the month december 2015

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In this issue: Bishops Christmas message, Diocesan appeal to assist Syrian refugees settle in the UK passes £81,00 mark and Helen breaks new ground as the diocese's pioneering interim minister.


  • December 2015

    -- Wishing all our readers and advertisers a happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year

    Diocesan appeal to assist Syrian refugeessettle in the UKpasses 81,000 markPage 2

    Helen breaks new ground as the diocese's pioneering interim ministerPages 6-7

    N E E D T O K N O W I S T O R I E S I A R E A U P D AT E S I E V E N T S N E A R Y O U

    Knockknock!Who's there?

    Find out why the bishops opened the door by turning to Page 5

    B i s h o p s C h r i s t m a sM e s s a g e

    By Rt Revd

    Stephen Cottrell,

    Bishop of


    LAST year I wrote a little book called Walking

    Backwards to

    Christmas. I had

    needed some persuasion to write the book.

    After all, isnt this the one bible story that everyone knows? What else is there to say about it?

    But when I came upon the idea of telling the story backwards, not only did this provide a new angle, I also discovered that it gave the story a new ending.

    A story usually ends with the consequences of peoples decisions and actions.

    The backwards Christmas story made the ending the decision itself and the motivation behind it.

    It was about why people did the things they did, and not just what happened afterwards.

    This, for me at any rate, shed light on all sorts of interesting bits of the Christmas story and put them centre stage: Josephs incredible decision to stick with Mary even though he only had the evidence of a dream that what she was saying was CONTINUED ON PAGE 9

    Bring the kids to light a candlefor Christs birthday

    Christmas startswith


  • THE month Volunteers trek 2,500 miles to deliver emergency supplies

    2 THE MONTH December 2015

    Epping team drive to Serbian borderBy REVD JONATHAN MACNEANEY

    A VAN packed with supplies was driven from Epping to refugee crisis points on the Croatian/Serbian border.

    Eszter Schmaler, Callum Brown and I undertook the 2,500 mile round trip between October 5th and 8th, carrying donations which had been collected by the local group Epping Supporters of the Women and Children of Calais.

    The group began life with a specific focus on Calais, and continues it work there, but its focus widened as the full scale of the crisis unfolded.

    Half of the supplies were dropped off in Bapska, with

    volunteers at the border crossing point and the other half with the Red Cross at the refugee camp in Opatovac.

    The volunteers in Bapska are working to keep up with a complex and rapidly changing situation.

    They have very little time to offer refugees essential clothing, food and sanitation before they are taken by bus to processing camps.

    They were very selective as they only wanted items they knew were going to get used.

    The refugees whilst looking exhausted also expressed relief at having reached relative safety.

    The camp in Opatovac holds up to 6000 refugees at any time and they are normally there for

    between three hours and one day before moving on.

    Approximately 60 per cent of the refugees are men, many of whom have left their families at home to undertake perilous journeys in the hope of finding a way to eventually rescue their entire families from the sufferings they are facing.

    The remaining 40 perr cent are women and children including some children under the age of 16 who are making the journey alone.

    The camp is organised by the military and no civilian personnel, including aid workers, are allowed inside.

    Supplies are passed through the fence or given to refugees as they queue to enter the camp.

    Special thanks to:l All those who donated supplies.l Jon at Loughton self-hire for providing a van and waiving the hire cost.l Those who supported the trip financially through the Just Giving page.l Chelmsford Diocese and Epping District Team Ministry.l Epping Supporters of the Women and Children of Calais for publicity and organisation.l Information about continued projects is available on the Epping Supporters of the Women and Children of Calais Facebook page at

    ON THE BORDER: Jonathan and Eszter unloading boxes at Bapska,left, and Refugees waiting for onward transport at Bapska.



    Please contact: Glenda Charitos, Cornerstone Vision, 28 Old Park Road, Peverell,Plymouth, Devon PL3 4PY.Tel: 01752 225623. Fax: 01752 673441. e-mail:

    For distribution contact: internalcomms@chelmsford.anglican.orgTel: 01245 294443.Your newspaper will normally be available from the third Sunday in the month. Any further changes will be advised to distributors.

    Editor: Jon LongmanEditorial and photographs for The Month should be sent to:themonth@chelmsford.anglican.orgor Jon Longman, The Month, 1 Bouchiers Place, Messing, Colchester CO5 9TY. Tel: 01621 810530. Mobile: 07860 769906l Digital photographs for publication: Please take pictures at largest size,

    resolution and compression. Hi-res JPGs or Tiffs should be re-sized to min 7x5in at 300dpi with no layers or sharpening. Captions, your name and contact details should be embedded in the 'File Info' section if possible. If e-mailing many shots, send only 72dpi initially at max size of 8x6in. When submitting photos please confirm that written consent has been obtained from parents / guardians of children under age 16 for publication of photos publicising church activities in The Month.l The inclusion of an advertisement should not be taken as implying endorsement of the objects of the advertiser by the diocese.

    The Month, incorporating NB and East Window, is the free circulation newspaper of Church of England in Essex and East London (Diocese of Chelmsford). www.chelmsford. Find Chelmsford Diocese on Twitter @chelmsdiol Find Bishop Stephen on Twitter @cottrellstephenl Subscribe to our YouTube channel Like us on Facebook: www. Like our Ask an Archdeacon Facebook askanarchdeaconl View our photostream on Flickr

    Faculty changesNEW national rules for simplifying the jurisdiction of Faculties (church planning permissions) will come into force on January 1, 2016.

    A new A List of works can be carried out on churches without a Faculty.

    Works on a new B List of works can be carried out once the written permission of the relevant Archdeacon has been obtained. All other works will require a Faculty.

    Parishes will be notified of a new procedure by which their proposed works can go ahead or a Faculty application will be required.l For more information, visit the Diocesan Advisory Committee web page at or contact Sandra Turner, the DAC Secretary, at, 01245 294413 or 01245 294423.

    THINKING about setting up a youth group, refurbishing your building, or simply want to make the church a bit warmer for visitors? Not sure if you have the funds to make it happen?

    Parish Buying can help you save money on some of the key areas of spend in your church, so that you can use that generously donated money on the really important stuff.

    It might not be 1000 (or it might be even more!) but they can help you reduce your costs on energy, photocopying, insurance, furniture, office supplies, and so much more, to make your plans possible. l Get in touch for your free, no obligation quote 0800 368 0887 or email

    Cut church costs

    January's editionDUE to pressure on space, a number of stories and photographs have been held over to the January edition.

    READERS of The Month have responded generously so that refugees fleeing persecution can be given a warm welcome as they arrive in East London and Essex in great need. The Chelmsford Diocese Refugee Appeal had raised an amazing 81,182 as The Month went to press.

    Donations can continue to be made by cheque, by text or online on the website 246388.

    The Chelmsford Christian Bookshop is donating half of the profits from sales of the Real Advent Calendar to the Appeal. The calendars can be purchased at 53 New Street, Chelmsford. Ring 01245 294405 or email bookshop@ for details.

    A group chaired by Martin Mitchell will be using the funds raised by the Appeal wisely and will work in partnership with communities as the refugees are welcomed into our region.

    Discussions about welcoming refugees have been held between the diocese and local and national government on the understanding that the government remains committed to accepting 1,000 refugees before Christmas.

    Meanwhile, the governments response to the refugee crisis will be debated at General Synod after the Prime Minister rejected a call in a letter from the Bishops of the Church of England to take more refugees.

    The Prime Minister was urged by the bishops to make a more meaningful and substantial response to the crisis. The letter calls all of us to play our parts. An overwhelming majority of

    bishops, including the Bishop of Chelmsford, signed the letter to the Prime Minister. They said: "Like you, your government and the people of our nation, we are deeply concerned for the refugee crisis that we have to face together. We are grateful to you and your ministers for the conversations they have already held with the Archbishop of Canterbury and others.

    "We believe such is this countrys great tradition of sanctuary and generosity of spirit that we could f


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