Welcome to the Benefice & News

This is the website for the churches of the Wye Reaches Benefice

Our group of parishes is at the far south of the Diocese of Hereford.
We span the England/Wales border with the River Wye often
forming a parish boundary.

 St. Dubricius, Whitchurch  St. James, Wyesham
 St. Peter, Dixton  All Saints,  Bishopswood
St. Swithins, Ganarew

Acting VICAR

On 29 September 2019 Revd Kevin Cecil retired from his ministry as Vicar of the Wye Reaches Benefice. The Diocese has begun the search for Kevin’s replacement and in the meantime we are delighted that  Revd Penny Powdrill has agreed to become our Acting Vicar  with Revd Jill Stephens as the other half of the team.

We wish them well in this challenge and thank them for their invaluable ministry to the five parishes of Wyereaches Benefice.



Dear friends

t seems that if we buy this or that or even everything from the various competing supermarket chains, we will have a perfect, amazing Christmas, but of course we won’t something will go wrong, it always does.

The first Christmas dinner that I cooked, just after we got married was a total disaster. We had invited our mothers and by the time the bird was cooked the sprouts were mush and the potatoes and sausages well beyond brown. But we had a great time and lots of laughs.

Christmas is not about either the amount we spend on anything or
the perfection of the cooking, but about love, God’s love for us and our love for him and others. And as we enjoy ourselves, giving thought and prayer to those for whom Christmas is about the worst time of the year, because of loneliness, loss of a loved one or mental health issues.

However, before we get to Christmas, we start the season of Advent, which is like Lent a time of getting ready and remembering what we are going to celebrate, the birth of the Christ child, God loving us enough to be born as one of us to show himself as a God of love.

Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas; food and presents, candles and decorations all of it; but we need time to think, rather than rush from shop to shop looking for the ‘perfect’ gift, food or decoration and very often spending far more than we can really afford.

Somewhere amid all the adverts, busyness and the jingles we need
to find what Christmas really is about, otherwise we miss the point
of what we are celebrating. We need to stop and reflect at times during Advent so that we are really ready for Christmas. After my first disastrous Christmas meal, like most of us, I calmed down and realised that we could enjoy ourselves without perfection.

After all the celebrations of Christmas and New Year, January generally appears to be cold and dull, but we can keep the joy of the birth of Jesus in our hearts knowing that wherever we are or whatever we are doing his love is there.I

May you all have a joyful Christmas and Peaceful New Year.



Starting this month, an informal discussion group on the 4th of every month. The format will be a light meal with discussion.

January is on 14th January

Venue, Rev Penny’s house at 7pm. Homebush, Lower Prospect Road, Monmouth, NP25 3HS

For catering purposes, please let me know if you would like to come.

This is a new venture and by having the meals on the 4th of every month the day will change each month thus ensuring that everyone has a chance to attend even if not every month.

Deanery Synod

Presentation by Rev’d Nicholas Lowton, Abbeydore Rural Dean on 4th December 2019

Nicholasprovided an engaging, thought provoking insight into how the Abbeydore team have been facing and addressing challenges within their deanery.

Nicholas opened his talk by advising that the most important question to ask when planning is ‘why’ … followed by what and how. He spoke about the problems in paying clergy and in retaining and recruiting them with the likelihood that clergy numbers are set to decline.

He gave examples of initiatives the Abbeydore team have found successful in developing growth, allowing ministers to spend less time on administration and more on new church and ministry. The appointment of a paid Deanery Mission Co-ordinator to handle administration, marketing, etc across the deanery has proved invaluable he said. He stressed the importance of laity playing a role in mission and ministry, adding that Abbeydore diocese has used source funding to train 16 Rural Pioneer Priests, with plans to extend this to 32.

He also spoke about deanery Alpha courses, pastoral visiting, prayer groups, spreading information via Facebook and twitter, support for the farming community, newcomer welcome packs, etc. A question and answer session followed during which Nicholas said he would be happy to talk to PCCs or other church groups .

After the business meeting there was a short talk on Tanzania Street children

Tanzania street children

Rev’d David Howell reported back on his recent 10-day visit to Tanzania. David was there to help street children who through a combination of poverty, neglect and abuse are pushed into the streets.

Projects have included building toilet blocks, setting up food banks, providing school uniforms and shoes and helping address youth unemployment.

A collection at the end of the meeting raised just under two-hundred pounds which David topped up to £200. David gave thanks and asked if anyone would be interested in becoming a trustee or would like to accompany him on his next visit. David can be contacted at revdavidhowell@btinternet.com, or by calling 01989 568736.



 Benefice Prayer

O, Come Holy Spirit come
Come as holy fire and burn in us
Come as holy wind and cleanse us
Come as holy light and lead us
Come as holy truth and teach us
Come as holy forgiveness and free us
Come as holy love and enfold us
Come as holy power and enable us
Come as holy life and well in us
Convict us, convert us, consecrate us until we are wholly yours for your using
Through Jesus Christ our Lord


If you are concerned that someone you know is at risk of, or is being abused, or presents a risk to others, please seek advice from the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, or if necessary, report the matter to your Local Authority Social Care Services or the Police

Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser: Mandy McPhee 07875757396 or m.mcphee@hereford.anglican.org

Herefordshire Council Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub
Children – 01432 260800      Adult – 01432 260715   (week day office hours)
Emergency Duty Team – 0330 123 9309  (after 5 pm, weekends and Public Holiday)
Shropshire County Council
Child or Adult Concern – 0345 678 9021 (week day office hours)
Emergency Duty Team – 0345 678 9040 (after 5 pm, weekends and Public Holiday)
Telford and Wrekin County Council – Family Connect
Child or Adult Concern – 01952 385385 (week day office hours)
Emergency Duty Team – 01952 676500 (after 5pm, weekends and Public Holidays)
Powys County Council
Child or Adult Concern – 01597 827666 (day time)
Emergency Duty Team – 0845 054 4847 (after 5 pm, weekends and Public Holiday)
Worcestershire County Council
Children – 01905 822666      Adult – 1905 768053    (weekday office hours)
Emergency Duty Team – 01905 768020  (after 5 pm, weekends and Public Holiday)
NSPCC:   0808 800 5000 Child line (help line for children):  0800 11 11
National Domestic Violence Helpline:  0808 2000 247 Action on Elder Abuse:  0808 808 8141



The Wye Reaches Benefice