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St Stephen's to . . . St James (1970 - 2007)

It was with mixed feelings the 120 strong congregation at Buckhurst Hill left St Stephen’s church where they had been attending Mass for the last 37 years for the last time (before this we had worshipped at the health clinic in Buckhurst Way).

We have shared many celebrations over the years, from Baptisms and First Communions to special birthdays and Silver and Golden Weddings and some sad occasions too. However, for several reasons it had been decided that it was no longer possible for us to remain at St Stephen’s. As we had been offered a home at the St James URC in Palmerston Road, we reluctantly made the move up the hill.

Our last Mass at St Stephen’s was on Easter Sunday. After our celebration led by Fr Danny, it was ‘all hands on deck’ to gather our candles, hymn books, albs, collection plates, children’s liturgy equipment, etc and transport them up to St James.

On our first morning we were met by senior members of the United Reformed Church and some members of the congregation, who attended Mass with us and made us feel very welcome. Afterwards we were invited to join them for a cup of tea before their service at 10.30am.

As we need to start ‘from scratch’ each week, everybody needs to play their part in getting ready for Mass: at present we are muddling along together, learning what’s kept where and which key unlocks which door, but things will settle down shortly. As always we are looking for people to help out with the many jobs that need to be done, in particular we are looking for help with the children’s liturgy, also for sacristans and altar servers – training will be given. If there is anyone available who is musical and can help us out with singing/playing an instrument you will also be very welcome to join this lively and friendly community.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers whilst we start on a new journey together looking forward to the future whilst remembering and valuing our past. Thank you to all those who have contributed to the celebration of the Mass and have helped build our community over the years. 

Whilst not wishing to single out individuals, our special thanks must go to Peter and Joan Hayes who have unfailingly unlocked the door at St Stephen’s for us for the last 37 years and to Don and Mary Copping, whose inspiration, enthusiasm and generosity of spirit, helped shape our community for so long.

Chigwell Convent, Chigwell, Essex

Chigwell Convent is the motherhouse of the international Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 

Our mission is twofold and is summed up in this phrase of our founder, Father Victor Braun: 

Jesus Christ and the Poor

Through our service we seek to bring the love and compassion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus into the lives of poor people who are broken, sick or on the margins of society, especially those not cared for by others. Never losing sight of their daily struggle, we work with them to identify and transform underlying causes of suffering in a practical, compassionate way.

In all the countries where we minister (UK, Ireland, Zambia, Uganda, California, El Salvador, Colombia, The Philippines) we strive to be a faithful witness to the risen Lord who ‘came to serve and not be served’. 

We invite the laity to live and work with us as Associates for a defined period so as to hasten the coming of the Kingdom of God and give new life to our congregation.

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