Category Archives: Special Services

St Mary’s Church Patronal Festival: Sunday 9th September

We warmly invite you to join us for our St Mary’s Patronal Festival on Sunday 9th September.

There will be a service of Sung Eucharist at 11.00 am with guest preacher The Revd Dr Rob Marshall,  writer, broadcaster and vicar of Digswell.

The service will be followed by a bring and share lunch and pay bar, children’s games and music on the lawn from Paul and Kay Vernon.

Do invite friends, neighbours and family – All are most welcome.

Baby Loss Service: Sunday 29th April, 6.30pm

Revd Tim writes:

When I first came to the village a few years ago, I remember a village tree was ‘yarnbombed’ to support Tommy’s – a charity which funds research into the causes of miscarriage, still birth and premature birth. This made an impact and I cut out the article and still have it. At the time Sophy had just given birth to Jem, but he was our third pregnancy. So this is an issue close to my heart. Since coming to Redbourn, holding a service for those of us who have lost children, at whatever stage and under whatever circumstances, was something I wanted to do.

Loss at any stage of pregnancy is traumatic. Early loss is often not acknowledged or discussed, with commemorative services seldom taking place. Services for babies who are stillborn or lost in early years, are usually conducted whilst parents are in a fog of grief and pain.

This service, to be held at St Mary’s, is for anyone who has never had the opportunity to grieve the loss of a child, as well as for their children and their extended family and friends, whether the loss be recent or historic. Additionally, anyone who is grieving the fact that they have never had children is also welcome.

All are welcome regardless of the type or circumstances of loss they have experienced. Whether you have been through early or late miscarriage, missed miscarriage, compassion induction, an ectopic or molar pregnancy, stillbirth, neonatal or early infant loss or any other type of baby or child loss.

If you need to say goodbye to a baby or to grieve, or you want to come along with a friend who needs to say goodbye, you are welcome. The service will give you the opportunity to stand with other people who ‘know’ the pain of losing a child, whatever the circumstances, and to offer you a time to publicly acknowledge and remember children who have been lost.

There will also be non-judgemental pastoral support available after the service for anyone who needs it.

Lord, we pray for those who mourn, for parents and children, friends and neighbours.

Be gentle with them in their grief.

Show them the depths of your love, a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven.

Spare them the torment of guilt and despair.

Be with them as they weep beside the empty tomb of our risen Saviour,

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

What is Tenebrae? Thursday 22nd March, 8.00pm

On Thursday 22 March we will be hosting a service of Tenebrae at St Mary’s Church, Redbourn. But what is it?

The word ‘tenebrae’ is Latin for shadows. The purpose of the Tenebrae service is to recreate the emotional aspects of the passion story, so this is not supposed to be a happy service, because the occasion is not happy. If your expectation of Christian worship is that it should always be happy and exhilarating, you won’t appreciate this service until the second time you attend it.

The service was originally designed for Good Friday, but it can be used at other times in Passiontide. The service has long passages of scripture, which for this service is divided into seven, eight, or nine parts, each one assigned to a different reader.

The service may include other parts, such as solemn hymns, a sermon, and Communion, but the core of the Tenebrae service works like this: It starts out with the church in candlelight. There are as many candles as there are readings, plus a white Christ candle. The readers go up one at a time, read their assigned selections, and extinguish one of the candles, until only the Christ candle remains. Then someone reads the first part of Psalm 22, which Jesus quoted on the cross. Then the Christ candle is put out, leaving the congregation in near total darkness – and near total devastation. At this point, the service ends. There is no blessing and the people leave in silence. (The lights are turned up but remain dim so that people can see their way out.)

The purpose of the service is to recreate the betrayal, abandonment, and agony of the events, and it is purposefully left unfinished, because the story isn’t over until Easter Day.

We invite you to come and join us at 8 pm on Thursday 22 March at St Mary’s for what will undoubtedly be a powerful and moving service. All are welcome.