At St Mary's this week
Sunday 13 June
10.00am Sung service of Holy Communion
The church is open every day for private prayer and reflection.
Please read the CV19 Risk Assessment and Mitigations for St Mary's Church HERE
A message from Revd David Grundy,
A warm welcome to this website, whether you’re here for the first time or visit regularly. We’re delighted that you’ve found us.
Many churches are closed for worship at the moment, and whilst we are open every day for private prayer and on Sundays at 10am for worship, many people still prefer to access the online service which we post each week, which is a complete service with hymns, a sermon, readings, a blessing, an introduction and prayers. The website is also designed to give you an idea of other aspects of the church’s life such as Eco Church, Prayer and Meditation (Christian Mindfulness sessions), Spiritual Refreshment, and there is also a Community Noticeboard, with online access to the Parish News magazine.
Above all, we hope that in these pages you find something of Jesus himself, the centre of our faith, and the one who longs for us to be in relationship with him, and who welcomes us with open arms. Please get in touch, if you’d like, whether it is to find out more, to ask for prayer or simply to introduce yourself.
And in the meantime, we hope you stay safe and well, and enjoy the website.
With very best wishes,
tel. 01306 731142
by Hilary Swift
The joy of the Lord is your strength.
What does it mean to be truly JOYFUL?
A general meaning might be a feeling of happiness. But joy, in its fuller, spiritual meaning of expressing God's
goodness, involves more. It is a deep-rooted, inspired happiness born from the knowledge that we are loved and saved by God.
In New Testament Greek, there are eight different words for joy, but the most prevalent one is chara. According to Strong’s Concordance, chara means joy, calm delight, or inner gladness. It is related to chairo, which means to rejoice and charis, which means grace. So, chara means to rejoice because of grace. It is the awareness of God’s grace to us through Jesus, and our reaction to it.
What is so different from ordinary happiness is that physical circumstances may have little to do with feeling Joyful. St Paul exemplified joy in suffering throughout his ministry. Though he was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and more, he still had joy. He called it “being full of sorrow and yet rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10) and said in 2 Corinthians 7:4 “in all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.”
I’m amazed at the joy I have seen when visiting Compassion projects – people living in the most deprived circumstances, surrounded by rubbish tips, constantly threatened by disease and death - and yet they are joyful.
How do these people experience joy amid such terrible times? Well, Charles Spurgeon describes it this way, “Believers are not dependent upon circumstances. Their joy comes not from what they have, but from what they are, not from where they are, but from whose they are, not from what they enjoy, but from that which was suffered for them by their Lord.”
CS Lewis, in his auto biography, ‘Surprised by Joy’, traces his journey searching for ‘arrows of joy’ - transcendental moments of pure joy which he experienced as a boy and tried to recreate through enjoyment of music, ancient history and literature. It was only when he discovered his Christian faith that he learned the true source of joy.
Being joyful is infectious. If we can show the joy of the Lord in all that we do, others will notice. So many are searching like CS Lewis was for lasting joy – not just the passing pleasures that the world brings, but deep, peaceful joy. When Nehemiah said, "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10) he was speaking to the remnant of Israel who had returned to Judah to rebuild the city and its temple. It was a time of restoration, not only of the ruined city, but also of obedience to the law of God. What he said to them was, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’
Dear Lord, as we begin a time of restoration after the damage that COVID has done, help us to be joyful even when our circumstances are difficult, serving others especially those ‘who have nothing prepared’. AMEN
“God is light; In him there is no darkness...”
[1 John 1:5]
St Mary's, the parish church of Holmbury St Mary, is a beautiful place to seek & know God.
Holmbury church is not, though, just a building; it is a community of worshippers who are here to serve each other, the Holmbury parish and the world beyond in witness to the Christian faith.
St Mary's offers friendship, fellowship and support throughout the village and further afield, not just for those who come to services but for everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation and belief.
If you would like to find out more or speak to someone in confidence, please contact
Revd. David Grundy on 01306 731142 or at