Christ Church

People

We have a strong community, enabling us to maintain Christ Church as a Christian home for all who need us

As our last vicar, Tony Berry, retired  on 30 September 2021, we are now in an inter-regnum, while his successor is appointed. The Diocese have advised the Parochial Church Council that they will be a 'House for Duty priest' serving both Coldharbour and Abinger, as Tony did.  ‘House-for-Duty’ is an arrangement under which the priest lives in the vicarage in exchange for providing ministry, but without receiving a stipend. They are required to work as the Priest in Charge three days a week, including Sundays. The process of seeking that House for Duty priest is well under way but may well take a good time.  

Meanwhile, our two Churchwardens - Mary Hustings and Anthony Simpson - are responsible for the parish.  We are fortunate that they will be supported by the Rev Virginia Smith and Hilary Swift, our lay reader as well as Sally McCance, our Parish Secretary.

VirginiaRev Virginia Smith leads many of our services. She has lived in Westcott almost continuously for over fifty years and first became involved with the Leith Hill Benefice when she and her late husband started to worship at St John’s in Westcott. She was ordained in 2009 ('rather late in life') and was appointed a curate at South Holmwood but would occasionally help out at Wotton and Holmbury. During the Holmbury vacancy, before David Grundy’s appointment as Priest in Charge, she felt called to leave South Holmwood and help out full time at these two parishes.  Since then,  much to my delight (and ours!), she has become  increasingly involved with the parishes of Abinger and Coldharbour 'who have made me so welcome and enabled me to  make many new friends'.  Virginia is also an Honorary Chaplain at St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey where her principal role is in the Neonatal Unit and Paediatrics.

Hilary SwiftHilary Swift, the Benefice's Local Lay Minister, leads services and small groups (Bible Study, Confirmation preparation and the like), preaches and assists with the pastoral work of the Benefice.  

Hilary has a Higher Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission, and works for Compassion UK, a Christian charity.


Led by our two Churchwardens, the Parochial Church Council, PCC, manages the life of Christ Church as a Christian community, as well as caring for the fabric and finances of the Church, its churchyard and the John Venus Hall.

The  other members of the PCC are Kerry Day, Graham Mytton, Martin Neve, Helen Potter, Martin Richards, John Roberts and Helen Simkins.

Martin Neve is our Treasurer.

Kerry Day is managing the processes involved in appointing our new Priest in Charge.

Helen Potter is our Electoral Roll Officer as well as looking after Gift Aid on donations to our funds.

Martin Richards is responsible for this website.

Helen Simkins is our Safeguarding Officer.

Sally McCance, the Parish (Abinger plus  Coldharbour ) Secretary, is also secretary to our PCC.

David Hensell plays the organ once used by Ralph Vaughan Williams as well as being our choirmaster.

Debby Chapman, leader of the Village Band,  plays the piano for some of our services, sometimes accompanied by young village musicians.

Patsy Simpson and Trish Syms organise Church flowers.

Jenny Richards is the sacristan - looking after alter vestments.

Tiggs Morton prepares the Coldharbour inputs to the Parish News, which we share with St James Abinger and is edited in Abinger by Liz Hamilton and Jenny Parker.

Sue Neve manages Church cleaning.

Su Jones manages bookings for the John Venus Hall, as well as its cleaning.