Sue Mann

17th July 2023

I recently went for a walk at Bradwell on Sea, where the Chapel of St Peter on the Wall has stood for many years, since St Cedd brought Christianity to this part of the world.

The spreading of the Christian faith in this country began 1300 years ago when there were people working in Ireland and Scotland, spreading the good news of the Gospel.

In Ireland, Patrick established many monasteries and from there Columba went to Iona, a very small island off the West Coast of Scotland, to establish a monastery and other Christian centres. From Columba’s monastery, a man called Aidan was sent from Iona to set up a monastery at Lindisfarne in the North-East, where Anglo-Saxon boys could be trained to become priests and missionaries. It was here that Cedd and his brothers learnt to read and write in Latin, and were trained to teach others about the Christian faith.

The four brothers were all ordained as priests and two of them, Cedd and Chad, later went on to become bishops. Cedd’s first mission was to the Midlands and he was later sent to the East Saxons, (Essex.)

St Peter’s Chapel, originally built of wood as a place of Christian Worship when Cedd arrived in 653, was quickly made more permanent with stone from the nearby fort. It is now a Grade 1 listed building and is a special place visited by many people each year and is host to an annual Diocesan Pilgrimage every July. It is one of those places which can be described as ‘thin,’ where the distance between heaven and earth seems minimal and where God feels almost tangible.

If you have any spare time, I would recommend a visit to the Chapel. It is open every day, and there are services on Sunday evenings at 6pm throughout July and August.

The car park is approximately 850m from the Chapel so there is a short walk to get there. There are many other walks at Bradwell on Sea and next to the Chapel is the Othona Community which was founded in 1946 as a way of providing a safe place for people of different faiths, backgrounds and cultures to meet, following World War 2. And Othona continues to thrive as a place of faith where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to worship, study and play. I have a few leaflets with details of their programme if anyone is interested or you can find out more by going to

Jesus often took himself off to a quiet place to spend time with God in prayer. It is important that, as Christians, we all take some time to recharge our batteries, to be with God, to pray and to listen and I encourage you, this summer, to do that. If you need any ideas as to how you might best do this, I am very happy to chat with you.

I hope to see you around.

Take care and God bless,


Sue Mann

17th June 2023

A lot has happened recently…..

Thank you, so much, to Revd Max, Revd Moji, the Churchwardens, Lynda the Parish Administrator, and EVERYONE ELSE who kept things running smoothly whilst I was away on my Pilgrimage.

Thank you, also, to the many people who generously donated towards the two causes, ‘Cure Parkinsons’ and the MND Association, for which I was raising money as I walked the Camino Frances. The total of your generous donations, including Gift Aid, have exceeded £4,000. The Giving Page will remain open until the 21st July, should you still wish to make a donation. It can be found at

Several people have been asking me about the walk and it is my intention to hold an evening some time in July to share something of my experiences. Details will be on the Church Notice Sheet, and I will also advertise it on Facebook.

On the first Sunday after I returned, we held a special service to mark Revd Max’s Official Retirement. It was a joyful service with wonderful refreshments, kindly organised by church members, and Revd Max was presented with a beautiful sculpture of the spire at Horndon Church in a wooden case, lovingly created by local artists. It is not often that Max is lost for words, but that particular Sunday was one of those occasions! The following day he wrote some lovely words on our church Facebook Page to express his appreciation to you all.  Revd Max has served, faithfully, as a priest in Horndon, Orsett and Bulphan for 20 years for which we thank God.  He is currently taking a break of 6 weeks and will then continue to take services and minister amongst us; this time as a ‘Priest with Permission to Officiate.’ Please do keep Reverend Max in your prayers as he takes his well-earned break.

And then, as Max returns in a few weeks’ time, we will be saying goodbye to our curate Revd Moji, who will be leaving us to move to Darlington to be closer to her family. We give thanks for Moji’s warm humour and loving ministry amongst us, and we wish her God’s blessing as she moves to pastures new. Moji’s last service with us will be on Sunday 23rd July at Bulphan Church at 10am, followed by refreshments in the Parish Room. Do come along to this service if you are able and please pray for Moji and her husband Yemi as they prepare to move.

And, finally, as we approach the school holidays, I wish everyone who works in our schools and all the children, a refreshing summer break and encourage you all to pray especially for those children who will be moving on to senior school in September.

May we all treasure the past with thanksgiving,

May we embrace the future with hope,

May we journey ahead with confidence,

In God’s love.


With love and prayers,


Sue Mann

16th April 2023

We recently held our Church Annual Meeting, so this month I have chosen to share my report for that gathering.

‘The past year has seen a return to something of normality following the Covid Pandemic.

All of our worship, social/fundraising activities and Open Church/Oasis Café events are up and running very successfully again and our new Parish of Horndon, Orsett and Bulphan is established with one PCC. Thank you, so much, to everyone who has worked together to make all these things happen. We now also have Action Groups focusing on:

  • Children and Young People
  • Mission, Evangelism and Nurture
  • Prayer
  • Eco Church and Social Justice
  • Communications
  • Fund Raising
  • Worship
  • Finance
  • Pastoral Care

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered their services in these groups. And may I just remind everyone that anyone who is on the Church Electoral Roll who wishes to join any of the first 6 of these groups is welcome to do so.

I would also like to express huge thanks to my clergy colleagues, Revd Max and Revd Moji. Revd Max officially retired in March but has kindly agreed to remain serving as a Priest in this Parish, with Permission to Officiate (PTO), and we thank Revd Moji for her loving ministry as a curate with us over the past 19 months. Moji will, sadly, be moving to Darlington in the summer, to be closer to her family, where she will complete her curacy. We will miss her and wish her, and her husband Yemi, God’s blessings as they move on to pastures new.

Thank you, also, to the six Churchwardens, the PCC members, the Treasury Team, the Parish Administrator and all who serve in any other capacity in this Parish. All your hard work and commitment in the service of God and community is greatly appreciated. We give thanks to Pauline Cooper who has retired from her role as Wedding Coordinator after many years of service and to Ron Porter who has retired as PCC Secretary. We are also very grateful to the kind person who financed the new screen at Orsett Church which will enable us to show video clips and project song words.

It has been a privilege to serve in this Parish over the past year.  It is so important to remember that, often, signs of God’s blessings and shoots of growth can be found in the small things.

A few of the little, but significant, highlights of my year have been:

  • Parishioners asking for information about the best Bible to buy.
  • A group of men, who regularly attend Open Church at Horndon, one day, spontaneously getting the wooden crosses, made by one of them, out of their pockets and laying them on the table, as proof that they carry them with them every day.
  • At a Refresh Service, each person present sharing a favourite Bible verse and telling everyone why it is important to them.
  • At Christmas, when it was brought to my attention that someone in one of the villages who was not known to any of us was going to be alone at Christmas, two of the Churchwardens immediately saying, ‘They can come to my house.’
  • A largely lay led and funded Alpha Course where people came to faith.
  • The request for a new Home Bible Study Group

These are just a few of the signs of God’s Spirit at work amongst us and I am sure that each of us could give many more examples. Let us give thanks to God for all the blessings he has given us. Let’s not forget, in our bigger plans, to look for God in the small things, and let’s press on, together, in his strength, into the future.’

God bless,


Sue Mann

20th March 2023

As I write this, we have just celebrated Mothering Sunday in the Parish.

Mothering Sunday happened to coincide with me having just finished a book entitled, ‘The Lightless Sky: My journey to safety as a child refugee.’ It is the true story of Gulwali Passarlay, part of whose account I had heard last year at the Greenbelt Festival where we attend as a family annually and where he had been invited to speak.

Gulwali, a Muslim, was sent away from Afghanistan by his mother, at the age of twelve, after his father was killed by the US Army. The story tracks his twelve-month journey to the UK. During this period, he spent time in prisons, suffered extreme hunger, endured a terrifying journey across the Mediterranean in a small boat and got separated, on many occasions, from the acquaintances he had made on the way. He spent a desolate month in the rat-infested ‘Jungle’ at Calais, suffered burns on his face from trying  to board a lorry loaded with chemicals in order to cross the Channel and finally made it here in the back of a refrigerated banana truck, mercifully the refrigeration having been turned off.

When Gulwali arrived in the UK, although he was, by this stage, thirteen, the authorities didn’t believe him and thought he was older than sixteen, so initially he didn’t get the support he needed. Eventually he was put into foster care and went on to achieve ten GCSEs, three A levels, won a place at university and was chosen to carry the Olympic torch in 2012. He now works as an ambassador for child refugees in this country.

I am guessing that, for most of us, it is hard to imagine the horrendous living situation which would drive a mother to send her son on a treacherous journey like this. But the reality, which is sadly that of many people in our world right now, became apparent as I read this book, which was profoundly moving; Gulwali was one of the few fortunate survivors. Throughout this story, Gulwali retained his Muslim faith and spoke of praying to God, on many occasions.

This true story has parallels with the Easter Story which we will be celebrating this month, where Mary, the mother of Jesus watched as her son was mocked, tortured and handed to the Roman Authorities before being crucified but who, ultimately, rose again in glory.

Many people have asked me recently, as a priest and a person of faith, what my view is on refugees and asylum policy as it has made headline news. I have always said that, as a Christian, a follower of the risen Christ, I think we should, as I believe Jesus would have done, respond compassionately, he himself being a refugee. However, I must confess I feel I have often responded inadequately because of my lack of first-hand knowledge of refugees and asylum seekers and their situations. When we read newspapers, they are usually written in a way to influence us one way or another. But this book was an honest account of how it was, not just for one person, but for the many people that this young boy encountered on his traumatic journey, and I found it an extremely informative albeit harrowing report.

I am writing these words to encourage you, before making up your mind on any situation, to offer it to God in prayer, to consider what Jesus would have to say on the matter, to be prepared to listen to the real-life stories of people and the opinions of others and, ultimately, to be prepared to be challenged and to stand up for what you believe, as a person of faith, to be right.

And, as we walk through Holy Week, encountering both the pain of the crucifixion on Good Friday  and the hope and joy of the Resurrection,  let us remember that Jesus Christ came to offer love and forgiveness for all.

I look forward to seeing you over the Easter Period.

Take care and God bless,


World Day of Prayer

This year the world day of prayer was hosted in St Giles and All Saints at Orsett on Friday 3rd March.  The programme was written/devised by women in Taiwan.

Map of Taiwan

It was well attended including some people from The Welcome Church who have recently started meeting in the Churches Centre for their worship.

The service was followed by a lunch including; soup, bread, fruit, pineapple biscuits, banana cake, cassava crisps, seaweed crackers, rice cakes and wasabi cashew nuts among other things.  The cashews were however something of an acquired taste.

Next year’s world day of payer will be written/devised by women in Palestine and held on Friday 1st March in Horndon on the Hill Methodist Church.