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. Mary's Remembers

The Parish Church of St. Mary’s, Woodbridge, was recently honoured when asked to host two services as acts of remembering.


Under cover of darkness as August became September, hundreds of young men and women of 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault) based at Rock Barracks, Woodbridge, left the peace of Suffolk for the turmoil of Afghanistan. For some, this was their first deployment; for others, a return to this particular theatre of war. But for all, it was a time of very mixed emotions: anticipation of putting their training into active service; apprehension of what lie ahead; sadness at leaving loved ones behind to watch, wait and pray.

On the afternoon of their departure, they gathered in the Parish Church of St. Mary’s, Woodbridge, alongside wives, husbands, partners, children and other family members. Joined by representatives of the local community, together with the clergy and congregation of St. Mary’s, these young, uniformed soldiers were led in worship by their Chaplain, Revd. Andrew Earl, who also travels to Afghanistan with them.

During this service, the Regimental Paschal was lit and this will be repeated at every service in St. Mary’s until the last of them has returned. They will be constantly remembered during services at their Parish Church as we all pray for the safe return of each and every one of them. And we pray for their loved ones, too, that they may find strength and support, both from the Regimental family and their extended family at St. Mary’s.


A special service was arranged by the Woodbridge branch of the RAF Association to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Britain in 1940, a battle which determined the outcome of the Second World War. Led by the Rector and clergy of St. Mary’s, the service remembered the sacrifice of many brave pilots who gave their lives so that Britain could remain free from Nazi rule. Some members of the congregation had personal memories of the events of 1940 and it was a privilege to have them present.