Celebrating our patron saint’s birthday

ANCIENT St Mary the Virgin Church in Rowner is the oldest church in the borough
ANCIENT St Mary the Virgin Church in Rowner is the oldest church in the borough

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Canon John Draper is rector at St Mary’s Church, Rowner and invites everyone to a party at the church on Sunday

MOST of us like a fuss made around our birthday.

I had a big one last year and the climax of the weekend was a massive party for many of my close friends.

If we are a bit grumpy or perhaps are the wrong side of mammoth years, then some don’t like such a fuss.

This weekend, at Rowner, we are celebrating our patron saint’s birthday and we are holding our parish’s saint’s day (in anticipation) of the birthday of Mary.

In Rowner, as befits the oldest church in the borough and deanery, the church is named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, as were many old churches before the 16th century reformation.

A church has stood in Rowner since about the 4th century and it is today known as St Mary the Virgin Church.

It is in Rowner Lane, just behind the cricket pitch by the Rowner Lane shops.

Every day, the solitary bell rings out to inform the people who live and work around us that prayers are being said – for example, for the sick, or the needy, or parts of the world which are in need.

People come from a long way or close by to worship together, as they have for literally hundreds of years.

The ancient walls have heard prayers for the sick, for the dead, for those getting married and have heard the words of the church’s daily worship.

Of course, we all come together at 10am on a Sunday to worship.

People who come into our ancient building (there is a massive new extension built in the 1990s which makes the building look younger than it actually is), say how they can feel a special peaceful atmosphere, where they can ‘feel’ how the building has been prayed in over the years.

We come together as a parish each year on the Sunday near St Mary’s birthday to give thanks to God for its life and witness.

We also come to give thanks for all those good things, as well as sad, that have happened in the past year.

We pray for everyone who lives in the large parish of Rowner, whether they are churchgoers or not.

We invite other church-people and others to join us. There is a party afterwards.

ST MARY THE VIRGIN

n Rowner Lane, Rowner, Gosport, PO13 9SU

Sunday September 6, 6pm: Patronal Festival

Preacher: The Abbot of Alton, Dom Giles Hill OSB

Contacts: Canon John Draper 023 9258 1834 or rownerrector@btinternet.com)

Website: rownerparishchurch.org