In May we held our annual church meeting, our APCM. A lot has happened since our APCM last year.
In January Bishop Guli, our Diocesan Bishop, joined us for our Plough Sunday service to pray for us as we began our journey as one ecclesiastical parish, the Parish of Horndon, Orsett and Bulphan. In addition to establishing a new Church Council, we have set up Action Groups to focus on different aspects of our Christian witness and these are going well.
We are pleased, now, to be able to offer communion in two kinds and many of the in-person church activities which were suspended, as a result of Covid, have resumed albeit, in some cases, in a slightly different form and it is great that we can again offer church hospitality with refreshments, at all three villages, thanks to those who kindly volunteer. It is good, also, to be back in the schools and we are looking forward to returning to lead services at The Whitecroft soon.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who serves in our churches in any way, whether it be through ordained or lay ministry. Each act of service, whether up front, or behind the scenes is greatly appreciated by us all and each person known, loved and valued by God.
I would particularly like to express huge thanks to Ron Porter, Janet Wilkins and Jackie Wood who have each exceeded their term of service as a Churchwarden and, this year, decided to step down. I know we are all very grateful for all their dedication and commitment, having served, between them, a total of almost 60 years and much of what they do, unnoticed. Thank you, so much, Ron, Janet and Jackie for all you have given and enjoy a well-deserved rest!
On the subject of gratitude for service, this month we celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and give thanks for her life of service. The Queen holds the title ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’. These titles date back to the reign of King Henry VIII, who was initially granted the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ in 1521 by Pope Leo X. When Henry VIII renounced the spiritual authority of the Papacy in 1534, he was proclaimed ‘supreme head on earth’ of the Church of England. This was repealed by Queen Mary I but reinstated during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who was proclaimed ‘Supreme Governor’ of the Church of England. On the advice of the Prime Minister The Queen appoints Archbishops, Bishops and Deans of the Church of England, who then swear an oath of allegiance and pay homage to Her Majesty. Church of England deacons and parish priests also swear an oath of allegiance to the Sovereign.
I know the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is being celebrated in various ways in Horndon, Orsett and Bulphan. You may like to use the following prayer, from the Church of England, in your personal devotions or as part of your Jubilee Celebrations
Gracious God, we give you thanks
for the reign of your servant Elizabeth our Queen,
and for the example of loving and faithful service
which she has shown among us.
Help us to follow her example of dedication
and to commit our lives to you and to one another,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Take care and God bless,