Welcome Booklet

St Mary Magdelene with St Martin Welcome Pack


Our purpose commits us to discovering new ways of being God’s Church for the 21st Century and to fulfilling his plans and purposes both in Croydon and across the world.

This Welcome Pack gives a snapshot of what God is doing amongst us.

Included is information on the Church Profile, Parish and Community, Services and Prayer, Children’s and Youth Work, Small Groups, Alpha, Leadership, Buildings, Giving, Staff and on Joining in at St. Mary’s.

We do hope and pray that you will want to find out more about our church and discover God’s call on your life as we seek to serve God together at St. Mary’s.


St. Mary’s is an Anglican Church in the Diocese of Southwark with a congregation of around 160 including approximately 40 children.

Our community is a rich mixture of people of all ages, cultures and from different walks of life. The church is fully inclusive and no matter what your background, history or current understanding of the Christian faith, you are warmly invited. We are of an open evangelical tradition and at our heart is a commitment to biblical teaching, spirit filled worship, prayer, community care and outreach and children’s and youth work.


The present Parish was created by the merging of the parish of St. Mary Magdalene with the neighbouring parish of St. Martin in 1994.

Geographically, the area of the parish is not large and lies east of East Croydon station and north of the main Addiscombe Road (A232). It is a parish of over 16,000 people. Housing varies from small flats, houses and two small estates to large detached homes. There are over one hundred shops and businesses in the parish together with two primary schools and a nursery school.


2020 Vision

'Christ's love in the heart of the community'

  • It is the vision of a compassionate church that reaches out to people, actively working at the centre of the wider community in partnership with others, to meet social, physical, emotional and intellectual as well as spiritual needs; transforming many lives with the power of the love of Jesus Christ.
  • It is the vision of a large network of relationships, friendships and communication systems through which the good news of Jesus Christ can be shared with the people who live in the parish and the surrounding area; bringing many into a personal relationship with the living God.
  • It is the vision of a caring family, which is multi-racial and socially mixed, where anyone, including the unfulfilled, confused, discouraged, hurting and broken can find satisfaction, guidance, healing and help and an opportunity to serve in an environment of open acceptance and love; finding hope for a meaningful and fulfilled life.
  • It is the vision of a contemporary church which seeks a true spirituality, centred on Christ and his Word, and worship that is accessible and inclusive; engaging with God in a variety of styles.
  • It is the vision of authentic fellowship, meeting weekly in small groups to learn from the Bible and pray, sharing our highs and lows, laughing and crying, loving and forgiving one another; growing in spiritual maturity to become like Christ.
  • It is the vision of every member ministry, all discovering God's purpose for their lives and their unique spiritual gifts and talents and to serve enthusiastically in a climate where there is permission to hold different views, take risks and make mistakes; sharing the load to fulfill God's mission.
  • It is the vision of growing the Kingdom, with relevant biblical preaching and teaching, quality youth and children's work, and actively supporting local churches, church plants in unreached areas and mission partners who have been sent out from us around the world; helping build God's Kingdom.
  • It is the vision of beautiful church buildings that are well-designed, welcoming and warm, both flexible and comfortable to cater for the wide range of needs of the church and wider-community; acting as a sign of God's Kingdom and providing all users with a sense of peace and well-being.

This is a vision of a healthy and vibrant church in the year 2020 that is great to be part of. It is a vision which God has a purpose in calling you to help fulfill, together with helping you to grow in faith in Jesus Christ and so find life in all its fullness and the assurance of eternal life.

This is a vision that is to become a reality because the power of God by his Holy Spirit is at the heart of it bringing glory to his name, not our own, and making it happen.

It is a statement for our church and the values we want within it. It is a statement looking forward to the result of our evangelism as Christ comes into the hearts of many people who become his followers. It is also a vision of the missionary church of the 21st Century.


The Church is lead by the vicar. Part of that responsibility is shared with the staff ministry team which consists of the Vicar the Curate and two Readers.

St. Mary’s has an elected Parochial Church Council (PCC) consisting of up to 20 members who also share responsibility  for the leadership of the Church particularly in decision making regarding the implementation of vision and  values . THE PCC provides overall governance of all that goes on at St Mary’s. It provides a check and a balance to all matters as the elected members represent the breadth and variety of the congregation.

The PCC meets 5 times a year for business and 6 times a year for prayer

The Standing Committee (Vicar, Wardens, Treasurer, Secretary, Curate and one other) meets to prepare for PCC meetings and to carry out any necessary PCC business in between PCC meetings.


Our normal service pattern has been suspended during the Corona virus outbreak followig Church of Englnd guidelines.

Please see our Coronavirus page for details. 

The Sunday pattern of services is as follows:

9.30 am The First Service
More formal in style with choir and music group; Holy Communion 1st and 3rd Sundays. Morning Worship 2nd and 4th Sundays

11.00 am The Second Service
Informal in style with band; focus for children and young people with a creche (0-3 years), children's groups (3-11 years), youth group (11 + years); All Age Worship 1st Sunday, Holy Communion on 2nd and 4th Sundays; Morning Worship 3rd Sunday.

6.30 pm Service of Prayer for Healing and Wholeness
1st Sunday of each month

4.00 pm Messy Church
3rd Sunday of each month

A new way of belonging to the Church Community, of finding encouragement and friendship in the Church Communityand to encounter God through craft activities, games, food, a short talk and act of worship.

6.30 pm Contemplative Prayer Service
4th Sunday of each month

5th Sunday of the month 10.30 am Combined Worship
A mix of formal and informal styles with choir, music group and band

We have a sermon series in the morning. The same sermon, with usually the same preacher, is given at the two main morning services and forms the basis for the Life Group material used that week. There is, however, a different sermon in the evening.

There is a Holy Communion service in the Crypt at 10.30 am on the 1st Wednesday of each month.


Children’s Groups

We are blessed by God with children at St Mary's and we aim to help them integrate into the church family, grow in their understanding of God and his Word and help them in time find a personal relationship with Jesus. At The Second Service there will always be opportunity for children and young people to be involved in worship at the beginning of the service. They then leave for activities in their peer groups.

The following are the groups available for each age-group; meeting weekly except for the 1st Sunday of the month when we join together for all-age celebration:

Creche (Under 3 years
During The Second Service there is a manned creche room and a 'quiet area' at the back of church to allow parents and toddlers to remain in the service if they wish to. During The First Service the creche room and 'quiet area' are available.

Bubbles (ages 3-6 years)                                                                                      The aim is to introduce the children to Jesus in a welcoming a secure atmosphere, using stories, colouring and games. The group meets in small room in the Magdalene Centre.

Rapids (ages 6-11 years)                                                                                      Each week the group looks at a Bible story in a fun way and tries to get to know Jesus better. The children enjoy games, crafts, singing and other activities.

Inspire (aged 11+, senior school)                                                                                      This group meets in the Youth Room. We aim to help young people grow in faith and fellowship through fun and relevant Bible study.

All Leaders are CRB checked and have the young people’s best interests at heart, helping them through struggles at school, giving them advice and being there for them as they develop their relationship with God.

Toddler Group                                                                                                                        St. Mary's runs a thriving Parent and 0-5 Club on Wednesday afternoons from 2.00 pm to 4.00pm. It meets in the Magdalene Centre and is a good place to meet other parents/carers and give your child the opportunity to play with other children and enjoy the church garden.

Uniformed Organisations                                                                                                   The church has a Brownie pack (for girls ages 7-10 years) which meet on Fridays (Magdalene Centre). Children progress to Christchurch Methodist Church for Scouts and Guides.

For details, please contact the Parish Office.


Everyone is encouraged to be part of a small group that we call a 'Life Group'. A Life Group is simply a handful of Christian friends who are committed to helping each other follow Jesus. The first followers of Jesus met like this in small groups in each other's homes (see Acts 2.42-46).

Life Groups are all about being part of a small community and forming deepening relationships with others and are one of the best ways to find support and encouragement in our spiritual journey. They are also a good way to reach out with the good news of Jesus into the local community. Each Life Group aims to grow and then in time to multiply.

A Life Group meeting is usually held weekly. Each meeting typically consists of a time of Welcome, which often starts with an interesting question that each person around the group is encouraged to answer. This is followed by a short time of Worship led by a person in the group, to focus our minds on God. There is then a time looking at the Word, when the Bible reading and sermon for the week is discussed, with special emphasis on how we can apply it to our lives. Finally we consider how we might Witness to others in sharing our faith individually and as a group


A Men's Group meets from time to time for social events. Often a meal out is planned or other events such as ten-pin bowling, go-karting or a walk in London are also very popular. The aim is to develop friendships amongst men in the church and to invite other men in the local community to meet Christian men in a more relaxed atmosphere.

There is an active Mothers' Union branch that meets at St. Mary's. The Mothers' Union is a Christian organisation with more than 3.6 million members in 78 countries worldwide. Its vision is of a world where God's love is shown through loving, respectful, and flourishing relationships. Its aim and purpose is to demonstrate the Christian faith in action by the transformation of communities worldwide through the nurture of the family in its many forms. There is a monthly meeting held in the Magdalene Centre and a speaker is usually invited. Social activities are held from time to time.

The Methodist church, Christchurch, on Lower Addiscombe Road, which is closely linked to St. Mary's, runs a Ladies Friendship circle on Tuesdays at 2.30pm.

There is a Good Read Group that is open to all ladies and which meets monthly on a Thursday evening to discuss an interesting book.

Regular Alpha Groups at St. Mary’s have over the years been an excellent way of introducing those interested to finding out more about the Christian faith. Relaxed and informal, an Alpha evening begins with a meal and then after video input there are opportunities to ask questions in small groups.

Courses happen at St. Marys in January.

The church also has a highly reputed Pre-school, which runs in the Magdalene Centre five days a week. There is also an active Parent and 0-5 Club and we run an annual Holiday Club in the Summer. The Magdalene Centre and premises are also used by a variety of community groups, including a Depression Self-help group, funded by the council.



Child Baptism                                                                                                                            You may be considering bringing your child up in the Christian faith and you may wish to have your child baptised (also referred to as 'Christened'). This is the usual way of joining the wider Christian family. Baptism means ‘to dip in water’. At a baptism service the parents and godparents promise to bring the child up to know and follow Jesus Christ, and as a mark of the new life, or new start, God gives us when we follow him the child has water poured over their head, with prayers and a blessing given for them.

Where the child is not old enough to make his/her mind up, the parents and appointed godparents are asked to make undertakings about their faith and make promises to bring the child up as Christian. The child will receive a Baptism Certificate, together with a candle and a children's Bible as a gift.

Child Baptisms take place within the main worship services of the church on Sunday morning where the church family make promises to support the child.

If you wish to enquire about a baptism please call the Parish Office. There will a preliminary visit to your home by a member of the clergy to meet with both parents (or carers/guardians). The aim is to find out your wishes, to answer any questions you may have and to explain the process.

We normally require the parents/carers/guardians first to attend Sunday morning services, and to meet with the Clergy or pastoral team member for up to four 45 minutes sessions in preparation for the baptism. The godparents are invited to one of these sessions.

Adult baptism                                                                                                                      This can take place in one of two ways: with water poured over the candidates head, having made promises and statements of faith or by full immersion. We hire a baptistery pool and dip the adult fully under the water briefly. This is a very meaningful experience. We have a service of baptism by full immersion about once a year. If you are interested in adult baptism please ask to see the vicar by contacting the Parish Office.


St. Mary's is a wonderful venue to have your marriage service. Not only is it a beautiful setting for your special day, but holding the ceremony in church means seeking God's blessing for your relationship. The vows that you take are stronger and more meaningful than a civil ceremony. If you are married in church, you do not need to go to the Registrar in Croydon. All couples are invited to help plan their ceremony, including whether it is traditional or more modern. All couples are invited to attend a short course of marriage preparation, which includes exploring expectations of marriage, its meaning and dealing with relationship issues.

For weddings between citizens with UK passports, marriage is normally by 'banns'. This means that an announcement is made on three consecutive weeks in church in the three months before you are to be married. You have to live in the parish (this is a defined area; roughly an area of about a mile in radius from the church) or, if you do not live in the parish, you will need to be on the 'electoral roll' of the church. To be on the electoral roll, you are asked to worship at St. Mary's regularly for a period of at least six months (this normally means attendance at last once a month). You can be married at St Mary’s if you have one of the following qualifying connections.

(i) If one of you:

 • was baptised in the parish. (This does not apply where the baptism formed part of a combined service of baptism or confirmation); or

 • had your confirmation entered in a church register book of a church or chapel in the parish; or

 • has at any time had your usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or

 • has attended public worship regularly in the parish for at least 6 months;


 (ii) a Parent of one of the couple has at any time during that person’s lifetime:

 • had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or

 • habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months;


(iii) a Parent or Grandparent of one of the couple was married in the parish.

For weddings where at least one of the wedding couple holds an Overseas Passport, you will almost certainly need to be married by 'common licence' instead of banns. Unless you have been a regular worshipper at St. Mary's for a period in excess of six months, you will also need a Superintendent's Certificate from the Registrar in Central Croydon. Please call the Vicar and she will explain the process you need to go through to you.

If either party has been divorced, marriage in church is possible, but is not automatic and needs to be carefully considered together with the Vicar. In line with Church of England policy, marriage of divorcees is allowed within certain conditions. The couple is encouraged to meet with the Vicar to discuss their circumstances. Normally, there is an initial meeting at which the church's policy is shared with the couple and if the couple wish to proceed, they are invited to complete a short questionnaire and then there is a follow up meeting. Experience has shown that this is a positive and healing process and most who wish to be remarried in church are able to do so.


At St Mary’s we look to offer care and support at the difficult time of bereavement. A member of the Pastoral Team (the Vicar, Curate and Reader together with a small team of pastoral assistants) will make sure that you are cared for and supported as much as you need, both before and after the funeral.

If you wish to have a Christian funeral conducted in church, the normal practise is to arrange this with us through a local Funeral Director. There is a Thanksgiving Service, with a Commendation. This is then followed by a short service of Committal at the Crematorium or at the graveside, in cases of burial. The usual fees will be administered by the Funeral Director.

You may, however, choose to have the funeral service at the Crematorium, before the cremation, or in the Memorial Chapel, before moving to the graveside for a burial. The Vicar, or a member of clergy attached to St. Mary’s, or a licensed minister, is asked to conduct this service through the Funeral Director. A standard fee will be payable to the church for this service and will be administered by the Funeral Director.

The member of clergy or licensed minister assigned to conduct the service will normally meet with the next of kin at their home or the home of the deceased together with any members of family he/she wishes to introduce and details of the service will be discussed and agreed.

Local Funeral Directors are:

Frances Chappell & Sons
1 Lower Addiscombe Road
Croydon CR0 6PQ
Tel: 020 8688 0322
Click here for map

Co-operative Funeral Services
154 London Road
Croydon CR0 2TD
Tel: 020 8688 2524
Click here for map

A J Morriss & Sons
343 Lower Addiscombe Road
Croydon CR0 6RG
Tel: 020 6854 0990
Click here for map

Rowland Brothers
299-305 Whitehorse Road
Croydon CR0 2HR
Tel: 020 8684 1667
Click here for map

J. B. Shakespeare Ltd.
67 George Street
Croydon CR0 1LD
Tel: 020 8688 1447
Click here for map



Everyone experiences times of loss, crisis, or particular need when extra pastoral support is needed. Pastoral Care in St Mary’s takes place in many different situations and circumstances with support received through the network of small groups, prayer groups, friendships, Life Groups, Pastoral Assistants, and the Clergy.

Church Pastoral Assistants

St. Mary’s Pastoral Assistants have been trained by the Diocese in order to be able to offer specific support during times of need. A visit from a Pastoral Assistant can be arranged by leaving your details (name and phone number) on the phone number below.

Church Office Phone:  020 8654 3457

 “Love each other as I have loved you” John 15:12


         11. BUILDING

The Church

St. Mary Magdalene was founded in 1868 and has a rich history. There are many important architectural features, including stained glass windows, tiled flooring and an inspirational roof. The church is a stunning Grade II listed building, reordered to worship ‘in the round’ in the 1970s. We have just repaired and cleaned the church tower stonework (cost c£200,000) and seeking to develop the tower entrance and forecourt.

The Magdalene Centre

The Magdalene Centre was built in 1955 and extended in 1986 and is used by Church organisations and a variety of community groups.  It contains the Parish Office, which is open 4 mornings a week and staffed by a paid administrator, who is a Church member. Bookings for the Centre are administered by a church member.


       12. GIVING

Our church is financed entirely by the generous giving of our church family. We need about £15,000 to cover the cost of our church’s work and outreach. This is equivalent to around £15 per week for every person who comes to one of our services.

If you are wondering where the money goes:

About 50% goes towards the cost of our Clergy, the mission and work of the Diocese.

About 30% goes towards running the church building – things like the church office, heating, lighting, printing, telephone costs etc.

And 5% of our income is set aside to support Christian mission work both in the UK and around the world.

If you are considering supporting St. Mary's and wish to receive details of how to do this through our stewardship scheme, please contact the Parish Office.

Those who are tax payers are encouraged to use the Gift Aid envelopes, so that tax can be reclaimed.

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