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Update from the Vicar 

18th November 2021

Here's the link for the update 

This week I’ve been thinking about being connected with others and how God gives us opportunities to make new connections. Often it’s through our need and the needs of others. I’ve been finding recently that it’s been surprisingly easy to chat to new people at the park. I’ve been grateful for that connection and a couple of weeks ago we offered a balance bike to someone who had a younger child, it came up just by chatting about our children. It’s been lovely to get to know them a bit and it was interesting to chat very naturally about faith the day we met up to give them the bike. When someone asks me ‘what do you do?’ faith comes up in conversation very easily but it’s not always the first opener. Sometimes it’s in the sharing of other things about life, like hearing a story about a religious relative, or in chatting about what we’ve been doing, or one of the kids mentions something they learnt about faith at school. I wonder if you find encouragement from these kinds of conversations and connections too? Please do share your stories of connection.
 
Still on the theme of connection - this Sunday coincides with Ability Sunday – Livability is a charity that supports churches who value connecting well with people, bringing together people of all abilities and ensuring they remain connected with their communities, no matter what challenges they face. They’re committed to enabling people with disabilities to live the life they want to lead. They’ve recently coined a phrase ‘connectability’ – so important for avoiding isolation. It’s about recognising the abilities in one another. They offer good practice to help us connect with people who live or work in social care settings in our community. Recently I connected with the staff at Turning Point in our parish and thinking through what we could offer they said they’d see if any residents might be interested in coming to Outlook for connection over cups of tea. We want to offer warm welcome. A simple phonecall to someone who can’t get out can make all the difference as we’ve really seen through this pandemic, we can also offer to pray over the phone if that’s what they would like. We can find connection over seasonal things like carolling (singing carols for people) too. Sometimes we go to people, sometimes we invite, welcome and involve people here. If you’d like to give a donation to the charity their website is here: https://www.livability.org.uk/contact-us/forms/ability-sunday-2021-thank-you/
 
This Sunday we continue in our preaching series on Transforming Lives looking at Jesus’ authority and being a blessing in the world, what does it mean that He gives us His authority?
 
At First Priority (our monthly prayer meeting) this week a word was shared that was about our posture in prayer, often we’re a bit slumped down and hunched over and it was felt that God was encouraging us to sit up a bit more. It was about a spiritual posture not only a physical posture in prayer. Sometimes when we’re pressured we can become rather inward focussed and he was encouraging us to look outward, to hope.
 
Many of us are in need of comfort at the moment. I wonder where you are on a scale of 1-5 in terms of needing comfort? How about on a scale of 1-5 in needing challenge? It’d be worth thinking about those numbers. We  need both in different amounts, and that blend changes. I wonder also what your natural tendency is, do you instinctively comfort others (like strengthening faith in others and being compassionate) or offer challenge that stretches others? It’s worth thinking about what we need right now and being curious about what others need when we encounter them. Some would say they have little capacity for more challenges but I’ve also noticed some people are in a place of welcoming fresh challenges recently. We can’t assume we know.
 
I wonder what we might plan to do in sharing our faith in the Advent/Christmas season – last week we were thinking about strengthening our faith though Advent resources. I hope you’ve been having a good look around to see what there is before we hit December. Another way to strengthen our faith is to spend time on our frontlines sharing faith, our faith grows and is strengthened by the joy that comes in those little moments.
 
We also need to make sure we are being gentle with one another, the Bible says “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near (Phil 4:5)” Let’s be extra careful we’re being really gracious and showing loving care and kindness.
 
We are exploring planning for Alpha next year. I wonder if there could be someone you pray for who you could invite to church over Christmas. I remember doing this for a member of my family at Christmas time, we went to a carol service in a church near where they lived and there was an Alpha course advertised as coming up in the new year. I said that sounds a good idea to them, and they thought they would go and then their faith really took off. The simple first step was finding a service to visit at Christmas time in a church that would be good. Could you do something so simple for your friends, give them a personal invite to join you?
 
Many of us will have a story of how God changed our lives in different ways through Alpha. If you have a story like that then please share it over the coming weeks, you could email it, put it in the Facebook group, and share it in church. Let’s be building one another up in our faith.
 

Weclom
Hello! and a warm welcome to St Mary's church.
If you are a new visitor, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello 

We hope that you can visit and get to know us better, we would love to meet you!

Our Service

The main service begins at 10.30am with a warm welcome from one of our team members. Then follows a time of sung worship, led by our band. We typically have 2 or 3 songs lasting approximately 20 minutes. Sometimes a person might pray out loud or read a small passage from the bible. Sometimes people share things that they believe God is saying to the whole church family. This might seem strange the first time you hear it but it’s all part of our connecting with God. We then share news and notices, usually about what’s going on in the life of the church. One of our leaders will then give a sermon that is bible-based and that we can apply to our everyday life. We then finish with a final worship song. Sometimes there is an opportunity to receive prayer at the end of the service. If you have any questions please ask!

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There is a disabled toilet in the Church centre.

Newcomers Lunch

We invite everyone to be a guest at a Newcomers Welcome Lunch normally held once a term after the 10.30 Sunday service. The venue is either The Vicarage or in the Church Centre depending on numbers.

As well as an opportunity for us all to get to know one another better, you can hear more about the life and ministry of St Mary’s and how as a committed Christian you may be able to get involved.

Christmas inside church

What about my kids?

Children's groups run on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays of every month (except school holidays) and your kids are very welcome to join them.

Each group (excluding Crèche) includes, sung worship, Bible reading, prayer, listening to God, games, craft and food! 

All groups are led by wonderful volunteers from within the church family who have completed a DBS check and are safely recruited.

Creche (0 months to 2 years). Parent supervised.
Sparklers (2-4 years)
Flames (5-7 years)
Rockets (8-11 years Junior School)
Youth (Secondary School age) 

Children stay with their parent or grown-up at the start of the service as we worship (sing songs), together for the first part of the morning. At some point someone will announce that it’s time for the younger members to go to their various groups. You will need to go with your children to their groups at first and register them as part of our child safety policy.

For more information about what happens in the children's work please visit the Children's Ministry page. Please pick your children up as soon as the service finishes.

St Mary's has lots of children and families, we love having kids around and try to make them feel welcome and at home. 

Hope kids pic

Getting Connected


Small Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week, some afternoons and some evenings. Check out Small Groups and see if there’s one that you could join, or we can put you in touch with a small group leader who will be more than happy to invite you along to their group.

Serving and Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. 

Get in touch with us to plan your visit
If you would like to come and visit the church beforehand you are more than welcome! Get in touch and we can arrange a time that suits you.
 
Name:
Telephone:
Email Address:
Comments / Questions or anything you would like to say?

Next, we will contact you by email to say hello and help arrange anything necessary for your visit.
 
Leadership 
bECKY IN HIGH VIS    
Rev'd Becky Jones    
Vicar of St Mary's    
 
We hope that whoever you are, you will feel at home at our church.

Best Wishes

Becky