We all know church structure can be confusing at the best of times so if you're curious about how the Priory fits in with other churches nearby, then carry on reading.
Other Christian Churches in Leominster
Let's start local. We’re really pleased at how closely the Priory works with other Christian communities in Leominster. Churches Together in Leominster is quite active, not only praying together during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and holding a Walk of Witness through Leominster on Good Friday, but also working closely to provide volunteers to run Leominster’s Food Bank. You can find out more about Churches Together in Herefordshire on their website.
The Leominster Team Ministry
First and foremost, the Priory is part of the Leominster Team Ministry. This is a group of 22 Anglican parishes (and one Methodist Chapel that’s honorarily part of it!) – and yes, that is a big group, even by rural Church of England standards! As is given away in the name, this group is looked after by a ‘Team’ of clergy (including some ‘retired’ clergy), Lay Readers, and Lay Pioneers – you can find out more about the people who are particularly involved with the Priory on ‘The Staff Team’ page.
This Team is then split into three Groups to make it a bit easier to manage. You can find out more about Rev. Matthew Burns and the Western Group (Dilwyn, Orleton, Brimfield, Eyton, Eye, Yarpole, Croft, Luston, Ivington, and Monkland) at their website here. (More or less) on the other side of the A49, we find Rev. Rufus Noy looking after the Eastern Parishes (Stoke Prior, Kimbolton, Hamnish, Hatfield, Ford, Hope-under-Dinmore, Pudleston, Bockleton, Middleton-on-the-Hill, Leysters, Humber, and Docklow). They also have a website that you can explore here. The third ‘group’ is the Priory, which may sound a bit odd, but because it’s so much bigger and in a market town rather than village, it runs a bit differently to the villages around it so we are, in a way, a group of one.
Leominster Deanery consists of the Team and several other local groups of parishes. It’s one of the only church groupings that doesn’t have a ‘civilian’ equivalent, but it’s essentially a group of churches that can share resources, ideas and support across the area. It too has a website if you're curious: http://www.ldsynod.btck.co.uk
The Diocese of Hereford
The Diocese of Hereford is, roughly speaking, the county of Herefordshire, the southern bit of Shropshire, and a few more churches in Wales and Worcestershire thrown in for good measure. It’s the most rural diocese in the Church of England by quite a long way, and is also very old, as dioceses go – with the appointment of Bishop Richard (the 7th) as the 106th Bishop of Hereford, we overtook Canterbury, who have had a mere 105 bishops, including ++Justin.
The Church of England
Which leads us nicely to the Church of England, which is the ‘national church’ in England and has the catchy tagline ‘A Christian Presence in Every Community’. It developed out of the Roman Catholic tradition, but took a slightly different path in the 16th Century (the famous Tudors of school history!) As a national, and ‘broad’ church, the Church of England has been deeply influenced by all sorts of Christian traditions through the centuries and is home to a massive range of expressions of Christianity. Being a national church has its perks (e.g. getting to officiate at royal weddings) but is first and foremost a commitment to serve: The Church of England has a duty of care to literally anyone and everyone who finds themselves in that parish – no membership necessary. So when we say all are welcome, we really mean it. We’re here for you – whoever you are.