Welcome to The Avon-Swift Benefice

We are 11 Church of England Parishes in South Leicestershire, in the Diocese of Leicester. We welcome everyone to join us in worship and community in our village churches. 


If you have a safeguarding concern, then please contact the local Independent Person for your parish. To identify the right person, please complete the contact form below or call Revd Dave Hover on 01162 779900 . Details can also be found on individual church websites (please see the links page or on A Church Near You: 


Childline For children who want someone to talk to Tel: 0800 1111

If you wish to speak to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, or to someone outside the church, their contact details are available here:


Our Latest News 

How do you see it??
It might seem to you as though the best of the year has already gone – the longest day, the hottest weather, the best barbecues…. I’m sure you know people who are already saying things like ‘the days will get shorter now’ and ‘the kids will be back to school soon’….. Maybe your holiday already seems like a distant memory! 

Yet as I sit in the garden today, the sun is shining through the leaves still on the trees, still green, still beautiful, and I am reminded of the words of C.S. Lewis, engraved on his memorial tombstone: 

‘I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.’

The way we look at the world is through the lenses that are part of us – our culture, upbringing, education… all have a part to play. 

For me, the most important lens I use is my faith in Jesus Christ. 

It isn’t brought out on Sundays only. It is part of me; it impacts the choices I make and how I live my life day to day. 

It helps me decide what is really important, what truly matters. 

The way my faith is expressed has varied a lot over the years, and is about to change again! 

You will all know that Rev Emma has moved to the cathedral for a year and also that Rev Dave is moving on after the summer. 

Archdeacon Claire Wood has been helping us find out how we can rise to the challenge of being 21 st century church and understand what God wants us to be involved in for this time.

So what it looks like is this: -
There will always be a clergy person available who can manage our provision for important life events like weddings. 

They will be available some of the time for Sunday services too, but we will be looking at how we can help more local lay people be involved in worship for themselves and others. 

For example, world-wide in the Church of England, some 50,000 people now worship on other days and at different times in what are known as ‘Fresh Expressions of Church’. 

And in our own Diocese of Leicester, these are the words from Bishop Martyn,

 ‘Fresh expressions of church offer us a living model of what can happen when God’s people are set free to be leaders in mission, when clergy and lay work in partnership, with a genuine sharing of gifts and true mutuality.’ 

This idea of shared responsibility is being put into practice here in our area. Leadership provision around Mission, Vision, Clusters and PCCs will be led by a new appointment - Stephen March will be joining us for 3 days a week from September. He has extensive church leadership experience in rural areas, and as part of his current role within the Mission & Ministry department of the diocese, he has encouraged and supported churches as they rethink how they work with all those around to see community grow and flourish where they live.

So, all change!! How do you see it? Is your ‘lens’ making you wish for the past, angry with the present, or fearful for the future? Or are you, like me, excited about the possibilities and the potential for growth?

Church Ministry Team news

Canon Emma Davies moves to the Cathedral - from the beginning of July I shall be working full-time at Leicester Cathedral, on secondment for a year. I shall take on the role of Acting Canon Precentor, which means I shall be responsible for all the services that take place in the Cathedral, liaising with the musicians and other Cathedral staff, volunteers and a great range of people who want to visit the Cathedral for services and events. I am looking forward to this unexpected opportunity which will be a new challenge, but of course I am sad to be leaving the people of the churches and communities here. I assure you of my continuing prayers.

Rev’d Dave Hover will take over responsibility for church matters from July until he takes up an exciting new role in the Autumn leading the churches at Leicester Forest East and Braunstone Town with Thorpe Astley. We all wish him every success but will be sorry to see him go!

Meanwhile we look forward to welcoming our new Administrator – Grace Bridgeman – who will join the team in mid-July and who will be based at St. Mary’s Church Office in Lutterworth in the first instance, but working for all of our churches here in The Avon-Swift Benefice.

So many changes at once can seem unsettling, but I do believe that God has a much bigger picture than any of us and will provide us with what we need, even if we cannot see the way. At times like this I often turn to Psalm 139 which in beautiful words reassures us that no matter where we find ourselves, God is there with us, knowing and loving us:

‘If I take the wings of the morning

and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me fast.’ (Psalm 139.9,10)

Whether, like me, you are facing change in your life, or whether you are staying just where you are, I pray you may know the peace and love of God surrounding and upholding you until our paths cross again.

Canon Emma Davies

The Revd Canon Dr Johannes Arens and The Revd Canon Emma Davies

The Bishop announces that from 1st July, The Revd Canon Dr Johannes Arens, Canon Precentor at Leicester Cathedral, will move to be Faith Adviser at De Montfort University.

The Revd Canon Emma Davies, Team Vicar in the Avon Swift Benefice, will become Acting Precentor at Leicester Cathedral from the same date.

The Revd Rob Hay

The Bishop announces that The Revd Rob Hay, Curate at St Denys Evington (and Head of Learning and Ministry Development for the Diocese of Leicester) has moved to complete his curacy in the Avon Swift Benefice, where he has been recently on placement. 

The Revd David Hover

The Bishop is pleased to announce the appointment of The Revd David Hover, curate in the Avon-Swift Benefice, in this Diocese, as Priest in Charge [Rector Designate] of Leicester Forest East and Braunstone Town with Thorpe Astley.

David will be licensed by the Bishop of Loughborough, The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, on Monday 23rd September 2019 at 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Church, Leicester Forest East.


We the parishes of The Avon-Swift Benefice commit ourselves to God and to one another, seeking to become a community that is centred on Christ and inspired by the Spirit to respond to the love of the Father and share it with others."

From the ministry team...........

A Book for Every Day

Books, books and more books! I love books, and I love to read. However, life is busy - I never feel as if I have enough time to read all the books I would like to. So, every year I look forward to the summer holidays, because to me they’re a great opportunity to catch up on some serious reading - what could be better than a sunny afternoon in the garden with a good book? Books can transport us and move us outside of the everyday; they can make us laugh or cry, fill us with joy – or even cause us to question what we think we know.

It’s perhaps no surprise that one of my favourite books is the Bible. The Bible was written by different people from different walks of life, who lived in different places and eras. They are biographers, historians, philosophers and writers of theology, poetry, adventure, travel and romance who were all inspired by God – it’s definitely not boring! Although the Bible is made up of 66 books, it is one whole book and no part is complete on its own. It’s a story of God’s love for us, our rebellion and God’s infinite grace to welcome us.

The Bible, or parts of it, has now been translated into more than 2,300 languages and dialects, and we even have modern and relevant translations to help us to understand its wisdom for today. You don’t need to be a historian, an academic or even a Christian to read the Bible. It was written by ordinary people for ordinary people and it changes lives. Whatever situation you’re in, chances are you’ll read about it in the Bible. It’s always honest and real, offering us an incredible insight into the way that God loves and works in each of us; but the Bible’s all-embracing message is one of hope – that through Jesus Christ we have the promise of eternal life.

Holbrook Jackson wrote this, “Never put off till tomorrow the book you can read today.” The Bible isn’t a book for tomorrow, it’s a book for everyday; a book to be read time and again, with new wonders to discover each time.

Dawn Matthew

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