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Church Services

Church Services

1. On this page you will find the details of Church contacts.

2. Church services for the month within the Benefice.

3. The monthly news letter.

1.CHURCH CONTACT DETAILS

Priest-in-charge – Rev Alison Jackson – 01279 790145 / 07833 667707

1 Dovedale, High Wych, Sawbridgeworth CM21 0DT

Mission Enabler:

Rosemary Davis 01279 419763

Reader

June Denton 01279 723714

Lay leaders of worhsip

Janet Bellingham 07882743627

Rosemary Davis 01279 419763

Churchwardens

Michael Shaw - 01279 726792

We have a vacant post for Church Warden

Secretary

Christine Law - 01279 411646

Treasurer

Judith Denton 01279 723714

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Benefice of High Wych and Gilston with Eastwick

Church website: stjameshighwych.org.uk

Facebook: eastwick and gilston church’s

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SERVICES FOR FEBRUARY

4th  February

2nd Sunday before Lent

8.00am

BCP Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

9.30am

Family Service

St James, High Wych

11th February

Sunday next before Lent

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion

St Mary’s, Gilston

14th February

ASH WEDNESDAY

7.30pm

Ash Wednesday Service

St James, High Wych

18th February

1st Sunday of Lent

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

25th February

2nd Sunday of Lent

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion

St Botolph’s, Eastwick

FEBRUARY LETTER

 Countdown to Easter

I don’t know about you, but I am still remembering Christmas and all that it meant to us this year.  The amazing Christmas services, the opportunities to meet and share life together and the fantastic amounts of money raised for the 2 charities we agreed to support this year.  All the Outdoor services supported The Winter Night Shelter in Bishop Stortford and we have been able to give them over £600 and we also supported the Children’s Society with the collections from our Christingles to the tune of over £600 as well.  How generous are you all, thank you so much. 

And now, already, we are on the countdown to Easter…, we left the story of Jesus on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day being born in a manger and now we move to remembering Jesus not as a baby but as a grown man who was killed savagely, (which we remember on Good Friday), and rose again (which we celebrate with joy on Easter Sunday).   You see Jesus is not just for Christmas.  He is for our everyday – our Monday to Friday, our weekend, our everyday life.  He promises to be with us in the joy of our life but also through those difficult times when we really don’t know what to do, how to cope, or what to do next.  This is why we offer the Alpha course, to help you get your head round what Jesus really did for us and what we believe as Christians.  The Alpha Course, which starts on 15th January for 6 weeks is to help you think this through for yourself, so if you are curious about the Christian faith and want to know more, just join us online. (again see flyer for more information).

This year Shrove Tuesday happens on 13th February and we are inviting you with your children to our annual pancake party taking place in the Gilston and Eastwick Village Hall, see the flyer in the magazine for more info.  We are also having a Quiz Night at Gilston and Eastwick Village Hall on 24th February, I love a Quiz Night – I am not particularly good at them, but they are great fun. (again see the flyer for more information).

 

Our Ash Wednesday service will happen at St James on Wednesday 14th February in the evening at 7.30 pm – all are welcome.  We will also be starting our Lent Bible Study sessions on 21st February for 8 weeks at 7.30 pm at the Rectory, where we will be demystifying the Bible and getting straight in our heads how it all fits together.  Good Friday will be 29th March (look out for our Messy Church invite on that day) with Easter Sunday taking place on 31st March.

As always in the countdown to Easter we are offering you friendship and hope, times to come together and share food and fun to be a community filled with care for each other as we share this time and space together.

I leave you with the following verse, which is our verse for this year, which encourages us to hold onto joy, peace and trust in God to sustain us through all the ups and downs of life:

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Your Priest

Alison 

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SERVICES FOR JANUARY

7th January

Epiphany

8.00am

BCP Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

9.30am

Family Service

St James, High Wych

14th January

2nd Sunday of Epiphany

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion

St Mary’s, Gilston

21st January

3rd Sunday of Epiphany

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

28th January

4th Sunday of Epiphany

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Service & Community Activity

St Botolph’s, Eastwick

ON-LINE PRAYER MEETINGS

On-line prayer meeting will be held on Tuesday 9th, 16th and 30th January 2024.  For more information please contact Rev Alison Jackson for the zoom link

JANUARY LETTER 

Looking backwards and looking forwards – searching for Joyful moments.

Examen

As always at this time of year we look back on the year that has just been and look forward to the year that is still to come.

We are heading now, as I write this, for the Terlings Park Carol Service and I remember that last year it was deep in snow and ice and was an extremely cold session.  My hope for this year is that it will be warmer and busy with us creating a ‘joyful moment’ and it is already very different as I know many more of you that live in Terlings Park and around Gilston and Eastwick villages than I did this time last year.

I wonder if you would like to take a moment now to think of all the ‘joyful moments’ you have experienced over the past year?  Grab a cuppa, sit back, think and review…

These are some of mine, being your Priest for the past year….

Film afternoon in the Village Hall, pancake party, all things Easter,

community dog walks (dress up ones included – Mabel as Barbie

– so cute), Quiz nights at the Lion, all things Coronation across

all three villages, Coffee and cake sessions in the Lion pub, being

in High Wych school every Tuesday, weddings, baptisms, Wild church sessions, writing to the King, receiving a response from

the King, Bats and Bubbly, setting up and running Jimmy’s baby and toddler group every Thursday morning(what a great team), the school art day and art exhibition for Climate Justice        

The churchyard tidy up at St Botolph’s recently and lastly our craft morning making decorations for the tree at St Mary’s, Gilston – to mention just some of the occasions where we may have met, had fun together – not to mention all our normal services.

This process in the Christian faith is called, ‘Examen’ when we look at all that has been good (usually on a daily basis) and give thanks to God for it, for the many blessings we have received through other people, family and friends.

There is another part of the ‘Examen’ which is to think of the difficult things that we have encountered….so you might want to think about that now…they will be different from the things I have experienced but to say we go through life without difficult times is unrealistic.  I suggest as you think of those things you also give those to God, asking for his help and resolve.  Although difficult, this is often the time when we grow as people, when we learn more about ourselves and can see God at work helping us to overcome difficulties, to understand our inner resilience and seeing and accepting help which can come from unexpected places and people.

And now check how you are feeling at the start of this New Year – what are the things that give you joy?, what are the things that give you hope?  What have your learnt about yourself?  What will be different for you this year?

God is with you through the good times and the difficult times.  So is the church, here for you in your midst, and so am I.

My prayer for you as you go into the New Year is that you ‘hold on to all that is good, avoid every kind of evil, and that God himself will give you peace, love, joy and hope for 2024. (based on 1 Thessalonians 5:21- 23) .

Wishing you every blessing for a joyful 2024.

Your Priest

Alison

 

SERVICES FOR DECEMBER

2nd December

Saturday

10.00am – 12noon

Christmas Craft Event

St Mary’s, Gilston

3rd December

1st Sunday of Advent

8.00am

BCP Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

9.30am

Family Service

St James, High Wych

10th December

2nd Sunday of Advent

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion

St Mary’s, Gilston

 

 

4.00pm

Christmas Carols

St James, High Wych

16th December

Saturday

4.00pm

Christmas Carols

Terlings Park

17th December

3rd Sunday of Advent

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

24th December

4th Sunday of Advent

CHRISTMAS EVE

8.00am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Dress Up Nativity

St Botolph’s,

Eastwick

 

 

3.00pm

Christingle

St Mary’s, Gilston

 

 

5.00pm

Christingle

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.00pm

Midnight Mass

St James, High Wych

25th December

Christmas Day

9.30am

All  Age Service

St James, High Wych

31st December

1st Sunday of

Christmas

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

DECEMBER LETTER

The meaning of Advent

If we accept that the run up to Christmas can be a stressful and expensive time – it can also be a fun time too.  In the Christian calendar Advent is a time of preparation, a preparation for both the material and spiritual sides of Christmas which can help to make the festival meaningful and enjoyable.  To keep the reason for Christmas with you in your run up to Christmas we have planned some great ways to get together – the first being a Christmas craft morning at St Mary’s, Gilston on 2nd December, making Christmas decorations for our tree in the church and for yours at home, that’s all part of the preparations and all children and families are welcome.  The theme for our family service on  3rd December at St James at 9.30 am will also be around ‘getting ready’ and all families and children are invited and welcome to attend.

We then invite you to our Outdoor Carol Service at St James, High Wych at 4.00 pm on 10th December, hopefully, you came along to the workshop and collected your traffic cone to decorate and ‘light up’ High Wych on this day.  All this with music, carols, mulled wine and mince pies – it feels like Christmas is creeping nearer every day.

For the smallest people amongst us we will have a Christmas party at Jimmy’s toddler group on the 14th December, as we don’t want to leave them out of the fun and preparations and if you live in Terlings Park we are coming to you on the 16th December with, music, carols, mulled wine and mince pies – hopefully it will not be as snowy and cold as last year!!😊😊.  These are all ways that we can meet up as communities, enjoy the run up to Christmas, ease the pressure and increase the fun element of the preparations.

Yes, the turkey and stuffing and all the other plans still need to happen, presents bought, food bought, people invited, end of term concerts, plays, parties etc experienced, and by being with us you will have remembered to bring Jesus into your preparations this year.

We really hope we will see you on Christmas Eve as the countdown to Christmas draws to a close.

We have lots of family services planned.  This year we are having a Dress Up Nativity at St Botolph’s in Eastwick at 11.15 am – come ready to dress up, have some fun and make lots of noise as we experience the Christmas story together.  We also have a Christingle service at St Mary’s, Gilston at 3.00 pm and at 5.00 pm at St James, candles to be lit, awe and wonder to experience and beautiful carols to sing as we wait to remember Jesus’s birthday, as the evening draws closer.

For those of us who want to herald in the birth of Jesus and remember that with the first communion we have our Midnight Mass service at 11.00 pm at St James, with a family friendly Christmas service on Christmas Day at 9.30 am, again at St James – where no doubt there will be lots of chocolate on offer!!

So many different ways to remember the true meaning of Christmas and this year especially we remember that Jesus came to bring peace to the world, he called us all to love each other and promised us a peace that passes all understanding.

The theme this Christmas in our services will be peace – last year we knitted stars – this year - it’s going to be doves of peace.  See the knitting pattern in this magazine, if you are happy to knit for us like last year. Our hope is that we will have enough doves to give every family who come to our Christmas Eve services a dove to hang on their Christmas tree. My hope is that we are now encouraging knitters to know how special they are. At this time of unrest in our world we need the peace that only Jesus offers.  He says in John 14: 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.  My prayer for you is that you will experience peace in your homes this Christmas.

Merry Christmas

Your Priest  –  Alison

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SERVICES FOR NOVEMBER

5th November

4th Sunday before Advent

8.00am

BCP Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

9.30am

Family Service

St James, High Wych

12th November

3rd Sunday before Advent

9.30am

Holy Communion followed by Act of Remembrance

St James, High Wych

 

 

10.50am

Act of Remembrance

Followed by Coffee, Cake & a Chat

War Memorial, Eastwick

 

St Botolph’s, Eastwick

19th November

2nd Sunday before Advent

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

24th November

Friday

2.30pm

Service

Rivers Hospital

26th November

Sunday next

before Advent

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion

St Mary’s, Gilston

NOVEMBER LETTER

The beauty and difficulty of Reconciliation

As I write this in October our TV and other screens are full of what is happening with the Israel/Palestine conflict. Another conflict, in another country, that has bumped the Ukraine/Russian conflict from our news headlines.

This happened on the same day that I was asked to go and talk to Year 3 and Reception in the school about Reconciliation.  I have been struck by the irony of this but also how young we need to be to start learning about this.

When should we …….. forgive, or not forgive? To hurt or not to hurt?  To hold onto grievances and grudges or to let go of them, to say ‘sorry’?

Jesus left us with a few commands two of which are these…

  1. Love God
  2. Love each other.

Sounds simple doesn’t it.  However, we seem to find it really difficult to put into practice.  Who amongst us has perfect relationships with everyone?

Each day God gives us a new opportunity, a new day, when we can start again, and I say thank goodness.  Each day we are forgiven and are asked to forgive those who hurt us..to practice saying, ‘sorry’, if we need to.

Our children learn from us, how we deal with situations and difficulties when it comes to our relationships with neighbours, friends, people in queues, other drivers when we are driving.  What can we teach them that is good and helpful that will help them as they grow up, and allow them to live with ‘Hope’?

I am greatly encouraged in the villages of High Wych, Gilston and Eastwick as I meet such lovely, friendly people, who are incredibly kind and caring to those who are around them.  Every day I am encouraged.  We are meeting such lovely Mums/carers in our Baby and Toddler group and I look forward to meeting many more.

We have organised a few events that will encourage us to enjoy each other’s company and grow friendships and also care for each other as we move into this Autumn season.

We have a community Dress Up your Dog walk on Terlings Park Saturday 28th October at 3.00 pm – prize for the best dressed dog😊😊 which I am really looking forward to.

We have an opportunity to come together to remember those we have loved and lost at our All Souls Service at St James on Sunday 29th October at 4.00 pm and support each other in our sadness.

We also have our Remembrance Day services in both St James and St Botolph’s on Sunday 12th November 2023.  In St James, we will be able to spend our time at the Memorial at 11.00 am without being covered in fallen leaves from the newly pollarded yew trees (thank you Sam), and we will be serving refreshments beforehand in the church from 10.30 am, at the end of our 9.30 am service.  At St Botolph’s we will gather at the village Memorial at 10.50 am for a short Act of Remembrance followed by refreshments in the church.

On Saturday 18th November we will be coming together at our community workshop to do some preparation for our ‘Light up High Wych’ event again this year. Come and grab your cones and enjoy some time together from 10.00 am through to 12 noon, refreshments, as always, will be served.

We have an opportunity to come together as community again on 25th November to tidy up the churchyard at St Botolph’s, Eastwick and eat cake together.

For forward planning we are going to do our outdoor Carol services again this year on 10th December at St James at 4.00 pm and at Terlings Park on 16th December at 4.00 pm, serving mulled wine and mince pies and doing lots of carol singing.

So there are lots of opportunities to get together as community, as neighbours, to show love and respect to and for each other and make our villages truly lovely places to live.

Jesus said…

‘Blessed are the merciful,

For they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they will be called children of God.  (Matthew 5:7,9).

Your Priest   -  Alison

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SERVICES FOR OCTOBER

1st October

17th Sunday after

Trinity

8.00am

BCP Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

9.30am

Family Service (Harvest

Celebration followed by Scarecrow Festival review & brunch)

St James, High Wych

 

 

3.30pm

HARVEST FESTIVAL

followed by cream tea

St Mary’s, Gilston

5th October

Thursday

10.00am

School Harvest Festival

St James, High Wych

8th October

18th Sunday after

Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion – followed by refreshments

St Mary’s, Gilston

15th October

19th Sunday after

Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

 

WILD CHURCH

TERLINGS PARK

22nd October

20th Sunday after

Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion

St Botolph’s, Eastwick

27th October

Friday

6.30pm

Evening Prayer

St Mary’s, Gilston

 

 

2.30pm

Service

Rivers Hospital

29th October

Last Sunday after

Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

4.00pm

All Souls Service

St James, High Wych

OCTOBER LETTER

A year on – it’s all about First Fruits – the gifts, skills and talents that we offer to God

As I write this I am in that happy glow of another wedding taken at St Mary’s, Gilston, on Saturday 9th September this time for Aimee and

Stuart.  What a glorious day, the sun was hot, hot, hot, but mindful of this all guests were given a bottle of water and a fan to try and keep them a little bit cooler, such kindness and consideration.  There were so many gifts, skills and talents brought into our church that day, people who had cleaned the church, provided amazing flowers (not to mention Greg who got rid of the wasps nest for us at the last minute) and the bellringers, who entered into this task with such enthusiasm.  The churchyard looked beautiful after all the attention of our gardening team – it was truly glorious.  Whilst all this was happening in St Mary’s, the Scarecrow Festival in High Wych was also in full flow and I have been overwhelmed at how High Wych village and St James church have come together to provide another amazing

weekend for all those who visited High Wych.  A massive thank you to all who came to help us in any way from setting up the site and take it down again, for making scarecrows, for making teas and coffees, cakes, music, bbq’ing, for knitting or sewing mice, for getting involved with the creative workshops etc. It is difficult to thank individuals without leaving someone out but our churches and villages are full of some very special people who use their skills, gifts and talents, which honour God. 

As St James, St Mary’s and St Botolph’s, we hope to have raised some money for our churches and other charities.  Last year I did attend the Festival but I hadn’t moved in or officially started as your Priest.  I came early because our dear Queen Elizabeth had died and we led the time of memory for her in the churches over the weekend, in fact my very first duty was to lead prayers in St Mary’s, Gilston whilst the bells were being rung to commemorate Queen Elizabeth.

When you read this it will probably be the anniversary of my being your Priest for a year.  I can’t believe it, that has to be one of the fastest years of my life.

So as we look forward, what is happening in our community of High Wych and Gilston with Eastwick this Autumn?  Jimmy’s toddler group opened its doors for the first time on 14th September and was busy, and will be happening every Thursday for the foreseeable future (see ad for fuller details), a resource which we hope will be used by all the young families in our Benefice.

As we face forwards towards the Autumn we have a couple of lovely things to invite you to.

Our Harvest Services this year will be celebrated at:-

  1. Our Family Service in St James on 1st October at 9.30 am, following on from that we are inviting you all to our Post Scarecrow Community feedback and thank you brunch at 10.30 am, all welcome, where we hope you will join us for an opportunity to discuss the triumphs etc of the Scarecrow Festival and afterwards for yummy food and drink to celebrate the harvest.

2.         Later on that same day we will also have our Harvest service at St Mary’s, Gilston at 3.30 pm followed by a yummy homemade cream tea (see separate ad).

For both services this year we will be supporting the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal again, which this year, aims to provide families in Uganda with chickens.  These will produce eggs for food which will help to alleviate food poverty and malnutrition as well as providing a source of much needed income, this is your opportunity to give generously, this time of your money.  Hopefully many of you have already seen the magnificent painting that Bill Morris has produced to support this appeal, which is on display in St James church, High Wych (the church is open from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm every day) more news of that to follow.

As we move on from Harvest celebrations we are planning a community ‘dress-up’ dog walk, starting at Terlings Park at 3.00 pm on 28th October, with light hearted competition, and then we move to another opportunity to bring to God all those that we have loved and lost and long to remember, the 29th October will see our All Souls service at St James at 4.00 pm.  Letters of Invitation will be going out shortly and there will also be sign up sheets at the back of St James and St Mary’s if you want us to specifically remember anyone you have loved and lost. At this service we will provide flowers and candles and read out the names of loved ones to remember them, people will also be there to listen, and spend time with you after this service if that would be helpful.

So as we think of Harvest, all that we can bring to each other, and how we can serve each other……

“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but it is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God” 2 Corinthains 9:12

Your Priest, Alison

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SERVICES FOR SEPTEMBER

3rd September

13th Sunday after Trinity

8.00am

BCP Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

9.30am

Family Service

St James, High wych

 

 

2.00pm

Baptism of Isaac &

Tobey Petit

St Mary’s, Gilston

8th September

Friday

7.00pm

Service for Scarecrow Festival

St James, High Wych

9th September

Saturday

1.00pm

Wedding of Amy & Stuart

St Mary’s, Gilston

10th September

14th Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion

St Mary’s, Gilston

15th September

Friday

6.30pm

Evening Prayer

St Mary’s, Gilston

17th September

15th Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

3.30pm

PET SERVICE

St Mary’s, Gilston

22nd September

Friday

6.30pm

Evening Prayer

St Mary’s, Gilston

24th September

16th Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

St James, High Wych

 

 

11.15am

Holy Communion

St Botolph’s, Eastwick

29th September

Friday

2.30pm

Service

Rivers Hospital

 

 

6.30pm

Evening Prayer

St Mary’s, Gilston

SEPTEMBER LETTER

How to breathe through the busyness

So, by the time you read this, you may have bought all your school uniform, school shoes and be gearing up for another half term of cramming a lot into your day.  Your holiday might already feel like it was ages ago – or you can’t wait for the normal routine to get going again as August has been a bit dull.  I don’t know how it is for you.

In church during August we have been looking at taking time to breathe more slowly and intentionally and making space for peace and quiet and connecting with God in our services and in our daily lives.  I feel like we need this more and more as the busyness starts up again (if indeed it ever really stopped).

I have this book called ‘Every Moment Holy’ And I thought I would share with you a prayer for the ritual of Morning Coffee.  Hopefully you stop in the morning for a break, and I thought you might find this helpful to stop – take a moment – connect with God and/or your inner self.  Being present to yourself and to God.

Ritual of Morning Coffee

Meet me, O Christ,

In this stillness of morning.

Move me, O Spirit,

To quiet my heart.

Mend me, O Father,

From yesterday’s harms.