Weekly Newsletter, 29 February 2024

Dear St Mary’s,

It has been so encouraging to see our church community growing week-by-week. What a gift it was to worship together and to be led so brilliantly by our children on Sunday. 

This week, Revd Tim Scott leads and Revd Jacintha Danaswamy preaches at 9am and 10.30am. We’ll be hearing more about the inspiring work of the Walthamstow Welcomes Cafe and sharing Holy Communion at both services. There are groups for children ages 2-11 in the Welcome Centre and, as always, the South Vestry is available with toys and puzzles for younger children. 

After the service on Sunday, we will be sharing in a simple lunch and we would love you to join us. If you’re able to bring some soup or cheese, that would be wonderful, but the most important thing is that you’re there. If you’re able to sign up here to let us know what you’re bringing, that is also really helpful – but don’t let that stop you from simply turning up! 

There is evening prayer at 6pm.

Join us on Sunday 10 March for Mothering Sunday 

Next week, we will be marking Mothering Sunday with a special service and the giving of flowers to all members of our congregation. In keeping with the tradition of this day, we give thanks for those churches which have nurtured our faith as well as celebrating all mothers and all those who have shown us mothering care. It’s often a challenging day for many of us, marked by grief or by sadness and so our worship seeks to offer a space of comfort and tender care for all. We hope you will join us at our 9am and 10.30am services. 

Join our Good Friday Choir: rehearsals begin Friday 8 March

On Good Friday (29 March) evening, we’ll be singing a beautiful series of pieces composed and conducted by our Musical Director, Jonathan Rathbone: Seven Last Words from the Cross. We’re building our choir now and would love you to be a part of it. There are 3 rehearsals, beginning on 8/3 at 7-8.30pm in St Mary’s. You can sign up to be part of the choir here: 

And you can listen and learn your part here

Making St Mary’s your home: join our electoral roll 

One of the ways of belonging at St Mary’s is to join our electoral roll. It’s a way of expressing the sense that St Mary’s is your spiritual home and committing to the community here. Adding your name to the roll means you can participate fully in our Annual Meeting and helps us to see how our community is growing and changing. To join the roll, you need to be 16 years old, baptised and either live in our parish or have attended St Mary’s for 6 months. Join the roll by completing the form here.

Please also complete the GDPR consent form here or pick up paper copies of this form at church on Sunday. 

Holy Week begins Sunday 24 March

In the coming days, we will be sharing our Holy Week and Easter publicity, giving you time to prepare for this most precious of weeks in our church calendar. At St Mary’s, we invite you to make Holy Week a time of spiritual pilgrimage and, wherever possible, to join us for services throughout the week as we walk with Jesus to the cross and resurrection. Among the services planned are: 

Tenebrae (Wednesday 27 March at 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 29 March 10am-12pm) – Good Friday-themed craft, activities and stories for children and their families in the church.

Good Friday Evening Service (Friday 29 March, 7.30pm) – the choir leads us in Jonathan Rathbone’s beautiful composition of ‘Seven Last Words from the Cross’ with scripture, poetry and prayers. 

Quiet Easter Service (Saturday 30 March 4pm) – a service designed for neurodiverse children and children with additional needs and their parents/ carers.

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

There are lots of ways to be part of St Mary’s and the best way is to join a team. As our church grows, we are looking for more people to lead and support our different ministries, including:

  – Our youth and children’s ministry teams (once a month/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 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 changing our pattern to hold 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 be offering communion after each gathering for those who would like it. Please pray for us as we make this transition and for Vespers, that it continues 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 for hire for away days, filming, classes, children’s parties and more? You can find out more about the spaces available on our website here. We are also looking to expand the use of the Welcome Centre as a way of raising funds and serving our community. To find out more, or to book an event or meeting, email Louise at  

EcoTip of the Week: Support our churchyards

The Church of England General Synod which met this week and unanimously passed an amended Land and Nature motion. The motion recognises and builds on the work being done in many parishes and dioceses to protect and value nature, and it aims to raise ambition more widely for biodiversity in the Church of England alongside the Church’s existing 2030 net zero climate commitment.

We are so lucky to have an incredible place of biodiversity in our churchyards which are so brilliantly managed by our Head Gardener, Tim Hewitt, and his team. Our approach is focused on preserving, protecting and nurturing natural habitats for birds, insects and wildlife. If you would like to support this vital work, you can donate to the churchyards via our website here. You can also email Tim to find out how you can volunteer and get involved ().

Please pray 

  • Please pray for people facing war, conflict, and injustice around the world.
  • Please pray for the Christian Women of Palenstine.
  • 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 those feeling isolated and lonely.
  • Please pray for those who are ill, waiting for diagnosis or treatment, and those recuperating.
  • Please pray for Vanessa and Cameron and their new growing family as they step into a new season 

Revd Alan Moss writes: 

One of the joys, for me, over the past few weeks has been running our St Mary’s Lent course on Thursday evenings where we’ve been exploring the deep and life-giving well that is known as the Spiritual Disciplines. 

The Spiritual Disciplines lie at the core of the ancient mystic tradition of Christianity.  They were practised and advocated by the great saints and heroes of the faith; women and men who were instrumental in the development of Christianity, from a bunch of rebels and radicals into a global movement.  

On 1 March 2024, Christians from around the world are joining together in the World Day of Prayer.  This year, the Christian Women of Palestine are calling us to connect with the land from where Jesus came; where he was born, ministered, and died – and from where our faith began and is rooted.

Our weekly Lent course is helping to remind us of these roots; of the great saints and heroes who have experienced Jesus as the defining reality of their lives, who have possessed a flaming vision of God that blinded them to all competing loyalties, and who have experienced life built on the Rock.

The Spiritual Disciplines are designed to provide an opportunity for God to work in our lives.  They call us to move beyond surface living into the depths. They invite us to explore the inner caverns of the spiritual realm. They urge us to be the answer to a hollow world. 

However, the Spiritual Disciplines are not the end, but the beginning – these ancient practices seek to help us turn our hearts to God, and then turn our eyes to the world.  So, as many Christians pray with the Palestinian women on Friday, let us also turn our eyes to the world and publicly declare these words of commitment (as provided by the World Day of Prayer). 

May we commit to work for peace as we stand with all women, particularly those experiencing oppression, violence, or discrimination.

May we be faithful advocates in all levels of society and church life.

May we bear with one another in love.  Amen.

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