WHY ARE WE HERE?
We aim to be a Christian presence in the community, to offer worship and prayer that will help people find meaning and purpose in their lives, and to help serve the spiritual needs of those who come to us.
At the centre of our life is the celebration of Holy Communion where we recall the death and resurrection of Jesus, because we believe that it is through this weekly celebration of God’s grace and love that we are built up in our faith. Our style of worship uses the best of the Anglican tradition and we are very fortunate to have an excellent mixed choir that greatly enriches our worship. We feel strongly that a properly ordered and dignified setting for the worship of God helps to give us the deepest experience of God’s grace and love.
Our Sunday Services are at 8 am (Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion 1662), and at 10 am (Sung Communion). On the fourth Sunday in the month we have Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer at 6 pm. Our Sunday Club (for children aged 4 and over) meets in the Church Hall on 3rd Sundays during Term time, and joins the Service towards the end.
During the week there are said services to which all are invited – Tuesdays at 9.30 am and Fridays at 1 pm. These are quiet and reflective and give us the opportunity to bring the needs of the parish to God. There is an intercessions board at the front of the church where people are encouraged to place their prayer requests, and if they wish, to light a candle.
We also believe that it is important to provide a variety of worship that tries to meet the needs of adults and children and so on the first Sunday in the month we have a Family Communion which is shorter, more informal and involves the children.
During Lent we meet together in a home group where we learn about our faith through discussion and prayer together. We also have a monthly discussion group - called A Question of Faith? – and a monthly poetry reading group.
Please see the diary page which highlights any special services and seasonal variations.
History and Architecture
The cost of building the Church was funded from a bequest from Miss Frances Wakeham who died on 14th March 1893. Miss Wakeham left £4,500 towards the building of a second Church in the Parish of Bocking. The design is by Victorian architect John Micklethwaite. Work began on 8th June 1896 and the nave, chancel and vestries being the completed first parts were consecrated by the Bishop of St. Alban’s (the Rt. Revd Dr. John Wogan Festing) on 18th June 1897.
Originally St. Peter’s was conceived as a single building to seat 300 people. However, it was felt that due to a possible increase in population, the Church needed the facility to be converted to seat 600. The early finances of the Church were such that the Church was often in debt and so no money could be raised to finance the building of a larger Church. To this day the Church has not been finished and just consists of the nave, chancel and vestries. The side aisles which were part of the original plan have never been completed.
The Church is built of yellow brick. The roof is surmounted by a belfry which was never finished. It has two bells which, silent for many years after being struck by lightning, have recently been rehung and are now in regular use. The visitor enters the Church by the south door and proceeds via a central aisle flanked each side with pews and five pointed arches. Above the small arches are five small windows (known as the clerestory windows). These windows are inscribed with the letters F and W (the initials of Miss Frances Wakeham).
The chancel contains a splendid oak screen carved by a local craftsman from Coggeshall. Behind the altar is the carved oak reredos. St. Peter’s is said to have some of the finest Edwardian carving in Essex. The organ pipes are situated above the vestry but face out into the Chancel. The organ console is just in front of the Screen. The choirstalls are situated in the chancel.
The roof is barrel vaulted with a number of interesting coloured bosses.
The most impressive architectural feature of the Church is the west window (see below). This is a fine example of twentieth century stained glass, by Leonard Walker. There are five lights (panels of glass) depicting St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John, St. Mary and St. George slaying the dragon. The central feature of the window is the risen Christ who is surrounded by angels. At the top of the window are various angels playing musical instruments and in the top centre of the window is a dove which represents the Holy Spirit
The east window, by Tower, is in the Kemp style – details below. The most recent addition to the Church is a bronze sculpture of St. Peter which is hung on the north wall. The bronze which is over five feet tall was a gift to the Church from a former vicar, to mark its centenary. The sculpture is by John Doubleday who lives in Maldon – please see photograph below.