Celebrating Christmas in St.Osyth 2023

I’ve been reflecting on the Christmas activities and services over the past few weeks, and the realization comes of just how many people both in our congregation and from our community contributed to the essentially wonderful spirit that is Christmas in our Church.  So, it is an excellent reason to thank them all for their contribution and to mull on the activities and services in December.

It really begins with the organising of the Christmas tree – the Parish Council always do this, choosing it from a Christmas tree plantation the other side of Colchester and organising its delivery to the Church – it is a kindness that is much appreciated.

N.B. The Church does pay for the Tree!

  • Stuart Byers and his brother Richard then bring it in from the churchyard and erect it in Church – no mean feat.  Stuart has done this now for many years and again a kindness much appreciated.
  • Meanwhile Brenda is master minding the decorating of the Church – the ordering of flowers, organising the people who will do the arranging and the helpers who do the window sills.
  • Peter and Jennifer Tidy, with their helpers, Jim and Jill Bligh and Heather and Robert Morton are organising the specially cut Angels to hang on the enormous fir tree in the churchyard.  The remembering of loved ones in this way has become very much part of Christmas for many in our community.  The support given by this group of friends to facilitate it shows such kindness and care; thank-you so much.
  • Meanwhile we have St.Osyth Pre-School coming into Church to rehearse their Nativity and then to show it to very excited family members.  It is such a special time in Church and lovely to have them all with us.
  • St.Osyth Primary School takes over the Church for the following two days, rehearsing the services led first by the Key Stage II children and then Key Stage I and to them sharing it with family, friends and carers.  Again two great occasions in Church with over 400 attending on these two days.  We are so pleased to have them using the Church building to share their worship.
  • Then the decorating of the Church begins on the Friday and by midday on Saturday it looks just beautiful.
    The talent and skill shown by Allison, Brenda, Sue (White), Joy and Valerie in creating their flower arrangements is admired every year and appreciated by us all.  The sills of greenery and the poinsettias show the lit candles off to perfection and fun is had by Sue (Butters), Pat and myself in our not so skilful arranging!  The tidying and cleaning by all the ladies helped by Julie and Christine complete the decorating.
  • However it wouldn’t be Christmas without our wonderfully decorated tree.  Led by Jennifer, who goes up and down the ladder so many, many times. She is ably supported by Derek and Peter and the tree is always stunning.
    Our warm thanks to all those involved in the transformation of our Church at Christmas time – the pleasure it gives all those who attend services is so evident and certainly adds to the wonder of Christmas.
  • The scene is now set for those who attend the services that follow.
  • Nine Lessons and Carols is always very special and especially now that we have our choir members and members from Great Bentley Church leading the singing of the Carols.  For many it really marks the beginning of Christmas.  Our grateful thanks to Fiona, our organist, who ensures it is memorable and to those who read the Lessons.
  • A highlight for our community is the Village Carol Service – led by the Salvation Army Band.  The Carols were chosen by the congregation and Rev’d. Laurie Bond. We always have over 200 people attending, all of whom bring food for the Salvation Army Food Bank and contribute to the collection.
    This year we gave over 230 kg of food, which as the Salvation Army Captain said was ‘tremendous’ and the collection gift of a £1,000.00.
    It is always a great evening as the interludes giving the band a rest are much enjoyed.
    This year the handbell ringers; Steph, Mary, Heather, Judy and Hilary; were unexpectedly one ringer down which led to some impromptu reorganisation!  They were well supported by the congregation who helped by singing the tune when the relevant handbell was not there!  It was much enjoyed by both the ringers and those listening although not quite as planned!
    The Toosey Tenors – Peter, Jim, Robert, Andy and Doug gave three renditions and in the Twelve days of Christmas were supported by their wives who added great value by showing the
                            ‘The Five Gold Rings’ at the appropriate moments!
    Steph and myself read amusing stories – notably from Gervase Phinn and we were joined by Martha Brown who narrated ‘Be Kind to Turkeys’ this Christmas’ by Benjamin Zephaniah.  Added humour came from the fact that Martha is the granddaughter of Jerry our local butcher!
    Again the evening required much organisation and commitment by all those involved, but it is so good that it is very much a village event, welcoming the community into Church, listening to Karina of the Salvation Army tell us of the need of the Food Bank for local people and all of us responding in the way we always do, is very much part of Christmas.
  • There were three services on Christmas Eve, which this year was on a Sunday.  We had a slightly different service at 11am – celebrating Holy Communion first, followed by readings both reflective and amusing read by Mike, Joy and myself.
    The carols were played by Strangers Band with Allison leading the singing.  Again
    much rehearsing went into preparing for the singing of the carols and very grateful thanks go to Allison and the Band for the preparation; it was all much enjoyed.
    The Crib Service, for the younger members was led by Rev’d. Andrew Fordyce and supported by Tony and Lois.  It was good to see two of our younger members, Isobella and Findley doing the readings and the figures and animals being placed in the Crib Scene by children in the congregation.
    Thank you to Sue (Butters) for once again setting up the Nativity Scene made for us many years ago by her husband Alf.
    Our last Service was Midnight Mass.  Interestingly, although well attended, probably 95% of those present were not people who we normally see in Church. So it was really important that they felt welcomed and comfortable during this lovely service, with all the candles lit and carol singing resounding throughout the Church.

    We have not mentioned and thanked the team of people who welcome those attending our services and Pat and Linda who prepare the altar with so much care.  Nor those who hoover and tidy to ensure that it reflects the care we all feel for our Church building. It is important that they all know that they are appreciated.
    As indeed are those who provide the endless cups of tea and coffee and refreshments that are such an essential part of our welcome and hospitality – led by Anne for Saturday Pop-In and Sue (White) on Sunday after church.  December is a busy month so many thanks to all of them too and Dollar of Nisa stores who provides the mince pies.

    N.B. Fulsome thanks has to go to Craig Gibbs who when we ran out of oil and had no heating for three of the services, bought in at a moment’s notice a blow heater and electric fires to take the edge off the chill.

  • The kindness and support of so many people particularly over the Christmas period was very much appreciated.

    We are indeed a very fortunate congregation and community.  It has been good that during December 2023 we have shared the Spirit of Christmas together.

     Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.


If you wish to make a donation to the Church at anytime the details are listed below:

Full details of how you can make your donation:

  • Cash – please place in an envelope with your name and contact details on the front – this should be posted through the Vicarage letter box (on The Bury). 
  • Cheque – these should  be made payable to St Osyth PCC and can be posted or delivered to the Church letter box.  The Church address is St Osyth Church, Church Square, St Osyth, Clacton on Sea, Essex, CO16 8NU
  • Bank Transfer: to St Osyth. P.C.C. Sort code 20 21 73, Account number 60777250 – please use Lucky Dip as reference please 
  • Just Giving –

    St Osyth Parish Church – JustGiving

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