Weekly Newsletter, 22 February 2024

Dear St Mary’s,

It was a really encouraging Sunday last week with so many gathering for worship, followed by praying at Westminster for our Government to take more action on the climate crisis and for climate justice. 

Join us this Sunday for our 9am Holy Communion Service (Revd Vanessa Conant leads, Revd Alan Moss preaches) and our 10.30am Intergenerational Service (Revd Jacintha Danaswamy and our children lead our liturgy, Revd Vanessa Conant preaches). 

At 5pm, there is Youth Group in the Welcome Centre lounge. 

At 6pm, there is evening prayer in church. 

Church Lunch on Sunday 3 March 

Join us for lunch after the 10.30am service on 3 March. We’re keeping it simple for Lent with soup, bread and cheese. Church lunches are a great way to get to know people better and to feel more part of the community. Can you bring something to share? Sign up here.  

Join our Good Friday Choir: rehearsals begin Friday 8 March

On Good Friday evening, we’ll be singing a beautiful series of pieces called ‘Seven Last Words from the Cross’ which is composed and conducted by our very own Jonathan Rathbone. We’re building our choir now and would love for you to be a part of it. There are three rehearsals, beginning on 8/3 from 7-8.30pm in St Mary’s. You can sign up to be part of the choir here. And you can learn your part here

Looking to serve in St Mary’s? Join a team

We were so thankful for those who offered support with the Annual Report – thank you! At the moment, we are looking for people to support: 

  – Our youth and children’s ministry teams (either once a month or once every two months) 

  – Our coffee and welcome teams 

  – Our intercessions team (the people who lead our prayers on a Sunday morning) 

If you think you would like to be part of one of these teams, please email any member of the clergy (Vanessa, Alan, Tim or Jacintha) and we would love to talk to you about how you can be involved – or email Josie Wilson, our administrator, at 

Join our extended worship team: rehearsal on 26 February 7.30pm

Are you interested in being part of our worship or music on a Sunday morning? There’s a great opportunity to join us to prepare for extended worship on the evening of 26 February at 7.30pm. This is for new and returning musicians alike to come along and make music that glorifies God in a relaxed, collaborative setting. Please email Jonnie at .

Important update on Vespers 

Vespers is our Wednesday evening contemplative service: 40 minutes of poetry, stillness, reflection and music. It’s a beautiful space where many have gathered over eight years. With the upcoming changes to our clergy team, we are moving to holding Vespers on the first Wednesday of the month only. Vespers will continue weekly until 6 March and thereafter be on the first Wednesday of each month. We will also be offering communion after each monthly gathering. Please pray for us as we make this transition and for Vespers, that it will continue to be a place of welcome and belonging for many. 

Need a space for your event? Hire St Mary’s and the Welcome Centre!

Did you know that St Mary’s is available to hire for away days, filming, classes, children’s parties (in the Welcome Centre) and more? You can find out more about the spaces available on our website here. To find out more or to book an event or meeting, email Louise at .

EcoTip of the Week: The Big Bank Switch 

You can join The Big Bank Switch by making a Fossil Free Pledge this Lent. By pledging, you will commit to taking meaningful action against harmful fossil fuel-funding by banks by switching your bank account to a green bank on 21 April 2024. Switch It Green make it easy, quick and safe to switch to a trusted, ethical UK bank. If thousands of Christians take meaningful action with their bank accounts, we can deliver a clear message to bank executives that we have no faith in fossil fuels, pressuring these banks to stop funding climate breakdown. Join The Big Bank Switch by making your Fossil Free Pledge here.

Please pray 

  • Please pray for people facing conflict around the world
  • Please pray for the people of Russia following the death of Alexei Navalny
  • Please pray for all experiencing the impact of climate change – especially those who are hungry or without access to water 
  • Please pray for our Church this Lent, that we will be drawn closer to Jesus Christ as we study, worship and pray 
  • Please pray for Sienna being baptised on Sunday afternoon 
  • Please pray for those who are unwell in our congregation and those who are grieving


One of my guilty TV pleasures is the BBC 1 show, Sort Your Life Out in which Stacey Solomon and team work with a family to manage an overwhelmingly cluttered or messy home. There’s a formula of course – an over-stuffed house is packed up entirely and moved to a warehouse. There, faced with the scale of their problem, the family choose the items they most want to keep and 50% or more of their possessions are donated, recycled or sold. In the meantime, a team of decorators and carpenters transform their home by the miracles of clever storage and a life of blissful organisation awaits them when they return. 

I love this programme because each week has a deeply satisfying before and after. It’s a transformation/redemption story, and in a complex world, the simplicity of just making something better is soothing at the end of a day. But the programme often has more to it – mixed up in all the stuff (1,000 DVDs! 10 food processors! 181 odd socks!) is grief, loss, heartbreak and hope, all of which is kindly and thoughtfully navigated by the team. Somewhere in all this sorting, there is a gentle healing, a new beginning and very often, a rediscovery of who the person is, now no longer lost behind mountains of possessions. 

Lent is given to us as a season to ‘Sort Your Life Out’. It’s not that we, by our own skill or ability can deal with all that is broken or fragile in our lives – but that we have this invitation, guided by the Spirit, to consider the inner clutter that can crowd our perspective and in sorting through this, we can find this a time of healing, transformation and peace. 

In Matthew’s 6, Jesus teaches that, ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ What is most valuable to us, Jesus asks? Notice your treasures, he says, (whether actual, physical stuff or the things we prioritise in our lives) and that will tell you about your heart. It’s a good audit to do in Lent – to create a spiritual warehouse, if you like, and consider what could be left behind in order to return to a life which brings greater freedom and hope. 

I pray for a blessed Lent for us all – that in following Jesus, may we discover the true treasure and those things of infinite and eternal value. 

With love, 


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