Weekly Newsletter, 30th May 2024

Dear St Mary’s, 

Last Sunday, Revd Alan Moss encouraged us to contemplate the mystery of the Trinity as he shared images, drawings and symbols representing God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  

This Sunday, 2nd June, we’ll share Holy Communion at 9am and again at 10.30am, with Revd Alan Moss leading and presiding and Louise Wallis preaching at both services. 

This Sunday marks the start of a four-week series exploring the biblical reasons for giving, culminating in our Big Giving Week (17-23 June) where we will ask everyone in our congregation to consider the ways in which they might give of their time and resources as we respond to God’s love and generosity and to Jesus’s call to love our neighbours. 

There will be supervised children’s groups at our 10.30am service this Sunday, and for those who are unable to join us in person, we’ll livestream our 9am service to our Facebook page (facebook.com/StMarysE17). There will also be evening prayer in the church at 6pm. 

Changes to St Mary’s Opening Times in June
Froth & Rind’s last day at St Mary’s will be on 1st June, however, due to circumstances beyond our control and beyond the control of our new cafe partners, our new cafe will not be up and running until at least July. What this means is that there will be a month-long gap in cafe provision, which will limit our ability to manage the church building during the week. While Morning Prayer, Sunday Services and other worship will continue uninterrupted, much of St Mary’s ancient building will be closed to the public, Monday-Saturday, 9am to 4pm. However, our Exhibition Space will remain open during the day as part of the E17 Art Trail (1-16 June) with access through the side door that leads into the Exhibition Space. Thank you for your patience as we navigate these complexities – we’re keen to get our entire building back open to the whole community, during the day, as soon as possible. 

Celebration of Community Gardening in St Mary’s Churchyard on Saturday 1st June
St Mary’s will host an outdoor Celebration of Community Gardening on Saturday 1st June from 11am to 2pm. The event will feature outdoor plant stalls, food, churchyard tours, a bee safari and more. The day will be a brilliant opportunity to see how head gardener Tim Hewitt and more than a dozen volunteers have transformed our churchyard, with St Mary’s even being named ‘Churchyard of the Year’ in last year’s London in Bloom gardening competition. 

Vespers Returns on Wednesday 5th June, 7.30pm Vespers is our Wednesday evening contemplative service – 40 minutes of poetry, stillness, prayer, reflection and music. It’s a beautiful candlelit space where many have gathered over eight years. With changes to our clergy team, Vespers has now moved to a monthly rhythm and meets on the first Wednesday of every month only, with communion after each gathering for those who would like it. Join us for our next Vespers gathering this coming Wednesday, 5th June, at 7.30pm in St Mary’s. 

No Morning Prayer Thursday 6th June and Thursday 13th June
Please be aware that due to clergy availability, we will not say Morning Prayer on Thursday 6th June or on Thursday 13th June. We typically say Morning Prayer every weekday in the side chapel of St Mary’s at 8.30am, and all are welcome to join us. We also livestream Morning Prayer to our Facebook page (facebook.com/StMarysE17). 

Marriage Preparation Class: Sunday 9th June at St Mary’s, 2-4pm
Are you getting married soon? If so, we would love to have you join us for our Marriage Preparation Class on Sunday 9th June, 2-4pm, in St Mary’s Church. Marriage preparation is a fun, relaxed time to talk about the things which matter most to you about your relationship and is led by a member of our clergy team. To join us, email 

Consider Supporting St Mary’s as Part of Big Giving Week, 17-23 June
From 17-23 June, St Mary’s will celebrate Big Giving Week, encouraging our congregation and the wider community, wherever possible, to give financially by standing order, to make a one-time gift to St Mary’s or to increase an existing standing order. 

Aside from being able to reclaim Gift Aid as a registered charity – and aside from clergy stipends and housing, which are funded by the Central Church – St Mary’s receives no direct, ongoing financial support for the day-to-day running of our buildings from taxation, the Council, or from the Church of England, and yet it costs us over £250,000 per year to manage and maintain our buildings. And while we’re working hard to increase the revenue we receive from outside hires, the majority of our income is from donations. 

Would you consider supporting St Mary’s with a new or increased monthly donation, especially as we continue to operate in a deficit budget with the goal of keeping our buildings open in the week? You can give via our website (www.stmaryswalthamstow.org/donate). 

E17 Art Trail: Work by Nancy Willis Featured in Exhibition Space, Concert in Church
The E17 Art Trail is back with 150+ Walthamstow locations becoming art spaces over 16 days (1-16 June). St Mary’s is pleased to be participating in this year’s Art Trail and will host work by renowned artist Nancy Willis in our Exhibition Space, with entry via the door into the church extension. There will also be a concert at St Mary’s on 8th June, 5-6pm, as part of the E17 Art Trail called ‘The Art of Fishing’ featuring mezzo-soprano Carola Emrich-Fisher and pianist Lara Dodds-Eden. Tickets for the concert are £12 and available via eventbrite. 

EcoTip: Walk, Cycle or Take Public Transport
In London, we’re fortunate to have so many low-carbon ways to travel, and it’s often easier and more enjoyable to walk, cycle or take public transport than it is to drive. Sadly, transport produced 26% of the UK’s total emissions in 2021, and it remains the largest emitting sector in the UK. Learn more about active travel campaigns and get cycling tips by visiting the London Cycling Campaign website (www.lcc.org.uk). And if you’re considering flying to mainland Europe this summer, have you considered taking the train instead? For flight free travel tips, visit the Flight Free website (www.flightfree.co.uk).  

Please pray this week for: 

  • The upcoming General Election on 4th July as well as elections around the world
  • Countries experiencing extreme weather and temperatures, including India 
  • Places of war and violence, especially praying for Gaza/Israel and Ukraine 
  • The ‘Restore Nature Now’ march happening on 22nd June in Central London 
  • Our clergy – Tim, Alan, Jacintha, Vanessa, Andrew – and our bishops Lynne and Guli
  • The work of Citizens UK, Worth Unlimited and our Walthamstow Welcomes cafe 
  • St Mary’s Big Giving Week (17-23 June) 
  • Waltham Forest Council and all who govern at a local or national level  
  • Those with caregiving responsibilities 
  • Those with health conditions 
  • The Holy Spirit to encourage those who feel discouraged or lacking in hope/ faith 

Next Week in the Welcome Centre (3-7 June) 

Monday: Daphne & Friends Baby Loss Group, 10am-11am 

Pilates, 11am-Noon 

Waltham Forest Community Choir, 7.30pm-9.30pm 

Tuesday: Baby First-Aid Class, 10.30am-1.30pm 

Wednesday: Hula Fit, 6.30pm-7.30pm 

Thursday: Baby Massage, 10.15am-12.45pm 

Boggle Beats, 10.15am-11.15am 

Food Cycle (Free Community Meal), 6.30pm 

Friday: Sing & Sign, 11am-1.30pm 

Reflection 

Revd Andrew Stewart, vicar of St Gabriel’s, writes

Genesis 12 will crop up at St Mary’s on Sunday.

I’m always excited that God has a global vision right back at the beginning of the Bible, intending to bless all peoples on Earth (verse 3)!

What’s God’s strategy to reach all the nations of the world and bring them on board with God’s hopes and dreams? The answer is quite strange and startling.

It’s a couple on their way to the Med, presumably to live out their retirement years and disappear into the mists of time. How are they going to impact all the nations of the world – and particularly when they just continue to live in tents once they reach their destination? In fact, for the rest of their lives, that’s how they live!

It seems ridiculous that God’s global vision could be achieved with such a strategy. And yet here we are on another continent still talking about them thousands of years later! And all because God (Genesis 12:7, and see Colossians 1:15) met with them and invited them to leave their old life behind and enter into a wonderful new life. 

Abraham and Sarah met the architect of an everlasting future – and nothing was ever the same again. Hebrews 11:8–10 shows us the reason why they opted to live the rest of their lives on campsites. They could have built a mansion for themselves, settled down, maybe even built a city (we see in the previous chapters that people were into that!). But instead, they got hold of a greater reality, an everlasting future, prepared for all the nations of the world to enjoy. That reality shaped the rest of their lives – and around them started to congregate a little community (see Genesis 12:5).

God’s strategy to win over the world has always been the same – through communities living out God’s countercultural way. When even one person, one couple, one family, gets on board with this and steps into something new – well, anything is possible.

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