Who’s Who

Last Updated on January 11, 2021 by Stephanie Boucher

The Ministry Team:
Rev’d Alex Bienfait (Priest in Charge) (Contact details see side bar)
Non working day: Friday

Alex Bienfait, Rector of St Michael Smarden and All Saints Biddenden in Kent, UK

Alex’s departure

When the pandemic struck, I put on hold plans to leave the parish in April 2020. Now, as we all can look for­ward to a degree of normality returning in 2021,
I have now announced that I will leave my ministry here in Biddenden and Smarden at the end of January 2021, my last Sunday being Sunday 31 January. It will be the Sunday when we celebrate Candlemas (see below). My ministry here started just a few days ahead of the feast of Candlemas 2007, so it now completes 14 years.


Alex has been in post since February 2007. Previously he was a Team Vicar in the Whitstable Team ministry (1999-2007), and before that he was Assistant Curate at Church of the Holy Spirit, Clapham, (1996-1999), and Assistant Curate St. Luke’s, Battersea, (1994-1996). Alex trained for ministry at Salisbury and Wells Theological College, Salisbury. He is married to Stephanie, and they have two adult children Nathalie and Sebastien. The community of Taizé was important in shaping Alex’s vocation into ministry, and silence and contemplative prayer remain important for his prayer.  He has interests that include woodland management and ecology, to that of art and architecture. He does not get the chance to cycle as much as he used to in Whitstable, but he does enjoy walks with the family dog, Pippin.

Some times people ask well what do you believe?

This quotation from Jean Vanier sums much of my faith

Jesus came for
all the men, all the women,
all the children of our world.
He comes to announce
the Good News:
His Father loves each one of us.
He comes to tell us that
our world is not
condemned to live with division, struggle, hatred, war and death.
He calls us to greater sharing,
unity and love.

He gives each one His Holy Spirit
in order to change our hearts
so that we may be men and
women who share,
so that we may close the gaps
that separate people,
so that we may work toward reconciliation.

Rev’d Pearl Anderson, and Rev’d David Stuart Smith are retired priests who live locally.   Both support with preaching and leading of services, but they also enjoy sitting as part of the congregation.

The Benefice has a Lay Worship Team who lead and preach at services of Morning Worship, but who are now also beginning to lead and preach at services more generally.   Members of the Lay Worship Team include Ann Courtness, Martin Giles, Julie Lupton, Tony Richter, and Peter Whitestone.

Parish Administrator:
Tanya Ling.  Tanya works out of our Benefice office, a cabin in the front garden of the Rectory.  Tanya is there most Monday and Wednesday mornings 9-1pm.
Contact details on the right hand sidebar.

We seek to take the care of children and vulnerable adults very seriously.
Our Safeguarding coordinators and their contact details are:
Biddenden: Julie Lupton email: tandjlupton at btinternet dot com tel 01580 291658
Smarden:    Sian Newman email:senewman56 at btinternet.com tel: 01233 770296

Smarden PCC:

Mike Barkway
Edward Demery (Church Warden 01233 770579)
Tom Hay (Church Warden 01233 770286)
Ewa Loffstad (Treasurer)
Tony Lush
Vivienne Rose-Millen
Stuart Tucker

Biddenden PCC
Ann Courtness (Church Warden 01622 891190)
Peter Cutts (Treasurer)
Julie Lupton
Anne Webster

Updated July 2020.