Livestreamed Services start at 10 am every Sunday. The Church building remains closed, see below for all details

                                                                                                                  Photography Nicholas Senechal

We regret that it is not possible to open the Church for Private Prayer or Services with a congregation, due to the current public health emergency. Our prayers are with the emergency services and essential workers who must support the community at this difficult hour.

LIVESTREAMED Services on Sundays are available to watch live at 10 am or anytime afterwards on our Youtube channel available on this link:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0JJ6EPrOIUybuFe3mJvFzg

Livestream Equipment Appeal

We are launching an urgent appeal to replace our temporary equipment. For more information, click here.

 Livestreaming Team, Photo by Anne Senechal

Where is God and where am I? The most essential journey

Jesus said “beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them…” This Ash Wednesday is very different. Sadly, there will be no service in Church this year. There will be no imposition of ashes. There are no folks to bump into on the way home, bemused by the cross marked in ash upon your forehead.

We do not pray on street corners (for we cannot mingle and must make only essential journeys). We pray at home, in a room with the door shut, with Youtube to help us. Perhaps the simplicity of our Ash Wednesday this year will recall us to the spirituality that underlines this Holy day, as we enter the Season of Lent.

Ash Wednesday traditionally reminds us of our mortality. “Remember that you are dust…” we hear as the ashes are traditionally marked on our heads. We hardly need reminding of our mortality this year. We have been traumatised by images of ICUs and doctors in PPE, by images of the dead, by images of the dying. We do not need the symbolic cross ashed on our heads to remind us that we are but dust.

But what we do need, in the silence of our hearts, in the privacy of our homes, is the yearly reminder to turn, metanoia, from our sins and towards Christ who sanctifies us. What we do need, is the yearly reminder of our compass bearings, an assessment of our spiritual direction. In the silence of our hearts, in the privacy of our homes we should be asking ourselves two very simple questions.

Where is Christ; and
Where am I?

That way we can work out where we need to go and if we need to turn. It may not be anabout-turn. But we may find that we are going off course.

And so on Ash Wednesday we ask “where do we need to go?”
And in the season of Lent, we ask, “what can we do, with God and through God, to get there?”

Friends, in the traditional words, I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and selfdenial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.

For what good is a journey without a destination? It will be the most “essential” journey you make.

The Rev’d Chris Bunce, our Vicar can be contacted at: vicarstmaryshitchin@gmail.com

If you would like some resources to pray at home you can access the booklet Praying in a Pandemic.

If you would like to keep in touch with St Mary’s and receive the weekly Bulletin , please email Robin: robinwendysternberg@gmail.com and we add you to the circulation list.

You can also keep in touch with us through Facebook even if you are not a subscriber as it is a public pagehttps://www.facebook.com/StMarysChurchHitchin/
Twitter: @stmaryshitchin_
Instagram: stmaryshitch_events

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Rev’d Christopher Bunce

Vicar of St Mary’s, Hitchin & Team Rector of Hitchin with St Paul’s Walden and Preston

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Here at St Mary’s we committed to safeguarding young people and vulnerable adults, for more information click here.