Iwerne Valley Benefice

Celebrating Gods love in beautiful North Dorset...


Children are a vitally important part of the churchs future, within the benefice there are many families, who's children attend the local church school - St Andrew's VA Primary School in Fontmell Magna.  Throughout the church calander there are many services encouraging children and young people to be involved.

Family Worship

Children and young people are welcome at all our services and there are children’s areas equipped with toys and books in most of our churches. However the following services are designed to have something special for children:-

1st Sunday in the month                  Sunday Breakfast at Fontmell Magna Village Hall 9am (Except Aug)
Family Communion at Sutton Waldron 9.30am

2nd Sunday in the month                  Family Service at Fontmell Magna 9.30am

3rd Sunday in the month                   Breakfast @ 9  at  Shroton
                                                                 Family Service at Sutton Waldron 9.30am

4th Sunday in the month                   Family Service at Iwerne Minster 11am

The Communion services include a time when children can go to an adjoining part of the church for their own activities with approved volunteers. The Family services and Breakfast @ 9 are informal times of worship, prayer and activities to appeal to all ages. A music group and a pianist lead the singing. These are planned by a group of volunteers and can be lay led.

All LPA’s and those who regularly work with the children hold current DBS or CRB certificates. The Benefice has a Safeguarding Representative who is Mrs Jenny Parkhouse 01747 812603

Other Children’s Activities

Festival Services -
Each church in the Benefice does different things to celebrate Easter, Christmas, Mothering Sunday or Harvest.  In Shroton, Iwerne Minster and Sutton Waldron there are children’s areas with topical activities provided and incorporated into the theme of the service. Children in Sutton are often invited to make bread in preparation for harvest and hold a craft afternoon in preparation for Easter. Shroton have a Family service and a walk up Hambledon Hill to erect three crosses on Good Friday. Children help to make an Easter Garden and to erect the Nativity Crib and Christmas tree. Iwerne Minster hold a Crib service on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas Pageant - Every Christmas Eve one of our smallest villages, Sutton Waldron, is transformed into Bethlehem and together we re-enact the Christmas story and sing traditional Christmas Carols accompanied by local musicians.  

Mary and Joseph travel through the village with their faithful 
donkey and along the way meet several sheep, assorted shepherds, wise men and angels and eventually arrive at St Bartholomew's Church, where the children stage a nativity scene and everyone joins in for the final burst of song.


The GiftIn December we introduced ‘Experience Christmas’ for years 5 and 6 from St. Andrew’s Primary School.  We are developing Messy Church and Experience Light under her leadership. She has aided us in our planning for our family services and the ‘End of Term’ services for the school. She spoke at the Benefice Mothering Sunday Service in Shroton.

Foundation Governors - As St. Andrew’s Primary  is a C of E, VA school, the five PCCs elect Foundation Governors to form a majority on the Governing Body. They have specific meetings in school to look at the Christian ethos, the RE teaching, the Collective Worship and the church / school links. One of the Foundation Governors is part of the clergy / lay team that lead Collective Worship every Thursday in school.  The ‘Open the Book’ syllabus has just been started.

Baptism - Anyone can ask to speak to a member of the clergy team about Baptism. Nobody is too young or too old. We have Baptised two or three children together or a parent with a child. We do ask that you spend some time considering the promises you will make with a priest andChristening, Greens Grandchildren this is usually done in one or two home visits. We then ask that the baptism takes place during a regular church service so that the ‘church family’ can welcome you and pray for you. This can be one of the informal family services. In some churches we make a special display to ensure the party feel warmly welcomed.To inquire about Baptism please either phone the Church office or attend a service and speak to the person officiating or a Church Warden.

Families Matter - Family life can be exhausting, frustrating and at times heartbreaking. If you are experiencing difficulties and would like to talk to someone there are Lay Pastoral Assistants in the Benefice who would visit you. They are trained to listen and to pray.

One of our LPA’s has experience of working with children with Special Needs. Another has worked as an arbitrator and several are ex teachers. Please contact the church office if you would like to contact them specifically.