St Mary’s Advent Trail Edition

Learn About the 2021 Advent Trail & More Updates

Some example nativity windows from last year

St Mary’s December newsletter provides details of this years, advent trail and a Christmas message. It also, of course, has the usual listings of services (and they look forward to welcoming you for their Christmas Services in both the Old Church & St Mary’s), and contacts.

Christmas Message from Revd Heather Wilcox

It’s that time of year, when we are bombarded with Christmas advertising, but one advert in particular has caught my attention, probably because it has generated the most complaints in 2021 so far, the Tesco’s advert.

It begins with a lady standing outside a Tesco’s store being asked, ‘Do you need a little help’ and she responds, ‘Don’t worry my love, this year, nothings stopping me.’ Queens ‘Don’t stop me now’ providing the soundtrack to the advert.

Don’t Stop Me Now

The gist of course is that nothing is going to stop us from celebrating Christmas. If the lights go out, we will light a row of Christmas puddings instead and party on; if Santa’s grotto closes as we reach it, we will bribe the elves with mince pies and when Santa faces quarantine, of course he is already double vaccinated, nothing is going to get in the way of us celebrating Christmas just as we want to in 2021, unlike 2020 when plans had to be changed at the last minute.

2000 Years Ago

2000 years ago, nothing was going to stop Gods plan either. Mary was reluctant at first, to be the mother of the Son of God … when the angel spoke to her, she said,

‘How will this be, since I am a virgin.’

As the angel continued to speak Mary responded,

‘I am the Lord’s servant, let it be to me as you have commanded.’

Nothing was going to stop God’s plan.

After Mary it was Joseph who needed a little convincing to stand alongside Mary and not break off their engagement. An angel had to appear to him in a dream and reassure him that everything Mary had said was true, the child she would bear was really going to be the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit.

And one thing is certain when a baby decides it is time to make an appearance, nothing is going to stop it, even if there was no room in Bethlehem! And so, on that first Christmas night, Jesus is born in a stable, laid in a manger and worshipped by shepherds.

God’s unstoppable plan, God with us. Immanuel

Our plans may or may not change, but we worship an unstoppable God of love, who is always with us, as we celebrate Christmas this year, let us put Jesus at the heart of all that we do.

Happy Christmas and May God bless you.

Reverend Heather

Advent Trail

The West Bergholt Village Advent Windows Trail is back for 2021! A huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered to decorate a window featuring a scene from the nativity story.

The first window will be revealed on Wednesday 8th December and then a window each day until Monday 20th December. The revealed windows will be lit between 4 pm and 7 pm each day up to & including Christmas Eve.

You can download a copy of the map & list of windows from St Mary’s website from 6th December.

8th Dec
St Mary’s Church, New Church Road
God sends the Angel Gabriel to a girl named Mary to tell her she will have a Son, Jesus.
Luke 1:26 & 31
9th Dec
The Rectory 1 Church Close
The Angel said to Mary, “People will call Him Son of the Most High.”
Luke 1:32
10th Dec
1 Lexden Road
Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to register for the census.
Luke 2:1-3
11th Dec
Miltor House, Hall Rd
Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census because that was Joseph’s hometown.
Luke 2:4-5  
12th Dec
16 The Grays, Lexden Road
While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to her son.
Luke 2:6-7
13th Dec
29  Lexden Road
Shepherds were in the fields watching their sheep.
Luke 2:8
14th Dec
4 New Church Rd
An angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds.
Luke 2:9
15th Dec
50 New Church Road
The angel told the shepherds “Don’t be afraid. Today your Saviour was born in Bethlehem.”
Luke 2:11
16th Dec
Heathlands School
Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked “where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east.
Matthew 2:1-2  
17th Dec
Durham House, Armoury Road
The star the Magi had seen in the east went ahead of them.
Matthew 2:9
18th Dec
62 Albany Road
The star stopped over the place where Jesus was. Matthew 2:9
19th Dec
63 Albany Road
When the Magi saw the star, they were overjoyed and bowed down and worshipped Jesus.
Matthew 2:10
20th Dec
7 Valley Crescent
The Magi presented Jesus with gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11
Christmas Eve Crib Service 3pm Nativity Service at St Mary’s   All welcome Christmas Eve Carol Service 6.45pm @ St Mary’s       All welcomeChristmas Morning Communion Service   9.30am @ St Mary’s   All welcome

Services & Other Dates

5th December10:00 amHoly Communion (also on Zoom)
12th December10:00 pmMessy Church Christmas
19th December11:15 amHoly Communion (also on Zoom)
2:30 pmCarol Service by candlelight at the Old Church
24th December3:00 pmFamily Nativity – Crib Service
6:45 pmCarol Service
11:30 pmMidnight Communion at All Saints’ Church, Great Horkesley*
25th December9:30 amChristmas Holy Communion (also on Zoom)
26th DecemberNo services on Boxing Day
* If you would like a lift to this service, please contact the church wardens or the office.
NB All services are planned to be in person but we would be grateful if you could please wear a face covering if possible.
All at St Mary’s unless stated otherwise

Our Team at St Mary’s

  • Priest in Charge: Revd. Heather Wilcox
    email: [email protected]
    tel: 01206 240906 or 07503 151715
  • Assistant Curate: Revd Anne Mason
    email: [email protected].
    tel: 07895 970834 (Sunday & Tuesday – Thursday).
  • Church Wardens:
    Peter & Caroline Finlay, — [email protected] or 07926 387551 and
    Kate & Stephen Penrose, — 07973 421306
  • Lay Readers:
    Richard Chadborn—01206 240541;
    Michael Foster—01206 241022;
    Joy Budden—01206 241871.
  • 3 Parish Families’ Worker:
    Jo Jeffery—07853 586683 (until 31st December).
  • Parish Evangelist
    Ron Seymour—01206 272579.
  • Church Administrator:
    Jo Rassell — 01206 243683,
    email: [email protected].
    Church Office Hours — Monday 9 am—12:30 pm, Tuesday – Friday 9 am – 1 pm.
  • Hall Bookings:
    Nicole Long—01206 240443.
  • Newsletter Editor:
    email: [email protected].
  • Website:
  • Follow us on Facebook:

Environment & Highways 11th November 2021

Highlights of Environment & Highways Meeting on 11th November 2021


The Environment & Highways Committee of West Bergholt Parish Council met on 11th November 2021 with topics including:

  • Handymen dealing with activities such as fallen branch, to reviewing drainage issues,
  • Potential work on ponds,
  • Hopkins Home offer of land,
  • Orpen Hall trees, &
  • Parking in Colchester Road.
Continue reading “Environment & Highways 11th November 2021”

From Digs to Jumbo – Local History Talks

The past & future of the Jumbo

The Balkerne Water Tower aka Jumbo

The next Local History Group meeting focuses on Colchester’s Victorian water tower, Jumbo. Andrew Crayston, a Trustee of the Colchester & North East Essex Building Preservation Trust, will lead the talk. You will hear about the past & future of the Balkerne water tower, affectionately referred to as Jumbo. There are some useful links below to find out more about Jumbo.

Where & When

The meeting will take place on November 10th in Orpen Hall starting at 7:30 pm. Members & non-members are welcome for £2 and £5 respectively (membership £10 per year). Please email the group at [email protected] if you want to attend; the group will then be able to keep you informed if there are any last minute changes to the meeting.

Roman discoveries at 2 recent digs

Continue reading “From Digs to Jumbo – Local History Talks”

Environment & Highways 14th October 2021

Highlights of Environment & Highways Meeting on 14th October 2021

Plan for the Environment to support diversity

The Environment & Highways Committee of West Bergholt Parish Council met on 14th October 2021 with topics including:

  • Handymen have been busy including cutting grass, dealing with a trip hazard in New Church Road,
  • Concern about overgrown Hall Road pond,
  • Hopkins Home building site,
  • Lorkin Daniell hedging & safety concerns, and
  • Orpen Hall tree replacement.
Continue reading “Environment & Highways 14th October 2021”

Woods Bowls Club Review of 2021

Review of 2021 Bowling Season at Woods

In Woods' review of 2021 Bowls' Big Weekend delivered

In their review of 2021, Woods Bowls Club recorded competitive success and growth in membership numbers!

Woods started playing competitive games against other clubs again in early May.  Then the focus was on their annual open day, which this year was timed to coincide with Bowls England’s ‘Bowls Big Weekend’.  The club even managed to feature on BBC Essex’s ‘The Quest’ on Sunday 23rd May by being the final destination; Barry & Liana made it in time to win their challenge!

Following this, the open day was a MASSIVE success with 50 people trying bowls out (they nearly ran out of Tea, cake and Bowls!) Around 30 people have now joined the club.

Competitive Update

Continue reading “Woods Bowls Club Review of 2021”

Baby & Toddler Group October – December 2021

October – December 2021 Schedule for Baby & Toddler Group

Baby & Toddler Group announce october - december 2021 programme

The West Bergholt Baby & Toddler group’s schedule for October – December 2021 includes a wide range of activities from handmade kids clothes to professional photography  The full list is shown below, please be aware that some events may change at short notice. 

You can follow the group’s activities on their secure Facebook or WhatsApp Groups.

The Schedule

11th OctoberNay-Nay Makes (handmade baby and children’s wear)
18th OctoberSally Parkinson Photography (offering 5 minute mini photo shoots of your child)
8th NovemberForever In Silver Fingerprint Jewellery
15th NovemberUsbourne books
22nd NovemberPickle & Boo (Pom Pom garlands and keepsakes )
29th November Tinsel, Baubles and Festive Treats (The Tom Bowdidge Foundation)
13th December 🎅🏻 Christmas Party  🎅🏻

So there will be lots of visitors this term, leading up to Christmas; hopefully they might help with some gift ideas or just give you something to browse while the children play.

Digs at Jacks & the Mercury Theatre

Adam Wightman Reporting on the Digs & Jacks & the Mercury

Following the success of their last meeting, Adam Wightman (Senior Project Manager of The Colchester Archaeological Trust), is going to update the Local History Group on these digs this Wednesday. Both digs were possible because of refurbishment works.

In the case of Jacks, just off the High Street, builders dug six shafts to create foundations to stabilise this 17th century building. This gave the Trust 6 windows on the past; find out what they found in Shaft C at Jacks.

Continue reading “Digs at Jacks & the Mercury Theatre”

Charlie Haylock Coaches Ralph Fiennes

Charlie Haylock & Ralph Fiennes

Charlie Haylock talk about his role in the Netflix film “The Dig”

Local Suffolk celebrity, Charlie Haylock returns to the Local History Group for their first talk in person since March last year. This time it is to talk about his work as the dialect coach in the production of the recently released film “The Dig”.

The film tells the story of how local amateur archaeologist Basil Brown, played by Ralph Fiennes, discovered the Anglo Saxon Royal ship burial at Sutton Hoo. Suffolk Landowner, Edith Pretty, employed Basil, an amateur archaeologist, in 1939 to satisfy her suspicions that the numerous mounds on her property had secrets to tell.

Continue reading “Charlie Haylock Coaches Ralph Fiennes”

Who Was Constable William Raven?

Find out about William Raven, Buried in Old St Mary’s Churchyard

Constable William Raven
Constable William Raven

William Raven, a resident of West Bergholt, was born in Coggeshall in 1817, joined the Essex Constabulary in 1844 and died in 1911. You can now visit his, & his wife’s, grave in (Old) St Mary’s Churchyard but what happened in between those years?

Find out when Professor James Raven, from the Universities of Cambridge & Essex, gives a talk about his ancestor. He will touch on a number of topics that bear comparison with today such as:

Continue reading “Who Was Constable William Raven?”