Blog, March 10th

Mothering Sunday: hospitality and caring.

Triptych by Rogier van der Weyden

Bible readings

Colossians 3.12-17John 19.25-27

Mothering Sunday….a bitter sweet day! Whilst today is a day to celebrate for many it is also a day that can be hard for many for various reasons. Relationships between parents and children can, like all human relationships, be complicated and painful and there are many who can feel excluded from this day who have lost or never had children. Remember too those whose children have been taken into care ..and those youngsters in care . And the pain for those whose parents have died makes this a tough day too. We should be mindful of all who find this day difficult.

We read in this reading how Jesus commended his own Mother into the care of John thus forming new bonds of care and nurturing and reminding us that all sorts of families, related by blood or not, are precious and valuable. God gives us people to love and nurture whether we are parents or not, and looking beyond our families, as Christians we are all called to look after one another.


1. Who are the people who have nurtured you in your faith? And who are the people who have been important people in your life?

2. How do you respond to the idea of God’s love encouraging us to form new bonds of care and nurturing towards others in our community?

Lion, witch and wardrobe …for this week

House of hospitality.

Remember a time when someone showed you hospitality. I recall an afternoon in London when a stranger asked me if I needed a travelcard for the Underground as I entered the station: they had finished their journey and instead of throwing their ticket away, they offered it to me in passing. It was a gift; I’d done nothing to deserve it. So often, our encounters with one another are transactional: if I give you this, you’ll give me that; I did this, so you owe me that. So in this moment, I thought: where’s the catch? Yet, there was none.

This week, we find all four Pevensie children in Narnia. Lucy takes her siblings to meet Tumnus, but upon reaching his home, they find his belongings vandalised and a note nailed to the floor, announcing his arrest for treason. Lucy urges the group to try to save him and so they set out, cold and hungry, ill-equipped, it seems, for the journey. But fortunately, they are found by Beaver, a stalwart ally of Aslan, and fearless friend of Tumnus. He takes the children back to his house on the dam, where Mrs Beaver starts preparing a feast for them all, and Beaver catches fish for their main meal. Like Abraham’s and Sarah’s hospitality to the strangers who arrive at their home — as we read in Genesis 18 — so the beavers offer the best of everything they have to the Pevensie children. This is God’s economy: where love is the gift freely given. After dinner, the beavers start to tell the children about the prophecy they figure in, and all about Aslan, but it is the hospitality, given freely, which fortifies the travellers and gives them the gratitude and encouragement to proceed. May we love in this way: in generous outpouring to those we meet along our own journey.  Josie

A chance to ring a bell at St Mary’s Penzance

On Saturday 6th April it’s the Western District Spring Festival and we’d like the bells to be available for visitors to ring from 2pm to 2.45. Hopefully some people will get chance to ring here who haven’t before.

Social Justice course

Act on Poverty, a Christian Aid resource

Wednesday, 13th March, 6pm, in the Celtic side chapel at St. Mary’s
Together we’ll enable churches and individuals UK-wide to gain a deeper understanding of experiences of poverty, local and global. We’ll be sharing stories of faith and activism that challenge the status quo. And we’ll be offering inspiration for actions big and small that we can all take to tackle poverty together.

Week Four: Located
  • 110 million people in the world today have been forcibly displaced from their homes. (Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees)
  • A baby boy born in one of the least deprived areas in the UK in 2020 has a life expectancy that is 10 years longer than a baby boy born in of the most deprived areas. For girls the difference is 8 years. (Source: The King’s Fund)

Useful audio link:

A question to consider before the fourth session: Can you think of a place that is special to you? It could be where you are now or somewhere you lived or visited in the past. Why is this place important to you?

DBS checks

Dear colleagues, I am intending to be available for DBS checks and renewals on the following dates and times at St Mary’s church, Penzance.
Monday 11th March between 12 noon and 2-00 pm
Tuesday 12th March between 12 noon and 2-00 pm
Saturday 16th March between 10-00 am and 1-00 pm
Tuesday 19th March between 12 noon and 3-00 pm.
I would be grateful if these dates could be widely circulated and if people could contact me to make appointments between those dates and times. I would anticipate each application taking up to 30 minutes and if people could be prepared with all relevant documentation. The list is available on the Disclosure and Barring service website but any queries, please contact me on my mobile 07816861959.  Regards   Graham Carter.

Julian meeting

The Julian Meeting will be held online at 6pm this week and the link is below.   If you are unable to join us and would like to reflect at a time convenient to you, the prayers are below. Go well with love Mel, Judith, Virginia and Diana.

Opening Prayer

A softer breath, a deeper sigh, a glimpse of sky, a glimpse of “I”, a twirling leaf that speaks a tree, a deeper breath means deeper “me”.
And as I feel, within my Soul the world is rounder and more whole.
For in the Silence, as I sit, my Soul, my story starts to knit.
And as this story does unfold
Within, I find my thread of Gold
The Gold lights up an inner space that leads me to a sacred place where I can sit in peace and calm, and hold my centre in life’s storms.
Fed on peace my own truth seeds an inner garden of flowers and trees
A haven where I can reflect and hold my centre circumspect.   (Marianne Zeck)      


Within, I find my thread of Gold.

Closing prayer

“He said not “Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be distressed” but he said “Thou shalt not be overcome”  “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”    (Julian of Norwich)

The Crucifixion – Sir John Stainer

On the Saturday before Easter Day there is a chance to both take part in and listen to The Crucifixion by John Stainer. Kevin Lane will be leading this and it will take place in St Mary’s church PZ. Chris Hortin from St Mary’s gives us the background to this wonderful piece of music

 Stainer lived from 1840 to 1901: he was an entirely Victorian figure. He was one of a wave of English composers who were able to refute Karl Muck’s unkind description of England as ‘Das Land ohne Musik’ (the land without music). Among his contemporaries both Sir Charles Parry and Sir Charles Stanford have long been highly esteemed for their fine settings for the Anglican church, but in recent years their symphonic music has come to enjoy similar value. Sir Arthur Sullivan, an almost exact contemporary, despite writing ‘serious’ music, is valued for his light operas. Stainer, in contrast, was very much a church musician; having sung as a choirboy in St. Paul’s Cathedral and been a student at Magdalen College Oxford, he returned to St. Paul’s as organist and to Oxford as Professor of Music. (There are more than a dozen hymn-tunes by him in ‘Ancient and Modern’.)

 Stainer wrote The Crucifixion, his chef d’oeuvre, in 1887. It was eagerly taken up by church choirs. Almost alone among great religious works, there was never an orchestra written for it, as it only calls for vocal soloists, choir and organ. This is probably the reason that major choral societies rarely include it in their repertoires, along with ‘Messiah, ‘The Creation’, the great Requiems, and of course Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions.

 For his two great Passions, accounts of the Crucifixion, Bach took the text from the Gospels, written in German. Stainer worked to a text by Sparrow Simpson (who is otherwise unknown).

 The work runs from Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, through the trial before Pilate, Jesus being put up on the cross, taken down and buried. — Christopher Hortin

The Crucifixion is scored for a SATB choir and organ, and features solos for bass and tenor. Structurally, it is based on the traditional format of the Passions by Johann Sebastian Bach, with a Biblical narrative interspersed with choruses, solos and hymns reflecting on the Passion story.
Stainer intended the piece to be within the scope of most parish church choirs; it includes five hymns for congregational participation.
The service starts at 7pm and lasts for approximately one hour.  There will be a retiring collection.

Time 2 Move Holiday Programme

Bookings now LIVE for Easter

Children eligible for benefits related Free School Meals can access the activities free of charge.

Tap on the image for more information.


Worship leader training

Coordination and resources meeting
10am on Tuesday March 12th at St Mary’s PZ….
At this important meeting we are putting the final touches to the worship rota set until the end of the year and exploring much needed resources… optional soup lunch to follow

Pastoral leaders meeting and training

Tuesday 19th March 10am: St Mary’s church Penzance.  An important time for the ministers to come together, to learn from each other and to look at working as a team to support others.

Feed back from PCCs and core staff meeting

Kestrel guard security firm: all 4 churches will be using this security firm to help look after church buildings.  They will be responsible for night time call outs etc. This will be reviewed again when new priests are appointed.

St John’s Pz

Next stage of ministry and outreach at St John’s Church Pz.
The PCC has agreed the plans for the next steps of using both the church and grounds of St John’s PZ, both for community use and contemplative worship. More about these plans in the next few weeks. A brave step.

Increased use of St Peter’s Newlyn

Ways are being found for more community use for this church building. We are hoping that it can be used by more of the fishing community.

Wild Meadow project at Paul

This project is just about to begin and we expect the canopy to be erected by Easter Day.  So the outdoor space can be used even in inclement weather.

Spring cleaning time

St Mary’s church Penzance. 15th -18th March.  Next weekend is the time set aside to sort out all the jumble and things that have collected at the church over many years….all that we no longer use or is likely to be used into the future.  It’s important to get things in an orderly fashion as the. Church community consider how the church can be used more fully.  Can you give a number of hours to help get the church building straight and in order? …any time between Friday till Sunday.

St Peter’s Newlyn spring clean
Saturday 23rd March 10am until 12noon.

Easter Communion

Communion will be offered in both kinds across the Cluster from Easter Day. Please do not feel under any pressure to do this and do think about it carefully if your health is vulnerable.

Green Heating solution at St Mary’s Church

Tap image for more information.

Permission has now been granted for the new halo heating system to be installed and this will be one of the two “demonstrator” projects in the diocese.  The church council are now launching a funding campaign.  If you feel that you can help in any way please get in touch.

Financial Appeal and Fundraising for heating at St. Mary’s Church, Penzance

Some background…

For hundreds of years, St. Mary’s Church has stood on this site, serving the people of Penzance faithfully. It is also an iconic landmark, overlooking St. Michael’s Mount. In recent years, both through the Covid period and into the present day, it is a place of refuge and support for the vulnerable. The church is open daily and staffed by volunteers and pastoral assistants.  Hot drinks and often simple meals are freely provided.  A place of acceptance and welcome to all is a hallmark of St. Mary’s.

Many of you will know that very recently the gas heating at St. Mary’s failed and is beyond repair, despite the current boiler being only 11 years old.  Unfortunately, the whole system has been corroded by salt air.  We are at present using portable electric heaters so that we can continue to worship daily (in the side chapel at the moment), offer a ministry of welcome and support, host many groups and keep our doors open for night church. This is not a long term solution, however, as it is will be hard to conduct weddings, funerals and baptisms in the colder months of the year, which are of course all vital parts of our ministry and service; neither will we be able to hold large events: concerts, school groups and the like. So there is an issue about using such a large icon building effectively and creatively.

We do not hold fundraising events because we believe this would detract from our core calling as a church, which is to serve our community in faithfulness and prayer and to help others become more aware of the love of God. Our hospitality is freely given.

We need your help.


Following a specialist survey of our building, we know that we need to find around £60,000 for a new heating system to be installed. This is a huge sum of money, especially as we are a very poor church and we usually spend our funds on serving our community. But there is good news: if we can raise at least half of this, we will be eligible to get funding for being a Church of England Demonstrator Church.

What is a Demonstrator Church?

Our church has been chosen to be one of the buildings in England which is an example to others about how to embrace new technologies to heat churches effectively and to serve the community in which we live.  We are just one of two churches in Cornwall which will live out this vision of becoming carbon net zero by 2030.  Here at St. Mary’s, we are committed to serving those in need and those who are on the edge.  

We are committed to the Green agenda and doing our bit to save this God-given planet. (Indeed, we already use ‘100% Green’ electricity for this reason.) And we are committed to daily worship as a way of responding to God’s love for all people and this world. Being a Demonstrator Church will help others on their journey to becoming carbon neutral.

So we need a heating system that is both economically efficient and environmentally friendly.

Reducing carbon footprint

After much research, the Diocese of Truro and the Diocese of Bristol have found a solution to  the core needs of financial and environmental sustainability: a heating system which is cheaper to run and environmentally efficient. This innovative system of infrared heaters —designed specifically for church heating and aptly named Halos — will allow areas of the church to be used independently, meaning we will not have to heat the whole church for an event. These heaters have been successfully trialled in a Bristol church (with similarities to our building) and the people there speak enthusiastically about the effectiveness of the heating and the significant reduction in its cost. Church authorities across England are embracing the new technology.

The money…

This is an exciting opportunity to move forward in our commitment to serving our community as fully as we can, whilst also making significant steps to protect God’s world. The system could be installed within a week once we have raised the money we need. Once again, if we can raise at least half of the £60,000 needed, we will be able to apply for grants for the rest.

Once the new heating system is installed it will also be possible for music groups and concerts to use the church building at a reduced hire charge as it will be much quicker and cheaper to heat the building.

The Church Council thanks you for reading this letter and asks for your prayers and support. Even a very small financial gift will make a huge difference to this project: thank you for your generosity.

With our love and prayers,

The Church Councils of St Mary’s and St John’s churches Penzance

Penwith Deanery

Are you curious about what goes on among our churches within Penwith Deanery and how we are sharing the Good News of Jesus? You can find out by signing up to our twice monthly newsletter. Email Sarah and ask to subscribe to PDN.

CTiPA Walk of Christian Witness

Good Friday 29th March
Gather at Penzance bus station at 11.30am to walk through the town to the Salvation Army Hall, Queen Street, where there will be a short service followed by refreshments.

Easter holiday kids club.

We are holding 4 days of holiday club: Monday 1st April, Tuesday 2nd, Thursday 4th and Friday 5th: 9.30-3pm. These will be based at St John’s church Penzance this holiday. We are pleased that we have been able to obtain a small grant towards this work. The group will be smaller than usual…just 20 children between the ages of 6-11yrs.

  • Easter Monday: Playzone, Easter egg fun.
  • Tuesday: sculpture gardens and playzone.
  • Thursday: aquarium and trampoline park Newquay.
  • Friday: Flambards.

Might you be able to offer any help or maybe make some cakes?
Please contact Family Worker Molly.

Open doors UK: persecuted Christian

Second Monday of every month, 11am at High St Methodist Church, a group working with ‘Open Doors UK’ write letters and cards to persecuted Christians worldwide. All are welcome to join. 

How your church can bring about positive change in your community.

Tuesday 23 April, 10:00am-11:00am, online

Led by Charlotte Butler, Operations Director of TRANSFORMATION CORNWALL, this session will highlight how to build a project in your church for your community. You will look at a community-asset based approach, the effect of this on sustainability and impact for your community, funding, and the benefits of evaluation.

Other Articles;

Memory Café

United Nations Climate Change conference in the United Arab Emirates

Care for Creation

We want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.

More Information;

St Mary’s CofE

A happy Church of England School in a stunning location with an entrance directly off Penzance Prom.

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