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Welcome to The Athelney Benefice, a quartet of Anglican parishes in the heart of rural Somerset, north east of Taunton and encompassing the Somerset Levels, an area with a deep ancient history and active farming communities.

The four parishes have been linked as a Benefice since 2007. We share many of our times of worship, including monthly united eucharists, and are increasingly exploring ways to combine our four diverse traditions without losing individual identity.

Our vicar, Revd Dr Simon Bale, joined the Benefice in February 2021, following a lengthy period of vacancy. In our Benefice profile, produced to describe the four parishes during our recruitment, we described how there is a great deal that links the four parishes but that these ‘bricks’ need to be gathered together and shaped. With Simon’s arrival we have begun to build and grow.

The area around us is beautiful and vibrant, each of our church communities tell a story, and the biggest story is of the action of Christ in all our lives. Twelve centuries ago, the Isle of Athelney was the home of King Alfred for a year. He famously lived in obscurity while he gathered his force to push back against the Danes, and apocryphally burnt the cakes, much to the consternation of his elderly lady host. The Athelney Monument marks the place of the Abbey which was built to acknowledge this history.

This is one tradition on which the church in Britain is founded, and we recognise tradition as a bedrock to our current discipleship. But we are also forward looking, wanting to provide a place of sanctuary, a beacon of hope and a sense of wonder in area.

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