Welcome to the Manningtree Benefice

This is the website for the mission and ministry of Manningtree Benefice: St. Mary & St. Michael' Church, Mistley with Manningtree and St. Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, including service, group and event information, contact details, media, and information about Mistley Church Hall (Mistley Institute).

We're working towards making this our main website, so please forgive any slight maintenance issues we might have in the next few weeks. If you can't access the information that you need, or you can't find it, do contact the Church Office on info@manningtreebenefice.co.uk or 01206 392200.


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Friday, 15 March 2013

God loves the Church...no, really

So. I don't think that anyone would deny that the Church takes a pummelling from the media. Daily. If it's not that numbers are going down, or that we're fighting amongst ourselves, it's that we don't possibly understand the rest of the world and are massively outmoded, outdated and out of time.

But here's the thing. About twenty of us went to Spring Harvest last year where the theme was the Church: God's brilliant idea. And it turns out, it is!

In his book Church Actually, Gerard Kelly wrote:

"...the church is, in its origins, God’s brilliant idea.
It is his plan; the Creator’s way of reaching and redeeming
his creation. It is a sparkling idea, a concept radiant with
light and joy. Words like “brilliant”, “bright” and “beautiful”
can legitimately be used to describe it."
See here for more!  

I'm not sure that we always act like this though, and I'm not sure that we always believe it. I'm not sure that I had even thought about it until last year. 

But then I went to a talk by Steve Holmes about the church and there was one particularly thing that he said that really stuck with me. He presented what he saw as God's love letter to the Church. An all encouraging, all positive, heart-felt word to God's people. And it went something like this:

You're insecure,
don't know what for,
...being the way that you are is enough.
Everyone else in the room can see it,
everyone else but you.
You light up my world like nobody else.
If only you saw what I can see,
you'd understand why I want you so desperately,
right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe,
You don't know you're beautiful.
Encouraging, right? And a little bit familiar?

That might be because, in fact, Steve Holmes didn't pen this love letter. It was written by Rami Yacoub, Carl Falk and Savan Kotecha, whose names you probably don't recognise. However, it was then sung by One Direction.  

You're still with me? It's a miracle. You might notice that did I cut out a few words. I mean, I'm sure God is overwhelmed when the church flips her hair, but I thought you might be thrown off by that. 

So. Why all this? Well next Saturday is our Benefice Away Day. We're all going away (very, very far) to Acorn Village (OK, not that far at all) to look at where we've come from, what we're doing now, and where we're going.

We really want everyone to come along because here's the thing.

The Church is not the building. 
The Church is not the steeple.
Open up the doors: look!
The Church is the people.

Did you do the actions? Never mind. 

The Church is the people, and God loves them, and it, and that. Our differences and our diversity and our difficulties are what makes us beautiful. So. Please do consider coming along to the Away Day. It's important and it's exciting and if loads of people turn up, I'll think about a boy-band themed blog series. Now there's an incentive.  

If only you saw what I can see,
you'd understand why I want you so desperately,
right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe,
You don't know you're beautiful.

Hope to see you there!
Church Office
  • "Church Actually", written by Gerard Kelly, 2012, Monarch Books
  • "What Makes You Beautiful" , written by Rami Yacoub, Carl Falk and Savan Kotecha, and was produced by Yacoub and Falk.