Saint Mary’s News
October was a month which began and ended with Saint Mary’s hosting national events. All those who attended both of them spoke of the beauty of the building and the space we have to use – and the hospitality and generous welcome they received from all they met here.
At the beginning of the month we began our Harvest Celebrations in partnership with the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals. They held their annual service with members coming from various parts of the country. Thanks to them we enjoyed a conference on the Saturday with keynote speakers (including one travelling from America) who helped us both to understand the international and local impact we are having on the maritime environment and what steps we need to take to reduce this impact.
This theme was further developed at our Harvest Thanksgiving which alongside the traditional gifts of Harvest (for which the Roberts Centre offer their thanks) people were invited to make a pledge to do something to reduce plastic pollution. The Social Justice Group is thinking about how to take this forward and in particular how we might as a Parish become an ‘Eco Church’ – or more accurately 3 Eco Churches!
The Harvest celebrations concluded with the now ‘traditional’ Harvest Supper and entertainment. There was an air of anticipation from those present as to what would be ‘served’ up this year. Thanks to Rosie and her helpers who provided the ploughman’s suppers and to Hester and Alan for the Apple Crumbles ….the Vicar was let loose once again with squirty cream! The Supper was followed by a variety of acts – the Sunflowers set the scene with a sing along and were resplendent in their matching yellow tops. Their numbers are growing (numerically and musically!) and if you would like to be a Sunflower, Marie would love to hear from you. They were followed by the return of Ian and Dougal, Janice with some humorous ‘outtakes’, songs from David and Ali and Brian once again showed his versatility at the piano. This skill was vital in supporting the Ministry Team in their finale. This year’s offering on the theme of the ‘sea’ and took us on a voyage across the sea, and under it – with Father Marcus discovering the joy of Parish life as the boat! It is impossible to describe here what took place – and is probably best left at that!
At the start of Half Term we held the Autumn Fair and it was good to see the ‘Saint Mary’s smile’ deployed by so many helpers and in variety of ways! The Fair raised over £1300 and saw a constant stream of people enjoying visiting the space.
While there they were able to also look at the PonTOON digital arts display which was part of the Journeys International Festival. This Festival (organised by ARtsREach) aims to raise awareness of the gifts and stories of those who are refugees and to seek to welcome them into our communities. There are 2 well established Festivals in Leicester and Manchester and the Portsmouth Festival has been developing over the last 3 years.
Saint Mary’s was involved for the first time this year and alongside the digital arts we hosted the “Weekender”. Sadly, this coincided with the sharp drop in temperature. Despite this, many people came and enjoyed the music on offer in the Churchyard over 2 days. There were also activities for children – notably an enthralling ‘puppet city’ which developed out of cardboard over the event – and some great food – Father Bob was seen more than once enjoying the Venezuelan cornbread with fillings. We hope that this will not be the last time we see this event, and look forward to welcoming them back in future years (but perhaps not at the end of October)!