- The Rectory
- Hadleigh Road
- IP7 5LH
Services in the 4 Marys Benefice
Please check our Facebook pages for any updates or email if you would
like to receive occasional updates by email.
Church Services for March 2024
Sunday 3rd March: 10am Stratford SM Morning Worship
3rd Sunday of Lent
Sunday, 10th March: 10am Higham Mothering Sunday Service
Mothering Sunday 10am Raydon Mothering Sunday Service
Sunday, 17th March: 10am Holy Communion in Holton
5th Sunday of Lent
Sunday 24th March: 10am
Raydon Palm Sunday Service
Palm Sunday 9.30 for 10am: Stratford St Mary Family Hour
Holy Week & Easter:
Monday of Holy Week 7pm Compline Raydon
Tuesday of Holy Week 7pm Compline Higham
Wednesday of Holy Week 7pm Compline Holton
Morning Service at the Cathedral)
7pm Stratford Communion Service with Stripping of the Altar
Good Friday: Walk of Witness, 3pm in Holton A service of readings, reflections & music (see the Events section for details)
Holy Saturday: 7.30pm Raydon Easter Vigil with Bonfire
Sunday 31st March: 10am Stratford Easter Family Communion
If you have a cold, a cough, a sore throat or you feel in any way unwell, please be sensible and stay in the warm until you are fully recovered. Some people are vulnerable because of underlying health conditions and they may be at risk if they catch any of the seasonal viruses which are doing the rounds. Thank you.
In 2024 the 5th Sundays fall on 31st March (Easter Day), 30th June, 29th September & 29th December and we will be meeting in our churches around the benefice. Details to follow!
Benefice Churches Open
All the churches in our benefice are open for visiting every day during daylight hours.
Benefice Bible Study / House Group, April
The House Group will not meet in March during Holy week, when there will be daily services available. The group will resume next month at 2.30pm on Thursday 25th April at the home of Mrs Judith Shanks, 34 Strickmere, Stratford St Mary.
Please see information about the Lent Study book below
February Prayer pointers for the Benefice
We pray for all those who are ill, in pain or in any way unwell, for those personally known to us and also for: Nicky Bull, Steve Meech, Amanda Berry, Penny Watkins and Annie Marshall.
We pray for those whose needs
we know and for those whose needs are known to God alone.
We remember all those who have died, either recently or longer ago but still sorely missed. May they rest in peace and rise in glory. And we pray for all who are nearing the end of the earthly journey and those who watch and wait with them. We hold those who mourn in our prayers. May they be held in God’s love and comforted in their grief.
March Prayer pointers for the Benefice
We pray for all those who are ill, in pain or in any way unwell, for those personally known to us and also for: Nicky Bull, Steve Meech, James Stock, Amanda Berry, Penny Watkins and Rev’d Terry Wells.
We pray for those whose needs we know and for those whose needs are known to God alone.
We remember all those who have died, among them Annie Marshall and Ann Gilder. May they rest in peace and rise in glory. And we pray for all who are nearing the end of the earthly journey and those who watch and wait with them. We hold those who mourn in our prayers. May they be held in God’s love and comforted in their grief.
Prayers for Lent
God, we weep for the lives lost in conflicts around the world.
We pray for all those who mourn their loved ones.
We bring to you our deep sorrows and our fears for the future.
God, we cry out for peace and for justice.
We pray for an end to all wars, for an immediate ceasefire.
We pray that those in power would act to stop this violence now.
We ask this in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
Adapted from a Christian Aid Prayer
The grace of forty days
Time to make the desert journey and renew our way to life.
Time for testing and for changing. Time to trust the word of God.
Time to recognise holy presence and share Cyrene’s work.
Time for forgiveness and for healing and to repent our broken lives.
Time to build God’s dwelling with us and proclaim full life for all.
Time to watch and wait with Jesus and to prepare the upper room.
Time to turn our lives again to God and to transform the world with love. Amen.
By Pat Pierce / CAFOD
I commend to you the book ‘Lent and Easter for Everyone’ by Tom Wright as a study book for personal reflection during Lent. The book offers a reflection for every day of Lent but it can also be read through quicker and then be dipped into for deeper study and reflection – as some of us have done.
We are hoping to offer a few sessions for discussion and study on Thursdays during Lent (times & venues tbc). Please let me or Judith know if you would be interested in joining in.
What kind of services?
The 10 a.m. service is usually Common Worship Holy Communion, but we sometimes have baptisms or other events during that service. Every other month the service in Stratford St. Mary is a Morning Praise service.
The evening service in the Benefice may be Choral Evensong, a said Book of Common Prayer Evening Prayer with a short sermon or a contemporary reflective Sacred Space. Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.
10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (October-March) or 6.30 p.m. (April-September) services rotate around the parishes. In principle, the pattern is as follows (but please note that the schedule may vary - especially in December - depending on special events, so please check individual dates):
1st Sunday 10am Stratford St Mary (SSM)
2nd Sunday 10am Higham
3rd Sunday 10am Holton St Mary
4th Sunday 10am Raydon + SSM Family Hour with refreshments and activities for children in the Parish Room (green building in the middle of the village).
Donation of new hymn books
Boxing Day 1903. My maternal Great-Grandparents married here in St. Mary’s Church, Raydon. They settled down in the village and welcomed three daughters, the third of whom was my Grandma. They moved to Polsted where three sons and another daughter were born. Two of my Grandma’s brothers went on to farm locally and all but my Grandma settled in Kersey, Polsted and Stoke-by-Nayland. My Grandma married an area rep for Dewhurst’s butchers so they moved a few times, eventually settling in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire where my Mum and her older brother, my Uncle Gerry grew up.
Both had piano lessons and played to a high standard. Then my Uncle discovered the church organ. There was no going back and he became a church organist, not chickening out of playing the pedals as I do but doing a proper job. He played for many years including when the family moved to Little Clacton in the early 60s. Gerry always supported my music making particularly when I started playing the organ at my parent’s church at the age of 15. He also made sure I had a piano when I left home as I studied for my music degree. Fast forward to 2017 and John and I find ourselves living in Raydon. I’d come back to my roots and have the privilege of being a part of the Benefice Music Team.
After many years of poor health, he went on to play for the congregation in Heaven and I was determined to do something in his memory. Manette, Ali, Martin and I had discussed the possibility of new hymn books to include Ancient and Modern hymns and worship songs and so it went on the wish list at the PCC meeting. That then gave me the idea to donate a set in his memory to the church where it all began 120 years ago and here we are today as they are dedicated. I know he would have approved!
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