Here at St Mary’s we believe that church is about far more than just Services on Sunday.
We’re a community, and much of what we do is about helping people find a place of belonging and friendship. Our vision is to be a worshipping community sharing freely and joyfully our love for Jesus Christ and his world.
Amongst other things, we have regular activities for children and older people. We have small groups that meet during the week for prayer, Bible study and a chance to socialise. There is an inter-church Men’s Breakfast that meets every other month.
As the local parish church we take our involvement in the local community very seriously and have ongoing links with schools and many other local groups. Our 13th century building is regularly used by local groups and for concerts.
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
At St Mary’s Church we welcome children of all ages, and have various opportunities for all to get involved in the life of the church. At St Mary’s, children are extremely important and valued members of our church family and we take very seriously our responsibility to help them discover more about God in accessible and creative ways. We have a wide range of activities and groups to help children grow in faith and confidence. We have groups for children (aged 3-11) and young people (aged 12-16) which we call Sunday Fun during our 10am Sunday services. In the church itself we have a toddler area for children with activities for them to enjoy. On the first Sunday of the month we have an all-age service where we worship together – there is no Sunday Fun and we, sing, pray and learn from the bible together.
We also want children and families to feel integrated in to the church, to do this we have a family time during the service which introduces the topic of Sunday Fun for that week. During the service we don’t want you to worry if your child cries or makes some noise; we have experience of just what kids do and would love you and your children to feel at home.
Sparklers is a twice-monthly group for Under 5s and their parents or carers held in St Mary’s Church. Supervised craft, toys, refreshments and a half-hour “service” of songs, prayers and a Bible story take place from 9am-11am, normally on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. Drop in for a coffee or cup of tea and a chance to have a chat while your children play! Keep an eye on the church notice board, calendar and Facebook page for one off events that will be happening throughout the year. Sian Stratton is our full-time Family and Community Development Leader. If you have any questions, do feel free to get in touch with Sian via the church office.
The 55+ group meets on the fourth Thursday of the month for fellowship, fun and food! The basic outline of the programme is:
10.45am Coffee and cake-eating
11.15am talk followed by discussion
It is an opportunity for the ‘over 55s’ to get together for an interesting talk and a chance to build friendships, support one another and enjoy a meal together. The group is affiliated to the Outlook Trust. Outlook is a Christian organisation which aims to reach older people with God’s Good News about Jesus and His promise of abundant and everlasting life. The group is led by Gordon and Mary Taylor who can be contacted via the church office on 01844 213491.
MUSIC AT ST MARY’S
Music is an essential ingredient in the worship life of St Mary’s and there are opportunities to share in this ministry! Our worship group – a mix of instrumentalists and singers – supports our 10am Sunday morning service. Our choir sings occasional Evensongs and special services, as well as enriching our Sunday morning worship with anthems at major festivals. Their numbers are added to at Christmas when they are joined by friends from other churches in Thame for our annual Festival of Readings and Carols. Our volunteer organists take turns playing at most of our services including 8.00am Holy Communion and 4.00pm Evensong. Revd Graham Choldcroft has care of our choir and oversight of the organists and can be contacted via the church office.
The ringers at Thame are always pleased to have new and potential ringers to join the team. Individuals, couples and families with children aged 12 years and over, are welcomed. If you are interested do come up the tower on a Monday evening at 7:30pm when we can show you the bells and arrange a time for you to have a try at ringing, or just come and watch on a Sunday morning at 9:30am. We would be pleased to welcome you at either time. For more information speak to Rosalie Gibson (Tower Captain) or give her a call on (01844) 213948.
FRIENDS OF ST MARY’S
The Friends of St Mary’s was established in 1992 to help ensure that The Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary Thame should continue to play a key role in the community, central to the lives of some and to many more a backdrop to daily life and a familiar landmark when returning home. The St Mary’s building has been and continues to be the focus of many of life’s memories, including christenings, weddings and, more sadly, funerals.
During its existence, The Friends of St Mary’s have helped fund many repairs and maintenance works, including major work on the tower and the roofs, and lime-washing the interior of the building. Once a century or so a major refurbishment becomes essential involving timber treatment, flooring, organ, bells, lighting and heating installations etc. In 1991-92 the refurbishment and reordering of St Mary’s included over £300,000 of such works.
As a contribution to this future expense The Friends of St Mary’s has also been putting aside funds for the day, estimated to be around the year 2090, when another major refurbishment will be required. However the Friends of St Mary’s is not just about raising money but aims to live up to its name in fostering friendships between church members and other people whose lives are touched by St Mary’s.
The Friends organise social events like the annual BBQ, concerts, events in church and help with refreshments on other occasions. If you’d like to know more about the work of the Friends of St Mary’s, please do contact us.