Saying “Yes to Life” – St Mary’s News Update

#Live Lent - Care for God's CreationSaying “Yes to Life”

This edition of St Mary’s News reports on a course focussed on environmental issues, tidying the churchyard, Rise! world day of prayer, 5Ts Lunch, and also provides listings of services and contacts but first, “Yes to Life”.

Saying “Yes to Life”

Environmental issues are at the forefront of everyone’s minds today.  In our Lent Course for 2020 we will be taking a fresh look at the biblical story of creation in the book of Genesis and reflecting on how God might be calling us to care for His creation today. The course is based on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recommended Lent Course for 2020 called ‘Saying Yes to Life’, written by theologian and environmental and social activist Ruth Valerio. It includes lots of practical ideas to engage with as individuals and as a church.

The course will take place on Mondays from 9th to 30th March starting at 7:45 pm in St Mary’s Church Hall.  All are welcome to join us, and you don’t need to buy the book to take part as handouts will be available at each session. Each session will begin with tea and biscuits and we aim to start the study section promptly at 8 pm and finish by 9.30 pm.  Come and find out how God might be calling us to make a difference!

For more details, please contact Liz Dixon: [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] or 07914 001212.

St Mary's ChurchyardTidying the Churchyard

We will be tidying the churchyard on Saturday 14th March between 9.30 am and 12 noon.  This will include trimming hedges and grass, collecting leaves and tidying the graves. If anyone has a hedge trimmer, strimmer or rake etc and can spend some time as part of the team working in the churchyard, we would be very grateful. Tea & coffee will be provided.

Diocesan regulations

St Mary’s is working towards a situation where the churchyard meets the Diocesan regulations, with which we are required to comply.  You can read the full details of the regulations here, or pop into the church office.  The following are a few of the more pertinent considerations:

  • Fresh flowers can be placed on graves but, artificial flowers are not permitted, except for wreaths at Remembrance, Christmas, or for two weeks on the anniversary of the person who has died.
  • Kerbs to graves have not been allowed for many years.  So it is welcomed when families remove them from around older memorials, so it’s easier to maintain the grass around a headstone.
  • The use of chippings and other stones create hazards for modern equipment and can cause damage if thrown by vandals.  We do not allow chippings, stones or glass beads on graves.
  • We understand why people wish to leave personal items that on graves, and we are as understanding as possible, particularly in the weeks after a funeral, but personal items, such as photographs, toys, lights and other ornaments, are not allowed on graves without permission.  If any items are removed from a grave they will be placed by the tap and can be collected from there for a period of up to two weeks from 14th March.

Those who visit the churchyard regularly will understand that there are many graves which do not conform to the regulations, and we respectfully request that all graves conform to the Diocesan regulations.  Our churchyard is a place of beauty and calm in the middle of our village for people to rest in peace, and for people to visit.  We are so fortunate to have this wonderful space, and I hope that we can all work together to preserve it.

Rev’d Mandy Elmes

Rise! Take your mat & walkWomen’s World Day of Prayer

We will be joining once again with our friends from West Bergholt Methodist Church to celebrate Women’s World Day of Prayer on Friday 6th March. The service will be held at St Mary’s Church and there will be a soup lunch at 12:30 followed by the service at 1.30 pm.

This year’s service has been prepared by the Christian women of Zimbabwe who call on us to ‘Rise! Take your mat and walk’. We will be encouraged to reflect on the unrest that has plagued their country over many years, and invited to support them as they journey towards reconciliation.

All are welcome, including men and under 5’s. If you would like to come to lunch beforehand, please could you let Kate Penrose know ([antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]) so that she can cook enough soup!

5Ts Friendship Lunch

The next 5Ts Friendship Club lunch is planned for Saturday 4th April in the Church Hall @ 12.45 pm.  If you know someone who would enjoy some company and a nice cooked lunch, please do invite them along. Contact Murray Harlow 242007, or Kate Penrose [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] to book your place.

The 5Ts club, which meets every Thursday afternoon in the church hall between 2.30 pm—4 pm, are very grateful to the West Bergholt Allotments Association for donating money which enabled them to enjoy a Christmas lunch at the Queen’s Head.  Here they are having a great time!

Services & Other Dates

All events are at St Mary’s unless stated otherwise.  Kids’ Church is our new form of Sunday school for children.  Note, no Evening Prayer Service during winter months.

Every Tuesday evening Home Group — contact Shelagh Newman (241190).
Every Wednesday afternoon Home Group — contact Liz Dixon (243683).
Every Thursday morning 9:00 am Cake Church in term time. Under 5s welcome.
Every Thursday afternoon 2:30 pm 5Ts fellowship for over 60s in the church hall
Every Thursday evening Home Group — contact Shelagh Newman (241190).
Once a month on a Friday 7:45 pm Wired Youth Group – Contact Jo Jeffery 07853 586683
Sunday 2nd February 9:30 am Communion
Sunday 9th February 9:30 am Messy Church
Sunday 16th February 11:15 am Communion
Sunday 23rd February 9:30 am Praise on 4 Café Church
Sunday 1st March 9:30 am  Communion
Sunday 8th March 9:30 am Messy Church


  • Priest in Charge:
    Rev Dr Mandy Elmes, 1 Church Close, CO6 3JZ
    email: [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]
    tel: 01206 240906.
  • Assistant Curate:Anne Mason
    email: [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
  • Church Wardens:
    Sue Day—01206 241040;
    Ron Seymour—01206 273579.
  • Lay Readers:
    Richard Chadborn—01206 240541;
    Michael Foster—01206 241022;
    Joy Budden—01206 241871.
  • Parish Evangelist
    Ron Seymour—01206 272579.
  • Pastoral Assistant:
    Dorothy Chadborn—01206 240541.
  • 3 Parish Families’ Worker:
    Jo Jeffery—07853 586683.
  • Church Administrator:
    Church Office Hours — weekdays 9 am—1 pm
    Janine Wilde — 01206 243683,
    email: [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
  • Newsletter Editor:
    Liz Dixon—01206 243683
    email: [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
  • Hire our hall:
    Nicole Long—01206 240443.
  • Website:
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