About St Mary's
St Mary’s Church, a Grade 2 listed building, was consecrated in 1871, and was the vision of Charles Longman, a senior partner in John Dickinson’s paper mills which dominated the old industrial village of Apsley. The village was the birthplace of paper’s industrial revolution, now being preserved as a unique heritage site. The church is a fine gothic, flint building, with spire and six bells. The village of Apsley has changed beyond all recognition with the disappearance of the paper mills and very significant housing development taking place.
The church is probably best described as liberal catholic, with the eucharist at the heart of its worship Sunday by Sunday. The congregation is drawn predominantly from within the parish boundaries with a good mix of ages. There is a strong Sunday School led by a very committed group of people, who also organise other activities for children at other times throughout the year. A Messy Church is held once a month on a Sunday afternoon. Throughout the year there are special services which attract a larger than normal congregation e.g. Mothering Sunday, Harvest, the annual service commemorating the departed and the Christmas Crib/Candlemas service. At present there is one active housegroup, and also a group that meets at church on Thursday mornings. A Home Group meets once a month which includes prayers for health and healing.
The six bells were returned to the tower in 2013 after a six month period when they were restored, and since then have been ringing out over the district with the help of our faithful band of bellringers. No reason now not to join the ringers on their practise night (Monday at 8pm) and have a go!
Among its community involvements St Mary’s currently participates in a number of inter-faith events and activities, financially and practically supports two local charities – Druglink which supports those affected by substance misuse and DENS which seeks to meet the needs of homeless people in the Borough of Dacorum. The church also supports the work of Christian Aid and the Bishop of St Albans annual harvest appeal.
Since 1847 there has been a church school in the district. The school was built by John Dickinson for the children of his employees at the paper mill. The school continues to draw children from the local community and beyond and is assessed as a school with a very strong Christian ethos. School and church links are very strong with several governors being committed church members. More details concerning the school can be found on their website at http://www.nashmills.herts.sch.uk
A very warm welcome awaits anyone who wishes to become an active member of St Mary’s where we believe there is a place and a role for everyone. For more information about the worship, life and work of the church see below.