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



Karis Kids

Unfortunately, one of our UK support families has moved away from the Benefice and no longer feel able to continue their financial support. They were also the 'link family', who corresponded with a Ugandan family. We are looking for someone else to take on this role from within our Benefice. The family had been contributing an amount monthly which, together with others, made up the total monthly support.

We are also looking for a further family, individual or group to link up with a family who had been supported previously by the youth group of the Hope Church in Winchester. Writing to a linked family is not onerous, being 3-4 times a year, and receipt of letters back from the Ugandan family is so wonderfully uplifting. The support we can offer is so gratefully received and makes a real difference to the lives of these families, and in particular the children.

If you feel this could be you, and your family, or if you would like to be involved in any other way, please contact Carol Ward -


Confirmation will take place in Winchester Cathedral during the Easter Eve Vigil on Saturday 31st March 2018. Revd Jax would like to take forward candidates from The Downs Benefice for Confirmation by the Bishop of Winchester at this serice and is proposing to hold the preparation sessions in the New Year.

Please could anyone who is interested or would like to know more either contact Revd Jax direct on or the office on 01962 880 845 or

Rydal 2018: Saturday 26th May - Saturday 2nd June

This popular Downs Benefice holiday in the Lake District will definitely take place in May 2018. The benefice has been going to the Lake District every other year since 1990 and the fact that so many people keep returning shows that it is a really enjoyable and memorable holiday.

At the back of each church in the Benefice there is a letter giving a fuller description of what happens at Rydal and the costs. Do please pick up a copy and consider joining us. You will be most welcome.


Contact Eryl or Clive thompsett - 01962 885039/ to learn more about Rydal and to indicate your possible interest in joining us.

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-1ppm 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.


One Giant Leap!

Caroline McAulay and Carol Ward would like to thank everyone who supported their sponsored skydive last Sunday.  You may be relieved to know they landed safely after an exhilarating jump, and have raised over £3500 for the Alzheimer’s Society.



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: 

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.

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.

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.

Parish Magazine Deadline

A reminder that copy for the Dec/Jan edition of the Benefice Parish Magazine should be submitted by 12.00 noon, Monday 8th January 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