Welcome to our church family. Whether you’re a visitor to the town, or newly moved to town, or a visitor to the website, we hope you will find the content of these pages helpful.
Since the lifting of restrictions (July 2021), our services at St Mary’s are as follows: Sunday morning at 8.00 am and 9.45 am at St Mary’s, Monday evenings Said Mass 7 pm (except Bank Holidays), Wednesday mornings Said Mass at 10 am. Common Prayer Book Evensong is sung on the first Sunday of each month, 6.30 pm.
St Agnes’ is now hosting a weekly service at 11.15 am: Holy Communion on the first Sunday of the month, Mattins on other Sundays (unless otherwise announced).
The church community remains very active in prayer and service, so please contact us if we can help.
After Sunday service at St Mary’s (9.45 am), people are welcome to stay behind for refreshments and fellowship.
We no longer host Sunday worship online, nor on Wednesday evenings.
Latest Pew sheetNewsletter dated August 1, 2022
If you are able to make a personal visit to either St Mary’s or St Agnes’, we think that you will find beauty and peace in these historic buildings. There are weekly services in both churches.
The two separate parishes of St Mary and St Agnes form one benefice, served by one rector. Subject to prior commitments, the Rector is normally available at St Mary’s to deal with baptismal and other enquiries on Wednesday mornings after Mass (from 10.30 am).
St Mary’s dates from the mediaeval period, while St Agnes’s is a Victorian church. There is lots more information available on the history of both churches.
Our liturgy is varied. St Mary’s stands within the Catholic tradition of the Church of England. Sung Mass (Holy Communion) is the chief Sunday service. Matins according to the Book of Common Prayer is the regular form of worship at St Agnes, with Holy Communion once a month.
The church choir has always been central to the liturgical life of our benefice. It is not functioning at the present time on Sunday mornings, but does gather on a reasonably informal basis to assist 1st-Sunday Evensong at St Mary’s. At St Mary’s, the servers, who are affiliated to a local branch of the Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary, play a key role in supporting the priest during Mass. At St Mary’s and St Agnes’s, flower arrangers help to beautify the church interiors. A team of bell ringers ring the bells of St Mary’s ring for service and for weddings as requested.
There is a local branch of the Mothers Union, which is active in ‘Christian care for families world wide’, under the guidance of branch leaders. They welcome new members, and for further enquiries, please contact the rector in the first instance.
- Morning meetings: 1st Friday (of February, April, June, August, October, December) in the Turner Hall (10.00 am)
- Afternoon meetings: 1st Thursday (of March, May, July, September, November) in church (2.00 pm) followed by coffee in the Turner Hall.
- Corporate communion: the 3rd Wednesday in church, followed by coffee.
- A prayer group used to meet the 3rd Monday afternoon in the month but is currently in abeyance.
- Members receive a newsletter from MU within the Mothers’ Union within the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, also a quarterly magazine, Home and Family, and an annual prayer diary. For further information about the work of the Mothers’ Union worldwide, visit www.themothersunion.org and www.muenterprises.co.uk.
Marriages and Christenings
If you live locally (within either parish) or have local links, and are thinking of getting married in church or of having your child christened, the rector is happy to discuss this with you. For further information regarding the legalities surrounding marriage or christenings in a parish church, visit www.cofe.anglican.org/lifeevents and follow the links.
St Mary’s serves Houldsworth Valley Community Primary School, and, from time to time, has been represented on the governing body. The organist and rector have assisted in collective worship. St Mary’s and St Agnes’s both associate with Fairstead House Preparatory School. Visits by groups of children and teachers into ‘their’ church for educational or worship purposes are built into each school’s curriculum.