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tmas starts with ristingle February 2017



Dean’s View By Very Revd Nicholas Henshall Dean of Chelmsford WALKING over London Bridge to Liverpool Street, a man stopped me, handed me a Pret a Manger bag, and said "Give that to the next homeless person you see!" I took the bag and hurried on in the hope of still catching the fast train home. He hadn't been impressed by the bright glow of Christian charity radiating from me. He just had an uneaten sandwich, saw a vicar walking by, and thought I might have a better use for leftover food.

Ploughing a new furrow Picture: Archant/Saffron Photo

ds to light a candle ist’s birthday But it's still a surprise that in our deeply secular culture someone would see a vicar as something to do with love and service for the poor – a compliment not to me but to the whole Christian community. That's because Christian life, Christian worship, Christian service is never about solo heroes, especially people who dress up in public for a living. As Jesus would say, with deep irony, "they have their reward". It's always about Christian community. A few years ago the Chief Rabbi said

"Don't ask me to tell you what Judaism is. Let me take you to see a Jewish

community and I'll show you what Judaism is!" Christians should know that too. I came to adult Christian faith at 17 as a result of reading Acts 2.42 to the end, that CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

Celebrating Plough Sunday with a tractor blessing: Centre pages

Vast new housing areas will gain new churches thanks to grant

An invitation to spend an evening in the company of Michele Guinness

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■ Look inside for the latest Diocesan Cycle of Prayer in our NB supplement


THE MONTH February 2017


month — Priest and retired nurse spent night in their church's porch

Christine and Kate sleep out to raise £800 Help tackle hunger A PRIEST and one of her church members raised more than £800 for homeless people in an all-night sleep-over in their church porch. Revd Kate Lovesey, Priestin-Charge (pictured) at St Peter’s Aldborough Hatch, Ilford, teamed up with church member and retired nurse, Christine Poole. They spent the night of Friday, December 9 - from 6pm

to 6am - in a sleep-over in the church porch to highlight the plight of the homeless and to raise money to help the Church Urban Fund in its work with those who sleep rough on our streets. From time to time the church porch at St Peter’s is used by rough sleepers, and members give them hot soup and other comforts. By the end of the night some £600 had been raised,

The Month, incorporating NB and East Window, is the free circulation newspaper of Church of England in Essex and East London (Diocese of Chelmsford). www.chelmsford. ● Find Chelmsford Diocese on Twitter @chelmsdio ● Find Bishop Stephen on Twitter @cottrellstephen ● Subscribe to our YouTube channel ● Like us on Facebook: www. ● Like our Ask an Archdeacon Facebook askanarchdeacon ● View our photostream on Flickr www.

editorial Editor: Jon Longman Editorial and photographs for The Month should be sent to: or Jon Longman, The Month, 1 Bouchiers Place, Messing, Colchester CO5 9TY. Tel: 01621 810530. Mobile: 07860 769906 ● Digital photographs for publication: Please take pictures at largest size,

but this was boosted to more that £800 over the following weekend when news spread of their stint in the cold. Photographer Ron Jeffries said: "It was a superb effort by two ladies who braved the cold for 12 hours in a windy, deserted and slightly eerie churchyard." ● Donations can be made online at https:// adventsleepout2016.

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by inviting friends to your pancake party on Shrove Tuesday BY DAVID EVANS ALL across the United Kingdom there are families who struggle to put food on the table; children are going to school hungry and parents are skipping meals so that their kids can eat an evening meal. The Church Urban Fund wants to continue its work to stop this and so the CUF is calling on churches, schools, families, and individuals throughout England to stand up to food poverty – and have some fun in the process! On Shrove Tuesday, February 28, join the Big Pancake Party and raise money for the Together Network so that no one has to go hungry this spring. Instead of a low-key pancake celebration, invite your friends and family to join you and share in the Big Pancake Party. The idea is simple; get together, eat some pancakes, maybe take a few challenges, have a great time, and raise funds for those in need. We have plenty of ideas for how you can raise money at the Big Pancake Party; simply choose the idea (or ideas!) that work for you and get cooking Pancake Day can be so much fun, so why not add a dash more fun to the proceedings? Maybe you could add a theme, take a challenge, or decorate the kitchen? We’ve got plenty of ideas or you could get creative and add your own! Here are some ways you can eat away at hunger: ● £3 can help provide lunch for a child at a holiday club during the schools holidays. ● £9 could help to cover the cost of an emergency food parcel for a family for a day.

● £25 could help to provide a slow cooker

and larder pack for a family struggling to prepare nutritious meals. Your gift will be used to support the work of the Church Urban Fund and the Together Network, changing lives and communities together. Together we can make a huge differences to the lives of families across the country who are struggling to feed themselves. ● Find out how the Together Network is already making a difference.Sign up today to receive your free fundraising pack and book your place at the Big Pancake Party at

THE MONTH February 2017


month — Diocese awarded nearly £2m for projects




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Artist’s impression of how the completed Barking Riverside development will look. Picture courtesy of Barking Riverside Limited.


New housing areas will gain new churches

WITH the population of Essex and East London set to grow by more than 300,000 just counting new houses already under construction or approved, four vast new housing areas will gain new church communities under plans unveiled by Chelmsford Diocese. Bids are being considered for new church schools The plans have been supported by a substantial investment from the Church Commissioners, the body that supports the work and mission of the Church of England. They have awarded the diocese £1,997,000 towards a project to help successful churches plant new churches in new communities. As well as being there for people at significant times in their lives, churches provide a focus for community life. They are essential for turning houses into homes and new housing areas into communities where people want to live. The diocese’s first four strategic mission priority areas are: Barking Riverside: One of the largest areas of regeneration and new housing in Europe, with over 13,000 new homes planned. Following on from the opening of George Carey CofE primary school, our plans include a new resident pioneer ministry team and starting a new congregation for this new and growing community. Beam Park, Havering: A large

Barking, Havering, Chelmsford and Colchester will benefit from church expansion plans

the University of Essex. A pioneer and fresh expressions training hub will support new ways of ministering and being church in the new housing areas. The plans include developing and growing the church community in Stratford where an evening redevelopment area of multi-lingual church plant at All approximately 10,000 people in Saints Forest Gate in Newham will Rainham / Havering where we plan aim to respond to the highly diverse to serve the local community and fast-changing surrounding through growing an urban mission community. community, with a particular focus The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen on children and young people. Beaulieu, Chelmsford: This is an Cottrell, said that he is proud to be serving an expanding diocese and extensive new suburb with a wants to make sure the Church potential population of more than continues to support new communities 10,000 being built north of as much as established ones: “The Chelmsford. New ministry has Church has always been there to already begun, working with support people wherever they have partners on the new community settled. Now it is our turn to invest in centre at Beaulieu Heath. This will new communities as well as in older be managed jointly by the local settlements. parish council and church, and will “New housing areas should be include provision for those with neighbourhoods people choose to disabilities. We are looking to call home and raise a family, with support the local churches in their churches and schools they love, plans for new congregations, sharing the good news of Christ and resident ministry, and potentially a helping to build stable communities. new church school. “This approach focuses on Colchester North and West: A developing centres of worship and project will see a wide variety of new service to the community through churches and mission initiatives people and relationships rather than serving the development arc from buildings.” Stanway in the west, through the The first five years of developing new worshipping communities will former Severalls hospital site, the be funded. Project teams will now old rugby club to St John's and the meet to set goals and timescales. Greenstead estate which borders


Saturday 25 February


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THE MONTH February 2017


month — PM asked to commit to a fair deal for farmers and workers

50,000 back Fairtrade's No.10 letter

"Below is pictured the moment when a group of supporters and staff handed over the signatures on December 1. "We hope you'll be a part of our next campaign." Pictured below (left to right): Tim Aldred, Head of Policy; Nina Tweddle, Fairtrade Enfield; Sandeep Joshi, Supporter Services Officer; Ryad Khodabocus, Fairtrade Luton; Harriet Hill, Supporter Campaigns Officer; and Michael Gidney, Chief Executive Fairtrade Foundation.

3942 FF_Autumn_Cornerstone 170x261 [1]:Layout 1


An evening with Michele Guinness

CHRISTIAN celebrity Michele Guinness will be visiting Great Baddow. Michele, whose daughter-in-law, Sarah, is curate at St John's Buckhurst Hill, is coming to St Mary's Great Baddow on Saturday, March 18 (7.30pm) for 'An Evening with Michele Guinness'. Having been brought up in a practising Jewish family, life in the Church presented many challenges for Michele. This was compounded when she met (and later married) Peter, son of an Anglican clergyman. When Peter himself followed in his father's footsteps, more challenges were to follow!


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'An Evening with Michele Guinness' promises unique insight and entertainmentas we learn more about this amazing woman. She has much to teach us about raising a family, bringing creativity and sparkle to Christian festivals and about combining home and work. And then there are her books, including her novel 'Archbishop'... ● Tickets can be obtained from the Diocesan Bookshop in Chelmsford or St Mary's church office (01245 477501). The ticket price of £10 includes refreshments.

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THANKS to Fairtrade supporters, the foundation has handed in a letter to No. 10 Downing Street with 50,057 signatures and a clear message for Theresa May. Fairtade has asked the Prime Minister to publicly commit to trade that delivers a fair deal for farmers and workers in the UK's post-Brexit trade negotiations. Jonathan Smith, Head of Campaigns at the Fairtrade Foundation, says: "It's shown the Government that the nation cares about the people behind our food.


THE MONTH February 2017



month — 'Martin has been a fantastic colleague'

Archdeacon Martin to retire in March THE Venerable Martin Webster, Archdeacon of Harlow, will retire at the end of March. Bishop Stephen said: “The whole of Martin’s ordained ministry has been in the Diocese of Chelmsford. He has served in Thundersley, Canvey Island, Nazeing and Waltham Abbey, and since 2009 as Archdeacon.

 "Martin is one of those people who knows the diocese inside out and has earned the trust, love, respect and admiration of many, many people. "Martin carries the story of the diocese for nearly half a century and as he moves to retirement in Wiltshire he

leaves behind a big hole that will not be easy to fill.

 "But above all, Martin is a man of faith, so as we prepare to say goodbye to him and Vicky and wish them a long and happy retirement, we also trust for God’s continued blessing and guidance, particularly on the parishes of the Harlow Archdeaconry. Martin has been a fantastic colleague. I will miss him hugely.”
 "There will be a farewell service for Martin in Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday March 12 at 3.30pm. "Everyone is invited, but we particularly hope that people from the parishes where he has served and from the

Harlow Archdeaconry will attend." 
 Martin commented:
“I cannot believe that I have done nearly forty years of service to our great diocese and although my decision to retire feels right, it will be a big wrench to leave Essex and East London and the wonderful and diverse Christian communities that bring so much to the wider community. "At this point I am more optimistic for the future of our Church and its witness than when I started all those years ago. Thank you all for sharing so much with me and my family over these years. May God bless you all.”

February deadline for DAC entries DAC DESIGN AWARDS THE DAC Design Awards Scheme applies to everything which requires Faculty consent, from small items such ascandlesticks and light fittings, to glass, memorial, sculptures, paintings, furniture and reordering schemes, whole building developments, churchyard schemes for areas to interment of cremated remains, or tree planting projects. The extension to All Saints’ church, Woodford Wellswas highly commended in the 2013 Design Awards (right). Neither the scale nor the cost of the work is important, and inner city, suburban, rural and town

extraordinary picture of the early Christian community sharing their possessions, giving to the poor, breaking bread and sharing in daily worship together; and the Lord adding to their number daily those who are being saved. It’s an idealised picture - Luke makes that clear as Acts unfolds. But it is really important - it's a kind of mirror to hold up and ask "is our church anything like this?" Christian faith is a deeply communal, deeply corporate affair. The New Testament and indeed Christian history as a whole - has no concept of Christianity as an individual

business. That's a completely modern heresy, and one that fits far too well into the dominant culture of our society. In English Bibles we often don't realise that almost every time Jesus or Paul says "you" it's in the plural, almost never in the singular. We go on this journey of faith always together. It is the community of faith - for all the messes we get into - that is the sign and promise of God's kingdom, and it is the Christian community and its life together that is God's chosen vehicle for evangelism. In the splendid and challenging words of

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centre churches have equal opportunity within this Scheme. The number of awards each year will be at the discretion of the judges, and will take the form of a certificate categorised as Merit, Commended and Highly Commended. Schemes awarded Highly Commended will be presented with their certificate by the Bishop of Chelmsford. The deadline for applications is February 28, 2017. ● The application form can be downloaded from www.chelmsford. dac. If a hard copy is required, please contact 01245 294413 or 294423.



Ron Ferguson of the Iona Community: "the church, for all its manifest sins, is the broken backed bearer of a story with transformative power at its heart." That's the power of Jesus, risen, ascended, glorified; the Christ we meet in the wood of the crib and the wood of the cross. And the sandwich? As I neared Liverpool Street, it looked like I might have to bring it all the way back to Chelmsford. But just by St Botolph's was a homeless man preparing for the night. But that's the beginning of another story!

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There is none like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

1Ch 17:20 (ESV)


THE MONTH February 2017




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'Not recog is a spiritua

month — Bishop Stephen says Christianity is fundament

STEPHEN Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, has said that if a child cannot recognise a carrot, it is a spiritual issue. Bishop Stephen has explained why: “It is a sign that life has become disjointed; that we have allowed a separation to get so wide that we have even drifted from that which is most basic: the food we eat, the ground we toil and the seed we sow. "If you don’t know what a carrot looks like, how will you possibly know what a plough is for? And how will you ever love really the earth or care about the well-being of your neighbour in another land?” “Christianity is fundamentally a very earthy and physical religion..." "Our problems begin when we break the connections between ourselves and our neighbour and our environment, that is the earth itself,” he said. The Bishop called for education about food, cooking and the seasons, government policies that support the nation in supplying its food, and global as well as local environmental and political awareness. Bishop Stephen commented that the Church may be uniquely placed to take a lead, being a church for the countryside as much as the town, and serving both. He was preaching on Plough Sunday, January 8, at Thaxted church.

'It is a sign that life has become disjointed - we have even drifted from the basic food we eat, the ground we toil and seed we sow' After the Plough Sunday service, he blessed a tractor and its plough. Revd Janet Nicholls, the diocesan Rural Adviser & Agricultural Chaplain, said: " We had a great celebration. We even had sunshine for the outside blessing of the plough and open air Morris Dancing. "A congregation of more than 200 gathered for the service and a Ploughman’s Lunch afterwards. "Several farming organisations were represented including the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI), Farming Community Network (FCN), Essex Young Farmers and the National Farmers Union (NFU). "They all had stands in church publicising their work and activity. The Young Farmers took part in the service.

COVER STORY "The collection was given to the RABI and FCN as the two charities that support farming families in our diocese." The Morris Men danced the vintage plough down the nave and led the congregation outside for the blessing of the modern plough.

Revd Philip Tarris, Priest-in-charge of Thaxted, The Sampfords and Radwinter with Hempstead, commented that Plough Sunday drew Christian faith and folk customs together connecting us with deep historic traditions of the Church in Thaxted.

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01752 225623 PLOUGH SUNDAY PARADE: Bishop Stephen (above) greets the local clergy and Morris Men who danced around the village (left) after the Bishop had blessed a tractor (top right). Main picture: Archant/ Saffron Photo


THE MONTH February 2017

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Janet added: "The Plough Sunday service gives us the opportunity to support and affirm farmers in their work. We recognise their dedication and commitment to producing our food and maintaining our countryside and rural communities. "We ask for God’s blessing on all who work on the land as we look forward to a new growing season." Ahead of Plough Sunday, Bishop Stephen said: "Plough Sunday offers an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with the earth itself, a relationship we too easily take for granted; but also to pray for all those who work on the land and to give thanks for God’s provision." He told the Thaxted cogregation: "Sadly, in Britain today it is getting harder and harder to find anyone who knows their spuds. "A brief Internet search uncovers an alarming amount of research showing that children growing up in the UK today are not able to recognise basic vegetables such as carrots or cauliflowers and do not know that chips are made out of potatoes and that bacon comes from pigs. "The newspapers usually report these pieces of research with gleeful delight, citing it as evidence that we are all a bit thick, that schools and families aren’t what they used to be, and that we all eat too much fast food. "Some of this is probably correct – we certainly eat too much junk - but the

reason a child cannot recognise a carrot is deeper still. It is essentially a spiritual issue. "Let me explain what I mean. By ‘spiritual’ I do not mean a private, inner realm of consciousness which is separate from things earthly and physical, though I am well aware that this is precisely what most people mean when they use the word. " So when Christians use the word ‘spiritual’ we are speaking about the whole of life viewed from the perspective of God and, therefore, to be understood and lived out in the way that God intends.

'Problems begin when we break connections between ourselves, our neighbour and our environment' "This is not only right and true; it is the only way of happiness, sustainability and prosperity. "It is not far-fetched to say that all our problems begin when we break the connections between ourselves and our neighbour and our environment, that is the earth itself. "What's this got to do with children failing to recognise vegetables? Well, everything! It is a sign that life has become disjointed; that we have allowed a separation to get so wide that we have

even drifted from that which is most basic: the food we eat, the ground we toil and the seed we sow. "If you don’t know what a carrot looks like, how you will you possibly know what a plough is for? And how will you ever love really the earth or care about the well-being of your neighbour in another land? "Apart, perhaps, from breathing, is there anything more basic to life than the food on our table? Without it there is no life at all and no future for the earth. "And yet we are in a double bind: children grow up and, therefore, many of us adults do too, not knowing even the most basic things about where our food comes from; yet at the same time we demand an ever-ready supply of any meat and veg we fancy, regardless of the season or of the environmental damage that is done by flying strawberries around the world so that we can eat them in winter, or sweeping away vast tracts of rain forest so that cattle can graze and we can eat burgers. "Food is a spiritual issue. Farming is a spiritual activity. It is about living our lives and inhabiting the world in a way that is sustainable, beautiful, respectful of the environment, and fruitful not just for us, but for generations to come." ● The full sermon can be downloaded from the web page www.chelmsford.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28


THE MONTH February 2017

Mayor and christian radio speak positivity and hope into Bethlehem What a positive statement! “I Love Bethlehem”! And what a great slogan to speak into the hearts and minds of the people of this historic city, so vulnerable to poverty, unemployment, rioting and political conflict! This is the brand new Bethlehem Monument, unveiled by the Mayor of Bethlehem (a Palestinian Territory) late last year. And Radio Hayah – a unique community radio station, founded on Christian values, and based just 4 minutes’ walk from Manger Square – was there. The occasion, the Back To The Roots conference, was an invitation to Palestinians living abroad to re-visit Bethlehem. Covering it for Radio Hayah, Paul and Elias interviewed the Mayor, and also recorded both her speech and that of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, for broadcast. This is a clear example of how Radio Hayah, nearly one year since it’s quiet, under the radar launch, is now increasingly engaging with daily life in Bethlehem. Not just bringing a voice over that land, but rooting in and

Bethlehem lady praying The Lord’s Prayer in Arabic. Since then it is started every day with the same feature. What better declaration to speak over that region each morning, than to hallow God, seek forgiveness, ask for deliverance from evil and call for God’s kingdom to come!

being a part of that land: mixing as local Christians, working in media, into the day to day fabric of Bethlehem life; serving, blessing and giving a voice to the people of that city. Jesus said the Kingdom of God comes when He sows the sons of the kingdom like seed into the field of the world. But once sown, next you have to take root into that land! Connect with it. Care about it. Intercede for it. Excitingly, that is exactly what is happening with Radio Hayah who have been on air for just one year... Radio Hayah ( launched to the humble sound of a blind

That lady, Sabha, now volunteers at the station, and helps Elias with ‘Make A Difference’. The show profiles the work of Christians in the region like Salim who visits Syrian and Iraqi refugees; Shevet who rescues children Elias from Gaza; Clown Doctors, who visit sick kids in hospital; and House Of Hope, a school for mentally ill children. Such shows reflect active Christian faith to the wider community. Other programmes added over the year include: •

‘Yes, I want to support Radio Hayah to Speak Hope Into Bethlehem!’  I would like to give a one-off gift of £___________  I enclose a cheque/postal order (made payable to ‘Cross Rhythms’)  Please debit this sum from my VISA/MASTERCARD/MAESTRO as a one off gift Card number

Issue number_______ Expiry date_______  Please send me information on becoming a regular supporter of Cross Rhythms Bethlehem  Please add me to the Cross Rhythms mailing list Name: Address: Postcode: E-mail:


Please cut out this form and post it to: Cross Rhythms, PO Box 1110, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 1XR. Alternatively you can call 01782 251000 to make a donation or go to PI2490

FreeTalk which focusses on issues facing Arab women. Radio News, provided by the three local authorities in greater Bethlehem (Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Bethlehem Municipality). A weekly Movie Review and the Premier League football results (Palestinians love football and films!). And 200 spiritual devotions, including: My Brother’s Keeper, a series by both Arab and Jewish believers; and a daily feature using Proverbs. Here’s Haneen recording Haneen them in Arabic.

And what of that fabulous slogan: “I Love Bethlehem”? Well, Radio Hayah is getting right behind it and supporting this declaration by recording new Radio Hayah jingles with dozens of people - from school kids to shop owners, policemen to politicians - as they declare: “I’m ‘X’ and I LOVE BETHLEHEM!”

Mixed with a contemporary Christian music sound, this content is gently helping to change mindsets towards Christianity, God and faith. As the Radio Hayah translator Jeries said, “I learn a lot from translating the devotions and it has helped me with my relationship with God”. One year ago Radio Hayah was quietly launched. Now, statistics show, in the last six months, 44% of users are from either Palestine or Israel. Add to that users from Egypt, UAE, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and well over 50% are from the Middle East! Radio Hayah is slowly but surely reaching and rooting into the land of that great region! Radio Hayah exists as a media voice in Bethlehem through the support, training and equipping provided by Cross Rhythms, a UK community radio station based in Stokeon-Trent. As the small Radio Hayah team of Paul, Jeries, Fadi, Haneen, Adel, Sabha, Ivan and Elias enter a second year, Cross Rhythms is now focused on empowering them to press on still further. To take Radio Hayah through 2017 the station needs to raise a further £18,392. But with this they can develop new live shows with audience interaction; build a bigger team of contributors; and urgently set up a small production workstation for more young Arab Christians to produce content for their city. Would you like to join with Cross Rhythms and help support this unique but fragile project? To give a one-off gift, simply complete the details on the attached form or go online at donations.

THE MONTH February 2017

St Cedd’s Window in Chelmsford Cathedral. St Cedd was a missionary disciple in the 7th century AD.

Bishop Stephen’s School for Disciples is coming to a church near you. Every church can be a place where people discover how to be a missionary disciple. These evenings are free of charge and there is no need to book.

School for Disciples 2017 Refreshments served from 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start in each venue Dates 2017



18th January

Saffron Walden

St Mary’s, Saffron Walden

19th January


Becket Keys School

26th January


Church Langley

1st February


St Gabriel’s, Pitsea

8th February

Dunmow & Stansted

St Mary the Virgin, Dunmow

2nd March

Epping Forest & Ongar

St John the Baptist, Epping

9th March


St Botolph’s, Colchester

15th March


All Saints, Forest Gate

16th March


Grays Parish Church

22nd March

Barking & Dagenham

Dagenham Park School

30th March

Waltham Forest

St Saviours C of E School Verulam Avenue

27th April

Rochford, Hadleigh & Southend

St Augustine, Thorpe Bay

3rd May


Church of the Good Shepherd

4th May

Maldon & Dengie

St Mary’s, Burnham on Crouch

11th May

Braintree & Hinckford

St Paul’s Braintree

25th May (Ascension Day)

Chelmsford North & Chelmsford South

St Augustine, Springfield

7th June

Harwich & St Osyth

St Paul’s, Clacton

14th June


Wickham Bishop’s Village Hall

21st June


St Margaret’s, Great Ilford



THE MONTH February 2017





s r4 fo der prices E E n ns FR nd u hildre a c

St Mary’s Convent offers a variety of facilities and flexible accommodation for Group Quiet Days and Group Retreats. Also, Conference facilities and private stays. Everyone is welcome at the Eucharist and Daily office in St Mary Magdalene’s Chapel.

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“The newly refurbished rooms are fantastic! After our week stay I felt brand new too! I got to climb cliffs, walk in forests, fly 100 feet off the ground, swim in the ocean and praise God in His awesome creation . We will definitely return!”

See the programme and book by visiting our website, or ring our friendly bookings team ...


01598 752621

For further details please contact: St Mary’s Convent, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 9AU Tel: 01235 763141 Email:

For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. Deut 4:31

BE SEEN You can advertise in this newspaper with a monthly circulation of 22,500, at a very reasonable cost, reaching a great church audience in parishes from the coast at Southend on Sea right into the Eastern suburbs of London at Woodford and Waltham Forest. We can also help you to advertise in seven other Diocesan newspapers throughout the South of England and the Home Counties, with a total circulation nearly 170,000. To find out more, contact Glenda or Michelle on

01752 225623 or email


THE MONTH February 2017

Special Edition Dark

All new content!

Original (RRP £3.99) A fresh new redesign. Includes an Easter story activity book, illustrated by award winning artist, Alida Massari, a high quality milk chocolate egg (125g) & Yummy Bar (25g)


A 24 page Easter story-activity book illustrated by Alida Massari is included in the Original and Dark eggs.

Dark (RRP £5.50) An egg made from premium dark Fairtrade chocolate (155g) with dark Yummy Bar (25g) and Easter story activity book.

Special Edition (RRP £8.50) Contains a high quality milk chocolate egg (200g), an Easter traditions booklet and orange milk chocolate bar (80g).

Out of the 80 million Easter eggs sold in this part of the world every year, The Real Easter Egg is the only one which has an Easter story book in the box, is made of Fairtrade chocolate and makes a donation to charity from its sales.**

The egg that shares the Easter story The Real Easter Egg was launched in 2010. It was a real struggle as all the supermarkets turned it down at first. To date, we have sold more than one million eggs with 750,000 of these sent through the post directly to churches and schools. Not only has there been an increase in Fairtrade chocolate sales, but nearly £250,000 has been donated to charity.

How to order

FREE DELIVERY if ordered before 6th March 2017*

Pay online by card - The simplest way to pay is to visit our online shop at Payment by cheque - Complete the form below and return to: The Meaningful Chocolate Company, 11a Eagle Brow, Lymm, WA13 0LP. Cheques payable to ‘The Meaningful Chocolate Company Ltd’. Delivery Address:

To allow us to continue to make The Real Easter Egg, we need people to switch and buy. Don’t forget, delivery is free if you spend more than £45 and order by 6th March 2017.

How your church can be involved Direct sales are very important for our company to trade. So we hope you will join the campaign and encourage people to buy directly from us. You can download resources or buy from us today by visiting our website


First Name:

Tel. No: (Daytime)

Surname: Email: No. of Eggs

Original Real Easter Egg (150g) (£3.99 each must be ordered in multiples of 6) £23.94

Special Edition Real Easter Egg (280g) Can be ordered in singles, each egg £8.50

Dark Real Easter Egg (180g) (£5.50 each must be ordered in multiples of 6) £33.00 **There is a charitable donation for every 150g egg sold.

Postage & Packaging


*Free delivery on orders over £45 and received by 6th March.

Grand Total

See terms and conditions below or £4.95

Buy now at:




THE MONTH February 2017


month — Vulnerable people are receiving the best possible support

Last opporunity to complete survey on church buildings

THE Department of Culture Media and Sport is seeking the views of individuals and organisations who are interested in the future of England’s churches and cathedrals. People who are involved in caring for a church or churches are among those who are invited to take part in an important survey. The survey will close at noon on Tuesday, January 31. Bernard Taylor, Chair of the Churches Sustainability Review, said: “Cathedrals and church buildings are among the most well recognised and loved buildings of our national heritage. “The challenge in ensuring that these outstanding buildings continue to be an integral part of local life is significant given the increasing level of support and expertise required to maintain them at a time when the limited resources in communities are becoming ever more stretched. “It is therefore important that innovative ways are found to ensure these beautiful buildings achieve levels of sustainability that will enable them to remain at the heart of their communities for generations to come. "The aim of the English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review is to make recommendations for practical ways to do this. “I am very keen to hear your views on how we can ensure our church buildings are looked after and are relevant in the communities and I strongly encourage you to help us by completing this survey." ● To access the survey, please follow this link:

Worship & Prayer at Chelmsford Cathedral A warm welcome to your cathedral, serving Essex and East London

Sunday 8.00am 9.30am 11.15am 3.30pm

Holy Communion Parish Eucharist Choral Eucharist Evensong

Daily Services 7.45am 8.15am

Morning Prayer Holy Communion (also Weds at 12.35 and Thurs at 10am)

12.00pm Midday Prayer 5.15pm Evensong (sung on Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri)

Partnership to assist homeless is extended


LOCAL churches teamed up with HARP, Southend’s homeless charity, and Southendon-Sea Borough Council teamed up to provide extended night shelters to Southend’s homeless community throughout the winter months, from December through to the end of March. The partnership was set up in 2011 after the council reached out to local churches and HARP. Now in its sixth year, there are seven churches taking part, adding up to 20 extra beds to the 18 night shelter rooms available at HARP all year round. The provision was set up in response to the growing number of rough sleepers who found themselves with nowhere to go in the bitter winter months. Last year, over a third of people who visited the night shelters went on to be offered housing by HARP, the council and other agencies by springtime. This year, the partnership aims to better this by empowering guests to work on any issues that might have led to them becoming homeless. Working with a HARP team member, they will create and work through a personalised action plan towards achievable goals. The partnership encourages any person that has become homeless or is at risk of homelessness to go to HARP’s Bradbury Centre located on York Road, a warm and safe place for them to recover from the harsh reality of living on the streets. Each individual that walks through the doors will sit down with a team member from HARP to discuss their situation. HARP will then offer them accommodation, depending on their needs and what is available. In the winter months, thanks to the generosity and hard work of the participating churches and their volunteers, this will include the Southend Churches Winter Night Shelters provision. Gary Turner, HARP’s Service Operations Manager, said: “The extended night shelters are a great opportunity for people to be safe, secure and warm, whilst also engaging with us to move their lives forward.

NIGHT SHELTER PARTNERS (from left to right): SoS Churches Winter Night Shelters Co-ordinator John Simmons, Councillor Andrew Moring, HARP’s Service Operations Manager Gary Turner, and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Community Housing Manager, Phill Warren. “It is great to collaborate again and evolve together to ensure that vulnerable people in Southend are receiving the best possible support to help them now, whilst ultimately working towards a life away from the streets.” John Simmons, Co-ordinator of the Churches Winter Night Shelters, added: “It is fantastic to be co-ordinating the Southend Churches Winter Night Shelters for a sixth winter. We’ve seen over 100 guests each season, and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved along the way. “We anticipate more guests this year than ever before, so everybody’s continued hard work is incredibly valued. Most Shelters have enough volunteers although more are always welcome especially those who are willing to stay overnight. “It is a great reward to see guests move forward in their lives, with many getting help from HARP, the Council and other agencies,

and some of them even coming off the streets and being housed.” ● If you would like to get involved, and especially if you can stay overnight, please contact John Simmons at

Grants to assist websites

THE Transform Foundation has launched the 2017 funding round of its Charity Website Grant Programme, which will be providing £18,000 grants to charities to fund the redevelopment of their websites. UK registered charities interested in receiving funding to redevelop their website are eligible. ● Visit the Transform Foundation’s website for more information on the grant programme and how to apply.

'We can offer glimmers of hope in a darkening world scenario' I THINK we can all agree 2016 wasn’t a great year for humanity. The ongoing events in Aleppo and across Syria are horrific. Food insecurity in Yemen, has become utter devastation and famine in the face of war. Bombings in Istanbul. The Zika virus is a pandemic in progress, causing babies to be born disabled. The terror attack in France on Bastille Day. Regardless of how you voted in the EU referendum, the resulting racism continues to be hugely damaging many. In the US, the police regularly shoot dead unarmed black people. 24-hour news and the ubiquity of the internet means that we can hear the voices of the suffering, see their faces, be confronted by the pain. It’s no longer far away in a distant land. It’s in our phone, in our pocket, in our handbag. In the UK, political bad news


has shifted from the pasty tax to deep insecurity as there continues to be no clear pathway to a red, white and blue, Brexit means Brexit situation. I am 32 and until recently have lived my life in a secure

political situation. I’m too young to remember three-day working weeks, the Thatcher years or the threat from the IRA. And this insecurity is nothing compared to the horrors taking place in Syria and across other parts of the world. 2016 also saw the death of many people who defined decades of popular culture. Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Terry Wogan, Harper Lee, Leonard Cohen, Ronnie Corbert, Andrew Sachs, Prince, David Bowie. Sadly, we cannot just draw a line under 2016 and decide to start afresh for 2017, no amount of New Year’s Resolutions are going to stop the trajectory we are on. Christian culture can have a

tendency to ignore pain, both other people’s and our own. Our focus on personal salvation can leave us ignoring the Biblical narratives of justice and hope for All People. Yet, our Holy Book contains Psalms of lament and anger, the story of Job’s suffering and a God who continually insists that care of the most vulnerable is an imperative. Not only that, our Saviour started life as a refugee, fleeing a genocidal dictator. We are not saved from pain when we become Christians. We are saved by pain and resurrection into a life of choosing to pick up our cross daily. As 2017 progresses, let us not ignore the state of the world, but choose instead to pray furiously and live sacrificially to bring glimmers of hope in our darkening world. NATALIE COLLINS National Sermon of the Year winner

The Month February 2017  

In this issue of the month: Celebrating Plough Sunday with a tractor blessing, Vast new housing areas will gain new churches thanks to grant...

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