The Benefice was created in December 2000 by merging the two adjacent Benefices of Redmarley (5 parishes) and Dymock (4 parishes) and is in the extreme northwest of the diocese in an area of outstanding natural beauty, bordering the dioceses of Worcester and Hereford. It has 9 parishes with 9 working churches. There are two Parish Magazines serving the original 5 and 4 Parishes, as we felt merging them into one would make it too unwieldy, and two parishes have a website. (Return to top)
Until this year, Services were held on 3 or 4 Sundays every month in all of them, but this pattern has recently been reduced to match the ministers available. In addition, on the 3rd and any 5th Sunday in a month, there is a united 'Benefice Service' of Common Worship Communion in only one church in turn. There is also a redundant church in the care of English Heritage, managed by the 'Friends of Kempley Churches', where four Services of Evening Prayer are held in the summer. (Return to top)
The buildings are generally well cared for but two have recently identified a significant problem causing stretched finances. In all of them, work required by previous quinquennial inspections has been attended to, with only a few items outstanding. Several of our parishes have completed major repairs in recent years, funded through generous fund-raising, gift-aid and grants.
The benefice is actively involved in all four of its primary schools. As well as after-school clubs our Ministry Team leads weekly assemblies and other in-school activities including, in Dymock, 'Open the Book'. The schools use the parish churches for their Easter, Harvest, Christmas and other events. (Return to top)
Dymock has a good relationship with the Independent Chapel in the village, sharing occasional Festival worship and a 'Pilgrims Group' (8-11 year olds), plus a handful of our members attend the chapel's fortnightly shared lunch/discussion group. The adjacent parish of Newent has a 'Churches together' ecumenical group including the C of E, Roman Catholic, URC, Methodist & Baptist. (Return to top)
Each of our parishes currently maintains its own traditions and its own PCC, but there may be discussion of some parish amalgamation in the future. We are actively seeking an honorary Benefice Administrator to relieve the administration load. (Return to top)