News & Views

Communion in the light of Covid – a webinar – 16 July

The Society for Ecumenical Studies, in conjunction with The Tablet and Reform, is hosting a webinar on Communion in the light of COVID-19, to be held on Thursday 16 July from 6–7.30pm.

This is the first in a series of three webinars on themes around the response of the Churches to the situation created by the current pandemic.

The speakers will be:

Revd Dr John Bradbury

Dr Bradbury is a United Reformed Church minister and incoming General Secretary of the URC. From 2007 to 2017 he taught Systematic Theology and Church History at Westminster College, Cambridge where he ultimately served as Vice-Principal. He has been heavily involved in ecumenism and is one of the three presidents of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. He serves as co-chair of the URC-Roman Catholic dialogue, for which he has written a paper on Communion. More recently, he has written on Communion in the lockdown times.

Dr Sara Parvis

Dr Sara Parvis is Senior Lecturer in Early Church History at the University of Edinburgh, where she has taught students from a variety of ecclesiastical backgrounds, clerical and lay. She is a lifelong Catholic, and recently wrote for the Tablet from an experiential perspective on the presence and absence of communion during the lockdown.

Dr. Matthew Cheung Salisbury

Dr Salisbury, a member of the Faculty of Music in the University of Oxford is the national Liturgy and Worship Adviser to the Church of England.

The evening will be chaired by Rev Dr Elizabeth Welch, the Chair of the Society for Ecumenical Studies.

There is a suggested donation of £5  towards the costs of the webinar and bookings should be made via The Tablet at

Invitation to watch Stephen Cottrell become the new Archbishop of York – 9 July

Having served us as Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell is shortly to become the new Archbishop of York. He invites you to join him and writes:

I will become the 98th Archbishop of York at 11am on Thursday 9 July 2020, in a service broadcast entirely via video conference due to the Covid-19 restrictions.  

The service is called a Confirmation of Election. It is usually followed by an Installation in the Cathedral Church. In different circumstances I would have loved to be inviting people to that large celebration in York Minister, but that can’t happen at the moment. However, the good thing about the digital world is that there are no limits on attendance, so please spread the word and please join me, virtually, on 9 July.

After this digital service I will go to York Minster with one or two others and receive the crozier recently laid down by Archbishop Sentamu, pray in silence for the needs of our church and world, and then begin my new ministry.

To view the service, you will need to click on the following link which will be live just before 11am on 9 July 2020.

With best wishes,



CTE News – June 2020

Churches Together in England: ‘One in Christ Jesus, engaged in God’s mission, empowered by the Spirit’.

Download the latest CTe-News, from Churches Together in England here:

The PDF version can be read and passed on by email. The Word version is available to paste articles in to websites, magazine etc.

Check out the below video introduction to CTe and their website can be found here:

Ever thought about writing a script for a Christian Film?

An open invitation to the Christians of Chelmsford

Discover how to write and produce short, impactful films that proclaim the Good News of the gospel.

Register for this free 4-week online interactive training on screenwriting and visual storytelling
7 pm to 8 pm Saturdays, 4, 11, 18 & 25 July 2020


Background / Course facilitator, Gbenga Ajayi

David & Obenga in Chelmsford, February 2020
David & Obenga in Chelmsford, February 2020

A number of months ago, Gbenga Ajayi contacted CTiC believing that God had directed his attention to Chelmsford. Early in 2020 he travelled and met with CTiC Chair, David Gilbey. Gbenga was fascinated to learn that through our legacy of Marconi, Chelmsford was considered ‘The Birthplace of Radio’.

There is a belief amongst a growing number of Christians in Chelmsford that The Lord is again going to raise up Chelmsford as a place of global communication, but this time for the proclamation of the gospel. With experience in Christian film media, Gbenga felt that he had something to contribute.

Gbenga is a Nigerian screenwriter and filmmaker. He holds both a Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a PhD in Film from Bournemouth University UK. He is the coordinator of The Holyway Outreach Ministry, which produces television drama and feature films as a means of preaching the greatest story ever told.

Gbenga was a Lecturer at Lead City University and Associate Lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Now living in the UK and teaching at the Lincoln School of Film and Media, University of Lincoln, Gbenga’s vision is to meet with fellow believers who have a genuine passion for using their creative gifts to serve the Lord and to explore how they can have a significant media presence for Jesus.


Global Transmission, Global Mission – free eBook

Recently released by Operation World –

“The body of Christ can shine, both in cultivating the discipline of prayer as in demonstrating the power of prayer.” Jason Mandryk

Operation World e-Book on Covid -19 cover

CoVid-19 is proving a disruptive, distressing, and divisive force throughout the world. How do mission-minded Christians respond? What happens to the Great Commission when the world is on lockdown? In this short e-book, Jason Mandryk, the author of Operation World, takes readers through a sweeping overview of the implications of the coronavirus for the global Church, and specifically, its impact on global mission.

In compiling this analysis, the Operation World team interacted with ministry and mission leaders in every region of the world, getting input on how to pray for different nations afflicted by CoVid-19 as well as strategic considerations from a wide array of missiological contexts.

Download the eBook

Download PDF (930kb)
Browsers, most readers and devicesClick here to open in new tab.

Download Epub (172kb)
Apple iBooks, Nook, Kobo

Download Mobi (380kb)
Amazon Kindle

Advice on preparing to go back into our churches

The Faith and Communities Tactical Co-ordination Group, (FACTC Group) is part of Essex Resilience Forum’s response to COVID-19 pandemic and provides information, advice and guidance on faith and community issues to the both the Forum itself as well as local communities.

They have written a letter is to provide a digest of advice which already exists in other official guidance, (for example how to undertake a COVID risk assessment), so that you can start to prepare for the re-opening of your place of worship or venues, and resumption of ceremonies, ahead of when formal guidance is issued.

Click here to download the letter as a pdf.

Please pass this information on to all within your church who may find it useful.

CTE News – May 2020

Churches Together in England: ‘One in Christ Jesus, engaged in God’s mission, empowered by the Spirit’.

Check out the below video introduction to CTe and their website can be found here:

The latest CTe-News, from Churches Together in England, is available by download from:

The PDF version can be read and passed on by email. The Word version is available to paste articles in to websites, magazine etc. is also the place for new subscribers to sign up free, and to find the Archive or previous editions of CTe-News.

Thy Kingdom Come – Global Prayer 21-31 May – join Chelmsford Cathedral each day

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement with Christians around the world praying from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.

This year Churches Together in Essex & East London (CTEEL) is grateful to Chelmsford Cathedral for supporting Christians in the region to participate in the Thy Kingdom Come cycle of prayer so we can join together from Thursday 21 May until Sunday 31 May 2020 to pray Thy Kingdom Come. Everyone from every denomination is invited to participate – individuals, families and churches.

Each day there will be morning prayer, a lunchtime reflection from different clergy and then evening prayer based on the theme and resources produced by Thy Kingdom Come live streamed from Cathedral’s Facebook page:

and their YouTube channel

7:45 am Morning Prayer
12 noon Short reflections in a range of different styles from different church leaders
5:15 pm Evening Prayer

There will also be a simple Communion and Reflection
On Ascension Day, 21st , at 12 noon
and Pentecost Sunday, 31st  at 10:30 am.

Please share this information within your Churches Together Groups and in church notices to encourage people to pray together as one in Christ Jesus during Thy Kingdom Come.

With every blessing,
Jacqui King, County Ecumenical Officer
Stuart C Sadler, Administrative Officer
Churches Together in Essex & East London (CTEEL)

Please – don’t go to church! (we never could!)

Don't go to church

Please – don’t go to church!
by Rev. John Guest

FIFTEEN years ago, I put up a banner in Stanford le Hope. Don’t Go To Church, it said. Boy, did I get some stick for that!

Church people were particularly critical, suggesting I was barmy. Well… I am, but that’s beside the point!

Five weeks ago, I put a poster on the door of the church building telling people that public worship was suspended and that there would be no more services in St. Margaret’s until further notice.

No more baptisms, weddings or funerals. No morning prayer or holy communion. But the notice also said the church is NOT closed.

The world, and more importantly, the Church itself, has been brought to the realisation that it is not a building or even a meeting.

And this realisation has come not through teaching or persuasion but the simple pressure of circumstance and necessity.

You really can NOT go to church and not just because the archbishop or prime minister says so.

And not because this nasty virus has confined many of us to our homes and prevented us from gathering together.

And not even because dark powers have overshadowed our world and sent a plague to trouble us.

All these are valid reasons but, even before the pandemic hit us, we still couldn’t go.

We cannot go to church because it is not a place we go but a truth we proclaim; it is not an organisation we attend but a family we join.

And we may just be beginning to realise that as we connect electronically and telephonically and experience loving kindness flowing from us and to us as we care for our communities.

So please… don’t go to church. Join it. Be it. And may God bless you.

(from an article in The Thurrock Gazette)