Category Archives: Rector’s Reflections

Sue Mann

4th May 2020

Dear All,

Thank you for your email messages, phone messages and Facebook messages over the past weeks. It is amazing what a difference a short message makes, isn’t it, when we are all in lockdown.

I hope you are staying well, and that those who have been ill are on the mend. Please do hold the Jones family in your prayers on Monday as Glyn’s funeral takes place . And please could you pray for the family of Betty Tinworth, who sadly died this weekend and also Dave and Steve who are unwell at this time.

It was good to join with some of you for our online service this Sunday, at, where we focused on God as the loving Shepherd. Max preached about the fact that God knows each one of us by name and our need to follow Jesus our Shepherd, faithfully, by praying, reading our Bibles and looking out for the needs of others and we welcomed a reading and prayers from Sonia and Felicity in Horndon. We shared a song, ‘You never let go,’ by Matt Redmond, which reassures us that whatever we are going through, God never lets go of us. On the back of this letter or as another attachment to your email, is a Roots Adult Bible Study Sheet following on from this Sunday’s theme, which you might like to use during the week.

For those of you who use the Church of England Lectionary, the morning and evening Bible study readings for this week are:

DayMorning PrayerEvening Prayer
4th Sunday of EasterNehemiah 9 6-15 and 1 Corinthians 10 1-13Ezra 3 1-13 and Luke 19 37-end
Monday 4th MayExodus 32 1-14 and Luke 2 41-endDeuteronomy 9 1-21 and Ephesians 4 1-16
Tuesday 5th MayExodus 32 15-34 and Luke 3 1-14Deut  9 23-10 -5 and Ephesians 4 17 – end
Wednesday 6th MayExodus 33 and Luke 3 15-22Deut 10 12-end and Ephesians 5 1-14
Thursday 7th MayExodus 34 1-10, 27-end and Luke 4 1-13Deut 11 8-end and Ephesians 5 15-end
Friday 8th May Julian of NorwichExodus 35 20-36-7 and Luke 4 14-30Deut 12 1-14 and Ephesians 6 1-9
SaturdayExodus 40 17-end and Luke 4 31-37Deut1 5 1-18 and Ephesians 6 10-end

Thank you for your continued support for the foodbank and thank you to Jane, Kelly and Paul and the staff at Orsett Shop for their support. Needs for the foodbank this week are, tinned potatoes, cooking sauces, tinned meat, cereal, tea bags, mashed potato, tinned rice pudding, tinned carrots, custard and tinned spaghetti. We still have our collection points at 24, Church Lane, Bulphan, 1 Lion Cottages, Horndon and The Rectory, Orsett and you can now leave donations at Orsett Shop as well as place an order over the phone to the shop who will deliver it to the Rectory. The shop’s number is 01375 891242.

I hope it won’t be too long before we are able to meet again but please be assured of my ongoing prayers for you all at this time.

Take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

27th April 2020

Dear All,

It has been good to communicate with many of you over the past few weeks, whether by phone, email or Facebook and I hope you are staying well. Thank you to those who are phoning others to make sure that they are ok or just to have a friendly chat. And thank you, also, to those who have cut the grass in the churchyards and to the volunteers who are checking the churches weekly.

Please do let me know if you have any prayer needs so that I can include them in our Morning Prayer and Night Prayer Services as well as the Sunday Morning Services, and do continue to pray for those who have been bereaved in this time and who face family funerals. This week the funerals of Peter Moorse, Peter Rood and Leonard Edgar take place. Also, it is now confirmed that the funeral of Glyn Jones will be taking place at Basildon Crematorium on Monday 4th May at 5pm. Please could you also keep David Staines and Betty Tinworth in your prayers at this time.

The Foodbank have said they are seeing a 40% increase in demand on this time last year. Last week they made up 199 boxes, which kept their very dedicated volunteers extremely busy. Thank you, so much, to those who have donated items for the Foodbank. 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. Or, if you would like to make a monetary donation, you can send a cheque made payable to Thurrock Foodbank to, 2 – 4, Chase Road, Corringham, Essex SS17 7QH, or make a donation by bank transfer, the details of which are, Thurrock Foodbank, Lloyds Bank, account number 22388060 sort code 30-18-34. The volunteers at the Foodbank have said they welcome our prayers more than ever at this time, and have asked that we pray for good health for all their volunteers and for the clients who are facing unemployment, domestic violence, illness, benefit delays or very low income, for whom the struggle to survive and the responsibility of feeding children who are home a lot more than normal weighs heavily.

This Sunday, my talk for the Family Service was based upon the story of the Road to Emmaus found in Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 24: 13-35, where Cleopas and, probably, his wife, didn’t recognise Jesus with them, as they were walking along chatting. It was only when Jesus broke bread that they finally realised who it was. I spoke about my own life journey and made a bracelet with beads, each of which represented a time when recognised Jesus’ presence. I also spoke of times when I failed to recognise Jesus or when I pushed him away. I encouraged people to make their own faith journey bracelets and keep adding to them and to look out for Jesus in unexpected places and at unexpected times. I also suggested we wear our bracelets or keep them in their pockets as an encouragement, particularly in these times, that Jesus has always been and continues to be with each one of us, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

Finally, for those of you with young families, please 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

Attached to the back or at the bottom of this letter, are this week’s Lectionary readings.

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

God bless,


This Week’s Lectionary Readings

DayMorning PrayerEvening Prayer
Monday 27thPsalm 96; Exodus 19; Luke 1: 1-25Psalm 61; Deuteronomy 5: 1-22; Ephesians 1: 1-14
Tuesday 28thPsalm 98; Exodus 20: 1-21; Luke 1: 26-38Psalm 71; Deuteronomy 5: 22- end; Ephesians 1: 15- end
Wednesday 29thPsalm 105; Exodus 24; Luke 1: 39-56Psalm 72; Deuteronomy 6; Ephesians 2: 1-10
Thursday 30thPsalm 136: Exodus 25: 1-22; Luke 1: 57-endPsalm 73; Deuteronomy 7: 1-11; Ephesians 2: 11- end
Friday 1st MayPsalm 139; Proverbs 4: 10-18; James 1: 1-12Psalm 149; Job 23: 1-12; John 1: 43-end
Saturday 2nd MayPsalm 110; Exodus 29: 1-9; Luke 2: 21-40Psalm 27; Deuteronomy 8; Ephesians 3: 14- end

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,


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,


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