To be a growing church, God’s gift to the community 


Dear Friends,

Goodness, September already. When I was at school, I would buy all kinds of new pens pencils etc in preparation for the new start. One year I decided to make myself a pencil case with elastic bits to hold all the pens securely and in such a way as they were easily accessible (in my view the ones that could be bought were expensive and not big enough to hold all the necessary implements). Well, my one certainly accommodated every bit of writing equipment that I owned but was by that time so big there was barely sufficient room in my satchel for books!

When my children were young “In September” was a phrase used to encompass thoughts of being bigger, change and possibilities. A new class or even a new school always offered me the hope of fresh beginnings. Perhaps at last I would learn that list of vocabulary or do piano practise in a timely fashion and so not end up ashamed at my failure.

I was not a promising student and tended to sail by the seat of my pants as it were. But looking back to school days with the breadth of experience of life that age has brought I can see the wishful thinking if not actual fantasy involved with thinking anything would change just because I had a new start. Of course, a degree of effort is also required along with a strong enough desire that things should be different.

As I ponder the headlines about the extraordinary weather conditions that we are rather rapidly becoming accustomed to and dire predictions about the not so distant future of our planet I wonder if humanity will engage with the realities and work out what practical steps each of us can do to make a difference. It isn’t easy feeling helpless is it?

The ancient story of creation in Genesis tells of God’s command that humanity cares for the earth. How can the church family in St. Martin’s and St. Peter’s engage with this and perhaps set an example? What can we do together and encourage one another to do? I don’t think we have the option just to hope someone else will do something although perhaps we ought to be
letting our MP know that we think this is a priority for the Government! This September let us each take the opportunity to do what we can to care for our little neck of the woods and pray that it is not too late for this beautiful world. 

God bless you.

With love … Noelle x

 fellowship.jpg NEW FROM SEPTEMBER – A Fellowship Group will be starting at The Rectory, Shakletons from Monday 20th September (7.15 pm for 7.30 pm start) where we will be slow reading the Gospel of Mark. If you are interested, please let Noelle know. 


29th August - 4th September - High Street
5th September - 11th September - Kimptons Close
12th September - 25th September - Kings Terrace & Queens Terrace
19th September - 25th September - Lavender Mews
26th September - 2nd October - Livingstone Close


Baptisms / Confirmations:
Weddings / Renewal of Weddings Vows:
Internment of Ashes / Memorial Services / Cremations:



Morning prayer every Wednesday morning at 09:00 at St. Martin’s Church


 harvest.jpg  mary.jpg

Please note that the Harvest service is an hour early than usual and there will be no 10.30am service that day.


Tune in for the Nations' Climate Sunday Service on Sunday 5th September
On Sunday 5 th September, there will be a live service broadcast from Glasgow Cathedral, at the heart of the city where the UN climate talks will take place in November, with contributions from Christians from around the four nations. You can join the service online. There will be music and inspirational videos from 3:30 pm, and the service itself will begin at 4:00 pm.

Register here: Nations' Climate Sunday Service: Churches Prepare for COP 26 Tickets, Sunday 5th September 2021 at 16:00

Further information can be obtained from Shirley Dudeney....



Ministry Opportunities 
I suspect we are all feeling encouraged at the gradual emerging of our churches from lockdown, but the last eighteen months have highlighted to some that they are no longer able to continue serving if the ways they used to. This is a right and proper decision to make in a life of service and ministry however, currently this has left a few people working too hard trying to cover the gaps. It may be we need to consider doing some things differently or not at all but in the meantime I would be grateful if you would prayerfully consider if you might be able to offer yourself in God’s service in any of the following roles:-

Verging at Funerals
Currently Roger and Sue King are our only Vergers available for funerals. It would be good to develop a team as funerals tend to happen at fairly short notice and people are not always free. We normally have two Vergers who organise the church prior to the service, welcome people and clear up afterwards – much like the role of Sidesperson with a few tweaks of furniture. This is probably the only role that actually has some remuneration - £25 per funeral for each verger! Training would be given – please speak to Sue King for more information. (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or landline: 01277 362723)

Sidesperson / Steward
We are desperately short of people able to get the church ready for a service, welcome people and help the service run smoothly. We have a rota which hopefully would mean that no one is on duty more than once a month. – Paul Taylor would love to hear from anyone interested in learning what is involved! (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. landline: 01277 362173)

We only have 2 laity available to intercede on a Sunday – I would be very happy to train people for this rolevand set intercessions that only need marginal tweaking are also available.

Opening & Closing St. Martin’s
It would be good to move towards opening St. Martin’s daily as we did before the pandemic, so we need people with keys willing to join a rota to do this. Please speak to Paul Taylor if interested.
Church Rooms Management
Sue and Roger King have managed the Church Rooms – for nearly 30 years and have finally decided they need to hand on this responsibility. Sue has put a brief indication of this role elsewhere – please do speak to her if you would be interested in knowing more.

All these roles are subject to the Diocese’s safer recruiting guidelines and would need a confidential declaration to be submitted to me if one has not already been given.

Thank you all for your part in the family of the church, we are very blessed.


Church Room Management: This post involves showing prospective hirers around, agreeing requirements, drawing up contracts for signature, liaising with hirers to ensure their requirements are met, invoicing charges twice a year, routine testing and logging of alarms, keeping an eye on the maintenance and cleanliness of the premises including emptying the bins weekly (outside of

Covid, ensuring towels and tea towels are washed regularly). Taking gas and electricity meter readings, paying all utility and other bills. Being on call during hiring times in case hirers  experience problems. Sue



Shirley writes...

I’m continuing to lead a BCP Morning Prayer service via Zoom at 10.30 am on Sunday mornings for those of us unable to attend St. Martin’s at present and new folk are always welcome. Just send an email to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the appropriate link.

PLUS Something New
If, for whatever reason, you are not able to be physically in Church on a Sunday morning, in
addition to the 10.30 am BCP which Shirley Dudeney is hosting, all are warmly welcome to join the Short Morning Service hosted by Revd. Stewart Gibbs of the High Ongar Parish at 9 am.

The zoom link is: Meeting ID: 950 7344 6203


                                       Premium Vector | Comic vegetables group cartoon illustration

If you have a glut of fruit or vegetables that Noelle can turn into jam or chutney, please let her know as she wants to make preserves for the Christmas Market at the end of November.


Shirley writes: ….
Given the response I had to what I said at a recent Sunday morning BCP zoom service, I’ve been encouraged to share the following with you. The book I refer to is available in paperback from the usual sources.

Three Mile an Hour God!                                                   Few Words for Trinity 12, Proper 16

                                             Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18                                          Ephesians 6:10-20

Now I don’t know about you but I’m very aware that I don’t move as fast as I used to.
It’s a bit of a joke, but based on reality, that my husband says that if we have to leave the house at a certain time in the morning he has to make sure that I’m awake and have started my getting uproutine several hours earlier… somehow I just can’t rush like I used to - my body won’t let me -and of course, there are all the pills, potions and exercises to deal with before I can leave the house.

It’s easy as we get older to bemoan the fact that we can’t do what we used to do; to bemoan the
fact that we can’t walk as quickly etc etc. But this week I came across a book that challenged this thinking. Now I have to admit that I’ve not read Three Mile an Hour God by Kosuke Koyama, a Japanese Christian yet, but the reviews I read of it have caught my attention.

In the book Kosuke says
“Love has its speed.  It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are
accustomed.  It goes on in the depth of life at 3 miles per hour.  It is the speed we walk and
therefore the speed the love of God walks.”  

Another writer reflecting on the message from this book points out that although we read that
Jesus got into a boat on occasions, in the main he walked from place to place…at three miles an
hour. Jesus was the Son of God…so it’s not a great leap to say that God walked this earth at three miles an hour…and as God was love, is love …love walked this earth at three miles an hour.
As many of you know I’m a keen walker. Peter and I met through a rambling club and walking in
the countryside continues to be both something we enjoy and something which is important for
both of us. I leave all the planning of our weekly walks to Peter. He knows how far I can walk and
at what speed I’m likely to walk…and I can tell you it’s not three miles an hour…nowadays it’s
more like two miles an hour

I don’t think we need to worry too much about exactly what speed Jesus walked when he was on
this earth. The important thing if we read the Gospels closely is that time and time again as He
walked, as He passed by…He saw. Think of the story from John’s Gospel when Jesus saw a
man who was blind from birth…He saw and he had compassion.

The first reading was all about choice.

Who would the tribes of Israel choose as their god?

We have choices every day. Maybe the choices aren’t the same as the ones we had when we
were younger. It may feel as though the choices available to us are more limited now…especially as we try to live safely in this time of the continuing Covid pandemic.

But one choice which we all have is the how we are going to react to where we are in life and what we face. Reading about a Three Mile an Hour God has made me realise that going slowly, going at God’s speed could actually be a positive thing.

I know that several of you go out for a short walk each day, weather permitting.

You are following in Jesus’s footsteps
You are walking at the speed of love.
You are walking at God’s speed

Wow what a thought!

You have opportunities to imitate Jesus; to see with His eyes of compassion and love, people and situations which the person who runs past, or the person who drives past you in a car simply can’t see.

And walking; living at this slower speed, I would argue gives us more opportunities to follow St
Paul’s instruction to ‘pray at all times’ There is actually a very ancient prayer from the Orthodox tradition that is designed to be said silently within oneself as you walk. You make have come across it; it’s known as the Jesus Prayer and it goes as follows 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner

Try saying it as you walk and you’ll find that it fits effortlessly into the rhythm of steady, gentle,
walking. You don’t have to say the whole sentence. You can shorten it if it feels as feels right for
you…right down to that one word, one person - Jesus

Another ancient walking prayer is repeating the Aramaic word

Maranatha - which means Come Holy Spirit Come

And if walking is a struggle for you; both of these prayers can be said while sitting or moving about within your home.

So, as we age, which we are all doing, whatever age we happen to be, let us take heart, let us
choose to remember that we have opportunities to walk, to live at God’s speed which others don’t and at this slower speed to bring His love and compassion to His people.