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News & Updates

Here’s what we get up to at St Mary’s. Activities, news, notices – lots to interest and inform. You can also take a look at the Today sheet (pdf) and selected articles from our Together magazine.

‘Elizabeth’ The Somerset Bell Ascends

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This is the largest of the set of our 15 bells. At 27cwt 2 quarters 18lbs, a diameter of 1334mm (4.3ft) and a height of 1067mm (3.5ft), she is a sight for sore eyes. The lift only just raised her off the lorry, but nothing could stop her ascending on high and disappearing through the 70 foot high hole in the vaulted ceiling.

The largest of the set of the 15 bells.

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‘Mary’ The Magdalene Bell Ascends

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After arriving in Taunton on the 9th December, The Magdalene Bell called ‘Mary’ was hoisted up into the tower today. Even at 13cwt and 24lbs, block and tackle made light work of raising it. Clergy and bellworkers were in attendance, as was also the case when its predecessor was rehung in December 1955.

Mary’s predecessor in 1955 (left) and Mary’s hoisting today (right)

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Yemen Children’s Appeal

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This Humanitarian Crisis is beyond belief. Currently there are 7 million people in Yemen who do not know where their next meal will come from.  This includes 2.2.million children malnourished, and dying as a result.   After today’s Service there will be a Retiring Collection to help feed some of these children through the established  Aid Agencies, who are working day and night to feed these children.  Your generosity during this Christmas time will save at least one child’s life and that is the best gift of all.

Please remember the children of Yemen in your prayers today and give generously to the retiring collection for the Yemen Children’s Appeal.

Carparking

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VOLUNTEERING AND NOWHERE TO PARK? 

Please park in Canon Street car park and show your receipt to the Office for reimbursement.

 

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COATS AND BLANKETS NEEDED

Open Door is in need of coats and blankets in the cold weather.

If you have any you can spare, please bring them to church for collection.

Thank you.

 

Upcoming Services

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This coming week we build up to Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve we invite all to the Crib Service. This is an informal, relaxing time where we tell the nativity story afresh. The children (and there will be lots of them!) dress up as  nativity character – we also have a few Spiderman and princesses – all are welcome!

…and then , at 11.30pm we have the First Communion of Christmas (also known as Midnight Mass).  It is so special to share the “Peace of the Lord” after midnight on Christmas Day.  Do come and bring your friends and family too.

On Christmas Day we enjoy BCP Communion at 8.00am and a relaxed family communion at 10.00am. If the children would like to bring their presents to this service, they will be most welcome.

A week later, On New Year’s Day, at 10.00am we join with our friends at St Johns for a united service. There will be refreshments afterwards. (Communion services will happen here at 8.00am and 6.30pm).

Christmas Services at St Mary’s
Sunday 18th December at 6.30pm St Mary Magdalene Carol Service
Saturday 24th December at 4.00pm Crib Service
Saturday 24th December at 11.30pm Midnight Communion
Sunday 25th December at 8.00am Holy Communion (BCP)
Sunday 25th December at 10.00am Family Communion

New Year’s Day Services
On 1st January, New Year’s Day, there will be no service here at St Mary’s at 10.00 am (The 8.00am and 6.30pm services are unaffected). We have been invited to our sister church, St John’s, to share in their Patronal Festival. Our bell ringers will be ringing hand bells to welcome us, Revd Rod Corke will preach and Revd Jane Eastell will preside. There will be refreshments after the service.

Facilities Coordinator Position

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Following a thorough review of the heavy workload of our Churchwardens, the growing use of our church by external organisations and the desire to grow our mission to the people of Taunton, the PCC has resolved to create the new role of Facilities Coordinator. We invite anyone who might be interested in this remunerated position to request a copy of the Job Description and Person Specification from either of our Churchwardens, Derek and Valerie, or the Parish office.  The closing date for applications is Friday 16th December.

Bells’ Dedications

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On Sunday 11th December, at our 10:00am service, each of the brand new 15 bells was in turn dedicated.  Our Vicar, Rod Corke, prayed for ringers and hearers alike to be blessed through their sonorous sounds. It ended with the choir giving a fitting and rapturous rendition of’ ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’.  For those who weren’t there, here are a selection of photos from the day showing some of the individual dedications.

Bell 2 ‘Lydia’

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Bells’ Upcoming Dedications

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Tomorrow at 10.00am we will be dedicating our new bells. This will be the first time many of us have seen the fifteen bells and they will be hung next week, hopefully ready for Christmas. Bells have a special function in our worship life. They call people to worship and into prayer. They also ring out to mark special occasions, such as royal weddings or anniversaries of historic events.  To mark their worshipful significance every bell will be dedicated separately.  Each has been given a significant first name eg: Elizabeth (for our Queen), Mary (for Mary Magdalene, our patron saint). We are especially grateful to the people who have sponsored the bells. We would not have been able to reach the target so quickly without this financial support. So tomorrow is a day of celebration. Their formal thanksgiving will be on 19th March 2017 but for now, let us dedicate our bells to God’s service and delight in hearing them ring again.

The carillon will be set up and running for the formal service in March but various groups in the church have been asked already to select their favourite hymns for inclusion. Hopefully the new digital control will be easier to manage than the system it replaced and the tunes can be changed more easily. The time capsule will be placed in the tower then too.

Bell 1-Swithun

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The Bells Have Arrived!

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At just after 11:00am today, our new bells arrived safely at St Mary Magdalene Church.  And so ends, not only a journey from Loughborough to Taunton, but the realisation of long held dreams brought to fruition through the hard work and generosity of many. Watched by a swelling number of enthralled passersby, the bells were offloaded and now rest inside the church awaiting their blessing on Sunday at our 10:00am service.   The work then continues with their final ascent to their new place in the tower.  We look forward to hearing them ring out by Christmas!

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Upcoming Events and Services

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The Mayor’s Carol Service and the NSPCC Carol Service take place this week and are open to all. Do come. Next weekend, at 6.30pm we have our Lessons and Carols Service – a highlight of the year. We serve mince pies afterwards and if you can help provide these, we would be most grateful.

Mayor’s Civic Carol Service (12/12)
Mayor’s Civic Carol Service this year is at St Mary’s on Monday 12th December 6.30pm and everyone is invited.  The offertory will go to support the Mayor’s three charities which include The Somerset Children’s Hospice.

Business Carol Service (13/12)
The Town Centre Chaplaincy Business Carol Service is at 6.15pm on 13th December at St James’ Church. It is open to all and Bishop Ruth is speaking. If you have never been, why not come this year? I am sure you will enjoy it.

Carols by Candlelight (14/12)
Carols by Candlelight in aid of the NSPCC. Doors open at 6:00 pm with music by Hestercombe Centre for Young Musicians. Service starts at 6:30pm.

Christmas Services at St Mary’s
Sunday 18th December at 6.30pm St Mary Magdalene Carol Service
Saturday 24th December at 4.00pm Crib Service
Saturday 24th December at 11.30pm Midnight Communion
Sunday 25th December at 8.00am Holy Communion (BCP)
Sunday 25th December at 10.00am Family Communion

New Year’s Day Services
On 1st January, New Year’s Day, there will be no service here at St Mary’s at 10.00 am (The 8.00am and 6.30pm services are unaffected). We have been invited to our sister church, St John’s, to share in their Patronal Festival. Our bell ringers will be ringing hand bells to welcome us, Revd Rod Corke will preach and Revd Jane Eastell will preside. There will be refreshments after the service.

Mayor’s Civic Carol Service

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There will be a special Mayor’s Civic Carol Service this year on Monday 12th December 6.30pm and everyone is invited. Again a planning group met this week to finalise what will happen. The offertory will go to support the Mayor’s three charities which include The Somerset Children’s Hospice.