Churchyard News

Thanks to all those who came to the working party last Wednesday to open up the woodland at the south-east corner of the churchyard. Already this area looks better, is safer and more accessible – if you haven’t been there lately do go and take a look. Once it has had a couple of weeks to settle we need to decide how to make this area more attractive and welcoming for the future. Please send any ideas on how to do we might do this to

We had so many people join us that we were also able to start clearing some of the neglected graves, and one of these has already been adopted – that is, someone has agreed to plant it up appropriately and keep it in order in future. There are a number of graves in the churchyard which no longer have friends or relatives to care for them; if you are interested in adopting one of these please also contact to discuss the possibilities.  

We’re ringing our bells again!

It’s been wonderful to hear our bells calling us to worship again in recent weeks after nearly 18 months of silence.

Perhaps you’ve thought about taking something new up after lockdown – have you considered bell ringing? If you’re interested in finding out more you will find the Tower Captain and Secretary’s contact details on the Church Website.

For us to teach you to ring would mean a commitment from you for our Monday evening practices and the teaching to handle a bell could take up to 6 months. However, the more practice you put in the quicker you will learn!

Anyone can learn to ring so why not make it a family activity. We are happy to teach anyone from the age of 11 upwards.

During August our Monday evening practices will take place on alternate weeks: 2nd, 16th, and 30th from 7.30–8.30pm. Those wishing to attend must book a place in advance with Jane Huxley so that we can keep to a safe number.


Thanks to all those who have brought in pill blister packs for recycling. We got three boxes full in the first fortnight, far more than expected. 

Please keep up the good work with this scheme. There are two other specific recycling schemes in aid of charity you might like to take part in:

Inkjet cartridges – in aid of National Trust – just deliver to Ilona DeSousa ( at 10 Claremont Place, Wincheap, CT1 3SU.  OK to post them through the door.

Crisp packets – being collected by Wildwood – just deliver during opening hours. 

If you want to recycle these but delivering them is difficult or would involve an ecologically unfriendly special trip please contact or phone 01227 451 991 to discuss other possible arrangements

Update on progress on improving access, beauty and biodiversity in St Stephen’s Churchyard

Following the public meetings in July and August  and a site visit by a council officer the PCC of St Stephen’s has agreed to the work recommended to remove or prune unhealthy and dangerous trees and the legal process to allow this to take place is underway.  All being well we hope this work will be completed by the end of the winter, changing the appearance of the churchyard and making it much more open and accessible.  We can then start to think of a longer term management strategy.

The PCC was also in favour of the idea of encouraging wider involvement of the community in caring for and enjoying the churchyard, and we are currently exploring the best legal framework to enable this to happen.  Our new organisation will also need a name – there was concern that the working title “Friends of St Stephen’s Churchyard” might cause confusion with the existing Friends of St Stephen’s.   Email if you have any bright ideas for a good title for the group. 

The PCC also welcomed the  idea of an “adopt a grave” scheme under which individuals, families and groups could take responsibility for planting and managing one of the many graves no longer tended by families in ways which will enhance the beauty of the churchyard and also its biodiversity. Again there are procedural and organisational issues to be sorted out, but we hope that by early spring next year we will be able to launch the new organisation and an “adopt a grave” scheme.  If this all goes well we plan  a  celebration on Rogation Sunday, May 17th, a traditional time when the church gives thanks for nature and prays for a good harvest. 

Further updates will be circulated when there is more news, and we are applying for permission for a temporary noticeboard in the churchyard where information on plans for the churchyard can also be posted.

A Guided Sensory Meditation for the Autumn Season: Nuts and Seeds

Everyone is welcome to join us in St Stephen’s church at 7.30pm on Thursday October 24th for a guided sensory meditation led by Sally Musker.  Sally is an experienced leader of meditations and is completing a postgraduate degree on sensory mediation at Canterbury Christ Church University.  The meditation will last approx. 40 minutes and will include some silent reflection and optional sharing.

St Stephen’s Lent Appeal – Toilet Twinning

2.3 billion people don’t have somewhere safe and hygienic to go to the toilet. (WHO/Unicef)

Almost 1,000 children die every day from preventable diseases linked to dirty water and unsafe toilets. (UN)

663 million people live without safeChildren worldwide miss 443 million school days each year because of dirty water and poor sanitation. (UN)

The lack of a loo makes women and girls a target for sexual attack as they go to the toilet in the open, late at night.

Every year, women and girls spend 97 billion hours finding a place to go. (World Bank)

How Twinning Works

For a donation, you can twin your loo with an impoverished family’s household latrine, in a country of your choosing.  Your smallest room becomes the proud owner of a certificate, complete with a photo and GPS coordinates so you can look up your twin’s location on Google Maps.  Your donation will be used to provide clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education.

We aim to raise £240 to twin the Church Hall toilets this Lent – but why not twin your own loo this Lent for £60?