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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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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Happy New Year...wait

No, you didn't fall asleep for four months. Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, is just around the corner.
Rosh Hashanah is the Feast of Trumpets- the first of the High Holy Days, and is believed to be the anniversary of the creation of the world. It's a time for people to think about their priorities in life and to reflect on what has been achieved in the past year. It's a time of asking for forgiveness for wrongdoings. It's a chance for Jews to ask questions about their actions throughout the year. Questions considered during Rosh Hashanah include:
  • What's the most meaningful thing in my life?
  • Who in my life means the most to me? How often do I let them know this?
  • What are the most significant things I've achieved in the past year?
  • What do I hope to achieve next year and in my life generally?

OK, I get it, this is an Anglican Church community, and no, we didn't suddenly, secretly, become Jewish. These are, however, great questions, and at this time, with the farming year cycling round again to Harvest, and the schools returning for another year, it's a great opportunity for us to re-evaluate and think about what's important.

However our various different summers have looked, now is the perfect time to start again, whether we are continuing in the things we were doing before, or looking towards doing new things. Some of things might be exciting, and some might be scary. Some of them we might be dreading, and some we might be thinking that it's all very well, but how is it significant? What is it actually achieving?

Here's the thing: it's incredibly easy to only feel of any spiritual value when you're doing something big and bold. Talking to someone about Jesus who has no idea of who He is. Heading out on Mission trips. Starting a new initiative. These things are really important and we should be doing more and more of the exhilarating, exciting things that God calls us into. However, it doesn't make doing the little things, the normal things, the things that no one else notices, any less important. 

One of my favourite songs, which I find so encouraging that I sing, at full volume, whenever it's on, is this:



While I may not know you, I bet I know 
you wonder sometimes, "does it matter at all?" 
Let me remind you: it all matters 
just as long as you do everything you do 
to the glory of the One who made you,
'cause He made you to do every little thing that you do 
to bring a smile to His face
and tell the story of grace with every move that you make
and every little thing you do!

Feeding orphans in Myanmar? Sweeping up Cheerios? Matching socks or dining in a five star restaurant: it all matters as long as we're doing it to the glory of God. Isn't that encouraging? I hope you find it so at the beginning of this season. 

Happy New Year!

Some Rosh Hashanah information from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/religion/judaism/rosh_hashanah.shtml