The Church

COVID Update

I’m really sorry to tell you that this year we have to cancel our advertised Christmas services in church of Midnight Mass and Christmas Day. That also means that our churches in Writtle, Roxwell and Highwood will be closed until further notice.

We’ve had some guidance from the Diocese to ask us to move all services back online, as the mutant strain of Covid-19 is spreading very quickly throughout Essex. I know it’s late notice, but we’ve only just got the message ourselves.

It’s been a year of the big Traditions and Community Events being cancelled and we all feel the loss of them. But this Christmas the Song of Love from God to all will be heard in our homes instead of our churches. The technological marvels of telephone and internet will help keep us connected to some degree to those we love and miss. And in the silence of your own hearts listen for the cry of the tiny babe who calls to you and tells you that you are known and loved by the God who took the risk to become like one of us.. So, our online service schedule is as follows. Here’s the link to our Youtube channel

There is a host of other online services that you can access too, that will be well produced with music and carols and all the trimmings – something that we just can’t offer in our small setup I’m afraid.

God bless and keep you this Christmas, and I wish you every blessing as we look in faith and hope into the New Year.

Rev Tony

Roxwell church has been at the centre of the village, both geographically and spiritually for 800 years, serving and encouraging both young and old to come together and share in the love of God.

Unfortunately, during this time of the Covid 19 Pandemic, the church must remain locked.  We do have a Service of Morning Prayer every Wednesday morning at 09.30.  This service is led by a lay member of our congregation and lasts for about one hour.   On Sundays, there is a Service of Holy Communion at 10 am (except for the third Sunday when Communion is celebrated at 08.00 and is in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer.  At 10 am on the third Sunday there is a Service of the Word led by a member of our Worship Group).  At all times during services, social distancing is maintained and pews are appropriately labelled.  A one-way system for entering and exiting the church is in practice.  Track and trace forms are in those pews available, and a QR reader is displayed on the door for those who have downloaded the appropriate app.

A project to restore this beautiful building, ‘Restore the church, build the community’ is underway.  Firstly, the roof is in dire need of repair and it is hoped that work will start on the south facing slope in the new year.  There is much to do to make the church more accessible (when we hopefully move out of the pandemic) for community purposes, other than just services on Sundays.  Fundraising will be ongoing for a long time!

We are now fortunate to have as our priest in charge Rev. Tony Cant.  Rev. Cant is also the priest in charge of Writtle and Highwood.  He celebrates communion at Roxwell on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

For any further information about the church, want to report anything wrong or suspicious, or to arrange a baptism, wedding, or funeral, please contact:

Rev Tony Cant               01245 631078      (Priest in charge)
Mrs Marie Brookes        01245 248230    (Churchwarden)
Mr Glynn Eastman        01245 248228         (Churchwarden)

About The Roxwell Church Project

Our beautiful old historic church in Roxwell has a leaking roof and is on the 'at risk' register. We want to restore and develop the church to become the heart of a thriving community. The 'go-to' place for worshipers, visitors and locals supporting education and heritage activity.

Please help us rescue our church by donating what you can here or here

For more information about the project please get in touch

You will all appreciate that Covid-19 has hampered so many things. The church fundraising is no exception with many very promising events having to be put on hold, and of course, the roof and general refurbishment progress has been made more difficult. We could take up pages detailing everything that has gone on by zoom and email. Richard Woolley’s group is not only looking at the roof to decide upon priorities, design, specifications, tenders and permissions but also other necessary improvements to make the building a popular venue for many different uses for the next 50 years - which it has to be to justify the expense...
Renovation Update
Work of the Category A Group

Things are moving on with Roxwell church refurbishment. The category A group - so called as they are dealing with the Cat A stuff from the last Diocesan Quinquennial review - ie top priority – are progressing the work they did 6 months ago deciding on priorities and design of phase 1 which will be to refurbish the badly degenerated south face of the main isle roof. They are engaging an architect, but most of the design work was already carried out by Ben Downie for an earlier unsuccessful application a few years back, so it is likely he will continue. Then we have to get consent from Chelmsford City Council and Natural England, but we hope these are mainly formalities, go out for tender to at least 3 contractors and get a Faculty (Diocese approval). We had hoped for National Lottery finance to do a bigger area, but they are only funding Covid-19 related applications for the foreseeable, so we are having to adopt a more piecemeal approach until they return, but the wonderful news of a £20k award from FSJ Trust has spurred things on no end! The aim is to get work started within 6 months and they will soon begin to consider phase 2.

27/09/2020 - We're Off the Blocks!
Hi Folks, this is the email I have been hoping to write for some time. Two good things have happened, please read the short version at least and there’s more detail below:
Short Version
Roxwell church has been granted £20,000 by the local FSJ Trust, in recognition of the dire state of our roof, the iconic position of the church in the village centre and the growing public support which should secure its future. The PCC committee tasked with design, permissions and estimates has already decided to go ahead with part of the roof refurbishment.
More Detail
The church Fundraising group had contacted Fowler Smith and Jones, a relatively small Chelmsford based charity in Chelmsford a year ago and their administrator Alix Mason visited the church soon after to see and hear of the plight of the fabric and our resolve to put it right. Since then the Category A group, (so called because they are tasked with dealing with the most critical ‘A’ listed faults in the diocese’s Quinquennial report) who are a very capable group enthusiastically led by Richard Woolley, have been deciding on priorities, design, what permissions are necessary etc and how to secure a viable future for the building which cannot be maintained by the current ageing congregation. Roxwell church in future will still primarily be a church, but also will become a community hub holding events either too big or too small for the Memorial Hall – eg concerts and clubs. We have extensive plans for the refurbishment of the whole roof, heating, installation of a toilet, servery, audio etc and had hoped for a series of major grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund but the coronavirus pandemic has meant that for the foreseeable future they are not financing projects such as ours because of Covid related demands. But our roof will not wait that long; the south slope (facing away from the street) is in a particularly parlous state. Hence, at the PCC meeting a few days ago it was an agenda item to approve that we immediately prepare to at least renew that surface even if we did not secure a grant, realising that it would use up most of our reserves. We had been in frequent touch with FSJ but were not confident of success with an application for a substantial award as they too had many corona related calls. Thus it was a great surprise and delight to hear this week, just before the PCC meeting, that we were to be granted the £20,000. There are a few conditions, one of which work must start within 6 months, so a tight schedule to get architects approval, permissions, quotes and a contractor on site. The Cat A group must also now decide if we can attempt more than just the southern face because there is so much more we want and need to do, but this, at last, is a positive first step and the promise of the grant has enthused us all.

Delighted to have news of a gift of £1,000 from a parishioner to add to the church refurbishment fund. These anonymous gifts are so generous and generally in remembrance of a loved one.
There is more good news about the refurbishment, Although major grant funders, especially the National Lottery, are currently diverting resources to Covid-19 related needs, we are looking to re-group our local effort and consider the best way forward to be on the front foot when things return to something like normal. To aid us in this I understand the diocese, who see Roxwell church as a priority case for repair and hence help, have employed a lady specialist in grant funding bids and will allocate some of her time to Roxwell. This kicks off in September and is great news as the company this person previously worked for has an excellent success rate.