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Now the message that we have heard from his Son and announce is this: God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him. If, then, we say that we have fellowship with him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions. But if we live in the light - just as he is in the light - then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.

1 John 1.5-7





Polishing the woodwork

Over several Saturday mornings several members of the congregation helped to polish up the woodwork in the church. This is one of our younger members, Dylan, enjoying the surroundings.

In the footsteps of monks - A day at Westminster Abbey by John Mortimer

No one quite knew what to expect. After all, over a million people visit Westminster Abbey every year. Some to seek inspiration and spiritual uplift, others to discover 1,000 years of England’s history or to experience the architectural splendour and majesty of a unique building that has played, and still plays, a unique role in the life of this country. However, this was a no ordinary day’s outing. Thanks to the efforts of Rev Paul Smith, and the kindness and generosity of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, it was indeed a day with a difference for some 50 friends of Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership; a day in which to share Evensong, and unlock some of the Abbey’s best-kept secrets.

Transported from The Well in one of Soul’s 49-seaters (with loo), we appeared to rise loftily above M1’s mundane traffic and the crowded streets of north London, before finally alighting within sight of Westminster Methodist Central Hall. Revived and refreshed with sustenance from Wesley’s Café, everyone gathered expectantly under the Abbey’s imposing West Front for the next stage of the adventure.

For to step through the West Door, is indeed to step into the spiritual and historical heart of England and the final resting place for 17 monarchs. Many visitors regularly attend the Abbey’s services, but for us the Dean and Chapter provided a unique Evensong opportunity. Occupying privileged seats in the Quire, normally reserved down the ages for the great and the good, few could be unmoved by the timeless atmosphere provided by the Abbey, its choir and its music, as indeed they are daily at services throughout the week.

The Very Reverend Dr. John Hunt, Dean of Westminster, in offering us his welcome, reminded everyone of the unique link binding Willen Church and the Abbey. Dr. Robert Busby, head master of Westminster School purchased an estate in Willen and arranged that Robert Hooke, one his former pupils, construct a church in the grounds. Much as Dr. Hunt would have liked to guide us through ‘his church’, he offered his apologies; he was otherwise officiating at one of the few private weddings held in the abbey. Only Royalty and the Abbey’s privileged few can marry within its walls.

Our guide for the day was The Reverend Jane Hedges, the Abbey’s Canon Steward. Canon Jane looks after the Abbey’s ministry of welcome to its many visitors and pilgrims. And, as if with perfect timing for the start of our tour, (but the exit of the bride and groom) the powerful Harrison and Harrison organ immediately burst deafeningly into life. One could only admire the organist’s rendering of the toccata from Widor’s 5th Symphony.

Canon Jane’s tour, with its many twists, unveiled some of the Abbey’s mysteries, mysteries familiar only to insiders; like the secret College Gardens, tunnels worn smooth by monks and clergy over the past 1,000 years, the shrine of Edward the Confessor, and the delightful Lady Chapel with its heraldry of the Knights of the Order of Bath. The College Gardens hold special significance for Canon Jane as she oversees the work of the Abbey gardeners.

She also offers generous hospitality to guests – including the feast that everyone awaited. No, not just the welcome cups of tea or coffee and the sumptuous cakes on offer, but especially for us the magic of the Jerusalem Chamber. This, the principal room in the house of the Abbots of Westminster, provided the climax to the day as well as a perfect backdrop for our refreshments.
Dating from the mid-sixteenth century, the Jerusalem Chamber with its stunning original roof, oak panelling and tapestries, has not only been an important venue for meetings, but was the resting place of King Henry V1 before his death. Today it is one of the private rooms of the Deanery.
Then, before departure, there was time for a final reflection in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Finally, as driver Rob piloted the coach back to The Well, there was time for all to reflect and talk of a truly memorable day. Perhaps it will not be six years before we retrace our steps into the past.

Photos by Paul Smith

Liz Baker licensed at Willen

Liz Baker was licensed as associate priest in the Stantonbury and Willen team on Wednesday 29th September. Rector, Paul Smith, led Evensong with music from Quorum, and Bishop Alan preached. It was Michaelmas and Bishop Alan preached about angels, reminding us that the universe is not a Heath Robinson machine, but a wonderful place in which God's creativity is experienced and expressed in love.

Liz will be serving primarily with the congregations of Willen and Downs Barn and will be continuing her work as Director of the Well at Willen (SSM).

Article and photograph courtesy of Tim Norwood

Trip to Ely Cathedral, Sept 2010

Members of Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership, mostly from Willen and Downs Barn, travelled by coach to Ely on 18 September 2010 on a trip organised by the Social & Fund-raising committee of St Mary Magdalene.

The main incentive for going to Ely was to visit the Stained Glass Museum at the Cathedral to see the only preserved window taken from Willen Church when plain glass was fitted as a part of refurbishment work in the 1960’s.

As originally constructed in 1680 Willen church had clear glass windows, but these were replaced by stained glass in about 1860 at the same time as the semi-circular apse was added to the nave and a coal-fired hot-air heating system was installed.

The Stained Glass Museum is both fascinating and comprehensive and covers all periods from medieval glass to Frank Lloyd Wright and Tiffany on to modern Salle de Verre panels of the type pioneered by the monks of Buckfast Abbey. “Our Window” had been taken from storage and was displayed on a large ‘light-box’ supported on a rather sophisticated ‘fork-lift’ truck. The panel is attributed to the O’Connor family, London, and depicts the Raising of Jairus’s Daughter. The Curator noted that the panel is in poor condition and heavily soiled (in all probability from the fumes from the new chimney that had been built into the north side of the Chancel Arch).

The Stained Glass Museum is located high above the south side of the cathedral nave and the south transept (with access via a steep and tricky staircase) but we were rewarded whilst we were there by the organist practising for a wedding later that afternoon and we were delighted to hear Mendelssohn’s Wedding March and Pachelbel’s Canon.
After the museum visit the group split up to go their various ways, but the cathedral itself was a must. The octagonal tower is amazing and there is a three-dimensional model to show how the structure was constructed. The cathedral café and the almonry restaurant provided sustenance for hungry pilgrims.

Other sites visited by members of the group during the day included Oliver Cromwell’s house (in which is the Tourist Office), the city museum, the waterside walks and restaurants and the well-preserved and attractive cityscape.

Revd Paul Smith and members of the group are shown outside the Almonry northeast of the cathedral The window depicting the Raising of Jairus's Daughter that was removed from the church of St Mary Magdalene, Willen, in the 1960's An interior view of the octagonal tower

Article by John Figg, Photographs courtesy of Adrian Kirkwood,

The next cathedral to be visited by Stantonbury Ecumencical Partnership members will be a more formal occasion as the Busby Trustees have invited us to come to Westminster Abbey for Evensong on Saturday 30 October 2010.

Willen Flower Festival

A flower festival was held at Willen Church on 25 - 26 April 2009 to celebrate the successful completion of the "Under One Roof" campaign. Many thanks to all those who contributed to and supported both the event and the campaign.

Welcome, Jeanette Smith
Visitors admire the flowers
Living water, Angela Tayler
The Church on the Campus, Nancy Warner
North Vestry arrangement
Following Jesus, Sharing His Love, Margaret Brown
Reach for the Roof, Jeanette Smith
Speaking God's Word, Caroline Rollings
Sing to the Lord, Lilian Wilson
The Cross and the Stable, Jeanette Smith
Fisher of Men, Freddie Wright and Eileen Grundy
The Well - Water, Liz Baker
The Festival Service
Refreshments after the Festival Service

Service at Willen Hospice

A joint service with Willen and the Cross and Stable congregation was held in the grounds of Willen Hospice on Sunday 14 September 2008.

Hospice service
Hospice service
Hospice service

MK Dons Trophies

On the 12th June 2008 the Civil Parish Council held their annual meeting at Willen
Church and were able to display the two trophies won by the MK Dons soccer
team this season.


Carol singing on 19th December 2007 at the Waterside restaurant to raise funds for Willen and the Cross and Stable churches.

In fine voice!

Photograph courtesy of Pixelero

Margaret Moake's re-presentation as a Licensed Lay Minister at Oxford Cathedral on 3rd November 2007.

Margaret and her supporters at Oxford Cathedral Margaret and Paul at Oxford Cathedral




Church Calendar
Every Sunday
9.30am Services following a variety of Christian traditions, alternating between Communion and Morning Worship.
First Sunday of each month
8.30am Holy Communion
9.30am All Age Worship
Special Occasions (Life Events)
Baptisms, Thanksgivings for Childbirth, Weddings, Anniversaries and Funerals Can be arranged by contacting Rev. Paul Smith.   
The church is open for personal visits and we welcome those wishing to pray or find a few moments of peace and quiet.

Parish wide events