Churches in this Benefice follow the C of E safeguarding policy


July Letter
Dear Friends,                 
July! Exams are over for those at school and university and a few weeks of freedom and fun beckon and the chance to enjoy some proper summer sunshine.  Some of our children have broken up ready to start a new stage of life after the summer – perhaps a new class, or a bigger building with new friends, a longer journey and different things to learn and new experiences.  Growing up is full of change and if we’re lucky all our lives are full of new opportunities – not huge things but something that makes this year different from last year, a new skill to learn, new seeds to grow, new places to see. 
 Life was lived at a slower pace than 21st century for the child Jesus. Mary didn’t worry about him crashing a motor bike, donkey power was as fast as it got for ordinary folk!  She knew his friends, lads from the village - the families all knew each other and looked out for everyone else’s children, so when they went up to Jerusalem for the big religious festivals, the village went together and the boys did what boys do, played about together, going back to mum and dad only to eat and sleep. The year Jesus was 12 they went as usual for Passover and after the celebrations were finished and they started for home, the children rushed off together; Mary and Joseph further back, walking and chatting with friends. It was only at the end of that first day travelling home that they missed Jesus. Families were setting up camp, cooking an evening meal, and he just didn’t appear.  He was always hungry by the end of the day - but the smell of cooking hadn’t brought him and with a sinking feeling and growing apprehension they began to search.       2000 years later our worries for a child would be the same. Is he hurt? Taken by someone? Lost?
 Have you seen him? 
 But no one had; no one had seen him since they left the Temple mount.  A full days walking! There was nothing to do but go back to Jerusalem, searching as they went, visiting the places he liked, the pools, the camels, but he was nowhere! The last place to reach was the Temple itself.  So huge, so beautiful, so imposing, and everywhere people praying or in groups discussing points of The Law. At last they reached a group of elders, experts in Gods law, and there sitting with them was Jesus! He was asking questions, listening to the explanation, putting a point of view.   Mary and Joseph were angry with relief!  What did you think you were doing! We’ve been sick with worry!  Searching for 24 hours! He was amazed; why did you search for me?  Didn’t you know I would be here in my father’s house?  They didn’t understand, but he was safe and Mary remembered. They travelled home to Nazareth and Jesus grew in body and in wisdom, respected by all and favoured by God. [Luke 2: 41-52]             
This is the only story about Jesus as a boy in the bible and it will be the story for family fun at Messy church at Gilston on July 21st 4.30 – 6.00 pm.  As usual we’ll finish with a shared meal - outside if its fine. Children bring at least one grown up with you!   
We’re walking on 28th July at 3.15 pm, but not as far as Nazareth to Jerusalem!  When a mixed group, from great St. Mary and St. James will walk from Sawbridgeworth through Pishiobury Park  to St. James for tea followed at 5.00 pm with Celtic Evening Prayer – come and join us at any point to welcome the folk from Great St. Mary. We will arrange lifts so we only walk one way!  Everyone, church goers or not, are welcome and dogs too. Happy holidays! God Bless you and yours Rev Wendy

Forthcoming Events

Sunday 21st July - St Mary's Church, Gilston.  MESSY CHURCH - 4.30pm - 6.00pm 

Crafts, Fun & Hot Food.  All welcome.

Children 2 - 16.  Please bring an adult with you.

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Saturday 7th September and Sunday 8th September - Scarecrow Festival

Coffee Shop – The Coffee Shop is open on Tuesdays between 8.45am -10.00am in term time. Come and enjoy some fresh ground coffee and home-made scones. All welcome.