the way
of truth and love

Blessings to you all,


The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
The Vicarage
3 Home Farm
TA20 2SH
01460 221286

PASTORAL EMAILS – please to:


Rest Days – Mondays (Tuesdays where following a bank holiday)
For non-urgent enquiries please allow up to a week for responses.
Mornings are best times for phone contact!


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