Sue Mann

22nd November 2022

Following the celebration of All Saints and All Souls, followed by Remembrance and then Christ the King, we are now in Advent, the period of waiting and anticipation as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, later in the month.

Every year, for the past few years, the Church of England has provided some useful resources to help us to reflect on the meaning of Christmas. These resources come under the umbrella, ‘Follow the Star.’ This year, the focus is ‘The Great Invitation,’ the purpose of which is ‘encouraging everyone to share the joy of gathering together to celebrate the birth of Jesus with their family, friends and neighbours-especially after two years where this has been impossible for many.’ (C of E Website)

Follow the Star: The Great Invitation consists of 12 reflections from a range of authors who will share personal stories exploring themes of invitation. These reflections will be starting on Christmas Eve and continuing daily (Monday to Saturday) until the Epiphany (6 January) and are designed to help us all make space to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. On each of the 12 days, a different contributor will share something that speaks of a Christmas invitation for them, bringing the theme to life through a mixture of personal story, Bible reading, reflection and challenge.

These reflections will be made available freely via:

  • email
  • audio
  • app with accompanying resources for children and families

You will find more information about these and other Christmas resources by going to

I have also ordered some of these reflections in booklet form for those of you without access to technology, including a few large print versions for anyone who would find this helpful. If you would like one of these, they will be available at the back of all three churches. Any donation towards the cost of a booklet would be greatly appreciated.

I encourage you to invite your neighbours and members of your local community to one of our in-person gatherings this Christmas, to hear the Christmas story and be welcomed into the love of Jesus. We have a variety of services both in church and at other local venues including The Swan Pub in Horndon, The Foxhound Pub in Orsett and another drive-in service at Arden Hall Farm in Horndon. Everyone is most welcome at any or all of the services. Please keep an eye on the posters for details.

I wish you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas.

With love and prayers,