Weekly Newsletter, 7 March 2024

Dear St Mary’s,

It was so wonderful to worship and share lunch with you last week. Thank you to all those who made it possible. This week is Mothering Sunday and you are warmly invited to join us for our 9am service of Holy Communion or 10.30am service of Morning Worship. Revd Tim Scott leads our services and Natalie Burwell preaches.

Mothering Sunday invites us to give thanks for and celebrate a number of things. Firstly, it is a celebration of church – the day was originally a time to return to your ‘mother church’. We give thanks for the church, for our community and for all the churches which have shaped and formed us. We also celebrate all mothers and those who have shown us mothering care. 

For many of us, Mothering Sunday can be a difficult day where grief and sorrow stand alongside thanksgiving. Our services seek to hold our range of emotions and give us space to bring both our love and our sadness to God. We hope you will feel able to come and to receive the love of God, however you approach the day. 

Every Thursday: St Mary’s Parents’ Meet Up, 11.30-1pm in St Mary’s

Come and join St Mary’s parents, carers and little ones every Thursday 11.30-1pm at 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 spend time getting to know other parents and carers in a friendly and relaxed setting. Our Play Area (a recommended £3 donation if you are able) and Froth & Rind coffee shop will be open. If you require further information, please email .

Saturday 10 March: Making our church buildings warmer and greener, 10am-12pm in St Mary’s

Our Just Transition campaign has been working on local solutions to the climate and cost of living crisis for a number of years. We’re now focusing on our community buildings, many of which offer vital warm spaces and community services, such as the Walthamstow Welcomes Cafe. How can we help our community buildings reduce costs, be centres of warmth/ support, and cut carbon emissions? 

On Saturday, we are holding a short strategy meeting to think about: 

  • What the key achievable goals are for a Just Transition in Waltham Forest for local warm spaces, individuals and groups in Waltham Forest
  • Craft clear demands and asks of the Council
  • Continue to strengthen warm spaces network 

Join us in Church (near the South Vestry) at 10am for tea, coffee and conversation. 

Holy Week and Easter 

Our Holy Week and Easter service cards are printed and in church ready to pick up and our banners are arriving this week. 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, 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): free craft, activities and stories for children/families. 

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 (Saturday 30 March, 4pm): a service designed for neurodiverse children and children with additional needs. Please note that unlike our other services, booking is required (book here).

Easter Sunday (Sunday 31 March): Easter Sunday begins with a 6.30am Sunrise Service on the High Street (leaving from St Mary’s at 6.15pm) followed by two joyful Easter Sunday Holy Communion services at 9am and 10.30am as we celebrate the resurrection and our unending hope. 

Choir rehearsals begin Friday 8 March: join our Good Friday choir!

At 7.30pm on Good Friday (29 March), we’ll be singing a beautiful series of pieces composed and conducted by our Musical Director, Jonathan Rathbone. We’re building our choir now and would love you to be a part of it. There are three rehearsals, beginning this Friday, 8 March, from 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

Feel as if St Mary’s is your church home? Join the 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 six 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. 

Join our tea and coffee team!

If you’re looking for a way to belong and not sure how to connect, our tea and coffee team is a great way to get to know everyone in church! We’re looking for team members for our 9am and 10.30am teams to serve once a month or once every two months. Training is provided and gratitude is guaranteed! If you would like to be part of this team, please email .

Forest Churches Emergency Nightshelter – Can you help? 

Forest Churches Emergency Night Shelter is urgently seeking a bookkeeper to assist in managing day-to-day financial affairs. This support has been provided by a key volunteer who is no longer able to continue. The Night Shelter team is now reaching out to its church network to see if anyone might be able to support them with this work at low cost or as a volunteer to enable them to use funds for their core work of providing support and accommodation to homeless people. If you are interested in finding out more, or you know someone who could help, please contact Corinna Creasy, Vice Chair, at  by the end of the month.

EcoTip of the Week 

One step each one of us can take is to consume less, requiring fewer resources and leading to less impact on the planet. Repairing our items is a simple way to reduce our consumption. Forest Fixers run skill-sharing and repair cafes for clothes, electrical equipment and more. You can make a repair appointment on Eventbrite here or join a repair club at The Mill on Tuesdays, 6.30-9pm.

Please pray: 

  • As we approach Mothering Sunday, please give thanks for all Mothers and all who have shown us the love and care of a mother 
  • Please pray for those who grieve for their mother or struggle with a difficult relationship and all those who have known sorrow, heartbreak or disappointment in their own experience of motherhood
  • On International Women’s Day (Friday), please pray for all women around the world, remembering especially women who lead with courage and strength, praying for women who face violence and discrimination and praying for equality and safety for women and girls. 
  • Please pray for all people living through violence and conflict 
  • Please pray for St Mary’s as we enter a new season – remembering especially Rev Tim Scott as he becomes the cover Team Rector and the clergy and staff team as they lead through this change. 
  • Please pray for all lay leaders as we serve one another, giving thanks especially for our wardens, Lynne, Nevil and Natalie. 
  • Please pray for all who are suffering in body, mind or spirit
  • Please pray for those who are discovering faith in Christ for the first time, those whose faith is deepening and those who long to know the presence of God. 


I was recently at a trustee meeting of a charity where I am on the board. The trustees were asking me about my period of leave and I was telling them that, for various reasons, we will not be able to be at church on Easter Sunday. Though I have had periods of feeling quite lost in my faith over the years, I cannot recall a year where I did not go to church on Easter Sunday. Since I have been ordained, I have treasured so profoundly the gift of journeying with my church to the cross and onto the joy of resurrection. I find myself bereft at the thought of not being with you all. 

I was explaining this feeling to my fellow trustees and one, a Roman Catholic nun (or sister, more accurately) simply replied, ‘God is asking you to fast from something you love. It will return to you more richly.’

I have thought about this ever since. I enter into this new season with joy and gratitude but it also requires discipline, a commitment and a renunciation which I have to hold in prayer. To be a priest is the most enormous gift and privilege – one which strikes me daily. When we gather to pray in the morning, the birdsong filling the south chapel and the sunlight streaming across the faces of the small congregation, I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and joy.  

I love to watch people arrive at church, especially those who come late. I imagine it was a struggle to get there and yet you made it. You did not give up. I am touched by the faces and hands that come to receive communion, I treasure the blessings prayed on the soft heads of babies and the wide eyed enthusiasm of toddlers. I love watching children dance to ancient hymns and the way a friend sits with another friend who needs their comfort and their presence. I love the laughter over coffee, the grappling with Scripture, the moment someone says, ‘can I talk to you about being baptised?’. 

And it is a particular gift and mercy to be the priest of St Mary’s and in this parish. God reveals himself to me daily in your faces and hearts, in your love and faithfulness. I learn the way of Christ from watching you and walking alongside you, from being forgiven my failings and given new chances to start again. I learn from your courage, from your kindness and from your grace. I think you are remarkable and I thank God for you. 

None of these things will stop being true over the coming year, of course, but I must learn to inhabit priesthood in a different way. And I pray I will learn to love more profoundly as a result. The second part of my fellow trustee’s words stay with me: it will return to you more richly. 

Monks and nuns often fast from words, keeping silence in order that when they speak, it is a richer, more meaningful speech than idle or potentially damaging words. I pray that the coming year – a form of priestly silence for me – will mean that my life and my words can be offered back to you as a richer presence, with a new depth of character and love formed by the Spirit. 

And I know that on Easter Sunday next year, I will celebrate the resurrection and the hope of the risen Christ with you with such profound thanksgiving for the sweetness and joy of that day. 

Thank you for all your prayers and love for me. Be assured of my unending prayers and love for you. 


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