News Archive‎ > ‎

Latest News - giving a flavour of life at St Mary's

You can find out more about our church life in our News Archive


Carol Singing in the Ostler...

posted Nov 27, 2017, 6:46 AM by Simon Talbot

Do join us for an evening of carol singing and some of the Ostler's famous mince pies!!

Tuesday 12th December 7.30pm

You are warmly invited to join us this Christmas...

posted Nov 27, 2017, 5:54 AM by Simon Talbot


Culm Valley Mission Community Choir

posted Jul 26, 2015, 1:13 AM by Julian Garner   [ updated Jul 27, 2015, 10:12 AM by Simon Talbot ]

The Culm Valley Mission Community Choir gave an amazing concert in St Mary's Church Uffculme on 27 June. 

Richard Rutty gives the background to the Choir in his summary below.


June 27th 2015 will, for me, be a memorable date. The first concert of the Culm Valley Mission Community Choir. But how did it come about? Over the last few years the St Mary’s Uffculme festival choir has grown in its ability to sing choral music. As with many small choirs getting a balance between all singing parts soprano, alto, tenor and bass is a challenge. At Uffculme we are very fortunate in having that balance most of the time.

Towards the end of 2014 I wondered what we might be able to achieve if we could add singers from our sister churches in Willand and Kentisbeare to the ranks of the Uffculme choir. The idea being to form a Culm Valley Mission Community Choir.

Early in the new year I contacted Hazel Jones at Willand and Rachel Carr at Kentisbeare. Both were enthusiastic and undertook to approach their congregations. By Easter I had the names of forty people who were interested to participate. From those forty people some amazing talent appeared. Not least of which was Julie De’ Ath Lancaster ( chorus director of The Sheldon Singers ). I already had it in mind to sing some movements of the Vivaldi Gloria and was more than delighted when she agreed to rehearse and conduct the Gloria leaving me to concentrate on the other music. With Rachel, Geoff and Julie we had a very solid base of musical expertise.

Looking back there is no doubt that we pushed the boundaries with the music chosen but it was clear to me from the first rehearsal that, with hard work, the choir could rise to the challenge and indeed it did.

I am hopeful that the enthusiasm shown for the summer concert will be a springboard to other concerts; perhaps we might be able to produce something near Christmas.

I must also make reference to the band. As was the case with the choir, the music for the musicians was very challenging. This was the first time a number of them had played from proper music scores. Their excellence added a dynamic and colour that greatly enhanced the choral music.

There is always room for more singers, especially tenors and basses and It would be wonderful if we could attract younger singers, maybe family members. Have you thought about it?

Richard Rutty


School Easter Service

posted Apr 17, 2015, 8:11 AM by Julian Garner   [ updated Apr 17, 2015, 2:04 PM by Simon Talbot ]

It was wonderful to welcome Uffculme Primary School for their Easter Service and a chance to use our palm crosses to explore the Easter story together.


Easter Saturday and Dawn Walk

posted Apr 17, 2015, 7:51 AM by Julian Garner   [ updated Apr 17, 2015, 2:07 PM by Simon Talbot ]

Thanks to everyone from St Mary's who helped run the Squarefish Easter weekend, feeding 30 people, supervising sleepovers and walking with the young people through the Easter story. Our young leaders Lily, Chris,  Milo and Dan  were especially wonderful!!


Good Friday Craft Event

posted Apr 17, 2015, 7:49 AM by Julian Garner   [ updated Apr 17, 2015, 2:09 PM by Simon Talbot ]

Sarah Rock Evans organised an amazing event enabling children and families to explore the Easter story together through crafts, singing and storytelling. Thanks to the amazing team from across the churches who came to help run this event.



Maunday Thursday

posted Apr 17, 2015, 7:48 AM by Julian Garner   [ updated Apr 17, 2015, 2:11 PM by Simon Talbot ]

Rev Jill Purser and her brilliant Wednesday group and friends organised a fantastic Maundy Thursday evening meal helping us enter into the story of holy week and Jesus's last supper together.



Easter storytelling with the Kingwood children

posted Mar 25, 2015, 1:41 PM by Julian Garner   [ updated Mar 25, 2015, 1:48 PM by Simon Talbot ]

Sarah Rock-Evans organised a really exciting storytelling morning at the church for all the Kingwood children.

It was great fun exploring the Easter story together and sharing the happy parts and the very sad parts of this amazing story. 

Carole and Alan organised a wonderful feast for everyone at the end and the children were brilliant. We can’t wait for them to come again!!!




Lee Abbey weekend, 14-16 November 2014

posted Dec 9, 2014, 11:42 PM by Julian Garner   [ updated Dec 9, 2014, 11:44 PM by Simon Talbot ]


Following last September’s weekend at Lee Abbey on the north Devon coast, many of us from Uffculme and around again set off to Lynton and the Valley of the Rocks to experience opportunities for peace, for fellowship, for meditation and prayer, for re-creation, and for pondering the place of Christ in our lives.

There were 47 adults, children and young people on the weekend, including three from Willand church. We also shared the Abbey with groups from the Methodist church at Sampford Peverell/Halberton, and from Wellington, as well as others from further afield, including some individuals and couples, on holiday looking for refreshment. One of the delights of a Lee Abbey weekend is the chance to talk, sometimes in depth, to others in a way that is just not possible for most of us most of the time. We were grateful once more to David and Rachel for all their pre-weekend organising, making it easy for all of us to arrive (despite the closure of the North Devon Link Road) and find our accommodation.

As always, we were treated really well by the Lee Abbey community including volunteers from all over the world. The food (and drink) was excellent, plentiful and frequent, and it was a pleasure to talk to the different young people serving us on our tables at meal times – I had conversations with volunteers from Spain, Brazil, Ukraine, and Uganda for example. The rooms were very comfortable, with special mention of the secluded Tinkerbell Cottage as a romantic retreat. The Saturday afternoons are a time for recreation, and, as last year, quite a number from Uffculme, of all ages, took the opportunity of intrepidly descending the zip wire across a valley, some twice or even three times. Walks were also available – the weather was good most of the time – and Tony Lane led some of us on a ‘sensio divina’ walk in the gloaming (apparently the Devon word is ‘dimpsy’) teaching us to look closely at natural objects (trees, lichen) and meditate on God’s presence in creation and in ourselves. The Lee Abbey community members entertained us on Saturday night with some wonderful singing, music, and dancing, alongside ‘Chinese mimes’ (a variation of Chinese whispers) and poetry ranging from Walt Whitman to Roald Dahl’s version of The Three Little Pigs – with a surprising denouement. Later on Saturday evening many of us had a chance to talk and to relax over a glass of wine (and the occasional nip of sloe gin), mulling over the lessons and teaching of the day.

The teaching this year was led by Rob Eastwood Dewing, the Pastoral Director of Lee Abbey since 2011 (before that he was vicar in Petersfield, Hampshire), with the theme of the Christ-shaped life – renew, refresh, resource. The first session on Friday evening did not include any newspaper fashion dressing-up (unlike last year), but Rob did show us various depictions of Jesus, ranging from the traditional ‘Jesus meek and mild’ to artistic representations to a black Jesus, pointing out that all aspects of our life should be ‘Christ-shaped’, and that there should really be no distinction between ‘spiritual’ and ‘secular’ life.

On Saturday we were able to see some examples of a Christ-shaped life in action, and the cost that can be involved. Rob showed us excerpts from a couple of films: Invictus, where Nelson Mandela tries to persuade the ANC not to dissolve the Springboks rugby team; and Dead Man Walking, where the nun Helen Prejean meets the parents of the teenagers murdered and raped by the prisoner on death row that she is counselling. Rob was telling us that doing the right thing can come at a cost, that it can be impossible sometimes to get everything right, and how important it is to have a strong and living faith. Films played a prominent role through the weekend, with Erin Brockovich quoted as again illustrating the importance of perseverance in doing the right thing, and listening to individual human beings. Finally, we were treated to an excerpt from Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray gets things wrong time after time, but finally learns a better way – we do not have the ‘luxury’ of repeating our behaviour until we get it right, but we do have the opportunity to seek the presence of Jesus in our lives, and to learn from him directly, from the Bible, from prayer, and from relationships with our fellow Christians. In small groups, we shared how we thought our own churches could develop a Christ-shaped life, bearing in mind that the church is made up of us as individuals.

At one point, Rob put up the St Mary’s Way of Life on the screen – we had each been given a copy on our arrival at Lee Abbey – and he did suggest that we could move towards a Christ-shaped life by growing in faith (prayer, biblical reflection, worship), being connected (the importance of relationships), and respecting and serving others (an attitude of service). The weekend did reinforce the vitality of all these elements in everything we do in our lives, and we all came away from Lee Abbey on Sunday afternoon with much to ponder on, much to be grateful for, and much to try to retain from the peace of a place close to God as we return to our daily lives back in Uffculme.

Selina has already booked a weekend for next October – I hope that as many as possible will be able to sign up for a few days that can provide a literal re-creation for each one of us.



Tony Kidd

19 November 2014

A Picnic and Two Parables - The Latest From St Mary's Childrens Ministry

posted Oct 13, 2014, 12:43 PM by Julian Garner   [ updated Oct 13, 2014, 12:48 PM by Simon Talbot ]

September was a busy month for the children's team at St Mary's! For the first time we held a Teddy Bears' Picnic; six families with young children gathered in my garden for the afternoon - the weather held, the picnic was fab and we all had fun. We heard the story of The Lost Sheep which Jesus told to show us how much God loves us and how He wants to care for us. We made some "sheepy" crafts and then tucked in to sandwiches and sausages rolls. We hope we can do something similar in the future - do get in touch if you would like to come along!


September also saw the return of Explorers Cafe (formerly Taste 
Cafe). Once again Square Corner came alive to the buzz of many 5-11 year olds and their families as we enjoyed drinks and cakes, made crafts and heard another parable - this time about the choices and decisions of two sons whose father owned a vineyard. We thought about how we make decisions, that it's important to make good choices, and that we can ask God to help us do that.

The next Explorers cafe will be held on 26th October at The Square Corner from 4.00pm to 5.30pm. Hope to see you there!

Sarah Rock-Evans
sarah.rockevans@gmail.com
01884 840776

1-10 of 165