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St Mary the Virgin, Chiddingstone

St Luke's Chiddingstone Causeway

Interregnum at St.Mary's and St.Luke's

The way forward

We now have a formal letter from Bishop James, setting out the ‘Future Ministry Arrangements’ for Chiddingstone and Chiddingstone Causeway and Penshurst with Fordcombe. A few approvals are still needed from the respective PCC’s and the inevitable health check but there is now a clear direction for the future.

The proposal from the Diocese, which reflects the main principles of our earlier joint suggestion to them, includes the following:

  • Tom Holme to extend his Penshurst/Fordcombe appointment (due to retire in November 2019) by 1 year. Also to act as Priest-in-charge for St Mary’s and St Luke’s, Chiddingstone.
  • Bill McDougall to be appointed as Associate Priest (part-time) resident in the Chiddingstone Rectory until end 2021, thus allowing a year`s continuity after Tom Holme`s retirement.
  • A new full-time Incumbent in the Penshurst Rectory to succeed Tom Holme with responsibility for the Chiddingstones, Penshurst and Fordcombe (supported by Bill McDougall).
  • A subsequent Associate/Assistant/Curate to be appointed to serve the combined parishes but living in the Chiddingstone Rectory following Bill`s retirement at end 2021.

Clearly, there is a considerable amount of administration to be undertaken over the next few months in working towards the merger but there is encouraging momentum now for Bill and Izzy McDougall to move into the Chiddingstone Rectory in the coming weeks.

The next PCC meeting has been brought forward to 30th May in order to meet the Diocese requirement for PCC approval of a priest over 70 years old, as soon as possible.

Further information and developments will be provided, through this monthly column and weekly hand-out notices at church.


Services for June are notified via our Twitter feed. The Toddler`s Service will continue on the first Thursday of the month at 9.15am in the Parish Room. The Family service in June is on Sunday 16th June not Sunday 2nd due to school half-term.

There is a candle-lit Choral Evensong by the highly-acclaimed Chamber Choir of Sevenoaks School in St Mary’s on Monday 3rd June followed by drinks and nibbles. Please join us for a special evening of song.

Then, on Sunday 23rd June following the Chiddingstone Fete, what better way to relax than to come to St Luke’s Church at 6.30pm for Choral Evensong sung by Cantiaci Vocal Ensemble. To complete a musical month, an Organ Recital by Jack Gonzalez-Harding will be held in St Luke’s Church on Saturday 29th June at 6pm.

All these events and future dates now appear in the weekly Notices pamphlet provided at the main morning service and produced by our church administrator, Louise Sanders.

We are extremely happy to hear the church bells rung on a regular basis by the Penshurst Ringers – a big thank-you to them.


Any wedding matters should be addressed to our wedding co-ordinator who is now Louise Sanders (01892 824879) or email:

Any pastoral matters should be addressed to the Pastoral Assistant, Carol Benton (01892 870483) or in the Causeway to Helen Barnes (01732 838855) and in the Hoath to Jane Ann Golds (01892 870429).

Any Christenings or other matters relating to St Mary’s or St Luke’s should go to the relevant churchwardens please (contact numbers in our local directory).