Welcome to the website for St. Michael & All Angels church and the Friends of Copford Church
Ranked in the ‘Top 100’ by Simon Jenkins in his book “England’s Thousand Best Churches”. Described by Pevsner as “the most remarkable Norman parish church in the county”
What is it that makes St. Michael & All Angels church, Copford, so special? It is interesting architecturally and has a pretty woodland setting, on the edge of our small village, beside the cricket pitch. However, the remarkable Norman wall paintings are the real attraction, described by Simon Jenkins as “amongst the best in England”. Only five minutes off the A12 just south of Colchester, they are certainly worth a detour if you are visiting East Anglia.
The church is open daily between 9.00am and the earlier of dusk or 5.30pm.
Updated information @ 2 April 2020
COVID-19 @ 22.3.20
The Church continues to be alive and active but our buildings must close.
As we gather to pray for our nation we have been aware how the Church of England in London has responded to the suspension of public worship, and for a season to finding a new way of living, worshipping and serving our communities. Sadly, London is ahead of the rest of the country in seeing a steep rise in the number of those falling sick with COVID-19. We have all heard the strong calls from the Mayor and the Prime Minister not to leave home unless it is essential, and not to use public transport unless we have to. If our attempts to distance ourselves physically from one another and prevent the spread of infection are not effective, more people will die.
In light of this, the time has come, not only for us to suspend public worship, but for us to close our church buildings entirely. In doing this we demonstrate how important physical distancing is in saving lives. Notices will be placed on the church door and here on the website explaining how people can join with the church in worship and prayer with an emergency telephone number so that contact can be made if required. We are aware that, although we make the decision in London first, it may be required across the country.
Clergy who live adjacent to their churches may still go into the building and pray and even celebrate the Eucharist. You might ring the bell to tell the faithful that prayer is happening and do live stream as much as possible; but the doors should now be left closed even for private prayers. Others should continue their pattern of prayer in their homes. Current guidance remains for baptism, weddings and funeral although this may change in coming days.
Our most profound desire is to come together with our neighbours. Christ taught us to come together as His Body to celebrate the sacraments. In all the history of Christendom in these islands, we have not before taken such a step. Partly, this is our modern understanding of how disease is communicated, which in the times of former plagues had not developed. But it is also born of the teaching of Our Lord that the two great commandments are love of God and love of neighbour. The very love of neighbour that leads us to want to come together requires us to sacrifice congregating for a season.
Even though our buildings will be closed, the Church continues to be alive and active. Please continue to commend tools for worship, bible study and devotion at home which have been put online, continue to live stream the worship you are able to within the guidance, enable people with biblical reflection, spiritual communion, and personal devotion. Where you can meet virtually for prayer and Bible study, do so. Finally, pray for us, as we do for you, in these difficult days.
The action is being replicated for London Boroughs in the Dioceses of London, Southwark, Chelmsford and Rochester and with support from the Archbishop of Canterbury
+ Sarah Bishop of London
+ Christopher Bishop of Southwark
+James Bishop of Rochester
+Stephen Bishop of Chelmsford
5 Parishes Update (part of the Thurstable and Winstree Team Ministry)
Thought for the Day
Church at home
Practical action and help
Holy Week in a strange time
We can’t do church in the way we’re used to. But we can keep the Easter feast, still be Christians and still be disciples. Here are a few resources to help you to worship, pray and be disciples at home during Holy Week.
Readings for Sunday 5 April: Palm Sunday
Matthew 21.1-11 Psalm 118.1-2,19-29
Thought for the day
All part of the plan
Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 21 verses 1-11
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’
Palm Sunday – the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey – marks the start of Holy Week -the final week of Jesus’ life. It ends with the Last Supper (his last meal with his friends, the disciples) and Good Friday (when he was crucified). One of the things to notice in the reading is that none of this happens by accident. Matthew, when he tells the story of Palm Sunday, includes some words written by the prophet Zechariah:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Zechariah imagined a new king, coming to rule Jerusalem. A new kind of king, too: one who is humble, riding on a donkey. The gospel writer Matthew remembers this and, as he describes the scene, he shows us that Jesus is that king.
Of course, as the days pass, many are surprised by the kind of king Jesus turns out to be: not just a king who claims back the temple for worship, but a king who kneels to wash his disciples’ feet and who – even though he had done nothing wrong – is treated as a criminal.
None of this happens by accident. Not in Jesus’ life and (by implication) not in the life of our world either. We are in the middle of a great rift in our normal lives, a time of such sorrow and confusion that it’s hard to trust in God. But if the story of Holy Week and Easter tells us anything, it’s that God’s purposes are always directed towards life and light. Even when they pass through dark places.
Prayers for Sunday 5 April
Loving God, today we pray for those are fearful and anxious about what lies ahead. Give them trust in your loving and wise purposes for the world.
And we pray for our neighbourhood, this country and our world:
For healthcare workers who risk their lives to care for others…
For researchers working on treatment for people with coronavirus and a vaccine against it…
For those who are ill … those who grieve … those who are anxious or lonely…
For those who have to make tough decisions in government and in business…
For our loved ones, near and far away…
We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, to the mercy and protection of God.
Collect for Palm Sunday
True and humble king, hailed by the crowd as Messiah: grant us the faith to know you and love you, that we may be found beside you on the way of the cross, which is the path of glory. Amen
Church at home
I’ve recorded a short service of Morning Prayer for this Sunday which you can view at https://youtu.be/1I5u6f2aBkk from Saturday at 6pm. Thanks for all your encouraging comments about last week’s service.
Sunday Worship on BBC One at 11.45am on 5 April comes from Hereford Cathedral, led by the Dean of Hereford, the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor.
There are also services you can be part of via livestreaming. A Church Near You shows which churches offer livestreamed services and Chelmsford Cathedral continues to livestream its services via Facebook.
Observing Holy Week on the Layer Churches website: find readings, a reflection and prayers for Holy Week on the Layer Churches website http://www.layerchurches.org.uk/holyweek.htm. There will also be video services for Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
For Such a Time as This is a new ebook of prayers by Nick Fawcett – you can download this for free from https://nickfawcett.uk/2020/03/27/free-e-book-ofcoronavirus-prayers-out-now/
We had no idea when Lent began this year that it would be so full of challenge and sadness for each of us. CMS offers an online resource, Lamentspace, where we can share our grief with God and each other. Visit https://churchmissionsociety.org/lamentspace to post a lament and to share in others’ concerns.
There are lots of resources for the whole family on the Diocese of Chelmsford website for each day of Holy Week: https://www.chelmsford.anglican.org/holyweekatho me
I’ve put together a Palm Sunday Messy Church session, with links to crafts, games, a story, a song and some family friendly prayers. If you or anyone you know would like a copy, please email Lydia – firstname.lastname@example.org
Pick up the phone. Who knew that in a time of WhatsApp and Facebook and Instagram that the really quite old technology of telephony would be so valuable? Now more than ever it offers a gift of connection with others. So this week, let’s not forget to pick up the phone and call a neighbour or an old friend, just for a chat.
If you need some help, or if you’d like to offer help in your village, here are the contacts:
Layer de la Haye – contact Anne Hughes 734168 or Maggie Holmes 738868
Birch, Layer Breton and Layer Marney – contact Elaine Bowtle on 01206 330388 for extra support or offers of help. There’s also a Layer Marney WhatsApp group for helpers – contact Karen on 07917 850860 to join.
Easthorpe – contact Julie Worrsam 01206 213709 or 07887 690062 and Copford – contact Heather Garnham on 01206 211494 or 07749 868602 call 07939 597176 or email email@example.com
And if you’d like a chat over the phone (or know someone who’d appreciate a call) with Lydia, the Vicar, please call 01206 738759.
Church of England
You can read the guidance, along with the letter from the Archbishops, here:
We are committed to Safeguarding children and young people and vulnerable adults.
The PCC has adopted the Church of England’s policies and best practice on safeguarding which may be found on the Church of England’s website: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/safeguarding
Details of our Parish Safeguarding Representative are: Susan Collins 01206 211 294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mothers’ Union is a Christian organisation for all who have been baptised – men are welcome too! – and seeks to encourage and support families, marriage and a fair and just society for all. There are more than 3.6 million members living in over 78 countries in the world.
For further information contact Barbara Moore on tel. 01206 210079 or email email@example.com