Faith News (Including the blessing of a transatlantic love)

Faith News Simon and Janet at St Mary's
Faith News Simon and Janet at St Mary's

All the latest faith news from your area.

Some 200 friends and family packed into St Mary’s in the Old Town for the blessing of the marriage between Simon Lambert and Janet Ober.

The service was taken by Rev Jenny Hill, vicar of St Mary’s, the address was given by Rev Diana Spink, assistant curate at the church and the prayers were offered by Rev Deryn Roberts, Simon’s aunt.

The service was followed by a reception in St Mary’s Hall provided by family and friends.

Janet and Simon met on the island of Iona when both were staying as guests of the Iona Community in May 2006. Janet was with a group of ministers from the Church of the Brethren in the USA and Simon was with a group from St Mary’s and St Paul’s, Hemel Hempstead. The relationship between them blossomed with visits to Hemel by Janet and to La Verne, California by Simon.

There were also many emails and phone calls. Then on Valentine’s Day 2010 Janet and Simon were engaged and they began the long legal process to obtain Simon’s right to reside in the USA. This process came to fruition in September 2013 when Simon left the UK to be with Janet.

One of the conditions of Simon’s entry to the US was that he and Janet had to be married within a few weeks of him arriving so a simple wedding ceremony was arranged at the church where Janet is a minister.

This service was attended by a small number of people including Simon’s mother, Emmeline, and Rev Diana Spink and her husband Norman.

In November 2013 a larger wedding celebration took place at Janet’s church in California which was attended by a number of family and friends

Simon was a member of St Mary’s congregation for around nine years and being a master carpenter did quite a lot of work in the church including making the Lenten Cross from timber reclaimed from old pews and the beautiful yew altar in the chapel.


Churches Together in Hemel Hempstead have compiled a list of Easter and Holy Week events and services.

CTHH has also organised the annual March of Witness on Good Friday. Christians from all over the town will meet at the Civic Centre at 10.45am and process at 11am to the Marlowes Bandstand where there will be a service until noon. Free Hot Cross buns will also be handed out in the town.

For more details of what services are taking place where and when visit the Churches Together website at


Passover started on Monday and the South Bucks Jewish Community, whose Rabbi Rachel Benjamin was a Berkhamsted Girls student, has been getting ready for the festival.

Members have been sharing their Passover stories before the SBJC Shabbat took morning service on Saturday.

A community Seder was held in Amersham on the Second Night (yesterday). SBJC is a Liberal Jewish Community with members from west Herts, south Bucks and the surrounding areas. To find out more about SBJC visit the website


St John’s is arranging a parish outing to Canterbury on Saturday May 17.

The church has reached the minimum number of 40 so the trip will go ahead.

But there are still more seats available, so people are asked to continue to sign the list at the back of church. Payment and more details will be available nearer the time.

People at St John’s will be sitting comfortably after a generous gift of some luxurious red pew cushions from the Methodist Church.

A spokesman said: “We would like to give them a donation towards these, so if you appreciate the comfort, please place your contribution in the named container at the back of church.”

Details of all St John’s’ special services can be found in the April edition of its Parish Magazine and on the Easter Cards available at the back of church.

Date for the diary: Saturday May 3 at 8am-9.30am, the church is hosting Pray Hemel– book the date now, more details coming soon.

There was also some sad news from the church with the announcement that the Reverend Valerie Reveley has died.

A spokesman for St John’s said: “It is with great sadness that we heard of Valerie’s sudden death while on holiday.

“We send our love and condolences to James and all the family and will be remembering them in our prayers at this difficult time for them all.”

Tomorrow, Maundy Thursday, at 8pm the clergy will re-enact Christ washing the disciples’ feet by washing the feet of 12 members of the congregation. The church already has six volunteers, but six more are needed. If you would like to be part of this, see the Vicar. This service will be followed by a Watch until 10.30pm.

On Good Friday there will be a meeting at St. John’s at 10.15am to walk into town and join with other churches for this special event which leaves from the Civic Centre at 11am on Good Friday for a service at the Bandstand in Marlowes.


St John’s is arranging a parish outing to Canterbury on Saturday May 17.

The 70th anniversary pilgrimage to St Albans Abbey will be taking place on Easter Monday. All are welcome to join in the walk following breakfast in the hall and prayers in church before setting off.