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A rough guide for tough times by Rev. Alan Stewart

Rev. Alan Stewart,
Mindfulness - a rough guide for tough times (pdf)


Mindfulness is a very helpful way of bringing us into a deeper awareness of the present moment. It can be helpful in dealing with stress or anxiety. Until our fortnightly sessions at church resume, you may wish to try this at home.

You may want to light a candle.

The two great principles of Mindfulness are:
1. Curiosity – Having a beginner’s mind; not judging; allowing our curiosity to help us enter into the experience of being here now.
2. Kindness – Kindness towards everything, especially towards ourselves.

Find a position that is comfortable but alert. It’s good to have our feet anchored to the ground, our abdomen straight (imagine a helium balloon is lifting your head!). We want to breathe from our depths, not the shallows. Find the natural place for your hands to rest – you may want them to be upturned as a gesture of being open to what this moment has for you. For most of us it will be helpful to close our eyes. If at any time you feel anxious, you can open your eyes slightly and focus on the candle.

We begin with a moment to catch our breath, to become more present to our bodies and our surroundings.

We then take a few moments to become aware of any sounds around or within us.... the sounds from the streets outside, the sound of our own breathing, our heartbeat perhaps.... We are trying not to judge or label. We simply allow each sound to be what it is, allowing each to bring us into a deeper experience and awareness of the ‘now’.

After a few minutes, we then take our attention to the breath. Notice the quality of each breath... the sensations in the nostrils as the cooler air enters, the diaphragm lifts, and then the air as it escapes, warmed from its short time within.

Don’t try to labour your breath. Each breath is different. Each in breath is a new beginning, each outbreath a letting go and a letting be.

The breath is the anchor to the present moment so in those moments when our minds wander (which is what minds do!) we simply and kindly escort our attention back to the breath.

candle-light-lights-dark-14589You may want to imagine that with each in breath you are breathing in kindness and releasing with the outbreath all that is not kind. You can then move on to breathing in love, breathing out all that is not love; breathing in calm, releasing stress etc.

Now imagine that you can take your breath all the way down your body to the toes, allowing each in breath is be curious about what you find there; any sensations, any discomfort; not judging or labelling; simply allowing what is to be what it is.

Now letting go with the outbreath, and taking our next breath down to the soles of your feet... being curious about what you find, the interaction with the socks and shoes, their relationship with the ground.

Now letting go, and with the next breath we spend time with the whole foot; then the lower leg, knees, thighs, lower back, upper back, shoulders, belly, diaphragm; then fingers, hands, lower arm and elbows, upper arm, neck, mouth, nose, eyes, and finally the whole head.

If, in any place, you feel tension or discomfort, just imagine the breath is softening what you find there. This is called the Body Scan.

You may also want to use the Prayer of Loving Kindness; a threefold blessing:

·      Silently we bless ourselves with the words, ‘May I know love, may I know peace, may I be free’.

·      Then to each one who comes to mind; ‘May you know love, may you know peace, may you be free’.

·      Finally widen the circle of blessing out into the streets and homes of this town and these villages, and lastly to the whole of creation; ‘May you know love, may you know peace, may you be free’.

Mindfulness - a rough guide for tough times (pdf)
Hello and welcome to St Andrew's. If you are new, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello 

No one belongs here more than you.

We look forward to meeting you! Here's some information so that if you're planning a visit you know beforehand what to expect on a Sunday morning.  We have other pages telling you more About Us, our approach to Faith and our Online services.

Where and When

We meet at the Church Building (details below) for our main Sunday Service starting at 10.30am. For your first visit, we recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early to ensure you find a parking space and can settle in before the service begins. When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team who will be wearing a Welcome Badge.

Plan your journey:
While, unfortunately, St Andrew's does not have its own carpark, there is a council-run pay and display carpark a short distance along St Andrew Street, to the east of the church; there is no charge for parking in this carpark on Sundays, but please check for charges on other days.

This is a useful East Herts Council website page for full details of parking in Hertford.

There are single yellow lines outside the church with parking restrictions, but some 30-minute parking bays are situated on the opposite side of the road for short stays (longer on Sundays).

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There is a disabled toilet towards the back of the church, behind the kitchen.

Our Service

The service will usually begin promptly at 10.30am and will last between 60 and 75 minutes. We enjoy the presence of an excellent choir who help us sing hymns (modern and traditional) as well as provide anthems and special songs through the period of communion. We have a traditional organ but also benefit from music played on the piano and by our band (eg on the Second Sunday of each month when we have an All-Age Service in which our children and young people are fully involved).

Each 10.30am service includes a sermon, prayers and eucharist.

After the service, everyone is invited for coffee and conversation - some like to stay for a  quick chat while others remain in the church for a longer time.


Children and Young People

We have a great programme lined up for our children. This is organised by our Family, Children and Youth Worker, Tracy Plumpton, who is always delighted to welcome new faces. Those arriving before their first service at St Andrew’s can ask to see Tracy or one of the other leaders.

We really value worshipping God together as a family, so children stay with their parent or grown-up at the start of the service before being invited to leave for the young people's activities after the first hymn. You will need to go with your children to their groups and register them as part of our child safety policy.

The children and young people then return to the main service in time to join the eucharist and, if confirmed, take Holy Communion or, if not, receive a blessing. We offer a grape or a little box of raisins to children being blessed at the altar.

There is a Children's Corner in church where you can go at any time. You will find books, toys and drawing materials there.

Toilet and baby-change facilities are located at the back of church, behind the kitchen.

Junior Church celebration

Getting Connected

Home Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week. Check out Home Groups on our website and see if there’s one that you could join. Alternatively, speak to a member of the Welcome Team who will give you the information that you need.

Serving and Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. Please contact Phil in the Church Office.

What we describe above reflects our normal practice on Sunday mornings. However, since March 2020 we have had to adopt new ways of organising ourselves - here you'll find the most up-to-date guidance about Worshipping inside church.
Get in touch with us
If you have any questions, please do get in touch. You'll find our contact details here.

We hope that you will feel at home at our church.