Weekly Newsletter, 8 February 2024

Dear St Mary’s,

This Sunday, 11 February, is the last Sunday before Lent and it would be wonderful to worship with you as we prepare to journey through Lent, forty days of reflection and prayer leading us to the great celebration of Easter. 

Join us this Sunday at 9am for Holy Communion or for our 10.30am Morning Worship service with children’s groups in the Welcome Centre. This week, Revd Vanessa Conant will lead and Revd Tim Scott will preach. We will also be sharing an update on the Rector’s Adoption Leave in the service (more of this in the reflection).

Our youth group also meets this Sunday at 5pm in the Welcome Centre for games, hot chocolate, snacks and Bible study. And at 6pm on Sunday, there is evening prayer in St Mary’s. 

Lent begins: 14 February is Ash Wednesday, with Services at 7.30am and 7.30pm

Lent – a season of reflection, prayer and penitence – begins with the powerful and moving service of Ash Wednesday where you are invited to receive an ash cross on your forehead as a sign of humility, mortality and repentance, and also of devotion to God. We offer two services – one in the morning at 7.30am-8.15am (for commuters and early risers) and one in the evening at 7.30pm: a time of stillness, music, reflection and communion. You are very welcome to either service. 

Learning Community: Deepen Your Faith and Meet Others in January and Through Lent

It’s not too late to sign up for our Lent courses, and there are three options to choose from: 

  • Everyday Healing (begins 29 February: four online sessions on Tuesday evenings, 7-9pm). Run by the Guild of Health, explore the healing potential of the Christian faith to bring hope into the world today, and raise your confidence to be a healing presence. Although this course is now fully booked, you can join the waiting list here.
  • Lent Course: Spiritual Disciplines (six Thursday evenings from 15 February, 7.30-9pm, in church). Join Revd Alan Moss as he leads a course on the spiritual disciplines. Consider things such as prayer, fasting or meditation with an opportunity to explore how these ancient practices can nurture and nourish your faith. It’s also a great way to meet others and connect. If you’d like to be part of the course, sign up here.
  • Gospel Pairs (five meetings held at a time and location that is convenient to you): Read the Gospel of John with one other person in church. Sign up with a friend or be matched with someone to read this fascinating gospel over the weeks of Lent, held at a time and location that is convenient to you both. You don’t have to be an expert in the Bible – resources are provided and each person can discuss what stands out to them. If you would like to be part of Gospel Pairs, you can sign up here.

Prayers of Love and Faith

You may know that the Church of England recently authorised and published Prayers of Love and Faith, a series of prayers commended by the House of Bishops to be used to pray with and for a same-sex couple who love one another and who wish to give thanks for and mark that love in faith before God. Following a discussion at PCC on Monday, the position of the Parish of Walthamstow is that prayers will be offered within the team at St Mary’s Church and conducted by members of the St Mary’s clergy. If you are interested in receiving prayers or if you would like to talk to the clergy about this decision, a member of the team would be delighted to speak with you.

Save the Date: Join our Good Friday choir

Did you sing in our Christmas choir? Or maybe you wanted to but didn’t get the chance? There’s another opportunity to join a wonderful community choir, this time singing ‘Seven Last Words from the Cross’, composed by our very own Jonathan Rathbone. We’ll sing this piece on Good Friday at 7.30pm in St Mary’s, with rehearsals on the three Fridays beforehand. Sign up here.

Key Recall: Do you have a key to St Mary’s or the Welcome Centre? 

In order to keep our building safe and secure, we periodically recall our church keys to ensure we have a good record of their location! If you are a keyholder of St Mary’s or of the Welcome Centre, could you return your key to church in an envelope marked with your name and the building that the keys are connected to? We will again be collecting keys this Sunday, 11 February. If you can’t join us for either of our morning services this Sunday, you can deliver your key to the office during the week or place it in the white box at the back of church. Questions? Contact our Operations Manager, Dan Copperwheat, at .

Join us for the ‘No Faith In Fossil Fuels’ Vigil on Sunday 18 February, 1-3pm 

For the next few weeks, we will be thinking about how we can support the ‘No Faith in Fossil Fuels’ prayer vigil. Starting on Ash Wednesday, people will be keeping a constant presence of prayer outside Westminster for 10 consecutive days, seeking to raise awareness of the damage and injustice caused by climate change. We have two slots on Sunday 18 February: 1pm-2pm and 2pm-3pm. A group will be going straight from church and others will follow. Sign up here.

Church Lunch: Sunday 3 March

One of the great joys of being in the renewed St Mary’s has been the opportunity to gather after a service and eat together. On Sunday 3 March, you’re invited to lunch after our 10.30am service. We’re keeping it simple in Lent and suggesting that we share some bread and soup. If you are able bring soup to share or are happy to bring bread, please sign up here.

Update on St Luke’s discernment process

With the celebration and thanksgiving for the St Luke’s stall on the Farmers’ Market almost two weeks ago, we announced that we would be beginning a period of discernment regarding ministry in that part of the Parish. Is God calling us to new service – what shape or form might that take? Might we be called to work or partner with others? We are currently in the process of identifying people from outside the Parish who can work alongside us in this process of discernment and we ask for your prayers for the right people to be called and appointed. If this is an area of ministry you would like to explore or you would like to know more about a discernment process, please email Revd Tim Scott, .

EcoTip of the Week

Our Just Transition campaign is looking to build a coalition of local institutions – schools, faith institutions and community groups – that have buildings and want to use them to generate renewable energy, reduce their carbon emissions and save money – money which could better be used to fund vital community work that helps local people. We are even beginning to explore whether St Mary’s ancient building as well as the Welcome Centre might be suitable for solar panels, and how we might attract funding for this, and we’re looking for more people to join our team! Interested? Contact Revd Jacintha Danaswamy at

Please Pray 

  • Please pray for all those who are grieving and in the midst of sorrow 
  • Please pray for all children and young people, especially those who are struggling to access education and those who love and support them
  • Please pray for those living with the impacts of climate change – especially remembering communities in California affected by landslides and Ethiopia suffering terrible drought and famine
  • Please pray for places of conflict and instability, remembering Israel/Palestine, Ukraine, Sudan and praying especially for Senegal
  • Please continue to pray for all asylum seekers and refugees in our community
  • Please pray for the Church as we begin the season of Lent, praying that God will shape and mould us by His love and equip us for service

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