This is the official website of The Downs Benefice Winchester, Hampshire.



Benefice Baptism Team

Would you be interested in becoming part of the Baptism Team? This would involve:


  • visting families preparing for Baptism
  • making them feel welcome in our churches
  • keeping in touch with them after the service
  • inviting them to other services
  • generally enouraging them to become part of parish life


If anyone is interested please either contact Jax on or the office on or 01962 880 845.

Would you like to ring Church Bells?

Both Crawley (5 bells) and Sparsholt (6 bells) need more ringers - if you would like to give it a try come along to Sparsholt on a Mondy at 7.30pm, or contact Jenny Watson on 01962 808167; or Crawley on a Tuesday at 7.30pm or contact Amanda Bayford on 01962 776861.

Karis Kids

As many of you are aware, the Downs Benefice helps support nine families in the slum area of Okuvu, Kampala, through Karis Kids. These families have all taken in children of relatives who have succumbed to AIDS, despite their own poverty and need. Karis Kids helps with financial support for schooling, medical care and basic clothing, bedding and food supplements, as well as providing onging support of the families through the local church. Each of the Ugandan families is linked with a family or individual here in the UK, although the financial support for that family may come from several donors, grouped together.

Unfortnately we have lost a few of our donors recently and so I am asking members of our churches to pray about taking on a commitment to give on a monthly basis. It can be as much or as little (even £5) as you could afford. It costs £62/month to provide the ongoing support for each family, which is so gratefully received, and means that these children can attend and complete primary school education. We do have sufficient link families who write to the Ugandan families so there is no commitment beyond a regular donation and, hopefully, a commitment to pray for that family. You would be kept informed of the family's progress and other news of Karis Kids.

If you feel you might be able to help, or would like to know more, then please contact Carol Ward -

Littleton - Graveyard entrance re-vitalisation

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, the bulk of the work has now been completed and we have new oak posts, new kerbstones a partial new path and a new sign-post. There will be no new gates, but a metal arbour is to be installed over the entrance on top of the posts. The installation of the arbour is scheduled to take place middle to late August. There will also be planting of spring bulbs beside the path in the Autumn.

Benefice Prayer List

Following the departure of Margaret Fowkes who had produced and distributed the Prayer List for some years, there has not been a published list in recent months. The list had been used not only by those who meet on Tuesday afternoons to pray for people in need or prayer in our Benefice, but also by many in their own private prayer times. the monthly prayer list is to be restarted and will be available at the back of the churches shortly. If you would like to receive a copy electronically, then please contact Carol Ward -

Peace and Wholeness Service

Coming to a church near you! is a new idea to help people get to the Benefice Service of Peace and Wholeness.  There will be an advert placed in the church porch asking for volunteers to drive to the service once a month. The thinking behind this is that many people don't like driving in the dark and in the winter so a 'Good Neighbour Taxi Service' may enable a few more people to access this special service. There will be a leaflet left in the churches which will explain more about the service, along with dates and how to volunteer.

Looking for a housegroup?

The Saturday Morning Breakfast bible Study group which meets at Peach Hill, Crawley on 1st and 3rd Saturdays each month, would like to invite anyone from around the Benefice to come and join our number. We meet up at 8am for a continential breakfast, followed by around 45 minutes of Bible Study and discussion, finishing about 9.30am.

Our aim is to encourage each other in living out our Christian fiath and we use a variety of resources and study guides to help us with this. We try to keep things practical but aren't afraid to tckle the more challenging issues that might crop up too. We also pack in quite a lot of fun and laughter!

We'd love to have some new faces round the table. To find out the next dates or for more information gnerally, please contact Phil and Di Payne on

St Catherine's, Littleton, car-ferry system

St Catherine's currently provide a car-ferry system to enable Sunrise residents and our regular congregation (who temporarily or permanently cannot drive) to attend Sunday Services. This is much appreciated by the users. The numbers of people using the service has grown and we need a few more volunteers to make their car available. If you feel able to offer help, can you please let one of the church wardens know? Dates are pre-agreed with each driver and the aim is to try and ensure that drivers do not exceed two/three Sundays a quarter (depends, of course, on numbers of volunteers).

Please do volunteer if you can. It is such a vital contribution to the wellbeing of parishioners.

Food Handling Training

Are there occasions when you help out at Church functions, perhaps preparing or serving food? Good practice requires those who do so to undertake 'training'. It would be really helpful if we had a cohort of people in the Benefice who have undertaken such training, or even completed food handling courses and obtained certificates, so that we, as a Benefice, meet current standards. Ruth Myers, of St Catherine's PCC, has recently run a morning for those who cook for the Littleton Lunch Club, and has offered to signpost this training, which is available free on-line, to anyone who would like to undertake it. Please contact Ruth by email: for further information.

Ecclesiastical Home Insurance

To celebrate our 130th assiversary, we are offering to donate £130 to your church when a new home insurance policy is taken out. We know the difference donations can make to churches, helping to fund anything from repairs and day to day running costs of the church, to exciting new projects and equipment.

To benefit, all you have to do is quote 'Trust130' when you take out a new home insurance policy with us before 31st December 2018, and we will arrange the rest. Call us on 0800 7830130 to find out more, get the full terms and conditions and get a quote.

Winchester City Centre Chaplaincy Law Courts Team

Are looking for more volunteer chaplains to join the Law Courts team, which is now well established and well received. If you are interested, contact the Lead Chaplain, Debbie Veel for further details or an informal chat - or 07834 540106.

The Vine Trust - volunteers

The Vine Trust is urgently looking for volunteers to help in their Christian Bookshop in Bridge Street, Andover. They especially need help on Monday afternoons, Thursday mornings and Saturdays.

The Vine Trust Bookshop is open 6 days a week from 10.00am to 4.00pm. They operate two shifts per day 10am-1pm and 1pm-4pm and are looking for volunteers to help with either a 1/2 or full day.

Please contact Brenda Sleath on 01264 355706 or email or call into the shop to find out more.

Specialist Respite Care

Could you support a family who has a child with disabilities? Please see the link Specialist_Respite_Care

Winchester Street Reach

Many of us will have learnt about this detached youthwork project during our Lent series earlier this year. A 'Friends of Street Reach' membership is being put together where one can make a regular donation and in return receive newsletters, regular updates and more.

If interested, please contact Ben Martin, Project Manager, Street Reach: 

Parish Magazine Deadline

A reminder that copy for the Dec/Jan edition of the Benefice Parish Magazine should be submitted by 12.00 noon, 10th November at the latest. Details of where to send your article or information can be found in the current magazine



 Sparsholt 100 Club

The Sparsholt 100 Club is a lottery, licensed by Winchester City Council and organised through Sparsholt Parochial Church Council and The Friends of St. Stephen's Church Sparsholt, for residents in and local to Sparsholt. There is a monthly subscription of £10 and a prize draw four times a year with a first prize of £100 and three further prizes of £50. Winners will be contacted personally, and names posted in the village shop.

By joining you will help to raise much needed funds in a very good cause which is to keep the church open and well maintained. Membership is by invitation and is limited to 100 members. A membership application form can be obtained from the Sparsholt village shop or from the membership secretary who is Ian Hay at Victoria Cottage, Dean Lane, Sparsholt, Tel. 01962 776 468.

 Bible Study Materials

Over the years the Littleton Mid-week House Group has used a variety of study guides to aid our discussions, and has built up quite a collection of surplus copies. We feel that these would be of benefit to other house groups, or individuals wishing to study particular Bible books or topics, and so have put them in the tall cupboard at the back of the Littleton Church Room. Pleae help yourself to any that you would like - the room is normally accessible during Benefice Office opening hours (subject to bookings).

 Live the Mission

The first issue of Live the Mission, sharing what parishes are doing across the Winchester Diocese will be available from September. Live the Mission will be a monthly newsletter which can be downloaded in different formats from the Diocesan website:


Benefice Office open daily 9am-5pm; E-mail Tel: 01962 880845