Christian Aid Week

An update on the money raised this year. With some late envelopes and
further plant sales, the final total was £650 – the highest ever.
Our helpers have agreed the Tea Party will be repeated next year.
Elisabeth and Malcolm Wright

St. Mary’s Vestry Improvements Appeal – Update November 2021

The appeal to raise funds for improvements to St Mary’s church in Upton was launched in July 2019. The works include extension of the vestry to provide a disabled access WC and refurbishment of the existing vestry to include catering facilities.

So far, funds raised via a combination of generous donations, grants and other sources totals over £38,000. We are very grateful to all those who have contributed to this cause.

The original cost of the proposals was estimated at £55,000 over two years ago. Inevitably, this cost has crept up and the most recent estimate, earlier this year, was £68,500.

We applied to the National Churches Trust for a grant of £20,000 but we learnt recently that this has not been successful. If the grant had been made, we were hopeful that the remaining gap of about £10,000 could be made up from a further, final appeal and smaller grants.

We have since applied for a grant from to the Joseph Rank Trust, an organisation whose aims and charitable policies appear to be compatible with the objectives of our project and we expect a response early next year. At that point, we will be able to assess what further fundraising is required.

The aim of the St Mary’s project is simple – to improve the facilities of the church so that it remains a cornerstone of the community for another thousand years. Fundraising takes time and patience but, with persistence, it can succeed. We have been encouraged by the example of All Saints, North Moreton, where over £150,000 was raised from a village of similar size to Upton for larger-scale, works which have proved a great benefit to the whole local community.

We hope for an encouraging outcome from the latest grant application and we’ll provide a further update as soon as there’s more news.


Paul Batho


Free Film Ticket

Churn Churches Action Group

With the approach of COP26, climate change is attracting

large amounts of media and public attention. As one part

of our local response we are organising a free showing of a

very powerful documentary film which has already won

many awards throughout the world.

The showing will take place in the Vale Room – Blewbury Village Hall

on Wednesday 13th October at 7.15pm

It tells the story of Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer who starts to

use his camera to capture the impact of climate change on

his family and village. A violent storm brings him into

contact with a Norwegian filmmaker, and soon he becomes

a community leader and activist on the global stage.

To reserve your free seat please email

St Mary’s Churchyard

Passers-by will have noticed that the churchyard has appeared in need of a trim at some times during this summer. This was the result of an experimental policy to allow the growth of grasses and wild flowers to encourage the insect population, as is being done elsewhere in the village.
At its meeting in June, the PCC reviewed the position in the light of comments received from villagers. It was decided that the parts of the churchyard fronting Church Street and the lane which runs down to the fields on the south side would be regularly cut as before, while the area to the rear (north) of the church, and on the east side, should be allowed to grow during the summer and cut back later in the year. The areas of longer grass will have paths cut through them to allow access for people to enjoy what we hope will become an area containing a variety of attractive meadow flowers growing in the grass.
The cemetery (the separate area surrounded by railings to the east of the church) will be regularly cut throughout the season as this is in active use and graves are regularly visited. As ever, we are grateful to Roy Locke for his great work in keeping these areas cut and tidy.
The currently unused cemetery extension to the rear of the existing cemetery is owned by the Parish Council which has its own plans for managing this area as a wildflower meadow.
We hope these policies meet with the approval of Upton residents but as ever, we would welcome comments and feedback.
Paul Batho

St Mary’s Christmas Services

You will appreciate that services for this Christmas will not be as normal but we aim to retain some awe and wonder.

The Nativity Play on December 24th at 4.30pm will take place outside in the grounds of the church, where provision will be in place to safe distance family ‘Bubbles’

The story will be presented in a different way through Gabriel, the wise men and shepherds, and the church porch will be turned into the stable.

Warm drinks and light refreshment will be served throughout as we will not be allowed to socialize at the end.

Christmas Morning 9.00am, it is not yet known how many we will be allowed to have inside the building. We have in the past been able to welcome many visitors and we would still hope to do so.

It would help to know in advance the numbers to expect so we would appreciate your getting in touch to book into the service as soon as you are able. Thank you

Jessie 850206, Paul 851251, Clare 850486


St. Mary’s Memories Christmas Tree

Make a memory of a loved one and hang it on the tree in the Church porch from December 13th to the 24th using the card provided.

If you would like to make a donation to Church funds please leave your gift in the box in the church which will be open all day on Sundays and Wednesdays.

For more information please contact Clare on 850486


Ride and Stride in Aid of Your Local Church

The Ride and Stride event will go ahead on Saturday 12th September, under Government guidelines. Individuals are invited to get sponsorship for cycling, walking, or horse riding around as many churches as possible. Half of the monies collected go to a church of your choice and half to the OHCT which provides grants for the upkeep of church buildings. St Mary’s church will be open all day.
For further information and to download a sponsor form please go to or contact Clare Lightfoot 01235 850486.

St. Mary’s Church Reopens

It’s good to be able to announce that the church will reopen for private prayer from 9:00am to 5:00pm every Sunday and Wednesday, commencing from Sunday, 28th June.

The interior has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitised in accordance with government and church regulations. We have had to limit the areas open to visitors – please observe the rules displayed in the church porch.

Further announcements will be made as and when changing circumstances and regulations permit wider opening and the resumption of services.

Welcome back!

Jessie West and Paul Batho – churchwardens


Church Events During Lockdown

Upton Parish Church is part of the Churn Benefice. During the current lockdown our buildings must remain closed but the Church continues to be alive and active.

You can contact the Benefice clergy:

Jason  01235 850267

Louise          07837 009730

John  01235 512987

The Benefice Administrator, Dawn Saunders, is working from home with full access to Benefice emails during her normal office hours and can be contacted on the office email address

Provisional bookings for weddings, baptisms etc. may be made online by contacting the office via email.

The Churn newsletter and readings along with information about Benefice activities for the current week will be distributed by email. Please contact Dawn if you would like to receive them.

Online Services

Our regular worship continues online – Sunday mornings at 10.30am, login or connect from 10.00am to chat before the service and get ready. You can join in using a computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or landline.

A short evening prayer service is also held on weekdays at 8.00pm.

Please see the Benefice website or the Churn, if you receive it, for the service access codes or telephone number to call and full details of how to join each week.

Ascension Day – Online Benefice Service

On Thursday 21st May at 8.00pm there will be an online Ascension Day Service, see the website or the Churn, if you receive it, for the service access code and details of how to join.

Short Daily Reflection and Prayer

During weekdays Fr Jason is writing a short reflection and prayer, if you would like to receive it please contact Dawn

Children’s Worship Online

Revd Louise is organising occasional online children’s worship. The next one ‘Growing with Jesus’ is on Wednesday 6th May at 4.00pm. Children are encouraged to show a growing plant, or perhaps the plan of a secret garden. Please contact Louise if you would like further information or would like to join the group.

CYGnet Youth Group

All young people of secondary school age are welcome to join the CYGnet Youth Group who are now meeting online usually on the 3rd Sunday of the month from 6.30pm to 8.00pm. For more information please contact Leslie – 07709 602923.

Mother’s Union

The Churn Mothers’ Union is working to raise funds for AFIA – a programme that offers holidays away for families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. To raise the money, the MU is doing a ‘sponsored card’ event. MU members will make and send 100 cards in May to people who are helping out during the crisis or have been affected.
Could you sponsor us for 5 or 10p per card (£5 or £10 total)? Cash can be given in a sealed envelope, or cheque to “The Churn MU” and delivered to Revd Louise Butler, Penridge, Church Road, Blewbury, OX11 9PY. Bank transfers can also be made, please contact Louise for account details.


News from St. Mary’s Church

Fundraising update

We would like to thank all those who have contributed so far to the vestry alteration and new toilet project. We are well on our way to achieving half of the total amount which will allow us to start applying for grants. We would welcome any further contributions which can be made by cash or cheque made out to Upton Parochial Council and given to Paul Batho or Ann Parham. Fundraising events are being planned for next year. These will be separate from the activities of the Friends of St Mary’s.

We would also like to thank the Friends for all the support they continue to give us which pays for the upkeep of the church building.

Christmas card competition

In the past we have given a Christmas card to every house in the parish and we are intending to do this again this year. However, we would like the design of the card to be made by a child in the parish so if you are under 16 years of age get out your pens, pencils, paints and crayons and design us a card. One will be chosen and printed for Christmas 2019. Your entries may be given to Paul Batho, Ann Parham, Clare Lightfoot, Jessie West or left in the church in an envelope clearly marked Christmas card competition. The closing date of the competition is November 15th 2019