Category Archives: Rector’s Reflections

Sue Mann

22nd January 2022

On 21st February this year, Fairtrade Fortnight begins, when people come together to share stories of the people who grow our food and drinks, mine our gold and who grow the cotton for our clothes.  Often these workers are exploited and underpaid. During this fortnight we are encouraged to consider the impact our spending has on other people.

As a church we have committed to using Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar and we try to use Fairtrade biscuits when we can source them. At the moment we only seem to be able to get Fairtrade biscuits from Traidcraft but, perhaps, if we all write to our local supermarkets to request that they stock more of these biscuits, we might be able to be agents for positive change. It certainly worked with bananas several years ago.

In 2019, Fairtrade launched a campaign to enable a sustainable future for cocoa farmers by providing  them with a living income and, therefore,  an ability to cover all their cocoa farming costs  and their basic human rights,  such as a nutritious diet, children’s education and healthcare.

The Fairtrade Foundation says,

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us more than ever how interconnected we are globally. This interconnection is at the very heart of the Fairtrade message and is where your role begins. You are part of the Fairtrade movement, and you have the power to drive long-term change, not only with your shopping choices but with your support in spreading the message.

Fairtrade not only ensures a fair wage for the producers but it also has a positive effect on climate change. Speaking about their work in this respect, the Fairtrade Foundation, say:

Fairtrade is about social, economic and environmental justice. These are built into our standards and drive everything we do. A root cause of the inability to adapt to and mitigate climate change is poverty. More money in the hands of farmers is needed if they are to adapt and survive the climate crisis. Choosing Fairtrade fights for improvements in producers’ livelihoods with collective strength through co-ops and their bargaining power, the protection of a Minimum Price and Fairtrade Premiums.

During Fairtrade Fortnight, this year, we have the opportunity to engage with the online Festival, ‘Choose the World you Want’ which you can find by going to Fairtrade Fortnight – Fairtrade Foundation It encourages us not only to share the Fairtrade message but to keep up the pressure on those who  will be attending the COP27 in Cairo next year.

Last year’s festival saw campaigners, shoppers, students and businesses come together in a show of support for the farmers behind our food on the front line of the climate crisis. From online panels to bake-offs and coffee mornings over 50 virtual events took place as part of our virtual festival, with supporters sharing the power of Fairtrade and what needs to happen next to ensure farmers and workers are put front and centre of conversations on how to tackle the climate crisis.

I would love to hear of anything you decide to do for Fairtrade Fortnight. Please do send in any reports or photos for the website or magazine.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

16th December 2021

Happy New Year!

So what are your hopes for 2022?

We are beginning the year in the church by uniting our three churches to become the Ecclesiastical Parish of Horndon, Orsett and Bulphan, which means that instead of having three Parochial Church Councils we will have one PCC as we work together to serve God in our three villages and beyond. This means that on Sunday 30th January, after the morning service at Orsett, we will be electing the members of the new Church Council at a special meeting to which all those on the electoral rolls are invited.

To mark the beginning of this new era in our church governance, Bishop Guli, who was appointed to serve as the Bishop of Chelmsford last year, will be joining us at our service on 9th January, at Orsett, at 10am to pray for us. She will also be baptising two children who we will be welcoming into our church family and she will be blessing the work of our local farmers as we will also be celebrating Plough Sunday.

The observance of Plough Sunday, on the First Sunday of Epiphany, goes back to Victorian times, but behind it there is a much older observance, associated with the first working day after the twelve days of Christmas.

Although the nature of farming has changed over the centuries, Plough Sunday is generally seen as a way of celebrating farming and the work of farmers. It is an opportunity to cherish the land and human labour, and to remind us all of our dependence upon it and upon God. You are all invited to this service, where will give thanks, in particular, to our local farmers and pray for them.

Every good and perfect gift comes from you, O Lord.

For fertile soil, for the smell of newly-turned earth

we give you thanks, O Lord.

For keen cold frosty winter days and nights

we give you thanks, O Lord.

For the tractor’s hum and the gleam of a cutting edge

we give you thanks, O Lord.

For the beauty of a clean-cut furrow and the sweep of a well-ploughed field

we give you thanks, O Lord.

Blessed be you, Lord for all your gifts to us.


The Arthur Rank Centre

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Take care and God bless,



Sue Mann

18th November 2021

For Christians, the time before Christmas which we call Advent, is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ. God prepared for the birth of Jesus through the words of the prophets, many of whom lived in simplicity to show that they were waiting for God to fulfil his promises. Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, Anna and Simeon are examples of God’s faithful people who waited in joyful and humble trust.

As we prepare for the coming of Christ, I offer some prayers from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne which you might find helpful in your devotions as you prepare, this Advent, for the coming of Christ.

    Prepare my mind, merciful God, For the wonders of your mystery. Prepare my heart, loving God, For the joy of your presence. Prepare my spirit, awesome God, For the blessing of your wisdom.Jesus teach me how to love, how to live in your presence. Jesus teach me how to live, how to pray in your will. Jesus teach me how to pray, how to rest in your embrace. Jesus teach me how to rest, how to be in your world. Jesus teach me how to be, how to love your way.
Show me your ways, Teach me your paths, Grant me the courage To follow you Wherever you lead The faith to seek you, In all things In all places In all the people And the wisdom To accept That I need you.    May love be my reason And love my desire. May love be my purpose And love be my fire. May love be my burden And love be my strife. May love be my comfort and love be my life.
      Pause…breathe slowly… Invite God into the moment. Pause…breathe slowly… Listen to the whispers of the Spirit. Pause…breathe slowly… Follow the examples of Jesus  On the wars and rumours of wars, Shine your light. On the poor and the oppressed, Shine your light On the lies and the deceivers Shine your light On the disasters And terrible things, Shine your light. Lord, help me to serve. Lord, help me to be your light.  
Each day throughout Advent, write down three things. One thing that makes you feel joyful, one thing that you are thankful for and one thing that you are helpless about. Tell God about them. It may help to have three pebbles and a small cross. And as you think of the things, place them at the foot of the cross.  Shine your light on my path, May I follow your way. Shine your light on my darkness, May I know your love. Shine your light on my face, May I reflect your glory.

I look forward to seeing you over the Christmas period.

Take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

24th October 2021

Whenever I am involved with a small group study, it energises me. It is a real privilege to be able to journey with others as we seek to support each other and grow in faith.

In the past year in the Benefice, we have held a course on Climate Change and considered our responsibility as Christians to care for the creation that God has so generously given us. We have held a SHAPE Course where we worked together to discern what it might be that God is calling each of us to do in his service. And, now, on Tuesday evenings, every two weeks, we are holding a course called ‘The Prayer Course,’ which is being very ably run by two of our church members, Phil and Lisa Anderson.

The Prayer Course has been developed by 24-7 Prayer, which began as one simple prayer meeting in 1999, and is now an international, interdenominational movement.  Each week there is a video, some discussion questions and practical prayer activities, all done in a friendly and encouraging environment. No prior experience is necessary; it is a course where we can all learn wherever we are on our faith journey.

The course is divided into 8 sessions covering the following topics, each using a line of The Lord’s Prayer as the basis.

1.Why Pray?  “Lord, teach us to pray”

This first session unpacks the importance of prayer and the different topics covered across the course.

2.Adoration: “Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be your name”

This session explores how we can enjoy God’s presence in praise and worship.

3.Petition: “Give us this day our daily bread”

This session unpacks the significance of asking God in prayer.

4.Intercession: “Your kingdom come”

This session explores the power and importance of praying on behalf of others.

5.Unanswered Prayer: “Your will be done”

This session tackles the challenges and realities when our prayers aren’t answered.

6.Contemplation: “On earth as it is in heaven”

This session considers how spending time with God in silence can enrich our relationship with him.

7.Listening: “Give us this day our daily bread”

This session unpacks the practical ways we can tune into hearing God’s voice.

8.Spiritual Warfare: “Deliver us from evil”

This session looks at the ways we can pray for God’s kingdom to come in the midst of a spiritual battle.

Prayer is something that we can all do. It doesn’t require super skills, just a desire and a willingness to engage with God. If you haven’t been along to the Prayer Course yet and have missed the first session it’s not too late! Just pop along to the Orsett Churches Centre on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, the next meeting being on Tuesday 2nd November at 7pm where you will find a warm welcome.

On the subject of prayer, I do encourage you to commit to praying for the COP 26 Summit, in Glasgow, taking place in Glasgow from Sunday 31st October until Friday 12th November, for governments from around the world as they meet together to discern the best way forward to reduce global emissions. You might like to use the following prayer from CAFOD:

Loving God,
We praise your name with all you have created.

You are present in the whole universe,
and in the smallest of creatures.

We acknowledge the responsibilities you have placed upon us
as stewards of your creation.

May the Holy Spirit inspire all political leaders at COP26 as they
seek to embrace the changes needed to foster a more sustainable society.

Instil in them the courage and gentleness to implement fairer solutions
for the poorest and most vulnerable,
and commit their nations to the care of Our Common Home.

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ your Son.


As ever, take care and God bless,



Sue Mann

25th September 2021

On Saturday 11th September, I had the privilege of attending Moji’s Ordination as Deacon at Chelmsford Cathedral. Despite some Covid restrictions still being in place it was a wonderful service, filled with joy and hope.

Moji now begins her ministry in this Benefice as a self-supporting curate. She will be serving with us during weekends and school holidays whilst she continues living and working in London during the week and Max will continue his ministry among us, just as before.

People often ask me what the difference is between a Deacon, a Priest and a Curate. And, I have to admit, it is all a bit complicated and confusing.

When someone is accepted for ordination in the Church of England, they begin their training at a theological college. This is known as I.M.E.1, (Initial Ministerial Training 1). After this they are usually ordained Deacon and placed in a parish context to complete their training ‘on the job’ as it were! This is I.M.E. 2, (Initial Ministerial Training 2).

‘Deacons are ordained so that the people of God may be better equipped to make Christ known. Theirs is a life of visible self-giving. Christ is the pattern of their calling and their commission; as he washed the feet of his disciples, so they must wash the feet of others.’ Common Worship: The Ordination Service

In the Deacons’ Ordination service the Bishop says the following words.

‘Deacons are called to work with the Bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ’s kingdom. They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God’s purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.

Deacons share in the pastoral ministry of the Church and in leading God’s people in worship. They preach the word and bring the needs of the world before the Church in intercession. They accompany those searching for faith and bring them to baptism. They assist in administering the sacraments; they distribute communion and minister to the sick and housebound.

Deacons are to seek nourishment from the Scriptures; they are to study them with God’s people, that the whole Church may be equipped to live out the gospel in the world. They are to be faithful in prayer, expectant and watchful for the signs of God’s presence, as he reveals his kingdom among us.’ Common Worship: The Ordination Service

Completion of the period of training as a Deacon usually ends with the person being ordained as a Priest, although there is the option to remain a permanent Deacon. The usual process, however, is that someone remains a Deacon for a year or two as they work to fulfil training requirements and they are then ordained Priest, and remain in  the same parish, as a Priest to complete the rest of  their I.M.E. 2 training. It is when someone is ordained Priest that they are able to preside at Holy Communion.

The I.M.E. 2 training time in a parish after ordination when someone is ordained Deacon and, later on, Priest, is usually referred to as curacy, and is a vital time in which newly ordained ministers continue to learn and grow in the roles to which God has called them. However, the word ‘curate’ actually means a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls so, in this sense, all ordained clergy are curates.

So, as Moji begins her year as Deacon in this Benefice, please do continue to pray for her and support her in her training. Moji has written a little bit about herself  which you can find this later on in the magazine, alongside some  photos of her ordination.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

As ever, please be assured of my prayers for you all.

Take care and God bless,