St. Mary’s Eco-Church

At St Marys we are participating in Eco Church: A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.

Their resources are designed to equip a church to express its care for God’s world in its worship and teaching; in how the church looks after its buildings and land; in how it engages with the local community and in global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of its congregation.

We want to be a church which cares for creation as an integral part of loving our neighbours and following God faithfully.

You can find out more about Eco church here:  Eco Church – An A Rocha UK Project

St. Mary’s Music

There is a team of 3 voluntary organists who between them play for all our services. A small orchestra plays occasionally at our family worship services. A choir practices in the Autumn to sing at the annual carol service.

Jeel al Amal

Jeel al Amal (“Generation of Hope”) Boys’ Home and School in Bethany

St Mary’s has held Jeel al Amal in our prayers ever since 1999, when our own Rev’d Duncan Swan led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, during which a number of people from St Mary’s visited the Home in Bethany, in the Palestinian West Bank.   There they saw the dedication and the love that the surviving founder and her staff showed to the boys – as one of our members described it, “Christianity in action”.   They determined to continue to support the Home, and ever since, St Mary’s has held events in aid of Jeel, and our coffee money has been devoted to Jeel.  

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St. Mary’s Choir and Orchestra

St Mary’s runs a Christmas Choir.  We rehearse during November and December on Wednesday evenings and sing at the Nine Lessons and Carols service the Sunday before Christmas.  Recently we have tended to sing four choir items as well leading the congregational carols.  The ability to read music is not absolutely necessary as we usually manage to have a practice CD to sing along with at home.  Enthusiasm and the willingness to have a go are the prerequisites for joining.

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St. Mary’s Hall Hire

St Mary’s church has two rooms to hire – the main church hall and the Janet Campbell Room, and so is the ideal venue for various gatherings from kids’ parties, exercise classes, clubs, business/community meetings and beyond!  

The church is located on the Luton Road, approximately one mile to the north of town and is adjacent to the beautiful Kinsbourne Green Common.

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St Mary’s Groups

St. Mary’s Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) Group meets monthly at St. Mary’s. Other groups happen during different seasons in the church’s year such as Lent. Occasional Quiet Days are run using the excellent new facilities in the Church extension. Tuesday Afternoon Group (TAG) is a social activity group open to all, both from the congregation and the local community. It meets monthly, on the 2nd Tuesday, in the church hall, and usually has a visiting speaker. Afternoon tea is provided.

Kinsbourne Common Nursery uses the Church Hall four mornings weekly. One Brownie pack meets in St. Mary’s hall (Wednesday evening) and are invited to major festivals. The building is frequently hired out for groups such as the WI, lip reading classes, lace makers, and bridge club. To book the hall or small meeting room please look at the St. Mary’s Hall Hire page, or via the Parish Office, Tel: 01582 765524 or email:office@parishofharpenden.org

St. Mary’s History

A History of The Church of St Mary the Virgin
Kinsbourne Green, Harpenden, Hertfordshire

The story of St Mary’s is the story of a small country church and the way in which it has continued for the greater part of a century and a half to meet the needs of the community it serves.

The original early Victorian building, as the architectural style bears witness, still forms a large part of the present day Church. It was purpose built in 1869 as a combined church and school on a site given by the then Lord of the Manor of Annables, the Reverend William Smyth. A few years earlier in 1865, Canon Vaughan, the first Rector of Harpenden, had arranged for meetings and children’s classes to be held in the kitchen of Mrs Grips who lived in a house facing the Green. When the Church-cum-school was completed, the first school mistress was a Miss Freeman. A separate classroom for infants was added to the original building in 1892. When St Mary’s was rebuilt in 1968, this classroom was incorporated in the present Church Hall.

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