Easter

Easter

Arsene Wenger once said that "Christmas is significant, Easter is decisive." He was talking about winning the Premiership rather than, you know, Jesus, but it's also true for the Church. Christmas is so very significant. Amongst everything else, it's about frail, messy humanity, and how God chose to clothe himself in our small clumsiness to show His enormous love. It's about how willing God was to take a risk on us.  It's about how much God cares about the losers. It's about how the God who asks us to trust us, entrusted us with His only Son. It's the moment when God came to be with us. Easter, however, is decisive. Christmas might have started the chain of events, and all of the years unfolding afterwards brought new pages to the story, but the death and resurrection of Jesus changes everything, and not even removing 'Easter' from the title of an egg-hunt can change that fact. Not even that. Easter is the story of Jesus....
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Christmas in the Manningtree Benefice

Christmas in the Manningtree Benefice

    It has been a mad couple of months since Rev'd Chris Hills retired, so I'm really sorry that the blog got a little neglected...! Christmas is upon us, and we've got loads on. First up, this coming Sunday we have our services of Carols by Candlelight. These are traditional style services of readings and carols for Christmas. Please note that we will be using handheld candles at Mistley this year. If you don't feel confident using this, please make sure to bring a torch instead, as it will be pretty dark. On Christmas Eve we have our Crib Services: these are family-friendly services, including a re-telling of the Christmas story, Christmas songs, a small craft and a biscuit on the way out. They are a great way to start Christmas, remembering what it's really about, so everyone's welcome of all ages! Later that night, we also have our service of Christmas Communion: this will be a traditional-style service with Christmas carols and readings and Communion together. Finally, on Christmas morning...
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Rev’d Chris Hills final service

Rev’d Chris Hills final service

Don't forget, friends, this coming Sunday is Chris and Geoff's final service with us. We're meeting at 10.30am, Sunday 30 October at Mistley (ignore publications that tell you otherwise!) for a service of celebration and thanksgiving, complete with kids work and Communion. Chris will be preaching and leading for the last time (if I was an emoticon kind of person, that would be a sad face, right there), and we'll praying for Chris, Geoff and the whole family in the service, as they will be for us. Straight after the service we're going to have a brief presentation accompanied by drinks and nibbles so please stay if you can! There has been a card circulating and it will be available to write in on Sunday, so don't worry if you haven't managed to do that yet! We hope to see as many people as possible, so please do come along if you can: hope to see you there!...
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At laaaaaaaast!

At laaaaaaaast!

Can you imagine that blog title as if I was Etta James? After literal years, we finally have the website looking more like a real website. It has only taken a ridiculous amount of time, research, emails, tears, emergency phone calls, nearly swearing, kind of swearing, definite yelling at computers, and more tears. Please bear with us and we try to get this working more smoothly, and let us know if there's anything that isn't working! Huge, huge thanks to everyone who helped get us this far, particularly Phil who designed the original website, has been incredibly gracious about the fact that we wanted to replace it, and has saved us a ridiculous number of times from technological failure. Happy birthday website!  ...
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Celebrating St. Michael’s Church, Manningtree

Celebrating St. Michael’s Church, Manningtree

Next time you are out and about on Manningtree High Street, you might notice that bang opposite Lucca is a mysterious piece of wall with a sign on it. You can even Google Street view it. It is not just a mysterious piece of wall, nor is it just a PokeStop. It is the last remaining piece of St. Michael and All Angels' Church, which stood on Manningtree High Street from 1616-1966. If you've done your maths correctly, you'll realise that it is therefore 400 years since St. Michael's was built, and we want to mark the occasion. We will be holding a service of celebration and thanksgiving for the mission and ministry of St. Michael and All Angels Church, and we'd love for as many people to join us as possible. It'll be on Sunday 25 September, 5pm at St. Mary & St. Michael's Church, Mistley, with tea together from 4pm. If you have any photos or memories of St Michael's that you...
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Walking into Spiritual Disciplines this August

This August, we'll be taking a rest from most of our usual activities, and simplifying our Sunday worship a bit with everyone looking at the same themes, and with generally shorter services.We're going to take the opportunity to look at Spiritual Disciplines, focussing on Sabbath, submission, simplicity, solitude, silence and stillness in all our morning gatherings and at Quiet Communion.Hopefully at least some of them will be available here to listen to again, so do check them out! Otherwise, we hope to see you there!...
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Battling Giants and Life Together

There's still time to come and learn the lessons of David, facing the giants of fear, temptation, failure (ironically, I failed to put that one on the poster) disappointment, an actual giant, and overcoming them.This week we faced both temptation AND failure in our Sunday worship, and then ALSO tackled disappointment at Life Together. If you haven't heard about it yet, Life Together is our monthly chance to get together, going deeper into worship, into fellowship, prayer, discussion, discovery, and pudding. Elbow-deep.We hold it on a week-night, normally starting with pudding, coffee, and catching up with each other. We then move into worship, normally of an informal, modern style. Then we gather together to dig into a theme, with thoughts posed and questions raised. Depending where that theme goes, we often end with prayer and/or more worship.This has not so far been at all what we imagined it would be, but it has been a blessing to those who have come, opening...
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