Gosfield, Greenstead Green, Halstead, Earls Colne, Colne Engaine and White Colne parish churches in the Halstead Area Team Ministry
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Recent Events from the Parishes

Scroll down for to see all that we've been up to in the parishes...
New Recruits for Mothers Union

Mothers Union Recruits Young Mums in Earls Colne

Five new recruits joined the Mothers Union on Sunday 8th February at the Family Service in Earls Colne. Supported by a small army of members of Mothers Union who had come to church to witness the event, Amy Marshall, Caroline Stinson, Rachael Jennings, Helen Sherman and Rayner McKenzie were enrolled by Revd Viv Brooks assisted by Neville Bird.
Proud of their Mother's, many of the children enjoyed wearing the Mothers Union pin brooch throughout the rest of the service!

Rock in Earls Colne Church

Earls Colne Church was rocking on the afternoon of Sunday 7th December to the sound of 'After the Fire', rock band who had hits in the UK, USA and Europe in the 80's and toured with Queen, ELO and Van Halen.

Over 120 people from all over Essex came to the concert which had been promoted through the band's website and local Halstead press. Proceeds from were for the St Andrew's Loo Fund and £500 was raised through ticket sales and proceeds from the Fair Trade refreshments raised £150 for church funds.

'Brilliant' said many people who attended. 'We didnt know any of the music but they got us up and dancing and clapping and singing along - fantastic musicianship by the band members, and great fun!' said Kevin Nolan from White Colne.

After the Fire at St Andrews Earls Colne
Crowds watch the teddies parachuting

Safe Landing for Glowie!

The crowd was gripped by the drama that unfolded at St Andrew’s Church, Earls Colne on Sunday morning, as teddybear, Glowie got stuck against the masonry of the tower during her descent as part of the Teddy Bear Parachute challenge, organised by Earls Colne Scouts.

Glowie was just one of over 60 brave bears who took part in the challenge.
Skilled Scout instructors managed to unhook Glowie and all was well, much to the delight of Niamh Masterson, pictured. It was a tense moment, with instructions being shouted from many on the ground and a roar of delight went up with Glowie was finally able to complete her descent. Niamh Masterson with Glowie
Matthew Burwood, Cameron Steels and Sam Bowles with brave bears

Well done to the Scout team, particularly the stretcher bearers, James Bowles and Robert Osborne for their relentless hard work of catching the teddies and taking them to the first aid tent where the teddies recovered!

The Teddy Bear Parachuting event was the idea of the Scouts who organised the whole event which included making the parachutes and providing the recovery team. The parachuting took place after Family Worship at the church which was filled with children and teddies of all ages. Proceeds from the £1 a jump challenge amounted to £82 in aid of Biblelands charity and the Earls Colne Church Loo Fund.

Teddy parachuting
Bustling with activity on the Church Stand
Four Colnes Show at Earls Colne Recreation Ground 16th August

No sooner was it said, it was done! The organisation of Saturday's stall at the 4 Colnes Horticultural Show at Earls Colne Recreation Ground was all thanks to Rachael's organisational skills and a troup of people who rallied round to make it happen! Thanks to all.

The stall was intended to pre-publicise the 'Come and See' activities but ended up being a too good to miss fund raising opportunity for the Loo Fund! Having chosen the two biggest attractions at fairs, books and cakes, the St Andrew's stand was the busiest all afternoon and we took approx £190. Thanks to all those who donated cakes, books and videos and organic vegetables.

'The Lion Club 2008' St Andrew's Halstead Summer Club

Six teams: Mufasa, Nala, Simba, Timon, Pumbaa and Zazu came together for the three days of St Andrew's Summer club 29th - 31st July 2008 to celebrate the lessons of life, the need for rules, the value of friends and the gift of forgiveness through the story of the Lion King in the presence of God.

This year the three teachers, Geoff, Emma and James were supported by 11 Team Leaders and over 20 adults to help and assist 54 children.

Celebrating Life in Art Primary School Exhibition in St Andrew's Halstead

Art to inspire! Fabulous collections from each of the primary schools in Halstead was on display at St Andrew's School, Halstead as part of the Celebration of Life in Art on June 29th 2008. Congratulations and thanks to all the artists who showed such individuality and imagination .
Mission Planning Come and See

A Mission Prayer
Father help us
To know ourselves better
To know each other better
To know you better
To grow together as a family

On Saturday 10th May a group of us met at Colne Engaine School to flesh out the plans for the Mission (very appropriate being Pentecost Saturday!) The first planning session was back in January at Westcott House, Cambridge and since then the clergy and PCC's have been thinking and praying hard about the Mission week 21-28 September 08.

'Come and See' Mission 21-28 Sept
TOAST on Tour!
TOAST on Tour at Colne Engaine School

November 24th saw TOAST venture out from Halstead, on tour of the villages! This time it was at Colne Engaine Primary School where we filled the school hall with activity. As usual there was something for everyone, from colouring to tea, coffee and a chat whilst munching scrumptious flapjacks and cakes!

When the action started there was singing, dancing and banner waving with the TOAST band in full flow. The theme of TOAST this morning was the story of Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman (John 4). 'Talkie time' was narrated by James Ridge and acted out by the puppets who brought the story alive. John Blore then drew our attention to parts of the story for us to think about, particularly the woman's surprise that Jesus knew of her situation and the significance of Jesus' promise of 'living water'. This lead to the prayer theme where we wrote names of places or people in our prayers on paper buckets and floated them in the well of water.

Image of Faith That Shows publication
A Faith That Shows - the Team Day on 30th September 2007

Earls Colne Church and the Primary School hall were buzzing with activity at the Team Day on Sunday 30th September.

We welcomed Michael Beasley who preached at the Team 10.00am Service. Michael and his team will be helping the parishes with the 2008 Mission so it was a great opportunity to hear him and then to meet him at some of the activities throughout the day.

Download the publication pictured here so you can read more about it. to read more about the day.

Spot the Difference

The Vicar of Gosfield, Rev. Geoff Bayliss, came to our September meeting and showed us his slide presentation of the “Spot the Difference” theme of the Mini-Mission.

He encouraged us to think deeply about the five themes and how we can show ourselves to be Christians. Two of the themes state that we should proclaim the Good News and respond to human needs by loving service.

Geoff’s enthusiasm is infectious and we all agreed that he had given us a very special afternoon. We had chosen a new hymn to sing, with Geoff’s guitar accompaniment, which proved very topical. The first verse is:

We shall go out with hope of resurrection;
We shall go out, from strength to strength go on.
We shall go out and tell our stories boldly, tales of a love that will not let us go.
We’ll sing our songs of wrongs that can be righted, We’ll dream our dreams of hurts that can be healed.
We’ll weave a cloth of all the world united Within the vision of a Christ who sets us free.
Launch of the Earls Colne 'Facilities' Appeal

Saturday 11th August was a blazing hot sunny day and where better to launch the appeal for loo and kitchen facilities at Earls Colne Church than the Four Colnes Horticultural Show at the Recreation Ground in the heart of the village.

We launched the appeal with a balloon race.
For details see the Balloon Blog

Rev'd Clifford Norris and Anne Norris launching the Balloons!
Team BBQ
Halstead Area Team BBQ

What a good idea that was! The weather was lovely and the Vicarage garden at Halstead was a superb setting for a lovely afternoon and lots of fun.

These type of events are great for meeting people from the other parishes and contribute to the feeling of the wider family.

Especially when you add some competitive spirit!
Path to an Open Garden
Earls Colne Open Gardens

With a little help from the sun we had our most successful open Gardens yet this year. With over 200 people visiting the 26 gardens open on 17th June we raised £722 for St. Andrews 'kitchen and loo' fund. This sum is double what we took last year!

We also raised a total of £260 for other charities with tea and cakes around the village. The other charities that benefited were:
Essex Air Ambulance
Breast Cancer Research UK
Local cats charity
Letchworth Multiple Schlerosis Rehab Centre

Listening to comments on the day it seems that Earls Colne Open Gardens is getting quite a reputation with people visiting from as far as Leigh-on-sea, Southend and Raleigh.

Building on the success of this annual event, plans are being drawn up for 2008 and beyond. Anyone interested to know more should contact Kirsten Thomas on 01787 224913 Primula Vialii
Young and old, there was something to appeal to everyone! Here we were exploring various scents from plants and this young boy enjoyed the Rosemary. Boy enjoying the smell of the Rosemary
Funky Food Cafe

A thriving new cafe opened it's doors in Halstead on Saturday 12th May. The Funky Food Cafe, manned by members of the Crush (our worship group for young people) with able assistance and direction from members of the Clergy Team.

The purpose of the Cafe was to raise money for families in Africa and specifically for the Send A Cow charity.

Trade was brisk and kept all of the waiting staff working at a pace! Coffees, teas, cakes, pancakes and a menu packed with inviting foods for lunch kept each table fully occupied in St Andrews Church Hall between 10am til 1pm.

Great fun was had by all and the group were very pleased with the outcome as approx. £400 was raised for the charity. A very good morning's work and we look forward to the Funky Food Cafe's next date.

"At times it felt like a party!" Lots of Visitors in one garden
Jonah banner
Having a Whale of a Time!

Sunday 29th October saw immense activity in the St Andrews Church Complex in Halstead as this was the Halstead Area Team Day and the topic was the Book of Jonah.

Jonah is one of the shortest books in the bible and contains such imagery that everyone knows something about it - even if it's just 'something about a Whale'. This day explored the whole book, the whole story and what it means to us in our lives today.

Activities included Banner making, Cooking with Jonah, Bringing the text of Jonah to life, Prayers and Poetry, Prayer Labyrinth, Art and Jonah Music and images, Reporters Club and meditation on Jonah.

The Ninevah Times was the product of the Reporters Club and can be downloaded here. The second page of the NT is full of pictures from the day so be patient when downloading it!

All Things Bright and Beautiful at Earls Colne

Earls Colne church was full of flowers July 1-3rd 2006 with gorgeous displays from talented local flower arrangers. The theme for the Festival was 'All things Bright and Beautiful and the flowers were supplemented by superb banners created by the Primary School depicting images from the popular hymn.

Also at the festival was an exhibition of work by local artists which attracted a lot of attention. The Church was bustling with people all weekend, with tours up the tower and teas being served.

Look at the Piccs (this is quite a large file so be patient!)

Earls Colne Flower Festival