Category Archives: Rector’s Reflections

Revd Sue Mann

20th April 2020

Dear All,

We are into our fifth week of lockdown now and we are all having to get used to this new way of life for the time-being. Yesterday we held our fifth Sunday on-line service and it was great that we were able to include Max giving the talk. Thank you, Max! Max’s words are either on the back of this letter or as another attachment to your email, in addition to this.  Thank you to all of you who have joined in this worship and to those of you who have shared words of encouragement. And, also, thank you to those who don’t have a computer but who are faithfully saying your prayers at home at the same time. God hears all of us and knows each one of us, whether or not we have technology. As it says in Psalm 139, God knows our words before they are even on our lips, and there is nowhere we can go to escape from him, which I think provides us with great reassurance at this time.

What has been great about our recent worship is that new people have joined our Facebook live-streamed community and it has been good to welcome, again, some people we haven’t seen for a while. We now have nearly 150 followers on Facebook, which is proving to be a good platform on which to share the good news of the Gospel, as well as general notices. The church buildings are currently closed but it is encouraging to see that the Church is very much alive and kicking.

Thank you to those who have donated items for the Thurrock Foodbank. The foodbank is still needing donations. This week, it needs tinned tomatoes, fruit Juice, tinned carrots, cooking sauces, tea bags, tinned fruit and sponge puddings. If you are unable to get out to buy food and would like to donate some items, Orsett Stores is offering a system whereby you can phone them on 01375 891242 to place your order and they will deliver it to the Rectory, or we will collect it from the shop, and take it to the foodbank. We also still have collection boxes in Bulphan, at 24 Church Lane, and Horndon, at 1, Lion Cottages, High Road as well as the Rectory, in Orsett.

Thank you to those who have kindly offered to do some phoning round; your help is greatly appreciated. There are people for whom this extended period of lockdown is taking its toll-particularly those who are not mobile and whose relatives live at a considerable distance. Please do hold all people who are feeling isolated in your prayers and also those keyworkers for whom the current situation has surfaced feelings of inadequacy, when they are working so hard to save lives and provide multi-faceted support, in difficult circumstances.

This week we will be holding the funerals of Pamela Palmer from Horndon and Doreen Bartley, from Orsett, and next week the funerals of Peter Moorse, Peter Rood and Leonard Edgar. Please do continue to hold these families in your prayers and also the family of Glyn Jones, whose funeral date is yet to be confirmed.

Don’t forget to send in photos of your children’s Roots activity sheets to include on either our website or our Facebook page. For the website, please send it to and, for the Facebook page, please send it to

Please be assured of my ongoing prayers for you all at this time.

God bless,


Revd Sue Mann

17th April 2020

Dear All,

He is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

I hope you were able to celebrate and know the joy of our Risen Lord, this Easter, albeit in a very different way from usual. Please know that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, and those of Max, at this time.

There are some members of our church family for whom this Easter period has been a very sad time. Following the death of Peter Rood, at the end of March, Peter Moorse and, more recently, Glyn Jones have passed away. Please do keep Anita, Diane and Judy and their families in your prayers at this difficult time.

For those of you able to access technology, we had an Easter Day Communion Service which was recorded and is available on the Church website; you can find it, if you haven’t already seen it, by going to The talk I gave as part of that service is the other email attachment in addition to this one or, for those of you who receive this information by post, it is on another piece of paper in the same envelope.

The livestreamed Morning and Night Prayer, for those of you able to access this, continue on our Facebook page @HOBNOBChurches and take place at 9am and 7.30pm respectively, every day apart from Sunday. Max has kindly agreed to lead this on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. The link for the latest service booklet, also on Facebook, is or a paper version can be found in your envelope.

On Maundy Thursday, the Holy Communion Service which is normally held in the Cathedral, was held using Zoom, the video-conferencing platform, and Bishop Stephen presided from his home. On Easter Sunday, Bishop Stephen gave a farewell talk to the Diocese as he prepares to take up his post as Archbishop of York. We give thanks for Bishop Stephen’s ministry in our Diocese over the past 10 years and wish him God’s blessing in his new post. Do keep Bishop Stephen and his wife, Rebecca, in your prayers at this time and please also pray for the committee who are seeking God’s guidance to appoint the right person to serve us as our new Bishop in this Diocese. You can find Bishop Stephen’s farewell speech at

We are all in uncertain times, but the one thing that remains the same is God. The Church buildings remain closed but the Church still remains very active. One Church member has very kindly paid for a new poster to go on Orsett’s new notice board and it reads ‘Hope is alive.’

Let’s hold on to the hope of Easter, and the God who will never leave nor forsake us.

Take care and God bless,


Revd Sue Mann

6th April 2020

Dear All,

I hope you continue to stay well. You are very much in my thoughts and prayers at this time.

Morning Prayer and Night Prayer/Compline are continuing to be live-streamed on Facebook at, from Monday to Saturday, at 9am and 7.30pm respectively. Thank you to those of you who have been joining in, either on Facebook or, if you don’t have Facebook, in the quietness of your own home. It has been great to welcome new members into our worshipping community at this time. If anyone has news they would like shared or particular needs or prayer requests, please do let me know by phoning or emailing me: 01375 891254 or

This Sunday, 5th April, at 10am there will be another service on the website; this week it will be a Family Service, for Palm Sunday, which you will be able to find at Please join in online if you are able to, ready with scissors and paper to make palm crosses!

With regard to Sunday worship, the Bishops have given permission for clergy to receive the sacraments on behalf of congregations at home communion services, and they have also relaxed the rule which states that there must be a service of Holy Communion every week. The fact that priests, currently, are permitted to receive communion on behalf of their congregations has had a mixed reception from both clergy and laity to the extent that some vicars have decided not to offer this at all and I respect colleagues who have made that decision at this time. It is very much my theological understanding that Holy Communion is a corporate act of worship where the role of the priest is to preside to enable a congregation to receive together, rather than to celebrate on behalf of the congregation. However, I also recognise that the Holy Communion Service is important for many church members so it is my intention to continue offering an online Holy Communion Service, albeit with its limitations, within a 3 weekly service rotation which will include a Family Service and Morning Praise. This will, hopefully, enable us to maintain a pattern of worship similar to that which we normally have and, therefore, allow us to continue to be inclusive.

There have been many prayer resources produced by the Church of England that you can access on their website, which now includes resources for Holy Week. These can be found at

During the week, Max also hopes to share some reflections on the Stations of the Cross.

In addition to the resources already available, you can find an order of service for spiritual communion and information on possible ways of giving to the Church at this time here on the website.

Thank you for your continued support of the foodbank. If you are able to go out for exercise, to drop off food, the foodbank still needs semi-skimmed long-life milk; long-life fruit juice; tinned tomatoes; tinned fish and mashed potatoes. There are collection boxes at 24, Church Lane, Bulphan; 1, Lion Cottages, Horndon and The Rectory, School Lane Orsett. Thank you for your support of this.

Let’s keep praying for an end to this horrendous coronavirus pandemic and for a healing of the damage it has, and continues to, cause, but let’s also look for and join in with the work that God is doing in the midst of this.

God bless, Sue

Footprints In The Sand

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me.”
The LORD replied:
“My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”

Carolyn Joyce Carty

Revd Sue Mann

19th March 2020

For the past few weeks, as we all know, most of the news has revolved around the Coronavirus. As a result of this pandemic, the Church of England has put some measures into place, which have impacted our services and activities here in the Benefice.

The consequence of these measures is that all Sunday Services at Orsett, Bulphan and Horndon on the Hill, as well as Edward Bear Toddler Group, Messy Church, Oasis Café, Orsett Monthly Lunches, Horndon Coffee Mornings, Bible Study Groups, Baptism Preparation and activities in Bulphan Parish Room are suspended until further notice. Weddings and Funerals are still taking place at the moment, with the relevant restraints put in place. Baptisms are on hold until further notice.

However, all three Churches will remain open during the day for private prayer and reflection, in line with the Church of England’s advice, so that, whilst we are unable to hold conventional services, we can provide a space for people to spend time with God, with the recommended 2 metre distancing and sanitising precautions in place. The rapid spread of this virus has caused worry and confusion and it is at times of crisis and uncertainty like this that many look to God or the Church for support. I am working at producing some prayer cards and booklets to leave in the Churches for people to take if they wish. You can also find many prayer and service resources at

If you would like me to send you any email updates and you haven’t yet managed to fill in a GDPR form, you can complete one online at our website, and I will then be able to ensure that you are included in the next mailing.

If you don’t have access to technology and would like to be kept updated on progress, and haven’t yet completed a Data Preferences form, please give me a ring on 01375 891254 and I will send one out to you. Similarly, if you would like me to send you some prayer and worship resources in the post, I am very happy to do that: just follow the same process of giving me a ring. And do leave a message if I’m unavailable to answer the phone.

We are still collecting food for the food bank and soup kitchen in our churches. Sadly, some homeless projects and foodbanks have run out of food due to dwindling resources as a result of people bulk-buying and stock-piling. It is my hope that both our foodbank in Corringham, and the soup kitchen in Grays on a Friday night are sustainable. Please do continue to pray for and support these projects if you can. It is so important that we show our love and care for one another at this time, especially those who are vulnerable, lonely and isolated; something I know everyone in these villages is really good at.

Max and I will continue to say daily services independently and I am still out and about doing ministry as usual. Please know that you are all very much in our thoughts and prayers and be assured that I will try to keep you updated with changes to the arrangements in accordance with the advice I receive.

Take care and God Bless,


Revd Sue Mann

1st March 2020

As you read this, the season of Lent will have just begun, the period of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘lencten’, which means Spring. The period of forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to commit themselves to a new spiritual discipline, to give something up or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

This year, the Church of England’s Lent focus is our care, as Christians, for creation, and I would like to encourage you to participate in our Lent Campaign, #LiveLent: Care for God’s Creation, which contains 40 daily reflections to help us protect and care for creation, one for each of the 40 days in Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday (26th February) and ending on Easter Day (12th April). 

For each week, there is:

• A theme, based on the days of creation as described in Genesis 1,
• A prayer for use throughout the week, with words taken from well-known hymns,
• An introduction to the week’s theme for children and families, with a Bible verse and a simple prayer.

For each day (Monday to Saturday) there are illustrated daily reflections with:

• A very short passage from the Bible,
• A short reflection on the message of the passage,
• A practical action to help you live in harmony with God, neighbour and nature,
• Full audio of the daily reflection, including a sung version of the prayer for the week.

There are also ‘next steps’ for individuals and churches on how to incorporate care for creation into life beyond Lent.

You can join in by downloading the LiveLent: Care for God’s creation app onto an android or apple device or you can receive daily emails. For instructions you just need to go to And for anyone who doesn’t have a mobile phone or computer, don’t worry, there are a few booklets available in our churches.

The app also includes a daily challenge to honour and treasure the earth, suitable for children and families. On some days there are practical changes your family can make to help the environment. On others there are challenges to find out more about creation, to explore the Bible, to reflect and to pray.

Alongside this, a group of us will be doing a Bible study on our Christian response to climate change, based upon a book by Susan Sayers, called, ‘THIS.’ Anyone who would like to be part of this is welcome to join us at The Rectory on the Thursdays during Lent from 8 pm until 9.30pm.

With love and prayers,