Category Archives: Rector’s Reflections

Sue Mann

21st June 2024

People often ask for the hymn ‘All things bright and beautiful,’ at both wedding and funeral services. It is a popular hymn, probably because we all appreciate the beauty of the created world generously given to us by God.  And, of course, we are now in that time of year when everything is growing, and it is lovely to see flowers in our gardens.

We are also blessed with three lovely churchyards which are usually a haven of peace and tranquillity, enabling people to go and spend time with God and to remember loved ones who may have been buried there or have had their ashes interred there.

We have a very small band of volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year to maintain the churchyards and keep them looking so good, and for all their hard work we are extremely grateful.

Of course, things occasionally go wrong. And, unfortunately, this is what has happened recently at two of our churchyards. At Horndon, the Tuesday Gardening Gang of 3 volunteers have been faced with repeated rain which has meant they have been unable to mow in the New Cemetery in Mill Lane. And, at Orsett, a broken lawnmower coupled with volunteer illness, has meant that the grass has also become very long.

The fact that this grass has grown so quickly over a short period of time has highlighted to me just how hard these volunteers work throughout the year to keep these churchyards looking so good. We are often quick to complain when things go wrong, but not so quick to express our gratitude for ongoing hard work.

Please be assured that we are all doing our best to rectify this, and thank you, so much, to the people who, recognising that there is a problem, have stepped up to help.

I would like to take this opportunity to give a big thank you to the gardening volunteers at all three churchyards who do a great job. And please can I ask for your patience, as these people work hard to rectify this problem at Horndon and Orsett. If you have a lawnmower or strimmer and would be willing to give an hour or two to help us to get this under control again, or to volunteer at any of the churches on a more regular basis, the churchwardens or I would love to hear from you. Finally, please can I also ask that you help us by  not depositing your household waste and dog poo in the church bins.

Take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

21st May 2024

Micah 6: 8 in the Bible says, ‘what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

And Jesus says, in Matthew 22:39, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ And this, of course, means our neighbours around the world.

In May it was Christian Aid Week. And, at the beginning of Christian Aid Week, we held a ‘Big Brekkie’ after the morning service at Bulphan. We were very grateful to those who organised this, Lynda, Lynda, Angie, Lesley and Janet and, of course, to those who came to support it.

Every year we celebrate Christian Aid Week and people give generously, but I wonder how many of us know just how diverse the work they do is.

Christian Aid work with local partners ‘to fight injustice, respond to humanitarian emergencies, campaign for change and help people claim the services and rights they are entitled to.’[i]

They work hard to end poverty and have four key areas on which they focus. These four areas are helping people to:

  • claim their rights and access services such as healthcare and education.
  • Ensure they are not discriminated against for any reason.
  • Become more resilient to shocks and disasters such as drought, climate change and hurricanes.
  • Make the most of opportunities, such as being able to sell their produce for a fair price.[ii]

They have been responding to humanitarian emergencies and disasters around the world since 1945, when their work began as a result of the need to respond to the effects of violence and conflict, providing immediate relief as well as long term support.

Since its conception in 1945, Christian Aid has worked in many conflict-affected countries and places, ‘often working directly on issues of violence and peace.’[iii]

Their brief also includes work relating to gender, power and inclusion on the basis that unequal distribution of power and unfair abuses of power are at the heart of poverty.

In addition, they have a significant focus on climate adaptation and resilience and they work with local partners and communities affected by climate crisis to help the most marginalised ‘to adapt, build resilience and reduce their vulnerability.’[iv]

Christian Aid do a great work and should you wish to make a donation towards this, there are envelopes available in church. Please could you ensure that your donation is returned by 9th June.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Take care and God bless,






Sue Mann

21st March 2024

By the time you receive this edition of the magazine we will have celebrated Easter Day and I hope you had a joyous and blessed time. Thank you to everyone who worked hard to get the churches ready for the Easter Services.  The Easter Season, however, continues for 50 days, culminating in Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, Mary, and the first followers of Christ, with Ascension Day being celebrated 10 days before that.

May the glory
and the promise
of this joyous time of year
bring peace
and happiness to you
and those you hold most dear.
And may Christ,
Our Risen Saviour,
always be there by your side
to bless you
most abundantly
and be your loving guide.

– Author Unknown

We are also looking forward to our Annual Church Meeting, the APCM, which will be on Sunday 28th April, following our 10am Service at Horndon Church.

If you are on the Church Electoral Roll, please do try to come along to this meeting and if you are not on the Electoral Roll, you are all are most welcome at the 10am Service and, indeed, any another service at Church. We would love to see you.

I believe that every person is created with gifts and talents with which to serve God and it is when we share those gifts and talents that we can work together effectively to share the Good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians, Chapter 4, it says,

It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.

With the APCM approaching, I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all the people in the Parish who work together to this end. We think of Revd Max, the Churchwardens, the PCC, the Parish Administrator, the Treasury Team, the members of the Action Groups, the Musicians, those who offer hospitality, provide pastoral support, keep the churchyards looking so good, read, preach or lead prayers, get the churches ready for many different services, lead the children’s work, take minutes at meetings, or who serve God in any other way.  All that you do is greatly appreciated.

I look forward to seeing you soon. Take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

22nd February 2024

Recently, I went to  the cinema to see ‘One Life.’ It is a very moving film based upon the true story of Sir Nicholas, ‘Nicky’ Winton, a young London broker who, in the months leading up to World War II, rescued 669 mainly Jewish children from the Nazis. In 1938, Nicky visited Prague and found families who had fled the Nazis in Germany and Austria, and who were living in desperate conditions with very little or no shelter and food, under threat of Nazi invasion. Winton put himself and others at risk as they undertook this bureaucratic and complicated operation to rescue these children.

This film reminded me of the story of Corrie ten Boom. Corrie and her family helped many Jewish people escape from the Nazis during the Holocaust in World War II, by hiding them in their home. They also put themselves at great risk. The family were subsequently caught, and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Eventually, Corrie remained the only survivor in her family, her sister and father having lost their lives in order to save the lives of others. Corrie’s most famous book, The Hiding Place, is a biography that retells the remarkable story of her family’s efforts and how Corrie and her family held on to their faith and shared the good news of Jesus with others during their time  of incarceration.

Similarly, on the current Alpha Course, we heard the story of a Polish Roman Catholic Priest called Maximilian Kolbe who, because he had no dependents, volunteered to take the place of family man, Franciszek Gajowniczek in the starvation bunker at the German death camp of Auschwitz, and who later died of a lethal injection. The result of this was that Gajowniczek spent the rest of his life going round the world telling the story of what Kolbe had done for him. And, in 1982, the Pope described Kolbe’s actions as ‘a victory like that one by our Lord Jesus Christ.’

As we approach Easter, let’s remember that just as Kolbe died for Gajowniczek, and others such as the ten Booms and Kolbe, risked or sacrificed their lives for the benefit of others, Jesus died on the cross for each one of us. He did this because of his great love for us and to enable the bad things we have thought, said or done in our lives to be forgiven and to allow us to continue in our Christian journey, free from guilt and shame.

So, this Easter, let’s celebrate what our risen Lord Jesus has done for each one of us. In the words of a song by Noel Richards,

You laid aside your majesty,

gave up everything for me,

suffered at the hands of those you had created.

You took all my guilt and shame,

when you died and rose again:

now today you reign,

in heaven and earth exalted.

I really want to worship you, my Lord.

You have won my heart and I am yours

for ever and ever; I will love you.

You are the only one who died for me,

gave your life to set me free,

so I lift my voice to you in adoration.

Taken from Scriptures: Psalms 18:1, Acts 2:33, Philippians 2:7, John 1:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:14

Copyright: © 1985 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music

Take care and God bless and Happy Easter!


Sue Mann

20th January 2024

Dear Everyone,

As we enter February, our Church Council, the PCC, will be going to Mulberry House, in Brentwood, to pray and consider how we, as a church, can continue on our journey to be as inclusive as possible. So With this in mind, we welcomed the Revd Mike Nelson, from Twydall in Kent, to one of our morning services in January to speak to us about his church’s journey to become an ‘Inclusive Church.’

The ‘Inclusive Church’ statement says,

“We believe in inclusive church – a church which celebrates and affirms every person and does not discriminate.

We will continue to challenge the church where it continues to discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality.

We believe in a Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.”

Whether or not we are a member of ‘Inclusive Church,’ it is important that our doors are open to all and that each person who walks over the threshold feels welcomed, loved and valued. That means we are called to love our neighbours, especially those who don’t look like us, think like us, speak like us, pray like us or vote like us. Jesus loved everyone without exception. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus says,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’

And so that is what we, as Christians, are called to do.

In the Parish, we try hard to be as inclusive as possible and really do hope you feel welcome when you come along to church, or to church activities, although we recognise that we may not always get it right. So, if there is something we could do to make your experience of church more comfortable or welcoming, please do  let me, one of our wardens or a member of the PCC know.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

With love and prayers,