Many people discover the delightful country church of St Mary's Charlcombe by accident. It is not visible from the road but comes into view as you walk up its drive, or wander through the quiet garden in front of it. Others chance upon St Mary’s whilst on a country ramble as it's on a country footpath close to Charlcombe Lane. For some it is simply 'close to home' being only 15 minutes walk away from Larkhall, Richmond, Lansdown and Upper Camden.
Its seclusion and great age adds to the wonderful sense of peace and stillness here. Many people have left touching comments in the visitors' book, appreciating the calm and quietude. We open the church every day from 10 till 4 and there is very often someone there visiting either sitting quietly in the church, strumming a guitar in the garden or sunning themselves on a garden bench looking across the combe.
You are always most welcome. As in the tradition of monastic hospitality inside you will find shelter and refreshment, silence and space, that has been a thousand years in the making. Do feel that you can come and rest for a while and let the peace and kindness of God be in your heart and your home. You will also find illustrated guidebooks to read and take away which explain the history of this, the oldest ecclesiastical building in Bath.
The Sunday morning service takes place at 9 o'clock and despite the early start nearly 40 people come. In fact, you will be home and refreshed before many have got up! You are guaranteed a warm welcome and the chance to get to talk to us if you so wish. Some come and go quietly - it is totally up to you.
The congregation is mainly on the older side but still vital and active and full of experience, generosity, along with considerable wisdom. Many of us walk to church hastened on by the bell ringing for 10 minutes before the start. By some standards we are not 'high church' but on Sunday mornings we use incense, the clergy wear robes and dog collars and it is a sung Eucharist. Members of the congregation read the lessons and others lead the prayers of intercession. Behind the scenes many people do their bit in unsung ways, such as gardening, flower arranging, cleaning, administration and opening and closing the church each day.
We commence with two minutes of silence prior to the start of Eucharist but there is always very lively chat afterwards and 'bring your own' refreshments on the 4th Sunday of the month. We are fortunate to have a terrific 100 year old organ and talented organists to accompany our sung Eucharist and hymns. There is communion available for those who would like to take it and everyone is welcome to receive a blessing at the altar rail.
We are blessed with a caring, deep thinking and highly enthusiastic clergy - Philip and Debbie. So whether you come for a stimulating sermon, profound communion, some good jokes, a big smile and a chat you should go away with a spring in your step and something surprising to think about - or maybe just a refreshing inner calm.
A programme of other events takes place during the year which may include Christian Meditation, Alpha Courses and Home Groups.
Charlcombe is quite a dispersed parish and yet there is a lot of getting-together during the week and looking out for one another and we support a food bank. We are generously supported by our 'Friends' organisation and the church and its garden is also a centre for the community as a whole. The facilities may be modest - in keeping with the age of the place but, when we need it, we also have the well equipped hall of our partner church, St Stephen's, Lansdown, the one with the colourfully illuminated tower at night.
You are most welcome. If you were to miss our service at 9am, then the same clergy will be leading worship there at 10.45!
Finally very many have found this to be a beautiful setting for a marriage ceremony, christening or funeral. Enquiries for these can be made online from this web-site.
To find us on Sat Nav use BA1 8DR
Liz Thorne and Neil Latham,
Joint Church Wardens