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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.

A Course in New Testament Greek


ROGER PRIEST will be starting a course in New Testament Greek in September.

If you are interested please contact Roger Priest or Christine Winter, who will pass on your details.


Contact Group for the Elderly


CONTACT GROUP FOR THE ELDERLY has launched in Taunton to brighten up monthly Sunday afternoons and tackle loneliness and social isolation among older  people.

Volunteers are needed to offer a regular and vital friendship link every month.

For information on becoming a volunteer or if you, or someone you know would like to join as a guest contact Helen Ker.

Michael Portillo and the Great Railway Journeys


On Tuesday, last week, we had some very special visitors. Michael Portillo and the film crew from the BBC’s “Great Railway Journeys” spent a morning with us.

For those who have seen the programme, Michael travels the country following an early travel guide written by Bradshaw. When Bradshaw came to Taunton, he was really impressed by our Church and wrote more on St. Mary’s than he did on some cites and cathedrals! Strangely he did not name it in the book and just gave the date when it was built (1508). Michael stood on the roof and felt the tower sway when the bells were rung. It is believed that this episode (and we feature in approximately half of it) will be broadcast in the first week of January on a Wednesday evening.  It will be very interesting to watch.

Rod Corke and Michael Portillo - May 22, 2012


Food Bank’s First Food Collection


The first supermarket food collection to supply food for Taunton Foodbank will be held in ASDA, Creech Barrow Road on Saturday 26 May 2012 from 10am to 5pm.

Taunton Foodbank hopes to open its distribution centre at the United Reformed Church, Paul Street, Taunton on Friday 6 July 2012 from 12.00 noon until 2pm. The distribution centre will then be open for two hours on Mondays and Fridays each week.

Food parcels will be provided to those who are in need on the receipt of a voucher which has been issued by a front line agency.


A Church Weekend Away in 2013?


It has been suggested that we arrange a weekend away in 2013, possibly in Devon, for members of St Mary’s church family – a time for fellowship, teaching and relaxation.

The cost will be approx. £150-180 p.p. depending on numbers and venue, though there will be discounts for children. It is hoped that all rooms will have en-suite facilities!

If you are interested please sign a sheet (by 13th May) at the back of the church and if there are enough people wanting to go, we will try to make this possible.

For further information contact Sheila.

The Bells of St Mary’s Project


I am sure you would have glanced up many times and marvelled at the iconic architectural tower of St Mary’s church which in many respects symbolises Taunton as the county town of Somerset. The tower is, of course, the largest, tallest and most magnificent of any parish church in the South West of England or debatably the whole of the UK.

Having considered the towers architectural merits and marvelled at the building skills of our forbears, we perhaps need to recognise the purpose and function of this enormous structure which in simplistic terms is a housing in which Taunton’s most expensive musical instrument is installed, raised to an enormous height so that the sound of pealing bells could be heard across the length and breadth of the parish.

The musical instrument to which I refer is of course St Mary’s tune playing Carillon consisting of fifteen bells, the heaviest of which is one and a half tons, covering one and a half octaves with three semitones and sequenced via electro/pneumatic hammers to play a variety of tunes which I am sure have become well known to the local residents. Twelve of the bells serve a dual purpose and are hung in an enormous cast iron frame to enable them to be rung traditionally “full circle” and as such are the heaviest ring of twelve bells in Somerset.


Michael Portillo’s “Great Railway Journeys”


We have been approached by the BBC to be featured in the new series of Michael Portillo’s “Great Railway Journeys.” If you have watched the previous series, you will know that Michael travels around the country on the railways following the Victorian travel writer, Bradshaw’s Guide. Although St. Mary Magdalene is not mentioned by name, Bradshaw does mention a church built in the time of Henry V11 and the Robert Graves memorial. The filming will take place on Tuesday 22nd May.

Annual Parish Church Meeting


Last Sunday afternoon we held the Annual Parish Church meeting and 47 people attended.

The new PCC was elected and Margaret Laver and Diana Fletcher became new members. Nigel Birkett was elected as a Deanery Synod Representative. Mick Polley will join Angela Bayliss and Shirley Farrington as Church Wardens. We give thanks to all who volunteer to ensure St. Mary Magdalene church has good governance.

Please would PCC and Church Wardens note that we will give thanks to God for the appointments on the second Sunday in May. Please try to come on that day so we can pray for you.

Interested in joining a Home Group?


At this moment in time, we have several home groups. These have been formed over a period of years and offer a wide variety of experiences. They meet on differing days and times and with varying degrees of regularity. They all give a mixture of learning and fellowship. Some are more experience based and others more factual, but none are threatening. Their numbers vary too, but all are open to welcome newcomers.

For more details, contact the Parish Office (01823 272441).

Electoral Roll


THE ELECTORAL ROLL is currently being revised. If you would like your name added please complete a form and either hand to a Church Warden or to the Parish Office. Forms and more details are at the back of the Church.

Magdalene Fayre


Magdalene Fayre (21st July) – Among others, we intend to hold stalls for crafts, preserves and gardening. We would be grateful for any contributions (possibly people will want to start preparations early for these three stalls).

We are particularly looking for help for the Gardening Stall as at present we have no-one to take overall charge. Would you be able to raise some plants for sale? Plug plants can be provided and if several people can look after one or two dozen plants each, we would have a glorious stall in July.

If you can help, in any way at all, please see Nik Hurst or Sue Goddard.

Church Lighting


We are reeling from the shock that the estimate for the current church lighting is £100,000. We are actively seeking ways of reducing this and looking into applying for grants. This figure is more than we have in reserve! We have no choice but to have it done. The current system is failing. Please pray about this.