St. Mary's Church, Woodbridge
"We are here for the glory of God; to be the body of Christ, broken and restored to reflect the Gospel in our lives."
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St. Valentine takes second place.

For some people, the significance of the weekend of 13th-14th. February was the celebration of Valentine’s Day when ‘love’ is shown in a variety of ways: cards, gifts, flowers, good food and togetherness. But, for the congregation of St. Mary’s Parish Church in Woodbridge, these expressions of love were again present as another occasion took priority. Saturday, 13th. was the 60th birthday of the Rector, Revd. Canon Kevan McCormack. When asked how he would like his day to be marked, Kevan requested a ‘Celebration of Talent’. With much thought and planning, the weekend’s events took shape, all unbeknown to Kevan.

display of skills
Display of skills

During the morning, over fifty members of the congregation displayed their skills in the Church Centre with a fantastic exhibition of crafts and hobbies, including photography, patchwork, lace- making, painting and drawing, pottery, needlework, handmade cards, beadwork, tapestry and embroidery, among others.

childrens' art
Childrens' art

The quality of work on view was truly amazing as we all discovered new talents within our St. Mary’s family. It would be unwise of me to single out any one exhibit, but I must mention the collection of art work from the children of St. Mary’s Primary School, which, perhaps, brought the biggest smile to Kevan’s face: Using a photograph of him and halving it vertically, the children had to illustrate their concept of Kevan by completing the other half. Clever, delightful and hilarious!


In the evening, a party was held for Kevan in the Abbey School. Over 150 adults and children enjoyed a wonderful time with Kevan, his brother John and family friends who had travelled from his beloved home town of Whitby and other far away places. The buffet table groaned with a delicious array of food, all brought by the guests; the hall was bedecked with balloons and bunting and the stage was set for an evening of entertainment. And what an evening it was!

Still on the theme of celebrating talent, members of the clergy, choir and congregation performed to a very high standard with songs, readings, poetry and acting, many with the common thread of reference to Kevan and the occasion. It was a thoroughly wonderful time with much fun. What a joy it was to see our Rector reduced to tears.... of laughter!

The following day, the celebration continued at the services, when it was a real pleasure to welcome back to St. Mary’s our former curate, Revd. Aiden Platten, his wife Esther and their two beautiful young daughters. Kevan’s chosen hymns were sung with great enthusiasm and Aiden recalled in his address, his days here when he was know as ‘the boy!’ After the service, birthday cake was served with coffee as Kevan continued to enjoy his very special weekend.

The theme of Valentine’s Day is love. And this was the same theme which ran right through the weekend at St. Mary’s: the love expressed towards Kevan from both within the congregation, in the wider community and all around the town; the love he shows for all people and especially his devotion to his faith and this Parish Church.

We congratulate him on reaching this milestone in such great form and hope he will enjoy using his bus pass and qualifying for all the benefits available to the elderly! Happy Birthday, Kevan, with many, many more to come. But, don’t expect them all to be like your 60th!

Parish Press Officer.