We held two outside services in honour of Remembrance Sunday on 12th November: one at the War Memorial at St Andrew’s Church, Stanstead Abbots and another at the Amwell Lane War Memorial, Great Amwell.
These were poignant services. As we all stood together, young and old, we remembered those who have suffered far greater hardships than a bit of rain: those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might live in freedom and peace.
At St Andrew’s, we had a thought-provoking address by General Sir Nicholas Carter about the nature of service in the armed forces. To quote just one of the important points he made:
‘My generation has been privileged to grow up with veterans who understood the horrors of war, but as each year passes, we lose these veterans, and as they depart the coming generation is not touched so personally by the memory of war. Our challenge in this unstable world is to make sure that this new generation understands that the nature of war never changes – it is always violent, it always causes great suffering, and its first casualty is always the truth. And that is why Remembrance must never be a moment to glorify war, it must be a moment to remember why it must be avoided at all costs.’
Thanks go to the General for taking the time to come and share with us. He was very impressed by the turn out, especially of our youth groups.
It was a great moment of community spirit and we thank everyone involved in the services or who came along to pay their respects.
‘We will remember them’
To mark All Saints’ and All Souls’ we held two special services: on Wednesday 1st November (All Saints’ Day) at St Mary’s Church, St Margarets and on Sunday 5th November at St Andrew’s Church, Stanstead Abbots.
Our All Saints’/All Souls’ Services of remembrance were quiet and reflective services, open to all who have lost a loved one. We were glad to see lots of members of our church family, as well as members of the wider community, coming together.
Rev’d Dr Sarah said, ‘It is privilege to walk with people through the difficult times of loss and grief, and to be there to encourage and bring hope when things seem dark and difficult. Remembering is important, and it is good to look back and see where we have come along the journey and to find God has been with us even when we weren’t sure He was at the time.’
The loss of a baby or pregnancy is heart-breaking, and this is happening to families across the UK everyday. During Baby Loss Awareness Week, from 9–15th October, The 3 Churches Benefice wanted to create a special display to remember all the babies lost, whether recently or long ago.
As such, we made a Ribbon Display outside St Andrew’s Church, Stanstead Abbotts and invited those affected to add a ribbon to our special Memory Tree. The church was open on Sunday 15th October, from 12 to 4pm for quiet reflection.
We also organized a Ribbon Run to raise funds for Sands, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity who organizes Baby Loss Awareness Week. The team set off at 1pm on Sunday 15th October and walked/ran the 5km circuit from St Andrew’s Church. The current total raised so far is £282 + £49.62 GiftAid. Thank you to everyone who took part or sponsored the team. The page is still open if you would like to donate: Sands – Stanstead Abbotts 5k Ribbon Walk. All money raised from the Ribbon Run will go to Sands, so they can continue to support families and reduce baby deaths, by investing in research and championing better maternity care.
For anyone who needs the support of Sands you can find more information on their website www.sands.org.uk .
Harvest Festival was a wonderful day held on Sunday 8th October 2023. We had a lovely service at the Old Parish Church of St James, which was full of people all there to celebrate the harvest. The church and barn were beautifully decorated (as seen in the photo gallery above).
After the service, there was a lunch organized by Gini and Jonathan Trower in the Haybarn at Stanstead Bury Farm, Stanstead Abbotts. The food was delicious and it was a really joyful event for the community.
Special thanks go to:
Thank you to everyone, especially Gini and Jonathan Trower and their helpers, for all the hard work that was put into making this a special event for the Benefice and the wider community.
On Saturday 7th October, we had an epic night of poverty-beating fun as we took part in The Big Quiz Night for Tearfund. This is an event that is run nationally, with churches all over the UK taking part.
This year at The Wilshere Hall we had a great turnout with around 23 attendees. It was a fun night, coming together as a community to enjoy a good quiz, but also to raise much-needed funds for a fantastic charity.
At the last count, The 3 Churches Benefice raised over £120. Overall, 5320 quizzes were run, 144 churches got involved and the current running total is £31,451 (on 11/10/2023)! To check out the latest numbers, go to The Big Quiz Night Totaliser HERE.
Thank you to everyone who came along to support this event!
As many of you will know, the local Foodbank Hub operating out of St Margarets’ Parish Church (St Mary the Virgin) began life in December 2020, after discussions with Rev’d Dr Sarah Forrest. Through her links with the schools, the increasing strain on individuals and families during the Pandemic became apparent, and the idea of a local hub delivering to people in the villages was taken up by us as a benefice. We now regularly deliver Foodbank parcels to people in need, many of whom would struggle to get to Hertford or Ware to pick up what they and their families need.
The 3 Churches Foodbank Hub is always in need of donations. When we have specific requests, this will be noted in our News & Notices sheet. Donations can be dropped off on Wednesday morning between 10.30–11.30am at St Margarets Parish Church or to Sue Webb at 8 Miller Lane, Stanstead Abbotts.
Any donations are gratefully received. Thank you for your continued support!
If you have any questions, do get in touch with Lyn Paddon, The 3 Churches Foodbank Manager (see our Contact Us page for details).
Richard and Elizabeth were married in the church in 1610, and Richard was one of the Pilgrim Fathers who left Plymouth on the ‘Mayflower’ in 1620. Elizabeth and her five daughters followed him to the New World three years later.
The memorial plaque was sponsored by The Warren Cousins from America, fifteen of whom were present at the ceremony, including their president Marty Beerman and his wife Jane.
The service was conducted by Rev’d Dr Sarah Forrest, assisted by Benefice Reader, Lynne Griffiths. It was a lovely service, followed by refreshments, and everyone who attended felt it was a very special event.
Written by Richard Mellor
(1) Rt Rev’d Dr Jane Mainwaring with Rev’d Dr Sarah Forrest and Benefice Reader Lynne Griffiths
(2) The service
(3) The Bishop of Hertford, assisted by Benefice Reader, Lynne Griffiths before the unveiling
(4) Richard Pickering in 17th Century costume, with the unveiled plaque
(5) The Warren Cousins
(6) Jane & Marty Beerman, with the Rev’d Dr Sarah Forrest and Churchwardens Margaret & Richard Mellor