Thursday March 14th Cafe Church in St Pauls 10.30-11.30
Saturday March 23rd Coffee Morning in St Pauls 10.00- 11.30am
Thursday March 28th Flower Festival preparations meeting in St Pauls 7.00pm
Friday May 17th Sundowners and Sale in St Paul's 6.00-7.30pm
Flower Festival June 8th and 9th
Saturday September 7th Afternoon Tea with Evensong in Church
Saturday October 19th Coffee Morning in St Pauls 10.00- 11.30am
Should you wish to visit the church for contemplation or to have a look around please contact Tracey Thurgood Buss (01799 523358) who will arrange for the church to be opened .
We are very blessed to live in our villages in the north west corner of Essex. We are not far from a choice of market towns and even a city or two are within easy reach should we want to yield to the lure of its vibrant culture. However, it is the quiet, community life people express to me that they enjoy about where they live. And it certainly is quieter – it was only the other day I heard police sirens in the village for the first time since moving in, whereas in my previous home in Colchester, that was an almost daily occurrence.
There is no doubt that community is important too. Even in a big town like Colchester, people identified with the different communities to which they belong – the school community, the U3A community, the church community and so on. There are many nuances in its meaning, but community describes a group of people with a ‘common unity’ of place, interest or characteristic. Our community is essentially the geographical area, albeit with outlying homes, but I suggest it is much more than that.
Our common interest goes far beyond living next door to each other, or even occasionally meeting socially, whether that’s in the pub, playing bowls or tennis. A community, as opposed to an organisation, values people and relationships much more than coming together for whatever purpose, be it social interaction or sport as I have just suggested. Our village life expresses a much deeper level of interaction when I think about the conversations I have had with people. There is a concern about the other’s wellbeing and place in the community, not just about what they can contribute, but a desire to help if they can. Of course, there is good neighbourliness in cities and towns, but our more intimate village life makes community more tangible.
A famous teaching of Jesus is ‘to love your neighbour as yourself,’ (found in Mark’s Gospel, chapter 12, verse 31). The early church described at the end of chapter 2 in the book of the Acts of the Apostles certainly knew how to live as community, holding everything in common and giving to anyone in need. Such communities may not be so popular nowadays, although their numbers are perhaps increasing again. It may not be exactly how our village operates, but, let us continue to value and respect each other, look out for those around us and, of course, help where help is needed. Obviously, changes come along and so our village has indeed altered and changed over the years. However, with a deep and real sense of community, we may be assured our village will be a good place to live for many years to come.
Revd John Saxon
May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust him. Romans 15:13
God of love, turn our hearts to your ways; and give us peace. Amen.
Happy are those whose hearts are set on the pilgrim way. Psalm 84.5