Vicar: Rev’d Caroline Beckett - 01206 30 87 26 -

December 2018 News

The Good News is that Jesus is risen from the dead!

Christmas Bazaar 24th Nov

A good attendance and a good £1300 result for church funds.

Damage to All Saints’ Lychgate 

Late night Tuesday 20th November a car went out of control approaching the bend at All Saints and crashed through the lychgate damaging the gates and either flattening or damaging some 6 headstones in the churchyard beyond. The driver left the scene of the accident but is understood to have since been arrested. Rev’d Caroline has called for prayer for the driver, for those distressed by the incident and for wisdom in dealing with the aftermath.

Caroline’s Installation on 6 11 18: a memorable occasion for our church family, for Caroline’s family and the town.


Our new Vicar, Rev’d Caroline Beckett, B.A. (Hons).

Caroline was installed as Vicar on 6th November before a big congregation of over 250, with Bishop Roger of Colchester, Archdeacon Annette, all of the local church leaders and many other ordained ministers beside. Members representing the various organisations of the town welcomed her, her husband Michael and their children Danielle and Tom. Many of her wider family were present. There were many people from Alresford where she grew up, from St Margaret’s Berechurch Colchester her previous parish, and those who knew her from her days of training on the ministry course and at theological college.  The familiar reading from Philippians 2:5-11 reminded us that, despite all this panoply, Jesus is exalted to the highest place because he was humble and obedient to God the Father, obedient even to death on the cross, a humility which the Bishop took as his theme for his sermon. Caroline is noted for her love of and commitment to God and the poor, and an ability to deliver rivetting sermons off the cuff without any notes – something she proved in her first sermon the next day at mid-week communion. We hope her stay with us will be a long one and bring many into the kingdom of Jesus. Do please pray for her, for Michael and the children.

The Native  From now on you can once again read The Native! Click here:  Native December 2018

If you wish to hire St James please contact Administrator Sue Wills at the Parish Office (in St James) on 01206 30 23 78 or email  her at The rate of hire is £15.00 per hour

Gospel rocks local church…London Community Gospel Choir

The night of 13 October 2018 is one that will live in many memories for months, if not years, to come. The planning started way back in May; the excitement built steadily; and finally, on that memorable Saturday, the London Community Gospel Choir came to St James’.

As the day began, it looked like any other Saturday as the church hosted its busy coffee morning. However, behind the scenes volunteers were beginning to turn the building into a concert hall for the night. To the clink of mugs and the hum of conversation, the chancel was transformed into a performance platform with backdrops and stage lights carefully positioned to draw all eyes to the high altar’s cross and our beautiful Christos. We’d sold 300 tickets and their holders would all need a seat, so the balcony pews were cleared and cleaned whilst 164 chairs were squeezed in downstairs. Anything that could be moved (tables, book-cases, pianos, pulpits!) was moved to clear the view of the chancel and maximise the space.

Refreshments would be needed for the expected audience: a tea and coffee station, with biscuits galore; a bar offering beers, wines and soft drinks. Let’s not forget the choir, their band and their technical crew. They all needed a meal, a supply of drinks and lots of cake. (The singers especially relished the sugar boost after nearly two hours of high-energy performing.) Many volunteers put their shoulders to the collective wheel to ensure the night went without a hitch.

The doors opened at 7.00pm and the audience poured in. Within half an hour everyone was seated, the lights dimmed, and we welcomed the Rev Bazil Meade and his band onto the platform. The concert was opened by our very own ‘Gospel Singers’. Coming from various groups around the area, the 65 men and women had had their first experience of gospel singing at the July workshop. Their director, Alison Benz, and Rev Bazil gave an impromptu, and witty, demonstration of the conductor’s art as, with humour and skill, they drew a great performance from the ‘amateurs’! The audience loved it!

And then the nine LCGC professionals entered from the vestry. From then until 9.30pm, the building rocked! From almost head-banging choruses to delicate a capella harmonies, we were treated to the full range of gospel music at its best. These gifted musicians don’t just have a faith, they sing their faith and their energy was infectious. We were not a passive audience! Their warmth and enthusiasm swept out from the platform and embraced us all so we laughed, clapped, danced and even sang with them.

Before the final song, Rev Bazil summed up what many of us felt: that one (very large) family had gathered to share an amazing evening. He spoke of our common hope for the world’s future and our belief in the ultimate goodness of creation. “I feel part of this loving community tonight. Love is what brings us and binds us together.”

And as the audience went out buzzing into the warm evening, the volunteers turned to once more and restored our ‘concert hall’ to a space where 8.00am Eucharist could take place…

I sincerely thank all the volunteers who worked so tirelessly on the day. I especially thank the committee who prayed, planned, toiled and lost sleep in the weeks leading up to the event. And we all wish to thank Nigel Taylor, whose expertise was drawn on at every stage and who lit up the evening in his own special way.

Judith Gibbons

The ‘Holy Mowers’ meet at All Saints on Thursday mornings 10.00-12.30 with a half-hour break for coffee. Come as often and for as long as you want. The churchyard looks as it has never looked before! Contact Sheila Crowe  on 30 65 74.


Beacon of Hope

For the newsletter for August 2018 click here:-

Beacon update August 2018