St Martin’s Church Acrise offers traditional Anglican worship with a broad mix ministry team.
St Martin’s is an ancient church building set within the boundary of Acrise Place. Dating back nearly a thousand years, St Martin’s continues to retain the simplicity and atmosphere of its original early Norman construction. Comprised of a nave and chancel, topped by massive wooden tie beams and king posts, it lies quietly hidden from the road and is approached through an avenue of trees.
Acrise owes its name to the abundance of oaks that grew on the high ground in the area namely ‘oak rise’ in medieval English. There are still many old oak trees to be found within the parish, which even today has only a small population of around two hundred people. Listed in the Domesday Book (1086) as being held by Ansketel of Rots from Bishop Odo of Bayeaux, it comprised one manor, woodland and a church.
St Martin’s was probably built by Ansketel shortly after the Domesday entry and replaced an earlier Saxon church. Whilst much of the work is now hidden by later 14th century alterations, parts of original windows and priest’s door remain testimony to the early Norman origin. (Adapted from the ‘Friends of St Martin’s’ http://www.stmartinsacrise.co.uk/history.html )
St Martins is a beautiful place, a place of quiet and tranquillity in an ever changing world. It is a beautiful place to worship, be married, christened or confirmed. It is a place where the veil is thin between heaven and earth.
Please visit us to worship or just to be close to God in whatever way you find God. You will find a big welcome from our regulars.
• To spread the good news of the Gospel to all.
• To offer fellowship to an isolated rural community of all ages.
• To welcome all ages to come to know God.
• To offer a consecrated location for weddings, funerals and baptisms.
• To offer a place of worship to those who feel drawn to the Book of Common Prayer as their main worship style.
Being a hamlet Acrise has a very small community. However, the congregation of St Martin’s at Acrise is drawn from a very wide area, with people travelling from Hawkinge, Swingfield, Denton, Folkestone, Alkham, Capel-le-Ferne and many parts of the Elham valley to seek the style of worship and friendly welcoming congregation at this church.
Our mission is inclusively to spread the Good News far and wide, supporting all ages by offering a traditional service and fellowship.
Current Pattern of Services
St Martin’s, Acrise holds Holy Communion, led by Priests, along with Matins services, led by Lay Readers, and also occasional Fellowship services and some ‘special services’ led by an Authorised Lay Minister (ALM) or Parochial Church Council (PCC) member.
All our Services, including special festivals, such as Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and Mothering Sunday are held at 09:30. With occasional “specials” in the afternoon; examples of these would be Taize services, Good Friday meditation and passion, Nine Lessons and Carols for both Advent and Christmas.
The first Sunday of the Month Holy Communion is led by the Benefice Priest in Charge, Rev'd. Jane Weeks. The second Sunday is Holy Communion led by a Self-Supporting Minister, Rev'd. Stephen Dougal. The third Sunday is a Fellowship service led by one of our Lay Readers or ALMs and the fourth Sunday is a Family Service, in a 'cafe' style and suitable for all ages, adults and children alike. If a priest is not available to lead Holy Communion on the first or second Sunday of the month, this will be replaced by a matins service led by a lay minister.
Services usually follow the Book of Common Prayer. However alternative ‘special services’ follow other forms of worship, including; Taize, Lessons and Carols, and Hymn Sandwiches.
All ages are welcome to our services with children mixing with retired people freely, although there are no specific facilities for children due unfortunately, to lack of space.
Weddings and Baptism (christenings) may be held in the church.
Social mission and outreach
St Martin’s, Acrise has a varied social life. Including the annual Flower Festival, annual ‘Beating the Bounds’ walk, a patronal breakfast, annual cycle ride, coffee evenings/mornings, Harvest Festival and refreshments after Holy Communion.
Advent Fellowship Events
We thank Sharon Paine for preparing and presenting these four excellent zoom events leading up to Christmas 2020. She created narratives for the people involved in the Advent story, with bible readings and artwork from different historical periods inspired by the story. The presentations were enjoyable, informative and interesting with different perspectives which gave rise to thoughtful reflection and discussion.
December 2020 Services
We were able to resume services in church with Holy Communion on 6th December led by Jane and an Advent Fellowship Service led by Roger on 13th December. We thank Sharon for organising the Service of Christmas Readings and Music on 20th December. Thanks to those who read and to Irene for playing the organ.
As a result of the increasing coronavirus infection rate and the introduction of tier 4 restrictions in the week before Christmas, most churches cancelled face to face services and switched to online services where possible. Thanks to Simon’s hard work we were able to have an Acrise zoom Holy Communion on Christmas morning which included carols, photos of all the benefice churches and of previous Christmas events. Thanks also to Jane for presiding and to Sharon for preaching.
There were other notable online services in the benefice, including the Advent Carol service from Postling on 21st December and the Benefice Crib Service which went live on Christmas Eve. Produced by Deb Scoble, it included all three benefice primary schools with their progressive nativity play and contributions from all the benefice churches. It was enjoyable, moving and amusing, evocative of the good news of Christ’s nativity. Well done Deb and thank you.
January 2021 Services
At present there is, understandably, no definitive news of services in January but it seems likely that there will be no face to face services in the near future. To find out what is going on in the benefice there is the weekly ‘prayer hub’ produced by Alison Dale with prayers, readings, reflections, sermons and details of all benefice services and links to many other resources. Contact her via this website. Many thanks to Alison.
Ride and Stride: September 12th 2020
We received a Christmas card from the Committee of the Friends of Kent Churches thanking us for our ‘wonderful support’. Those involved were Norbett, Simon, Richard, Julian, Sue and Mike and we raised almost £400. In 2021 the Ride and Stride will be on Saturday 11th September.
Churchyard and Green Upkeep
As some of you will know Bill Horrocks and his wife Sue who live in Acrise Mews have always supported the church, Bill with mowing until quite recently and Sue with gardening, church flowers and cleaning. Bill has also opened and closed the church when we have had it open for two weeks after the Flower Festival and he and Sue keep a check on the church. We are very grateful to them.
Andrew Carr now does the mowing, tidying and hedge cutting, helped by his wife Jilly. In a thank you for their Christmas present from the PCC Andrew wrote: ‘Jilly and I love looking after the Churchyard and Green’. He is having a hip preplacement in February but will be in good shape for resuming work in the late spring when everything starts to grow again.
Jam & chutneys for sale - see below
Supporting Shepway Foodbank
Since September we have made a substantial donation of food and toiletries each month. With the winter months approaching and demand for foodbank services continuing to increase it is important that we do what we can to support those families in need.
As mentioned last month we now have containers in the church porch so that donations can be made at any time. The containers are checked regularly and items are stored in the church before being taken to a Shepway Foodbank collection point.
Urgently required items are still: tinned potatoes, longlife fruit juice, cuppa soup, toothpaste and shaving foam.
Many thanks for your contributions.
The Church and Poverty (A simplistic outline)
In the Middle Ages Monasteries were places where travellers could stay. They also helped the poor, took care of the sick, housed the elderly and provided education for local boys. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries following the Reformation in 1533 this source of help for the poor and elderly was lost and many people suffered terribly without the monasteries to give care and comfort. Poor relief became the responsibility of civil authorities and a series of poor laws were passed in reign of Elizabeth I, culminating in the 1601 Poor Law Act which made the parish responsible for administering a system of poor relief, mainly to the elderly, widows with children and orphans, who were seen as the deserving poor. This continued into the 19th Century when the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act introduced the Workhouse System which was still operating into the 20th Century. Only with Liberal reforms in 1911 did a gradual change in attitude towards poverty begin which would result in the Beveridge Report in 1942 and the establishment of a welfare state after the Second World War. However, the belief that the poor were responsible for their own poverty was still not uncommon.
In the 21st Century and increasingly over the past ten years churches have played a developing role in supporting the most poor and vulnerable members of society. Many churches, as well as other organisations such as schools, local businesses, voluntary organisations and individuals, support their local foodbanks with donations of food and finance. Many groups of churches give winter shelter for the homeless. This is the case with Folkestone Churches Winter Shelter and Dover Winter Night Shelter. Because of the corona pandemic they cannot operate as in previous years but The Folkestone Rainbow Centre and Dover Outreach Centre have worked with local authorities to provide accommodation for homeless people in local Bed and Breakfast venues until the end of March. In large cities and towns many churches in areas of deprivation have long been a place of social contact and social, emotional and spiritual support for vulnerable people. For example, just before Christmas BBC News ran a story from Burnley where the clergy interviewed were in tears at the desperate condition of some local people who were hungry and homeless and depended on the church to survive. The clergy were trying to help but had no more resources to do so. In this case the publicity given to the story resulted in donations amounting to £250,000 but there are similar stories from deprived areas in other towns and cities.
Increasing poverty is a national issue that needs not just debate but action. While churches are not monasteries they are playing and will be playing in future, an important and changing role in helping those in need.
The Church in Context: Simon’s aerial photograph taken on a flight with Bryn (see right)
2020 Advent Fellowship Events
It will come as no surprise that this year's Advent events will be held on Zoom rather than in person with our usual lovely refreshments at each venue. This may widen the scope of attendance as people can join in from the warmth and comfort of your own home, with their own personal choice of refreshments at hand. These events will take place at 6pm on Wednesdays 25th November, 2nd December, 9th December and 16th December. We will be looking at some narratives created around the people involved in the Advent story, some bible readings, and a few examples of the artwork these stories have inspired. The narratives, scripture readings and pictures will be sent by attachment/links the week before each session. An invitation to the Zoom sessions will be sent out nearer the time
Nor do those people who are not online need to miss out altogether. I have discovered that it is possible for access to Zoom events to be gained via normal phone landlines. Although this means no actual participation, you can hear the discussions, and join in with the worship. If people would like to try this, the material can be posted out to them ahead of the event.
Christmas Services - to be confirmed
There will be a Service of Christmas Lessons and Music on Sunday 20th December and Holy Communion on Christmas Day, both at 9.30am. More details next month.
Memories of Brian (By Sue Prebble)
I have known Brian as long as I can remember. My earliest recollections are of him cycling over from Hawkinge with his father and other chaps to the Wood Yard here in Acrise where they all worked. At this time Brian was a teenager having just left school.
It was while Brian was working at the Acrise Wood Yard that he met Marion as her father also worked there and his family lived at Orchard Lea, just along the road from the church.
As time passed romance blossomed between Marion and Brian and they were married here at St Martin’s on 30th October 1971. In their early married years they lived in Folkestone where their son Leon was born in 1974. Marion, Brian and Leon then moved back to Orchard Lea and this became their home for the greater part of their married life.
Over the years Marion and Brian became increasingly involved with the Acrise community and Church events. We are indebted to them both for their hard work and support in the early days of our Flower Festival. Without them I feel that the Flower Festival may never have developed into the successful event that it became in more recent years.
Brian took on the role of Church Warden at St Martin’s, a position he held for 12 years. With Marion’s support he carried out this role with great diligence and commitment. We are grateful for all that Brian did for our church and local community during his time as Church Warden.
All of Brian’s working life was at the Acrise Wood Yard where he experienced many changes to his role over the years. He rose through the ranks to a senior management position and when he retired an area of woodland at Paddlesworth was named after him as ‘Holmes Wood’ which indicates the respect in which he was held.
Marion and Brian have been a devoted couple always working together in everything they did. This devotion to one another continued as Brian’s health deteriorated and Marion took on managing Brian’s health care needs.
My memories of Brian are that he was a devoted family man, who had a love of gardening and the countryside. He was very kind and considerate and had a quiet sense of humour. Even as his health deteriorated he continued to have a ‘sparkle in his eye’ which never ceased to raise a giggle or two.
Well done Brian! What amazing achievements: your devotion to Marion and your close family; your commitment to your job; your dedication to our church and community. We will remember these for many years to come.
Rest in peace Brian, your lifetime’s work well done. A true gentleman and gentle man.
Paul Hutchings RIP
We were sad to hear the news that Paul Hutchings passed away at home on 23rdOctober. Paul and Janet moved to Hawkinge over 20 years ago and very soon afterwards joined our church community at St Martin’s. They have taken a very active part in all aspects of church life and social events over the years until Paul’s health deteriorated.
Although Paul and Janet have not been able to be part of our regular services for some while they have been in our thoughts and prayers as members of our close church family.
Rest in Peace Paul.
Wedding at St Martin’s Acrise
A lovely wedding took place on Saturday 24th October between Henry Burrows and Kelly Lawrence both of whom live in Alkham. They chose Acrise because they like the church and Henry has family ties with the parish as his grandparents farmed at Acrise Court Farm where his father Neil grew up.
We have had sheep in church before but never one taking part in a wedding ceremony. Buddy, a former sock lamb, and now a pet at the family farm in Alkham had the job of carrying the rings from the door to the chancel, a role which he carried out admirably. This was a very happy occasion and we wish Henry and Kelly every happiness in their future life together.
We now have containers in the porch as well as at the back of the Church so that donations can be made at any time and not just at Sunday services.
We have also let the residents of Acrise know about the collection point at church and have had a very positive response. The increasing need for the services of foodbanks is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Many thanks to all those who have contributed.
Contact: Anne Beecham
Tel. 01303 862729
Thank You for your help to support Acrise Church in these difficult times!
The Denton and Swingfield Parish Magazine for August 1905: Link with Acrise
The magazine contains a report on a cricket match between the Swingfield, Denton and Wootton School (now Selsted) and Acrise school on the 4th of that month. At 3.00pm the Headmaster and ‘thirteen big boys’ set out to walk to ‘Miss Mackinnon’s field’ at Acrise. In 1861 William Alexander Mackinnon had bought Acrise Place from the Papillons and his family lived there until 1911. The Mackinnon’s were keen on cricket with FA Mackinnon, grandson of WA, playing for Kent and England in the 1870s and 80s.
The cricket field was on the righthand side of the road as you walk to Acrise Place from the direction of the Oast House. It was here that the Swingfield boys rested, after completing the walk in under an hour, while the two Headmasters made arrangements for the match. The two Mackinnon boys from Acrise Place wanted to play so one was added to each team.
A two innings match was played. In their first innings Acrise were all out for 23 runs after which heavy rain made the pitch too wet to play, so everyone adjourned to the Coach House for a delicious tea provided by Miss Mackinnon. When play resumed Swingfield scored 53 in their first innings largely due to H Seath with the top score of 32. In their second innings Acrise fared a little better with Alec Mackinnon ‘giving a brilliant display of public school hitting’ (though he only scored 17). Acrise were dismissed for 39 and Swingfield, in failing light, soon knocked off the 10 runs to win.
After the match lemonade, biscuits and sweets were provided by Miss Mackinnon and a bat and ball were presented to the highest scorer on each side, H Seath and W Athow. The Swingfield team’s long walk home began at 8.00pm: though tired they were in high spirits because of their victory and knowing that the next day was Saturday.
One of the Acrise boys was Herbert Hatton who was born in the local area in 1893, lived at Cuckoo Lodge when he was married and worked at the Acrise Yard. In his later years he lodged with Sue’s parents at White Lodge and was a regular member of the congregation at St Martin’s before his death in 1989. Other familiar names in that distant cricket team were May, West, Godden, Marsh and Athow.
The report was written by the Headmaster of the Swingfield, Denton and Wootton School, Mr E A Tiller. A scorecard accompanies the report.
Please Note: It is not possible to hold a Christmas Fair this year. We hope to reschedule our ‘Beating the Bounds’ which was planned for 20th September at some future date.
Outdoor Church Services
These were held from Sunday 9th August until Sunday 13th September and were a great success. The green under the trees with the sound of birdsong and a clear view of the church and the sky above was an ideal setting for these services, though the peace was occasionally interrupted by the noise of an accelerating motorbike at the same time each week. Thanks to Sharon, Simon and Janet for the planning and organisation of the services and to all those who contributed. It was good to see members of other churches at these services.
Indoor Services (All at 9.30am)
The first indoor service was on Sunday 20th September led by Sharon and Roger. Once we came to terms with the social distancing and wearing of masks the service went well with music from Sue and Simon, an excellent sermon from Roger dedicated to Sharon as she becomes a licenced Lay Reader, and thoughtful prayers from Sharon herself.
Sunday 4th October: Harvest Thanksgiving and Holy Communion, led by Jane.
There will be Fellowship Services on Sundays 11th, 18th and 25th October.
It is planned to have a service each week at St Martin, with Holy Communion on every first Sunday.
Congratulations to Sharon
After some years of hard work, involving study and practice, Sharon Paine is now a licenced Lay Reader. The Reader Admissions and Licensing Service led by Bishop Rose took place by Zoom on the evening of 20thSeptember and was attended by a number of our congregation. We thank Sharon for her ministry at Acrise and other local churches and look forward to this continuing and developing. We are very proud of her.
Ride and Stride for Kent Churches on 12thSeptember
Simon and Richard cycled from Hawkinge to Acrise round the back lanes to join Sue and Mike at Reast Lane Gate. We then set out on a route taking in Swingfield, Wootton,(where Julian joined us) and Denton. From there it was the long drag up to Barham via Agester Lane and Walderchain. Richard had thoughtfully booked an outside table for lunch at the Vinyard which we thoroughly enjoyed. We then exited the dangerous Elham Valley Road to take a back road to Elham and called in at church and chapel. After scaling another long hill up to Acrise we reached the church in late afternoon where the official photos were taken. Finally we made our way to Paddlesworth for a final stop after which the Hawkinge contingent made their way home while Sue and Mike peddled home via School Road, Coach Road and the A260. While we were enjoying ourselves Norbet, after swimming in the sea in the morning, visited 27 churches in the afternoon. Well done Norbet. We should raise in the region of £300 which will be divided between The Friends of Kent Churches and St Martin’s. Thanks to all those who sponsored us.
The Produce Team will not be able to sell their goods at the Christmas Fair this year as it is cancelled but you can still buy the following:
Chutney, relish, pickle, jam, jelly, marmalade, curd and mincemeat. Available at some church services
(e.g. Harvest Festival 4th October) or order direct from our ‘catalogue’:
Contact: Anne Beecham
Tel. 01303 862729
Thank You for your help to support Acrise Church in these difficult times!
Memorial Service: 16th September 2020
On Wednesday 16th September Rev Jane led a service at St Martin’s to celebrate the lives of Edward Bailey and his daughter Sue Lewis. Both Edward and Sue had contributed so much throughout their lives to their families, occupations and our church and local community. The service was a fitting tribute to them both.
Rest in Peace Edward and Sue
The Acrise Triangle
You may remember last November in the halcyon days precovid, Rob and Teresa Howell put on an enjoyable music concert in the church on behalf of Acrise Parish Meeting with the aim of raising money to improve the triangle outside the church so that it gives more of a centrepiece to the village and puts it on the map.
Earlier in the year the triangle was tidied up and reseeded and the grass has grown well. On Sunday 20th September the triangular sign was erected by Lawrence Wren and volunteers so that the name is visible from all directions. Some sort of protection will be added around the green and also a raised bed for flowers at one end. We thank Rob, Teresa and the Acrise Parish Meeting for planning and carrying the project through, and Lawrence for his practical expertise. Now there is no excuse for not knowing of the existence of the village of Acrise. Some people might even be interested in the ‘Why?’
We will be resuming our collection of food and toiletries for The Shepway Foodbank. The Containers will now be in the porch so that donations can be made at any time and not just at Sunday services. On 4th October, Harvest Festival, please bring items for the foodbank instead of the usual fruit and veg that we usually send to Age UK. Urgently needed items are: tinned potatoes, tinned rice pudding, tinned custard, chocolate bars, shampoo, washing up liquid.