1. The Local Community
The parish includes two rural villages
(Acklington and Guyzance) and a number of farms.
As well as the parish church, Acklington also
has a village school, a village hall, a public
house, a railway station, an agricultural mart,
a farm shop and an agricultural garage. Situated
on the eastern edge of the village is a sizeable
estate of houses where the majority of
parishioners live. A mile to the south of the
village (and on the edge of the parish) is HMP
Guyzance Village is a small hamlet situated in
the north of the parish in a designated
conservation area. The village consists of a
small number of cottages and also Guyzance Hall
which is a popular venue for weddings and other
The parish consists of a mixture of people who
are involved in country and country-town
employment (including professional, commercial,
building construction and agriculture). There
are over forty businesses in the parish,
including many small ‘home-based’ businesses,
but also many of our parishioners are retired.
Acklington village hall is the hub of the
community where meetings are held and
recreational activities take place. Acklington
has a Parish Council, a Community Team (ACT), a
Carpet Bowls Club, a Women’s Institute, a Young
People’s Sports Club, an Art Group and a Dance
Group which all use the hall regularly. The
school and the church also hold numerous social
and fund-raising events in the village hall.
In 2007 judges voted Acklington the best village
in Northumberland. They stated that “despite its
small size it has a fantastic community spirit
and a real sense of things happening”. Such was
the vibrancy of the village that Acklington also
went on to become a finalist in the national
“Calor Village of the Year” competition in 2008.
The village has not entered any such
competitions since then but recent community
celebrations such as the church’s
sesquicentennial and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
are testament to the fact that the community
spirit continues to thrive.
2. The Church Community
The congregation averages 30 at the Sunday
Morning Services. Two or three members attend
from outside the parish. The majority of these
regular worshippers are in their “senior years”
and the lack of young families and children
attending church is a real concern. Sunday
School numbers have dwindled in recent years,
although numbers of children attending special
services such as the Christmas Eve Christingle
Service is very encouraging.
Population : 472 adults / 51 children
Electoral Roll : 53
Average Sunday Communicants : 30
Average Baptisms per annum : 3
Average Confirmations per annum : 2
Average Weddings per annum : 2
Average funerals per annum :
Average house communions for the sick or
housebound : 3
4. Church Buildings
The church of St John The Divine is the only
licensed place of worship in the parish.
The church was built in 1861 and is in
relatively good condition. There is, however, no
toilet or kitchen facility within the church
building and this is a real drawback and concern
for many members. The lack of these facilities
means that certain activities are restricted and
this is a problem that members would dearly like
to see rectified.
Please give details of church halls and any
other ancillary buildings (and an indication of
the level of their use).
There is no church hall or other ancillary
Is there a churchyard to maintain and who is
responsible for its maintenance?
There is a large churchyard (including an
extension) to maintain and the PCC is
responsible for its maintenance. Acklington
Parish Council usually makes an
annual donation of £250 towards the maintenance
of the churchyard.
5. Patterns of Worship
8.00 a.m. Holy Communion (First Sunday of the
10.30 a.m. Parish Communion
9.30 a.m. Wednesday Morning Prayers
6. Church Tradition
Neither “high church” nor “low church”, we
regard ourselves as Anglicans with
a traditional but flexible and informal approach
to worship. All denominations
(and those of no particular faith) are always
very welcome to join in with our
services and celebrations.
7. Church Activities
House Groups are held for Bible Study, mainly
during Advent and Lent.
Strong Links with our Church of England First
School. Members of the church frequently take
school assemblies and the school uses the church
for special services.
A Sunday School is held at 10.30 a.m. every
other Sunday during term time.
We have “100 Club” for fund-raising purposes
We support various home and overseas missions
and in particular we annually give donations to
The Church of England Children’s Society and
Christian Aid Projects.
In this small community we are able to be
actively aware of people’s needs as they occur
and be ready to respond accordingly.
Regular church worship together with home Bible
We regularly support “People’s Kitchen” a
Newcastle based charity for the needy and
homeless and often respond to other local needs
as they arise.
We hold regular social and fund-raising events.
These include concerts, fairs, coffee mornings,
exhibitions, sponsored events, etc.
Together with Warkworth we have a Local Ministry
Development Team. This has been in place for
five years and its main responsibilities
include: encouraging vocation, pastoral
outreach, organising united services and
developing work with young people.
Authorised ministers & staff regularly involved
in our services include:
Revd June Barras – Curate and OLM
Revd Margaret Hobrough – retired NSM with PTO
Revd Ben Hopkinson – retired priest with PTO
Revd John Maddox-Lyons – retired priest with PTO
Revd Aubrey Richardson – retired NSM with PTO
Reader Mrs Christine Shield
Reader Mr Roger Styring
There is a high level of lay participation in
most services. Four lay members administer the
chalice; eighteen lay members read lessons;
thirteen lay members have been elected sides
persons and lay members occasionally lead the
Several lay members are involved in
administrative work. Such work includes editing
the parish magazine, maintaining the church
website and producing church rotas and minutes.
There is a good level of lay involvement in
pastoral work across our parish. Some
involvement is formal but much more is informal
and areas such as baptism preparation, home
communion and sick visiting are very well
The PCC meets monthly to discuss church matters
- including administrative work, pastoral work
and ministry in general.
The church of St John The Divine Acklington has
no debts and the parish share is paid regularly
and in full. It could not be called a parish
that practises stewardship although many members
do gift aid their offerings and there is an
envelope scheme for those who request it.
Expenses to the incumbent are paid in full and
include travelling, telephone and postage (all
expenses shared with Warkworth).
Our total annual income for the year ending 31st
Dec 2011 was £20,562 and our annual expenditure
was £19,032. A copy of accounts for the last
financial year is attached.
10. Community Involvement
Being a small, rural parish our church members
are heavily involved in all aspects of community
life. There is a great deal of liaison and
co-operation between the church and other parish
groups and organisations.
The village school (built 1852) and the village
church (built 1861) have always had very strong
links. Five of the current school governors are
also regular church members. Indeed one of our
churchwardens is the Chairman of Governors at
the school. Three church members frequently take
assemblies at the school and the
school regularly hold special services in the
Church members have leading positions on the
Village Hall Committee,
the W.I. Committee, as well as in the Bowls Club
and the Art Group.
There are good links between the church and the
and our PCC lay vice chairman is also the
of the highly acclaimed parish website.
11. Relationships with neighbouring parishes
There are obvious close links with the Parish
Church of St Lawrence, Warkworth
(as we share the incumbent). Our church is also
part of the “Coquet Churches Together” group,
although we are a relatively new member of this
group and there
are considerable opportunities for closer
relationships to develop.
Members of our PCC are not aware of how these
relationships fit in with any Deanery Plans, nor
are members aware of the implications such plans
may have for future ministerial deployment in
12. Ecumenical Relationships
Apart from the “Coquet Churches Together” group
mentioned above, and the occasional shared
services within the Alnwick Deanery, the
ecumenical relationships in our area are quite
limited and ripe for development.
13. The Parish and the future
Our current strengths:
• a lively, involved and enthusiastic
congregation who carry their commitment into
wider community life, activities and contacts
• a hunger for fresh opportunities for
theological and spiritual exploration
• a valued church school ministering to children
and their families
• a strong development of lay and ordained
ministries (supported and encouraged by
the Local Ministry Development Team)
• a valuing of each person’s gifts, with humour,
diplomacy and good management
• a church building in good shape, with
potential for further development and use
Our current needs:
• a deepening of our theological and spiritual
understanding and expression
• a wider practical application of Gospel
priorities for our mission and ministry
• an enthusiastic and effective leadership
• a continuation of support for, and involvement
in, our church school
• a continued strong desire to work with the
young and their families
• a continued development of active pastoral
• a readiness to work even more collaboratively
and share future decision making and
• a continued willingness to work more
effectively with each other and with other
14. The new incumbent
We are praying for a disciple of Jesus who
endeavours to be:
• an understanding listener to hold the ‘old’
and develop the ‘new’
• an encourager to help people, attitudes and
systems to change
• a communicator with highly developed
• a team player who can discern, use and develop
the many talents available
• a leader who can strengthen vision and focus
• a carer who is approachable and will model
love in action to all
• a manager who can bring a true perspective to
our complex common life
There is no parsonage within Acklington Parish.
Recent incumbents have lived in the vicarage at
Warkworth and details of this dwelling will be
listed on St Lawrence’s Parish Profile.