Sue Mann

19th December 2023

Happy New Year to you all!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas Day. And thank you to churchwardens, musicians and everyone else who worked so hard to enable Christmas services to happen in the churches, and beyond, in the community. Your help and support was greatly appreciated.  We are, of course, still in the Christmas Season and will be holding a carol Service at Horndon Church on Sunday 7th January at 4pm, at Epiphany, when we remember the wise men finding and presenting gifts to the baby Jesus. Please do come along if you are able.

Later on, in January we will be running another Alpha Course in conjunction with the Wellcome Church.

The course will be held on Sunday afternoons at 4pm, at Orsett Churches Centre, each session lasting approximately an hour and a half. Everyone is welcome to come along. It would be helpful to know in advance if you would like to come so that we know how many booklets to order.

‘Alpha is a series of weekly sessions where you can explore the Christian faith in an open-minded and welcoming environment. There’s no cost and no pressure. Just lots of great conversation and space to think.

Each session includes some light refreshments, a short video and a time of discussion where you can share your thoughts about what you’ve heard. Whatever questions you have got, you can ask them at Alpha.’

Anyway, as we move into 2024, you may like to use this prayer:

Heavenly Father, as we face the challenges of the coming year,

grant us strength and courage.

Help us to rely on your mighty power and to find our refuge in you.

May we be steadfast in our faith, knowing that you are our rock and our fortress.


Take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

17th November 2023

December has come round once again, and Advent has begun. There are many ways that we can all prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And I would, at this point, like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has enabled church events to happen smoothly throughout the year and to those who are working hard to make this Christmas special. You can find details of our Christmas services further on in the magazine and I look forward to seeing you at some of them.

I am very conscious, however, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, that many of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land are facing a very different reality from the one that we are living and we all long for a time of peace. I am, indeed, praying for a ceasefire.  We sing ‘O Little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie.’ Yet how far from the current truth can this be?

Thousands of people have been killed and over a million displaced after the escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

1,400 Israelis have been killed and 5,400 injured. Israeli civilians, including women and children, have been forcibly taken.

In Gaza, almost 10,818 Palestinians have been killed and 26,905 have been injured. Airstrikes have caused widespread destruction of homes, schools, healthcare facilities and telecommunication installations.

Hospitals already at breaking point have been destroyed, and over a million people have been displaced. Food supplies, fuel supplies, access to water and sanitation, and schools have been drastically affected.

So, as we make our preparations for Christmas, let’s not grumble because we don’t get our favourite carol, but be thankful for the freedom we have, to celebrate in the way that we do.  Moreover, let’s be mindful of those in parts of the world where the fact that they are alive today is a gift they can’t take for granted tomorrow.

Please do especially keep the people of the Holy Land in your prayers.

Longing for a world of peace

Where all are treated equally

Where all can recognise their worth

Where all can live with dignity

Where all can join hands with neighbours

Whether Muslim, Christian, Jew

And find a way to live together,

Making Holy Dreams come true.

Garth Hewitt. (From the Song Holy Town)

I will continue to pray for all around the world to know the peace of the Christ Child this Christmas.

With love and prayers,


Sue Mann

20th October 2023

The news, since last month, has been horrific, with reports about the loss of huge numbers of innocent lives in the Middle East, and the current crisis in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The conflict has been going on for many years and the situation is complex. Media reports can often leave us confused or sometimes misinformed. One of the focuses of the seminars at the Greenbelt Festival which we, as a family, have attended for many years, has been the difficulties in the Middle East, with the festival having hosted many different speakers sharing their own personal stories of living in Palestine and Israel. I don’t in any way profess to be an expert on the situation but, since this last outbreak of violence, Greenbelt have shared some of their recorded talks and seminars online. Should you wish to listen to any of these, please do let me know and I would be happy to send you the links.

It is very easy to feel helpless when witnessing such atrocities in the news, but one thing we can all commit to do is to pray.It is important that we pray, not only for relief for all those who suffer but  for organisations such as Embrace the Middle East, Christian Aid and the Amos Trust, to name just a few, who are working hard to bring about greater understanding in order to bring about justice and peace.

The following words may help us as we come before God.

We pray without ceasing for justice, reconciliation, peace,

and an end to hatred and war.

We also pray for God to change the hearts of all leaders and decision-makers

in our countries and around the world.

For we are in dire need of hearts that love, show mercy,

and are willing to live in unity with others—

hearts that respect human dignity and choose life rather than death.


Bishop Hosam E. Naoum, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem

God, hear our prayers for peace in the Middle East.

May all people in the region be protected, safe from harm.

We pray that this crisis will end now, with no further loss of life.

God, may the injured and distressed know your healing presence.

May the powerful and the decision-makers follow the paths of justice, mercy and peace.

We pray for recognition of the dignity and value of every life.

May the clamour of violence cease,

Replaced by the beating of swords into ploughshares.

God, in your name,


Christian Aid

O God of all justice and peace,

we cry out to you in the midst of the pain and trauma of violence and fear

which prevails in the Holy Land.

Be with those who need you in these days of suffering;

we pray for people of all faiths – Jews, Muslims and Christians

and for all people of the land.

While we pray to you, O Lord, for an end to violence and the establishment of peace,

we also call for you to bring justice and equity to the peoples.

Guide us into your kingdom,

where all people are treated with dignity and honour as your children,

for to all of us you are our Heavenly Father.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

The Very Revd Canon Richard Sewell, Dean of St George’s College Jerusalem.

With my prayers for you all.

Take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

21st September 2023

Rectors Reflections

The past few weeks have been very busy, as the new academic year  has got underway, and I would particularly like to thank the churchwardens and the many others at church who continue to work so hard to ensure that everything happens as it should.

We have just celebrated Harvest. Thank you to all our local farmers for all their hard work over the past few weeks and to everyone at Church who helped to make our Harvest Services and Celebration a successful and enjoyable occasion and to everyone who brought donations for the Thurrock Foodbank. Of course, as we celebrate Harvest, we are mindful of the people of Morocco following their devastating earthquake and the people of Libya following their terrible flooding and we remain acutely aware of our responsibility to care for creation.  It is often those suffering the most, as a result of climate change, who have least contributed to it.

At the start of this academic year, we have just had notice of the Course in Christian Studies, CCS, run by Chelmsford Diocese. It is a great course, giving people the opportunity to meet with members of other churches and discuss many aspects of the Christian faith in a relaxed atmosphere.

‘Since it began in 1987, over 3000 people from Essex and East London have joined the Course in Christian Studies. What has it given them? What could it give you?

The excitement of discovery and learning together: members bring their own varied stories and experiences and share them, finding new truth in themselves and in each other through lively discussion. Knowledge of the Bible and of the huge riches of Christian tradition, nurtured by tutors and textbooks, and whetting members’ appetite for more knowledge – but not providing all the answers.

Delight in that biblical and Christian tradition, finding in it a field for imaginative and practical exploration, for wonder and worship and decision. Constructive reflection on the Bible and tradition and on the contemporary world: the Course does not shirk the hard questions posed by the Church’s history or by believing in God and seeking peace and justice today. Spiritual Formation of both the local group and its individual members: the Course does not set out to convert or evangelise, but it is concerned with the whole life of prayer and activity and relationships – not just with the mind.

For those who desire it, the Course also provides a foundation for further education or training. This could be other local courses; it could be a degree or diploma. Or it could be training for a specific ministry in the Church including the ministry of: Licensed Lay Minister, Authorised Local Preacher, Pastoral Assistant, Lay Evangelist, or Priest.’ Diane Hardy

CCS is available in local face to face groups or online and groups normally meet weekly. I thoroughly recommend the course and if you think this is something you may like to do, or you would like further information, I would be please to chat with you or put you in touch with someone from the Parish who has done the course. There are also some taster sessions, details of which are available later in the notices.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

18th August 2023

It was a pleasure, recently, to support 4 people from this Parish, as they were confirmed by Bishop Lynne Cullens, the Bishop of Barking, at St Giles and All Saints Church on Sunday 23rd July. Katie, Kelly, Lorraine and Taylor made their profession of faith along with 15 others from Thurrock Deanery.

It is always a privilege, as a Christian minister, to see people grow in their faith. and help them on that journey.

You may not be aware that we have Action Groups in our Parish, each with a different focus. One of these groups thinks about Mission, Evangelism and Nurture. It was this group that organised the Alpha Course that we did last year. One of the things that we discussed recently was how to encourage people to engage with God in their daily lives. We are all different. Some of us like to read; others of us prefer to use technology; some of us like to be moving or doing something physical as we learn.  

We are fortunate that there are now many ways through which we can connect with the Bible and engage with God and I thought it might be helpful to share some which have been recommended by various people in the Parish.

For those who like to read, the following Bible Guides give daily Bible passages to read with a short commentary: (click the underlined titles to go to each website)

Guidelines gives 4 months of daily Bible Readings with a short commentary about each passage.

Daily Bread is another booklet with 4 months of daily Bible Readings.

Every Day with Jesus. This is free and can be accessed on paper or electronically.

If you want to try to read the Bible in a Year, it is a good idea to choose a version which breaks it down into chunks with a commentary. A good one is,

For those who like technology, one of the following apps may be useful:

Pray as you go. This is an app which offers a daily meditation with music and a Bible passage from the Jesuit tradition. Each day’s meditation and reading lasts approximately 15 minutes with the opportunity for more in depth reflection if you would like. This app is free.

Lectio 365 is another app which offers Bible study based around:
P:ause to be still.
R:ejoice with a Psalm and R:eflect on Scripture.
A:sk for God’s help
Y:ield to His will in your life.

Youversion is another similar Bible app.

You may need to try a few to find out what works best for you. If anyone uses something different which you think others might find helpful. Please do let me know.

Take care and God bless,