A small but friendly congregation, we use the traditional Book of Common Prayer at all services except the monthly, informal Family Service.
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St Mary's Church lies at the centre of our pretty Sydenham village adjacent to the village hall (a former village school and known as the Old School Room – OSR) with the Crown pub just across the road from the church gates.
Collectively they all form an excellent venue for local gatherings including weddings, and the landlord cooperates by opening to suit the occasion.
The Early English church is a simple flint and stone building with a clay tiled roof and oak shingled spire and three lovely sounding bells which are rung before weekly services. It is a welcoming but peaceful church within the well-maintained country style churchyard including a couple of commanding horse chestnut trees.
There are normally three Book of Common Prayer services each month starting with 10:00am Holy Communion service. No service on the second Sunday, 6:00pm Evensong on the third Sunday and an alternating 10:00am Service of Matins or Songs of Praise on the fourth Sunday. The latter was introduced a couple of years ago and is led by the Church Wardens and consists of half a dozen generally well-known hymns, occasionally with the choir singing an anthem and the service lasting just over half an hour. This has proved very popular and the congregation usually select their favourite hymns in advance. We are fortunate to have an excellent organist choirmaster, and a choir of up to nine or ten on a good day!
The Old School Room with good kitchen facilities and toilets offers an excellent venue for wedding, baptism and funeral receptions, or other after church activities, quiz nights, weekly gym and keep fit sessions and occasional monthly WI meetings. A monthly coffee morning was introduced about a year ago where local villagers and guests of all ages come along to natter and share news and gossip and taste the excellent variety of home baked cakes whilst the tiny tots play in the adjacent smaller hall playing with the in-house games and toys.