The Happiness Course & Other St Mary’s News

This edition of St Mary’s News reports on Bishop Stephen’s New Year Message, Tidying the Churchyard, Home Groups, and shoeboxes & cards update.  It also provides listings of services and contacts but first, The Happiness Course:

The Happiness Course

Come and find out how life could be happier in 2020 through this six-session course that looks at things that help us develop a happier life:

Gratitude        Friends and family        Kindness     

     Body and soul        Forgiveness      Coping strategies

The Happiness Course will run in two locations:

  • every week at the Yew Tree Inn, Gt Horkesley, 7.30 pm – 9 pm on Thursdays starting 23rd January 2020.
  • every 2 weeks at the ‘Take a Break Café’ in St John’s Church Hall, Great Horkesley (off Elstar Lane, CO6 4FE) 11.30-12.30 on Thursdays January 9th and 23rd, February 6th and 20th, March 5th and 19th.

The course is free to attend and refreshments will be available.   To accompany the course there is a very helpful  Guide Book for £4.99.

For more information, to reserve a place, or order a Guide Book, please contact Revd Anne Mason on 01206 851792 or 07895 970834 or email [email protected] All Saints’ with St John’s Church, Great Horkesley.

Bishop Stephen’s New Year Message

When I’m having a bad day — or just as importantly, when I’m feeling a bit too pleased with myself — I say to myself that one day I will be my successors’ predecessor. I find that helps me put things in perspective. It also helps me to pray that the decisions I take are not simply for the good of the Diocese while I’m bishop but will be for the benefit of future generations in East London and Essex. As I pray for our Diocese at the beginning of 2020, I also wonder what our world will look like when the Bishop of Chelmsford writes their new year message in 2070 or 2120?

Environment Concerns

This past year has seen concern for the environment grow. Where once we talked about sustainability, we now question whether the fundamentals of our present existence on this planet are sustainable at all. We now tend to talk about climate emergency not just climate change. As this emergency deepens, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who are suffering most.

In October I took my staff team to the Franciscan Friary at Hillfield in Dorset to learn how a community of Christians can intentionally adapt their lives to not only reduce their environmental impact but also enhance their corner of creation. Their heat comes from biomass, much of their power from solar energy and their food is local, animal-friendly and fairly-traded.

Please join me this year in seeking to live gently in the world and enhance God’s creation. You are your successors’ predecessor. In 2020, bless the inheritance that you bequeath them.

I wish you a peaceful, gentle and sustainable 2020. Bishop Stephen.

Home Groups

All our home groups restart after Christmas during the week beginning Mon 13 Jan. We continue with the study booklet based on Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians looking at the challenges of living together as a faith community. The sessions have been thought-provoking and interesting! All the groups meet fortnightly and there are 3 opportunities to join in—Tuesday evenings @ 8 pm, Thursday evenings @ 8 pm and Wednesday afternoons at 1.30 pm (this is an experimental change from Tuesday afternoons).

New members are always welcome so come and give it a go! For details of the evening groups please contact Shelagh Newman on 01206 241190 and for the afternoon group email Liz Dixon at               [email protected]

Alternative Christmas Cards and Shoeboxes—Thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who filled shoeboxes with gifts for children in poorer communities, or who contributed to the Children’s Society Christingle collection by attending the Heathlands School Christmas Services or donating to St Mary’s Alternative Christmas Card. We were able to send £236.62 to the Children’s Society!

Churchyard Tidy Day—Saturday 14 March

We are planning to tidy up the churchyard on Saturday 14 March so please note the date in your diaries if you can help out in any way. More details will be given in the next newsletter, and on social media a bit nearer the time.

We are trying to get to a position where the churchyard meets the regulations set by the Diocese of Chelmsford, which includes avoiding the use of artificial flowers. A copy of the regulations is available on our website or from the church office if you would like more information.

Services & Other Dates

All events are at St Mary’s unless stated otherwise.  Note, no Evening Prayer Service during winter months.

Every Thursday in term-time9:00 amCake Church in the church hall
Every Thursday afternoon2:30 pm5Ts fellowship for over 60s in the church hall
Fortnightly Tuesday evening8:00 pmHome Group — contact Shelagh Newman (241190).
Fortnightly Wednesday afternoon1:30 pmHome Group — contact Liz Dixon (
Fortnightly Thursday evening8:00 pmHome Group — contact Shelagh Newman (241190).
Once a month7:45 pmWired Youth Group .
Sunday 5th January9:30 amCommunion – Epiphany
Sunday 12th January9:30 amMessy Church
Sunday 19th January11:15 amCommunion
Sunday 26th January9:30 amPraise on 4 Café Church
Sunday 2nd February9:30 amCommunion
Sunday 9th February9:30 amMessy Church


  • Priest in Charge:
    Revd. Dr Mandy Elmes, 1 Church Close, CO6 3JZ
    tel: 01206 240906.
  • Assistant Curate:
    Revd. Anne Mason
    tel: 07895 970834 (Sun & Tues-Thurs)
  • Church Warden & Parish Evangelist
    Ron Seymour — 07772 241178.
  • Church Warden:
    Sue Day—01206 241040.
  • Lay Readers:
    Richard Chadborn—01206 240541;
    Michael Foster—01206 241022;
    Joy Budden—01206 241871.
  • 3 Parish Families’ Worker:
    Jo Jeffery—07853 586683.
  • Church Administrator:
    Church Office Hours — weekdays 9 am—1 pm
    Janine Wilde — 01206 243683,
  • Newsletter Editor:
    Liz Dixon—01206 243683
  • Hire our hall:
    Nicole Long—01206 240443.
  • Website:
  • Follow us on Facebook:




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