We are looking for a new priest-in-charge and are currently in an interregnum.
Below is a copy of the Parish Profile outlining the type of person we are looking for and a description of the parish
We are looking for a non-stipendiary, house for duty, Priest-in-Charge.
We are a flourishing, supportive and welcoming Church community with an encouragingly large complement of youngish parents,
who bring their children to both family and "all age services". Our services attract many worshippers from nearby towns and villages.
We are looking for a Priest with parochial and pastoral experience, which we regard as important in this geographically strung out parish.
We need one who will represent and encourage a true sense of community and fellowship. Pastoral duties outside the Church will be as
important as priestly duties within. The person should be familiar with, enjoy and be sympathetic to country living.
Our style of worship at Withyham and Blackham is "middle of the road". It is founded upon the Book of Common Prayer
and the more traditional aspects of "Common Worship", although our family services follow a more modern pattern. We look for
an incumbent who will maintain and develop our style and tradition of worship.
It is also important to retain and enhance the interest in the Church of the children upon whom our family services
pivot as they move into adolescence and young adulthood. We need a Priest who will work towards achieving this objective.
We have a very strong choral tradition, developed for over 50 years by the previous choirmaster and carried on by his
successor. Our services include choral Matins and Evensong, as well as Sung Eucharist. Once a year, the choir sings choral Evensong
at Chichester Cathedral. We are looking for a priest sympathetic to this tradition and who will actively encourage it.
We have no way of knowing what the future will bring, in the way we worship, the makeup of the congregation or its size.
In essence, we need someone who, whilst catering for the members who wish to worship in a more traditional way, will also be able
to bring the younger generations to the realisation that the church has something to offer them as well.
The parish of Withyham has a population of about 1,250, including Blackham, for whose chapel-of-ease the Withyham incumbent
and P.C.C. are also responsible. It lies in hilly, rolling, well-wooded countryside about 40 miles south-east of London.
To the south, the parish embraces part of Ashdown Forest, the site of a mediaeval forest now consisting of a wide expanse of
heather and heath land. The whole area is one of outstanding natural beauty.
The parish is rural, though within easy reach of London and Tunbridge Wells. The Local Authority Register of Electors
lists 471 people eligible to vote in Withyham and 235 in Blackham. Withyham parish is spread out with no identifiable centre.
The Dorset Arms public house and restaurant, the village hall and the school are the focal points. There is a larger collection
of houses at Balls Green, about half a mile from the church.
At Blackham the village hall opposite the church is the centre of the community. Some houses are clustered around the village
hall and the church, others are spread out along the lanes with some newer houses and the Teasley Mead development, about three
quarters of a mile from the church. Like Withyham, it has no shops.
The church of St Michael and All Angels stands prominently on a mound where there are magnificent views of the surrounding
countryside. There has been a church on the site since early times but in the mid 17th century it was largely destroyed by fire
and rebuilding was completed by 1672. It has a large churchyard, well maintained by a contractor and the parishioners.
Part of the church consists of the Sackville chapel, one of the few privately owned chapels in the country. The head of
the Sackville family, Earl De La Warr, lives at nearby Buckhurst Park and is Patron of the living, which is at present suspended.
He and his family attend church regularly. The chapel contains some celebrated funerary monuments. Beneath the chapel is the
Sackville vault, the historic burial chamber of the Sackvilles.
The chapel-of-ease, All Saints at Blackham, is about 3 miles distant. It was built of stone in 1901 and has its own
A short history of the two churches is on page 7 and Guides to St Michael's and the Sackville Chapel are available on
request. There is also a ‘Walk Around’ guide for visitors to St Michael’s Church.
The last quinquennial inspection of both churches took place in2008 and repairs have been carried out on schedule. A
quinquennial inspection is due in 2013. At Withyham the eight bells were serviced in 2005 and should not need attention again
for some 25 years. A sound-system including an induction loop was installed in the first half of 2005.
The Tower was completely renovated last year and some work on the rest of the church is planned for later this year.
A toilet block was completed in 2008.
Withyham has a permanent choir with highly qualified organist/choir mistress and deputy organist. Both Ancient & Modern
Revised and Hymns Old and New are used and the choir sings an anthem at Matins and Evensong. The standard of musicianship is
traditionally excellent and the choir is invited once a year to sing Evensong at Chichester Cathedral. There is also a Junior
Choir which sings at Family Services. The Junior Choir meets on Thursdays in term time at the Rectory for practice, under the
instruction of our organist, Mrs Sue Barber, who until retirement was the Director of Music at Stoke Brunswick School.
There is a fine peal of eight bells which are rung once a month before the 11 am service.
Attendance at Withyham is typically: 9.45 Family Service 30 to 40; 11.00 Matins or Sung Eucharist 40 to 60; All Age Services 70 to 80, and Evensong 20-25. The Thursday Eucharist 6 to 10. Attendance at major festivals is considerably higher, e.g. Easter Day (2012) 240 with 33 communicants.
The Family Service is a great success with a large number of varied age groups attending regularly.
b. Electoral Roll.
There are at present 191 people on the church electoral roll of whom 125 are resident in the parish. A new electoral roll is in the process of being prepared.
Mrs. Elizabeth Parish and Mr. Donald Yonge are licensed readers.
d. Clerical Assistance.
In the case of an incumbent’s absence on holiday or through illness, there are several retired clergy living near to Withyham.
e. The Village School.
Whilst it is many years since St Michael’s School was a Church of England School, the links with the church are strong.
The priest-in-charge has been taking assembly twice a term and has been invited from time to time to talk to a class. There are
occasional class visits to the church. The school holds its annual carol service in church, and makes use of our ‘Church Trail’ worksheet.
f. Ex-officio duties.
The Withyham Charity, administered by its own Trustees, exists to provide financial help for those in need and towards
expenses of further education or towards training schemes. The incumbent is an ex-officio Trustee. He is also an ex-officio
Trustee of the Elizabeth Countess De La Warr Almshouses in the village, and of the Emily Price Charity (Blackham).
g. Parish Magazine.
This is published 11 times a year and distributed free of charge to householders in Withyham and Blackham as well as to our
Church members outside the parish. It gives details of all the church services and activities as well as secular events within
the parish. It is funded by donations and advertising revenue.
h. Local Social Activities.
Withyham is an ‘active’ village and the following are some of the regular events that take place:
On the Buckhurst Estate Withyham Cricket Club has a pitch, which is also used for
the Church Fête.
Monday Bridge Group
The Dorset Arms Angling Club
Kings Hall, Withyham:
Church events such as the Church AGM, Bridge Afternoon, Harvest Festival, Ladies Lunch and Men’s Breakfast.
Blackham Village Hall:
Travelling theatre presentations
Welcome to Withyham Parish Church
The Church of St Michael and All Angels serves the parish of Withyham, East Sussex, and gives a warm welcome to all visitors.
Our ancient church provides a beautiful setting for Anglican worship. In our Sunday services we try to combine the best of the old styles
with the best of the new.
We follow The Book of Common Prayer (1662) at Choral Matins (11am) and Evensong (6.30pm) every Sunday.
On the first Sunday of the month, the Sung Eucharist (Common Worship) replaces Matins.
On alternate Sundays we use the more informal Common Worship (2000) at our Family Service (9.45am).
For times and dates see the Services page.
We are very lucky to have a good organist and choir to lead the worship at the 11.00 am and 6.30 pm Sunday services.
We value the presence of children at our informal Family Service (9.45 am on the 2nd Sunday of the month) and at our Family Eucharist
(9.45 am on the 4th Sunday of the month). There is a children's choir.
Times vary at major festivals (eg Easter, Christmas, Mothering Sunday and Harvest). Please see the Services page.
Unfortunately we do not have a resident parish priest at present; we are in an interregnum and are actively seeking a new priest.
There are toilet facilities at the Church which are available whenever there is a service
All Saints Church, Blackham.
There is a Holy Communion (said, Common Worship) on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month.
However, during the interregnum, there will be no services at All Saints Church,Blackham
Unfortunately, we cannot always leave our churches unlocked, and so,
if you wish to visit outside service times, please phone the Rectory in advance.
For a history of the parish church see History page. .