Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 21st February

My Dear Friends

Although I have been thinking about the start of the Lenten season for a number of weeks, I discovered on Shrove Tuesday when I was preparing to make pancakes that I only had one egg, and that one I was saving for Robin’s breakfast. So this year, for the first time since I could remember I had no pancakes! That was a shame because I have always enjoyed Shrove Tuesday and the whole ritual of pancakes, the tossing and the races.  And now of course Lent is upon us.

During the past few editions of Ramblings and also in my Sunday reflections, I’ve been suggesting that we use the time of Lent for considering our journeys as Christians and indeed our life’s journey and some of its key events and moments. How did we reach this point in time? What do we want in the future when we have more opportunity for mixing and going out and are not constantly thinking about avoiding contact with others? One of the reasons why I’ve been suggesting this is that it is almost inevitable that there will be changes in churches and the patterns of our worship. All denominations and faiths have been affected financially and in the months ahead there will be some deep thinking and probably some difficult decisions. It is important that as far as we are able to, we all of us declare what we want, how we want to develop as a Christian community in the future, and to be active participants in this process of decision making.  

I have asked the wardens and some parish leaders to ask members of PCCs about what they would like to happen in the future. This is in preparation for a meeting that Sue and I will be having with Bishop Alan and with Archdeacon Steven on March 4th. But this poll of opinion is certainly not restricted to PCC members, and if you would like to express them, your views will be very welcome.

In addition to this, each Wednesday, starting from Ash Wednesday, Colin will be sending out a copy of the compline liturgy. When we have been able to have Wednesday meetings in the past we have often ended with this, a quiet thoughtful and prayerful end for a busy day. Also on a Wednesday we will be sending out mid week reflections and other materials for you to have available. These and the well publicised services on social media, and radio and television throughout Lent will go at least some way to giving us opportunities for thought and prayer during the next weeks.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 21st February, First Sunday of Lent

Readings: Genesis 9 v 8-17, Psalm 25 v 1-9, 1 Peter 3 v 18-end, Mark 1 v 9-15

Collect: Almighty Father, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weaknesses, so may we know your power to save, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Sunday 28th February, Second Sunday of Lent

Readings: Genesis 17 v 1-7, 15-16, Psalm 22 v 23-end, Romans 4 v 13-end, Mark 8 v 31-end

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Fr Dermot Preston

10.00am BBC1 - The Big Questions, discusses issues ethical, moral and religious

11.00am BBC1 - Lent Worship, Revd Mark Bradford leads a service in St Cuthbert’s Church, Preston

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise with Katherine Jenkins exploring faith in L’Abri fellowship, Hampshire

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, a service for Ash Wednesday in the chapel of St John’s College, Cambridge (2019)

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 14th February

My Dear Friends

I hope you are doing something special today, it being by tradition the day for love and lovers! I looked up a bit of information about St Valentine and discovered some quite interesting information. He was recognised as a saint in the third century after his martyrdom on February 14th. He was a clergyman in the Roman Empire and he ministered particularly to Christians who were being persecuted.  From the Middle Ages, his day has been associated with a tradition of courtly love, and I did wonder how this had come about. Apparently, many of the legends associated with Saint Valentine were invented in the C14th by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle. One of these stories was based on the belief that birds started to pair in mid-February so it was appropriate that the date of Saint Francis’ death should be remembered as a time of romance and love. True or not, I think it’s a sweet thought.

As I am writing this, the other thing that I’m aware of is the drop in temperature, and in Scotland to more than -25 degrees. This is bringing back memories of when I was living in Scotland and the temperature went down to -18. There were a lot of frozen pipes, including our own, deep snow, and impassable roads in blizzard conditions for nearly a week. It brought out the best of community living where we shared fires, baths and food, in the village where we were living. Of course, here today is not as cold as further north, but I do hope that people are keeping warm and cosy and not going short of anything they need.

Well, we’re one week further on and closer to the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday being February 17th. You may remember that in the last couple of weeks of these ramblings, I have been suggesting a kind of review of our Christian journey. The last time I included some questions which might serve to trigger the memories. I would like to continue with this theme and wonder if you might begin to think about your life in the church community itself. Some, I know, will have lived all their lives in one of the parishes that have been brought together as the Shellrock Benefice. Others have been residing in different parts of the country and have experienced contrasting styles, traditions and perspectives on church and church life. Again, some have grown up in a different denomination and they will have their own understanding of churchmanship. I believe all these opportunities for reflection are useful in that they highlight what we have personally valued in our membership, what we have perhaps turned away from, and looking into the future, where we would want to go from here. I hope you might give yourselves a few minutes for reflection on these things and as we move into Lent there will be other things that I will suggest. 

But before signing off, and without wanting to embarrass them, I do know that Sharon and John certainly took advantage of the romance of Valentine’s Day! They are today celebrating a rather special wedding anniversary. Congratulations to you both, and I hope you have found a way of remembering such a special occasion. 

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 14th February

Readings: 2 Kings 2 v 1-12, Psalm 50 v 1-6, 2 Corinthians 4 v 3-6, Mark 9 v 2-9

Collect: Almighty Father, whose Son was revealed in majestybefore he suffered death upon the cross: give us grace to perceive his glory, that we may be strengthened to suffer with him and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Wednesday 17th February, Ash Wednesday

Readings: Joel 2 v 1-2, 12-17, Psalm 51 v 1-18, 2 Corinthians 5 v 20b – 6 v 10, Matthew 6 v 1-6, 16-21

Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:   create and make in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Sunday 21st February

Readings: Genesis 9 v 8-17, Psalm 25 v 1-9, 1 Peter 3 v 18-end, Mark 1 v 9-15

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Revd Richard Littledale

10.30am BBC1 - The Big Questions, discusses issues ethical, moral and religious

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise with Sean Fletcher at Ripon Cathedral for the start of Lent

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from the chapel of Clare College, Cambridge

Lent

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.  Some of you may already have decided on a Lent discipline; some of you may think you have already had enough of discipline these past 12 months!

In the absence of attending church services, maybe you would like to consider holding a daily service of Compline.  This lovely short service is the perfect way to end a day and may facilitate any time you wish to use for reflection.  An order of service will be sent out each Wednesday in Lent together with the readings for each day.  There may also be additional material for you to use.  If you are interested, then please look out for the email.

If there is anyone who wishes to have a copy of the email but does not have internet access, then please let me know, preferably by telephone, and I shall endeavour to get a copy to them.

Colin

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 7th February

My Dear Friends

By the time you read this, I imagine that more of you will have received your first dose of vaccine and I hope that you’re beginning to see and sense the light appearing at the end of a dark tunnel.

Lent is one week closer, and in last week’s Ramblings, I mentioned the idea that we might do something together, even though we are physically separated. Some of you will remember that as children we often used to be encouraged to give up something important for Lent. Like Jesus in the wilderness, we were to be tempted and then learn to resist our favourite chocolate bars! Whatever the customs we have grown up with, I see Lent as an important time for personal reflection and of learning more about our faith.

This year, since we are unable to meet except distanced from each other, it can be a useful opportunity for quiet reflection and drawing on our memories. Last week I put forward the idea that we could gather some examples of our reflections, in the form of written comments, poems, art or whatever, that might be brought together as our community Lent reflections when we are able to meet again.

This is an opportunity not only to think about our individual faith journeys but also what we want church to be in the future. I have no doubt that the expression of church WILL change in the months and years ahead and rather than passively accepting what might be on offer, I think that it is better to express preferences now,  and try to shape what will be right for us in the future, as different parishes and community as a whole.

I am offering some headings below. You don’t have to use these, but I know that is often easier when stimulated by questions, or topics to consider. This week, I’m suggestion that you spend some time thinking about the start of your Christian journey. This may have been in childhood, or much later. You might enjoy bringing together   some things from the past and pondering on their influence. Do you have a copy of your Baptismal certificate, for example, or any photos taken of that time, or pictures of your God-parents?. Of course, it may have been much later that you came to call yourself a Christian. Whatever the thoughts, just take a note so that at some later date we might be able to discuss these influences. In later weeks we can be looking at other aspects of the journey and experiences in the gathered Christian community, or church.

  • Earliest memories
  • Christening
  • God parents
  • Sunday school
  • School assemblies
  • RE in school
  • Confirmation
  • Routes into belief
  • Talk/ instruction from parents
  • People of influence

Have a good week, and my love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 7th February

Readings: Proverbs 8 v 22-31, Psalm 104 v 26-end, Colossians 1 v 15-20, John 1 v 1-14

Collect: Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit, reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever. Amen

10.30-11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Sunday 14th February

Readings: 2 Kings 2 v 1-12, Psalm 50 v 1-6, 2 Corinthians 4 v 3-6, Mark 9 v 2-9

10.30-11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Revd Henry Lu of the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission

10.30am BBC1 - The Big Questions, discusses issues ethical, moral and religious

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, Gospel Singer of the year, the Final

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Truro Cathedral (February 2016)

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 31st January

My Dear Friends

Almost as soon as the crib and Christmas decorations are down and packed away, we are rushed on to think of the next “season” which of course is Ash Wednesday and Lent. It is unlikely that we’ll be able to do as we usually do for Ash Wednesday, or to hold evening discussions during the Lenten season. There are plenty of resources available for those who have access to the internet and who enjoy browsing, and each week in Ramblings there will be an indication of some of these on the internet or television or radio that people might use and enjoy. But I also know that there are others who haven’t access, or really don’t like using such distanced materials.  Because of this the ministry team has been speaking together about how we might observe Lent this year.

I have been thinking quite a lot over the past few weeks about something that we could be doing together even when we necessarily are separated. This is what I have thought as a possibility.

One day when I was browsing in one of our churches (it was Rockland St Peter) I looked again at the photographs that had been lovingly and carefully brought together representing “church” over the years. Some of the photos were taken in the church at a service; there were many that were showing people and activities outside the building, on the street, in gardens, at dances, special events, and shared meals. These photographs show people meeting; a church in action.

Many of us have had a lifetime of contact and involvement in church; others are newer to it; some are still searching. I am suggesting that it may be useful for us as individuals to think about our faith, and try to find a way of expressing it so that when we are able to meet again, we might be able to discuss and share. The following are just a few examples of possibilities: compose, or write down the words of a favourite poem, write a letter to a friend, draw a cartoon, paint a stone, start a piece of embroidery, reflect and commit to paper thoughts about a piece of scripture that you have found inspiring, or describe in some form some experience that has been important. It really doesn’t matter what the content is, because each will have value and will be saying something about our experiences of life as individuals as well as our journey together as a community. All of these things have value, and we can listen and learn from each other. 

I would like to think that when we are able to meet again in person, we will be able to share these things and bring them together to keep for posterity as a record of our Lenten journey in this extraordinary year.  The buildings may be empty but the church as people can remain as active as ever and be ready to share when able.

Also, each week during Lent, in these Ramblings, I shall be suggesting some questions which I think are useful to be asking as we think ahead to our life together as a church community.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 31st January

Readings: Malachi 3 v 1-5, Psalm24, Hebrews 2 v 14-end, Luke 2 v 22-40

Collect: Almighty and ever-living God, clothed in majesty, whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple, in substance of our flesh: grant that we may be presented to you with clean and pure hearts, by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Sunday 7th February

Readings: Proverbs 8 v 22-31, Psalm 104 v 26-end, Colossians 1 v 15-20, John 1 v 1-14

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs Sunday 31st

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Revd Stephen Forde

10.30am BBC1 - The Big Questions, discusses issues ethical, moral and religious

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, Gospel Singer of the year Pt1

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from St Paul’s Cathedral (January 2011)

Lent

It is hard to grasp that Lent starts in just over two weeks, Ash Wednesday is 17th February.  As Christina has indicated, for those who wish to use this time for some form of study or reflection there will be some resources made available in the Ramblings.  And who knows, by Easter life might even be a little easier.

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 24th January

My Dear Friends

In the midst of the worries about the pandemic and its consequences which have become part of our now normal everyday experience, my resolution at the turn of the year was to try to think positively about something each day. And I would like to share several things that I felt positive about this week.

Yesterday, as I was returning home at around 4.0 pm from making a funeral visit, the sky was ablaze with crimson and scarlet. It was indescribably beautiful, and I stopped travelling, just to sit and enjoy the scene. And true to the rhyme about “red sky at night ----", today the sky is blue and cloudless; lovely for a walk later.

This morning, I joined a long queue at Thetford for the first of my two vaccinations. Just being there, seeing the efficiency with which people were being shepherded through, gives a positive indication and hope that we may be able to meet face to face again. I am continually aware of the enormous achievement it has been to develop and have ready not just one but several vaccines to help all of us throughout the whole world.  

Earlier this week I spent time watching the inauguration of President Joe Biden and was moved to tears. I confess to have been dismayed and indeed frightened by what had happened on January 6th. The powerful words spoken by the new president give room for hope that there will be a real creative change in the USA with a move towards peace and reconciliation, working for the good of all, rather than the urge to conflict and division which has been predominant in America for the past four years. What happens in America of course impacts on much of our world, including our own country.

So, for myself I have been able to hold on to some positives as the end of the week approaches. I am, however, aware that for many, the sadness, the anxiety, and sometimes the despair continues. I shall be praying for all those whose lives have been so badly affected by the pandemic and its economic consequences. 

Until further notice we shall continue to have the opportunity to pray together at St James in safe surroundings on a Sunday at 10.30 am. There will be a service sheet and written reflection circulated each week for those who would like to use this material for their own quiet times.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 24th January

Readings: Genesis 14 v 17-20, Psalm 128, Revelation 19 v 6-10, John 2 v 1-11

Collect:  Almighty God, whose Son revealed in signs and miracles the wonder of your saving presence; renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power; through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,    in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Tuesday 26th January

16.00 Benefice Team Zoom meeting

Sunday 31st January

Readings: Malachi 3 v 1-5, Psalm24, Hebrews 2 v 14-end, Luke 2 v 22-40

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this coming Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Canon Sarah Snyder and Rev Julia Hedley

10.30am BBC1 - The Big Questions

* 1.15pm BBC2 - Songs of Praise, Aled Jones celebrates 60 years of SOP

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from the church of the London Oratory

* Note the change of channel to make way for football; what else?

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 17th January

My Dear Friends

I know that some of you will have already seen the letter from Bishop Graham which came in yesterday. So that there is no risk of misunderstanding, I am including it below. I believe that we should take his guidance seriously.

On Sunday morning at St James, the church will be open from 10.30 for private prayer and reflection. There will be a priest present in the church saying the morning office at this time, but there is no obligation whatsoever to participate in this. 

Above all else it is important that people look after themselves and others around them. 

My love to you all

Christina

From Bishop Graham James (12th January 2021)

To the Licensed Clergy and Churchwardens of the Diocese of Norwich

Dear Colleagues,

Further to my letter of 5th January it is hugely worrying that the cases of Covid, along with admissions to hospitals and the tally of death, continue to rise in Norfolk and Waveney. The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said yesterday, "The most important thing is that people take the current rules very, very seriously. We shouldn't do anything outside them, and in fact, even within them we should be doing our level best to minimise unnecessary contacts. That will help relieve the pressures in the next few weeks."

As you will know, the Government currently allows worship with a congregation physically present in the church building. Whilst this is still permissible, it is increasingly becoming inadvisable. Around 90 per cent of our churches in the Diocese are not now having worship with a congregation physically present and many have moved back online for the coming weeks. Yesterday the Dean and Chapter took the decision, with a heavy heart, to do this at the Cathedral. I am grateful to all our churches for grappling with this question and making careful choices, but as the situation changes unfortunately we have to revisit these decisions.

I would now strongly encourage all incumbents, churchwardens and PCCs not to have physically present worship (except funerals and urgent marriages) in the next few weeks. The risks are now too great, even with all of the precautions that we have so painstakingly put in place. I hope that as many church buildings as possible will remain open at some point during the week for the solace of individual prayer, following the guidance and after a risk assessment.

Notices

As Christina has written in her reflection, the serious situation in our Norfolk hospitals and in many homes due to Covid-19 has prompted the Bishop of Norwich to strongly advise us to cease services of worship in our churches.  Our ministers have accepted this advice and cancelled all the Sunday services scheduled for St James, Great Ellingham.  The clergy will continue to say the Morning Service in church at 10.30am but without a congregation.

As the church will be open during this time you can attend but for private prayer only.  All the usual Covid-19 precautions are to be adhered to and there is to be no participation with the service held by the clergy.

The Morning Service and Reflection will continue to be distributed with these Ramblings each week.

There are many who are experiencing firsthand what it is to be infected by this virus.  Even for those who are fortunate to not end up in hospital, it can be a very unpleasant experience and long lasting.  So keep safe.

Those aged 80 and over should be contacted very soon to organise their vaccination.

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service reflection and prayers are here

Sunday 17th January

Readings: 1 Samuel 3 v 1-20, Psalm 139 v 1-5, 12-18, Revelation 5 v 1-10, John 1 v 43-end

Collect

Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory: through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Sunday 24th January

Readings: Genesis 14 v 17-20, Psalm 128, Revelation 19 v 6-10, John 2 v 1-11

10.30am to 11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship from All Saints, Leighton Buzzard

10.30am BBC1 - The Big Questions. Nicky Campbell debates moral, ethical and religious issues

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, focussing on ‘Faith in Action’

 3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford

Parish Magazines

Many of you may already know that the publisher of the Ellingham Pump and the Rocklander has reluctantly decided that it is no longer financially viable to continue producing these two parish magazines and that the February edition will be the last.  Whether or not these magazines continue with another team remains to be seen, but rest assured the Shellrock News and the Ramblings will continue in one form or another.  We will keep you informed of any developments.

Both these magazines have a very strong link with the church, so if anyone has any comments or suggestions please convey them to a member of the Ministry Team or simply send an email via the benefice admin.

The Shropham Grove will not be published in February.  Further information when it is received.

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 10th January

My Dear Friends

When I was quite young and out on a long walk with someone, I often used to get very tired. One way of keeping going was to say to myself “only as far as the next tree ------only as far as the next lamp post ------- only as far as that green gate ------" until I arrived home with great relief. It feels a bit like that now, with the way we are managing time. I remember last year when we didn’t have Easter in church thinking, well there’s always Pentecost and then ------ it will surely be OK by Harvest -------. Now into 2021; are we going to be back to normal by the summer?

In my reflections for this Sunday’s service at St James, inspired as I was by the story of the Magi and their visit to the infant Jesus, I speak about journeys. I guess we all had hoped that a journey into relative normality would have been rather shorter than it clearly is going to be. Hearing our prime minister last evening speaking about the third lock down and the rising incidence of the infection, I recognised that he was probably preparing us for a rather long way still to go.

This morning I received a pastoral letter from Bishop Graham and in it he writes: “ ------ On this eve of the Epiphany, I was drawn during my morning prayers to travel alongside the Magi on their long journey of hope. Their guiding light led them forward until it stopped over a house in Bethlehem and they were ‘overwhelmed with joy’. My prayer is that we will be guided through what may feel a long Epiphany journey, travelling hopefully, and holding the overwhelming joy of Christ in our hearts.”

Everyone without doubt is doing their best in their different ways and although we can no longer meet face to face, we can think of each other, be in touch by telephone, or e-mail, and always to continue to care.

My love to you

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service reflection and prayers are here

Sunday 10th January

Readings: Genesis 1 v 1-5. Psalm 29, Acts 19 v 1-7, Mark 1 v 4-11

Collect: Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory: through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen

10.30am St James Great Ellingham - Morning Service

Sunday 17th January

Readings: 1 Samuel 3 v 1-20, Psalm 139 v 1-5, 12-18, Revelation 5 v 1-10, John 1 v 43-end

10.30am St James Great Ellingham - Morning Service

There will be no ‘Open Church’ in Little and Great Ellingham churches until further notice.

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Martin Palmer, CEO Faithinvest

* 12.25pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Claire McCollum

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Ely Cathedral

* moved to accommodate football!!

Diocesan News

The Diocese emails out regular eNews items.  Here is one about the leaving service for Bishop Jonathan:

Join us online for Bishop Jonathan's leaving service

On Sunday 24 January at 3.30pm, as a diocese we will bid farewell to Bishop Jonathan. Bishop Jonathan will preach at a service which will be live streamed from Norwich Cathedral. Gathering together online we will give thanks for the many gifts Bishop Jonathan has shared with us during his time here as Bishop of Lynn and during his extensive and varied ministry in the Church. We will also send Bishop Jonathan and Rebecca away with our love and prayers and with God’s blessing for their next adventure together.
 
Due to the current restrictions, numbers in the Cathedral are very limited and so we have to restrict them to those who are taking part in leading the service. However, wherever you are in the diocese, country, or even the world, we invite you to join us online as we will live stream the service on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel. Click here to join or you can search ‘Norwich Cathedral Services’ on YouTube.

For more eNews and other information relating to the Diocese, including live streams, go to their website:

https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org

 

 

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Colin

Happy Christmas from the Ramblings editor

Christina's Ramblings are in the nex article below...

This will be my last Ramblings for 2020.  It has been my pleasure to keep these Ramblings going during this strangely different year.  Thank you to Christina for her weekly offerings and to everyone for any contribution, however small, they have all been gratefully appreciated.  For all the comments and expressions of thanks I have received, I thank you all.

We have managed to keep ourselves positive throughout the various lockdowns and restrictions; more or less.  The world has not come to an end and we are still here, if a little battered and bruised.  Many of us will have not seen or held loved ones for many months now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and we give thanks for that too.

Sadly some of our dear friends have not made it to this Christmas, maybe through no fault of Covid but simply by the cycle of life itself.  The fault of Covid has been to make it hard, if not impossible, for us to say goodbye in the manner in which we would have liked; so difficult after so many years of friendship.  This Christmas period may be a good time to remember them and their loved ones.

So we look forward to the New Year and maybe new beginnings.

As the vaccination program kicks into gear and more of us become immunised against this horrible virus, we can look forward to the slow dawn of recovery.

Brexit will have changed our relationship with our nearest neighbours though we do not know the extent of that yet.

For our church this may also become a time of change.  Like many other organisations, finances have been squeezed and already the diocese has announced that expenditure needs to be reduced.  One of the first casualties appears to be ‘The Magazine’ which has ceased publication.  Whatever the future holds, let us face it together in true Christian fellowship.

I wish you all a very Happy and safe Christmas.

Colin

The ‘Star of Bethlehem’?

Listening to the radio on Friday, I heard some details of the crossing of Jupiter and Saturn as seen from earth over the next few days.  These two planets will be at their closest on 21st December appearing in the sky as a bright light.  Apparently, whilst planets crossing is fairly common, these two planets have not been this close for 800 years so we shall not see the like again.  Some believe that this occurrence could have been what produced the ‘Star of Bethlehem’ 2000 years ago.  If you are interested then here is the link to the BBC website for further details:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55364664

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 20th December

My Dear Friends

This is the last Ramblings before Christmas Day, a day which is going to be different for a great many people. I had a conversation with someone today about what they were going to do and eat “on the Day”. The same as usual was the reply. But of course, for so many people it will definitely NOT be as usual. The hoped for meeting with family members and friends who have not been seen for a long while is still not possible, and there will be heartache.

Last evening I attended an on-line talk from the London Jewish museum about Hanukkah. This is a festival of lights which celebrates the re-capturing of the temple in Jerusalem from Syrians. The story goes that when the Jews went to the temple, they found it in ruins. They repaired it and re-dedicated it to God by lighting a special lamp, a symbol of God’s presence. But, they only had enough oil for a single day. Then a miracle happened; the light stayed alight for 8 days. Today, throughout the world where Hanukkah is celebrated, it is for 8 days, this year from December 10th to 18th, and each day a different lamp is lit.

Light and the symbol of light is important for Christians too.  Each week in Advent we light another candle. The first represents the Patriarchs, the second the Prophets. Last week the third candle was lit to remember John the Baptist, and this Sunday (20th) we will be thinking of Mary, as she is preparing to give birth to Jesus. On Christmas day we light the fifth and last candle. Jesus has been born and the world is changed for ever.

So, the ritual of lighting lamps or candles is highly significant for both Jews and Christians. But I also think that, even without perhaps realising it, such acts have a wider cultural significance. We light candles for a birthday to signify that this person who has been born into the world is important, is significant, is loved. To the mystics and also to the Celtic church of long ago there is a sacred light in everything and everybody, if we were only to realise it. And however small the source of light might appear to be, we are able to kindle it through acts of kindness.

We have had some very difficult days in the last year and lockdown for many has been almost unbearable. It has been hard to find hope. But in the midst of all this, there have also been many acts of kindness which have brought light into the darkness and given that much needed glimmer of hope. As we move into these days before Christmas let us think again of Jesus and hold Him in mind and heart as the light of the world. His shining is unquenchable.

 

I shall be thinking of you and plan to be in touch in different ways with as many people as I can. Some, I know will be alone, by choice or otherwise. Others will be with some family members, but sorely missing others. Whatever the circumstances, you will be remembered at this Holy Time. 

My Love to you all,

Christina

Sunday 20th December

Readings: 9 lessons

3.00pm St James, Great Ellingham - Nine Lessons and Carols

Tuesday 22nd December

11.00am – 1.00pm Open Church in St Peter Little Ellingham

6.00pm Blessing of the crib service, St James Great Ellingham. An outdoor carol service; wrap up warm and bring a torch.

Wednesday 23rd December

6.00pm ‘Carols around the Porch’ - St Peter Little Ellingham. An outdoor carol service; wrap up warm and bring a torch

Thursday 24th December

6.00pm Christmas Eve Holy Communion - St James Great Ellingham

Friday 25th December

10.30am Christmas Day Holy Communion - Shropham

Sunday 27th December, First Sunday of Christmas

Readings: Isaiah 61 v 10 – 62 v 3, Psalm 148, Galatians 4 v 4-7, Luke 2 v 15-21

10.30am St Peter, Little Ellingham - Morning Service

Sunday 3rd January

Readings: Isaiah 60 v 1-6, Psalm 72, Ephesians 3 v 1-12, Matthew 2 v 1-12

10.30am Rockland St Peter - Morning Service

There will be no Open Church in Little and Great Ellingham until the new year.

Broadcasted religious programs over this Christmas period

Sunday 20th

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship from St David’s Cathedral

11.00am BBC1 - A service from Winchester Cathedral

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, The UK’s favourite carols

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Hereford Cathedral

Christmas Eve

3.00pm Radio4 - A festival of nine lessons and carols live from King’s College.

5.30pm BBC2 - ‘Carols from Kings’ from King’s college Cambridge

Christmas Day

8.00am Radio2 - Good Morning Christmas with Revd Kate Bottley

9.00am Radio4 - A Christmas service

10.00am BBC1 - Christmas Day Eucharist live ,from The Church of God Prophecy, Birmingham

1.00pm Radio3 - A festival of nine lessons and carols repeated from Christmas Eve

Sunday 27th

8.10am Radio4 - Sunday worship with the Archbishop of Canterbury

9.10am BBC1 - A service from Llandaff Cathedral

1.20pm BBC1 - Songs of praise with Mica Paris

3.00pm Radio3 - Choral Evensong from the Chapel of Royal Holloway (repeat)

There are many religious and religious themed programs over the Christmas period.  These are just some of the regulars so please check your program schedule for more details.  Happy watching and listening.

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 13th December

My Dear Friends

I start with a confession! I am a great fan of the BBC and in noting this, I am aware of taking the risk of entering some current controversies! When I was a child, I used to listen avidly to all the serials such as “Journey into Space” on what was then the Home Service. I still like serials and particularly the serialisation of books that are on programmes like Book at Bedtime. I heard one such a few weeks back, an amazing and beautifully written account about fungi. What I found particularly intriguing was the description of the dependence and interdependence of all life forms, including ourselves, on fungi. And this morning as I was travelling from a to b, I heard Melvin Bragg’s panel discussion and that was equally interesting. The subject was Methodism, its early history with John Wesley, its emergence from the Church of England, its development over time, and its position now in relation to other denominations.

Why, you may wonder, am I rambling on about radio programmes? Well, for a long time, I have been saddened at the way in which people from different approaches to the practice of being a Christian cannot seem to comfortably work together, learn from each other, and share more resources. Some things certainly are shared. For example, up and down the country at Christmas time we will still hear ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, written by John Wesley’s brother, Charles. And in many parts of the county there are Councils of Churches such as I experienced when living in Scotland where individual churches come together to work on major community projects. But the barriers remain, and have sometimes appeared to be insuperable. It seems that a fundamental aspect of life itself, interdependence, becomes lost, and to our detriment.

Throughout this last year when Covid 19 has been the dominant factor in almost all our lives, we also have had the time to consider different ways of doing things in the conduct of living together on this earth. The environment and climate change are just examples, but there are many other aspects of every-day living, minor and major, that could be changed for the better.

One of the things I look forward to and pray about for the forthcoming year is that there will be more working together. We have seen the benefits of this over and over again during the past months: neighbourhoods, including in our own benefice, where communities have risen to the challenge of caring for the housebound; people reaching out to each other in love and friendship; a new awareness of the impact of isolation on mental health; and much more. It is my prayer that these positive aspects of living together will not be lost but rather will be used as a foundation for what can be achieved. I also pray that some of the differences which have kept denominations apart can be resolved so that we can come together in our worship and in our practical action. After all, we are one in Jesus Christ, and as the hymn says “we have a gospel to proclaim”.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 13th December
Readings: Isaiah 61 v 1-4, 8-end, Psalm 126, 1 Thessalonians 5 v 16-24, John 1 v 6-8, 19-28

10.30am Rockland All Saints - Morning Service

Tuesday 15th December
11.00am – 1.00pm Open Church in St Peter Little Ellingham

Thursday 17 th December
11.00am – 1.00pm Open Church in St James, Great Ellingham

Sunday 20th December
Readings: 9 lessons

3.00pm St James, Great Ellingham - Nine Lessons and Carols

Tuesday 22nd December
11.00am – 1.00pm Open Church in St Peter Little Ellingham

Wednesday 23rd December
6.00pm ‘Carols around the Porch’, St Peter Little Ellingham - an outdoor carol service, bring a torch

Thursday 24th December
6.00pm Christmas Eve Holy Communion, St James Great Ellingham

Friday 25th December
10.30am Christmas Day Holy Communion, Shropham

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday
8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship
11.30am BBC1 - A service from Royal Holloway, University of London
1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, ‘Revd Kate Bottley visits a Winter Wonderland experience in Norfolk’ (Thursford to us) and more.
3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Durham Cathedral

Kathryn’s cakes
Thank you to everyone who ordered a cake during October/November.  I baked 9 cakes in total - with the most popular being a Lemon Drizzle!  It was enjoyable, so if anyone would like me to bake for them, I will happily do so.   (Sorry, won't be able to make a fruit cake for Christmas though!)  Thanks to all the donations, including some from my colleagues at work and my birthday money from relatives, I have raised £207.99.
This will be donated as £70 each to Mary's Meals, Christian Aid and Toilet Twinning.

Very many thanks for your support.

Kathryn

 

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Sue

Shellrock Benefice Facebook

Attention – Facebook users

The Shellrock Benefice has a new Facebook profile in addition to the website. Anyone who has an interest in the parishes of Gt. Ellingham, Little Ellingham, Rockland St. Peter, Rockland All Saints, Shropham and Snetterton is welcome to join. We already have nearly 30 members.

If you have any news items, photos or thoughts relevant to these churches please post on the page, although anything not appropriate may be removed by admin.

Now we are out of lockdown and can worship in our churches again we will be posting details of Christmas events. There are not so many this year, and some will be outside, but we hope to bring Christmas joy to as many people as we can. The Facebook page, for those that have it, is an instant way of communication. I look forward to seeing your name join the members already there.

Yours in anticipation,

 Sue

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 6th December

My Dear Friends

What a relief it was to have news that after this second lockdown we would be able to hold services again. And as long as we continue to be careful, we can now sing outside, although as is the case indoors, only in small groups and without any congregation or bystander involvement.  Do please look out for all notices relating to carol singing. There will be posts in various places and it will be good to air our lungs again quite apart from letting people know that, yes, we are around as a gathering of Christian people.

So the door has at least been partially unlocked and for a lot of us we can breathe a sigh of relief. And even more good news: care homes will be receiving the vaccine as priority enabling their residents to receive visitors not seen for far too long; and a number of us throughout the benefice are in those age groups which will be invited for a vaccination within the next few months. I think it is wonderful that so many scientists throughout the world have been co-operating to produce safe and effective vaccines. I read with interest in last week’s Church Times about the philanthropy of Bill Gates who has spent untold millions in supporting this work of development. It was Bill Gates’ choice to do that, and although he can’t hear me, and I won’t write him a letter, in my heart I thank him, and perhaps others, for their philanthropy.

Maybe much less dramatic, and unrecorded, we too have choices in the way we react to events and the general business of living, both the positive and the not so positive. Particularly taxing this year are the choices we make about Christmas because we remain restrained in what we are able to safely do. So, how we prepare, and how we celebrate the birth of our Lord are of particular importance.   

And as if we needed reminding, some are without the ability to make informed choices because of their poverty and their hardship. All of us are assailed by information leaflets and posters about the needs of so many different groups that it is hard to know where to start. I certainly stare in bewilderment at some of the statistics and also at the heart rending pictures. Can what I do or give really make a difference? But then I remember these words which I read quite a time ago:    

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”. (Margaret Mead)

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference you’ve never been to bed with ….. a mosquito”! (Anita Roddick)

This year we have seen many reports of hardship and an appalling increase in hunger and homelessness. I have decided to end with one of the poems which I recently came across from a Shelter publication. It was a salutary reminder and it moved me to tears and a wish to do something.   

A hymn for shelter

Each year we sing with bated Christmas voice,

As if events in Bethlehem were nice;

When men from house to house had shut the door,

And Mary in a shed her baby bore.

 

Forgive us, Lord that things are just the same,

That Christ is homeless under another name;

Still holy families to cities come,

Where life is sick and sore in crowded slum.

 

Lord, make it clear that joy will be denied,

Unless the door into our life stands wide;

That even with our tables richly spread,

Our house of life is short of living bread.

 

Give us, O Father, restlessness of soul,

Till right is done and life is healed and whole;

Keep us impatient till the time has come,

When all your children are on earth at home.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 6th December

Readings: Isaiah 40 v 1-11, Psalm 85 v 1-2, 8-end, 2 Peter 3 v 8-15a, Mark 1 v 1-8

10.30am Rockland St Peter - Morning Service

Tuesday 8th December

11.00am – 1.00pm St Peter Little Ellingham - Open Church for Private Prayer only

Thursday 10th December

11.00am – 1.00pm St James, Great Ellingham - Open Church

Sunday 13th December

Readings: Isaiah 61 v 1-4, 8-end, Psalm 126, 1 Thessalonians 5 v 16-24, John 1 v 6-8, 19-28

10.30am Rockland All Saints - Morning Service

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship

10.30am BBC1 - A Very Country Christmas – Advent preparations

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, the final of BBC Young Chorister of the Year. A slightly longer version is on Radio 2 at 9pm

3.00pm - Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

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Cath

Christingle service - cancelled

Christingle service - cancelled

We are really sorry but we won’t be able to hold the annual Christingle service this year at Rockland All Saints, for obvious reasons! But next year, hopefully, we will be back! Stay safe!!

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 29th November

My Dear Friends

Sunday 29th is the start of Advent, the time when we are thinking about the forthcoming birth of Jesus. It has always struck me as strange that we should change to the new liturgical colour of purple in Advent. But as we will be looking at the readings throughout the season, it makes sense to be reflecting deeply on our personal response to this most wonderful event in world history.

As with the important other festivals earlier in the year when we were unable to have the usual celebratory services in church, it is sad that again we won’t be together for this Advent Sunday. However, we could remember the day (and the weeks ahead) in our own homes, perhaps by lighting a candle and placing it on a windowsill in a prominent place. ‘Wake up and Watch Out’ are the themes of Advent as we find them in the hymns for the season.

Although this Sunday there will be no service, those thereafter will take place and on 6th December we shall be at RSP for a benefice family service. We shall also be having a service of Nine Lessons and Carols on December 20th at St James at 3.00 pm. The Wymondham choristers will be singing the carols, and there will be one or more people from each parish reading the lessons. Several people have already asked me if there has been any change in the rules about congregational singing. At this moment in time I don’t know but I hope there will be; it will be a wonderful gift if we can sing again, especially those much loved and well known carols. 

Some of you will have seen tributes following the death of the former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sachs. He was frequently on “thought for the day” with a wonderful minute of reflection.  When I worked in St Joseph’s Hospice in London I was lucky to be able to meet and hear Lord Sachs. He was a frequent visitor because we had quite a number of patients who were Jewish. I would certainly agree with the tributes published about this extraordinarily wise man.  Bishop Michael Ipgrave wrote in his tribute that Lord Sachs “was able to speak truth into British and global society in such a way as to enlighten and enrich many, many people beyond as well as within the Jewish Community. The Prince of Wales described him as a light unto the nation.”

Earlier in this week I came across a lovely prayer sent from the diocese and I’m going to include it here, before I finish.

‘Lord it is night, and the night is for stillness…’  a prayer from the New Zealand prayer book

Lord, it is night. The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

In your name we pray. Amen

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 29th November

Readings: Isaiah 64 v 1-9, Psalm 80 v 1-8, 1 Corinthians 1 v 3-9, Mark 13 v 24-end

10.00am to 11.00am  Shropham                               Private Prayer

Daily                           St James, Great Ellingham     Private Prayer

Tuesday 1st December

11.00am – 1.00pm      Open Church for Private Prayer only, in St Peter Little Ellingham

Thursday 3rd December

11.00am – 1.00pm      Open Church in St James, Great Ellingham

Sunday 6th December, Second Sunday of Advent

Readings: Isaiah 40 v 1-11, Psalm 85 v 1-2, 8-end, 2 Peter 3 v 8-15a, Mark 1 v 1-8

10.30am                   Rockland St Peter               Morning Service

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

 8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship

10.30am          BBC1               Sunday Worship for Advent from Brecon Cathedral

12.20pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise, boy’s semi-final of BBC Young Chorister of the Year

3.00pm            Radio 3            Choral Evensong, from the chapel of St John’s College, Cambridge. A service for Advent with carols

COVID-19 rules

There is still little information available to enable us to plan how the church will operate in December and Christmas in particular.  The parish magazines will have a list of planned services and we hope these, at least, will be allowed to go ahead.  However there are other issues which need clarifying before we can be confident that what we would like to do is possible.  So for the moment, we assume that what was in place before this lockdown will be in place once it finishes on 2nd December.

Shellrock Benefice Facebook

The benefice is now on Facebook, courtesy of Revd Sue Strutt.  For those of you who are familiar with this particular social media you should have no problems finding it.  For those of us who are less familiar, Sue will be providing details in the next edition of the Ramblings.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 22nd November

My Dear Friends

I am writing this following this afternoon’s funeral of Clive Partridge. Driving home I was thinking of Clive and his family and of all the other people who had died during this difficult time, as well as the bereaved.  Funerals stay in the memory long afterwards and it is always important to do our best and to give as much love and support as we can. We shall continue to pray for those who may still be experiencing the pain of loss. 

During our first lockdown a lot of people re-discovered the simple pleasure of listening to the birds, previously muted by the sound of passing traffic. And those who had outside space took delight in bringing their gardens into shape after sometimes periods of neglect. The joy of fresh air without pollution from diesel fumes was another gain. This time round though, of course it is different. Although we are encouraged to take daily exercise in whatever  way we can, with the colder, wetter, and windy weather, much more of our time is now spent within our homes, wondering and indeed worrying about family members not seen for many months. I had been wondering how people have been managing the cold, shorter days and longer nights without the communal activities which keep us in touch with each other as well as being a source of pleasure. I spoke to someone this afternoon who was working from home and he was emphasising the isolation of the experience, this being so for many people.

This last week I personally have been busy, but have hardly moved from the chair (very unhealthy). I’ve been on Zoom, sometimes four times a day, and I know that there are some who have been similarly occupied. Whoever would have heard of Zoom this time last year and yet now, we are almost – well not quite—taking it as the new reality that almost all business will be transferred through this medium, and for several months to come.

One of the zoom meetings I attended was the Bishop’s annual study day. The theme was artificial intelligence (AI).  When I heard what the topic was going to be, I did wonder why this had been chosen. But it was an extremely interesting and thought-provoking morning, led by a Dr Poole who has been working on the theological implications of AI for some years. The 180+  participants, by yet another miracle of technology, were divided into break-out rooms and asked to consider such questions as “what do you understand by the soul?”, highly relevant given that robots created by humans will be taking over many of our everyday functions. Over the years, all faiths are going to be challenged by the growth of AI and the way in which machines will manage an increasing number of activities hitherto the preserve of human beings. No easy answers but plenty of challenges.

The other zoom meetings I’ve attended have been about preparing for Advent and Christmas and the year ahead. Yes, it is almost upon us!  (I was quite shocked to receive my first Christmas card today, and it wasn’t from overseas.) A lot of the most popular services where churches have been full will no longer be possible and we will need to think creatively about how to ensure that our celebration of the birth of our Lord remains as an expression of joy. In some ways, needing to think differently might in itself be an important lesson, not just for this year, but also for the future. Sometimes, we grow accustomed to, and enjoy all the familiar routines, rituals and patters of worship. With more limited and constrained resources, we are forced to think hard about the central core of what we are trying to do. Whatever, we will together do our best.

I have been in touch with several people by phone and e-mail this week and will continue to do this until such time as I can again visit, which I hope will not be too long after December 2nd

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 22nd November

Readings: Ezekiel 34 v 11-16, 20-24, Psalm 95 v 1-7, Ephesians 1 v 15-end, Matthew 25 v 31-end

10.00am-11.00am Rockland  St Peter - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Tuesday 24th November

11.00am–1.00pm St Peter Little Ellingham - Open Church for Private Prayer only

Sunday 29th November

Readings: Isaiah 64 v 1-9, Psalm 80 v 1-8, 1 Corinthians 1 v 3-9, Mark 13 v 24-end

10.00am-11.00am Shropham - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, live from Holy Trinity, Manchester

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Katherine Jenkins

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Chichester Cathedral

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 15th November

My Dear Friends

Another week in lockdown, but quite an eventful one, locally and internationally. First of all, to speak of what’s happening within our own Benefice.  We have had the sad news of the death of Clive Partridge, Pat’s brother in law. The funeral will be at St James on 19th at 2.00 pm. My present understanding is that numbers attending will need to be limited but we can and will be remembering the whole family in our prayers.

Again locally, our schools have been dealing with a great deal. It has been increasingly stressful for all staff, and indeed everyone involved with children and the ongoing work of keeping the environment safe for them.  When we hear that those we know have been found to be positive for the virus, it tends to raise alarm. But provided we all keep to the same care in all we do, we should not be unnecessarily frightened.

Last Sunday saw a good turn out of people for the Remembrance services that it was possible to hold outdoors on a blessedly warm day. As we know services with a congregation present have to be suspended until December. No church leader, from the archbishops down, has been happy about this, and there has been a concerted effort to persuade the government that church services were as safe as it was possible to be; but ---- there you are. For the next few weeks there will be only opportunities for private prayer in churches for anyone who would like a period of quiet meditation (see below for times). 

Looking away from our benefice to what is happening in the world at large, last week I reported on the uncertainty around the result of the election in America. Well we now know that we have a president elect, Joe Biden, and I pray that the time until his inauguration will not be too disruptive.  I am relieved that at least this uncertainty is behind us, and the leaders of nations, including our own, can begin to come together to look at some important issues facing everyone on the globe. I am encouraged that Joe Biden is concerned about climate related issues and hopefully this can move rather higher on the agenda in terms of priorities and further planning.

Another piece of news which impacts on us all is the apparent success of the vaccine development programmes. I was immensely relieved to hear this news and am thankful to all those who have been working so hard, throughout the world, to make the end of the pandemic a real possibility.

Between now and next Ramblings, I shall be in touch by phone and/or e-mail and PLEASE, if any of you want to call me, don’t hesitate. Because we are not meeting face to face, and are not having services, communication of news can become a bit random and I don’t always get to hear what is happening to various folk. Be assured though that you are all in my thoughts. 

My love to you

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 15th November

Readings: Zephaniah 1 v 7, 12-end, Psalm 90 v 1-8, 1 Thessalonians 5 v 1-11, Matthew 25 v 14-30

10-11.00am Rockland All Saints - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Tuesday 17th November

11-1pm St Peter Little Ellingham - Open Church for Private Prayer only

Thursday 19th November

2.00pm Funeral and burial of Clive Partridge, St James Great Ellingham

Sunday 22nd November, Sunday before Advent, Christ the King

Readings: Ezekiel 34 v 11-16, 20-24, Psalm 95 v 1-7, Ephesians 1 v 15-end, Matthew 25 v 31-end

10-11am Rockland  St Peter - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship,

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning live

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Aled Jones on singing, his life and his faith

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Ely Cathedral

Foodbank

The Foodbank is always grateful for the generosity of everyone who contributes to their store of provisions.  They are especially short this week of the following items if anyone is contemplating what to donate:

Jam   Tinned fruit   Sponge puddings   Tinned tomatoes   Long life fruit juice   Sweet snacks   Instant mash   Custard

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 8th November

My Dear Friends

There is a climate of uncertainty affecting all of us at the present time. Last week I mentioned the American election and hoped that by the time I next wrote my part of Ramblings we might have a clearer picture of who was going to be the next president. But this hasn’t happened and I continue to think of and pray for the people of America caught up in the tumult. And of course we ourselves are living with on-going uncertainty because although assured that this second lockdown will be over on December 2nd, this cannot be guaranteed.

It is with sadness that I am writing this because after our churches were able to open again, and then to hold services, it was good to get together and to share, albeit with less freedom than normal. Week by week there had been an increasing number of people coming to the benefice services in each church by rotation. Apart from this Remembrance Sunday when there will be very brief services at Deopham and at Rockland (see below for detail) services must cease until at least December 6th which is the first Sunday after the end of this second period of “lockdown”.

The churches will be open for private prayer according to the schedule below and I would very much encourage you to use this time for reflection, whether in the building of the church or as a quiet time at home. There is a great deal to be found on all church related websites and some very helpful programmes, and services.

I am circulating the letter below which came yesterday from our two archbishops. I am never certain how many people access these communications and I thought it was a particularly helpful letter, practically, as well as written with compassionate concern. We certainly need times of reflection and prayer. There is so much going on in the world; some things are quite awful, other things are evidencing the other part of our human nature, the capacity for self - sacrificial love.

With my love

Christina

A pastoral letter from the archbishop of Canterbury and of York

To the nation 4 November 2020

Dear Friends,

These are deeply challenging and difficult times for us all. When we are surrounded by fear and suffering, it can be hard to feel hopeful. This coming winter feels like it will be longer and darker than usual. There is a story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples are caught in a storm. The disciples are understandably terrified as the wind and waves threaten to overpower them. ‘Why are you so afraid?’, Jesus asks. This year, we too have been caught in a storm which often feels overwhelming. And yet we can look to Jesus, in the boat with us, who calms the storm and comforts us in our fear. We are writing to share our belief that whoever you are, and whatever you happen to believe, you are loved by God. Beyond measure. We also want you to know that we are praying for you, particularly asking that Christ’s love will comfort us, calm our fears, and lead our nation and our world through this terrible pandemic.

Starting this week, we have asked every church to pray each day at 6pm. We invite you to join with us. You’ll be able to find simple resources on the Church of England website and social media channels. There are three other responses that we want to encourage everyone to consider –

First, let’s be calm. By only buying what we need and not hoarding, or by reaching out to our neighbours as we did during the first lockdown, we can be stronger together in ways that are impossible if we go it alone. When things go wrong - as they always will with such complex challenges - let us look for good and right ways forward together.

Secondly, let’s be courageous. There are many reasons to be fearful at the moment, but the story of Christ calming the waves calls us to give our fears to Jesus and have faith in Him. The British willingness just to get on with things is one of our very best characteristics – let us not be paralysed by fear. We will all need each other's courage in the months to come.

Thirdly, let’s be compassionate. So many of us are holding so much pain - our own and the pain of those we love. We will need to be gentle, kind and patient with each other. In the first wave we showed we are a nation of compassion and kindness. Let’s dig deep and keep that love for our neighbours strong in this second time of struggle. Even though there is much darkness around us, there are also many points of light in the weeks ahead.

This Sunday is Remembrance Day. As we remember the courage and sacrifice of those who gave everything for this nation in war, we are also reminded of the possibility for hope after destruction, of new life after suffering. In the coming weeks, there are great religious ceremonies. For Hindus, Sikhs and Jains there is Diwali, the festival of light. Sikhs will celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak. The Jewish community will observe Hanukkah. Many Muslim communities have just celebrated Eid-e-Milad, the anniversary of the birth of Muhammad.

Soon it will be Christmas. At his birth Jesus was also called Emmanuel. It’s a word that appears in lots of carols. It means ‘God is with us’. And this is the message of Christmas: in Jesus, God is with us, sharing our darkness and our struggles, bringing comfort and joy. It is the source of our hope. As the Bible says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5) Let us shine in the darkness of this winter.

May God bless you and keep you, and all those you love.

The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby

The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 8th November

Readings: Amos 5 v 18-24, Psalm 70, 1 Thessalonians 4 v 13-end, Matthew 25 v 1-13

10.00am to 11.00am Rockland St Peter - Private Prayer

10.00am St James, Great Ellingham - Act of Remembrance (outdoors)

10.45am Deopham Airfield - Remembrance Service, followed by St Peter, Little Ellingham Act of Remembrance (outdoors)

3.00pm Rockland St Peter - Remembrance Service at the memorial garden on The Street

Tuesday 10th November

11.00am – 1.00pm St Peter, Little Ellingham - Private Prayer

Sunday 15th November

Readings: Zephaniah 1 v 7, 12-end, Psalm 90 v 1-8, 1 Thessalonians 5 v 1-11, Matthew 25 v 14-30

10.00am to 11.00am  Rockland All Saints - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, a service of Remembrance from RAF Cranwell

10.15am BBC1 - Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Aled Jones

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Durham Cathedral

Lockdown

Regular Sunday Services have been cancelled for the duration of this (hopefully) short lockdown.  There will be no Sunday Service provided, though the readings for each Sunday will be given as usual.  Our church buildings will be open for private prayer at specified times.

If you wish to link in to some local church live streams and podcasts here are some links:

Norwich Diocese local live streams https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/news/live-streams/

Norwich Cathedral Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRDpIc368n8DrfB6kH7hYvw/videos

Remembrance Sunday is allowed to go ahead outdoors as planned with strict COVID regulations

Open Church for the Ellingham churches is suspended until after lockdown, though St Peter, Little Ellingham, will be open during its normal time for private prayer.

St James, Great Ellingham will be open each day for access to the exchange store which has been moved from the porch into the church.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblings - 1st November

My Dear Friends

It hardly goes without saying that we all have different preferences in literature, art, and many other things. Music as an example: some love jazz, others much prefer classical baroque. So it is with the different liturgies that are used in the Church of England. In a benefice such as our own with five different churches, cultures and traditions, we try to accommodate and respect as wide a number of preferences as possible. And perhaps, more today than 50 years ago, we are fortunate in having variety, of style, of language, of mood. We all know that music is normally an important part of our Sunday services and we miss our communal singing. For some people their preference is for songs rather than hymns, and small music groups with guitar rather than an organ. Others love the “English choral tradition” most strongly represented in cathedrals. In the Shellrock Benefice, we have plenty of variety in our music but it is quite a long time since we have had sung psalms and anthems in any of our churches. So it will be a special treat for those who enjoy this tradition to hear the Wymondham Choristers at 10.30 at Rockland Saint Peter.

Because we are all different we have our own unique ways of grieving when someone close to us dies. I know that many people make regular visits to a grave and are comforted . Others do not do this, but have other ways in which they remember a loved one. Some of you will know that I worked in St Joseph’s Hospice in the East End of London for around 12 years. As you might imagine, this was a multi cultural area with 76 distinct languages spoken in the catchment area of the hospice. Working there reminded me of the variation in people’s response to grief and mourning. Although there have been attempts to develop a “theoretical model” to describe the grieving process, in fact there is no right way. In Shellrock, on Sunday, there is an opportunity to express in our different ways thoughts and feelings about family and friends who have died. From 1.00 – 3.00 Sue will be at St James Great Ellingham and I will be at Rockland St Peter to help anyone who calls to remember a loved one in their chosen way; to be quiet, to light a candle, to speak to Sue or me, to say a prayer, --- whatever is needed.

I have spoken about the importance of respecting difference and choices above, and these have an important impact on all our lives. I have been aware for several weeks now that the American election will be on Tuesday. Millions have already voted and more will do so on the day itself. I pray that whatever the outcome, it will be accepted without the destructive conflict which has been so strongly predicted. My thought will be with the people of America on Tuesday and the days that follow.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 1st November
Readings: Revelations 7 v 9-end, Psalm 34 v 1-10, 1 John 3 v 1-3, Matthew 5 v 1-12
10.30am Rockland St Peter - Morning Service
1.00pm – 3.00pm St James, Great Ellingham - In Memoriam
1.00pm – 3.00pm Rockland St Peter  - In Memoriam

Tuesday 3rd November
11.00am – 1.00pm St Peter, Little Ellingham - Open Church

Thursday 5 th November
11.00am – 1.00pm St James, Great Ellingham - Open Church

Sunday 8th November
Readings: Amos 5 v 18-24, Psalm 70, 1 Thessalonians 4 v 13-end, Matthew 25 v 1-13
10.00am St James, Great Ellingham - Act of Remembrance
10.45am Deopham Airfield - Remembrance Service, followed by St Peter, Little Ellingham Act of Remembrance
3.00pm Rockland St Peter - Remembrance Service

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.00am Radio Norfolk Sunday Worship

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, for All Saints Day

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning Live

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Claire McCollum

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford

Remembrance Sunday

Due to the COVID restrictions placed upon us Remembrance Sunday will be different this year. Rockland St Peter will have their usual service during the Sunday afternoon. For the Ellingham churches, the limitations put on the St James Scout Group means it is not possible to hold the service in church. Consequently it has been decided to hold the main service outdoors around the Deopham airfield memorial to allow for social distancing. There will be an Act of Remembrance at the war memorials of St James, Great Ellingham and St Peter Little Ellingham. Not entirely satisfactory considering our normal routine but these are not normal times.

Maurice Briggs

For anyone who wishes to pay their last respects to Maurice, his funeral is on Wednesday 4 th November and he will be travelling from his home in Little Ellingham at 11.30am.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 25th October

My dear friends

I’m sure that each of us has a different perspective on what has been happening since March. For some, even though missing the companionship of colleagues, it has been a relief to work from home and not to travel on crowded buses and trains. For others, as the months have continued, so has their anxiety, about many different things, but particularly about an actual or potential loss of income. It’s been an extremely difficult time and is likely to continue to be so. There is more poverty and hardship in rural areas than perhaps we realise and I hope we can, as individuals and communally think of how we might help in practical ways those already vulnerable families, hit hard by the economic by-product of the pandemic.  This is the gospel in action.

In church, we have continued our services each week. I for one have really appreciated the way in which the separate churches have come together so that each service becomes an act of worship for the whole benefice.  We have been cautious so far, but on the 15th of November we will be having our first service of Holy Communion since March and the people I have spoken to who have missed their weekly communion will be delighted.  

The other thing that people have missed is the opportunity to sing well-known and much-loved hymns as a congregation.  It is so much part of our religious culture that this has become a real hardship. I make regular enquiries of the diocese and of colleagues about when this ruling will be relaxed. Because of such restrictions, it is particularly welcome that we have two small groups, all physically distanced, who can sing during a service. Colin with his music group on the second and fourth Sundays and a small selection of the Benefice Choir on the first and third Sundays have made a lot of difference and I am grateful to all who have helped to enrich our services in this way.

On the subject of music, Sunday 1st November will see a rather larger choir singing for us during Morning Prayer at Rockland St Peter, starting at 10.30. This is a new group of singers, the Wymondham Choristers, and they already have an excellent reputation for the quality of their singing. They offered to participate in our service, and I welcomed them.

In the afternoon of November 1st there is an opportunity at RSP and at St James to remember family and friends who have died. Both churches will be open. Sue will be at St James and I shall be at RSP.  And from now until Christmas there will be an increasing number of notices of church related events advertised in the Rockland Shop, in the Great Ellingham post office, in the magazines and the Shellrock website.

Although as priests, Sue and I have a specific role, as do our Readers, Colin and Carol, the work of the whole Benefice is something we all share. We do not want to dictate what and how things happen. We want to hear your suggestions, comments (both positive and negative), and your requests. Please do not be shy; I can promise you that we are genuine in asking for your ideas and will respect and listen. This is how we grow and develop.  

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 25th October

Readings: Leviticus 19 v 1-2, 15-18, Psalm 1, 1 Thessalonians 2 v 1-8, Matthew 22 v 34-end

10.30am St Peter, Little Ellingham - Morning Service

Tuesday 27th October

11.00am-1.00pm St Peter, Little Ellingham - Open Church

Thursday 29th October

11.00am – 1.00pm St James, Great Ellingham - Open Church

Sunday 1st November

Readings: Revelations 7 v 9-end, Psalm 34 v 1-10, 1 John 3 v 1-3, Matthew 5 v 1-12

10.30am Rockland St Peter - Morning Service

1.00pm – 3.00pm St James, Great Ellingham - In Memoriam (see advert below)

1.00pm – 3.00pm Rockland St Peter - In Memoriam (see advert below)

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.00am Radio Norfolk - Sunday Worship

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, from St Martin-in-the-fileds

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning Live

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, Remembering Black History

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Croydon Minster

Revd Ron Farthing

Most of you probably know that Revd Ron Farthing sadly died this month.  It has been announced that his funeral is to be held at 1.30pm on 3rd November in Wilby parish church.  If anyone wishes to attend his funeral, there are a few places available; please contact Carol Bennett to reserve a place.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 18th October

My dear friends

It’s been a difficult week for quite a lot of people, locally and in the country as a whole. In our own locality, two of our friends and loyal church members have died. Some of you will remember Rev Ron Farthing who, amongst many other activities, started the Fellowship group which Carol Bennet now leads. After becoming increasingly frail, he moved away from Great Ellingham to be with his daughter. He reached the age of 93 and has died peacefully after being ill for a while. The other loss has been more sudden. Maurice Briggs has been the very efficient treasurer at St Peter’s Little Ellingham. He died without warning as a result of a heart attack earlier this week. I remember Maurice with much affection for his wonderful Scottish accent and for his somewhat excruciating puns which livened up all our meetings. Can we please remember the families of Father Ron and Maurice during the weeks ahead?

Nationally the news of larger numbers affected by the Covid19 virus and the attendant increase in restrictions has been very hard for people in Liverpool and the parts of the country so badly affected.   Norfolk, so far, has been relatively spared, but we perhaps might spend a moment thinking with some compassion about those who are suffering many physical, economic and social concerns elsewhere in the country.

We had a very useful ministry team earlier this week and have now more or less confirmed a programme of services and activities leading to the end of the year. But as I think I mentioned last week in Ramblings, it is not too late to put forward your ideas and we are always pleased to have your thoughts about how to proceed with the services and other Advent and Christmas activities.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 18th October

Readings: Isaiah 35 v 3-6 or Acts 16 v 6-12a, Psalm 147 v 1-7, 2 Timothy 4 v 5-17, Luke 10 v 1-9

10.30am Rockland All Saints - Morning Service

Tuesday 13th October

11am – 1pm Open Church in St Peter, Little Ellingham

Thursday 15th October

 11am – 1pm Open Church in St James, Great Ellingham

 Sunday 25th October

Readings: Leviticus 19 v 1-2, 15-18, Psalm 1,1 Thessalonians 2 v 1-8, Matthew 22 v 34-end

10.30am St Peter, Little Ellingham - Morning Service

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.00am Radio Norfolk - Sunday Worship

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, Eucharist live from Croydon

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning Live

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Aled Jones

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Canterbury Cathedral

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 11th October

My Dear Friends

I am starting to write this week’s ramblings on 6th October which is the 10th anniversary of my ordination as a priest. It has of course given me cause to remember and think about those 10 years: the gains, the losses, the changes in our churches and in the communities which we serve. Several will have seen a family member married in one of the Shellrock churches and maybe the joy of a new grandchild brought to baptism. Others will know the pain and the sadness of loss following the death of a person dear to them.

Often at a decade, as a span of time, it is good to take stock of important life events. It is also a time to look at the way our churches have grown or changed and to ask ourselves about the way ahead. Today this is a question that is particularly focused and poignant. We have together witnessed so much change in what has been possible in our worship as a result of the pandemic. We have been restricted in the numbers of people it is possible to bring into the church for events such as weddings; after a service, we can longer be free to enjoy the chat and exchange of stories which are always such a lovely and important part of our coming together; any kind of outreach or new project has to be very carefully thought about and quite a lot of the new initiatives which we would normally have been discussing in our PCCs have had to be been put on hold.

So how do we move ahead in a climate of restrictions which will last for several more months into the New Year?  This is the sort of question that is constantly before the church as a whole, and it is certainly present in the minds of our own ministry team. The four of us will be meeting next week to look at the next three months of benefice services and activities, and will be coming back with at least some ideas to share, if not a strategic plan!  As we all know the three months leading up to Christmas are particularly active in the life of the church as a total community and we want to do our very best to enable each event and service to be a special occasion within the constraints.

We shall be letting you know as soon as possible what services are going to be possible and any additional precautions that need to be made. One particularly joyous service has already been agreed. November 1st is the celebration of All Saints Day and there will be a special Choral Morning Prayer at RSP to mark this occasion. Although we still can’t sing as a congregation we can still enjoy listening to first class choral singing. The newly formed Wymondham Choristers directed by Rob Goodrich will be singing at this RSP service at 10.30 am. The next week will be Remembrance Sunday and there again will be the opportunity to remember those who gave their lives for peace. Details of this will follow soon.

There remains much to be thankful for, and to think and pray about in the weeks ahead. I do hope that any particular wishes and ideas you have, you will feel free to let us know, by e-mail, by phone or indeed after one of the services.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 11th October

Readings: Isaiah 25 v 1-9, Psalm 23, Philippians 4 v 1-9, Matthew 22 v 1-14

10.30am St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

Tuesday 13th October

11am – 1pm Open Church in St Peter, Little Ellingham

1.30pm Ministry Team meeting

Thursday 15th October

11am – 1pm Open Church in St James, Great Ellingham

Sunday 18th October

Readings: Isaiah 35 v 3-6 or Acts 16 v 6-12a, Psalm 147 v 1-7, 2 Timothy 4 v 5-17, Luke 10 v 1-9

10.30am Rockland All Saints - Morning Service

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday include:

8.00am Radio Norfolk - Sunday Worship

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, led by the Bishop of LLandaff

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning Live

2.00pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Claire McCollum

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Wellington Cathedral, New Zealand

A Birthday wish from Kathryn Donald

In November I will reach a 'milestone' birthday!  Normally such occasions require cake - but this year, as we all know, is a little different.  However, I would still like to celebrate, of sorts, so I have decided to bake and raise money at the same time.  My usual cake creation is a Victoria sponge (raspberry jam, no cream!) but due to lockdown this repertoire has expanded to include a lemon drizzle and a ginger cake.  Therefore, if you would like a home-made cake - in return for a donation - I am happy to provide this.  Depending on demand, I will do this until mid November.  My chosen charities are Christian Aid, Tearfund and Mary's Meals.  All three provide support to some of the poorest in the world through food, shelter and clean water, among other things.  Please either ring (01953 456525) or drop me an email (sunflowerjones at hotmail dot com)  and I'll discuss a suitable date for delivery!

For more information on the charities: 

https://www.christianaid.org.uk/

https://www.tearfund.org/

https://www.marysmeals.org.uk/

Best wishes, Kathryn x

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 4th October

My Dear Friends

We are now into October and are already thinking about the “special” events and services that happen in the Autumn, as well of course as the lead up to Advent and the start of the New Year in the Church. The ministry team will be meeting over the next couple of weeks to start looking at the kind of changes we will need to make in the light of our present circumstances, so please do watch out for any forthcoming announcements . Also, please, if you have any ideas, do let us have them. Sue and I were present at a diocesan webinar yesterday specifically on preparing for Advent and Christmas. It was helpful to hear all the creative ideas being put forward by people, especially those in rural areas like our own. We need to “think outside the box” and the more we work together the richer it will be, I am sure.

October also sees us looking particularly at the subject of mental health and I have included below a website with some useful contacts for us all.

Sanctuary Mental Health - https://www.sanctuarymentalhealth.org

The pandemic has had a serious impact on the mental health of very many people and not just on those who have previously experienced periods of depression or other types of distress. Often people are reluctant to admit to their feelings of disease and it is useful to have as many resources as possible for help. Perhaps this month we can pray particularly for those who are feeling mentally unwell, whether this is a long-standing disorder or a passing situational problem.

Also, October brings the start of the new term for those of our children and grandchildren who have left home for colleges and universities, some for the first time. Let us remember them in our prayers, as well as members of their families who might be concerned about their young people away from the relative safety of home.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 4th October

Readings: Isaiah 5 v 1-7, Psalm 80 v 9-17, Philippians 3 v 4b-14, Matthew 21 v 33-end

10.30am Rockland St Peter - Morning Service

Tuesday 6th October

11am – 1pm Open Church in St Peter, Little Ellingham

Thursday 8th October

11am – 1pm Open Church in St James, Great Ellingham

Sunday 11th October

Readings: Isaiah 25 v 1-9, Psalm 23, Philippians 4 v 1-9, Matthew 22 v 1-14

10.30am St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.00am Radio Norfolk - Sunday Worship

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, led by Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the CEO of Christian Aid, exploring the Black Lives Matter.

2.00pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, Revd Kate Bottley visits the people and places that have shaped her faith

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Guildford Cathedral.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 27th September

My Dear Friends,

I don’t know about you but I’m afraid my heart sank when earlier in the week we heard our prime minister speaking about a continuation of the constraints for at least another six months, with a possibility of a further lock down. I couldn’t help thinking of our parents and grandparents who had to keep themselves sustained in very frightening circumstances throughout the war years. They did it; and we will too. But let us hope and pray that it will not be as long as predicted and that a vaccine will become readily available sooner than had been thought.

In the meantime, we carry on with our services, being in touch by phone and e-mail, and meeting when it is possible to do so. We had a lovely harvest gathering at Shropham on Sunday 20th, the church looking beautiful, some children bringing up gifts of produce and a small group of choristers singing the words of the well known hymns. Each of our Sunday services is a “Benefice Service” and I am pleased that there have been between 15 and 25 who have attended each week from the whole benefice. This doesn’t sound many, but I also know that amongst us there remain some who cannot go out by reasons of health, and others who are still quite nervous.

On Thursday afternoon, we held the funeral for Hazel Skitmore at RAS. After a wet day on Wednesday, we were greeted with sunshine and warmth for the funeral itself. The congregation of RAS and the village of Rockland have now lost three well known and much loved members. We mourn with them.

There are an increasing number of rules and recommendations for us to get used to in our daily lives and sometimes it can be confusing. People have been asking me about the new regulations of this week and which are applicable to church activities.  I am adding below, verbatim, some of what I have managed to glean from the Church Times, a very useful and concise source of information which comes onto my in-box daily.  

The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday that weddings in England are to be limited to a maximum of 15 people, down from 30. While numbers for funerals will remain at 30, after this date other life-cycle events, including baptisms and ordinations, will no longer be exempt from the rule of six for social gatherings, which was introduced by the Government last week.

Updated guidance published on the Church of England website on Thursday afternoon, however, states that if these events “follow a pattern of communal worship — where all attendees arrive, worship and leave together in groups of no more than six people — then these services can continue to be attended by as many people as can safely accommodate in the Place of Worship while adhering to social distancing requirements."

So, we shall continue to hold services and take great care to follow all the guidance which becomes available to us.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 27th September

Readings: Ezekiel 18 v 1-4, 25-end, Psalm 25 v 1-8, Philippians 2 v 1-13, Matthew 21 v 23-32

10.30am St Peter, Little Ellingham - Morning Service

Thursday 1st October

11am – 1pm Open Church in St James, Great Ellingham (see below for details)

Sunday 4th October

Readings: Isaiah 5 v 1-7, Psalm 80 v 9-17, Philippians 3 v 4b-14, Matthew 21 v 33-end

10.30am Rockland St Peter - Morning Service

Broadcasted Christian worship programs (all Sun 27th)

8.00am - Radio Norfolk - Sunday Worship

8.10am - Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, Canon Rachel Mann reflects on what Harvest might mean for those living in a busy urbanised environment.

10.30am - BBC1 - Sunday Morning Live

1.15pm - BBC1 - Songs of Praise, Claire McCollum explores the Christian foundations of the Victorian mill village of Saltaire, W. Yorkshire

3.00pm - Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Portsmouth Cathedral

Open Church

From Revd Sue Strutt:

The churches have had to remain closed for much of this year.  We are able to be open now and, because I believe this current situation is a difficult time for many of us, I am planning to be present in two of our churches during the week for a couple of hours if anyone is wanting to talk face to face.

The times of opening will be:

Tuesdays - 11.00am – 1.00pm - St Peter, Little Ellingham

Thursdays - 11.00am – 1.00pm - St James, Great Ellingham

The first days of opening will be Thursday 1st October at St James, and Tuesday 6th October at St Peter. Covid19 precautions will, of course, be in place. 

I look forward to seeing you, please don’t hesitate to come in.  A cup of tea or coffee will be on hand.

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 20th September

My Dear Friends

It’s a gorgeous day as I am writing this --- a real Indian Summer; the temperature is just right but with just that whiff of Autumn in the air. I adore this season and am not surprised so many people have written prose and poetry about its colours and grandeur. Most people I’ve spoken to lately have, like Robin and me, been enjoying a bumper crop of apples and pears. I’ve been making chutney, but still have much surplus fruit and if any of you would like to have some, do please let me know. This year I think we might take particular pleasure because harvest is one of the first special services which we are able to celebrate in our churches after having missed all those important key festivals earlier in the Christian year.

We are having a harvest festival service on Sunday 20th at St Peter and St Paul, Shropham. This will be a simple service of thanksgiving and a small group will be singing some well-known hymns. Although the congregation are unable to join in, it is still a joy to hear singing in our churches again. Last week at St James, the music group sang at the morning service, and it was lovely; a small group, making a sweet sound and a special treat for those who were present.  Thank you.

This weekend brings two important things to remember. It is 80 years since the Battle of Britain and although most of those who were directly involved in that momentous event have died, there are still relatives of those on both side of the channel who showed tremendous courage entering into their planes for this difficult air battle. The thoughts of surviving relatives may be particularly sharp at this time. 

I am also aware that it is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, on Saturday 19th. I have been privileged to be part of such a celebration in the past, and have experienced the rituals and gatherings and, oh the so special and delicious food which it brings. Like our churches, synagogues have been closed, and people are only just beginning to find themselves again after a long period of having to be absent. I wish them all well, wherever they are, for their New Year.

On the 24th of September at 2.00pm, Hazel Skitmore’s funeral will be held at RAS church. Numbers attending are to be restricted to 30 people, so unfortunately many of Hazel’s friends will not be able to join the service, as they normally would. I am sure, however, that those who have known her and who mourn her passing will be with her and her family in spirit. 

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 20th September

Harvest Readings: Deuteronomy 8 v 7-18 or 28 v 1-14, Psalm 65, 2 Corinthians 9 v 6-end, Luke 12 v 16-30 or 17 v 11-19

10.30am St Peter and St Paul, Shropham - Harvest Festival

 Thursday 24th September

2.00pm RAS - Funeral of Hazel Skitmore

Sunday 27th September

Readings: Ezekiel 18 v 1-4, 25-end, Psalm 25 v 1-8, Philippians 2 v 1-13, Matthew 21 v 23-32

10.30am St Peter, Little Ellingham - Morning Service

Broadcasted Christian worship programs (all Sun 20th)

8.00am - Radio Norfolk - Sunday Worship from Norfolk

8.10am - Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, with Father Brian D’Arcy

10.30am - BBC1 - Sunday Morning Live

1.15pm - BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Revd Kate Bottley and Katie Piper

3.00pm - Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Chapel of Royal Holloway

Another broadcasted service (of which I had been ignorant) was highlighted by the most recent Diocesan News:

The weekly BBC Local Radio Sunday service, that airs for 30 minutes around the UK, is coming from the Diocese of Norwich this week. The Revd Laura Montgomery, Rector of the Easton Benefice and Chaplain to Easton College is leading and preaching a celebration of Harvest, rooted in the life and faith of our local Saint Walstan. The Rectors of Great Yarmouth and St Peter Mancroft are contributing, along with a shepherdess from Diss. The Bishop of Norwich will be sharing closing thoughts and a final blessing. Tune in to your local radio station to listen.

Apparently it is broadcast each Sunday at 8.00am.  I have now included it in the list.

Michael Brand

We have recently been given the sad news that Michael Brand has died.  Michael resided in Rocklands and was a member of the Benefice Choir.  Our condolences to his wife Ann and family.

New COVID rule on gatherings

The Church of England website gives this information allowing congregations to continue to meet for worship:

There is an exemption that covers places of worship making it possible for more than six people to gather there.  The exemption covers church services and as well as some other activities that take place in church buildings.

However, it is not a blanket exemption. People must not be part of a group of more than six unless they are from the same household or support bubble.

Hopefully this clarifies what is allowed for a church service congregation; there are different rules for weddings, funerals and baptisms.  If you wish to read more here is the link to the C of E website:

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches#na

Of course the whole situation is very fluid at the moment with local rules being tightened to counter increasing numbers of COVID infections.  Also recent news reports indicate that our government is considering tighter national restrictions which will of course affect us all.

Norfolk Churches Sponsored Bike Ride

Congratulations to Victoria Graham for completing her trip around Norfolk Churches last Saturday in aid of Rockland St Peter; visiting 16 churches by cycling nearly 60km.  Anyone who has or would like to sponsor Victoria, please contact her to arrange payment.  I don’t know of anyone else from the Benefice who participated, but if there were, then my apologies and well done.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 13th September

My Dear Friends

We have now completed more than a month since we returned to holding services in church buildings. Numbers coming have been good, given that it is likely that some are still unable to feel safe about venturing out and others are not happy about the remaining restrictions; masks to be worn and no congregational singing. Last week we had hoped to hold a service outside so that we COULD exercise our voices after a long silence, but even outside the church, singing is not permitted. 

September brings for many the start of Autumn and harvest celebrations. It is a lovely time and I’m sure that many of you have memories of the very beautifully decorated churches, and of bringing gifts of fruit and flowers up to the altar.  As this season has drawn near, it is also a time to be particularly alert to issues of the natural world and to the crisis of climate change.  Last week’s Church Times reported on some of the leadership of this concern and I am quoting it in full because I believe it to be important. 

Lord Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) joined the ------------ Christian Climate Action, in a march from Buckingham Palace to Parliament Square, while holding a banner with fellow priests which read “CREATION CRIES OUT”.


Asked why he felt that it was important for people of faith to attend the rally, he said: “People of faith should be here because they are people of faith. That is, they believe they can make a difference of some kind and that that difference is worth making. We’re at a remarkable moment of opportunity. People are talking about building back better. We have to take that opportunity. It’s not just recovering what’s been lost but building again something that is genuinely more sustainable. Because, in the last few months, we have seen the possibility of some alternatives that might work, and I think people of faith ought to be on board with making those alternatives work.”

Another was Fr Martin Newell, a Roman Catholic priest from Birmingham. He said: “The Christian faith is not an easy one — we are constantly called to step outside of our comfort zone. I believe that being faithful means taking a stand on the biggest issue of our time. When Jesus said to James and John, ‘Follow me’, they stood up, dropped their fishing nets, and did just that. As disciples of Christ, we are called to take action. Are we willing to stand up and do what we are called to or will we remain in the boat?

Perhaps during the next couple of months, we might address this question in our own hearts and minds.  I hope so.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 13th September

Readings: Genesis 50 v 15-2, Psalm 103 v 1-13, Romans 14 v 1-12, Matthew 18 v 21-35

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning service

Sunday 20th September

Harvest Readings: Deuteronomy 8 v 7-18 or 28 v 1-14, Psalm 65, 2 Corinthians 9 v 6-end, Luke 12 v 16-30 or 17 v 11-19

10.30 St Peter and St Paul, Shropham - Harvest Festival

Broadcasted Christian worship programs (all Sun 13th)

 8.10am - Radio 4 - Sunday Worship, the Bishop of Plymouth reflects on the story of the Mayflower

1.15pm - BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Aled Jones in Plymouth

 3.00pm - Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Neresheim Abbey, Germany (from September 2019)

New COVID rule on gatherings

As you are probably aware, from Monday 14th September a maximum of six people only are allowed to gather together inside and outside.  There are certain places and events where this new ruling will not apply and so far the indications are that worship in churches will be exempt.

However, there is still the issue of gatherings outside church after the service; a time when we take the opportunity to chat and catch up with each other.  This is likely to be more problematic so we await a ruling on this from the Diocese.  For tomorrow we are still allowed to do this.

‘Flu Vaccinations

A reminder to those eligible, this is the time to book your annual ‘flu jabs.  According to my surgery website, people aged between 50 and 64 will also be eligible for the vaccination but later and only if stocks allow.  Check with your surgery to book and for more information.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 30th August

My Dear Friends

We are now entering the Autumn Season and I can hardly believe it.  Although at the beginning of lockdown we surely must have thought that it would never end, there is certainly a possibility that life is ----- well not quite returning to normal ------ at least opening up again. Those of us who are regular church attenders were distressed to miss all the special services that we’ve come to expect leading up to Easter and Pentecost because of the closure of churches. But since we’ve been able to open the buildings again, there has been the opportunity for private prayer and also a Sunday service each week in one of our five churches. Harvest is round the corner, and although as congregations we still cannot all sing our favourite hymns, small groups of singers, physically distanced from the congregation, will be able to make their important contribution to the service. All this surely is giving room for optimism after a strange and, for many, a very dark time.

This week I have sent in for circulation the last of the Sunday service sheets I’ve been preparing since the start of the church closures. In this last submission I have remarked on the continuing concern we all have and MUST have for the environment and every aspect of it. Autumn and harvest are special times when we can be thinking about the glories of the natural world and the losses that we would all suffer, in every way, if the concerns are not addressed.  Before the lockdown we had become used to having everything we needed and wanted by way of the essentials of life. Then came the shortages which reminded us not to be taking things for granted. I know that I for one was extremely appreciative, not just for the health workers, but all those who tirelessly tried to keep supplies going and to be looking after our basic everyday needs.

Harvest, a lovely time to be reminded to give thanks for our world, its beauty, its variety, its products, and for those who work so hard on behalf of all of us. 

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

30th Aug: 10.30 - Shropham - Morning service

6th Sept: 10.30 - Rockland St Peter - Morning service

Readings

30th Aug: Jeremiah 15. 15-21, Psalm 26. 1-8, Romans 12. 9-end, Matthew 16. 21-end

6th Sept: Ezekiel 33 v 7-11, Psalm 119 v 33-40, Romans 13 v 8-end, Matthew 18 v 15-20

Christian worship programmes

30th August:  8.10am    Radio 4  Sunday Worship, extracts from the Greenbelt Festival
                      *12.25pm BBC1     Songs of Praise, Aled Jones at Blenheim Palace
                      3.00pm    Radio 3  Choral Evensong, from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London which
                                                     was broadcast live last Wednesday

* change of time for sport!!

 

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