Benefice Ordinations in 2019


Sandra Marsh was ordained as a Priest in Canterbury Cathedral on July 29th 2019 and is a Curate in Eastry and Woodnesborough Benefice. She is living in Woodnesborough Vicarage and has worked in the benefice for the previous year

Revd. Sandra MarshI have now been in the Eastry and Woodnesborough Benefice for a year. Looking back over my time so far, I feel I have got to know lots of people and the uniqueness of each parish. Having come from a one-church parish I have gained a lot of insight into working within five. This takes a lot of time management, organisation and care. Thank you, David, for your guidance. I hope that I can do this as well as you in time to come.

It has been a pleasure to be able to work with the children in both our Church schools. Whilst much of my time has been taking assemblies, I run a lunch club in one school, been involved in taking festival services in church, taught in the classroom and organised a pilgrimage for some of the older children. I can honestly say it has been a real pleasure getting to know the staff and the children and to be challenged by some of their insightful questioning.

School holiday time is not a time of rest, it is the opportunity to get involved with out-of-school holiday clubs. The Corners holiday club team have been amazing to work with. They are so enthusiastic, talented and full of ideas and have a great sense of fun. The club has celebrated its 25th anniversary this summer and continues to give children a fantastic time. Whilst our programme is based on scripture, our aim is to help children form new relationships and enjoy the craft, music and games and join in with local projects.

Part of my role is of course to visit parishioners. I do so enjoy hearing people’s stories of their life and also of the life of the community in which they live. I believe that in order to work with people it is important to understand the history of an area and how it has changed through the years. Community coffee mornings are a great place to meet others and put the world to rights. Life brings with it many ups and downs and I feel privileged to be able to be beside people and their families at different times in their lives. I only pray that I can be what is needed in any situation.

Now that I start my second year in ministry, I am looking forward to being with couples as they get married and start their new lives together. It’s an amazing privilege to be part of such a special day. And now that I am priested, I am deeply honoured by being able to preside at Holy Communion, echoing Christ’s own words at the Last Supper. It means so much to me.

Thank you everyone for making Simon and I feel so welcome and part of your community. I feel we have been truly blessed to be here.

 Revd Sandra Marsh


Lesley Hardy was ordained as a Deacon in Canterbury Cathedral on July 29th 2019 and is serving in Eastry and Woodnesborough Benefice. She lives in Deal

Greetings from your new curate! I wanted to say a few words by way of an introduction to myself and my family.

Revd. Lesley Hardy

Firstly, I want to say that I am delighted to be with you in the Benefice parishes of Eastry, Woodnesborough, Staple, Northbourne and Tilmanstone. I am a local girl and know and love the area. I grew up in Ash and then, at the age of ten, I moved to Eastry where I lived with my family in Mill Green- a small estate on the edge of the village. My parents had run a pub in Ash, a rambling sixteenth century inn, so the move was quite a change for me but I knew from the first day that I arrived in the village that I would be happy here, make friends and be accepted, and so it proved. I spent much of the rest of my childhood riding around the local villages on my bike, visiting my best friend Tracey in Woodnesborough and walking in the lanes. I came to love the local countryside and still do. I also sang in the choirs at Ash and Eastry and it was through this that I came to know more about the Gospels and the church and to understand the deep love and commitment that God has for each one of us.

One of my earliest trips out on my bike was out to Richborough Castle where I ferreted away small pieces of ‘Roman’ concrete in my pocket. This too was formative for me- and began a deep love of the ancient past. I studied History at University and having taught in London for five years I returned to Kent to work at Canterbury Christ Church University where I am still working part time teaching and running community projects based on the archaeology and early history of East Kent.

I want to draw on this experience in my time with you. One of my ambitions is to work within each Parish in the Benefice and to learn more about their history, archaeology and landscape and how that might contribute to the life and work of the church and local communities. Our ancient churches are much more than just old buildings-they are sacred places holding hundreds of year of life and prayer; I believe they are also places where people find inspiration and a sense of closeness to God. As a Deacon in the Benefice though, my main mission is to serve and I hope to have an opportunity to work in different jobs, helping wherever I am needed.

These days I live in Deal with my husband Will who is an electronics engineer and two of our five mostly grown up children. Deal also has its attractions of course - the sea, lots of shops and so on - but the countryside, fields and hedgerows of the Benefice will always be my inspiration and the place where I feel closest to heaven.

I look forward to meeting you

Lesley Hardy