The Swan Team are seven Church of England Churches within the benefice, Reverend David Hiscock is the Team Rector, and ministers to all the churches in the team with the help of Reverend Angela Mann. Together the Swan Team and Parish of the Claydons join together to support our Christian community.
Barton Hartshorn - Small village of just over 30 scattered houses with five key church members who are encouraged by occasional support from other churches in the Team and have enjoyed much greater support of late from villagers for special occasions. The church building is the only meeting place but sadly cannot be left open because of its isolated and vulnerable position. Monthly BCP Evening Prayer service and an annual Carols by Candlelight service using the hanging candelabras when the church is full.
Chetwode - Another scattered village of just over 30 very mixed houses. The church is a notable Grade l listed building with magnificent architectural and historical features which has received considerable restoration in recent years. Monthly Common Worship Family Communion service attracts average 15 – 20 people but festivals like Easter and Christmas are very well attended. The church is kept open daily and now houses a free book lending library. There have been recent initiatives such as a Pets Service and Open Gardens Weekend to encourage more links with the community.
Edgcott - A small, mostly linear village of around 100 houses. Unfortunately, there are no community facilities except for the village hall (the old school room) which is in poor repair but it is hoped this will soon be remedied by the Parish Council. As a consequence, children go elsewhere for school and other activities, and the regular congregation is mostly adults, many retired but not all elderly! The church tends to be at the heart of village life organising most of the social and fundraising events, the latter being essential to fully pay the Parish Share and to continue to build up funds for church repair including the likely rebuild of the very small vestry. The church building is small and plain, but charming with maximum seating for 80. Services are held twice monthly with Common Worship Family Communion and either Morning Prayer or a Village Service. Average attendance is 10 increasing for special services.
Grendon Underwood - About two-thirds of the 1,100 population live in the main part of the village which stretches along a main street with the church situated at one end on the opposite side of a busy road. This part of the village includes a shop and post office, pub, garage, large village hall and a combined school with about 200 pupils with a new Head Teacher being in post from January. Clergy currently attend the school for collective worship each month, arrange visits and services for the children at the church, and lead a special Easter drama and activity at the school. There is also a large sports field and children’s play area. Village organisations include the very active football club, WI, and young people’s uniformed organisations.
The remaining housing is situated on the Springhill Estate which is set well apart from the main village being mostly ex-prison service houses, now privately owned. The high security prison, HMP Grendon, with its therapeutic regime, and the open prison, HMP Springhill, are situated on the far side of the estate where they are hidden from the surrounding communities. There is a Methodist Prison Chaplain and Chaplaincy Team which does not get involved outside the prison.
There is a core number of 10 – 20 people for normal church services but this can increase dramatically for special services and opportunity is taken to involve young people such as uniformed organisations being invited to the Remembrance Service where youngsters read the names of those who have died and add information about each one. The Family & Friends monthly non-eucharistic services have been fairly successful but a recent initiative of lay led Reflections over Breakfast services have proved popular and reached out to more people. The church is very keen to nurture and extend this new growth and is hoping that the newly completed kitchen and toilet will make the church building more usable and attractive for people to attend. Despite energetic fundraising and a well planned social calendar it has recently become more difficult to pay the parish share in full as always achieved previously.
Marsh Gibbon - Population of about 1,000 and a very active community with many sporting, social and young people’s organisations. There is a large village hall, shop and post office, two pubs, garage and Church of England First School which is currently seeking to expand by including Years 5 and 6. The church enjoys very strong links with the school and the clergy help to run a weekly lunch time Christian Club there. Over half of the 130 children are from out of catchment but an increasing number are attending special services with their families. The church needs to focus on this and build up the regular congregation which averages 20 – 40 people for normal services. There is a Worship Group which plans the monthly Village Service and a monthly lay led service of Morning Prayer. The church is fortunate to have a kitchen and toilet and a central dais which allows for a temporary central altar and is ideal for concerts and other events. There is a good relationship with the United Reformed Church which has a church and meeting room in the village and generally has at least four shared services each year as well as sharing other activities.
Preston Bissett - A small village of about 260 people with a mixture of residential properties and farms. The church, which stands at the centre of the village, has been greatly restored over the last 20 years and with the recent redecoration of the interior this has now been completed. Nearby is the small village hall (the old school) and a pub. There is a strong community spirit and the church is at the heart of most of the social functions. Unfortunately, children have to go elsewhere for schooling, beyond our parishes, and despite good efforts the church has found it difficult to attract them although they do attend with families in good numbers for special services. We have been looking for ways to improve this and there is a determination to grow beyond the current nucleus of regular members.
Twyford - The parish has a population of about 960 and includes the villages of Poundon and Charndon, each about a mile away in different directions from the village of Twyford where St Mary’s Church is situated. The church is currently exploring its vision and priorities and how to serve the two outer villages is high on the list. Another recognised priority is to encourage more families and children, and to achieve a more regular congregation. The church has just had all the electrics replaced which will enable a new sound system to be installed. We hope this will assist regular worship and for services and events for the Church of England First School with whom we enjoy a very good relationship. This school is also looking to include Years 5 and 6. The church has just started a new venture of a monthly lay led Parish Breakfast combining food and fellowship with informal worship which we hope will encourage newcomers. There is a good relationship with the United Reformed Church which has a church and small meeting room (also used as a part-time post office) in Twyford and generally has at least four shared services each year as well as sharing other activities.
Poundon has a pub but otherwise both Poundon and Charndon do not have any other facilities. Twyford has a lovely village hall, a pub, a Chinese takeaway, and a community run shop where new premises have just been built to replace the temporary building. This achievement demonstrates the wonderful community spirit in the village.
Service details about the seven churches can be found on the 'a church near you' website: http://www.achurchnearyou.com
For upcoming events see 'Events' at https://www.bucksvoice.net/churches-of-the-claydons/events/