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.
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
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
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
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
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.
licensed at Willen
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.
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).
and photograph courtesy of Tim Norwood
Trip to Ely
Cathedral, Sept 2010
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
John Figg, Photographs courtesy of Adrian Kirkwood,
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.
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.
A joint service
with Willen and the Cross and Stable congregation was held in the grounds
of Willen Hospice on Sunday 14 September 2008.
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.
on 19th December 2007 at the Waterside restaurant to raise funds for Willen
and the Cross and Stable churches.
courtesy of Pixelero
Moake's re-presentation as a Licensed Lay Minister at Oxford Cathedral
on 3rd November 2007.
following a variety of Christian traditions, alternating between Communion
and Morning Worship.
Sunday of each month
Occasions (Life Events)
Thanksgivings for Childbirth, Weddings, Anniversaries and Funerals
Can be arranged by contacting Rev. Paul Smith.
church is open for personal visits and we welcome those wishing to
pray or find a few moments of peace and quiet.