Choirs

The Parish Choir is a member of the St Nicolas Guild of RSCM-affiliated choirs. Comprising boys and men, the choir sings at the Sung Mass and Choral Evensong on Sundays from a large and varied repertoire, performing a mass or canticle setting and a motet or anthem at each service.

 

Members attend RSCM events and courses and participate in the RSCM Bronze and Silver and Bishops' Chorister Senior Award schemes. Many are holders of the prestigious Saint Nicolas Junior Award and the RSCM Gold Award.

Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings, and the choristers also practise at 9.00am on Sundays, prior to the Sung Mass. They sing at Mass or Evensong on 1st and 3rd Sundays, Evensong on 4th Sundays and Mass on 2nd and 5th Sundays.


The choir has sung services in 18 different cathedrals (including a Mass in Westminster Roman Catholic Cathedral) and has appeared on the BBC World Service and on BBC1, GMTV and ITV. Members have also taken part in the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall and on BBC Songs of Praise. The choir has undertaken successful residential tours to Norwich Cathedral (2014), Sherborne Abbey (2016) and Salisbury Cathedral (2017).

 

The choir has made several recordings and also receives invitations to sing Evensong and for weddings in parish churches in the diocese. The choristers receive a free musical education through the operation of ‘Voice for Life’, the RSCM Chorister Training Scheme. New members from the age of seven are always welcome.

The Girls’ Choir was formed in 1994 currently practises on 1st and 3rd Sundays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to sing Evensong on 2nd and 5th Sundays and Mass on 4th Sundays.

Some girls participate in the RSCM Bronze, Silver and Bishops' Chorister Senior Award schemes and RSCM courses. The choir has been awarded the RSCM Proficiency Certificate.

The choristers receive a free musical education through the operation of 'Voice for Life’, the RSCM Chorister Training Scheme. New members from the age of seven are always welcome.

The Becket Singers is an adult liturgical chamber choir that sings at services on Good Friday and selected feast days. It also undertakes occasional concert commitments. Membership is by audition and rehearsals, which are arranged to support singing commitments, are normally held before each service.

 

The choir appeared in two ITV programmes in October 1999.

The Becket Consort of Voices is a small choir of students and postgraduates aged between 16 and 29, most of whom have progressed through the Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs. Some members reside at university so the choir’s commitments are mainly limited to university vacations.

Organ

The organ is a large 3-manual instrument with 41 speaking stops and 2,108 pipes.

 

It was originally built by Norman and Beard in 1897, with 6 more stops being added in 1908. No alterations were made until 1970 when the instrument was rebuilt and modernised by Brian Bunting.

 

A project to clean and repair this fine organ was undertaken in 1994 by Peter Wood.

 

A major overhaul of the organ has been completed by Nicholson’s of Worcester and the instrument was re-dedicated by the Archdeacon of Southend on 18th September 2011.

We are currently recruiting for Organ Scholars, please contact us for more details about this exciting opportunity.


Bellringers

Our Band

Currently (Nov. 2021) we are a small band of ringing members, both male and female, with ages ranging from teenager to near octogenarian.


Service Ringing and Practice Evenings

Our main weekly commitment is to ring from 9.30am before the 10.00am Mass on Sundays. In addition once a month we endeavor to ring on a Sunday evening from 5.00pm before the 6.00pm Evensong Service.


Practices are on Thursday evenings between 7.30 and 9.00pm when ringers from other local towers are welcome to join us and get the opportunity to ring on eight bells.

Interested in joining us?

For more information on how you can join the team, please contact Chris Bailey at c.bailey697@btinternet.com

Taster and teaching sessions can be arranged.

We ring for other significant national and local celebrations and memorials. To find out more as well as the full history of our bells, visit our bellringers page here.

Church Schools

We are proud at the high standards set at both St Thomas' / Becket Keys Schools


"Journeying together in faith and love"

Building a school with a distinctive Christian character

A school where each child is recognised as an individual, emerging adult and has their needs met in a school where faith is valued and central to daily life.


School Admissions

We enjoy close links with the Church Schools situated within our parish and you can find our more about their work and witness by clicking on the buttons below. The clergy regularly lead collective worship in our schools and celebrate the Mass with them either in school or in St Thomas and we value working with our young people as we help them develop their relationship with God through worship and prayer.

For many, this developing relationship brings them to seek confirmation, and confirmation classes are run within our Junior School after Easter preparing children of Years 5 and 6 for this significant step in their Christian lives

Like many schools with a distinctive Christian character, all our parish church schools have specific admission criteria and we encourage prospective parents to check these details carefully via the schools' websites as these criteria can change. Details of how and when to hand in SIFs are communicated at the appropriate time of the year.

Admission criteria of some sort apply to all local Church of England schools and most ask for details of parents' attendance and commitment to the life of the church community such as helping with the Clubhouse, fund raising events or being involved with the liturgy as servers, readers or bellringers.


If you need to prove attendance at St Thomas for the purposes of school admission please contact the Parish Administrator or one of the clergy so that you can be shown how to use our bio-metric scanner that we use to keep a register of attendance at every act of worship.

Friends of St Thomas'

The Friends of St Thomas' is a team of members from the congregation, ranging from young woring mums to church wardens, who work together to promote a sense of community within St Thomas' and to ensure a warm welcome to the wider community.

We host regular events most months ranging from an extended community time after Mass on a Sunday, through large scale colouring projects, cake sales, treasure hunts, gin tasting to a youth concert involving our church schools and an annual beer festival.

The Clubhouse

The Clubhouse is a new Sunday School which started in September 2019.Our objectives are to create a community amongst the children with some shared activities as well as activities split by ages.

At the Clubhouse, our aim is to encourage children to:

  • Learn Christian values
  • Learn Bibles stories
  • Be recognised for their achievements
  • Be part of church life

The Clubhouse is currently not active due to national restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upcoming Events

St Thomas' is host to many wonderful events and concerts throughout the year, please see below for future upcoming events

TBC

Date: TBC

Time: TBC


Archived Events

Event Name: Carols and Chilli around the Christmas Tree

When: Friday 16th Dec

Event Name: Nine Lessons & Carols

When: Sunday 18th December

Event Name: Christingle

When: Saturday 24th December

Event Name: Midnight Mass

When: Saturday 24th December

Event Name: Christmas Day

When: Sunday 25th December