Colchester West – Eight Ash Green Methodist Church
The Lexden weekly notices have included several references to Eight Ash Green Methodist Church and a new manse for Colchester West and, not unreasonably, several people have been asking what it’s all about.
There is a lot of new building going on at Stanway Lakelands area, around Halstead Road and on the way out to Copford. Recognising the need for a church presence to meet local pastoral and spiritual needs in this rapidly expanding area, a group known as ‘Churches in Stanway’ has been formed by the leaders of Bethel Church, Stanway Evangelical Church and St Albrights C of E Church and this is currently being co-ordinated by Rev’d Paul Howes. Other local churches are being kept informed of progress.
From September 1st 2016, Rev’d Steve Swann will be joining the Circuit as a Pioneer Presbyter (subject to Methodist Conference approval). Steve, together with his wife Julie, is coming from the Lizard and Mount’s Bay Methodist Circuit in Cornwall. Steve will be concentrating on building up contacts in the area, talking to residents and businesses to see how best the pastoral and spiritual needs of the locality can best be met. Colchester Borough Council has plans in the pipeline for a new community centre to be built on the western bypass plus land has been allocated for an Academy Junior school to be built. In time it may be that these can be a base for people to meet, talk and worship but at the moment Steve will be working from a blank canvas.
So that Steve can be at the heart of the new community the Circuit has invested in a new manse at 78 Robin Crescent, located near to the Western bypass road. This house will be largely paid for from the proceeds of sale of the manse at West Bergholt when the current letting agreement comes to its end.
At the same time our friends at Eight Ash Green Methodist Church, as part of exploring their future Mission and Vision, have decided that now is time for them to change the focus of their outreach. They will be joining Steve Swann in seeking to reach out to the people of Stanway and its growing community. As a result over the weekend of September 2nd to 4th we are all invited to share in a time of Celebration for the chapel and people at Eight Ash Green ending with a service on Sunday afternoon at 3 pm. The chapel may continue to be used while Steve and the congregation consider the best way forward. The Circuit Meeting is excited by this bold step in faith being taken by the Eight Ash Green church members.
As we all know there is a similar explosion of building taking place in Colchester north around the northern approach road and the Severalls Hospital site. Rev’d Ken Chalmers wishes to investigate the opportunities here together with other local clergy and organisations.
How does this affect Lexden? Very little – except that from September 1st the way in which Circuit Ministers share their pastoral responsibilities will change.
Rev’d Alan Jenkins will be the lead Presbyter for Castle, Wimpole Road, Wivenhoe and Mersea.
Rev’d Ken Chalmers will be the lead presbyter for The Ark (Highwoods), Mile End, Boxted and West Bergholt.
Rev’d Paul Howes has agreed to look after Lexden.
Rev’d Steve Swann will be caring for the congregation of Eight Ash Green as part of their joint venture into Colchester west.
A Team Ministry approach will continue and all the presbyters will be available to everyone and will be taking services in all the Circuit Churches as arranged on the Quarterly Plan.
We, at Lexden, are being asked to hold all of the exciting developments in our prayers, to provide a welcome where necessary and support wherever possible.