Decoding our services

If you have ever looked at a service on the website or news sheet and wondered what to expect, well here is a short explanation …

Sung Eucharist: A traditional service of Holy Communion, where the Psalm, creed and responses are sung, often (but not always) assisted by the choir. It is a title used most frequently for Sunday services at Holy Trinity, Markbeech.

Holy Communion: Generally this describes services at 8:00am at Hever or Four Elms. It is a quiet, said service using the Book of Common Prayer liturgy. There is no singing, and there is no sermon – it is a contemplative service to start off the day. You find these once a month, alternating between Hever and Four Elms.

Parish Communion:   A sung service of Holy Communion with hymns, and is the main service of the day in the Parish. The liturgy has many options, and Hever and Four Elms use slightly different wordings. Readings will include Old and New Testament and the Gospel of the day, but no Psalm.

Benefice Communion: This is the same as Parish Communion, but is used when there is only one communion service across the whole Benefice that Sunday. We hope that people from all three of our parishes will join a Benefice Communion, wherever it takes place.

Café Service:  This is a service for families with young children as well as people of all ages who appreciate informal worship, which is why it takes place either in Hever School or Four Elms Parish Room. Young children and babies are particularly welcome, and there are games to amuse the young – as well as a simple meal of croissants and coffee or soft drinks. Familiar hymns are chosen, and there is often a chance to show your talent for actions!

Benefice or Parish Communion with Inspired Sunday Club: The basic service is as described above, but children aged over 5 are welcome to join the club for separate activities during the service. They re-join the adults for the communion and then tell us all at the end what they have been doing!

Matins and Evensong: These are traditional services taken from the Book of Common Prayer, in which the ‘Thee / Thou’ language continues to be used. Matins is at 11am, and Evensong at 6pm. Both are sung services where in addition to the hymns, the Psalm, Canticles (such as the Nunc Dimittis) and responses are sung according to traditional chants.

Evening Prayer: This evening service is more informal than Evensong, but follows the same basic structure, often without hymns. Evening prayer also provides the opportunity to experience different kinds of service such as Taizé, or Celtic liturgy. The news sheet will always say what the service will be.

Non-Eucharistic services: This means that the service does not include Communion. You might expect these to be community services, such as Remembrance Sunday, Harvest Festival, All Souls, or a Christmas Carol Service. There is often a specially designed service for these occasions, using language that is modern and widely accessible.

For detailed times of services see the Diary.


Information and news from the benefice of Hever, Four Elms and Markbeech churches in the Weald of Kent.

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