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Update from the Vicar 

25th May 2022

Here's the link for the video update

Hi, I’m sorry it’s been a while since I’ve managed a Vicar’s update message, it’s been some tough months with ill health for me and I still have long COVID fatigue. I’m grateful for your prayers and patience, as handling this involves pacing what I do. I’m keen to keep making gradual improvement and not to set myself back, as tempting as it can be to push too hard especially with my personality, but recovery may take a while. I suspect pace is something we all need to reflect on. Having to pace things makes you think hard about priorities and the importance of rest between activities. Pausing makes more room for receiving and prayer too. Bishop John touched on pace in his sermon on Sunday with his analogies about following our good shepherd Jesus. Us sheep can wander off or get stuck, but we’re called to be all in for Jesus and not coast. Abiding in Jesus, in the Word and Spirit, is the key and from there everything flows. Wasn’t last Sunday, with our baptisms and confirmations, fantastic! There was so much joy and the presence of God was with us in a special way. Let’s keep praying for them.
I have some news to share with you about Sue Oldham, our Pathway Ministries Leader. She has decided to resign from her role due to health issues. I know you’ll want to celebrate the great work she’s done supporting the vulnerable over so many years and to give thanks, so I’m letting you know in advance that she’ll be in church on the 12th June and we’ll have a time of prayer for her then, releasing her from her role and blessing her. She’d like the staff team to take her out for a meal as she finishes (photos of her food will appear on Facebook I’m sure ;-)). Please come on the Sunday 12th to pray for her then, and you’ll still see her around on other Sundays as she feels able.
In the season ahead, we’ll be taking time to discern the way forward, seeking the Lord’s guidance because we want to be in the centre of his will. We’re an Isaiah 61 shaped church and we are preaching on this foundational passage in our services at the moment. It’s important that we’re open to God’s leading about how we live this out through all we do. So please be a part of praying into this,  we have been sensing he is saying that he is doing a new thing.
This Sunday morning we have Picnic church at 11:30am at the SYDNI centre (instead of the 10:30am service). Bring along your food and any games you want to play, there’ll be some Bible discussion questions you can look at together in groups while you eat. There will be access to toilets at the SYDNI centre while we’re there. If it rains we’ll do the same in the lower hall at the church centre so head there instead.
If you’d like to help with the Fun Day on 16th July please get in touch and sign up to help by letting Darren know email:, a planning meeting is happening soon. Wouldn’t it be great if we all get involved to be a blessing this summer? We love to have fun and to help build community.
Since we’re passionate about prayer, there’s a great resource to help… You can prayer walk the parish using the website and app again this year until 12th June. On the app you can select a road you’ve prayed for and it turns yellow. You’ll see how churches across town have been covering the town in prayer – let’s get out and about through Sydenham and our parish to pray God’s blessing. If you can’t get out you can pray following the map from home.

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 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, usually in the Church Centre.

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.

We also have a Whole Church Sunday lunch together once a month in our Lower Hall.

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. Children return to the service before the end. 

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.
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.
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