Coming together as the Granta Vale Benefice
to carry out God's work in our Parishes
to carry out God's work in our Parishes
Holy Trinity Church, Balsham:
Holy Trinity Church, Balsham is part of a 7 Church group located in the South Cambridgeshire Parishes of the Abingtons, Balsham, Hildersham, Weston Colville, West Wratting and West Wickham are currently in double 'Vacancy', which means we have neither our full-time priest or House for Duty priest in place.
To assist any new prospective Rector, there are also several web-pages dedicated to each of the Seven Churches in our group, the joint and parish profiles and details about the proposed Pastoral Reorganisation
The information given below is designed to help any prospective new incumbent to learn as much about Balsham Church community and God's work in our Parish
Holy Trinity, Balsham Church Profile January 2017
Holy Trinity, Balsham Church Profile January 2017
“We pray to be generous and visible people of Jesus Christ.”
Holy Trinity Church, Balsham Profile:
Balsham is a village situated in the gentle hills about 9 miles south east of Cambridge, rural, without being isolated. There is easy driving access to Cambridge, Newmarket, and Haverhill, and it is at the centre of the benefice. The 5-bedroom Rectory, built in the 1960’s, is in Balsham, near the church.
At the last census (2011) there were 1591 people, of whom 343 were under 18 and 353 over 65. All socio-economic groups are represented in the village as are different ethnicities. The housing stock is mixed, including some council, sheltered, rented, shared ownership, and privately owned houses, with a very few flats, some bungalows, cottages and houses from small to large. Balsham is a long village with homes all along the High Street, and many Closes off it. The houses range from 16th century to very new, with the main expansion since 1960’s. There are three housing developments of about 15-35 dwellings each, at the planning stage. The local countryside has a few farms (mainly arable and partly wooded), with housing, outside the village. Many villagers commute to London, or work in Cambridge, Newmarket or Haverhill. There are no longer work units in the village, but there are several small businesses, and many people work from home.
The village has a primary school, The Meadow, with the Buttercups pre-school attached, a small shop combined with newsagent and Post Office, and 2 pubs. Secondary schooling is at Linton Village College, which is now an Academy linked to The Meadow. After the Village College, education continues at sixth form colleges in Cambridge or at Cambridge Regional College.
There are several halls in the village where the many groups meet: the Church Institute, the school, the scout hut, Mays Avenue old peoples’ unit, and the sports pavilion. Amongst the clubs and societies of the village are the Balsham Singers, gardening, bridge, Ploughmen, Helping Hands, craft, picture house, WI, yoga, walking group, dog walkers, community orchard, babies and toddlers, and children’s dance. The uniformed groups: Scouts, Cubs, Guides, Brownies, Rainbows meet regularly and attend church for Remembrance Sunday and St George’s Day. There are sports teams: football for most ages, cricket and bowls, all based in the sports pavilion on the large recreation ground. The village has a monthly magazine, the Balsham Review, in which the incumbent contributes an article each month, and church information is also included. 750 copies are printed monthly with a separate 3-monthly advertising directory which provides the income necessary for copies of both to be delivered free to every household.
The church and village charities have been consolidated into the Balsham Charities, chaired by the incumbent, helping villagers discreetly. The Ploughmen are a traditional club who raise funds on Plough Monday for village ‘good causes’. The Wadlow Wind Farm in West Wratting is also a grant-making organisation available to villagers and groups in its local community.
Linton, a nearby large village which can be reached by bus, has a health centre with doctors, nurses etc. while there are also a dentist, optician, vet, library, shops, pubs, work units and buses to Cambridge, and Cambridge is a great centre for concerts, museums, shops, education, sport etc.
The Church: Holy Trinity, Balsham is an old large church dating from 13th century and the early 14th. It is large because of early connections with the Bishops of Ely, and also Peterhouse in the University of Cambridge, and, since around 1600, Charterhouse (London), our Patron. It has two stars in Simon Jenkins’ England’s Thousand Best Churches, mainly mentioning the misericords in the stalls in the chancel and the ecclesiastical brasses. In the nave, there are movable, but very heavy pews which seat about 180, and chairs for more when needed.
The PCC has 12 members at present including the two churchwardens and the co-opted treasurer. They meet six times a year, including the two-joint benefice PCC’s and the APCM. There are two sub-committees looking after Fund-raising and the Building. At present, we are fund-raising to build toilets and a community room inside the church. There are rotas for readers, sidesmen, intercessors, and chalice assistants for services, and rotas for flower arrangers, and cleaners. There is a group of volunteers who care for the churchyard, grass cutting, keeping graves and tablets tidy, maintaining some wild areas and trimming the pollarded trees.
The Electoral roll has 92 names, and about 45 people attend church regularly, (at least once a month), with about 30 attending every week. Although most of the congregation are retired, a few families attend fairly frequently. About 150 people come to the Remembrance service and to Midnight Mass at Christmas.
The pattern of services, mainly held at 10.45am is Common Worship Eucharist on the first and third Sunday of the month, a family service on the second Sunday, BCP communion at 8.00am and evensong at 6pm on the fourth Sunday, and a joint Eucharist at a benefice church on any fifth Sunday. A Communion for Mothers’ Union, especially, is held on first Wednesday of the month. Morning Prayer is spoken on Monday mornings.
Occasional services have included a remembrance and thanksgiving for the short lives of some babies, a commemoration of the start of World War 1 and a service to give thanks for our pets. Annually Christingle, Plough Sunday, Candlemas, The Stations of the Cross, and St George’s Day are celebrated.
Biennial Flower Festivals and Christmas Tree Festivals are ended with informal singing services. The church is used for concerts by the Balsham Singers twice a year, and by other groups. Carol services are held by the schools: The Meadow, Balsham, and Linton Village College. The Meadow also hold Easter and Harvest services for the children. Some regular or occasional meetings are held, organised by the church team: Lent courses, Julian meetings, Bible reading, discussions, retreats and quiet weekends with variable attendance. The Mothers’ Union meet regularly in homes around the village.
We have a ring of six bells, rung regularly. There are two organs, a pipe organ in the chancel and a modern digital organ in the nave. We are lucky to have the services of a fine organist who advised on the purchase of the new organ. We use the Common Praise hymn book regularly, with Hymns Old and New for occasional use.
Financially the parish had an income of £32,714 and an expenditure of £37,655 in the last financial year; it had a parish share of £21,493 in 2016, and has always paid 100% of it share. In the last financial year, £1038.00 was given to missions and charities. Income is derived from Collections, fees, donations, fund raising, Gift Aid Tax, Interest, Dividends. Annual fund raising events include a Flower Festival, Christmas Tree Festival, Harvest Supper, Book Sale, and Concerts. This year we intend holding a Church Fete. In addition to the funds administered by the PCC, there are ring-fenced funds for New Building (Community Room and Toilets), Fabric, organ, churchyard and many others, in the last financial year our ring-fenced income was £107, 353.
Our mission is to bring our village community into the church, firstly to make people comfortable with entering the building, then to encourage them to attend services and worship events, thence to bring them to understand the love of God and His Son.
What we are looking for:
- A paragon of virtue with a good sense of humour
- A person who has a gift with children, the elderly and everyone in between: compassionate, cheerful, healthy
- A middle of the road person with a good voice, easily heard and understood
- A team player able to work with retired clergy, various church wardens and PCC members, strong enough to make difficult decisions but happy to delegate
- The churchyard is still open and there are many funerals, and some weddings and baptisms through the year.