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Who is ‘Our Lady’?

This is an ancient title of St. Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is also called the Blessed Virgin Mary to whom the church is dedicated.

Why are churches dedicated to saints?

Churches are sometimes dedicated to a holy person who had a particular connection with the locality.· Sometimes the connection is with something in the life of the saint. Dedications to St. Mary became common at the time when this Church was built because of the cult of devotion to her which became very popular at that time. As the first Christian she has often been thought of as representing the church. Although it may seem confusing to us that many of the churches locally are dedicated to her, when the church was built churches were differentiated by the village they belonged to rather than the dedication.

How old is the church?

The church building dates from the twelfth century when the Beaufoe family were given the land by King Henry I. It was extended several times, but mostly during the fifteenth century when the current nave with its angel roof and large windows were put in. Like any ancient building it has been repaired many times and changes have been made. For instance, the angels in the nave roof date back hundreds of years but they were refurbished and repainted in 1958 and 1970.

The word Church also means its people. There have been Christian worshippers in many places for 2,000 years and we are just the latest generation of that same church.

Why do you have statues in Church?

Statues are visible reminders of what we believe. They are also aids to prayer. God gave us eyes, as well as ears and voices so that we can pray through what we see. A picture is often said to be worth a thousand words.· The statues are more than ornaments; we light candles around them; but we don’t worship them. We worship the invisible God who took on human form in Jesus, our Saviour, and gave us physical reminders of his presence with us.

Why do you have a statue of Jesus on the cross?

There are many different ways of representing Jesus: as a child in his mother’s arms; on the cross in agony; or even by an empty cross (showing that he was raised from the dead. This way of representing him, almost life-size became popular in the middle ages. It is called a Rood, the Saxon word for cross, and stands on a Rood loft. When it was first put in place, it would be used in Holy Week, the week before Easter, as part of the worship when the Passion story was read from the loft. (The remains of the staircase leading up to it can be seen to the right of the chancel arch.)

Roods were destroyed at the time of the Reformation. This replacement was put up in 1982. It comes from the redundant church of St. Mary at the Wells, Colchester.

Why are there two separate ‘rooms’ in the church?

The bigger part, called the nave, is where the congregation sits. The smaller room, called the chancel, is where, traditionally, the high altar was placed and which was reserved for the clergy. (There might have been several clergy in the middles ages). ·At a later time a choir would sit there in order to lead the singing. Now small midweek services take place there and an altar has been placed amongst the people. Traditionally, the nave is the responsibility of the people and the rector for the chancel.

What does Anglo-Catholic mean?

The Church in England was once a part of what we now call the Roman Catholic Church.

Anglo-Catholics are those members of the Church of England who believe that we are, essentially, the same Church, separated by the accidents of history. We have the same orders of bishops, priests and deacons; we celebrate the same Eucharist; we read the same bible; we believe in the same sacraments. The word ‘Catholic’ means ‘universal’, ‘the whole faith’ (rather than bits that we might want to pick and choose). For that reason we recite, each Sunday a statement of our belief called the Creed.

Can anyone come to the services?

Everyone is welcome no matter what they believe or whether they belong to any church or other religion. We welcome to receive communion all members of the church and any who are members of other Christian churches. If you want to become a member of this church, the vicar will be glad to help.

How do you become a member of the church?

Membership of the church comes by baptism. Normally, those who want to be baptised are prepared by a course of teaching, unless they are baptised as babies of Christian parents. Those who were baptised as infants receive teaching when they are older, when their baptism is confirmed at a service presided over by the bishop. Full members of other churches can become members of the Church of England simply by declaring it formally in writing on an electoral roll form.