Weekly Newsletter, 21st March 2024

Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Cafe Update 

Dear St Mary’s, 

It was wonderful seeing so many in church on Passion Sunday. In moving services we were invited to consider how we might respond to the passion of Christ and his self-giving love.

This Sunday, 24th March, is Palm Sunday – the day we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which is also the beginning of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, we will celebrate Holy Communion at both 9am and 10.30am with Revd Tim Scott leading and presiding and Revd Alan Moss preaching at 9am, while at 10.30am, Revd Jacintha Danaswamy will give a short all-age talk as part of our monthly intergenerational service. 

We will have the blessing of Palm Crosses at both services, with a procession around the church at our 10.30am service as well as a dramatic reading of the ‘Passion Gospel’ as part of our 10.30am service. All of this is a wonderful way to start Holy Week – please join us for the drama and symbolism of this special day. There will also be prayer in the church at 6pm. 

Holy Week and Easter 

We are about to enter into the drama and mystery of Holy Week – the most important week in the Christian calendar – and we’re inviting you to join us for services at St Mary’s and in the Parish. It all begins on Palm Sunday, 24th March, with Holy Communion services at 9am and again at 10.30am, which is also our monthly Intergenerational Service. Immerse yourself in the incredible story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem followed by his betrayal, death and resurrection. In addition to Palm Sunday, our Holy Week services include:

Tenebrae (Wednesday 27th March, 7.30pm): a reflective service of poetry, music and the Passion story. The church grows gradually darker ending in almost total darkness after the crucifixion story is read. A powerful and beautiful way to mark Holy Week.

Messy Good Friday (Friday 29th March, 10am-12pm): free craft, activities and stories for children and their families. A great way to mark Good Friday with children.

Good Friday Evening Service (Friday 29th March, 7.30pm): the choir leads us in Jonathan Rathbone’s beautiful, ‘Seven Last Words from the Cross’. The service includes scripture, poetry and prayers.

Quiet Easter (Saturday 30th March, 4pm): a service on Holy Saturday specifically designed for neurodiverse children and children with additional needs (booking required – book here).

Easter Sunday (Sunrise Service on the High Street, leaving from St Mary’s at 6.15am, followed by Holy Communion Easter Sunday services in St Mary’s at both 9am and 10.30am): joyful celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection and our unending hope. 

Froth & Rind to close, St Mary’s cafe to remain open

Some of you may have heard that our friends and cafe partners Froth & Rind are sadly closing. Froth & Rind currently run our St Mary’s cafe in addition to their original Walthamstow Village location on Orford Road. Froth & Rind will close their Orford Road location on 31st May but will continue to run our St Mary’s cafe well into June, with the intention of ensuring a seamless transition to a new cafe provider. We are pleased to report that we are already in discussions with a possible new cafe partner and hope to formally announce a new cafe partnership in the months to come. We want to thank Fraser and the entire Froth & Rind team – their partnership has been absolutely crucial in helping us to get St Mary’s ancient building open to the whole community throughout the week. 

St Mary’s Play Area closed on Monday 25th March

St Mary’s Play Area will be closed on Monday 25th March due to a full day of St Mary’s School assemblies which will be held in the church. However, our church cafe will remain open to the public with some additional seating available in the Exhibition Space. 

Easter Sunday breakfast at 7:45am outside St Mary’s

After our Easter Sunrise Service on the High Street, we will return to St Mary’s to share breakfast in the pedestrianised area just outside of church, with food in the Welcome Centre if it’s raining. If you would like to join us, please let us know in advance so that we can ensure that we have enough food! Email Donna at .

No Morning Prayer on 1st, 11th, 12th, 18th & 19th of April 

There will be no Morning Prayer on Easter Monday, 1st April. Due to various members of the clergy team being away on holiday, there will also be several other days after Easter that we will be unable to hold Morning Prayer – including on the 11th and 12th of April as well as on the 18th and 19th of April – but we will return to our normal pattern on Monday 22nd April. 

Retro Video Games at St Mary’s: Friday 5th April, 12 Noon to 6pm

Back by popular demand, Revd Alan Moss will bring his mix of retro video games and modern consoles to St Mary’s on Friday 5th April from 12 Noon to 6pm, including Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation5, Nintendo Switch and more. This is a great event for children, young people and families – and it’s completely free. Our cafe and Play Area will also be running until 4pm. If you have any questions, email Alan at

Every Thursday: St Mary’s parents’ meet up from 11.30am-1pm in church 

Come and join St Mary’s parents, carers and little ones every Thursday from 11.30am to 1pm in St Mary’s Church for coffee and a catch up. Vanessa Chance, a member of St Mary’s, will be there with her daughter to welcome you! Come and get to know other parents and carers in a friendly and relaxed setting. Our soft play area (recommended £3 donation) and cafe will be open. For more information, email

Join our Church AV Team: Training on 23rd and 24th April, 7-9pm

Considering volunteering? Interested in developing new technical skills? Why not join our AV team, with training on 23rd and 24th April from 7-9 pm. Both sessions are identical so feel free to come to one or both! Learn how to operate our new system and become an essential part of our Sunday Services. Following the training, you will also have the chance to shadow experienced team members during Sunday Services from 12-26 May. For more information, contact Dan Copperwheat, Operations Manager, at

Save the Date: London Mayoral Assembly on Thursday 25th April at 6pm

You may know that St Mary’s is a founding member of Waltham Forest Citizens, which is our local Citizens UK alliance – a group of schools, faith institutions and community groups that listen to each other and the wider community and then act on the things we want to change, from youth violence and low-paid work to unaffordable housing and high energy bills. 

This spring, thousands will join in person and online to put our agenda to the next Mayor of London. We’ve created a manifesto that will benefit our city – one which has involved local people working to identify positive solutions to the problems we face; this includes homelessness and housing, migration and refugees, ensuring a Living Wage and tackling climate change. London Citizens will gather to ask the top two mayoral candidates to commit to our manifesto, and a group of us will travel together from St Mary’s on 25th April. Email to book a free ticket. Friends and family are welcome too! 

Bring-and-Share Breakfast at 20 Melville Road: Saturday 6th April, 9.30am

As part of discerning future ministry opportunities on the High Street, there will be a bring-and-share Prayer Breakfast on Saturday 6th April, 9.30-11.30am, at 20 Melville Rd E17 6QT, led by Donna Gwilliams. Bacon and sausages provided with no need to book. 

EcoTip: Communion Forest 

As a member of the Church of England, St Mary’s is part of a global family of churches called the Anglican Communion which includes 85 million people in 165 countries. In 2022, the Anglican Communion launched Communion Forest, which encourages national and local Anglican churches to protect and restore nature and ecosystems. Communion Forest initiatives include tree-planting to celebrate baptisms and confirmations, political advocacy to stop deforestation, and setting up a tree or plant nursery to encourage reforestation. For more ideas, visit the Communion Forest website here (www.communionforest.org). 


Revd Andrew Stewart, Team Vicar, St Gabriel’s Church, writes

When we gather together on Palm Sunday, we do more than just study or read about that original celebration. We are invited to join in with that great event, announcing to the world our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Cosmic Divine Emperor.

It’s such a vivid and lively moment that it’s easy to imagine ourselves as part of the crowd, out shopping in the city centre, when suddenly there’s a commotion – shouts of, ‘Here He is! Save us! Fight for us! Rescue us!’ and people singing an ancient battle psalm (Psalm 118) written for this very occasion.

If I’d been there, when I looked to see the cause of the excitement, I would expect to see some high ranking officer in the armed forces, leading an impressive army of soldiers.

Instead, however, it’s a guy trundling in on a donkey! And the people marching with Him – are they waving swords or rifles? No – just some leaves, and bits of trees broken off! Some of his entourage are just children, too!

For many, I can imagine the response would have been, ‘What use will He be at rescuing and saving people? He has no army or even weapons or supplies – He’s just rolled in on a donkey surrounded by noisy children, people with disabilities, and people waving leaves! And to top it off, they’re saying He’s from the little backwater town of Nazareth, of all places.’

Donkeys usually carry supplies – in the Bible, they’re usually carrying grain, bread, wine, raisins, figs, even sheep (1 Samuel 25:18; Nehemiah 13:15), and medical supplies (Luke 10:34), etc.

Jesus has none of that with Him – and yet, the children and people marching with Jesus can see that He Himself is all the provision they need. He’s the Bread; He’s the Wine; He’s the Lamb; He’s the Great Physician – He is the very Fullness of God Himself (Colossians 2:9)!

No wonder His disciples felt they could leave everything to follow Him.

That’s the right way to see Him. While He might look at first as though He’s nothing much at all, and that it would be foolish to throw everything we’ve got in with Him…and yet as we stand at the threshold of Holy Week, it’s good to be reminded that in reality Jesus Christ is everything you could ever want or need – the Eternal God who helps us, who is our Strength and our Salvation (Psalm 118:13–14).

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