Thurstable and Winstree Team Ministry

serving the parishes of Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree, Great Braxted, Copford, Easthorpe, Messing, Inworth,
Layer de la Haye, Layer Breton with Birch, and Layer Marney

The 'Layer' Parishes
Layer de la Haye • Layer Breton with Birch • Layer Marney


C of E logoOur 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 rural settings, 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.

St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye
"The Light shines in the darkness" (John 1:5a)    St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye

TWTMlogoThe Benefice of Thurstable and Winstree and its Ministry Team

The three 'Layer' parishes are part of the Benefice of Thurstable and Winstree. The other six parishes in the benefice are Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree, Great Braxted, Messing, Inworth, Copford and Easthorpe.


The Revd Lydia Smith, based at Layer de la Haye, is Team Vicar and has day-to-day responsibility for leading ministry in the parishes of Layer de la Haye, Layer Breton with Birch, Layer Marney, Copford and Easthorpe.

The Revd Anne-Marie Renshaw, based at Tiptree, is Team Rector. She has overall responsibility for leading ministry in the benefice and day-to-day responsibility for the parishes of Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree, Great Braxted, Messing and Inworth.

Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals

To discuss a baptism, wedding or funeral in the Layer, Copford and Easthorpe parishes please contact our Team Vicar, The Revd Lydia Smith.

Useful information for those considering a wedding in any of the churches in our benefice can be found on the page Wedding Information for Enquirers

Safeguarding Statement

We are committed to Safeguarding children and young people and vulnerable adults.

The PCCs have adopted the Church of England’s policies and best practice on safeguarding which may be found on the Church of England’s website:

Details of our Parish Safeguarding Representatives are:
Layer de la Haye: Anne Hughes, Tel: 01206-734168; Email:
Layer Marney and Layer Breton with Birch: Judy Bancroft - Tel: 01206-330067; Email:

News(see also our Forthcoming Events page)

Churches Closed Again for Public Worship

Following the Prime Minister's announcement at a news conference on 31st October, all places of worship are to close for public worship (except for funerals - limited to 30 people) from Thursday, 5th November, until at least Wednesday, 2nd December.

Our churches will remain open for private prayer on the days and at the times shown below (updated 6th November). These are subject to review as circumstances change.

While our churches are closed for public worship, we are holding Online Sunday Services - see below.

Online Sunday Services for 22nd November • Christ the King

Online Service Visual9:00am Morning Prayer Service on YouTube

Each Sunday we have a service of Morning Prayer on YouTube. This includes a bible reading, a reflection or talk, and prayers.

This Sunday's service can be viewed on YouTube at from 9:00 am on Sunday. Clicking on the link will take you straight to the video. You can view the service live at 9 o'clock or later at a time to suit you. The service is set as a YouTube Premiere and also a Facebook Premiere for Layer de la Haye, Layer Marney and Easthorpe. This allows those who tune in live to chat live also (or at least say hello to others).

The service and some of our previous services can also be viewed by following this link to our YouTube channel

Service on

10:30am Morning Service on Zoom

While our churches are closed for public worship, we are having a Sunday morning service on Zoom in addition to our Morning Prayer service on YouTube.

If you would like to attend our Zoom services please contact Lydia (Team Vicar) beforehand for login details if you haven't already done so.

News Sheet for Sunday 22nd November 2020

The news sheet (in PDF format) for the Layer, Copford and Easthorpe parishes, for Sunday, 22nd November, can be viewed and/or downloaded by using this link: Weekly News Sheet.

Archbishops' Letter to the Nation

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written a joint letter to the nation. In the present deeply challenging and difficult times they have asked every church to pray each day at 6pm. They also encourage us to be calm, to be courageous, and to be compassionate.

The letter, dated 4th November, can be viewed and/or downloaded by using this link: Archbishops' Letter.

Our Churches Open for Private Prayer

Our churches are open for individual private prayer as follows:

St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye: Sundays and Wednesdays only, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

St Mary the Virgin, Layer Marney: Sundays and Wednesdays only, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

St Michael & All Angels, Copford: Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

St Mary the Virgin, Easthorpe: Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

The above days and times are those effective from 5th November 2020 but are subject to review. Please check our websites and Facebook pages for any changes.

If you are visiting any of our churches, please observe the government’s social distancing guidelines and use the hand sanitiser provided. To keep others safe, please do not enter if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are shielding or self-isolating also should not visit.

Church Giving

Thank you to everyone who continues to give to our churches, by whatever means: it is much appreciated.

If you would like to help us with our costs by setting up a standing order or making payments direct (e.g. through internet banking) to one of our bank accounts, please contact Lydia, our Team Vicar, for the information you will need.

If you wish to make payments to the church of St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye, whether by cheque, standing order or direct debit, please note that the name of its bank account is now St John the Baptist Church, Layer de la Haye.

Site Map

Further Afield - Our Parishes in Context

Our parishes are in the Witham Deanery.

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.

Diocesan Bishop
to be appointed
To be appointed
Bishop of Chelmsford
Area Bishop
Bishop Roger
The Rt Revd Roger Morris
Bishop of Colchester
Ruth Patten
The Ven Ruth Patten
Archdeacon of Colchester
Acting Area Dean
Revd Simon Garwood
The Revd Simon Garwood
Witham Acting Area Dean

Page updated: 19 Nov 2020 at 15:21