St Mary’s Hardwick is a member of the Lordsbridge Team, a network of worshipping communities, spread over 11 villages, in an area of about 9 by 5 miles west of Cambridge, and served by a core team of four incumbent-status clergy. The work and witness in the parishes is held together and made possible across multiple communities by the framework provided by the Team.
Created from four smaller benefices, the Lordsbridge Team of Churches, also known as a ‘team ministry’ or ‘benefice’, celebrates its 10th birthday in autumn 2020.
Each of the incumbent clergy in the team has responsibility for a particular geographical area so that each village knows who its vicar is. Each also takes the lead in specific ministries and projects across the whole benefice, according to need, interest and expertise. Together they share leadership across the whole patch and the network of worshipping communities.
Each parish has at least one worshipping community and some have, or are growing, more. At the last count there were 16. Eleven of these are congregations worshipping in a more or less traditional way in our ancient parish churches. Alongside these are, variously a monthly gathering of seniors for tea and prayer, a weekly congregation of under 5s and carers, a Messy Church, an ecumenical gathering of families around baking bread and a monthly multi-denominational youth service. And there are other possibilities and opportunities.
In 2019, 2% of the local population was in a Lordsbridge church on an average Sunday and 3% attended a service (including mid-week services, baptisms and Harvest celebrations) in any one week in October. In Advent 19% of the local population visited a Lordsbridge Church for a service of some kind. Although the electoral roll has declined between 2013 and 2019, particularly with last year’s revision, the size of the Lordsbridge worshipping community has increased by 14%, to 500. (From ‘Statistics for Mission’ data).
The Lordsbridge Team publishes an online newsletter every couple of months or so. There’s a sample below.