Our three parishes serve the Essex villages of Layer de la Haye, Birch, Layer Breton, and Layer Marney. We are part of the Church of England and our parishes are situated in attractive unspoiled countryside, just south of Colchester.
We welcome everyone who would like to join us for our services of worship, or our social events, regardless of the stage he or she has reached on their own spiritual journey. Meeting and worshipping together are essential parts of christian faith and life.
Thank you for visiting our website. Here we aim to provide a range of helpful and interesting information about our three parishes and their activities. Lower down this page are links to the main pages on the site, each with a brief explanation of content. If you would like to suggest additions to our pages, please contact the webmaster.
Following the retirement of the Revd Martin Clarke in November 2012, on 1st October (2013) our three parishes became part of the newly-formed Benefice of Thurstable and Winstree. The other six parishes in the new benefice are Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree, Great Braxted, Messing, Inworth, Copford and Easthorpe. The Revd Anne-Marie Renshaw, formerly Priest-in-Charge of the parishes of Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree and Great Braxted, has been appointed Team Rector. The Revd Celia Cook has been appointed Team Vicar and is to be licensed by Bishop Stephen on 8th April. Living in the Vicarage at Layer de la Haye, Mrs Cook will have day to day responsibility for our three 'Layer' parishes and the parishes of Copford and Easthorpe.
We are fortunate in having the Revd Julia Russell Grant, an ordained priest, who continues to serve as curate in our parishes and is now part of the new Team Ministry. Please contact Julia in the first instance if you wish to discuss a personal matter or have a query about a pastoral matter. It should be explained that Julia exercises her ministry among us on an entirely unpaid basis. It has been agreed with the Bishop that in addition to Sunday duties, she will be 'on duty' for a further two days a week. To meet pastoral needs, Julia aims to be flexible about the weekdays she is officially on duty. As a general rule she would like to keep Thursdays and Fridays as 'off duty' days, so it would be appreciated if parishioners could please avoid contacting her about non-urgent matters on these days.
Sunday Services: Details of the normal pattern of Sunday services in each church are to be found on the Services page of this website. However, with the reduced level of staffing, and until Mrs Cook takes up her appointment as Team Vicar, there are likely to be changes to the normal pattern from time to time, as circumstances dictate. Please, therefore, check the Forthcoming Events page for any changes to the normal patterns of services. It is also advisable to check regularly our monthly publications for details of any changes: in the Parish Gazette, for services at Layer de la Haye, and in Parish News for services at Layer Marney and Layer Breton.
Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals: To discuss arrangements for these services, please use the contact details below:
Baptisms: The Revd Julia Russell Grant.
Marriages: Please contact The Revd Anne-Marie Renshaw at St Luke's Vicarage, Tiptree. Telephone 01621-815260 or E-mail.
Funerals: Please speak either to your Funeral Director or to The Revd Julia Russell Grant.
Appointment of Team Vicar: We are pleased to be able to announce that the Revd Celia Cook has been appointed Team Vicar in our benefice. Celia served her curacy at Aldeburgh in Suffolk and is currently working to support several rural parishes in vacancy across the Saxmundham Deanery. She is to be licensed as our Team Vicar by Bishop Stephen on Tuesday, 8th April, at 7-30pm, at St Mary the Virgin, Layer Marney. She will be based at Layer de la Haye Vicarage and have day to day responsibility for the parishes of Copford, Easthorpe, Layer de la Haye, Layer Breton with Birch and Layer Marney.
Please remember Celia in your prayers as she prepares for her ministry among us. Also her husband Richard, and their three children George, Phoebe and Emily, as they prepare for the move to Layer de la Haye and all the changes this will entail for them.
Our parishes are in the Witham Deanery. Information about the Deanery can be found on the Witham Deanery Website.
Witham Deanery is in the Diocese of Chelmsford. To learn more about our large Diocese which stretches from heavily populated East London to quiet rural Essex villages, visit the Chelmsford Diocesan Website.
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell
Bishop of Chelmsford.
To be appointed
Bishop of Colchester.
The Ven Annette Cooper
Archdeacon of Colchester
The Revd Geoff Bayliss
Rural Dean of Witham
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Page updated: 03 MAR 2014