Recent activities


St Leonards, Birdingbury at Rugby Night Shelter

Rugby Winter  Night Shelter operates between 1 December and 31 March every year, providing hot meals and overnight accommodation at 7 venues across the town, each venue operating on a set night per week. Administered by Hope 4, guests register during the afternoon for a ticket for a meal and bed that evening. Volunteers at each venue provide a hot supper, drinks, supervised overnight accommodation and breakfast. All 7 venues are run through the goodwill of hundreds of volunteers. There are people - daily- transporting camp beds, washing and ironing bed linen, organising rotas and preparing hearty suppers for approximately 15-20 guests each night.

In birdingbury we started helping in December 2015 when Church Warden Karen, with her husband and daughter, volunteered to help on Christmas Eve at St Matthews and St Oswalds, Lawford Rd - part of our own Rugby Deanery and Coventry diocese.  

Since then we have progressed to actually preparing and taking the evening meal, once in 2016 and twice this year. We now have 10 people who have volunteered and expressed interest so we hope to increase our help to three nights for the 2017-2018 programme. 

This year we attended well stocked with Rev Ali's super squash soup, Liz's luscious lasagne, Karen's spicy sausage and chilli beans, Emma's masterful mixed salad and Jenny and Leigh's lovely crumbles. Andrew joined us as we set up beds, laid out the bed linen, laid the table for 20, prepared and served the food, poured numerous teas and coffees, cleared away and washed  up and played countless games of Uno - a favourite game with all guests! 

Well done to all those who manage and administer the programme across Rugby town- we are proud and humbled to be involved in support. See you next month and next year! 


Pudding Club

Cushion making

On Saturday, a group of Ladies from Stretton Ladies Fellowship, spent the day making cushions for the Breast Cancer unit at Warwick Hospital, where they are greatly appreciated. 


Remembrance Parade

Birdingbury Harvest

What a great harvest weekend we have enjoyed!

It started with our benefice 'Celebrate@4' service taking place at Bondon Farm, the home and business of the McCurdie family. This very informal, all age worship is well attended by families and others who enjoy the easier, more contemporary style. Nearly 50 people gathered in one of the sheep and cattle sheds to sing, watch videos about how we can identify and choose local and British marked foods, hear Daisy interview new Rector Rev Ali with a 'quick fire questions' (Cadbury rather than Galaxy, Star Trek rather than Star Wars, yes to Marmite........that sort of thing!) 

The children were all allowed to sit in the tractors and were awarded prizes in the 'colour your own tractor' competition!


Harvest Supper

Our village harvest supper was magnificently organised by Liz and Gaynor with lots of helpers, and attended by nearly 60 people. Hosted by Birdingbury Club, we sat at trestle tables and enjoyed a superb harvest offering of roasted ham with a variety of salads. Table monitors took responsibility for carving and serving the meat. Veggie options included delicious quiches. Home made apple crumbles and pies followed with lashings of custard and cream. 

A lovely sociable evening with chatter and laughter. We were delighted to be joined by new Rector Rev Ali and husband Pete. 


Harvest Festival

On a bright Sunday morning, we gathered outside the village club to collect harvest donations from villagers who were invited to stop by and meet the new Rector. 

We carried the treasure up to church for our annual service attended by nearly 50 people, our best attendance for several years. We were delighted to welcome our new Rector, Rev Ali Massey, who was leading her first service in the benefice after installation. Joined by friends from Bourton and Frankton parishes, we sang traditional harvest hymns and heard the parable of the sower. Rev Ali was assisted by several younger parishioners as she explained the story.

The church was decorated beautifully by the members of the Birdingbury Altar Guild, and cleaned by Dick and Brian and others following the completion of the building works. 

Rev Ali blessed the new loo facility and refreshments were served from the new servery which will make life a lot easier! 

The offertory will go to the local branch of the Farming Community Network and around 15 carrier bags of food donations will be taken to Rugby Foodbank with our loving thoughts for others who are in need. 

Karen Armbrister, Church Warden


Quiet afternoon in Birdingbury

When did you last truly relax? We don't really do we? We are busy people, leading busy lives, with busy families doing busy things. Busy, busy, busy.....

Recently I decided to host two quiet afternoons at my home, for local friends who lead busy lives, particularly those who give time to help and support others. My gift to them was the opportunity to spend an afternoon in my home truly relaxing in a quiet calm environment.

The first afternoon, the weather was beautiful which made relaxing in the garden everyone's first choice. Seating was available in sunny or shady areas, refreshments available as were books, magazines, music, adult colouring books - all to aid relaxation. The two hours flew by and, as we gathered to share thoughts and some music, we agreed we all felt calmer and more peaceful, ready to return to our normal lives, but perhaps with a sense of determination to make more time for ourselves.

We finished by enjoying the fellowship between us, whilst partaking of afternoon tea; sandwiches, scones and small cakes. 

On the second Quiet afternoon, the rain was coming down heavily. We all remained indoors, where I created various quiet areas for relaxation, using scented candles and lighting and even a log burner! We finished by joining together again for afternoon tea. 

Further quiet afternoons will take place in the autumn, including a weekend date for those who work during the week.

Do contact me if you're interested.

Karen Armbrister, Church Warden


Holiday Bible Club 2016

From 1st – 5th August 2016 children aged 5 – 11 took part in Streetwise, this year’s Holiday Bible Club. We had a fun and action packed week learning about some of the amazing things Jesus has done for us through the stories of Luke’s Gospel. We made soap, sang songs and bounced down an inflatable obstacle course, we decorated biscuits, told jokes and prayers, and played water sports. The children and leaders alike had great fun learning the lessons Jesus has taught us, to love God and to be kind to each other.


Key Stage 1 Wedding at Knightlow School

Everything was ready; the church vacuumed and tidied, projector and screen up, organist in place, and a quiet calm drifted around the peaceful interior of All Saint’s Church, Stretton. 

Then we heard it, getting louder and louder, the sound of children’s voices and the ever present ‘that’s enough talking thank you; keep with your partner’ booming out from a harassed teacher, trying to keep the Key Stage 1 pupils from drifting into the road as they negotiated the tricky and narrow pathway up to church. 

The bridegroom and best man are nattily dressed in full morning suits with top hats, the ushers are smart, the bridesmaids are beautiful and the bride’s mother can just about be seen under the brim of an ENORMOUS hat. The event of the year; the Key Stage 1 wedding in church!

Everyone takes their seats and there is an excited hum of chatter as we wonder if the bride will be late, will the dress fit, will she turn up?

No need to worry. She arrives at the door, on the arm of her 8 year old Father, and looks radiantly beautiful in white lace. Those last minute biscuits have not had a negative effect on the dress fitting. Her flowers are pink and white and in a beautiful posy; a perfect size for her little gloved hands.

Our organist, Brian, bursts into the wedding entrance march and a very hurried march up the aisle follows. The wedding party is welcomed by Revs David and Louis (taking his first wedding) wearing matching surplices and stoles. 

And so we enter into the wedding service. Rev David explains about marriage; what it means to us and to God. We sing magnificently (Sing Hosanna! Shine, Jesus shine and Love in my heart), vows are declared and made, rings exchanged and prayers beautifully spoken by members of the congregation. We hear the bible reading about the wedding at Cana that Jesus attended with his Mother, Mary, where he turned the water into good wine.

The happy couple, smiling shyly at each other, sign their wedding certificate along with the witnesses; the bride’s mother sniffles neatly into a lace handkerchief and it’s done! We cheer and Brian launches into the traditional wedding march as the wedding party hurtle back down the aisle in a dash for the squash and cake reception back at school.

Beautifully delicious cup cakes, a top table and guest tables, a choice of lemonade or water and the day was complete. Excellent photography by a parent and hospitality by the Parents Association; the day was enjoyed by everyone present.

We were so pleased to be asked to organise a ‘mock’ wedding for the younger pupils at our village school as they learn about relationships, love and commitment. A marvellous educational and learning experience thoroughly enjoyed by all. It’s the baptism next, but we will probably wait until the Spring Term for that!


Cloud into Fire pilgrimage walk

Photos from our pilgrimage from Stockton to Napton



Passover Supper 2016

This year, we held a seder at All Saints, Stretton followed by Holy Communion and vigil.




Celebrate@4 Good Friday 2016

There was Easter fun in the village hall Good Friday morning as families gathered to make Easter gardens, Easter hats and decorate Easter biscuits and chocolate nests. We also made prayer hands and lots of Easter story themed banners to use during our service.

We paraded up to church for an 11am service, led by Karen in our 'Celebrate' style - very informal with lots of participation from the children. We heard how God has plans for us all but that they might differ from what we plan for ourselves. Including a video story 'the three trees', excellent readings telling us about the events of Holy Week and Easter, by Evelyn, Alex, Issie and Daisy and prayers said by Astrid and Daisy, it was good to have the young people involved. A rousing rendition of 'Shine Jesus, Shine' ended our worship before we all shared hot cross buns, chocolate cake and drinks.

Over 75 in church including 25 or so children - we'd call that a Good Friday! 

* Celebrate@4 is a monthly informal service for all ages. Last Saturday monthly in a village hall. Next date is 23 April at Bourton Village Hall. 



Celebrate@4 Christmas activities 2015

We gathered in the village hall to do some messy family Christmas crafts and cooking including table decorations, decorating Christmas jumper biscuits, making sugar mice, stained glass windows and reindeer handprints. We also finger tip painted manger pictures and wrote prayers. Busy, busy, busy! 

Following the activities we gathered for a Celebrate@4 service, led by Karen, with readings from Marcus and Bertie Critchley and Daisy Thompson. We watched some Christmas adverts then thought through the realities of the nativity story, assembled the crib set, and sung 'Away in a manger' to a wonderful flute accompaniment from Yvonne McElwaine. Prayers led by Fiona Willoughby and Alex Suffell with tea lights lit to represent Jesus being the light of the world, rousing carols and a meaningful video depicting Jesus' life from crib to cross brought our Christmas service to a close. And it only took 45 minutes! 

We meet again on January 23rd at the hall in Bourton. Why not come and give it a try? You'd be warmly welcomed and you could even bring a friend or two! 


Birdingbury Remembrance 2015

On a dull autumn morning over 50 people gathered in Church for our annual service of Remembrance, led by Lay Reader Dr Peter Kent. We were pleased to welcome Dawn Powers, a villager who has undertaken a village fund raising project, loaning her 'Tower of London' ceramic poppy to other villagers for a donation  towards various charities associated with the Armed Forces. She spoke about Poppy's journey around Birdingbury and told us she had raised the sum of £200. This has been supplemented by beautiful hand made (by villager Julie Colledge) felt lapel poppies, the sale of which has resulted in an overall total of £480 - a fantastic achievement by Dawn with support from the village. Our British Legion wreath, laid at the altar by young villager, Erin Flint, was carried to the War Memorial by a serving villager, Flight Sergeant Simon Davy, RAF, and the roll call given by army veteran Bill Cowley, one of our oldest villagers. 


Birdingbury Art Festival 2015

We were delighted whe one of our village teenagers, Jess Armbrister, asked us if she could organise an art exhibition in church over the Bank Holiday weekend.  Jess is hoping to study History of Art at university, and is currently studying the subject to A level which she'll take next year.  She'd like to work , at some stage, in the art world, curating and managing galleries and exhibitions.

The end result took place this weekend with 26 exhibitors isplaying art forms including paintings in acrylic, oils and watercolours, pictures using vintage fabrics, drawings in fine pen pencil, and charcoal; embroidery, tapestry, quilting, silk painting, woodwork, glass etching andphotography. All the exhibitors live in the village and range in age from teenagers to senior citizens! Over 60 works of art were on display.

Friday evening saw 65+ guests attending a ticketed preview evening, where wine and canapés were served, and the church buzzed with conversation, laughter and gasps of admiration for the talent displayed. During the weekend around 70 entries were made in the visitors book as people came to enjoy a first, or repeat look at the work. Saturday's weather was lovely and the churchyard made a quiet and peaceful venue to enjoy the refreshments on offer.

With thanks to Jess and the PCC's Peter Law, who provided support and guidance, for a wonderfully creative use of our church building, and for your generous donation to church funds from the profits made.


Easter 2015

Easter Day worship is always joyful - and particularly at St Leonard's in Birdingbury. Rev David Shaw led us in celebratory worship,giving thanks for our risen Lord. We sang traditional Easter Day hymns,-  'Jesus Christ is risen today' and 'Thine be the glory' and also a new Easter song 'Boundless is the love of God' written by our own organist, Bryan Tompkins.

The Gospel reading from John and a reading from 1 Corinthians gave us food for thought as Rev David explained the relevance of the folded grave clothes in the empty tomb. After the service the children hunted for Easter goodies in the churchyard as we enjoyed coffee and refreshments.

A secret Easter garden, beautifully created in the churchyard, by Eira and Aileen, was not only home to the empty tomb, but also the chocolate eggs enjoyed by all the children. The church, dressed richly in white and gold linens, with simple pedestals of perfect white lilies was breathtaking in its loveliness. All the lilies were dedicated to loved ones by members of the community. Alleluia he is risen indeed! Amen


Palm Sunday 2015

Over 30 of us met at the War Memorial in Birdingbury for our annual Palm Sunday walk, accompanied by village donkeys Petrel and Mouse, led by owners Sue and a Peter Law with some help from the children. Regrettably, this year was the first for some time where we've walked in a drizzle, but spirits were still high as we sang 'Ride on, Ride on in majesty' and 'Make way, make way for Christ the King' as we travelled the short distance along Main St up to church, re-creating the atmosphere that must have prevailed in Jerusalem as Jesus entered the city, humbly riding a donkey (Matthew 21 vv1-11). Another 15 or so met us in church where our service, led by Rev David Shaw, continued with more singing, a short act of communion and prayers. We finished with some lovely a Easter refreshments and a lot of cheerful chatter. 


 New style service - on Saturday!

 "The new, informal, all age  and contemporary service was launched on Saturday 28th February at Stretton on Dunsmore Village Hall - what a wonderful response we had! We will be holding this service on the 4th Saturday of every month starting at 3.45pm and it finishes at 4.40pm. This initiative is to cater for busy people who cannot get to church on Sundays . It begins with refreshments, then songs/hymns, a short talk then prayers! Super!


Birdingbury Fete 2014

Around 40 people attended our Easter Day Family Communion service. The church looked beautiful, decorated by members of our Altar Guild, in white and gold linens with arrangements of lilies in remembrance of loved ones. The service was led by Revd David Shaw, who made sure the children were fully engaged by inviting them to the altar to assist with the preparation of the Eucharist. A very special moment as all the children received God's blessing from David. The singing was loud and joyful as we gave thanks for our risen Lord!

After the service, we laid an egg hunt trail which the children happily followed gathering the goodies found in a large basket to share between them. The trail ended at our secret Easter garden, beautifully designed and created by Aileen Withington and Eira Owen.

Do come and visit our churchyard and take a look. These photos, taken by PCC member, Matt Markham, show the children egg hunting and our Easter garden.


Birdingbury Palm Sunday 2014

We were blessed with a wonderful bright Spring morning for our annual procession with Petrel and Mouse, donkeys belonging to Peter and Sue Law. They munched happily on the grass by the War Memorial as we gathered and raised our palm crosses for blessing by Revd David Shaw. As we walked we sang ‘Ride on, ride on in majesty!’ a great hymn for Palm Sunday. We stopped for a breather, and a rest for some, by the Bus Shelter and listened to Bryan read a passage from Mark’s Gospel about how Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem to the cries of ‘Hosanna, Hosanna, here comes the king!’ More singing ‘make way, make way’ as we made our way up the hill to finish our service in Church. Petrel and Mouse were rewarded with several carrots and a munch on the grass in the churchyard. That’s one way to keep the grass down! 


Birdingbury Carol Service 

Of all our Christmas services, this is our most well attended by families of all ages; over 70 people attended in total this year. It's a lovely service held at 430 pm when lanterns are used to light the path down to the church. There is always a creative telling of the Christmas story and this year was no different. Several children and adults had answered the call for volunteers, and you can see our talented team of all ages rehearsing in these photos. This years offering, entitled 'Little Donkey's long walk' had Billy Flint playing the part of a little donkey who followed his mother to Bethlehem. His friend, Cat, played by Evie Stuart, had tempted him to disobey his mother and take off after her. Along the way, they heard about a band of angels (Gaynor, Mel and Jan) who had told of a special birth and after meeting up with 4 sheep ( Rees And Ellie Moor, Josh and Jake Thomas) and following a bright shining star (Erin Flint) the animals all headed to Bethlehem together. When they arrive, the inn keepers dog (Jess Markham) is able to reconcile them with Mother Donkey (Liz Ellis)  who tells them that a Saviour has been born. 


Excellently narrated by Millie East-Nuttall, Jess Armbrister and Anna Markham, the congregation responded warmly to the children's efforts. Our crib, set up in memory of his parents, by David Harrison, made a lovely focal point for the story and the whole cast gathered round at the end, with other children, lighting candles to sing a song composed by our Organist, Bryan Tompkins, 'Gods greatest gift' and the classic 'Away in a manger'. Reverend Barbara led us in prayer as we held in our thoughts all those for whom Christmas time is difficult or sad. After the service we enjoyed mulled wine, mince pies and biscuits and the church buzzed with laughter and conversation. 


Remembrance Sunday in Stretton

remembrance sunday


The Church was full on Sunday as Parishioners attended the annual Remembrance Service, conducted by Canon Barbara Clutton. All the local uniformed organisations were present and they paraded through the village prior to the service at 10-45. The photograph ABOVE shows the flag bearers outside the Church prior to the Service. A further service was held at 12 noon at the A 45. Monument. 


Read about Reverend Barbara's installation as an Honorary Canon at Coventry Cathedral


All Saints Pudding Club

A cold night at the end of January is the perfect time for the Pudding club. More than ninety of us gathered at Knightlow school for a convivial evening.  A light starter was followed by indulgence in an impressive array of fantastic home made puddings, including trifles, cheesecakes and crumbles.  We all felt a great deal warmer on the way home! Thanks to everyone who came along and especially to all who contributed the extensive selection of puddings.


New Altar Cloth at All Saints, Stretton

                        altar cloth 2       altar cloth 1

The cloth has been painstakingly made in lace, by a group of ladies who meet once a month to make bobbin lace at the home of Sarah Welch in Thurlaston. 

“Approximately 10 years ago Sarah suggested we make lace for a new Altar cloth at All Saints’ church as a joint project.  We looked at the designs available in a book called ‘Lace for Churches’ by Marie-Clare Downham but after working a few inches decided we would prefer our own design, still based on Marie-Clare’s original pattern.

 Margaret Pinder took this on and drew up the pattern which we used.  Sarah purchased a special pillow and the thread and kept us motivated.  It was decided that one person should work all the crosses so Thelma Cain took on this and Betty Wallace, Pam Hopwood, Sarah & Margaret helped with the rest of the lace.  We used approximately 100 pairs of bobbins and worked about 15feet of lace.  The lace pattern used is Torchon otherwise known as Midlands lace.  This is much stronger than some of the other popular laces such as Bedfordshire or Bucks Point.

The material of the cloth is Irish linen and was made to fit the Altar table exactly.

The result of this dedicated and intricate work can be seen on the altar in Stretton.


Stretton's Pet Service

Alex and Daisy       gilly_tess      penguin

                   Alex with Daisy                     Gilly with Tess              Saunders has a cuddle            

June is the month when we hold our Pet services in the Draycote Group and at Stretton on 13th June, we were fortunate with the weather, as the service is held outside in the churchyard.  The dog certainly seems to be the favourite pet in the village, our five canine representatives all behaved beautifully, in spite of the presence of Alex's small white hamster which some of the dogs thought would have made a tasty titbit!

Pet owners spoke movingly of their relationships with their pets, stressing their importance as faithful, trusting companions.  Barbara brought along a picture of her pet Kune Kune pig, a highly domesticated breed of pigs from New Zealand.  The southern hemisphere was also represented by a magnificent life size stuffed penguin, called Saunders, from the Falkland Isles.

Surrounded by the insects and birds in the sunshine of the churchyard, the congregation joined together to thank God for the amazing variety of animals in the world and to pray that mankind may treat them well.