December 2021 News

Lisa White, Secretary of Friends of St Mary’s, writes:

Our annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols is scheduled for Sunday 19th December at 6pm in St Mary’s, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back for this lovely occasion, which heralds the start of our Christmas worship.

Last year, Covid closed the church and our service could not take place, so we hope restrictions will not deter us this December, and we will celebrate with traditional carols, readings and a welcome from St Mary’s wonderful bells.

Following the service, mulled wine and mince pies will be served at Church Farm House. Please come and join us!

Despite everything that hit our community and country, 2021 proved to be a time of tremendous achievement for St Mary’s, with the completion of the stonework repairs to the tower, the refit of the vestry and south porch, and the installation of the splendid bells. Once again, we thank all those who have contributed to and supported this work which will be honoured for generations to come.

The Friends of St Mary’s Committee wish everyone a joyful, peaceful and hopeful Christmas and New Year.

Photo of crib scene in St Mary's Christmas 2020
Photo by Pauline Dixon taken at St Mary’s Christmas 2020; header photo by Brenda Brock

PS Have you ordered your Badminton Benefice 2022 Calendar yet? Filled with beautiful images from around the benefice, taken by Musical Director and Videographer Ben Humphries, it’s available now in a limited edition, from Hawkesbury Stores, from the parish churches, or via online ordering.
Click here for more details.

DECEMBER SERVICES

Advent 2 – 5th December 9.30am – Holy Communion
Advent 3 – 12th December 5pm – Evensong
Advent 4 – 19th December 5pm – FOSM 9 Lessons & Carols
Christmas Eve – 24th December 4.30pm – Carols by Candlelight with Live Nativity
Christmas Day – 25th December 9.30am – Holy Communion
Christmas 2 – 2nd January 9.30am – Holy Communion

November 2021 News

Colin Dixon, Chairman of Friends of St Mary’s, writes:

Following the years of concentration on the refurbishment of St Mary’s Tower and the installation of the new set of eight bells, the Friends of St Mary’s need some new projects to concentrate its fundraising on.

NEW TOILET FACILITIES

As it happens, there has for many years been an issue that has exercised the Friends of St Mary’s, amongst others, for many years, and that is the lack of toilet facilities at the church. Lisa and Christopher Overton have been very kind to allow the use of the toilet in the Malt House, but it is about time we had one that we do not use on a grace-and-favour basis.

The installation of the toilet will not be a simple matter as the Diocese will not allow a toilet inside or attached to the fabric of the Church, so that means it must go outside in the churchyard. Although we have identified a reasonably suitable place, there are additional complications: the churchyard (because it is a closed churchyard) belongs to the District Council and not to the Church.

Visitors to the cemetery would also benefit from the provision of toilet facilities and the cemetery belongs to the Parish Council. Furthermore, it would not be possible to restrict the use of the toilet so it would be available to walkers and cyclists also.

NEW LANDSCAPING PROJECT

While considering the siting of the toilet facilities, it would be advisable to landscape the churchyard where the old pine trees were removed earlier this year. That area is now distressingly overgrown and needs professional help to get it back into reasonable shape.

A couple of very important projects for FoSM to become involved with in the coming months, if not years. If anyone can offer advice, guidance or help with these projects, especially in the short term by pulling nettles and clearing the brush, then please contact me or Lisa Overton.

NEW SEAT CUSHIONS FOR CHOIR

The Friends have recently contributed towards new seat cushion kits for the Choir in the Church. These cushion kits will be completed by the WI which has also benefited from a legacy from Judy Chancellor.

NEW ROOF ALARM

The Church insurers had required that the Church has an alarm system installed on the roof to deter thieves from stealing the lead. FoSM granted the PCC a contribution of £1375 towards the cost of the roof alarm system which has recently been fitted. This was match-funded by the All Churches Trust which has also donated £1375.

WULFSTAN SUPPER REPORT

The Wulfstan Supper to celebrate the installation of the Wulfstan windows in the Church 10 years ago, hosted by Mark and Fiona Steeds, was a great success, and a good time was had by all. Mark gave a very informative talk on the life and deeds of St Wulfstan, the Hawkesbury Saint.

NOVEMBER SERVICES

7th November (9.30am) – Holy Communion

14th November (10.50am) – Service of Remembrance at the War Memorial

21st November (9.30am) – Morning Praise

28th November (5pm) – Evensong (Advent Sunday)

October News

The Friends of St Mary’s new Chairman, Colin Dixon, writes:

We had a very successful Pimms Tent at the Hawkesbury Show, equalling other years’ profits and boosting FoSM’s depleted coffers after the bells and refurbishments projects at the Church.

THANK YOU, SIR IAN

It is with some sadness that we report that Sir Ian Macfadyen has recently resigned as the Chairman of the Friends and the committee. However despite his resignation he managed to collect almost £1,000 in donations – he should perhaps leave more often!

On that note, Ian will not be leaving FoSM for good because we have just elected him a Vice-President of the Friends for his tremendous work in raising funds for the Church and acting as the Chairman for the past 15 years. Congratulations, Ian, it is well deserved.

From left to right: Sir Ian Macfadyen, the Rev Richard Thomson, Bishop Rachel of Gloucester & Churchwarden Linda Fairney

PIMMS TENT PAYS FOR CLIPPING OF CHURCH YEWS

Our most recent project has been the clipping of the yew hedges around the Church which is an expenditure that FoSM has traditionally taken on . The yews are now looking wonderful and they set off the Church perfectly.

It is fortuitous that the profits made on the Pimms Tent at the Show exactly matches the expenditure on the yew hedge clipping and has done for years. Buy a Pimms and clip a hedge!

In the spring we removed some old and dangerous pine trees that have overshadowed the Church, leaving a clear space and allowing a tremendous amount of additional light into the Church.

WANTED: NETTLE-PULLERS!

However the nettles – identifying a niche in the market – have now overtaken the space released by the trees and need to be removed. We need nettle-pulling volunteers with stout gloves and a stout heart – send me an email at coldix365@gmail.com and we will arrange a foray into the undergrowth.

FUTURE PROJECTS

We have identified a number of potential projects for the future which we could raise funds for and our help is needed even more after the Covid lockdowns and the Church’s depleted earnings. We will be covering them in more detail in later issues.

ST MARY’S NEEDS YOU MORE THAN EVER!

By signing up to the Friends of St Mary’s, you are making a statement that our beautiful Church is worth preserving and keeping it at the heart of the community. To find out more about joining FoSM, click here.

OCTOBER SERVICES

3rd October – 9.30am Holy Communion
10th October – 6pm Harvest Festival Evensong
17th October – 9.30am Morning Praise
24th October – 6pm Evensong