We are the Parish church (Church of England) for the village of North Kilworth in South Leicestershire. We are part of the Avon Swift Benefice, a group of 11 Church of England Parishes in the Diocese of Leicester. We welcome everyone to join us in worship and community in our village churches.
Our Mission Statement:
“We the parishes of The Avon-Swift Benefice commit ourselves to God and to one another, seeking to become a community that is centred on Christ and inspired by the Spirit to respond to the love of the Father and share it with others."
Visit our website http://northkilworthchurch.org for history, and current news
St Andrew’s Church is a Grade II listed building in North Kilworth. This dates from the 13th and 14th Centuries and is made of local cobbles. The Church was altered in 1864 when the south aisle, organ chamber and porch were added in angular Charnwood granite, a foreign material for North Kilworth. The hexagonal clock face, given by the Entwisles of North Kilworth House, is made of wood. It was restored in 1993. Above it is a bell chamber for 5 bells.
Our Mission Plan has been nurtured and developed as a result of many meetings and discussions between the PCC, members of the community the Incumbent and her team All have been particularly supportive of the proposals and plans that we have for the future of our Church in the community. Additionally our Chuchwarden has attended discussions organized with Jonathan Dowman of Coventry LEC regarding Mission Shaped Ministry initiatives relating to our benefice.
The latter discussions have helped to crystallise our thinking in the context of the specifics for a small rural community of around 700 souls.This is relevant because “mission” straddles a wide range from simple outreach across the spectrum to active evangelism. Contemplating our place on that spectrum we have sought to define the specifics of our relevance in a local context based on the following broad precepts……Many of our PCC members and congregation are represented on other Village bodies In rural communities reputational issues govern the community respect for individuals and the bodies they represent Similarly attitudes to “the Church” are strongly linked to the physical structure as much as to the spiritual embodiment .
Thus it was that we seek to distil out the essence of where our particular message might be directed, how and by what means.
FIRST we need to consider the existing audience “clusters comprising an active community of voluntary organisations. In our case these comprise-Parish Council * Village Hall Committee * Sports Club Committee * Bowls Club Women’s Institute * Millennium Green * Playing Fields Association Safari Supper Group Kilworth Challenge * Cycling Club *
Those starred * indicate where PC Members have past or ongoing involvement.
SECONDLY (having engaged with the Parish Council) we feel there is a gap incapable of being legitimately filled by any of the above task centred bodies . That gap centres on bringing together the above bodies ( as well as individuals) on a regular basis to integrate their wishes and thinking in a more holistic framework which is focused on forward development of our village. This is not task centred but more around the social , environmental , development and softer community care agendas which are more cross cutting. These values driven needs have tended to be lost or by-passed by the extant task centred volunteers. These issues are rising up the Agenda because we are challenged by pressures to expand the rural housing base. As a village we are about to go out to a vote on our Neighbourhood Plan after a difficult and fraught consultation process. Many are fearful that a 300 odd house community will lose a unique feeling of communication and friendship if forced to accept between 60 and 100 extra houses. There is a specific challenge which the church as an institution is seen as a qualified facilitator.
The objectives of such an initiative might be …..To facilitate (say) quarterly review meetings around the challenges to our built environment To respond to specific concerns of task centred societies felt to be of wider community interest To support the Parish Council in terms of representations to the District Council relating to issues of wider social concern as a “subordinate activism” group.
THIRDLY the Church has an extant reputational strength in mobilizing such work.
Relevant to this, there is now a monthly Hunger Lunch in St. Andrew’s, which is organised by congregation members. However the current building is far from ideal for preparing and serving snacks and other refreshments and having space for people to sit. One of the great encouragements from this monthly event is the increasing number of people from the villages in the surrounding area who attend this: the clergy always try to ensure that they are present at this as it provides an excellent opportunity for informal pastoral contact and networking. We understand from them that pastoral visits to homes are in process as a result of this…the opportunities for pre-evangelism are already significant, but a warm, welcoming and suitable venue would enhance immeasurably our ability to offer this kind of hospitality. The proposed refurbishment would be a massive liberation for a congregation which is committed to being welcoming and to exercising the spiritual gift of hospitality to the village and to the wider neighbourhood.
FOURTHLY North Kilworth is geographically well-placed as the approximate geographical centre of our 11 parishes and 13 villages in the Avon Swift benefice to act as an ideal focus for benefice-wide activities, both in nurturing the discipleship of existing congregation members and in outreach. Over the past four years here the previous incumbent, Canon Oxley, has been developing Hunger lunches linked with a study group…in the past year we sent approx. £800 to Christian Aid in support of Syrian Christians and at the same time provided church members with the opportunity to begin to discover critical and devotional reading of the Scriptures in the context of a Fellowship Group. The venue has been the Rectory in Swinford, which is now far too small for the growing numbers and is also more to the south of the benefice and therefore less accessible. A refurbished St. Andrew’s along the lines planned would be ideal as a study and liturgical space for this and similar activities.
Furthermore, because of the size and the central location of St. Andrews, the number of village funerals in North Kilworth is among the highest in the benefice but the current state of the building hinders our hospitality and welcome. Other occasional offices, particularly weddings are also very significant…but again, we are hindered in our current capacity to offer welcoming spaces which enhance the contact we have and the opportunities for outreach and pre-evangelism.
“Hospitality” is the key theme in this: people in the village do see the parish church as their church and there is a great deal of good will towards the mission of the Church and the building per se. The PCC has thought long and hard about developing the building, whilst at the same time ensuring that it does not compete with other community venues, but we are very aware that a large space of architectural impact and beauty can offer something unique and distinctive: with the plans that we have drawn up, we are satisfied that the new, modernised, and adaptable facilities at the Church enable us to offer a facility and a welcome which other buildings in the village and the surrounding area cannot.
On a longer term time cycle we have held a regular Choir Festival for the last few years; one of the local residents, the former producer of a classical music program on Radio Three, has enquired about the potential of the revamped building for recording music and concerts. The potential of the refurbishment is reflected not only in the numerical growth which is quantified by the footfall numbers alluded to in our application, but also in terms of the warmth and hospitality which the changes will bring about. The aim is to increase the frequency and variety of events, broadening out from purely choral themes into dance, theatre , film and other events with a wider village appeal as well as to a younger audience in a built environment which is both respected but also capable of conveying our sense of fellowship, support and communion to a far wider audience.
The PCC has worked very hard to ensure that what is proposed does not in any way diminish the sacred character of the building and its iconic function as embodying C. of E. presence and mission: despite talk of medieval churches being a weight round the necks of small rural congregations, we believe that when they are perceived by the local congregation to be precisely their best asset in welcoming and bearing witness to the presence of Christ among us, then buildings are a vital component in the renewal of the life and mission of the church. In developing our ideas for the proposed refurbishments we feel we have placed due weight to the comments from The Victorian Society , English Heritage and other consultees. Importantly this results in the bulk of the pews in the main body of the Nave being left untouched whilst permitting the opening up of a communal ,open “discussion place” at the rear (west) end to create a more relaxed and attractive area to enable more fellowship discussions for groups to be facilitated in a more comfortable physical as well as spiritual environment.
Finally, it needs to be said that the partnership with the local CofE Aided School, is seen by the PCC as a very important part of our mission. Members of the congregation devote time and energy to being Governors at that school and our proposed enhancements will enable that partnership to flourish. To have a building fit for purpose in North Kilworth, at the geographical heart of the benefice, represents a significant step forward for the local community and the benefice as a whole. The proposed creation of an open space at the rear of the Nave is aimed to offer the school, and associated schools in the south Leicestershire Academy group, a place to develop spiritual and Mission based initiatives for Key Stage 1 to 4 pupils in an appropriate ,peaceful setting.