St Edward, King and Martyr Goathurst
The Village and its Life
Welcome to Goathurst, a small, compact village, which you can comfortably walk around in half an hour, located around the parish church of St Edward, King and Martyr-one of only a few churches dedicated to this saint. You can find more details of the church and village in our entry on the website:
There are around 75 properties in Goathurst itself giving a population of 235 or so in a close-knit, supportive and compassionate community. The age distribution is skewed towards the elderly, so a number are retired, but active. Many would be classed as professionals among these retirees. However, there are also younger families within the village. With no shop, school or pub, just the church and village hall, villagers use their own resources to form a coherent community. There are for example thriving groups such as for Poetry and Carpet Bowls. There is also a village charities trust. Whilst there are core Church and Village Hall groups, these overlap to a very large extent. In particular the church is strongly supported by many villagers whose associations are with churches outside the village, or none, in all the church-driven events. For example there is strong support by the whole village for the Lent Lunches held in various homes and the free monthly coffee mornings held in the village hall. There are also the usual church-driven activities: e.g. Fete, Harvest Supper, Quiz, which involve the whole village. Moreover, The Friends of Goathurst Church, consisting of folk from wider afield with strong affinity for the church, lend their support. We are fortunate to have accomplished substantial repairs and redecoration of the whole church building in recent years due to the strength of this support.
Selling plants at the fete
Although there is no school in the village there are strong links with EnmoreSchool in the neighbouring parish. The PCC elects a Foundation Governor and has other other individuals with links to the school. We are fortunate to have a well-established Pre-School (drawn from the surrounding area) who actively seek to be connected with the church, particularly at Easter and Christmas. St Edward’s has also over the past few years hosted the Navigators’ Group for young people and would hope to continue to play a role in building up youth work.
Church services are well supported at the usual festivals, but there is also a regular core attendance at all services which, in percentage terms, is respectable when the whole village population is considered. Worship at Goathurst is closely interwoven with the wider benefice; our parishioners will also be found at benefice services on the second Sunday in the month or when there is a special festival. In particular members of our congregation regularly attend Holy Week services across the benefice and have formed strong bonds with those attending Lent study groups at Spaxton and Nether Stowey. There was strong support from the men in Goathurst for the Benefice Men’s Breakfasts.
St Edward’s hosts a service of Celtic Prayer on Wednesday mornings which attracts folk from further afield. An open prayer session within this allows us to consider the needs of those within the parish and benefice.
Over the course of a month we have a range of services, catering for a variety of worship preferences.
In terms of our strengths, we are proud of our reputation for being welcoming and friendly. Within the benefice we have demonstrated an ability and willingness to adapt and co-operate with change. We are always open to new ideas.
Young visitors to our Pets’ Service
Opportunities are actively sought to take ‘church’ outside the building (for example with the Rogation Walk and Pets’ Service) and to reach out into the community, beyond our congregation, with, for instance, the coffee mornings and with cards sent to those in need. Our aim is to be inclusive of all and to draw folk in, for example through an annual service to celebrate the life of the village by inviting all organisations to participate and by asking families and individuals to decorate the church at festival times. The church also looks to the wider community; a tithe of offertory collections is given to a variety of charities as well as designated collections at Christmas, Harvest and Remembrance times for specific charities. In addition the PCC supports youth work in Lebanon and has also supported young people within and without the village in their overseas charitable work – notably for Tear Fund. Support from church members and other villagers has enabled us to meet our financial obligations, including the Parish Share, and to maintain the fabric of the church.
Flower arrangers at work
The Rogation Walk and Service