St Mary’s Easter Good News Update
This Easter 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.
- Happy Easter from Rev. Mandy Elmes;
- Operation Christmas Child;
- Kid’s Church;
- Garden of Remembrance Makeover;
- Nejebar’s Story / Christian Aid Week;
- Alpha Course;
- Bishop Stephen’s Lent Appeal;
- Dates for Your Diary (Including Services),
- Sunday Gospel Readings,
- Regular Events,
Easter is a wonderful time of year as we celebrate the time when Jesus rose from the dead, proving that God’s power of life over death, light over darkness and hope over hopelessness, is real. It is a time to celebrate and give thanks for all that God has done for us; which is undoubtedly easier to do as the days lengthen and the temperature rises.
Jesus was a real man, who really lived, and died, in Israel, 2000 years ago. His challenge to the political, religious and financial leaders of the time was more than they could cope with, and so they conspired together to have him killed. They succeeded in their plans, and he died on a cross, between two insurgents. They thought they had got rid of him, but God proved that his powers are greater than the powers of man and death, and he raised Jesus from the dead.
This is what we celebrate at Easter. This is something we all need to give thanks for, and it gives us hope for a life after death for each of us as well.
If you would like to consider the background to this, why not join the ALPHA Course which will be running after Easter. Please see inside the magazine for more details.
Operation Christmas Child
I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about the Christmas Shoe Box appeal, but a few weeks ago we had a very interesting talk by the Assistant Director for Operation Christmas Child (OCC), Chris Roberts, and I thought I would share with you some of the things he told us.
Our church is one of some 30,000 churches around the world who send out over 11 million shoeboxes to children in need. OCC works closely with local churches and community groups in the countries receiving the boxes to identify where they are needed most; they try to reach new children each year. The volunteers distributing the boxes are carefully trained to ensure that information about the Christian faith is only offered if community leaders welcome it; contrary to some claims in the media, there are no strings attached for the children and communities receiving the boxes.
Chris also shared with us some moving stories about the individual children who receive the shoe boxes. For example, there was the story of the teenage girl in Mexico who turned up at one of the opening events in the hope of receiving a box. She wasn’t on the list, but the volunteers said they would try and find a spare one for her. While she was waiting, she told them her story. Her life had been hard; she didn’t seem to have any family, except a couple whom she called aunt & uncle. Her life was chaotic and she had no permanent home but her aunt & uncle did what they could to help her. One day however her aunt and uncle disappeared without warning. She assumed that they had been killed by the drug cartels (a common occurrence in Mexico) and without their support her life became even harder.
Eventually she was given her shoe box. When she opened it however she cried out. The volunteers rushed over to see if she was ok. Unbelievably, inside her box was a photo of her aunt & uncle! They had not been killed but had escaped over the border into America and felt the urge to do a shoe box so that another child could be blessed. They never imagined that their shoe box would find its way to the teenage girl they had helped before they fled to America.
So thank you to all who give boxes – you make a real difference!
We have a growing number of young people regularly attending St Mary’s on a Sunday Morning ranging from babies to teenagers. With their help, we have made a few changes to what we do during the service to better suit the needs of both the young people, and their parents. It also seemed a good time to change the name of our group to something that better explains what we do.
Kid’s Church meets weekly in the church hall, starting off in the main service and returning at the end. We have simple prayers and fun worship alongside a bible story, craft activities and games. There are plenty of toys for the little ones to play with and we often manage to squeeze in a drink and biscuit too! Some of the parents come to join in the fun, and others stay in the church service.
Garden of Remembrance Makeover!
You may have noticed that the Garden of Remembrance is looking very smart lately. It’s all thanks to the hard work of Derek Bannerman who has spent a good number of hours cleaning up the memorial walls and undertaking some other tidying up jobs. Thank you Derek! We are also very grateful to the volunteers who help keep other parts of the churchyard tidy – we really appreciate your commitment and time.
Liz Dixon, Church Administrator
Nejebar doesn’t have a safe place to call home. She fled Afghanistan with her family after the Taliban threatened to kill her husband, Noor, who was a teacher. It wasn’t an idle threat – the Taliban first blinded, then murdered, another member of their family.
The last days and weeks in Afghanistan were the hardest,
When I went to work, my heart was beating harder. I didn’t know if my family were going to be alive when I got back.
Nejebar’s family are stuck in Greece
When the family arrived at the refugee camp in Greece, they thought they would only stay for 10 days. But they’ve been there six months now and there’s no end in sight.
The only protection they have against the wind and rain is their tent. There’s no school for their children. Five-year-old Sudai, their youngest, is ill, but Nejebar and Noor don’t know what’s wrong with him because they can’t communicate with the camp’s doctor, who is Greek.
Nejebar’s hope for the future
Nejebar is the rock at the centre of her family, holding them together throughout all this uncertainty. She has even welcomed Faraidoon and Farzad into the family, two brothers who don’t know where their parents are, or if they’re even alive.
We still have some hope for our children’s future,’ says Nejebar. ‘We only want a peaceful life. We want our children to go to school. The most important thing is our children.
We are very grateful to Rev Mandy Elmes’ husband Paul who has taken over the organising of the house-to-house collection from Richard Chadborn. A few weeks ago, a speaker from Christian Aid came to talk to us during the Sunday service. As well as sharing with us the stories of some of the people our money has helped, she told us that 10% of the money raised for Christian Aid in Colchester comes from West Bergholt! So a huge thank you to everyone in the village who either helps with the collection or gives a donation – your money really makes a difference.
There will be a house-to-house collection in West Bergholt during 14 – 20 May, or you can give online at caweek.org.
You are warmly invited to join us for a series of informal sessions exploring the Christian faith, called the Alpha Course. Each evening starts with a meal and is followed by a short talk about an aspect of the Christian faith. There is an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the issues raised.
Who is it for? The course is open to anyone interested in exploring their own spirituality. You are welcome to bring a friend with you!
When will it be? We plan to run the Alpha Course over a period of 10 weeks, starting after Easter on Tuesday 25 April in the evening. The exact time & venue are to be confirmed but to help with the arrangements it would be great if you could let us know if you are interested in coming. Please could you contact Liz Dixon in the church office, 01206 243683 email: [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] by Monday 17 April.
Have you given up something for Lent and would like to support a good cause with the money you’ve saved? Together we can make a massive difference to the lives of people in our partner diocese in Kenya. The community there needs our help to create a safe water source and buy three incubators and two infant warmers for a maternity hospital. Our money will also go on other equipment and renovation in the hospital.
If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque payable to Chelmsford DBF to Liz Watson, Diocesan Office, 53 New Street, Chelmsford CM1 1AT, or you can donate on line on the Lent appeal website.
The Appeal will remain open until September 2017.
Isn’t it lovely to see the spring flowers popping up in gardens and on verges?
As Easter is quite late this year, we may need to adapt our flowers when we decorate the church on Easter Saturday morning. I look forward to welcoming anyone who would like to help from 9.45am on Saturday 15th April and contributions of bright cut flowers or small flowering plants in pots would also be much appreciated. Do contact me at [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] if you have any questions.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Senior Citizen’s Lunch – Saturday 29 April
The next Senior Citizen’s lunch will take place on Saturday 29 April @ 12.45pm. Please contact Murray Harlow (01206 242007) if you know someone who would like to come, or if you can help prepare and serve food on the day.
The first IGNITE service in January was such a success that the young people have asked for another one! This will be held on Friday 21 April at 7.45pm at St Mary’s, West Bergholt. There will be music from the band, a sketch, reflections, interactive prayer stations, a short talk and hot chocolate! For more details, please contact [email protected]
Dying Matters National Awareness Week – 8-14th May
It’s something that we don’t like to talk about, but something we all have to think about at some stage in our lives. As part of the national awareness week, representatives from Hunnaball Family Funeral Group will be at our open house coffee morning on Thursday 11 May from 9-11am if anyone would like to talk or help themselves to some information leaflets.
Dates for Your Diary
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 2 April
|Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
|Sunday 9 April
|Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey.
|Sunday 16 April
|Sunday 23 April
|Jesus appears to his disciples after the resurrection.
|Sunday 30 April
|On the road to Emmaus.
|Sunday 7 May
|The Shepherd and His flock.
|Sunday 14 May
|Jesus the Way to the Father.
|Sunday 21 May
|Jesus promises the Holy Spirit.
|Sunday 28 May
|Jesus prays for His disciples.
Our home groups will continue after Easter on the following dates:
- Tuesday 8pm (Michael Foster): 2/5, 16/5, 30/5, 13/6, 27/6 & 11/7
- Thursday 10.00am (Rachel Hutchings): 27/4, 11/5, 25/5, 8/6, 22/6, 6/7 & 20/7
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 week including school holidays
Wired – Our Youth Group for Secondary School Students.
Fridays @ 7.45pm in the church hall on the following dates:
- 31 March (Easter),
- 12 May (Graffiti night!),
- 9 June (Outside games, weather permitting) &
- 9 July (Pool party).
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]”].
- Licensed Readers:
- Richard Chadborn – 01206 240541
- Michael Foster- 01206 241022
Ronnie Seymour – 01206 273579
- Church Wardens
To be confirmed after APCMM
- 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 www.girlguidingessexne.org.uk.
- Cubs & Beavers contact: 241666;
- Scouts contact: 240549