THERE is a new face at the churches of Whitchurch, Fauls and Tilstock, with a new curate joining the fold.

Sam Johnson moves to the area from Durham, having been training for ordination at Cranmer Hall after previously studying at bible college in Bath.

Rector for the three churches, Reverend Judy Hunt, said she was delighted to welcome Sam.

"We're delighted that, despite the Covid-19 restrictions, Sam and his family have arrived," said Rev Judy.

"Without Covid-19 Sam would be recognisable around the parishes, not just from this photo, but also by wearing a dog collar.

"However, such a change in attire has to wait for some restrictions to be lifted.

"The bishop has to lay hands on Sam and ordain him as a deacon. We hope that this will be in late September.

"In the meantime, Sam has been licensed as a lay worker by Zoom."

Meanwhile, more advice for churches from the government has been published regarding reopening Churches for Sunday prayers, but Rev Judy says she is still awaiting further and more detailed National Church of England guidance based on it.

Rev Judy added: "We need to work out how this applies in each of our buildings and ensure that people know what to expect when they come. All of this will take time.

"Because of this, we will not be having Sunday services on either July 5 or 12, but hope to do so on July 19."

Whitchurch, Fauls and Tilstock are all still available for private worship meanwhile.

To enter the latter two, please make arrangements by contacting Freda Corfield or Joan Hockenhull on 07950 884830 and 01948 880226 respectively for Tilstock and Pam Benbow or Caroline Sewry on 01948 840356 or respectively.

In Whitchurch, St Alkmund’s will be open on a daily basis from Sunday, July 5 from 10am to 5pm.

Visitors must follow the guidelines on notices and access is limited to the south aisle, closest to the main door and Lady Chapel and there is no access to the kitchen area or toilet.