News From St Mary’s – February 2022

In this second piece based on the ‘Tufton Tracts’, I consider the use and meaning of candles in church, beginning with ‘Lamps and Lights in the Bible’ –

‘In the New Testament Jesus said ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12). There is an obvious need to help people to see, both visually and spiritually. We see light as good and darkness as evil. Even when modern lighting became available, the Church continued to use candles as an important part of worship. The living flame is a powerful symbol of the presence of Christ – the light of the world.’

In the Anglo Catholic tradition there are particular practices making use of this powerful symbol of the living flame.

The Reserved Sacrament

A lamp or candle indicates that the Blessed Sacrament is ‘reserved’ in the church. At St Mary’s the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the Walsingham Chapel, with a lamp burning continuously above. I found the light of this little lamp very consoling when I was doing a lot of outdoor work to prepare for the restoration of the Top Field at St Mary’s (now the Community Garden). As the sun went down, the lamp cast its light against the stained glass of the chapel window and created an atmosphere of complete peace.

A Stand For Prayer Candles

We have one of these in the ante-chamber to the Walsingham Chapel, and people often light a candle for a loved one, or to accompany other forms of prayer. When they leave the church, the candle continues to burn. Those lighting candles may also ask a Saint to pray with or for them.

How Many Candles on the Altar?

Traditionally, the presence of six candles on the altar indicates the church is of the Anglo- Catholic tradition. Two or four would usually indicate a ‘central churchmanship’ or Evangelical form of worship.

The full set of six ‘Tufton Tracts’ are available free of charge on the wooden rotary leaflet holder in the ante-chamber to the Walsingham Chapel.

Keith Revoir

St Mary’s Open Day & Craft Fair 2022

St Mary’s Open Day & Craft Fair 2022

This year’s event will take place on Saturday 21st May, with a wide range of stalls in both the Church Hall and Garden. The church will be looking its best, with exhibitions by local societies and the church organ providing musical accompaniment.

The Top Field will once again host a live band and the steam miniature railway. Last year it was too wet for a Bouncy Castle, but if fine we hope to have one this year. Last but not least, the Harvey’s Beer Tent and barbecue will be in full swing throughout.

The daytime event is from 12.00 until 6.00, and after a bit of a clear up we will proceed to Round Two!  This is a dusk display of fireworks generously provided and supervised by our local business sponsors Festive Illuminations.

Most of last year’s stallholders have re-booked, but there may be a couple of outside pitches still available. If you are interested, drop me an e-mail at The pitch fee is £20, and you will need to provide a table. Also wise to have a pop up gazebo or similar in case of wet weather.

The perfect family day out, on your doorstep!

Keith Revoir 

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