An opportunity to remember loved ones. Fill in a request card on arrival to have the name read out during the service. If you are unable to be at the service, Memorial name cards for you to complete are available at both St Mary’s and St John’s together with an envelope for their collection.
Sensory Garden Project
The Parish of Langdon Hills has a large plot located in the Sensory Garden at the Langdon Nature Discovery Park, Lower Dunton Road, Basildon.
During lockdown, sadly it became neglected and overgrown. However, with amazing teamwork and many donated plants, the garden has been fully restored to its natural beauty. It’s now the focal point of our monthly Parish Walk.
It’s the perfect place for resting after a long walk, or just sitting in quiet reflection and prayer, and the perfect spot for connecting with the local community as they visit the area.
If you would like to be involved further with the garden project, please get in touch here.
We are blessed in Langdon Hills to have so much beautiful nature on our doorstep. God’s wonder is truly all around us. Please join us for a lovely walk through the woods to Langdon Nature Discovery Park every 4th Saturday of the month (weather permitting). Meeting outside St John’s Church at 9.30am, the gentle stroll gives us the opportunity to chat and admire the changing seasons as we wander down to the church plot in the Sensory Garden and then stop for refreshments at the Nature Discovery Centre, which is a perfect opportunity to connect with the local community. All welcome. Please get in touch here for more information.
I am writing to all in our church family to ensure that everyone is fully aware of a challenge we are facing as a parish, and therefore has the opportunity to respond as they are able to, and feel led to.
As I shared in my sermon on 2nd October, in these early weeks as Rector I have needed to gain an understanding of various areas of church life, including our finances. I have become aware that, although St John’s Childcare is doing well – even post-pandemic – and more than covering its costs, therefore contributing positively to our finances, the picture is not so healthy when it comes to the ‘church’ aspect of our finances.
The reality is that at present we are not covering the costs of our buildings, our staff, our other running costs, and our ‘parish share’ – which is an amount of money we pay to the Diocese of Chelmsford each year into central funds, out of which they pay me as your Rector, provide a Rectory for the parish, and which also helps to cover the cost of other central services, from which we benefit.
Essentially, we are not ‘living within our means’, and as things stand, we are facing a potential budget deficit, or shortfall, this year of £25,000. We have no real scope to make cost savings of that amount, and whilst we do have some ‘unrestricted’ reserves, dipping into those to cover the projected shortfall would take them to an unacceptably low level. We are doing all we can to raise funds in other ways, for example through fundraising events and through buildings hire, but these alone will not raise what we need.
So, as I said on 2nd October, with the full support of the PCC, I am launching a ‘Thanks-Giving Appeal’ which we will be running throughout October, seeking to raise funds to cover our £25,000 projected shortfall for the year. However, whilst that is the amount I hope we can raise between us, I’d like us to focus not so much on that, but instead on thankfulness to God (which is why I am deliberately calling this a ‘Thanks-Giving’ appeal), giving thanks:
• For all God has done in the life of our churches over not just decades but centuries!
• For bringing us to this new season in our life as a parish and a church family
• In faith, for all God is going to do in the months and years to come as we are obedient to his call. And I am excited about all that is to come, as I hope you are!
As you can imagine, I did not expect to be writing to everyone on this subject so early on in my new ministry with you, and I realise the timing is far from ideal given the current cost of living challenges affecting us all to different degrees. However, given the circumstances it would be irresponsible of me and the PCC not to take decisive action. We therefore wanted to be open and transparent with everyone about our current situation, giving you the opportunity to respond, if you wish to and are able to.
We have provided an online response form which I would be so grateful if you could prayerfully consider and complete by Sunday 30th October. This is available here: APPEAL FORM. Paper versions of the form are also available at St Mary’s and St John’s or HERE.
I shared in my sermon on 2nd October (available to watch online on our Facebook page) that God is able to do wonderful things when we have even just a small amount of faith – as it is not great faith we need, but faith in a great God, and the tiniest amount of faith is enough! In fact, even before I publicly launched this appeal, I heard that someone had already generously given a gift of £1000!
So, whilst we face a significant challenge, I have faith that God is more than able to help us overcome it, and will also enable us to go on to do even greater things in his name and for the sake of his kingdom in the future! Therefore, as we give thanks together for all God’s goodness to us, I invite you join me in responding as you are able to.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
With love in Christ,
Revd Jeremy Noles
PS. If you would like to have a personal conversation about anything in this letter, please do get in touch and I would be happy to do so.
Electoral Roll 2021-2022
We are currently updating our Electoral Roll, if you are not currently on the electoral roll or would like to amend your entry on the electoral roll then please in the first instance email Nikki (Parish Administrator) email@example.com
3 Meditations for Good Friday
In a normal year we open St Mary’s church for 3 hours between noon and 3pm, the hours when Jesus was on the cross. We offer a series of meditations followed by silence. We cannot open the church this year but below are links to 3 meditations for you to use in your own time, as you think upon Jesus death on the cross. Each meditation includes a bible reading followed by a reflection from Colin. (The length is indicated in brackets).
Jesus arrested: John 18: 1-27 (10 minutes)
Jesus before Pilate: Mark 15:1-15 (5 minutes)
Jesus is dead: John 19:31-42 (6 minutes)
Easter Services 2021
Sadly, continued restrictions and safety concerns mean that we will not be opening our churches for public worship over Holy Week and Easter this year. However, we will be broadcasting live services on Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday. Good Friday meditations will also be available on the website. The live services will be available through our usual Facebook link
Maundy Thursday 1st April. 8pm Holy Communion (including the stripping of the altar).
Good Friday 2nd April. Recorded meditations available through our website.
Easter Sunday 4th April. 9am Holy Communion. (This will be Colin’s last service before retirement).
Lent 2021 in Langdon Hills.
Due to the current restrictions we will not be able to offer our usual Ash Wednesday service this year, nor will we be able to run our Lent course in our usual way. However, we can offer a meditation for Ash Wednesday (see the link below) and the opportunity to join our online Lent course on Zoom (more details below).
Ash Wednesday meditation
Follow this link to hear Colin’s recorded meditation on “The seven deadly sins of the keen Christian”! The bible reference is Matthew 6:5-8; 19-21.
Lent course: “Let’s Talk About Race”
The death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement have brought the issue of race to the fore this year. I am very grateful to our own Paula Sofowora, who has adapted the “Let’s talk about race” course for our use. Please see the details below. Some of our existing small groups are already using this course. Paula and I are offering the opportunity to any who are not in existing groups to join us for an online Lent group using Zoom. We intend that the course will start during the week beginning 1st March.
If you would like to join us, please let me know by email to:
Please specify any times when you are not available. One of the few upsides of doing this course online during lockdown is that we can be flexible! So, we have deliberately not set a day or time in advance because we hope to set the day and time to suit the maximum number of participants. We can also be flexible about how many sessions we run to complete the material (see below).
The resources for the course will be emailed to participants.
Racism and any form of discrimination is an affront to God and as Christians we must each play our part in eradicating all forms of racism and discrimination in our communities. This course aims to help us understand what the Bible says about race issues, and can be used as a practical check list for each of us to discuss and measure our own behaviour. Are we truly inclusive in our hearts and how we behave, at home, in the work place, church and society as a whole? Do we understand the meaning of Mark 12:30-31 ‘love your neighbour as yourself?’ ‘in our respective areas of influence?
There are 3 modules which may take 3 to 5 sessions depending upon the level of interaction and discussion.
1. Black and immigrant in the Bible
2. All one in Christ
3. Compassion and justice for all.
Open to anyone.
Please read the resources prior to each session, consider incidents where you or someone that you love may have been discriminated against, reflect on the issues raised, how it made you feel and what if anything, you or they did about it.
Led by Paula Sofowora & Colin Hopkinson
Across the Diocese, leading up to Good Friday, there will be a series of courses offered under the title Lent Modules. The courses are open to anyone and with the exception of modules 2 & 5, will be carried out using Zoom. The cost has been kept to a minimum, starting at £15 for a two session course, rising to £25 for 5 session courses.
Please use the following link to view details of the Modules
Please use the following link to view a copy of the booking forms
Booking forms should be returned to, Diane Hardy, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Places on some modules are limited, so to avoid disappointment early booking is recommended and payment should be made electronically wherever possible, details of how to do this are on the booking form.
I am delighted to commend to you three new initiatives for our church which seek to respond to issues of critical importance in our time:
I am very grateful to Paula Sofowora who has offered to gather those who feel called to respond to these issues. Please read her letter below for further information. If you would like to participate in our thinking and/or action in any of these areas please contact Paula at email@example.com.
I hope you and your families are well and healthy, and that you are enjoying the summer weather.
I am writing to share 3 exciting, initiatives with you which I have been thinking and praying about for several months. They support some of
the five marks of mission which had been developed by the Anglican Consultative Council since 1984. Since then, the marks of mission have been widely adopted as an understanding of what contemporary mission is about. The marks were adopted by the General Synod of the Church of England in 1996 and many dioceses and other denominations use them as the basis of action plans and creative mission ideas.
I would like to know your views on the matter and if you would like to get involved.
CofE Mark of Mission 4: To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
Eco Church is A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.
A Rocha UK is a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world, both as a response to the biblical mandate to care for the earth, and as a demonstration of the Christian hope for God’s world.
The vision is to create a vast network of churches as local centres of creation care in the community – shining beacons of hope for a brighter environmental future. The vision was endorsed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams speaking at the launch of Eco Church at St Paul’s Cathedral in January 2016 and the idea is to ensure that environmental concerns become ‘embedded more deeply’ in church culture.
Please visit the website : https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/ and view the survey questions which I propose that we complete as a church. The result will highlight areas that require attention and form the basis of our action plan. We will also start collecting points towards an Eco Church Award. The more we do , the more points we collect. There is a video presentation which will be posted on the website for those of you who would like further information.
Charity starts at home though so I would like to encourage everyone to consider the Buildings and Lifestyle section of the survey in relation to your respective homes and places of work.
CofE Mark of Mission 3: To respond to human need by loving service.
CofE Mark of Mission 4: To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.
We may not collectively have the expertise to delve too deeply into mental health and wellbeing but I feel called quite strongly to show love to vulnerable brothers and sisters in our church and community.
I was thinking of a monthly drop in session at St Johns. Activities could include the following : Film night, Zumba, Games night, Arts and Craft, Curry night or a guest speaker on relevant topics of interest. These are just a few suggestions but I would welcome feedback from the congregation and especially those who might benefit from the service and or have first-hand experience of a need in this regard, and what a solution might look like.
I would like to compile a handy fact sheet which will include important information to sign post vulnerable individuals to the correct professional services and contact details. Suggestions as to what else should be included in this guide would also be appreciated.
CofE Mark of Mission 4: To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.
Several non- black friends and colleagues have reached out to me following the death of George Floyd and subsequent global BLM movement that gathered momentum.
The Rev’d John Townsend of Holy Trinity, and St Michael, Rayleigh has produced a helpful Bible study called “Let’s Talk about Race” comprising three sessions (Session One: black and immigrant in the Bible; Session Two: all one in Christ; and Session Three: compassion and justice for all).
Racism is an evil and unjust structure of society. We are called as Christians to love our neighbours as ourselves and racism is an affront to this commandment and to God. I believe this resource would be a helpful and practical study guide that will help facilitate difficult but important conversations that need to be had as a church at home and in the wider community.
I would like to canvas the congregation’s interest in a study group talking about Race, using this resource.
At this stage I am consulting to see what people think. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in any of these 3 initiatives or if you have any feedback or comments.
God bless, stay safe and kind regards,
Our St Mary's service continues to be broadcast online.
When you follow the link you will be taken to a Facebook page. You do NOT need to have or create a Facebook account to view the video. To watch go to the videos section and click on the video you want. Previous services will also be there.
You can find the service in the video section by following this Link
If you would like an order of service follow this Link