2022 Dawn Chorus Walk – Where’s the Song Thrush

Steve Hallam reports on the 2022 Dawn Chorus walk.

The 2022 Dawn Chorus walk at Hillhouse Wood took place in the midst of a run of warm sunny days, with cool nights. Except for the morning that we chose, which was cloudy and dull but mild. Nevertheless, the publicity team had done an excellent job, resulting in a very pleasing 30 people turning up. I was particularly pleased to find that Jonathan Jukes, the Woodland Trust Regional Manager responsible for the wood, had dragged himself out of bed at such an uncivilised hour, to join us. With the cloud cover, the night was still fully dark, and thus the birds were relatively slow to get going.

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2022 Spring Flower Walk – but no pea shooters

Some of the spring flowers seen on the 2022 spring flower walk

Steve Hallam reports on the 2022 Spring Flower Walk.

This took place on a day of sunny intervals and a strong breeze; 12 people came along and off we went. Except that we did not go too far, to start with, as the first few yards of the track hold a variety of flowers to be discussed.

  • Daisies,
  • Dandelions,
  • Red campion,
  • Cow parsley,
  • Ground ivy,
  • Yellow archangel (domestic variety),
  • Garlic mustard,
  • Greater stitchwort and
  • Buttercup

… may not set everyone’s pulse racing – but they all contribute to a rich flora and they each have a story to tell. In the hands of a knowledgeable and articulate expert guide, these can weave a fascinating spell.

Unfortunately for the group, however, they had me – you get what you pay for!

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St Mary’s Jubilee Songs Edition

Christian Aid
Join us this Christian Aid Week, and help turn hunger into hope.

This edition of St Mary’s News starts with Christian Aid Coffee Morning, announces Jubilee Songs of Praise at the Old Church, updates on Church Heating and Hall and other events and the usual listings of services and contacts.

Christian Aid Coffee Morning and Plant Sale

Coffee & cake

Please pop along to the Rectory on Monday 16th May, between 10 am – 12 pm, at 1 Church Close, West Bergholt for tea/coffee and cake and lots of fun and fellowship whilst raising money for Christian Aid. This is an event for all the six parishes and all are very welcome!

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Annual Parish Meeting – 27th April 2022

Will you be attending on 27th April 2022?

Taking place on 27th April 2022, the Annual Parish Meeting is not a Parish Council Meeting, but a meeting for electors of the parish.

It is an opportunity to discuss parish affairs and say what matters to you. Members of the public and press are welcome to attend.

The meeting will commence at 7:30 pm, on Wednesday 27th April 2022, in the Orpen Memorial Hall. Light refreshments will be provided. The Agenda for this year’s meeting, which will be chaired by Councillor Chris Stevenson, Chairman of the Parish Council, is:

  1. Welcome and Introduction from the Chairman
    Parish Council Annual Report 2022 & unaudited Trust Accounts 2021-22 (10 mins)
  2. Heathlands School (Joseph Fielder)
    New Headteacher of Heathlands Primary School (10 mins)
  3. Age Well (Emma Barrow)
    Services & contacts available from Age Well (previously Age Concern) (10 mins)
  4. Jane Gardner
    Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (15 mins)
  5. Parish Council Grant Awards
    Friends of St Mary’s Old Church
  6. Active Essex
    Find Your Active presentation (5 mins)
  7. Tim Simpson (Essex County Council)
    Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Drainage Manager (15 mins)
  8. Robert Strathern
    Innovative farming methods at Fairfield Crisps (10 mins)
  9. Issues from the Floor – Have your say

It would be helpful if you could notify the Clerk in advance if you have any matters to raise during the Issues from the Floor item. Email to [email protected].

Not registered? Deadline is Thursday 14th April

Register to Vote by Thursday 14th April

Your Vote Matters - Don't Lose it - Register to Vote by Thursday 14th April

Local council elections give you the opportunity to have your say on local issues that matter to you. Don’t miss the opportunity!

To vote, you must be registered by 14th April! Go to gov.uk/register-to-vote today – it only takes 5 minutes.

Who Can You Vote For?

The following candidates have been nominated to stand for the Lexden & Braiswick Ward of Colchester Borough Council:

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St Mary’s All You Need is Love Edition

Love is God's light in the darkness

This edition of St Mary’s News starts with a message saying “All You Need is Love” and then addresses Easter Services and the usual listings of services and contacts.

All You Need is Love – an Easter Message from Revd Anne

We moved house last year, to Great Horkesley, into a house that is smaller.  This, of course, meant some sorting out, and giving or throwing things away.  We all accumulate ‘stuff’ – things that might come in handy one day, or perhaps have a sentimental attachment.  And now, a year later, we can’t even remember the things that we thought were important and that we were so reluctant to get rid of!

From Pandemic to Ukraine

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Environment & Highways 17th March 2022

Highlights of Environment & Highways Meeting on 17th March 2022

Environment - wild flower

The Environment & Highways Committee of West Bergholt Parish Council met on 17th March 2022 with topics including:

  • Handymen activities,
  • Spraying reed mace in ponds,
  • Weeds on Colchester Road footpath,
  • Trees including Orpen Hall, Heathlands School & sponsorships,
  • Zip wire installation & adjustment to football pitch, &
  • Queen’s Jubilee preparations.
Continue reading “Environment & Highways 17th March 2022”

St Mary’s Stormy Edition

Jesus asleep during storm alarms disciples

This edition starts with thoughts on recent storm damage and then addresses Lent matters and the usual listings of services and contacts.

Storm Damage

Dudley, Eunice and then Franklin. In the space of just a few days, storms wreaked havoc in the UK. Power lines were cut, properties damaged, trees fell down, some were injured and tragically a few lost their lives.

On the Sunday after Storm Eunice, and as Storm Franklin gained momentum again, across the six parishes we worshipped in churches which had lost window panes and trees, all whilst hearing the reading from the bible of Jesus calming the storm from Luke’s gospel.

As the storm builds, Jesus is asleep in the boat, the disciples become frantic and eventually wake Jesus up saying ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown.’ In Marks gospel, it says the disciples said ‘don’t you care if we drown?’

Jesus Cares

Of course Jesus cares, he cares deeply for all of his children, and he gets up rebukes the wind and the raging waters and the storm subsides.

But that doesn’t mean that storms still don’t occur, whether that is the aforementioned physical storms, or the emotional or mental storms that might assail us throughout our lives.

And sometimes, we like the disciples may feel in a place where we want to call out and say ‘Jesus, don’t you care that we are drowning?’ and the answer for us is that of course he cares, he is indeed, as he was for the disciples, in the same boat with them and us. He is always with us. He can’t protect us from every storm, but he is with us through them all.

Lent Journey

This month we begin our journey through Lent, as we travel with Jesus to the cross. A stark reminder that Jesus himself had to suffer both spiritual and physical storms in his life. We see his pain and torment in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he cried out, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.’

Jesus travelled through his own storms, and is with us through ours too. May we trust in him and may God bless you.
Reverend Heather

Lent Carbon Fast, Groups & Prayer

There are three Lent-specific activities taking place during Lent, a Carbon Fast, Lent Groups and Prayers.

Lent Carbon Fast Challenge

In the Bible, caring for Creation is God’s first instruction to humans. During Lent, an organisation called Climate Stewards is encouraging us to take up the challenge to find new ways to reduce our impact on the natural world and our global neighbours.

You can sign up through the link below to receive  weekly emails suggesting easy, medium and harder challenges to try related to the seven weekly themes of:

  • 1—fast from social media or tv.
  • 2—Fast from unawareness—expand your knowledge.
  • 3—Fast from silence—speak up.
  • 4—Fast from electricity—live more simply.
  • 5—Fast from driving.
  • 6—Fast from meat and dairy.
  • 7—Fast from food waste.

Lent Groups

Rev Heather Wilcox has written a Bible Study Course which be focusing on our Sunday readings for Lent. Our regular Bible Study Groups will meet weekly, from 8th March to 5th April, to study this material and you are very welcome to join the following groups:

  • Tuesday afternoons @ 2pm at Sue Day’s house. (please contact [email protected] for details)
  • Tuesday evenings on zoom @ 7.45pm: Meeting ID: 852 5818 3545, passcode: 814244 (please contact:        [email protected] for more details).

Lent Prayer Activities in Church

Throughout Lent (from Saturday 4th March until Easter) there will be prayer space activities in the Church, changing weekly, to reflect the set Gospel reading for the week. All are welcome to come in and have a look at the prayer spaces and try out some of the simple activities, such as writing in a sand pit something we are sorry for and then wiping the words away to remind us of God’s forgiveness.

One of the prayer spaces will include an opportunity to light a candle and say a prayer for the people of Ukraine.

 The church will be open from 9am to 3.30pm each week day and children accompanied by parents are very welcome.

Services & Other Dates

6th March10:00 amHoly Communion (also on Zoom)
13th March10:00 amMessy Church
20th March11:15 amHoly Communion (also on Zoom)
27th March10:00 amMothering Sunday – Praise on 4 Service (also on Zoom) with refreshments served from 9.45am
3rd April9:30 amHoly Communion (also on Zoom)
10th April9:30 amMessy Church
For those services which are also being zoomed, please contact the church office on 01206 243683 or [email protected] for the zoom link.

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.
  • 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: Stmaryswestbergholt.co.uk
  • Follow us on Facebook:

Free Meals & Transport

Age Concern Launch Free Lunch Initiative

Free Lunch of Fish & Chips and Companions

If you aren’t interested in Free Lunch, then skip on down to the COVID19 Transport article.

Age Concern are currently running a free Lunch Club to engage those in later years who may be lonely. Also to help encourage a resumption of socialising as we leave COVID19 restrictions. Six free lunches are available per person at either of the venues below:

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