News & Photos
Highlights of parish life in Houghton Regis
Every year Good Friday is marked by Liturgy of the Passion. This solemn and moving service features the reading of the Passion according to St John, the veneration of the Cross, and the distribution of Holy Communion from the reserved Sacrament taken from the Altar of Repose.
In most churches the veneration of the Cross takes place with the unveiling of a wooden crucifix which is then exposed before the faithful. At All Saints’, however, we are very blessed to be custodians of a relic of the True Cross, and it is this relic that is unveiled before the congregation and held up for veneration.
Photos courtesy of Mrs Rachael Plüss
Today we have begun the celebrations of Holy Week in Houghton Regis with the Parish Mass for Palm Sunday. This is the day in which Christians remember the Lord’s entrance in Jerusalem accompanied by his disciples and a cheering crowd; however, this is also the day in which we read one of the Passion narratives from the gospels – the story of Jesus’ suffering and death of Calvary for our salvation. For these reasons, Palm Sunday is now mostly associated with the colour red in the Western Christian tradition – the colour of royalty and the of blood.
The service started in Bedford Square with the Blessing of Palm Crosses and a procession of All Saints’ Church via the Memorial Path. The preacher, who delivered a cracking and genuinely inspiring sermon, was the Rev’d Tim Haines, Pioneer Minister in the Bidwell West.
Photos courtesy of Dr Matthew Hurley
On Sunday 6 February we marked the 70th anniversary of HM The Queen’s accession to the throne, and the beginning of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The Parish Mass on Accession Day at All Saints’ Houghton Regis was attended by the Town Mayor, Cllr Clare Copleston, by members of 1st/3rd Houghton Regis Scout Group, members of the Girlguiding Houghton Regis, and pupils from Thomas Whitehead Church of England Academy. After Mass 6 Jubilee trees were planted in the churchyard as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.
As part of our celebrations music with royal connections was played and sung before, during and after Mass.
'Nimrod' from Elgar's 'Enigma Variations' and Ronald Binge's 'Elizabethan Serenade' was played before the Service. The Introit Hymn 'Praise my soul, the King of heaven' is known to be a favourite of Her Majesty the Queen. During the distribution of Holy Communion movements from Handel's 'Water Music' was played, and the concluding Organ Music was John Stanley's Prelude and 'Bell' Allegro, an excerpt from his Concerto Op2 No3 arranged for organ, and played from a facsimile copy of a contemporary keyboard transcription.
In 1924 Elgar succeeded Walter Parratt as Master of the King's Musick, a post which he held until his death ten years later in 1934.
Ronald Binge's 'Elizabethan Serenade' was written in 1951, but was renamed in the early years of the Queen's reign. John Stanley, like Elgar, was appointed as Master of the King's Musick in 1779 until his death in 1786. Handel was never appointed master of the King's Musick, but his music was held in considerable regard by bothe King George I and King George II in the first half of the 18th Century.
Two Crataegus prunifolia (Hawthorn)
Two Liriodendron tulipifera Snow bird (Tulip Tree),
Two Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Glaucum' (Blue Giant Sequoia)
Here are a few photos to capture a year in the Parish of Houghton Regis.
2021 was a difficult year for many, including for our Parish; a lockdown, restrictions on gatherings and singing, and a couple of sad losses. But there were also many blessings and graces, and two day-pilgrimages (All Saints’ Margaret Street for the Feast of the Assumption and Walsingham).
For another year journeying together with the Lord Jesus; for growth in Faith; for all that God kindly provided; let us praise and thank the Lord!
Legal restrictions brought in during the pandemic have come to an end across England on Monday 19th July 2021; however, both the Church of England and HM Government have issued advice to churches on how to manage future months.
After considering the guidance received, the Parish of All Saints’ Houghton Regis has implemented (or retained) the following measures.
Face coverings and social distancing
People are required to wear them indoors (unless medically exempt). This policy is in line with both the Government’s and the Church of England’s advice.
Seating arrangements implemented during the lockdowns at both All Saints’ and St Thomas’ to facilitate social distancing remain unchanged.
Hand gel stations are available in both churches. Please, sanitise your hands on entering and exiting the buildings.
Test and Trace and Checking-In
The QR codes used at All Saints’ and St Thomas’ to check-in using the NHS app remain in place. Please make use of these during your visits.
With fewer restrictions in place ventilation of our buildings during worship becomes all the more important. Main doors and certain windows will be open during services, save in extreme circumstances.
Evidence shows that aerosol particles are emitted by singers in greater quantities than if they were speaking. Therefore, masks should be worn by anyone in the congregation intending to sing (with an exception we can make for choir members), while social distancing will enable us to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus.
Mass and Distribution of Holy Communion
Holy Communion will continue to be distributed in one kind only.
The Sacrament will continue be distributed to the faithful in the nave, and to choir members and servers from their places.
Sign of Peace
The liturgical exchange of peace which takes place at Mass will remain in the form of a hand wave to safeguard those who need to (or prefer to) keep at a safe distance from others.
Refreshments after Mass
Refreshments after services can be served again.
Ringing with a full number of ringers can resume, as can ringing practice. Ringers are expected to wear face masks whilst indoors.
Updated 1 January 2022
Created 18 March 2020
All Saints’ Parish Church suffered a break-in on Saturday 22 August at about 10:55pm. The incident was caught on the church’s CCTV cameras. The footage shows a single white male in his 20s or 30s forcing two collection boxes and spending about 20 minutes in the building looking for money or valuables. The man gained access to the church by forcing a protection grill and breaking the lower section of a stained-glass window in the sanctuary (north-easternmost window). Another protection grill was also damaged in a failed attempt to gain entry to another part of the church.
Collection boxes are emptied regularly, and we can safely assume the man made away with very little cash. However, the damage done the sanctuary window is great, and it will be rather costly to put right.
If you wish to donate to All Saints’ please follow this link: https://www.allsaintshr.co.uk/giving.html
The incident has been recorded and investigated by Bedfordshire Police, Crime Number 40/45800/20
A message from Fr Diego, Parish Priest of Houghton Regis, following the suspension of public worship in the Church of England.
2019 has been a busy year at All Saints’ with many things for which to give thanks to the Lord. A detailed report of the year will be given to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and the congregation in due course, but for the moment – as we begin a new year in the Lord’s name – let us look back at the past year with thankful hearts.
God is good. Even among the struggles and setbacks we had to face as a community, He has carried us through! Our parish continues to grow, the outside of the All Saints' has been beautifully restored, the back of church has become a flexible space where we can better provide hospitality, a regular study group now meets to learn about the Faith, and Mass is celebrated five days a week (room for improvement there…).
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain. (Pslam 127:1)
Father and Creator of all and source of all goodness and love,
look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude for our parish.
Thank you for all the mercies, graces, and blessings
you have bestowed upon us in the past year:
perseverance in faith, love for community, commitment to your Church,
our volunteers, times of joy and spiritual growth, financial gifs, and religious heritage.
Father, in your infinite generosity,
grant us increased graces and blessing throughout this new year,
that under your tender care and protection
we may bring the Love of Jesus Christ to this town.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Our Lord. Amen.
Our Lady of Walsingham, Pray for us!
Saint Thomas Apostle, Pray from us!
All Saints of God, Pray for us!
Our service of Carols by Candlelight to place on the Fourth Sunday of Advent – the last Sunday before Christmas.
The first known Christmas service of lessons and carols took place at Truro Cathedral on Christmas Eve 1878. Since then countless churches world-wide have adapted that first liturgy for their use - including King’s College Chapel, whose yearly broadcast of Lessons and Carols begun in 1928.
Following this time-honoured pattern of worship, our service alternated reading and singing. As we listened to the readings, and sung joyful carols of prayer and praise, we travelled in spirit to the stable of Bethlehem, to see with the eyes of faith heaven united with earth, and our humanity united to the divine nature in the Child of Mary, Jesus the Son of God.
Another carol service – Carols around the Crib – took place earlier in December. At that service the congregation, helped by children and young people, set up the Crib in anticipation of Christmas.
We held our Christmas Fayre on Saturday 7 December – yes, the same date at the Mayor’s Carol Service. It was a fun and lovely day filled with festive cheer, homemade food, and caroling sung by our choir.
Visit our What’s On page to find out more about our regular social events.