St. Mary's Church

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple

26 Jan 2023 • General news

Malachi 3. 1-5

Thus says the Lord God: 1See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight – indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.

5Then I will draw near to you for judgement; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.

Hebrews 2. 14-end

14Since the children share flesh and blood, Jesus himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2. 22-40

22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
30for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.’

33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

Please pray for

Those Who Live in these Roads

Peterlee Walk      Cumbernauld Wlk      Reditch Walk      Gibbs Close      Fairbanks Close

Stevanage Walk      Harlow Walk      Barrow Close      Fitzroy Close      Lucian Close

Basildon Walk      Runcorn Walk      Brade Drive      Osprey Close      The Kintyre

Those who are sick or in need of our prayers

Iain Rees      Ken Fisher      Eden Brown

Eileen Bees      Edna Robinson      Ken Sharman      Margaret Davoll

Roger Carradine      Kathryn Raven      Nicola Harwood      Sue Parkins      Peter Hughes       Coral Carson

Those who have died

David Wall

A letter from Revd Tom to all at St. Mary’s

‘To all the faithful at St. Mary’s,

Greetings to you all at this most precious season. I thought that I would write to you all at this turning of the time. At Candlemas we celebrate a moment of change within the Christian calendar. We have come to the end of the Christmas season with the feast day where we remember the Presentation of Christ in the temple. (Luke 2.22-40)

In this encounter in the scripture we see where the story of the Christ child meets the purpose of the saviour. All the people in this moment have their role to play and come to it with a different story. Young Mary, fresh from the labour of childbirth, in the midst of the encounters of the nativity, is reminded of the challenge of the future. Old Simeon, a faithful servant, attuned to the Spirit of God is at peace because of the encounter with the child of promise. Joyful Anna, dedicated in prayer, was filled with joy and told people of the works of God. Faithful Joseph, obedient to the Law of Lord, was faithful to this family God had given him to protect.

In the moment of Candlemas, we see a turning point. A turning from the Christmas narrative to the story of Easter. A turning point from being expectant that God would move, to seeing the fulfilment. A moment of hope punctuated by the reality of struggle that would be needed to achieve God's promise. A moment when Mary and Joseph knew that the real hard work of raising a child was about to begin.

At Candlemas we as a church have an opportunity to change our perspective on our own story. We are using this special service in the year to celebrate the story of the past. The past 900 years, the past 30 years, the past 6 months. As we look with thankful hearts on all that has happened in these spans of time we give God the glory for all the good we can start thinking about the future. Having read all the stories people have been sending in I have been humbled and at times moved to tears at the honest and real encounters of God's people being Christ's church. Because of this, I know that we are building on what God has been doing for a long time.

The change I am talking about is like the change in focus we see in the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. A pivot from looking at one story, to looking at the next story. That is what we are about to do collectively as a church. With thankfulness for the past we are turning our hearts and minds to think about the future. In prayer and reflection we will be starting a journey of discernment. Over the next five months I believe God is calling all of us to ask the question, ‘What is next for the life of St. Mary’s?’. We will be led by the wonderful team here at St. Mary’s and supported by many visiting speakers who will help us unpack the many different aspects of faithful Christian living that the church is called to embody and to imagine together what the mission of the church could be for this time. I am really excited to see how the God of immeasurable creativity will speak to us as a community. Perhaps we will be moved to write songs of worship, paint pictures of hope, write poems of praise? I hope you are ready to be part of the answer God is going to give.

So my sisters and brothers in Christ, I ask that all of us enter this season of discerning a new vision for the church with prayer, with a sense of anticipation that God will speak, with excitement for what it means to be Christ’s body here on earth, in this place and at this time.

I thank God for calling me here to serve alongside you in St. Mary’s, and I am excited to be on this journey with you.

Revd Tom

An exciting PODCAST announcement!

Greetings fellow members of our church family! We are excited to share the news that we are launching a new weekly podcast called 'Faithful Voices'. This podcast will feature inspiring stories from our church members and will provide a platform for us to grow in our faith and understanding of God's word. We hope that this podcast will help to bring us closer together in our shared faith and strengthen our bond as a church family. We look forward to hearing your stories and hope you join us in tuning into the 'Faithful Voices' podcast.

You can find the podcast on lots of different platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music, Youtube, Apple Podcast, Google podcast and more (assuming all the technology is working properly). Or you can go to and select Podcast from the Connect menu. You can listen on the website or follow links to a player of your choice.

Happy Birthday

We have a gentleman with us today who has a special birthday, Colin Gardner is 90 years old and we would like to wish him a very happy birthday! Please join him for coffee and cake after the service.

Palm Crosses

could you please bring your palm crosses to church so that the ash can be prepared for our service on Ash Wednesday the 22nd February. There will be a basket on the blue tables by the doors into church.

Coffee mornings

We invite you to join us every Wednesday at 10:45 at St. Mary's for our weekly coffee morning. Enjoy a warm cup of coffee and light refreshments while you socialize with other members of the community. We look forward to seeing you there!

No more blister packs

We regret to inform you that we are no longer collecting medicine blister packs at church. We thank you for your support for this in the past and encourage you to find alternative ways of recycling your medicine blister packs.