Sue Mann

14th February 2023

Rector’s Reflections

Dear Everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the warmer weather.

I am pleased to announce that we have two new wardens. Alastair Macrae, who has served as Churchwarden at Horndon, has now been appointed Churchwarden with primary responsibility for Bulphan and Beverley Macrae has been appointed as a new Churchwarden at Horndon, alongside Sonia Ward. It is great to have 6 Churchwardens again. Please do keep Bev and Alastair in your prayers as they undertake these new roles.

Since my article last month, the General Synod, the governing body of the Church of England, has met. One of the items on the agenda, as I mentioned in my February article, was a discussion and subsequent vote on whether to offer same-sex blessings in the Church of England. The outcome of this was, as follows:

The Church of England’s General Synod has supported a motion, welcoming proposals that would enable same-sex couples to come to church after a civil marriage or partnership to give thanks, dedicate their relationship to God and receive God’s blessing.

Synod members also voted to “lament and repent” of the failure of the Church to welcome LGBTQI+ people and for the harm that LGBTQI+ people have experienced – and continue to experience – in churches.

A motion which details and recognises a series of proposals put forward by the bishops on human identity and marriage was agreed by majorities in the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity after a landmark debate over two days.’

Our Diocesan Bishop, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis- Dehqani said:

“I welcome today’s vote from General Synod whilst at the same time recognising that this has been and continues to be a very painful process for many people. I know that for some these prayers have not gone far enough and for others they represent too much change.

“As a College and House of Bishops, we have listened carefully, as was the intention, and we are committed to ongoing discussion. We have particularly heard the importance of guarding the consciences of those who will not be able to use these prayers.

“My ongoing commitment, together with our Area Bishops and the other members of the Bishop’s Leadership Team, is to promote and encourage a way of travelling well together, despite the differences in what we believe, and despite the inevitable pain those differences cause.”

Prayers are now being put together which will be able to be used by churches who offer them, for couples who have marked a significant stage of their relationship such as a civil marriage or civil partnership. I am unsure, at this stage, as to when these will be available, but will keep you posted regarding further developments as they happen.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing some of you at our monthly Lent Lunches which will  continue throughout March, on Saturdays at 12.00, the proceeds of which will be going towards the Great Green Wall, a tree planting project in Africa. Please look on our notice sheet for details of where they are. There is no need to book-just turn up.

Do continue to let me know about any prayer or pastoral needs.

Take care and God bless,