St Mary the Virgin Church,

Church Walk,

Higham Ferrers,


St. John the Baptist Church,

Caldecott Road,

Chelveston cum Caldecott




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Benefice Newsletter

Sunday 29th March 2020
The Fifth Sunday of Lent – Passion Sunday

WELCOME to our news sheet for the coming week.
Our churches may not be open at this difficult time but we continue to worship as individuals and remain united in prayer.

We are now in even stranger and harder times than we have known for a very long time.  Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last Monday, much of our public life has been shut down, many of us are confined to our homes, and even our churches, along with all places of worship, are closed until further notice. 

However, while the buildings may be closed, our worship and ministry continues!  We are finding new ways to be in touch with one another via phone, email, WhatsApp, Facebook and the Benefice Website.  We broadcast a live service for Mothering Sunday last week from St John’s and though we cannot now use the church, we will be doing a broadcast service for Passion Sunday too – so watch this space! 

The Ministry Team are also producing a Daily Podcast which is posted on the website and WhatsApp Groups.  A simple form of Daily Prayer is also being made available as well as the many resources available from the Church of England website (see details below).

In all this, we are still together the church, we are still praying together and sharing in ‘spiritual communion’ and growing together in faith and trust.  More than anything, as we continue on our journey this Lent in a different way to normal, we may well find ourselves drawing closer to God and one another than ever before.  On Passion Sunday, as Jesus turns towards Jerusalem and faces his own fast approaching passion, he brings about the greatest sign yet of his power – raising his dear friend Lazarus from death.  Death no longer is the end of the story, and as we shall see, in fact, by the cross and grave, becomes the means by which eternal life is gained.  When all seems lost, it is often but the beginning of a new age.  Keep faith, keep believing – ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah.’


‘KEEP THE LIGHT SHINING’:  Last week on Sunday we joined together in the Archbishops’ call for action by placing a lighted candle in our window at 7 pm as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.  Some of us are finding this helpful each evening – but do join again if you can each Sunday at 7 pm as we ‘keep the light shining’ to keep our spirits up and share our hope in brighter times to come.

PRAYING AT HOME:  Our Ministry Team have prepared a simple form of Morning Prayer and Night Prayer that you can use at home each day – we try to say Morning Prayer together at 9 am, Evening Prayer at 5 pm and Night Prayer before bed.  You can download the Daily Prayer App from The Church of England website as well as find many more helpful prayer resources

Do check out our Benefice website: and Church Facebook pages, St Mary's, Higham Ferrers, st. john's church chelveston.

KEEPING IN TOUCH:  we will continue to update the website and Facebook pages and send out communications by email and text.  Phone calls will be a good way of us all supporting one another, especially where we are self-isolating at home.  Please help where you can by passing on updates and messages and do let us know where people are in need of shopping or practical assistance - there are various groups getting going to help in these sort of ways and both churches are supporting this as well as through our church family links.

THE ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETINGS for both St Mary’s and St John’s will now take place later in the year but it would be helpful for any groups preparing reports to still produce them as soon as possible. 

MOTHERS’ UNION meetings are suspended until further notice.  We will continue in prayer.

#LIVE LENT: This year the Church of England #Live Lent theme is Care for God's Creation.  If you would like to join in even at the late stage, we can deliver a booklet to you, or you can download the app or sign up for daily emails at

FOOD BANK:  Whilst the church is closed donations from St John’s can be dropped off directly with Sara Owst.  In Higham, if your daily walk comes anywhere near Meadow Walk they can safely be left on Jane Smeathers’ doorstep at No 4, or speak to Michelle.  If none of these work for you please use the donation points in local supermarkets.  

We anticipate that demand will increase dramatically in the coming weeks and need long life semi-skimmed milk, jam & preserves, tinned potatoes, tinned pasta & tinned fish.  If you are able to pick up extra items for the food bank on your regular shopping trip we would be extremely grateful.  Thank you so much for continuing to support the needy at this difficult time.  

THE NEWS SHEET is also available electronically.  If you would like to be added to the circulation list please email

For all enquiries and requests for pastoral help:


Tel: 01733 569147 / 07961 003352 or

BRENDA Elldred (Reader)

07816 771702,

(visits & home communion)

Lynne on 07800 636943, for St Mary's

Brenda Elldred (as above) for St John’s


01933 741140 or 


01933 741140 or



Baby Albert, Jane Andrews, John Arkell, Wallis Beard, Richard Bedells, Madge Boxall, Daniel Boxall, Tony Brown, Hazel Cragg, Pat Ellis, Angela Fulcher, Cynthia Hobson, Noreen Holmes, Leigh Kingdon, Tim McGuire, Sally Mayes, Annette Norman, Richard Oberman, Peter Paynton, Anna Sauntson, Elizabeth Swindley, Garth Ward, Sara Whatley, Margaret Whiteman. 

Chelveston:    Joan Amos, Ann Balantyne, Brittany Fowler, Sheila Hayes, Muriel Palmer, Diana Wright.


IN MEMORIAM:    Geoff Headland


Frederick Hunt, Sarah Lines, Marie Brown, Walter Powell, John Gibbs, Adelaide Warren, Rosemary Capps, Solomon Upton, Ida Tapp, Mary Wildsmith, Rosa Hill, Edith Blackwell, Jean Turnock, Doris Pretty, Gwendoline (Gwen) Nurdin, Florence Haynes, May Thomas, Kenneth Smith, Louisa Savage, Grace Hill, Evelyn Tideswell, Ann Vorley, Alfred Gilbert, Ernest Collins, Florence Rollings.