New Service Schedule



Beginning Sunday 14th January we are temporarily changing the service pattern at St Mary’s & St John’s.


Dear Friends,


As we enter the next phase of Parish life in our post Covid pandemic world, we face some significant challenges.

For many years, Jonny and Cathy have both offered full time ministry but only been paid 1.6 stipends between them. With her role working for the Diocese of Guildford, Cathy is further reducing her time in the Parish from the start of 2024 to just one day a week.


Many of her responsibilities are having to be passed on to existing staff, who are already busy.
We have been seeking both to raise money for and to appoint a full time Associate Minister, without success so far. We have been encouraged to readvertise in January 2024, with, for a variety of reasons, a greater chance of being able to make an appointment. An appointment would be a tremendous boost for ministry across the Parish and mean activities that we are either currently unable to continue or are under threat due to lack of capacity, could continue and even be developed in areas of strategic ministry. However, we do need to see additional sums being
given to finance this role.


For the majority of this year, we have been without the greatly valued and effective ministry of two ministers, who have been unavailable due to long term sick leave.


We depend on everyone serving in some way. We have a few wonderful people who do a huge amount, but despite a great Ministry Fair, we still face a constant challenge, as we remain in need of stewards, musicians and AV operators for all our services and people to make coffee after services, so we can enjoy fellowship together.


We remain totally committed to ministry to people of all ages from nonagenarians to the very youngest and hope the new service patterns reflect this. The excellent community engagement work out of St. John’s continues to be a valuable part of who we are as the people of God in this town.


In view of these factors we have reviewed our pattern of Sunday services and established a new pattern for a temporary period of the first three months of next year; January to March 2024. The ministry team are able to meet the commitments for weekly services at 8.30am, 10.00am and 4.00pm, whilst hoping for a new Associate Minister in April. One positive aspect of this is there is a regular weekly pattern, which is easier for us to remember and invite friends to.


The new service pattern, for a temporary period of January to March 2024, starting from 14th January 2024, all of which are weekly services, will be as follows:


1. Sunday Mornings at 8.30 am – Said Holy Communion with sermon
On the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, these services will be at St. John’s
On the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month, these services will be at St. Mary’s


2. Sunday Mornings at 10.00 am – Sunday Worship in St. Mary’s Church.

This will be Holy Communion on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, so Holy Communion will be available at a service in St. Mary’s every week. This is the service that will be livestreamed, assuming we have an AV operator. The format of this service will be most similar to the current ‘Together at Ten’ service. It will be a blend of music, teaching and liturgy, which we hope will be enjoyed by all adults who value children in Church. It will be the most suitable service for young families, but will not be the All Age as we have known it in 2023.


3. Sunday afternoons at 4.00pm at St. John’s – every week.

This will be an informal service with separate teaching for the adults and children, with Holy Communion once a month. The teaching for the adults will include a talk and an opportunity to discuss the topic and the teaching for the children will be aimed at primary school aged children. When available, a small band will play. The service starts with tea, refreshments and chatting with one another. If you’ve not yet been, why not try it out!


We very much hope that you will find one of these services not only helps you to worship Jesus but also provides you with opportunities to grow deeper in faith.


We ask that you will embrace these changes with as much grace as you are able and continue to support the Church in every way. If you want to discuss any matters, please do contact Jonny by email or phone and he will be happy to speak with you.


Let us continue to seek the Glory of God and proclaim the good news of abundant life in Jesus, “and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25


Whatever this Christmas time holds for you, may you know deep joy in the birth of a vulnerable baby, born to be your Saviour and Lord.


With our prayers,
Dave and Cathy and the Team