A NEW BBC2 series which focus on clergy from Herefordshire will shed light on what vicars do on a daily basis and not just in church on Sundays.

Film crews followed four vicars from the Hereford Diocese over six months last year for the programme, A Vicar's Life, which starts tomorrow (Friday).

Viewers will see stories from around the county as Reverend Nicholas Lowton, Reverend Ruth Hulse, Father Matthew Cashmore and Reverend Matthew Stafford minister at the heart of rural communities.

Father Cashmore, assistant curate of The West Hereford team, explained why he took part: "The reason I said yes was very simply because most people don't really understand what the church do any more.

"I think a generation ago the public had an understanding of what the vicar did outside Sunday services. I don't think people have that understanding any more."

As a Deacon his role is to reach out to those on the edge of society. In the series we see Father Cashmore helping Samantha Lamputt, the homeless woman who settled on the roundabout next to Debenhams/Tesco in the city centre.

He said: "It is where the church is stepping back into roles it had in medieval England. The state hasn't failed but what has happened is there are no longer long-term relationships with people. When you have someone like Samantha, who leads a chaotic life and who is pushed from pillar to post in the system - there is no-one willing to have a long term relationship with her as they don't have the time.

"What we are able to do is spend time with people and have a wider relationship with them."

In the first episode viewers will see Revd Hulse, Team Vicar of the West Hereford Team, caring for her terminally ill churchwarden, Barbara Slater, as she faces the end of life.

She said: "Barbara has been part of the church for so long and she gave so much of her time. She had a wonderful faith. Suddenly she is faced with death. What doesn't come out in the programme is the conversations we had about death."

Revd Hulse hopes the programme will show the church is a place for everyone, no matter where they are in their journey into faith.

The first episode shows Rural Dean of Abbeydore and Vicar of the Black Mountains Group, Revd Lowton, dealing with the theft of historic records at St Clydawg's Church in Clodock.

He said he took part in the series to show how his large rural patch is approaching ministry in a different way and will soon have a priest who will reach out to those who have never been to church, particularly ages 21 to 50.

Revd Lowton said: "The number of clergy is not going to increase. Therefore if we simply carry on as we are doing now the benefices are getting bigger and bigger and the clergy will end up spending more time on admin than on their ministry."

He said that people turning to Christ and people going to church are not the same thing. He said: "People want to explore their faith. What we do with everybody, we take them where they are. We meet them where they are and lead."

There are six episodes in the series and it starts tomorrow (Friday) on BBC2 at 8.30pm.