Our church is one of the Small Pilgrim Places and we were delighted to be selected as one of the best 10 places to visit in the Guardian article in December 2021.
You can also find much more information and news about our church and its community on https://www.gainfordwinston.church/st-andrews
In this section and listed in the contents, you will find examples of services held in St Andrew's Church (or from St Mary's Gainford) or recorded reflections during the time that the church was closed for Covid restrictions or for restoration work, for special dates during the year such as Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. This list is in date or alphabetical order. Since Covid restrictions were lifted we have not recorded services so these give you a reflection of the life of the church in Winston, even though they are not current services
Here is some history and facts about our church here in Winston. You will find some pictures in the gallery at the top of the contents list.
St Andrew’s Church was built in 1254 in Early English style, extensively but not insensitively restored and extended in 1848 to designs by John Dobson of Newcastle, set within what is probably an ancient burial ground. The wide 13th century Chancel is almost entirely medieval internally. The choir stalls incorporate 17th century bench poppy heads. The Nave was extended and pews installed in 1848 with a vestry, porch and octagonal bell turret with two bells added. Internally the walls are plastered except for the Chancel and vestry. The floors are of stone paving, with suspended timber platforms to the pew areas. It is heated by an oil fired warm air unit. The organ was built by Nelson’s of Durham and dedicated as a memorial to Queen Victoria in 1902.
Extensive work was done in 2014 for which a grant from English Heritage Lottery Fund was made (approximately half the cost) to replace the Chancel roof, the east and south walls of the Chancel were structurally tied and repointed, together with some repointing to other walls of the church. Internally the walls are plastered except for the Chancel and vestry. The church is well maintained and in good order. In 2020 the Nave roof was renewed, together with updating of electrics and heating.
The church has no disabled access due to the limitations of the site, no toilet or kitchen facilities but we do have an arrangement with the nearby village hall. The churchyard contains a considerable number of headstones and is now closed for burials, except for a section for cremated remains. It is maintained by Durham County Council.
We are traditional church with a simple yet flexible worship style. We have a service every Sunday at 9.30 a.m. with Common Worship communion or occasional Service of the Word which are led by members of the church and the average attendance is around 20 people.
In 2022 there were two marriages, 2 funerals at St Andrew's and three baptisms. The church welcomes people who wish to be married, the view from the church provides a wonderful background for photographs and there are plans for weddings in 2023 too.
The Harvest celebration and Songs of Praise services are attended by approximately 50 people of all denominations. Mothering Sunday, Easter, Remembrance Sunday and Christmas Day attendances attract 40 to 50 people. The Christmas Eve Candlelit Carol Service usually sees the church full to capacity each year with about 140 people attending, but this had to be a virtual service in 2020 and one with restricted numbers in 2021 so we are hopeful of returning to full numbers this year.
We have held a number of Christmas Tree Festivals (the last one was in December 2018), Flower Festivals (the last one was in August 2017 celebrating the Nine Decades of the Queen) and Open Gardens which attract many visitors from a wide area.
There are details about our latest restoration project of the church in the News section, which was carried out during the time of COVID restrictions.
We now hold services every Sunday and have reopened to welcome visitors once more.