About us




Why mission?

There are two guiding factors in mission.  The first is that Jesus commissioned us to tell the good news of God’s love:


19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

Matthew 28:19-20


A disciple is a follower of Jesus.  Jesus had commanded us to love God and to love one another and he told us to tell others of this.  All followers of Jesus are on mission!


The second factor is that we are to love each other.  This means looking out for one another and supporting those among us who are vulnerable.  Mission goes across country borders: look again at the verses above: ‘disciples of all nations’.


If we are all on mission, what does that look like?  The Church of England have developed five marks of mission and they form the basis of mission plans and action plans, at church and diocese level.  Here are the five marks of mission:



Proclaim the good news of the kingdom

We are to tell others about how much God loves each and every one of us



Teach, baptise and nurture new believers

When someone affirms their faith in a God who loves them, we are to look after them as members of our own family



Respond to human need by loving service

We have a Servant King; a God who spent his earthly life putting the needs of others first; we are called to do the same.  This sounds really tough but it’s amazing how God blesses us when we do.



Seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation

When we see injustice anywhere, we are to challenge it, even if it means challenging the status quo.



Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

We have to look after God’s creation; to care for our environment; to be good stewards of our planet.


These five marks of mission give us principles for how we live our daily lives.  We want to be a living and effective witness to Jesus Christ in Axbridge, Shipham, Rowberrow & Star.




Mission partners

We partner with different organisations who are working across the world to support the vulnerable in our society.  Each of the churches in our benefice supports different organisations:



The Diocese

The Diocese has a link with Zambia, in particular the Lusaka Diocese.  Visit the relevant page on the Diocesan website to learn more about this.




The Benefice

The Benefice supports these mission partners:


Church Homeless Charity

We support the Church Homeless Charity through the collection at our Carol service and through our collective Benefice Christmas card, which we create in place of sending individual cards to each other; the money saved is donated to the Charity.  This is what the Church Homeless Charity says about itself:

‘Church Homeless Charity has a background of more than 130 years supporting homeless people.

We raise funds for homeless individuals, some of whom have high support needs, who would not otherwise receive extra support. 


‘Our mission is to end the cycle of homelessness through Christian values of care-giving and philanthropy. We work closely with homelessness schemes and churches to create communities dedicated to ending homelessness.

To learn more about the CHT, see here:  https://churchhomelesstrust.org.uk/



The Children's Society

Collections taken at the annual Christingle services are given to The Children's Society.  This is how they describe their work: 'We fight for hope by deeply understanding the needs of young people and by supporting them through their most serious life challenges. We work with young people who have suffered years of abuse, who have run away from home or are struggling with mental health issues. We look out for young carers and those who are at risk of being groomed by criminal groups. We help refugees who have no one else to turn to in this country.'

For more information, please see here: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/




Axbridge supports these mission partners:


Church Mission Society

Axbridge Church supports the work of the Church Mission Society, sponsoring the work of CMS mission partners working in the Middle East.  There is more information available through the CMS link above.  Our sponsored Mission Partner is Aaron Stanbury, who in on mission to help children in slums in Nairobi to achieve literacy.  You can read something about him and have a look at his latest newsletter by clicking on the links.



Cheddar Valley Food Bank

Cheddar Valley Food Bank operates under the auspices of the Trussell Trust; a network of food banks to support those who struggle to feed themselves and their families.  We have a shopping trolley for donations at the back of the church and the collection from the annual Civic Awards service in March is given to the Food Bank.  Shipham Church also has a box for donations at the church.



Christian Aid

Christian Aid is perhaps best known for their Christian Aid Week in May but they are working to eradicage poverty throughout the year.  This is what Christian Aid says about itself: 

'We are a global movement of people, churches and local organisations. We are the changemakers, the peacemakers, the mighty of heart.

Everyone is equal in the sight of God

For over 75 years, this truth has inspired us to stand together in solidarity with our most marginalised global neighbours, of all faiths and none.  

Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of their dignity and lets injustice thrive. 

We seek to eradicate extreme poverty by tackling its root causes. Together with people living in poverty, we amplify our voices to speak truth to power and create lasting change.'



Chaplain at Kings of Wessex Academy

Ruth Motion is the Chaplain at Kings of Wessex Academy.  Contact her via the school.



St. Martin-in-the-Fields Vicar's Relief Fund

The St. Martin-in-the-Fields Vicar's Relief Fund 'provides emergency financial support so that people in vulnerable situations can find – and keep – a safe place to live.  Grants for preventing eviction are awarded up to a value of £350, and those for accessing accommodation are awarded up to £500. This is done via experienced support workers who work closely with those experiencing homelessness.'



The Royal British Legion

The RBL is the armed forces charity, supporting all ex-service personnel.  Branches of the charity meet locally: the Axbridge brnach meets at The Lamb, on the first Tuesday of the month.  The collection from the annual Remembrance Service is given to the RBL.




Shipham also supports these mission partners:



Alabaré have been supporting homeless, vulnerable and marginalised people for 30 years. They help them transform their lives, providing accommodation and support to help them build skills, confidence and opportunities to live a fulfilled life. 

Within their homes and services they work with

  • those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
  • veterans (through their Homes for Veterans initiative)
  • young people and young parents and babies
  • adults with learning disabilities

Alabaré’s vision is a society where everyone has the opportunity to live a fulfilling life.

For more information, have a look here: https://www.alabare.co.uk/



Changing Tunes

Changing Tunes works with prisoners through music and says this about itself:

‘Our vision is of a world where people with lived experience of the criminal justice system can experience the life-enhancing benefits of music-making, especially its power to help them lead crime-free lives that are meaningful and creative.

‘Our mission is to engage people with lived experience of the criminal justice system in music programmes that unlock their creativity and individual potential. We support participants to share their artistic work and lived experience with audiences, helping them to break free from the stigma of their past and to re-frame their identities. We advocate for the instrinsic value of the arts in criminal justice and for approaches that address inequalities affecting vulnerable people in the criminal justice system.’

For more information, see here: https://www.changingtunes.org.uk/

Shipham Church is dedicated to St. Leonard, the patron saint of prisoners, so it is particularly apposite that we support this mission partner.


Mission Aviation Fellowship

‘Imagine if your community had no roads and little access to the outside world.  How would you or your family reach a doctor if you were sick or injured? How would you receive an education or access job opportunities?  This is the reality for millions of people.  Jungles, mountains, swamps, insecurity and dilapidated infrastructure are all barriers to receiving physical and spiritual care and a hope for the future.’

‘We are Mission Aviation Fellowship – or MAF – a Christian mission organisation that uses planes to overcome these barriers. Our pilots and personnel deliver relief workers, doctors, pastors, school books, food, medicines – everything that can only be safely and speedily transported by air. Our supporters give and pray to make this all possible.

‘With an MAF plane taking off or landing every six minutes, the need is huge.’

To learn more about MAF, please see here: https://www.maf-uk.org/



Shelter’s aim is that every family in the UK should have somewhere they can call home: ‘Right now, children are living in damp storage containers, poorly converted office blocks and cramped B&Bs. Families are being forced to sleep on the sofas of their friends and relations.’

For more information, visit here: https://england.shelter.org.uk/


Updated by HJF 20 May 2024

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