Our Churches

The churches in the parish are places where people have met to be with each other and to meet with God for hundreds of years.

They are places where we thank God for God’s love and creation, where we pray to God for help to live our lives well in good times and hard times.

For these reasons, in addition to the location and historical importance of its buildings, the church is central to this area of Colchester.

St Andrew’s ChurchSt Matthew’s Church and Community CentreSt Anne’s church

St Andrew’s Church

St. Andrew’s is a Church of England Church and you can find us on Forest Road. It is one of the oldest churches in Colchester having served the people of Greenstead since the 11th Century. We are a friendly and welcoming Anglican church attended by people who have a real passion for community, worship and fellowship. Everyone is welcome at our services; whether you are confident in your faith, or still unsure and are seeking. We welcome families and, in normal times, we have a well-established Sunday School each week, where youngsters can learn at their own pace and in their own space!  Sadly, this isn’t running just at the moment owing to Covid-19 restrictions.

We do understand that you may feel anxious about coming into the church building for the first time. Just to reassure you, we have people who stand by the door to welcome everyone and who will give you the books that you need for the service. If you say that you have never been before then we will try to sit you with someone who knows what to do and we hope that this will make things more comfortable for you. There can be quite a lot going on at the start of the service and the clergy may miss you as you arrive so please do make yourself known either before you leave the church at the end of the service. It will be good to meet you!

We also have facilities for those with:

Limited mobility

All doors into the church will be open well before the service begins and there is a ramp placed at the front entrance to allow for wheelchair access. There are always people at the door who are able to assist you, so that you can enter the church safely and comfortably.

Partially sighted

We are in the process of re designing our service sheets and we will be able to offer you larger print service sheets in due course. We aim to provide larger print weekly pew sheets too so watch this space.

Young Families

You are most welcome. We understand that it can be stressful bringing young children into church but we always love to see them! If you have very small children you may wish them to stay in their pram in which case you will be guided as to where to sit so that you can be with them. Please note that there is a ramp into the church so you will have easy access into the building. If your child does get restless, you are allowed to leave your seat and walk around at the back of the church.

In normal times, we have a weekly ‘Sunday School’ time led by faithful members of the worshipping community where children explore the theme of the week in their own way and in their own space. This takes place in the upper room inside the church and children are also able to see what’s happening in church from there.

We also have a toilet at the back of the church.

Parking

St Andrew’s Church is just off Forest Road in Greenstead and there are spaces in front of the building where you can park. If this is full then there is further parking to the RIGHT of the church.

What happens once I come into the Church?

As you come into the church you will notice that you have come in at the rear side of the building and there you will be greeted by a couple of people.  In normal times, they will offer you a service booklet so that you can follow and join in as directed. You will also be given a weekly news sheet which will tell you what is happening in the week ahead. We are still not able to sing in church, so there will be no hymn books needed. Please do not worry if you get lost – the Vicar leading the service will make occasional announcements and give guidance where appropriate.

Holy Communion is offered at the Sunday morning Communion service, and everyone is invited to receive a wafer. The vicar will explain how this is done so as to be Covid-secure.  If you have not been Confirmed then you are still very welcome to receive a blessing. One of the clergy will put their hand near your shoulder or head (if a child) and say a quiet simple prayer for you.

Do I need to bring anything?

Currently, we don’t have a collection at our Sunday morning services (to be Covid-secure). We do have a ‘Just Giving‘ account, so if you would like to make an offering then please use the link. All these generous contributions are used to help the church do its work in the community as well as making sure that the building is preserved for future generations. Some people opt to pay their offering by Direct Debit or Standing Order. Please remember – if you are new to the church or just visiting us because you are curious you do not need to give unless you wish to.

What happens if I’m late?

Nothing-it’s fine! We understand that it isn’t always easy getting somewhere on time especially if you have a young family or if you are looking after people who need extra care. There are people who sit at the very back of the church making sure that those who do arrive late know where to sit, etc. Do not be embarrassed – we are just pleased to see you.

Service timings.

Currently, our Sunday morning service starts at 10:30am and finishes at around 11:30. If you need to leave before the end of the service, please feel free to do so quietly. You do not have to stay to the end.

Alternatively, you can join our Sunday morning service via our Facebook site.

Refreshments

Sadly, at the moment we are unable to offer refreshments after the Sunday services.  We hope that at some point soon we will be able to resume this.

Services in the week

Morning Prayer

On Thursday mornings, we meet online for morning prayer at 9.00 via the church Facebook site. This is a 15-20 minute service where we listen to readings from the Bible taken from the Church of England lectionary and where there is space for silent prayer led by a member of the ministry team.

We use the Daily Prayer app available at www.churchofengland.org and search for ‘join us in Daily Prayer’.

St Matthew’s Church and Community Centre

St Matthew’s is a modern, friendly and welcoming church part of the Church of England and situated on the Harwich Road.  Many will still remember it as the old Parson’s Heath Church School and some of the features of this still remain.  Now it is attended by a faithful group of Christians those who have a strong sense of God’s presence in the world and who are committed to prayer, mission and worship.  During the week, St Matthew’s is home to ‘Little Angels’ Pre School and in the evenings the building is used for a variety of Uniformed Organisations as well as ‘Amazing Women’ and the ‘Concorde Singers’ (see the details in the ‘About Us‘ page).

Worship Times

Currently, our Sunday morning service starts at 10.30am and lasts around 45 minutes.   Please check the ‘Home Page‘ or the weekly newsletter to see which Sunday we will be worshipping here, as we are not able to meet every week.

If you want to know more about what goes on at this service, take a look at the information for St Andrew’s Church as it applies to our worship at St Matthew’s too.

Sadly we are currently unable to stay and share coffee/tea and biscuits after the service, but we hope that we will be able to do this again as soon as it is safe to do so.

Parking

As you turn off the Harwich Road and into the Church grounds you will see that there is plenty of place to park in front and to the right-hand side of the church building.

Access for those with limited mobility.

There is a concrete ramp leading up to the building for those who are limited in their mobility and who are wheelchair users.  The doors are wide enough for wheelchair access and as there are chairs inside the church we are able to move them so that we can position you wherever you feel most comfortable.  There are also toilets that are specially designated for those who require extra facilities.

Christenings at St Matthew’s Church.

We are most happy to welcome you and your family for a christening at St Matthew’s. Please do have a look at our ‘Baptisms‘ page to find out more information. If you would like your baby/child christened then please do speak to Sue or Philip (see Contacts).

St Anne’s church

We do understand that you may feel anxious about coming into the church building for the first time. Just to reassure you, we have someone standing at the door to welcome everyone and they will help with finding a seat. If you say that you have never been before then we will try to sit you near someone who knows what to do and we hope that this will make things more comfortable for you. There can be quite a lot going on at the start of the service and the clergy may miss you as you arrive so please do make yourself known either before you leave the church at the end of the service. It will be good to meet you!

We also have facilities for those with:

Limited mobility

The front doors into the church will be open well before the service begins and now we have a new driveway the way into the church is all on one level so the entrance is accessible for wheelchairs. There are always people at the door who are able to assist you, so that you can enter the church safely and comfortably.

Young Families

You are most welcome. We understand that it can be stressful bringing young children into church but we always love to see them! If you have very small children you may wish them to stay in their pram and there is plenty of space to accommodate this so that you can be with them. If your child does get restless, you are allowed to leave your seat and at the back of the church there is a carpeted space with toys and books for your children to use.

In normal times, we have a weekly ‘Sunday School’ in term time led by faithful members of the worshipping community where children explore the theme of the week in their own way and in their own space. This takes place at the back of the church which is separated off from the worship space.

We also have a toilet and baby changing facilities at the back of the church.

Parking

St Anne’s Church is on Compton Road, just off Ipswich Road and there are a few spaces in front of the building where you can park and there is also parking on the grass at the front of the church. This may be difficult to access in the winter and after heavy rain but space along the road is generally available.

What happens once I come into the Church?

As you come into the church you will notice that you have come in at the rear side of the building and there you will be greeted by a couple of people.  In normal times, they will offer you a service booklet so that you can follow and join in as directed. You will also be given a weekly news sheet which will tell you what is happening in the week ahead. We are still not able to sing in church, so there will be no hymn books needed. Please do not worry if you get lost – the Vicar leading the service will make occasional announcements and give guidance where appropriate.

Holy Communion is offered at the Sunday morning Communion service, and everyone is invited to receive a wafer. The vicar will explain how this is done so as to be Covid-secure.  If you have not been Confirmed then you are still very welcome to receive a blessing. One of the clergy will put their hand near your shoulder or head (if a child) and say a quiet simple prayer for you.

Do I need to bring anything?

Currently, we don’t have a collection at our Sunday morning services (to be Covid-secure). We do have a ‘Just Giving‘ account, so if you would like to make an offering then please use the link. All these generous contributions are used to help the church do its work in the community as well as making sure that the building is preserved for future generations. Some people opt to pay their offering by Direct Debit or Standing Order. Please remember – if you are new to the church or just visiting us because you are curious you do not need to give unless you wish to.

What happens if I’m late?

Nothing – it’s fine! We understand that it isn’t always easy getting somewhere on time especially if you have a young family or if you are looking after people who need extra care. There are people who sit at the very back of the church making sure that those who do arrive late know where to sit, etc. Do not be embarrassed – we are just pleased to see you.

Service timings.

Currently, our Sunday morning service starts at 10:30am and finishes at around 11:30 – though do check our ‘Home‘ page and the weekly newsletter to see when we are worshipping at St Anne’s.

If you need to leave before the end of the service, please feel free to do so quietly. You do not have to stay to the end.

Alternatively, you can join our Sunday morning service via our Facebook site.

Refreshments

Sadly, at the moment we are unable to offer refreshments after the Sunday services.  We hope that at some point soon we will be able to resume this.

A History of St Anne’s Church, Colchester

The dedication of St Anne’s Church, Compton Road, Colchester took place on 26th July 1937. From that date and throughout the period of the second world war the Church became a daughter church of St James the Great on East Hill, Colchester. The services held at St Anne’s Church were taken by various curates of St James during the period of the war and for a short time afterwards.

In the early 1950s the church had its first priest-in-charge appointed who then resided in the church house adjacent. He was The Revd Cecil Parker who, together with the assistance of his wife, held regular services at the church and there was also a youth club and scouts and guides attached to the church itself. Those young people’s activities went under the somewhat unusual heading of SAUSAGE, the initials standing for the title of Saint Anne’s United Scouts and Guides Enterprises. There was also a thriving Mother’s Union and Sunday School. A robed choir was a regular part of the main services of the Church. On Sundays the regular services were at 9.15am Eucharist and there was Sung Evensong at 6.30pm. Midweek services were held regularly as required.

Revd Parker left St Anne’s in 1959 and the next priest appointed to the parish was The Revd Malcolm Cherry who then carried on with the Sunday services as before with services in the week together with daily Morning and Evening Prayer. The musical element was very much in evidence with a strong choir and pipe organ. Youth clubs were developed although these no longer existed under the heading SAUSAGE. There was also a large Sunday School. During the time Revd Cherry was at St Anne’s Church he was officially instituted as Vicar of the Parish. During that time a large church hall was built on spare land beyond the east end of the church building. Also extra extensions were built to the vicarage itself with the addition of a study and a meeting room.

In the mid sixties the Parochial Church Council, under Revd Cherry’s leadership, decided to hold a big stewardship campaign. This was led by a team from the diocese and at the commencement over one hundred people sat down at the stewardship supper. It resulted in an upturn in the time, talents and treasure given by the people and also there as a considerable increase of worshippers at the church. The financial income of the church improved. Looking back, St Anne’s Church enjoyed what could be called a “golden” period around that time.

Revd Cherry left St Anne’s Church in 1968 and the next incumbent was The Revd John Ponter. Revd Ponter and his wife were both musical and it was not long before they dispensed with the robed choir and organist which had been quite adequate. The reason given for this was that it would help the finances of the church. A few older people were introduced as a choir and a new organist was introduced and he helped to sell the original organ which was old and would have been costly to maintain. In its place the church managed to find and electric portable organ at a reasonable price.

Revd Ponter encouraged the church to become “partners” with some other churches wherever it was possible and sometimes those churches could be a considerable distance away. Two such churches were St Michael’s Church at Myland and the Parish Church at Duxford in Cambridgeshire. Both Revd and Mrs Ponter encouraged the frequent use being made of the church hall by organisations not of the church which all too often proved to be expensive as some were let out at very low rentals and necessitated many repairs.

Revd Ponter left the parish in 1972 and the resulting interregnum proved to be quite lengthy. The next incumbent was The Revd Trevor Hodder who came to the parish in 1973 and continued there until 1995. Revd Hodder encouraged worship in a spiritual manner and endeavoured to reach his congregation in a personal way. Bible studies and some “close” meetings were in evidence. Eucharistic services were held each Sunday and also midweek. There was also a large Sunday School. In July 1987 there was a grand weekend of celebrations to mark the fifty years since the dedication of St Anne’s Church in 1937. It included a special flower service over the weekend and a large barbecue. Care was taken in money matters and no overspending was encouraged.

The church at that time decided to sell the church hall which was in need of repair and would have been costly to make good. Instead the money from the sale was used in the main church building itself. A meeting room was sectioned off at the west end and a kitchen, passage-way and toilets were also put installed in that area. During Revd Hodder’s term of office the church engaged with outings with Billy Graham’s Crusade in Ipswich in 1984and also with the Colchester Crusade of Daniel Cozens in 1989. Revd Hodder retired in 1995 and left the parish at that time.

Captain Martin Joss of the Church Army came to live at St Anne’s Vicarage in 1997 and was responsible for some of the services at St Anne’s and also involved with duties elsewhere. The result was that St Anne’s Church was only able to have two sacramental services each month while at other times non-sacramental services were held at the church. The services of Holy Communion were conducted by a priest visiting from another church.

Bishop Edward Holland took steps to help and placed Lay Readers, Alison and Terry Gray in the parish and they took on the role of lay led worship in St Anne’s. Captain Martin Joss left St Anne’s Church in 2003 in order to be ordained as priest and to take on duties in a parish in elsewhere. The vicarage at St Anne’s fell vacant.

In 2003 changes were made in the parochial system and the church of St Anne’s was joined with St Andrew’s and St Matthew’s and became one parish. Becky Roberts came to the parish as a newly ordained Deacon and moved into the vicarage at St Anne’s.

In 2008 the Vicarage was given over to the Korban Project in order to house young people preparing to move into society.

Services at St Anne’s continue with three Eucharistic services a month and one of Morning Prayer. It has a thriving preschool in Little Angels five mornings a week.

This history was compiled by Les Mann, Historian with later updates by Paul Larkin. 05.09.2018