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Message from Joy - HRH Duke of Edinburgh

I was very sad to hear of the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. He lived a life of public service and support for Her Majesty The Queen and his Christian faith underpinned all that he did.

Bishop Alan has released the following press statement.

It is with great sadness that I received the news this morning that His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has died.  Please join me in prayer for His Royal Highness and for Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family in their grief, and in thanksgiving for His Royal Highness's long and fruitful life of service. 

His Royal Highness led life as a Naval Officer, as Consort to Her Majesty The Queen and as a father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

In service of the monarchy, he accompanied and supported Her Majesty The Queen both in this country and around the world, including many visits to the Diocese of St Albans.  We are grateful to have welcomed him here.

Throughout his life, His Royal Highness was deeply involved with a large number of charities and is particularly well known for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which has influenced the lives of many young people.  He was also an accomplished amateur artist, polo player, yachtsman and, later in life, he excelled at carriage driving.

He was a unique individual in our national life and a memorable character.

His Christian faith sustained him throughout his life, and we pray for him in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.

May he rest in peace.

+Alan St Albans

Unfortunately, under the present law on Covid-19, physical condolence books in church are not permitted.  If you would like to express your condolences, there is an online condolence book from the Church of England available here. In addition, there are prayers on the website for use at home.

The Royal Family has requested that donations to charity be given in lieu of flowers. But if you wish to leave flowers, please put them in the churchyard alongside the path from the Church Lane gate.

I am sure you will join me in praying for Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family at this time of grief and loss.

God of our lives, we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip,
for the love he shared among us, and for his devotion to duty.
We entrust him now to your love and mercy, through our Redeemer Jesus Christ. Amen.

Merciful God, be close to all who mourn,
especially The Queen and all members of the Royal Family.
May they know the hope of your promises and the comfort of your love,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

With every blessing,

Message from Joy - Easter 2

As we gradually move out of lockdown, it is good to be able to look forward to doing more things together. It was wonderful to be able to share the Easter Sunday service in church and to sing in the churchyard to complete our Easter worship. From now on, Services will be in St Mary's each Sunday at 10am and will continue to be livestreamed for those who are unable to meet for in person worship. We will also be having services at Dagnall on the third Sunday of the month at 10.30am.

There is more information on the pew leaflet about Stephen's licensing service on Thursday 22nd April at 7pm.

Looking forward to May, the Fund Raising team are planning some Treasure Hunts which will be promoted throughout May. Walks will take place in Eaton Bray, Edlesborough and Northall with clues to find; you can sign up for one treasure hunt or for all three. More details will follow in the Pew Leaflet and in Focus. Other events in the pipeline include Open Gardens and [email protected] Mary's concerts.

As we are now returning to the weekly Eucharist service in church and the pew leaflet, this will be the last weekly message I send out. It has been good to keep in touch during the past year with all its challenges and changes. I hope soon to be able to meet up in person.

Wishing you all God's blessing for this Easter season,

Message from Joy - Lent 5

We are looking forward to being back in church soon for our Holy Week and Easter services. We will maintain covid compliant safety measures including distanced seating, hand sanitisers and everyone will be asked to wear a face covering.

The full list of services is here. As usual, we will be joining with our friends in the North Chilterns Group to offer worship on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, but please note the service at St Mary's will be on Monday this year. Also that the Good Friday service is at Dagnall.

  • Monday in Holy Week 29 March: 7.30pm service at St Mary's Eaton Bray
  • Tuesday in Holy Week 30 March: 7.30pm service at St Mary's Kensworth
  • Wednesday in Holy Week 31 March: 7.30pm service in St Giles Totternhoe
  • Maundy Thursday 1 April: 8pm Eucharist followed by the Watch
  • Good Friday 2 April: 2pm -3pm "An Hour at the Cross" All Saints' Dagnall
  • Easter Day 4 April: 10am - Parish Eucharist

When we return to services in church they will be Eucharistic. The words for the service will not be on the livestream so if you want a copy of the service book to use at home there are two ways of requesting that. Either you can have a hard copy delivered to your home or you can have an email sent with a copy for you to print out yourself. Please contact Catherine Hayden to request a copy of the service and let her know which type you require.

If you wish to donate to the Easter lilies in memory of a loved one the link is here.

This week is the fifth Sunday in Lent. You can view the livestream via the church website, YouTube channel or Facebook page.

With every blessing,

Message from Joy - Mothering Sunday

I am delighted to say that St Mary's will be open for worship at the end of March. We plan to open on Monday 29th March for a Holy Week service at 7.30pm. There will be a service on Maundy Thursday (April 1st) at 8pm which will be followed by the Watch. If you are interested in staying for the Watch please contact Chris Banks who will be putting together a rota.

The Good Friday Hour at the Cross service from 2pm until 3pm will take place at All Saints' Dagnall this year.

The service on Easter Sunday at 10am will be a Eucharist. We have decided not to make it a ticketed event but it would be very helpful to have an indication of numbers. Please can you let Catherine Hayden know if you intend to come to church on Easter Day [email protected] . The service will also be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person. There will be lilies in church to celebrate Easter. If you would like to give a donation towards the Easter flowers in memory of a loved one that would be much appreciated. There will be a link giving details of how to do so in next week's email.

This Sunday's Mothering Sunday service will be available on the website, YouTube channel and on Facebook.

I hope we can begin to look forward to meeting together again soon.

With every blessing,

Message from Joy - Lent 3

Many of us will have now been vaccinated and this includes our Bishops. Bishop Alan has sent out this information with his weekly email.

'Like many of you, I have, along with Bishop's Richard and Michael, been vaccinated. I urge you to share two messages in your congregations and communities:

  • when you are offered a vaccination take it!
  • as 'none are safe until all are safe,' consider giving a donation in thankfulness for our own vaccinations  so that either vaccines can be purchased for countries that need then or to support people living in communities that have been severely affected by the pandemic.
    Those who wish to give can do so to:

Christian Aid has an appeal for humanitarian relief in support of communities overseas affected by COVID that just don't have the kind of social safety nets that we're used here in the United Kingdom. Donations to their appeal can be made here.'

You can find the service on all the usual platforms, including our website

Don't forget that St Mary's is open for private prayer on Wednesdays and Sundays between 11am and 3pm. 

With every blessing,

Message from Catherine - Lent 2

Joy has asked me to write the message this week - there is good news, and not so good news!

The good news is very good indeed: I'm delighted to let you know that Stephen Burge, who is near the end of his curacy, is to become an Associate Minister in our parish. There will be a special service at 7pm on Thursday 22nd April when Archdeacon Dave Middlebrook will license him in that role; please put the date in your diary.

We hope we will be able to gather in church on that occasion, but if we cannot, or numbers are too great to allow adequate social distancing, you will still be able to participate, as the service will also be live-streamed.

Now for the less good news.

As was expected, our income in 2020 was significantly affected by the pandemic. We saw a shortfall of about £12,000, but with careful management of expenditure, we were able to reduce our total deficit to £9,000 for the year. Regular giving and donations by church members held up very well, and thank you so much for that, but not being able to hold our usual services and fundraising events, throughout the year, and particularly around Christmas, was a significant blow.

Can you help improve our finances in 2021?

  • If you are a taxpayer, please make sure your regular and one-off donations are gift aided. Gift Aid is an important element of our income providing an additional 25% top up to all the giving we receive from taxpayers. So your gift aid mandates are of great value to us
  • Please consider if you can increase your regular giving this year or make a donation on our Give a Little online platform accessed via our website :
  • Please support all our fundraising events this year; a programme of events, will be issued as soon as possible. Not only do they allow us to raise money to support our mission and our historic church building, but they do give us a sense of connectedness in these difficult times when we miss each other so much.

With all good wishes,

P.S. Listen out this Saturday at 12 noon for 100 tolls from our tower. These will be in honour of Capt. Sir Tom Moore, who was a Bedfordshire resident. We have been asked to join in this initiative by the Bishop of Bedford to pay our respects on the day of Capt.Tom's funeral.

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