In time it is hoped that we will together develop the content and style of this Parish News. But for now, with the constraints on time and resources we have, I hope you will tolerate my simple attempts to pass on some news in this way.
The plan is we will send a PARISH NEWS (posted on the website, emailed out and printed and posted specifically for those identified by the Pastoral Team as not having access to email) on a Monday each week, as often as is humanly possible. I will also be doing my best to ‘present’ the notices at each of the services on Sunday mornings in the churches (so they can be heard online as part of our regular streamed services and in person as well when we are able to once again come together to worship).
If you would like something specifically mentioned in the Parish News, then please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, we do hold editorial control so no rude jokes (no names mentioned) or adverts for winning raffle tickets for sale please.
SERVICES IN THE PARISH THIS WEEK.
St Mary’s 9am – Communion Service – Public Worship (restricted numbers) (and Livestreamed)
St John’s 11am – Communion Service – Public Worship (restricted numbers)
To Book a place please email email@example.com or call Nikki (the Parish Administrator) on 07720 089260. Please note that we will need to allocate seats and on a first come first served basis (but priority will be given for the next weeks service to anyone who we were unable to accommodate).
THE READING FOR THE 9am and 11am SERVICE 18th July
Mark 6: 30-34 53 to end
Both services will be led by Revd Barry Johnson and I (Nik) will be preaching.
A HUGE THANK YOU
A huge thank you to all the children in our church family. They have been a true example of resilience, taught us how to show Joy, shone a light into the dark moments, raised us up when we felt down and distracted us when we were in danger of becoming bored.
They are a true blessing to this church, this parish and this world. So please do hold them all in your thoughts and prayers this week.
This course has proved popular, and I intend to repeat the course very soon and possibly during the day. So, if anyone is yet to express an interest in attending the course then please do let me know.
We intend to open St Marys Church as a drop-in Tea Room over the Summer Holidays, hopefully on a Wednesday day time. If you would like to volunteer, to make tea and coffee, bake cakes, welcome people etc it is not too late to offer so please just let myself or Eddy the Evangelist know.
Some advanced notice so that you can put the date in your diaries. Eddy our Evangelist will be holding an Outreach Meeting on Saturday 24th July at 10.30am.
The Parish Walk will once again be hold on the 24th July meeting outside St Johns Church at 9.30am.
MOVING TO ‘NORMAL’
We have all been so patient and I know that we are all hoping and praying things can get back to normal on the 19th. But please do know that whilst as a church we too are desperate to get things back to normal, we must do things in a measured way to ensure that we meet all the rules and more importantly continue to do all we can to protect and care for each other.
I hope and pray that I will be able to offer a little more information about what will and will not be possible in the Notices next Sunday as we need to wait until the government publishes it’s specific guidance for places of worship, the Church of England produce its National response to the guidance and the Diocese let us know. Please do be patient for hopefully just a little while longer.
Please also remember that we might not be able to do all that we once did and much will depend on people volunteering to continue with tasks they did before the pandemic and new people also stepping up.
I am working hard at the moment to discover who did what and who is able to continue that work and also identify tasks that we need to fill. So please if you did tasks for the church before COVID and would like to continue please do contact me. Also, a little pre-warning I will be asking for volunteers for other tasks in the very near future.
PRAYER MINISTRY TEAM IN CHURCH
I am very pleased to let you know that from last week, it is hoped that a member (or members) of the Prayer Ministry Team will be available in the Chapel at St Johns after our public worship services on a Sunday and whenever possible a member of the Prayer Ministry will also be available at the end of the Sunday service at St Mary’s.
WEEKLY PRAYER FROM THE PRAYER MINISTRY TEAM
Lord, thank you for all you do in our lives
We are truly grateful for your provision for us
From our friends to our family, you are always blessing us in ways we cannot imagine
We feel blessed today Lord as we lift up our Church to you
It is the place we go to worship you
Where we learn about you
We ask your blessings on our Church
We ask that people will come forward to fill in the vacancies that we have
That those with any musical ability will come forward for our St Johns music group
Most of all we ask you Lord, to bless us with the resources to fulfil your mission for our Church
And that you give us the ability to be great stewards over those resources and that you guide our hand in using them
In the name of Jesus
It has been a week of real contrasts. A week full of hope, a week with disappointment, with challenges and with so many blessings. At times many of us may have felt out of control, simply spectators and at other times been called upon to lead, take decisions and consequences.
But throughout it all we have been unified, proud to be part of a team, part of a family, part of the most amazing journey. A journey of transformation, of belonging, purpose and love. Together we have been and will continue to be children of Christ, a Church of One Body, One Mission and one true goal to love and be beloved.
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this week, know you are loved and we are praying for and with you all.
God Bless you all
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) firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekday Morning Prayer
It is intended that morning prayer on Zoom will continue at 9am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays after Easter (excepting bank holidays). The link to access morning prayer will change after Easter. If you would like to have the link please email your request to 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)
“Interregnum” is the name for the period between the departure of one Rector and the arrival of the next. This is likely to be a period of around one year. Some arrangements have already been put in place to cover this period.
These arrangements are, of course, contingent on what happens with regard to the lifting of the current restrictions. Our provisional plans for services for April to June allow for the current lockdown to continue or for us to return to the situation immediately before lockdown (i.e. broadcast services form St. Mary’s and limited services at St. John’s). There will need to be some revision of our plans if the situation differs from this.
We are delighted to report that Rev. Barry Johnson, a retired minister in Basildon, has volunteered to undertake many of the “priestly” duties during the interregnum. This means that he will preside at many of our communion services and will take many of our weddings, baptisms and funerals. Our Area Dean, Rev. Jane Richards and her team (who are based at Holy Cross and St. Andrew’s in Basildon) will also provide cover, along with various other ministers from time to time.
Our own preaching team of Readers Ron Gough and Kennedy Rath, authorised preacher Eddy Lee and churchwarden Nik Wright (who is exploring a call to ordination) will also preach more regularly than in the past.
Rosters have been planned for April to June with the intention that we will broadcast live communion services from St. Mary’s at 9am every Sunday except for one Sunday in each month (to give our dedicated technical team of Roger McArdell and Ian McNally a well-deserved break!). On that Sunday the broadcast service will come from St. Andrew’s in Basildon where we will join in worship with the congregation there. We are very grateful to Rev. Jane Richards for offering this. Initially these services will be on the last Sunday of each month.
Provisional plans are also in place for 11am worship to recommence at St. John’s when it is judged to be safe and practicable so to do. Duties have been assigned but no opening date has yet been decided upon. It is anticipated that when worship recommences at St. John’s it will initially be on the same basis as just before lockdown i.e. said communion with no singing and people will have to book in advance in order to attend. Watch this space for further information!
Rector Colin Hopkinson
ONLINE ANNUAL MEETING OF PARISHIONERS AND
ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING
Sunday 25th April at 7pm
All resident in the parish and on a Register of Local Government Electors are invited to attend the Annual Meeting of Parishioners (AMP) at which we will be appointing churchwardens for 2021/2022. This will be followed by the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM – where only members on the parish electoral roll can vote) at which we will be appointing PCC members for 2021/2022.
I HAVE NOW RECEIVED GUIDANCE from the Diocese on how proceedings should be managed to enable this meeting to proceed online, including the process for nominations and elections:
If you wish to attend please email firstname.lastname@example.org and Nikki the Parish Administrator, will send you a Zoom link together with instructions on how to use the link to join the meeting.
Nikki will also send you electronically the agenda and minutes of the 2019 AMP and APCM together with the reports that have been submitted for this year’s APCM. At the APCM, there will be presentation of reports on the activities of the church, submission of the electoral roll and presentation of financial statements and a report from the Treasurer.
If you wish to see a copy of the revised electoral roll please ask specifically for this and a copy will be sent to you.
At the AMP there will be elections for 2 parish churchwardens. If you wish to stand for election as churchwarden please contact Nikki urgently at email@example.com because there is a form that must be completed and submitted prior to the meeting.
At the APCM there will also be elections for deputy churchwardens at St Mary’s and St John’s; and members of the Parochial Church Council. If you wish to stand for election to any of these posts please send an email to the PCC Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org, clearly stating which post you wish to stand for and including the names of a proposer and a seconder who are themselves on the church electoral roll. (Please ensure that the proposer and seconder will be at the APCM so that we can confirm their consent).
For further information please contact :
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).
Rob Aley’s funeral.
Rob’s funeral will take place at Basildon crematorium on Wednesday 31st March at 11.30am. Due to the current Covid restrictions only invited guests can attend. The service will be broadcast and if you would like to be able to join the broadcast please email Colin on email@example.com and he will send you the link.
Please keep Rob’s wife, Sue, and the rest of the family in your prayers.
Rector Langdon Hills Parish
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
As I announced in the online service on Sunday 24th January, I am to retire as Rector of Langdon Hills. My last working day will be Easter Sunday, 4th April.
Christine and I will be moving to Otley in Yorkshire, close to our daughter Sarah. Christine’s mother, Mavis, will also be moving nearby.
We already intended to retire this year, but when Mavis had a bad fall and an operation it became clear that it needed to be sooner rather than later. She is making a good recovery, but she needs a level of support which is not sustainable at our current distance.
When the date was set we had hoped that the Covid crisis would be receding by Easter, and that we would be back in church and progressing towards normality. Sadly, that now seems less likely. Our farewells will probably have to be virtual rather than face to face!
The Church Council (PCC) was informed at our zoom meeting on 18th January. The Diocese has been cutting back on clergy numbers due to financial constraints, but Archdeacon Mike Lodge was in attendance at PCC and was able to reassure members that I will be replaced. However, there will be the usual interregnum (i.e. a gap between appointments). He and the Area Dean, Rev. Jane Richards, will help the church to manage the interregnum and to seek a new Rector.
In the next two months I will be working with our churchwarden, Nik Wright, and others to cover the period immediately after my retirement. I hope and believe that all of you will do what you can to support those who will be maintaining our church’s life during the interregnum.
We first came to Langdon Hills in a previous century, in 1998! We have been here for over 22 years and our children grew up here. Sarah attended Lincewood Primary School and then followed David to The Billericay School. It has been a great privilege to serve the parish and the churches of St. Mary’s and St. John’s. We have made many friends and it will be a wrench for us to leave. Nevertheless, we believe that it is the right time to go, both for us and for the parish. The church needs fresh leadership to move on to the next stage of its mission and ministry.
Change is never easy and it is particularly challenging in the current circumstances. However, God uses such times to shape us and to mould us. In particular, He often uses interregna to raise people up and to grow churches spiritually and in discipleship. It will be our prayer that God will continue to bless St. Mary’s and St. John’s in the months and years ahead. May we also ask for your prayers that God will bless us as we move on to pastures new.
May God’s grace and peace be with you,
Colin and Christine.