Welcome to the August 2016 update on events at St Mary’s Church, Kemp Town - a friendly, inclusive Anglican church in the heart of Brighton.
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St Mary's. It's beautiful inside.
And getting very much better outside.

Welcome to our August 2016 update. Please excuse us if we're preoccupied with our building repairs. They are progressing well, and we're still on course to have the scaffolding down in time for Christmas. But they mean we don't have as many activities as usual happening this summer.

In July our contractors, Pierra Restoration, made a good start on repairing the brickwork, which involves piecing in new bricks where old ones are beyond salvation and re-doing virtually all of the pointing to the west-facing elevation. They're using a local sand for the pointing, which, as with the original, is quite pink. Just exactly how pink it should be, however, occasioned some delicate discussions on the scaffolding. We also made the interesting discovery of how much concrete was used in the building - an innovative construction material in 1877. 

Towards the end of this month, Pierra's masons will begin the big job of cutting out the most eroded stone from the window tracery. Repairing this stonework will make a huge difference to the church's appearance, but it's going to be a horribly dusty job. If you're visiting us this month or next, please forgive us if we're not looking pristine.

If you're interested in the building and our plans for the future, which include a new entrance and facilities block on the corner of Upper Rock Gardens, have a look at our website here. You can also read about the background to our current repair works in our July 2016 newsletter here. 
Highs and lows of scaffolding
The scaffolding for our repair works brings new discoveries every day. Some are the sort you'd rather not have to deal with - such as finding out there wasn't an awful lot of mortar holding the bricks together in our transept gable. Fixing that is an essential but unwelcome additional cost. But other discoveries are a delight, including the opportunity to examine closely the Ascension panel in our transept window, which was made by Mayer & Co. of Munich in 1883. We've never seen these lovely angels up close before.

A Kemp Town Cornerstone
Neighbourhood History Exhibition Update

We had a delightful Tea & Company session at St Mary's on Wednesday, 27 July. In addition to our regular visitors, there were ten former pupils of St Mary's Junior School who brought memories and photos of their school days. Our oral historian, Jo Palache, was kept busy lining up interviews with them for our neighbourhood history exhibition which opens in November. 
It was hard not to be moved by the lovely friendship of June and Betty. They enrolled at the school in 1939, and have fond memories of it, in particular the long-serving headteacher, Mr Cooper. They were less fond of the compulsory hymn-singing at the end of each school day and remember tormenting the teacher concerned with deliberately dreadful wailing. Both girls remained at the school until they were evacuated in 1943. They still live locally and have been friends ever since. And, wonderfully, both have kept their old school portraits.
If you have memories or photos of the neighbourhood around the church it's not too late to contribute them to the exhibition. If you can, please come along to our neighbourhood history day on Saturday, 13 August, 10 am - 4 pm. You can also find out more about the project on our website or, if you use Facebook, join the community page we've set up for it: St Mary's School, Mount Street, Brighton.
Having a clear-out of your wardrobe?
Please save your winter woollies.
For the past 18 months, St Mary's has been working with a local charity, Samara's Aid Appeal, to send clothing, blankets and care packages to displaced families in refugee camps in northern Syria and Iraq. The charity was started by a Brighton mother, Samara Levy, in 2014 and has thus far shipped almost 50 lorries and containers of aid and 11 ambulances to Syria and Iraq.

We'll be doing another winter clothes collection with Samara later this year, so if you're having a wardrobe clean-out at the end of summer, please set aside any good quality winter-weight clothes and shoes you may have for us to send to families in need. In our next newsletter, we'll give dates to bring the clothes into the church, where we will sort and pack them into banana boxes for overland transport to Syria and Iraq. Even with a ton of volunteer help, however, the transport costs still come to about £5 a box, so please also consider sponsoring a box or two.

You can read more about Samara's work, including her charity's appeal for money to equip hospitals in Syria, on the Samara's Aid Appeal website. Where possible, the charity posts videos of the distribution of the clothing and other assistance sent. Over 150 churches across the UK have sent goods to the camps through Samara's initiative.

Special Events in August

Sunday, 7 August, 12 noon - 5 pm
Pride Sunday at St Mary's
We're looking forward to our open day on Pride Sunday when, from 12 noon onwards, we'll be offering delicious Caribbean and African food, lush cakes and restorative tea and coffee. We'll also have cool, peace and serenity on offer for those who need a break from the hubbub of the Pride Village Party in St James's Street. Do drop in to say hello if you're passing. Our regular service is on at 10 am. Doggies in rainbow costume especially welcome!
Saturday, 13 August, 10 am - 4 pm
Neighbourhood History Day
A drop-in day for anyone interested in the history of the neighbourhood around St Mary’s, and especially for former pupils of St Mary's Junior School (closed in 1977). It's also the last chance to sign up as an interviewee for our neighbourhood history exhibition, A Kemp Town Cornerstone, which opens in November. Please bring along any photos or memorabilia that you’re happy to share with others. Refreshments available. For more details, please call: 01273 698601.
Sunday, 14 August, 10 am
Patronal Festival
We’ll be observing the Festival of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Patronal Saint, at our Sunday Eucharist on 14 August at 10 am. Please join us for what is always a special service, with beautiful music, flowers, a LOT of candles, and celebratory cake afterwards. The image comes from the Soames Window, which the Friends of St Mary's are raising funds to help repair. You can read about the window and the appeal here.

Looking ahead

Thursday, 1 September, 7.15 pm - Energise Yoga with Louise Faulkner
Our resident yoga teacher, the lovely Louise, returns from a summer break with new weekly drop-in sessions for beginners and beyond. If you haven't tried yoga before, Louise is possibly the most engagingly cheerful teacher to get you started. Plus, with St Mary's, you get one of the most beautiful venues in Brighton. A bit more uplifting than the average church hall! You can contact Louise via her website or call 07552 026635.

Saturday, 10 September – Heritage Open Day
Includes a Meet the Stone Mason session with one of the skilled craftsmen from Pierra Restoration, who are the principal contractors for our repair works. This is also Ride and Stride Day, a big fundraiser for the Sussex Historic Churches Trust, and we’re keen to hear from anyone who’d like to walk or bike their way around Brighton’s churches to raise funds for a charity that has given us so much help with our repairs.
Friday, 30 September, 7 pm – Portuguese Wine Tasting by Butlers Wine Cellar
Our friends Henry and Cassie from Butlers are returning to St Mary’s with a sumptuous range of Portuguese wines to sample and to order. Food provided by Fourth & Church of Hove. Tickets £12.50 available direct from Butlers. Watch out too for news of a special Christmas tasting on Friday, 18 November.

Wednesday, 5 October, 3.30 pm - Tea & Company Café
The first of our new weekly Tea & Company friendship cafés run in conjunction with our partners Time to Talk Befriending and the Community Service team at Brighton College, from whom we're delighted to be drawing a cheerful bunch of Sixth Form volunteers. This first café forms part of the 2016 Brighton and Hove's Older People's Festival. Watch out for our next newsletter, when we'll provide more news of this initiative, including details of how to sponsor transport for someone to attend the cafés. We also hope to post a video of some of our visitors describing what coming to the cafés means to them and how it is easy to feel overlooked in today's busy world. 

Monday, 10 October, 7 pm - Stars of the Lid
An amazing gig in a very special space for all drone/ambient fans. Since forming in 1993, Stars of the Lid have established themselves as one of the most influential drone/ambient music projects around. This autumn, SOTL’s Adam Wiltzie & Brian McBride are hitting the road to debut some new compositions, along with some old classics, with a little help from long-time visual collaborator and projectionist Luke Savisky and German lighting designer MFO. A Be Nothing promotion. Tickets £18 - available here.
Do you love old buildings?
Could you spare an afternoon or morning a month to keep St Mary’s open for people to visit and learn about its history? An affection for old churches is sufficient qualification – we don’t ask our openers to provide pastoral care or religious support. Just to share our love for the special atmosphere at St Mary’s. If this appeals, we’d love to hear from you.
Please use our space!
You're welcome to hire the church and church hall for many activities. We host everything from drama workshops and music classes to public meetings and very big concerts. Our rates are affordable and we will always try to accommodate your event if we can. Please see our website for more details about venue hire.

Opening times, services and regular activities

Please contact Fr Andrew Woodward for enquiries about baptisms, weddings, funerals, counselling and confessions on 01273 698601 or
Monday  9.30 am – 1 pm
9.30 am - Morning Prayer (BCP)
10 am - The Purlers knitting group
2.30 pm - Sermon discussion group

Tuesday  Closed

Wednesday  8.30 am – 4.30 pm
8.30 am - Morning Prayer
12.30 pm - Midweek Eucharist
5.30 pm - Yoga with Nicola Goldsmith

Thursday  Closed

Friday  9.30 am – 1 pm
9.30 am - Morning Prayer
10 am - Kemp Town Talks – Free English Class

Saturday  10 am – 4 pm 

Sunday  9 am – 2 pm
10 am - Sung Eucharist
11.15 am - Tea & coffee drop-in
Our opening times can change depending on the availability of volunteers to staff the church. If you’re making a special trip, please call 01273 698601 in advance to ensure that we’ll be there to meet you.
Copyright © 2016 St Mary's Church, Kemp Town, All rights reserved.

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