St Mary’s Christmas 2017 Good News Update

St Mary’s Christmas 2017 Good News Update

‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means God with Us’

(Matthew Chapter 1, verse 23)

This Christmas 2017 edition of Good News, St Mary’s Parish Magazine, is reproduced below (together with additional material from various notices), use the links to the stories & news items.

Peace on Earth?

Dear Friends,

Venting his fury at a potential rival, Herod plays a percentages game. He spreads the net of his anger widely and kills every boy under two in order to ensure he kills just one. He fails. Fury and anger usually do – though that is scant consolation to the mourning families of the innocent victims who suffer. Meanwhile, Jesus the Saviour who is saved, is visited by unlikely people: in this case, shepherds and foreign rulers.

The shepherds, virtual outcasts in their own society and looked upon with grave suspicion, hear a song of peace. It is deeply attractive, and it sends them to Bethlehem.

The wise men have followed a hunch in the form of a star. They are about to learn that their maps are wrong. They will return by a different route.

Tyrants like Herod still strut about the world today, their vanity and arrogant self-importance still causing havoc and misery. But the door of the stable at Bethlehem still stands open for those who long for peace and those prepared to have their lives redirected.

Might you be one of them?

Have an interesting Christmas!

Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell
Bishop of Chelmsford

Listening, Watching & Waiting Reflections for Advent


The weeks before Christmas can be busy and noisy. There are moments and places where silence is like a gift, like the quiet of a city street or country lane after a fall of snow.

Prayer does not begin, or end, with words. It starts in stillness and finds its fullest expression in silence. As we are silent, we learn to listen. We discover how to pay attention to what is going on within us and to what is happening around us.

Listening to your heart and to the world begins to enable you to listen to God. You might only hear him faintly, but as you do so you can catch his whisper of love.


Now there was a great wind, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

From the story of Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings Chapter 19.

Elijah the prophet was fed up and angry. He walked 400 miles complaining to God that everyone else had given up and abandoned him. God waited until Elijah had finished and was quiet and then God spoke; not in a violent wind, or an earthquake or a raging fire, but in a breath of silence.

Where this advent can you find a moment of silence?


The lights of Christmas – in shops, on streets and in our homes – are bold, beautiful, colourful and often dazzling. Occasionally one small light catches our eye – perhaps a candle’s flickering flame – and we see something new.

Prayer is refusing to rush out the door in the morning before stopping to see the good things that shape and fill your life.


Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place – and I did not know it!’ And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven’.

From the story of Jacob’s ladder in Genesis Chapter 28.

Prayer is making time to see what might go unnoticed, the signs of God’s presence in the world and in the people you encounter today, and in your own life. The signs are there and you will see them if you open your eyes.

Jacob, running away from home, stops to sleep in the desert and dreams a colourful dream. He sees a ladder stretched from earth to heaven, with angels going up and coming down. He wakes and knows that God is in this place.

Where this Advent will you recognise the presence of God?


For a child, waiting for Christmas is part of the excitement. Many still enjoy the Advent calendar countdown, whether or not accompanied by chocolate!

Prayer is not about giving God a shopping list. It is putting into God’s hands things that worry us or issues with which we struggle; it is waiting for God’s answer and help. When we pray we share the cries of those near us, and far from us, who wait for healing, or love or justice.

In the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel Chapter 1, Hannah is broken- hearted because she has no child, and is made fun of by others. She comes to the temple and prays, her grieving lips moving silently. She waits and God hears her.

In what ways this Advent are you being asked to wait?

These reflections are extracts from a booklet called #GodwithUs – Your Christmas Journey. For more information, visit the website:  You can also text GodWithUS to 88802 to receive the reflections on mobile, or follow #GodWithUS on Facebook or Twitter.


Church Flowers

As we start to think it can’t be nearly Christmas already, please take a moment to remember the lovely displays we had in St Mary’s for Harvest….  We were delighted that so many different church and village organisations used their own ideas and interpreted the theme of harvest so that all the visitors who came in to the church had lots to think about.

We will be decorating the church for Christmas from 9.45am on Saturday 23rd December and hope many of you will be able to help.

If anyone reading this would like to join the flower rota team, please get in touch with me, either in church or by email.

Thank you. Fiona.   [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].

Messy ChurchMessy Advent

Our next Messy Church will take place on the FIRST Sunday, 3 December, at 9.30am, when the theme will be Advent. Come along and have some fun in a relaxed and informal family friendly service.

Christmas Choir – Calling all Singers

The first rehearsal for anyone would like to sing in the choir at the Christmas Eve Carol Service is Sunday 3 December @ 10.30am in church.

Confirmation Service

We hope you will be able to come and support our confirmation candidates at this very special service led by the Bishop of Colchester at 10:30am on Sunday 10th December.

Heathlands School Christmas Tree Festival

Taking place on 15th December in the Church between 1pm – 5pm.  Each House at school decorates a Christmas tree with items for the Homeless Shelter and parents are invited into church after school to vote for their favourite and buy a cake in support of the Tom Bowdidge Foundation.

Carol Service at St Mary’s Old Church – Back in 2018!

Because the work on the Old Church won’t be completed until January, it has been decided, with sadness, that it won’t be possible to have the Candlelight Carol Service this year. But it will be back next year!

Carol Singing at the Co-op

Folk from the Methodist Church will be singing Carols outside the Co-op on Friday 22 December from 6.15pm. All singers welcome, donations will go towards Action for Children.

Revised Church Opening Times in the New Year

welcome to west bergholt

From 1st January the opening times of the church will be revised to the following times:

  • Mon– Open 9am – 1pm
  • Tues – Open 9am – 1pm
  • Weds – Closed
  • Thurs – Open 9am – 1pm
  • Fri – Open 9am – 1pm
  • Bank Holidays & Weekends – Closed, except for church services!

Ignite imageComing in January 2018!

Next Ignite Service with the Wired and Langham & Boxted Youth Groups

We are hoping to have another Ignite youth service in January – please keep an eye open on the website and Facebook pages for details after Christmas.

Afternoon Tea Event

Taking place between 2:30pm – 4:30pm on saturday 17th February this is a great Christmas gift idea.  Treat yourself or a friend to a very special afternoon tea!  Tickets cost £10.00 and will be on sale from 4th December from the Church Office or on Sunday mornings.

This is a fund-raising event to contribute towards the cost of our new Families Worker

A Big Shoebox Thank You

Thank you to everyone who filled shoeboxes this year – we delivered 41 Boxes to the drop off point this year!

Dates for Your Diary (Including Services)

Saturday 25 November 1.00pm Senior Citizens Lunch
Sunday 26 November 8.00am BCP Communion at All Saints, GH
9.30am Morning Worship
Communion at St Peter’s, Boxted
11.15am Service 4 All at All Saints, GH
Monday 27 November 1.30pm Gill’s Home Group
Thursday 30 November 9.00am Open House
2.30pm 5Ts
7.00pm Messy Church Prayer
Sunday 3 December First rehearsal for Christmas Choir
9.30am Messy Church
Communion at St Peter’s, Boxted
11.15am Trees for Advent Service at All Saints’ GH
Tuesday 5 December Home Group @ Pat & Roy’s
Thursday 7 December 9.00am Open House
2.30pm 5Ts
Saturday 9 December 4.00pm Storytime Plus Service at St John’s GH
Sunday 10 December 10.30am Confirmation Service led by Bishop Roger

No services in Gt Horkesley or Langham & Boxted

Tuesday 12 December 11.00am Village Communion at St Mary’s
Friday 15 December 7.45pm Wired Christmas Party
Sunday 17 December 11.15am Holy Communion with Kid’s Church
Saturday 23 December 9.45am Decorating church for Christmas
Sunday 24 December, Christmas Eve 3.00pm Crib Service
6.45pm Carol Service
11.30pm Midnight Communion at All Saints, Great Horkesley
Monday 25 December, Christmas Day 9.30am Christmas Family Service led by Rev Christine Shillaker
Thursday 11 January 7.30pm PCC Meeting
Sunday 31 December 9.30am Joint Service with Great Horkesley & Methodist Churches, at St Mary’
Sunday 7 January 9.30am Holy Communion with Kid’s Church
Tuesday 9 January 11.00am Village Communion at St Mary’s
Saturday 13 January Marriage Preparation Day
Sunday 14 January 9.30am Messy Church
Sunday 21 January 11.15am Holy Communion with Kid’s Church
Sunday 28 January 9.30am Morning Worship with Kid’s Church

Sunday Gospel Readings

Our Bible readings for every Sunday are taken from the Lectionary, a table of psalms and readings authorised for use in public worship of the Church of England.




Sunday 26 November Matthew 25:31-46 The sheep & the goats
Sunday 3 December Mark 13:24-37 Jesus teaches about his return
Sunday 10 December Mark 1:1-8 John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus
Sunday 17 December John 1:6-8, 19-28 John the Baptist declares his mission
Sunday 24 December
Christmas Eve
Luke 1:26-38 An angel promises the birth of Jesus to Mary
Monday 25 December
Christmas Day
Luke 2:8-20 Shepherds visit Jesus
Sunday 31 December Luke 2:15-21 Shepherds visit Jesus
Sunday 7 January Mark 1:4-11 John the Baptist
Sunday 14 January John 1:43-51 The first disciples follow Jesus
Sunday 21 January John 2:1-11 Jesus changes water to wine
Sunday 28 January Mark 1:21-28 Jesus teaches with authority

Regular Events

Thursdays at 9.00 am Drop in for coffee during term time.

1st Sunday in the month 9.30am Holy Communion + Kids’ Church
2nd Sunday in the month 9.30am Messy Church
No evening prayer in winter months
3rd Sunday in the month 11.15am Holy Communion + Kids’ Church
4th Sunday in the month 9.30am Morning Worship + Kids’ Church
(Kids’ Church = St Mary’s Sunday school)
5th Sunday in the month
(when applicable)
Combined service with Methodist Church and the parishes of Great Horkesley and Langham with Boxted. The location and times of the service rotate between the 5 churches.

Home Groups

Our home groups continue up to and after Christmas on the dates below. If you are interested in joining one of the groups, please contact Michael Foster on 241022.

  • Tuesday 8pm (Michael Foster 241022):  5/12, 2/1, 16/1, 30/1.
  • Monday 1.45pmam (Gill Partridge’s House):  11/12, 18/12, 8/1, 22/1, 5/2 – pre-school children welcome. Please contact Liz in the office for details – 243683.

Open House & 5T’s (Together on Thursdays for Tea @ Two Thirty)

  • Open House every Thursday morning at 9am in term times.
  • 5T’s – 2.30pm every Thursday, including school holidays.

Wired (our Youth Group for Secondary School Students)

Fridays @ 7.45pm in the church hall.

  • 15 December – Christmas party;
  • 8 January.

For more details contact [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].


  • Priest in charge: Rev Dr Mandy Elmes,
    The Rectory, 1 Church Close,
    West Bergholt CO6 3JZ
    Tel 01206 240906
    Mob 07872 649967
    [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
  • Parish Office & Good News Editor
    Liz Dixon 01206 243683
    [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
  • Lay Readers:
    • Richard Chadborn – 01206 240541
    • Michael Foster- 01206 241022
  • Evangelist:
    Ronnie Seymour – 01206 273579
  • Church Wardens
    • Sue Day – 01206 241040
    • Peter Jeffery – 01206 548839
  • Pastoral Assistant
    • Dorothy Chadborn – 01206 240541
  • Home Groups: (Bible Study) Contact Michael Foster – 01206 241022
  • Hall Hire and Church Bookings: Contact Nicole on 01206 240443
  • Website and email
    [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]
    Follow us on Twitter @stmarysbergholt or Facebook
  • Rainbows, Brownies and Guides
    Enquiries regarding Rainbows, Brownies & Guides to 07757 636446, [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] or
  • Cubs & Beavers contact: 241666;
  • Scouts contact: 240549


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