The Tove Benefice - Activities, Events and News

Collections & Offerings
Welcome to the Tove Benefice web site Collection & Offering If you are not able to gather for worship you might like to consider giving your collection via an online method. 
Please click here to donate either via the 'Give a Little' link or via BACS using your parishes bank details.

Tove Messenger
Tove MessengerThis page brings you information about the Tove Benefice, but there is much more to read about in the Tove Messenger, which is a monthly publication with news and information about the Tove Benefice.
It is priced at £1.00 per copy or £10.00 per year.
Please contact the Parish Office in the Chantry House to start receiving your copy.
Please click here to read the January 2022copy to see what is in this magazine.
This will take you to different web site as this site cannot display the magazine in book form. 
To return here, click the Tove Benefice banner at the bottom of the page.

If you would like to tell others how you have and are coping I am sure it would make for interesting reading and may give others some ideas. 

Please send anything to Paul Loveday either vial email at or give him a ring on 01327 351556.

A Plea for the Tove Messenger
This magazine has recently come into criticism in respect of its content in that it contains little of interest. 
In some ways the people who have expressed this opinion are of course correct.
The answer to this is that unless notification of events or items of local interest are sent to me I cannot put it into the magazine. 
The magazine is an opportunity for people here in Towcester and the villages in the benefice to publicise their events and also others in the surrounding areas.
Paul does some chasing around but is not always able to do so. 
Looking to the future we are intending to circulate local organisations for their input to publicise their events, hopefully to a wider audience.
So, dear reader, the answer is, in what you can supply to make the magazine more interesting and more relevant to the benefice as a whole.
Paul Loveday 

Jane's first sermon
Jane's first sermonWhat a pleasure and a privilege to be present for Jane's first sermon. Jane is training as a lay reader in the Church of England and, after many days of learning and studying,  she presented her first sermon in St Bartholomew's on 5th March. Friends and members came along to support and encourage Jane in her life-long ministry of proclaiming the love and gospel of the Lord God. This first message was written as a reflection for the Tove Benefice and called 'Words of Comfort'. It was delivered in the church to 25+ people and was very well-received. 
Jane grew up in the local  area and has been a member of St Bartholomew's for many years. You may have read some of her written pieces in the Greens Norton News and the Tove Messenger (the news sheet for the Tove Benefice). Jane shares anecdotes and memories of her childhood, the village, and the people she knew and loved while growing up. If you haven't seen or read any of them, I recommend them. There's always something in them that makes me reflect, think more about or simply laugh out loud (especially when Jane describes something I can also see the funny side of). It's a rare skill to be able to reach so many people in this way and we are happy to support Jane in her life-long journey in doing it. 
Jane, we wish you all the very best with the continuation of your studies and are happy to support your future work in the Tove Benefice and beyond. We thank you for all your work and are already looking forward to the many more reflections and sermons to come.
Ann Tolley

A Warm Welcome at St Lawrence Church Fete and Open Gardens 2022
On Sunday 26th June the sun shone and the Bells rang for the annual St Lawrence Church Fete and Towcester Open Gardens. This year saw a  packed to almost capacity event in the recently rejuvenated Vicarage  Garden with the inclusion of talented performances from various local groups, a miniature train exhibition and rides, Handmade Sellers, free Children’s Games, and all the usual stalls expected of a Fete.
Church Fete and Open Gardens 2022Across the town 6 proud gardeners kindly supported St Lawrence by sharing their beautiful early summer gardens with the Towcester community.
Revd Paula said “I wish to thank everyone who came along and supported the event, or opened their gardens with pride for others to enjoy. Special thanks goes to Towcester Primary School, Aspire Arts, Songbirds and TC Dance for their brilliant performances. For some of the younger performers this was their first ever public performance, and others their first since lockdown.
Church Fete and Open Gardens 2022It was also wonderful to hear the sound of the bells ringing out as members of the St Lawrence Society and friends rang a 3 1/2 hour peal in memory of James Atwell, former Vicar of Towcester and instrumental in the bell project 30 years ago.
In church a number of flower arrangements were provided and put on display by local arrangers who have supported the Church Flower Festival in previous years. This year some picked the theme of “Support for Ukraine”, including this beautiful arrangement by Barbara Brooker.
Church Fete and Open Gardens 2022There was also a plentiful supply of cream teas for people to enjoy.
Many people also commented on how lovely it was to visit the gardens around Towcester so generously opened by their keen and talented owners. A wonderful opportunity to share their pride and joys, answer questions and share the tips of their success!
St Lawrence Church Fete and Open GardensThe event was a huge success having raised over £5000 to go towards Church costs and the work of the Church in the local community. Rev’d Paula said “Events such as these are important forboth the community of Towcester and the Church. St Lawrence is totally self funded and we rely on donations and fundraising events such as the Fete to pay our bills. Like many we have seen a huge increase to costs; our gas bill alone has increased by over 700% this year as we are not eligible for the energy price cap.”
I would also like to offer my thanks to all those who volunteered and helped on stalls, local businesses that donated items, and those who opened their gardens for the enjoyment of others.
If you think you would like to be involved with this amazing community event next year please contact the Benefice Office on 01327 350459.
In the meantime please keep a lo
okout on the Church notice boards, this website and Facebook page for future events this year.

Steve Challen

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Advice with your Cup of Tea?
Towcester FoodbankAt last we have got the refreshments table back in the hall and can offer our guests a hot drink and a biscuit, and the chance of a friendly bit of space away from the hassle of daily life. It has been a while but it is so good to see everyone again. This also means that we are no longer able to deliver food parcels. If you have had your food bags delivered over the past few months, please come in and see us in person. If it’s not possible for you to get in yourself, talk to your tenancy officer, or support worker, or perhaps a friend or family member could give you a lift. Our delivery service will be stopping at the beginning of June. 
Here at Towcester Foodbank we are not just about food, our mission is to end food poverty in NN12, which means helping people to improve their situation so they will no longer need us. To that end we are really pleased to announce that we now have a Citizens Advice caseworker with us at the Foodbank every Tuesday from 12.00 noon to 2.00 pm. Steve is an experienced advisor who is there to help anyone who drops in and can make appointments if necessary, so please  come and see him. If he gets too busy we will have to ration his time to Foodbank Guests, but for now, he can help anyone. Another reason to visit us at the Foodbank.
Sadly, we are having to say farewell to Rev’d Lulu Pelly. Lulu was one of the founders of the Foodbank in 2012 and has been with us ever since. Though technically a Trustee, Lulu has helped out with anything and everything. She has packed bags and delivered them, supervised sessions, walked for miles to raise funds for us, is always ready with encouragement for fellow Trustees and a friendly welcome to anyone visiting the Foodbank. We will miss her gentle enthusiasm and guiding hand. Thank you Lulu.
Towcester Foodbank: a great way to support your community. 
#towcesterfoodbank 07724 832043
Helen Garton

Donations to Ukraine
Huge thanks to everyone who donated aid items or helped with the sorting and boxing in St Lawrence between 1st and 4th March. The response was immediate and beyond belief – we were overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the community.
In excess of 25 tons of aid was received and individually sorted, filling 7 vans, a number of cars, and part of a Ukrainian articulated lorry which was redirected on its way home and unexpectedly paid a visit to St Lawrence. Seeing a Ukrainian plated lorry being filled with aid in Towcester and then reversing back out of Chantry Lane onto the A5 was an emotional spectacle to behold. The brave and skilled driver, Volodymyr, then returned to the capital, Kyiv under police and fire service escort.
The other aid lorries contributed to locally are reaching locations where the aid is truly needed. One such lorry arrived at Vinnytsia and unloaded in their church just a few hours after the city had been bombed. 
Photographs are available via the Benefice website. Please click here
For those who would still like to make a financial donation, you may wish to consider: International Rescue Committee; Red Cross; World Vision; Save The Children.
Thank you once again to everyone who has supported this amazing and much needed initiative, it demonstrated the immense power of community spirit. 

Rev’d Paula and Steve Challen

Ordinations in 2020

On Saturday 26th September Angela, our curate, was with others ordained Deacon at Peterborough Cathedral.
She is seen here with the other Ordinands, one which you will no doubt recognise.
This month’s cover picture on the Tove Messenger shows her with Rev’d Paula outside the front door of the Cathedral following the ceremony

Benefice Office email Address
Please note the Tove Benefice Office email address:

Benefice Contact Changes
Following the recent APCMs the following changes are made to the Benefice Contacts.
At St. Bartholomew’s Edward Woods has stepped down as Church Warden and his position has been taken by Paula Leach.
At St. Lawrence Stephanie Watts has stepped down as Church Warden and that position is now vacant. 
Paul Kybird has relinquished his position of Safeguarding Office and this role has now been taken over by Stephanie Watts.
Our thanks go to both Edward and Stephanie for the work they have done and we wish Stephanie every success in her new role.

Food Bank News
Food Bank NewsAre you struggling to buy food due to money problems?
Many people are facing a serious drop in income during the covid 19 crisis. Others have financial issues not related to covid. Perhaps there has been an unexpected expense or a delay in benefits payments. If you are having any form of financial trouble we can help.
Our service varies the free food given to meet your family needs. A large family could get 4 carrier bags full (about 30kg). You can request more whenever it is needed, within reason. We can usually alter contents for vegetarians and those with allergies and may also be able to offer non-food items such as toiletries, pet food and baby products.
We are based at St. John Ambulance Hall, Islington Road, Towcester.
Opening times are:
Tuesday 12.00 noon until 2.00 pm and
Friday 10.30 am until 12.30 pm.

You don’t need an appointment or voucher, just turn up but please wear a mask. If you are unable to get to us, we may be able to arrange to have your food delivered. Phone 07724 832 043 during the opening times or leave a text message with your name and postcode and we will get back to you.
Please note, our service is not to be confused with temporary schemes to support those self isolating.
Towcester Foodbank is part of Britain’s biggest foodbank network, The Trussell Trust which is aiming to end food poverty.
Charity commission number 1157338
Towcester Foodbank :
Free at the point of need for as long as you need it.

St Mary's Church, Easton Neston
St Mary's Church, Easton NestonThere is now a security gate restricting vehicular, but not pedestrian, access to the estate and the Church.
It will be open for services, but if you need regular access at other times, please register your number plate with the Office.
For an occasional visit, just ring the phone number posted at the gate.
Oliver Low

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Support the Tove Benefice when shopping with Amazon
Support the Tove Benefice when shopping with AmazonInstead of just using Amazon to shop on-line, use Smile Amazon (
When you first visit you will be prompted to select a charitable organisation to support and Amazon will give 0.5% of the net purchase price of eligible Amazon Smile purchases to your chosen charitable organisation.
The Tove Benefice is registered as “The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Lawrence, Towcester” and will need to search for this when registering.
This is a 'one off' process and once completed, each time you purchase an eligible Amazon Smile product 0.5% of the net price will be given to the Tove Benefice.

Safeguarding is a priority in the Benefice
We are committed to following national and Church of England guidelines on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, and good working practice, including safer recruitment of volunteers and paid workers.
In the first instance, any concerns that you have should be addressed to the Benefice Safeguarding Officer: Stephanie Watts.
Further safeguarding information can be found at:

Support The Tove Benefice Website

Activity on the web site continues to increase, but the site would still benefit from your input, comments and feedback, even if it is only to suggest the removal of obsolete material.
It is easy to make contact by using the “Your Comments” tab at the foot of the menu or via the Benefice Office or direcltly to
It is vital for the Church to communicate in as many ways as possible and it is important to have social media accounts, but they do not replace the Benefice web site, as there are major differences.
If someone is trying to find information they tend to search the Internet looking for the relevant web site as this gives the searcher confidence that this is the right place to find out about the Church or Benefice.
Social media is great fort those who know about the Church and perhaps existing Church members, but for the Churches of the Benefice to be discovered by those within the local area, and those outside, who probably do not know that we have social media accounts; the web site provides a guiding light.
The web site contains information such as contact details and maps that verify that the searcher has found the right information they are looking for, which is important as so many Churches have the same names. provides details on service timesforthcoming events, reports on past events, photographs, virtual tours and other information essential to someone trying to find out about the Benefice and its Churches.
Much of this is not easy to communicate using social media as the platform is completely different and rapidly changing, so I appeal all to participate in the web site and pray for its continues success.

Manna Bookshop
Local News: Sadly the shop in Northampton is having to close its High Street presence. 
The good news is that “Manna4theWorld”, their on-line service will continue and will be managed and run by Martin Brown and Tony Solomon.
Thank you to everyone who has supported it in the past. 
They continue their very valuable Counselling Service.
Please pray for all involved.

Baptism and Confirmation Service at Bradden

Baptism and Confirmation Service at Bradden
Left to Right: Rev’d Paula, Jamie Clark, Tim Lane, Marion Jackson from Kelmarsh,
Bishop John, Charlotte Gleeson, Yvonne Lowe, Rev’d Ben

Photograph by Isobel Gilbert

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Bamboo Cups
bamboo CupsOur very own, diocesan branded bamboo cups. 
Each year, 100 billion single use coffee cups end up as landfill. 
Our 12 oz reusable coffee cup is made with natural bamboo fibre – one of the world’s most sustainable resources. 
Fully dishwasher safe, suitable for hot and cold drinks, with a resealable ‘no-drip’ lid.

(Not suitable for the Microwave.)
Bring and re-use at diocesan events.
Keep in the car. 
Great gifts for Church members. 
Discounts & extra loyalty stamps at high-street coffee shops when you use your bamboo cup, and a great conversation-starter about caring for God’s creation.
Order yours now at £7.00 each from

Foodbank are looking for new trustees.
FoodbankPlease see the notice at the back of Church for details.
Towcester foodbank needs to replenish its stock of the basic foods which go into the bags.
We are running low on many of these items. 
We invite you to give donations of pasta, rice, custard, tinned meat or fish, tinned spaghetti, tinned fruit, sponge puddings, UHT milk, sugar (500g), jam and biscuits.
Please check that the items are well within date.
Donations can be left at the Church or at Tesco or Waitrose in Towcester. Thank you for your continued support of the foodbank.

St Lawrence Remembrance Memorial Garden
Some of you may have noticed activity going on in the corner by the Vicarage. 
Thanks to a great community effort spearheaded by the Towcester WI, and the WW1 committee, SNVB and the Church a plan is being carried out to plant and prepare the Garden as a place to remember those who sacrificed their lives that we might live in freedom and peace. 
To date the paving slabs are in place and wood chip laid down ready for a planting session in June.
The first cross in the corner was broken on Saturday night when someone tried to wrench it from the wall. 
A broken cross is perhaps a symbol of God’s broken world and the work that has yet to be done by all of us to restore a community of harmony and peace.
Fortunately, there is much goodwill in our community and a new cross has been made and prepared and put in place of the broken one.
Once again, we are so grateful for all the goodwill and hard work of those who make the churchyard a place of beauty and remembrance. 
We look forward to the installation of the Poppy Cascade in October.

Rev’d Lulu

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St Lawrence Churchyard
The churchyard is well kept, and a lovely place to visit.
Sitting and relaxing there can give visitors time to see some of the wildlife that lives and visits the gardens.
There may not be much natural bio-diversity, but there will always be something there of interest to the observer.
Jackdaws in the bell towerIn the Spring, that tends to be a few early flowers, like Daffodils or Celandine, or the inevitable nesting of the many Jackdaws in the bell tower.
Having the allotments next door, the Water Meadows across the mill stream, and plenty of trees nearby, it can attract a limited variety of wildlife species. Robin - St Lawrence Churchyard
Some can be quite elusive, like the many Grey Squirrels that tend bit be wary of people, but others, like the Robin can be so tame as to come right up to people, and almost pose for photographs.
During a visit in April, there was also an abundance of Blackbirds searching for food, mostly males, and all keeping a respectful distance from each other while search through the grass and fallen leaves for food. And there were many other regular visitors too, like Woodpigeons, Chaffiches, and Blue Tits, but the recent weather means not much insect life has started to emerge yet after a particularly cold winter.
Jenny Lunn

St Lawrence Tower
There is an ongoing project to ring to remember all the bell ringers who died in WW1, and who are remembered in the Central Council Rolls of Honour housed in St Paul’s Cathedral.
We thought there was only one from this area, being one of the Slarke family from Easton Neston in whose memory the treble bells were added there.
However the following has just come to light...
...found from a newspaper trawl carried out by David Willis.
His is quite a tragic story:
Gunner Mayo Townsend, Towcester, & District. Died 28th March 1918 age 38.
Royal Garrison Artillery 135th Siege Bty.
Service No.172843.
Commemorated at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France, Grave III. D. 7.
Baptised on 15/02/1880 at Cold Higham, Northants.
Son of William Townsend and the late Rosanna Townsend (died 1881) and step-son of Ellen Townsend.
Husband of Ellen Townsend (née Basford), whom he married in 1910, of Islington Road, Towcester.
Father of Frank Townsend, Olive Elizabeth Townsend, Florence Mabel Townsend and Elsie Townsend.
He joined the Towcester & District Association in June 1912.
At the time of the 1911 census he was working as a shoe finisher at C & E Lewis in Towcester.
From the 1911 census it shows that his household included his widowed sister in law Angelina Townsend and her three sons, William Frederick Townsend, Harry Townsend and Herbert Townsend.
Two of these, Private William Frederick Townsend, Yorkshire Regiment, not known to be a bellringer, also fell, on 23/04/1917, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France, and Private Harry Townsend, Lincolnshire Regiment, not known to be a bellringer, also fell, on 24/10/1918, and is buried in Ovillers New Communal Cemetery, Solesmes, France.
Born: Cold Higham, Northants. 
Enlisted: Towcester. Resided (1911 Census): High Street, Towcester.
A peal will be rung on the day of his death Wednesday 28th March, in Holy Week starting at 4.00 pm.
This will be halfmuffled, one side of the clapper wrapped in a leather pouch.
This has a stunning effect and means anyone falling out of sync is a real clanger.
The effects are hard to undo.
We remember the costs of love and service given and the lengths God’s love to bring a channel of reconciling love which we are invited to celebrate and receive.

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Prayer Bus and Prayer Spaces
If you have not seen the feedback we have had from the schools please talk to Paula.

St Lawrence Church, Towcester
St Lawrence Church, TowcesterThe Church is open for you every day from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm at least.
It is a lovely place to find peace and many people make use of it.
Do join them, but please be aware, we have unfortunately suffered from very occasional anti-social behaviour, attempted thefts and damage to the building.
If you see anyone acting suspiciously please do call the Church Office or vicarage 01327 350459.

Churchyard Working Bees
Nothing makes a community like working together on something.
Fortunately, we have opportunities galore for this.
All our Churches come with churchyards which need tending and caring for.
St Bart’s and St Lawrence have a tradition which needs building up of the first Saturday morning of the month.
This has slipped in Towcester.
Churchyard Working BeesFrom September, there will be renewed vigour and the offer of sausage sizzle after a morning’s work. Please come and bring your own weapons of war, pruning hooks, secateurs or whatever to add to our resident armoury already here for those who come on foot.
There are ash trees and elders sprouting in comers of graves and paths which need to be removed, ivy galore, satisfying drain clearing moments, refined deadheading, bonfire tending and much much more.
If you are not physically up to this we would love to have a coffee maker, BBQ tender, list keeper or foreman, and someone to advertise and remind and invite us.
Please feel loved and wanted.
And the good news is, if it rains we have a list as long as your arm and cobwebs specially provided for us to have an opportunity for inside church building working bee instead.

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The Towcester Prayers
Jenny Lunn, our own resident poet, has had her work published in this beautifully presented paperback.
It sensitively and inspiringly covers issues from pain and purpose to care, community and thanksgiving.
Hope Reflected - Jenny LunnPublished by the Unboring Book Company of Northampton is hot off the press.
They are available from the Church Office or from Jenny, at a cost of £2.50, all profits go to St Lawrence.

Hope Reflected
Jenny Lunn has produced this new collection of poems to compliment her earlier book of Prayer Poems, both of which are available from the Benefice Office and the Library at £2.50 each.

Used StampsUsed Stamps
Silverstone Primary is collecting used (including gold and white postage labels on parcels) for the RNIB who use them to raise funds.
It would be much appreciated if you could save any you get and drop them to the Chantry on an on-going basis.
Lee will pass them on.
Thanks in advance.

Parking on Sundays at St Lawrence
Parking on Sundays at St Lawrence
We all tend to think of our own needs when behind the wheel of a car!
I know there are different complicated reasons behind each person’s choice of parking place.
Can I though please ask, if you are fit and able to walk and not offering a lift to someone with mobility needs, can you please offer a servant ministry and park at some distance from Church and walk the last part?
The Mill have kindly said we can use their car park on Sunday mornings  and you are welcome to go for a
drink after Church if the sermon has  gone on long enough.
We hope to leave several spaces for those less able to walk.
I would like to keep one space for blue badge holders and be mindful and caring of those who struggle to reach us in this way.

Young Bellringers
In 1960 two friends from the then Towcester County Modern School (now Sponne) decided they would like to learn to ring the church bells.
They told their friends about it and soon there was quite a group of eager ringers (aged 13 and 14 years old) under the direction of Mr Vic Burt, the Tower Captain.
He lived with his wife in the little cottage at the bottom of the churchyard.
He was the local blacksmith and had his workshop in Brackley Road.
We used to practice on a Thursday evening and then ring the bells before morning and evensong services.
Climbing up the twisted stone steps to the belfry was quite a feat, but stepping down was even worse, especially as we girls were in our Sunday best and of course high heel shoes were the fashion of the day, but fortunately no accidents occurred.
On practice nights in the summer whilst waiting for our turn to ring we used to climb out through a window onto the church roof and sit and survey the scene over Towcester right up to the racecourse (no health and safety then).
There were six bells and they all had to be pulled up before they could be rung properly.
We each got in position on a bell, No.1 being the lightest and No.6 the heaviest.
Holding the ‘sally’, the red white and blue fluffy part, and the rest of the rope in both hands, Mr Burt on No.1 bell would say, “Look two she’s going, she’s gone” as he pulled the sally down and let it go up through the hole in the ceiling to the bell, whilst still holding onto the rope.
We would follow in turn and there would be call changes to make different rounds.
You had to be careful you did not lift your foot up when the rope came down as you could easily get it caught under your foot and go back up with it, which we all soon learnt, to some peoples cost.
When it was nearly time for the services to begin we pulled the bells down, being careful not to pull at the same time as not to clash with another bell, tie the rope the correct way and make the perilous journey down to the service.
On New Year’s Eve the firemen always held a dance in the Town Hall with a band (no discos then!) which we all went to, and at five to twelve we rushed out to the Church to ring in the New Year.
Happy days!
Susan Sanders

Hospitality and Welcome
We all love to be made to feel at home when we travel, visit and especially if we move house.
Christians are called to carry on a long tradition of hospitality.
Usually the welcomer is as blessed as the one welcomed.
Jesus’ teaching overflows with encouragement for this behaviour, but sadly it isn’t always obvious.
We can easily get pre-occupied with our own concerns and forget what it was like ever to be new anywhere ourselves.
It is wonderful to hear reports back when people have felt at home.
At the recent funeral of Joyce Sykes her daughter said how wonderfully welcomed Joyce felt when she returned to church after many years away from it, following the death of her husband, and what a vital part of her last years her faith became again.
There are several opportunities I would like us all to be involved in.

I do invite you to be part of one of the following.
In church: reaching out to anyone we see who is or might be new.
Also there is our continued care for each other and those going through testing times.
Coffee Times: week by week we offer refreshments at several times and places.
After church services, Friday and Saturday mornings in the Chantry and Saturdays at Greens Norton.
All of these rotas need extra recruits to make it less onerous for a faithful few.
Please do tell the office if you can help with any of these.
A Welcome Party for New Residents
We are hoping to offer a welcome party to everyone who has moved in to The Green (where the old council offices were) and into Moat Lane.
We need some party planners and helpers to make this possible.
Please offer your services to Ben or Lulu for this.

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Poems by Steph Ince
Poems by Steph InceThe two books of poems by Steph Ince from Greens Norton were reprinted for her funeral at the end of June.
There are still some copies left, so if you would like one or more, please contact me.
They are £5 each or both for £8.
Profits go to St Bartholomew’s Church, Greens Norton.
Kevin Parfitt 01327 353966

New Housing News
There is a small window when people move in to a new home or town where they are open to new things and new people.
Those early months matter in terms of feeling part of a community or not.
Churches Together in Towcester have been looking at what we can do and are keen to make the new housing in Towcester work well.  

We have prepared a Welcome card but now want to invite the residents of the houses on the old Council offices site to a get to know your neighbour event.
We will need help with cake making and hosting.
Please pray for the new residents and these events.
Please also let Ben know if you can help in any way.
Thank you.

Monthly Home Visiting
Monthly Home VisitingDo you like visiting people?
Have a few hours free weekly or monthly?
Perhaps you could consider joining our visiting team?
Caring for our faithful friends who may be housebound, lonely or less able to take part in Church life is our duty and our joy!
We would love to hear from you if you would like to call on someone monthly.
Appropriate training can be given, but a friendly face and shared faith is all that is required.
The rewards are enormous and help our own faith journey.
Please pray about what God is calling you to do and speak to Ben, Lulu or Paula, Mary Blanchard or Jane Small if you would like some more information.
Photographs and News for this web site... 
St lawrence Flower FestivalThe provides the opportunity for your photographs of Benefice events to be viewed by all visitors to the web site so please send in your photographs.
Photographs can be sent directly to or delivered to the Chantry office.
Photograph courtesy of Alan Burns.


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Little Sprouts and BIBS
Little Sprouts at the Tove BeneficeI’m so pleased to write these positive pieces for the magazine.
BIBS - Baby Interrupted Bible StudyI hope they will make you smile and inspire you as we journey together in sharing the gospel within our Benefice.
Following our 6 week trial of Little Sprouts (not Brussel Sprouts), I’m very pleased to say that we will be continuing after half term.
During the trial weeks we met some 29 families and had an average of 14 children attended each week.
Designed on similar lines to the successful ‘Tots Own group’, we have: sung and danced to the wiggle song; heard bible stories like the one from Ben (our puppet) who’s great, great, great, great, grandad was Abraham; we have glued, painted, created with play dough and iced biscuits; and played with wooden train track, cars, bricks and baby dolls.
Sarah and I are very grateful to ‘our team’ each week of lovely ladies who in pairs have provided a warm welcome and refreshments – and we would love to add to this team; so if you are free perhaps once a month and would like to be rejuvenated (as one lady put it) do speak to us about joining our merry band.
Please continue to hold all those involved in leading this group in your prayers as we walk alongside families and share the Good News of Christ with them.
Over October we have had 2 groups meeting weekly in Greens Norton giving parents a whistle stop tour of a few bible stories ones which they can share with their children these have included Creation, Noah & Joseph.
I have really enjoyed walking alongside the mums and exploring at a deeper level the stories we think we know, but on reading say I didn’t realise... and as we’ve also thought about how this effects our everyday lives.  

This has been my first solo time at leading a series of bible studies and I have learnt so much – like not to try and fit quite so much into a short session.
We have 2 more weeks at the beginning of November when we are looking at a few parables and then we will take a break.
However I have already been asked if we can have another group (or groups) perhaps around Lent / Easter – so watch this space!
Rev’d Paula

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Church Development
In today’s modern era it has become apparent that the church needs to evolve to meet the needs of the people of the future.
This will mean a number of changes are required to meet these needs.
These will not happen overnight but gradually on a basis of what are perceived to be the most necessary.
As most of you are aware Jim Hyde has been steadfastly leading the working party and under his guidance we have come a long way.
A number of projects have been discussed and we have had plans drawn up by Bruce Deacon, architect.
Due to various reasons Jim has decided to stand down from this role and hand it over to someone else who is willing to take it on.
To go forward we will be asking the DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches) to visit us and give advice on what we plan, and how we should prioritise our future planning.
This visit will hopefully be before the next PCC where the reforming of the Development Committee will be a subject for discussion. Ideally the proposed work will be split between sub groups of the committee.
Any work done must be subject to a Faculty granted by the Chancellor of the Dioscese and part of that process will be the drawing up of a Statement of Significance and a Statement of Need.
Granting of a Faculty requires a good deal of paperwork.
If you are interested in taking part please contact either myself or Stephanie Watts, PCC Secretary, or the office.
Paul Loveday

The Legend of the Pelican and its place in Christianity
PelicanThe legend of the pelican is a very ancient one and goes back to a time around the 2nd century.
References to it can be found during the 2nd century when it appears in the Physiologus, a Christian adaptation referring to popular animal legends and symbols.
According to one legend, in a time of famine the mother would draw her own blood and use it to feed her chicks.
Another is that the pelican chicks strike their parents who retaliate and kill them.

PelicanHowever on the third day the mother opens her side and pours her blood onto their bodies.
In so doing they are revived, and made whole.
In medieval Europe the pelican was believed to provide her own blood to feed her chicks, which resulted in the pelican becoming a symbol of the Passion of Jesus and the Eucharist from around the 12th century.
The legend was taken up by many writers, amongst them William Shakespeare, who makes reference to the pelican in Hamlet.
It was also adopted by Queen Elizabeth 1st to signify her position as head of the Church of England.
Therefore the symbolism behind the Pelican Mural in the Lady Chapel is that of the Eucharist and Christ rising on the third day.

Pelican Mural Restoration and Conservation
The work to conserve the Pelican Picture in the Lady Chapel has now been completed.
The work was carried out by Deborah Russell after a great deal of research and took a week to complete.
The work consisted firstly of cleaning away, as far as possible, the accumulation of dust and grime from over the years.
Further examination revealed that the surface on which the picture itself was painted was in a fragile condition.
This required the insertion of a consolidating material allowing it to bond with the wall.
Lime mortar being used to repair small missing sections.
Pelican Mural Restoration and Conservation, St Lawrence, TowcesterIt has always been a dark painting, not helped by its position and the fact that the surface had been treated at some time in the past with a wax compound which has darkened with age.
It has not been possible to remove the majority of this material.
Renovation was then carried out and as far a possible matching the colours as originally used.
The age of the picture is not known but a time during the 17th century is a possible date.
The result of this work is that the picture is much clearer and more easily seen.
Below the painting is a corbel which dates from the Middle Ages and would originally be part of what was originally contained within the niche.
The original paint is still visible as is the pattern on the left side of the corbel. In addition the remains of the framing of the niche also still shows the original paint.
The pigments used originally must have been of the highest quality.
The original cost would have been extremely expensive.
We will never know what was originally held within the niche, but would have been of a deeply religious significance.
The Reformation under Henry VIII no doubt resulted in the loss of whatever was there, and the rough surface of the stonework under the picture may have been caused by the destruction carried out at the time.
Paul Loveday

Gluten Free Communion Wafers
If you require a gluten free communion wafer there are a number of small laminated cards in the top of the bookstall.
Please take one and hold it in the palm of your hand at the rail when taking communion.

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Bradden Churchyard

Bradden Churchyard, Leucodon sciuroides otherwise known as Squirrel Tail MossA recent survey of mosses was carried out in Bradden churchyard. Amongst the mosses and lichen found was an example of Leucodon sciuroides, otherwise known as Squirrel Tail Moss.  
This a rare type of which there are only some twenty instances known in the county.

If you feel inspired to look for pictures of the others, go to:
click on the Field Guide on the left of the home page.


Churchyard Wildlife Conservation

St Lawrence ChurchyardSt Lawrence Churchyard is over 500 years old and provides a rare conservation area for wildlife where the land has been left untouched by chemicals or fertilisers and contains many mature trees, including a yew tree identified as being over 250 years old. Towcester Wildlife Trust and St Lawrence Church have teamed up to improve the churchyard for wildlife and visitors based upon the Wildlife Trust’s new ‘Churchyards for Wildlife’ project.  This will include activities such as adding bird boxes, treating diseased and damage trees, planting wildflowers and bushes for birds in carefully selected places, purchasing tools, and creating an annual management plan for grass cutting and site maintenance.  The Churchyard is accessible for all, as is the Church, and provides a restful place for spiritual reflection and walking.
Jenny Lunn
Read more about the Churchyard
Read about the progress in maintaining St Lawence Churchyard

Read more about the project on the website for the Towcester Wildlife Trust group

Letting People Know!
The success of the Tove Messenger, like all other magazines, is dependant on its content.
Likewise the success of events within the Benefice is dependant on people being made aware of these events.
If you are involved and want some publicity please let Paul ( know and he will do his best to see that there is something in the magazine.
Paul does know that at least one person missed an event here in Towcester only finding out that it had been on when the Town Crier was delivered after it had happened! 
The comment made to Paul was "Why wasn’t it in the magazine?"
The answer was of course that Paul had not been told or asked to put something in.
So please give this some thought and hopefully we can help to contribute to the success of our local events.
This message also applies to this web site, so please let us have your input.

The Tove Benefice is currently served by a number of web sites, each with their own identity, character and information. 
Whilst it is considered important to continue with this, it was proposed that the Tove Benefice has its own web site, which has lead to the creation of this site.   
Please feel free to comment and put forward suggestions or add your input on the Your Commentspage.
Please click here for more information.

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