Our 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 - Winter Snow. Photo © Nick Clarke 2018
The three 'Layer' parishes are part of the Benefice of Thurstable and Winstree which came into being on 1st October 2013. The other six parishes in the benefice are Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree, Great Braxted, Messing, Inworth, Copford and Easthorpe.
The Revd Anne-Marie Renshaw, based at Tiptree, is Team Rector and has overall responsibility for leading ministry in the benefice.
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.
Details of our usual pattern of Sunday services are to be found on the Services page of this website. This pattern is subject to occasional changes, such as during special seasons in the church's year, so we do recommend that you regularly check for any changes by visiting the Forthcoming Events page of this website and looking in our monthly publications : the Parish Gazette, for services at Layer de la Haye, and Parish News for services at Layer Marney and Layer Breton.
What's On - Our Diary
For information about future events planned for our Layer churches we recommend that you regularly check the Forthcoming Events page of this site.
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
New Archdeacon of Colchester appointed
The Revd Ruth Patten, currently Priest in Charge in the Benefice of Great Dunmow and Barnston in the Diocese of Chelmsford, has been appointed as the next Archdeacon of Colchester. Ruth succeeds the Venerable Annette Cooper who retired in November 2018, and will begin her ministry as Archdeacon of Colchester in May. She is to be 'Collated and Installed' as Archdeacon of Colchester in Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday 12 May 2019. Please remember her in your prayers as she prepares for her new ministry and responsibilities. (Posted 10/02/19)
Preparation of New Electoral Rolls
This year each of our churches has to prepare a completely new electoral roll. Everyone will need to fill in a form to apply to be on the new roll, even if they are on the current one. You should be on the roll if you are over 16, are baptized and come to church. Being on the roll allows you to attend the Annual Meeting (APCM), and vote or stand for election to the PCC. (Posted 01/02/19)
'Food for Thought' - Lent Lunches and Conversation
Lent lunches will be held each Wednesday, from March 15th to April 10th inclusive, from 12 noon to 1-45pm. These will be at Heath House, Layer Breton (2 doors down from the Hare and Hounds pub).
You are warmly invited to join us. We begin with soup, bread and cheese and then read a short Bible passage (from the Beatitudes), discuss and pray together. Please let Lydia (738759) or Julia (330235) know if you plan to come so that we can cater accordingly. (Posted 01/02/19)
Preparing for Confirmation
The Benefice will soon begin preparing for the next Confirmation Service. If you are interested in being confirmed please contact Anne-Marie, our Team Rector. Enrolling for confirmation preparation will not commit you to going forward for confirmation - you can attend the preparation sessions and then decide whether or not you feel ready to be confirmed. For a little more information about this step of christian commitment see the page Confirmation (Posted 01/02/19)
2019 Layer Parishes Rogation Walk & Worship
This year the walk will take place on Sunday, 2nd June. It will start at Layer Marney church with breakfast from around 8-30am, followed by worship. Then we walk over the fields to Layer Breton Church where there will be light refreshments. The walk continues across fields to St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye, where it will conclude with a Service followed by a buffet lunch. On the way there will be the blessing of fields and gardens, crops, and a farmyard. We suggest you make a note of the date in your diary now. Everyone is very welcome to join us for this very enjoyable event. (Posted 01/02/19)
The Friends of St Mary the Virgin Layer Marney
The Friends of St Mary the Virgin Layer Marney has recently been formed to support this church. If you're interested in becoming a Friend, please contact Nick Charrington by calling him on 01206-330784 or email him (Posted 01/02/19)
Wedding Dress Exhibition
On the weekend of the 15th and 16th June there is to be an exhibition of wedding dresses in Easthorpe Church. People will be asked to display their wedding dresses for the weekend. More details are to come but please keep the date and let the organisers know if you would like to display your wedding dress. They will also need manikins for the displays; if you can help by lending one or more, they would be very grateful. Please contact Sue Collins (01206-211294) or email her email her or call Julie Worsam on 07887-690062. (Posted 01/02/19)
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.
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell
Bishop of Chelmsford
The Rt Revd Roger Morris
Bishop of Colchester
The Revd Ruth Patten
To be collated and installed on 12th May 2019
Revd Sally Lodge
Area Dean of Witham
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Page updated: 10 Feb 2019 at 18:04