There was a congregation of over 100 at St James Church in Stedham on Thursday (July 13) when the Bishop of Horsham, The Right Rev Mark Sowerby and the Archdeacon of Horsham, The Ven Fiona Windsor conducted a special service to celebrate a new benefice.
Stedham with Iping has now joined the existing benefice of Milland with Rake and Linch with Iping Marsh. At the service the Rev Trish Bancroft was also instituted as rector of Stedham and her mandate as rector was extended to cover the whole new benefice. At the same time, lay reader for Stedham Jan Sayers had her mandate extended to cover the whole benefice. The Rev Trish is now responsible for three parishes and four churches.
While the congregation was gathering at the church for the service a team of bell-ringers rang a peal to welcome them in. The service was preceded by a procession through the village from the Memorial Hall to the church. The choirs of all three parishes, under the leadership of organist Leslie Lloyd, joined together to sing at the service and afterwards the large congregation followed the procession back to the Memorial Hall for a reception with canapés provided by members of all three parishes.
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