St John the Baptist East Markham one of the churches in The Rivers Group

Welcome to the Rivers Group website. We are a group of Rural Parishes within the Retford area and all our Churches are Grade 1 listed and have stood in the centre of the villages for many centuries.

Even though our Church buildings are ancient we seek to proclaim the  Gospel in accessible ways for todays world, whilst still respecting tradition.

We hope that you will find this website useful in finding times  and dates of worship that are suitable to you. As you will see some of the Churches do not have regular services each week. You are most welcome to join any service in any of the Group.


Contact details are as follows:

East Markham Daphne Hardy gbhardy1@hotmail.co.uk 01777 870634

Askham John Townrow thetownrows@yahoo.co.uk  01777 838613

East Drayton and Dunham Tony Kirkham tonykirkham@hotmail.com 01777 248548

Headon and Grove Liz Bakewell rosemarybakewell546@btinternet.com 01777





As I write, the celebrations of Christmas and the New Year are fast fading memories.   In the church, however, the birth of Jesus continues to define our thinking and worship for a few weeks yet, until Candlemas on 2nd February, which is about half way between the shortest day and the spring equinox.

There are all sorts of stories about why it is called Candlemas, and proverbs about how the weather on that day predicts how the rest of the winter will work out.  Candles used to be of far greater practical importance than they are now, being the only way of providing light during the dark winter nights, but now they are a wonderful reminder of Christ, the light of the world.   Many people find the flickering flame of a candle mesmerising and inspiring when they pray, giving them a visual focus for their innermost thoughts, joys and troubles, as they lay them before God.

Later in February we move on to the season of Lent when we think more widely of the life of Jesus, contrasting his withdrawal into the wilderness to contemplate his future, with the build up to his execution and the triumphant festival of Easter.  Shrove Tuesday, this year on 13th February, was the day when people would use up some of their food stores before the fasting period of Lent began the following day, Ash Wednesday.  You may like to mark these dates in your diary and notice the start of Lent with a resolution to do something positive and different, for someone else.  And if you decide simply to forego some desirable but unnecessary pleasure in the spirit of fasting, why not think about turning it into a positive action by saving some extra money for a charity.

Progress is being made towards appointing a new Rector.   Arrangements for the whole Retford area are emerging which will see East Markham at the heart of a slightly enlarged group of rural parishes.  So that we can explain to a potential Rector who we are, we are refreshing our ‘mission statement’, and hope that church goers and anyone else who is interested will make suggestions.   The draft statement will be on the noticeboard in the church porch.  How long the appointment process will take is not known just now, but we live in hope.   In the meantime the work of the church is continuing as we arrange for baptisms, marriages and funerals, as well as running our accustomed pattern of Sunday worship.   If you need to make contact with someone at the church contact details are given opposite or you can email EastMarkhamPCC@gmail.com.

The new doors at East Markham church are now complete and we are hoping before long to have the South West corner carpeted.   A number of people have already bought individual flagstones as a way of marking and recalling a special person or event; if you would like to remember someone or something in this way, please contact me on 870109 or EastMarkhamPCC@gmail.com or go to www.give.net/eastmarkham.