Groups and Activities
Youth | Light Group
The Light Group meet generally on the last Wednesday of the month between 6pm and 7pm. Together we seek to learn more about the Christian Faith. Members of this group have either completed a course to admit them to Communion before Confirmation or are thinking about doing this.
We have discussions, watch film clips, listen to music and enjoy a tea-time treat together.
The Group is open to anyone between the ages of 8 – 16 and if anyone would like to learn more about what we do please contact Rev. Carolyn Tibbott
See also Little Lambs
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Music is a vital part of worship and our church choir is proud to contribute to services by singing every Sunday morning, at special services, major Christian festivals and for weddings.
We are an enthusiastic group of singers who meet together most Friday afternoons between 4.15 and 5.15p. in St Leonard’s Hall. Rehearsals are always fun and lively and have a real sense of fellowship and community. We may arrive having had a tiring week, but music has the power to put everyone in a good mood, so we leave with a sense of achievement and lots of laughter in our hearts.
The choir has at least three rehearsals a month and always prepares for the forthcoming morning service as well as on pieces for singing during communion. At Easter, Harvest and Christmas we work on anthems and have a wide repertoire to suit all tastes.
Most of the hymn singing is done in four-part harmony but anthems in unison, two and three parts are the norm.
You don’t have to be an experienced singer to join us. All are welcome to our rehearsals and reading music is not a requirement. Just a love of singing and a desire to sing together to enhance the worship in church are all you need. So why not come along and find out more about the work we do?
Contact Jill Parkin at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
St Mary with St Leonard’s Church has the services of a Music Director and two organists. Jill Parkin is the Director of Music. Jill leads the choir as well as shares organ playing with the other organists.
The organ in our beautiful parish church is a fine two manual Norman and Beard instrument which dates from 1926.
Bell Ringing in the Round Tower
St Mary’s Bell Ringers
There is a ring of 6 bells in our Tower and St Mary’s campanologists ring out regularly for the 10.30 Sunday morning service and for weddings as required. The Bells are rung half muffled for the Remembrance Sunday service each year.
We hold a practice and training evening on Wednesdays and currently have some new ringers under training. On the first Wednesday of each month we practice at Little Waltham Church and ring there occasionally for weddings.
More ringers are required to ensure that the bells of St. Mary’s continue to ring out in the future. If you are interested in learning to ring, or just having a pull of the Sally, speak to us on Sunday (when we stop for a rest) or come over on Wednesday evening between 7.45 and 9pm. You will be very welcome.
Many of our ringers are members of the Essex Association of Change Ringers. This provides us with a source of technical expertise on Bell maintenance matters, training assistance and insurance. For further information please contact our Tower Captain, Chris Marcus, by email at email@example.com or by telephone 07730 796422.
History of the Tower and Bells
The Tower was added to the Church in the early 12c and is one of six circular or round Towers in Essex. The others are at Great Leighs, Lamarsh, Pentlow, Little Sailing and South Ockendon. The Tower is 15ft. Diameter and 2 storeys high. It has a conical roof rising to an octagonal spire. The Tower arch into the Church has a semi-circular head and plain responds which are much restored. On the ground floor are three round headed windows with jambs and head of roman brick. The upper storey has similar windows but these have been repaired with 17c bricks. The spire has four gabled lights.
The spire was once roofed with weather boarding but was reroofed in October 1937 with Canadian Cedar shingles. This work was carried out at the expense of Mrs Seabrook and family in memory of H M P Seabrook of Butlers who was at one time a Churchwarden. It was reroofed again in the early 1950s.
There is a record of bells from as early as 1482, but the present peal of six was cast by John Warner & Sons, London in 1874-1875. The peal is made up of four bells presented by Mr H.C.Wells (Churchwarden 1864-1908) and two old bells that were re-cast at the same time, John Dier’s bell of 1580 and that of Miles Graye, 1613. John Dier seems to have been an itinerant bell founder but Miles Graye made his bells in a foundry at Colchester.
The bells were rehung in 1911/12 having been taken down &ldqou;some time since on account of the Tower being cracked&rdqou;. A special service of dedication was held on Friday evening 17 November 1911 for the rededication of the Bells. The Vicar, Rev. Charles Edmund preached the sermon and gave dedicatory prayers after which a short peal was rung by the Bell ringers. The bells are still rung regularly.
The bell frame was reset in the Tower walls and strengthened in 1989/90 after it was discovered that the wall bearings were becoming loose allowing the frame to distort when ringing. The frame was strengthened and the bearings repaired, and the Ringers, helped by other Church members and the local Scout Group, painted the frame and the timber work early in 1991.
New bell ropes were acquired in 1993 with the help of the fund set up in memory of Flt Lt Stan Bowles who was killed in an RAF Tornado in the North Sea off Hull in August 1990. He was the son-in-law of Reg Morris, a Parochial Reader at the Church. The ropes were manufactured by John Pritchards of Loughborough and are 60ft long made of pre-stretched terylene with natural flax yarn bottom ends with wool sallies.
The first service with the new ropes was on the morning of 30 January 1994. During the service the Vicar, Rev. David Ritson, dedicated the ropes and the ringers responded with a short ring of several rounds. Ringers present were Peter Baker, Ian Hughes, Joy Ely, Andrew Mussell, Brian Warboys and Chris and David Marcus.
The dedication coincided with the January Fifth Sunday special service which looked back to 30 January 1649 when King Charles 1 was executed. Members of the Sealed Knot Society attended the service and an excellent cameo sketch was enacted by Mavis Tebby, Cyril Howard, Eric Rowley and the Vicar.
New Muffles for the bells were purchased in December 1994 with assistance from the same fund. In November 2009 the clapper bearings on Bells 1 to 4 were found to have disintegrated. The clappers were removed and taken to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry for repair. The four clapper balls were well flatted and were therefore heated and twisted upon their stems to present unworn sections to impact the bells. The bearing pear shaped tops were filled with resin in to which was fitted a Tufnol bearing sized to suit the existing hinge pin. The repaired clappers and staples were re-installed in the Tower in time for the Christmas ringing.
In the tower is the only true fresco in an English church. Christ stilling the Storm was painted by Rosemary Rutherford, artist daughter of the then Vicar, in 1943 when on leave from war service. Her brother helped mix the fresh plaster and traditional techniques were followed as far as possible. The fresco has been restored and can be viewed on request.
This group is now managed by the U3A.
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Bible and Prayer
Wednesday Morning House Group
We are a House Group that meets weekly on a Wednesday morning at a member’s home.
We meet from 10-11am and there are currently around 12 regular members.
Our studies are Bible based with discussion and reflection following. We all find the meetings a valuable aid to our growth in faith and knowledge alongside regular Church Worship. We are a friendly, welcoming group and new members are always welcome to join us.
Please contact Mavis Tebby or Christine Watson
Wednesday Bible Study Group
This group meets on Wednesdays in term-time at 1.45pm in the Committee Room next to St Leonard’s Hall. We are a small but friendly group of Christians, seeking to expand our knowledge of scripture through careful reading, listening and discussion. Our pattern is to read the scriptures, try to understand how the text was understood by the people who first read it, and then to discuss how we may interpret the text today in our situations. Over the past year we have tackled Old and New Testament books from Job to the Gospel of Mark and we are often surprised by the way that the ancient writings of the Church speak into our present day circumstances. During the periods of Lent and Advent we usually undertake seasonal Bible studies so that we have variety in the materials we are using.
We always welcome new members who are interested in deepening their faith through better understanding of the Bible.
Rev’d Diana Garfield
Prayer is very much part of shared ministry and something in which we can all participate. Members of the Ministry team say the Daily Office in church, and will always brings before God those in need of urgent prayer on a daily basis. Part of the Intercessions Group's responsibility is to feed her with any information that they may not be aware of.
As every Member of the congregation knows, prayer is regularly said for those whose names are in the Altar Book or on the Prayer Board, and sometimes the board is overflowing with requests. Prayers which are requested through the website are also printed and put onto the Prayer Board. The Intercessions Group review these prayer requests on a regular basis. Some of the requests remain, but if a situation changes the cards are removed.
How we long to receive updates from those who ask for prayer, as we are reluctant to remove any requests ourselves, but it is necessary to do so. If you are viewing the Prayer Board and a particular request touches your heart, please add the need to your own private prayers.
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A traditional parent and toddler group, where those who care for pre-school children are welcome to meet for fellowship, refreshments and a safe place for the children to play. All of our helpers are CRB checked and regular members of our church congregation. The group meet in St. Leonard’s hall on Thursdays in term time from 10am till 12noon.
For more information please contact Margaret Deacon on 01245 901413 or just turn up. You will be most welcome.
Our puppet ministry was set up to provide a new and fun way to engage adults and children alike in worship. We currently have 7 rod-arm puppets and 7 members and are looking to expand both. Anyone is welcome to join from the age of 13 upwards. We perform approximately once a month during services at St Mary’s Church we have also performed at fetes and for outdoor events such as the Songs of Praise on the Green. All our members get involved in prop making, choreography, musical ideas as well as the puppetry.
The Puppet Crew meet every Wednesday evening during term time from 7pm to 8pm in St Leonards Hall. For further information, please contact the Vicar.
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Our membership is increasing and our meetings are very well attended, including visitors at some meetings and everyone is welcome to attend. Our group meets at 7.30pm in St. Leonard’s Hall usually the third or fourth Thursday in the month and continues to be run by an organising committee.
We support the Church by having a stall at the Autumn Fair, and by providing refreshments at various Church occasions. Birthday cards are sent to all 2 & 3 year old children Baptised at St. Mary w. St. Leonard Church, inviting them to attend Family Services.
Our meetings are varied with speakers on topical issues, some of a charitable or spiritual nature, and some meetings are light hearted, and member led. A donation is given to the speaker for their charity or a charity of their choice.
Group Leader is Sue Cole
Churchyard working party
We are a group of people who love gardening who gather together at 9am every Tuesday morning. Our role is the maintenance of the churchyard by cutting grass, tidying graves and flower beds, trimming bushes and trees and general clearing up but also any other tasks which may be required. The maintenance regime in the Churchyard is geared towards conservation and we have drawn up a management plan in association with the Essex Wildlife Trust.
We are a sociable group and welcome anyone who would like to join us.
Film and Lunch Club
Film club has thrived in the last year: attendances regularly top 20 and new people come along almost every month. This is a real opportunity to welcome members of our community into our church building to enjoy a film and a chat.
We have watched a variety of films: from the gently entertaining to the emotionally demanding and disturbing. Every film has offered us an opportunity to reflect theologically on its content and its message. By doing so together, this enables each of us to begin to see the world and all its delights and pain through Christ like eyes, and to &ldqou;be church&rdqou; together on week days as well as on Sundays.
The Film Club meets at 12.30pm on the first Monday of each month, unless that Monday is a Bank holiday when we meet on the second Monday. Tea and coffee is provided; we just ask that you bring your own lunch with you.
The terms of our viewing licence mean we cannot advertise our film club outside our church community: this should, of course, be regarded as an opportunity and not a restriction. Invite a friend along!
Lunch & Laughter
Our Lunch & Laughter Group meets every third Monday of the month at 12.30pm in St. Leonard’s Hall. The lunch is generally open for anyone who would otherwise be eating on their own. During the summer months we tend to have a nice ploughmans lunch, during the winter it is a steaming bowl of home-made soup with bread and butter.
We sometimes have a themed lunch, for example at Christmas time. Anyone can join us, you don't have to be a church member to attend, everyone is welcome! We don’t make a charge for lunch, but there is an opportunity to make a donation to church funds if you feel able to make one.
We are a happy friendly group, come along and give us a try! Keep an eye out for the 2020 dates on the website.
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The Pastoral Care & Visiting Teams
The Pastoral Care & Visiting Teams
The pastoral team have continued to visit those who cannot attend church and taking Holy Communion to them where requested.
We offer worship at the care homes in the village:
All of the members of the Pastoral Care and Visiting Team are DBS checked and have undergone Adult Safeguarding training.
If you are unable to get along to church due to ill health and would like the Eucharist brought to you at home or in hospital, please do contact the Vicar who can arrange for someone to bring it to you.
Some of the members of the Pastoral Care team are officially anointed and commissioned for their work with the bereaved and this is a much welcomed addition to the pastoral care undertaken at St Mary’s.
After a funeral one of the team will contact the family of the deceased, if they have indicated that they would like further contact from the church, to discuss their needs.
The Bereavement Visitors may chat on the phone, or meet people in person. The Team also arranges the Bereavement Service and the Blue Christmas service. They are always willing to chat to anyone who has suffered loss or bereavement whether they have been to the church for a funeral or not.
For further information about accessing a Bereavement Supporter please contact the Vicar or Rev. Anne Harvey
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