All Saints with St James’ Church, Brightlingsea
‘God is love’: (1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:16). God loves us not because of who we are but because of who God is.
From the Vicar
With our APCM approaching, a real milestone in the Church year, my thoughts are turning to a few months ago, when I first arrived in this parish. Within two weeks, the Lych Gate crash occurred and the community balanced on the knife edge between restoration and retribution. Praise God, the majority focused their energies on restoration and repairs are now well underway, being done by a local firm, so our Lych Gate is in experienced hands.
Last week, I had the privilege of a behind-the-scenes peek at the restoration in progress: a lot of stripping back and blending of new and old, the damaged pieces smoothed and new pieces created in exact imitation of the old. Time-consuming restoration work but undertaken because the gate matters.
We only restore the things that matter: other things we simply replace. Restoration requires really knowing the original and having the skill to re-create and mend. It takes time and things often look worse before they look better.
Restoration is far, far harder work than replacement a lot of the time. But the end result is worth it.
When we crash our lives against God’s purposes and make mess and destruction of what was meant to be beautiful, God also chooses restoration. Not because justice doesn’t matter but because mercy does; also, because we matter. We matter enough to the Creator of the Universe that he chooses to restore us rather than simply scrap and replace us. Our Maker is also our Restorer.
I imagine the restoration process is not always comfortable for a piece of wood; all that rough sanding and chopping and shaping. If our Lych Gate could complain, perhaps its lament might run something like this: “Isn’t it bad enough that I am bashed and damaged, must you take me to bits and strip my paint off too?” But the end result is complete restoration: as it was but better, newer, stronger.
As Easter approaches, I think of another craftsman – Jesus the carpenter – carrying a different bit of heavy timber – his cross. The cost of our restoration was his suffering: his beating and stripping down, his dying. It’s still a holy mystery no matter how much we study it. How anyone could love us that much. But each time I say at a funeral, ‘death, our last enemy is defeated’ and ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God,’ I mean it and give thanks for it with all my heart; For my own restoration – both here and now and to be perfected in eternity – and for the same gift extended by God to everyone else too. We are priceless to him.
Perhaps we should start treating each other that way, as priceless and undergoing restoration – works in progress – and be a little kinder because we are all unfinished. It’s only human beings who make things disposable: God makes things eternal and he is making us his long-term project.
I wish you all a blessed and joyful Easter.
Every blessing, Caroline
Vicar: Rev’d Caroline Beckett B.A. (Hons), The Vicarage, Richard Avenue Brightlingsea CO7 0LP Tel 01206 30 87 26 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline’s day off: Friday. Please respect this: Caroline needs time to re-charge too!
Enquiries may be directed to the church office either on 01206 30 23 78 or email@example.com There is an out-of-hours answering service: telephone and email messages are collected and answered regularly. The Church Office is open on Mondays 10-12pm. Letters can be posted through to the office when St James is open 8am-2pm each weekday.
Alternatively please contact one of the churchwardens:-
Carole Warren 01206 825 027 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Goodenough 01206 30 37 49 email@example.com
PCC Secretary/PCC Treasurer: c/o Church Office, Victoria Place, Brightlingsea CO7 0AB
Parish website: allsaintswithstjamesb-sea.co.uk
Services (For details click here)
1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month: 8.00 communion and 10.00 Parish Eucharist at St James
3rd Sunday of each month: 8.00 communion and 10.00 Parish Eucharist at All Saints and 10.00 Sparklers at St James.
5th Sunday: 8.00 communion and 10.00 All-age worship at St James.
Tuesday: 9.00 a.m. informal prayer at St James
Wednesday: 10.00 said communion at St James
Thursday: 8.15 informal prayer at St James
Friday: 10.30 Prayers for the sick at St James.
Events (For details click here)
Baptisms Weddings and Funerals Click here
For News and Information click here
For all contact details click here
Our Mother Church, All Saints’, although no longer the central place of worship, is an integral and essential part of our life together. We seek to enhance its role within the affections of the community and to worship there regularly. The Sunday services (8.00 communion and 10.00 Parish Eucharist) are held at All Saints every third Sunday in the month. At the same time there is a ‘Sparklers’ Sunday School for 4-12 year-olds on the 3rd Sunday of each month at St James at 10.00.
Safeguarding: We are committed to safeguarding children, young people, victims/perpetrators of domestic abuse and vulnerable adults. The PCC has adopted ‘Promoting a Safer Church; safeguarding policy statement’ which can be seen if you click here:
This is issued by the Bishops of the Church of England which sets out policies and best practice on safeguarding, and which may be found on the Church of England website:-
Our Parish Safeguarding Officer is Catherine Graham who may be contacted via the church email address:
Or you can contact the Chelmsford Diocese Safeguarding Team:Tel: 0345 603 7627 (Children & Families Hub)
Tel: 0345 606 1212 (Urgent and 24-hour contact)
Alternatively you may contact either of our churchwardens whose names and contact details are given above.
If you need to report abuse to someone in authority or to talk about an incident of abuse the following telephone numbers may be helpful:
Childline: 0800 1111
National Domestic Violence Freephone : For women: 0808 2000 247 For men: 0808 801 0327
Essex County Council Social Services: 0345 603 7630 (vulnerable adults) and 0345 693 7627 (children)