Welcome to St. James' Church, Alveston

Who are we?

We are a church family seeking to follow Christ through welcoming all, supporting one another and serving the communities in which we live and work. We are part of the Church of England in the diocese of Coventry. We are ordinary people who recognise that everyone needs friendship, inspiration, motivation and energy to live out the Christian faith. We don't have all the answers but we have a desire to journey together and learn as we go.

We have two buildings in which we meet, a beautiful traditional church in the village of Alveston and a smaller more modern and multi purpose building in manor Road. Both buildings need care and attention, sometimes taking up a lot of energy and money but we try to focus on the people in our church families as a priority.

We have a vision, seeking to help people encounter God and engage more fully with Him through lots of different opportunities. We aim to serve and support those in our church family and in the wider community and we want to work together to bring about Gods kingdom of love and justice and reconciliation.

Our Sunday services are eucharistically centred, seeing the need for us to meet together and eat together to refuel us for the days ahead. We have lots of other opportunities to meet together during the week, some social and some focused more on our spiritual development.

Our Vicar is Richard Williams and he looks after both churches working with the PCC and a number of lay people involved in small groups.

A Prayer for the week

Almighty God, 
whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
the wonder of your saving presence:
renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, 
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, 
now and for ever. 
Amen.

Our Mission

We have identified 6 key areas of our Mission of 'growing in the right direction':
  • caring
  • nurturing
  • sociable
  • visible
  • welcoming
  • sustaining

If you would like to know more, have ideas or thoughts you feel able to share or would consider helping us take this vision forward please contact either the Vicar or the named person for the aspect of development you are interested in. Please pray for the work of the different groups, consider what you may be able to offer and then have courage.

Caring
it was recognised that as a church community we are uniquely placed to offer care. There are particular times when people seek us out and also an everyday need for care. There was an emphasis on caring for those who may be lonely, infirm, anxious or distressed and an acknowledgement that we must be clear about the ways in which it is appropriate for us to offer care.

Nurturing
supporting peoples spiritual development was raised as both essential and challenging. It is recognised that people need help identifying and using the gifts they have and exploring spirituality. There was a desire to provide worship in an accessible and appropriate way to try and meet a wide range of needs.

Sociable

Visible
making the church relevant and at the heart of our communities means offering a variety of opportunities for people to be involved and benefit from what we do. It is recognised that our activities need to mean something and are a way of gradually preparing the hearts and minds of people for Christ.

Welcoming
there was a strong message about the importance of welcoming everyone in all our services and activities. It is clear people recognise that welcoming happens both at the beginning, during and at the end of our contact with others. There is an understanding that welcoming is the responsibility of us all.

Sustaining
we want to have enough money to do our work of mission and worship and pay the bills . It was clear that people find talking about money uncomfortable. There was a request to not make fundraising too central and to see our purpose and vision as the driving force behind what we need and use money for.

A History of St. James' Church

There has been a church in Alveston for over a thousand years; the boundary of the parish was set in the year 983AD.

The Saxon community of the overlord 'Aenwulf' was situated close to the river where there was a ford across the Avon, the chancel of the Old Church still remains down Mill Lane and is surrounded by old graves. It is still used on Thursday mornings from Easter until the end of British Summer Time.

In 1837 a new young Queen came to the throne inaugurating a new era, the well to do residents of the ‘Alveston Villas’ looked at their little old Church and decided they needed something more fitting in which to worship. They consulted Leamington architect William Walker who felt that a new Church on a new site would be best. Land was obtained and a simple Church with Tower and apsaidal East End was designed and built. On 16th May, 1839, the Lord Bishop of Worcester came to consecrate the new Church. In 1876 new Vicar, William Barnard, added the chancel, Lady Chapel and Vestry to the East End, no doubt to accommodate a ‘robed’ choir, as was then the fashion. This work, the East window and some of the other stained glass, were all designed by local stained glass artist turned Architect, Frederick Preedy. Barnards’ successor, Peter Llewellyn, added further to the Church in the early years of the 20th Century with the impressive Choir Screen with Crucifix and Rood figures of Mary and John the Divine, and the elaborately stencilled paintwork of the chancel roof which used also to cover the walls of the chancel.

Later in the 20th Century, as the result of a bequest, modern facilities were provided in the base of the tower, a new main entrance created at the west end of the south aisle, and a useful upstairs meeting room and ground floor narthex installed. These changes have enabled us to accommodate much of our children’s’ work.

Alveston
The village was a largely rural, agricultural settlement, the river valley land being very fertile, and the only large house was Alveston House on the site of the original Saxon Lord’s ‘Hall’. It wasn’t until the early years of the 19th Century that the larger houses began to appear in the village. Baraset was the first, just at the end of the 18th Century, the land was a gift from the Crown to William Judd Harding, who had been a Judge working for the East India Company, in gratitude for the work he had done establishing British justice in India. The others followed, ‘Alveston Leys’, ‘Avonmore House’, now known as ‘Kissing Tree House’, ‘Hemingford House’, now the youth hostel, and others along the road towards Tiddington, ‘The Red House’, ‘Avoncliffe’, ‘Tiddington House’, and in Tiddington itself ‘Avonhurst’.

The Old Church in Alveston, Mill Lane (below):