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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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 23rd August

My Dear Friends

I’ve been particularly aware of two things this week. At the beginning of the week, the rain we’d longed for to clear the air arrived in torrents and there was quite a lot of concern about flooding with sand-bags at the ready. I hope you were all safe and didn’t suffer any structural damage to your homes. I know from experience the awful problems and painful losses people experience when there is flooding.

The other thing dominating the week has been the publication of assessments for young people of 16 and 18. We don’t have a great many teenagers coming to churches in the benefice but we have parents and grandparents who have been waiting and extremely worried about the outcome for young people. We all know that this issue has been the centre of much controversy, and several of our Bishops have been quite open in their criticism of the way the process of arriving at grades in the absence of exams has been handled.

We join with those who are happy with their results, but also we need to be empathic with those who have been disappointed. Some will have to postpone going to college for another year, others to think again about their choices. It’s a worrying time for all young people and also for their teachers and those involved with their education and care. One of our bishops has said “Students have shown immense resilience and character in unprecedented circumstances. The unstinting work of teachers, school leaders, and governors throughout this whole period has been absolutely inspirational.” I would certainly echo that and thank all those who have worked tirelessly on behalf of young people.

These have been matters of worry and concern this week but as a balance there also have been some occasions for rejoicing. I said last week in Ramblings that there were anniversaries to be celebrated and we did that after the service at church last Sunday. Carol and Terry for their 50th and Barbara and John for their 60th were each presented with flowers from the benefice. These were made up at short notice by Margaret Thomas who, as ever, had made the lovely displays. For the first time in a long while we had a drink outside the church after the service as John and Barbara had brought some glasses and various bottles of wine and juice. Thank you both; a lovely idea.

The other positive change has been the opening up of at least the possibility of being able to sing in church again. Provided they keep their distance from the rest of the congregation and each other, a small group can now sing during a service. My hope of course is that by Christmas the rule about congregational singing will be relaxed and we will be able to join in the carols which we so much enjoy.

That probably seems a long way ahead, but as time zips by, we have begun to think about the “special” services that usually are part of our Autumn and Christmas coming together as a community.

For those of you planning a holiday in the next week, I hope things run smoothly for you. I plan to go to see family in Wales in September but am waiting for news of a change in the Welsh rules for travel and visiting. I will let you know when or if I am away.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

23rd Aug: 10.30 - St Peter, Little Ellingham - Morning service

30th Aug: 10.30 - Shropham - Morning service

Readings

23rd Aug: Isaiah 51. 1-6, Psalm 138, Romans 12. 1-8, Matthew 16. 13-20

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

Christian worship programmes

23rd August:  8.10am Radio 4  Sunday Worship, the inspiration of listening
                      1.15pm BBC1     Songs of Praise, Revd Kate Bottley visits the Salvation Army
                      3.00pm Radio 3  Choral Evensong, from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London which was broadcast live
                                                  last Wednesday

Norfolk Churches Trust Bike Ride

Yes, COVID-19 is not going to stop this annual fund raising event. The 2020 sponsored bike ride is going ahead, so this is your opportunity to dust off your trusty bike and prepare yourself for a trip round some churches. Weather permitting this is a day to enjoy and you don’t even have to ride a bike anymore; you are now allowed to walk or even drive.

Obviously there will be some restrictions with social distancing and the non-provision of refreshments; some churches may not even open their doors. But no matter, if you have been there then sign in.

There are very few social events on at the moment so make the most of this, even if it is to wander round the benefice. In these financially difficult times, every penny counts.

They even have a competition with the chance to win £1000!

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 16th August

My Dear Friends

Already we are half-way through yet another month, freer in some ways, but still constrained to go where we want, when we want, and with whom we want. BUT, at least we are able to meet each other now, face to face, at church services and elsewhere. For me that has been a blessing, despite the necessity to wear a face shield. Last week Colin noted that the Sunday service sheet which has been circulated since churches were closed will finish at the end of August, but if you would like them to continue, for whatever reason, do PLEASE let me know and I will certainly carry on preparing them.

There has been so much that we have missed over the last few months. We had made substantial plans for celebration of VE day, and now of course we have VJ day upon us and I hope that we can take advantage of all that we can learn anew from the TV documentaries, and be thinking of those individuals and families that were so impacted by the dreadful events of the last war, both here and elsewhere.  I have twice been to Japan to visit my daughter and her then newly born son and she was able to take me around this very beautiful, welcoming and endlessly fascinating country. That was 20 years ago and I have still asked myself, was it really necessary to drop those bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

There also have been special birthdays that were going to be celebrated in style with parties and holidays to mark the occasions. And then there have been the weddings that were to have taken place in August, now postponed until next year. My heart goes out to those young people who had spent so long in making plans which are now “on hold”.

Bringing to mind weddings, we can congratulate the several in our benefice who are celebrating special anniversaries this year. Carol and Terry Bennett are having their Golden Anniversary on Saturday 15th August and although their original plans have had to be curtailed they will be around this weekend to give them our good wishes. A few days later on 20th of the month we have another special --- the diamond anniversary of John and Barbara Scase. All these four people have contributed so much over the years to the individual parishes and to the benefice as a whole and it is hard to find the words to thank them enough.

There is much to mourn, but also to celebrate.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

10.30 - Rockland All Saints - Morning Service

Readings

Isaiah 56. 1, 6-8           Psalm 67          Romans 11. 1-2a, 29-32          Matthew 15. [10-20], 21-28

Christian worship programmes

 Sunday              8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship, with Revd Dr Stephen Wigley
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise, with Claire McCollum
                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong, from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London which was broadcast
                                                                          
live last Wednesday

Benefice Team Meeting

There will be a meeting of the Benefice Team at 1845 on Monday 17th August at the Benefice office.

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Ramblngs - 9th August

My Dear Friends

As I am writing this, I am wondering, at what stage we decide this is the “new norm” or, since things are changing almost every day, perhaps this is rather a pointless question.  The people of Leicester and Manchester having started to come out of lockdown, are suddenly plunged back into it. We have been so fortunate in Norfolk to have low numbers afflicted by the virus, and please God, may it last.

My heart goes out to all those in our country who are constantly facing the uncertainties which this pandemic has brought. And this morning I am also thinking of those in other countries, particularly this week in Lebanon where over a hundred were killed and many more injured as a result of the explosion there. This occurred just after I had submitted my service sheet to Colin for distribution so there was no mention of this disaster in my prayer list. I hope we can pray for the people of Lebanon in the days ahead.

August: the holiday month and I know that among you, there will be some disappointments that the plans for going away have had to be jettisoned. Whatever alternative arrangements have been made, I hope that you will be able to have some enjoyment as well as rest, tranquillity and the opportunity to meet with some family members or friends. Many of us are re-discovering the simple pleasures of just being together.  But I also know that there will be some in our benefice who are still not able to see their loved ones and are trying to cope with the sadness which that brings. Let us remember them.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

10:30   St James, Great Ellingham - Mornng service

Christian worship programmes

 Sunday              8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship, ‘exploring the cross through the lens of black experience'
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise, ‘the Christian reformers who founded the National Trust 125
                                                                          years ago’

                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong, from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London which was broadcast
                                                                          live last Wednesday

Christina’s Sunday Service

As our churches are now open for worship, Christina’s Sunday Service is to be discontinued; the last service will be on 30th August.  If any of you would like to continue having some form of worship at home, then please let one of the Ministry Team know.

Face coverings in church

Sorry folks/good news folks, the wearing of face coverings in church is now mandatory with a few exceptions.  If you wish to read the complete advice on face coverings from the C of E website then here is the link:

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/COVID%2019%20advice%20on%20face%20coverings%20v3%20DRAFT.pdf

If you have any queries, you can contact any of the Ministry Team for further information.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 2nd August

My Dear Friends

One of the things I really enjoy each week when it’s delivered to my home is “Church Times”. I tend to read it from cover to cover because I can catch up not just on international “church” news but also see brief summaries of what is going on in the world at large, politically and economically.

In these past weeks I have been struck by several headlines.  “What will life look like after the pandemic?”  Yes indeed, and I guess almost everyone in the world is asking this very same question with an enormous variety of different opinions being expressed.  I also noticed the words of our new Archbishop Stephen of York: “God wants a Church of glorious and profligate diversity.” This highlights the rather striking absence of BAME people in ministry at all levels, a source of lament which hopefully is going to be addressed seriously in the years to come. 

Of course, the wider church is asking and must continue to ask large and fundamental theological and strategic questions against a background of all that has changed for us. We have needed to change, and not just our plans for the holiday that we now probably can’t have, but in terms of family priorities.  Relationships have changed. Some have become more relaxed as people have had the chance to be together where before they were separated by the stresses of work. But as we know, some relationships have worsened and there is a rising number of separations as well as incidents of domestic abuse. These are just a tiny fragment of things that in our world today we have had to think about and to accommodate.

How in our small benefice do we cope with all this? I would hope that we can continue to care for and about each other. We can now see each other inside church and other meeting places, of course taking all advised and necessary precautions. We can continue to give thanks for all those people who have sustained us at every level, not just our frontline health workers but all those without whom our everyday functioning would be much impaired.

Each Sunday in August there is a benefice service which will be held by rotation in one of our churches. Careful attention will be given to all requirements to maintain safety. At each short service there will be a chance to meet and greet, and to give thanks for the many gifts of personal help and indeed sacrifices which we have enjoyed in the months since March. I shall continue to visit you at home, as I have been doing but I also look forward to seeing you at one or other of our Benefice churches.

Till then --- my love to you

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

St James, Great Ellingham - open 10.00 to 12.00 for private prayer

10.30   Rockland All Saints - Morning Prayer

Sunday services for August

2          10.30   Rockland All Saints                              Sunday Service

9          10.30   St James, Great Ellingham                  Sunday Service

16        10.30   Rockland All Saints                              Sunday Service

23        10.30   St Peter, Little Ellingham                      Sunday Service

30        10.30   St Peter & St Paul Shropham              Sunday Service

Christian worship programmes

 Sunday              8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship with Revd Isabelle Hamley, Chaplain to the Archbishop
                                                                          of
Canterbury
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise with with Aled Jones
                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong from Hereford Cathedral (July 2015)

Face coverings in church

The government has announced that it will be mandatory for church congregations to wear a face covering from 8th August.

Report on a meeting of the members of General Synod, 11 July 2020

On Saturday 11th July, the members of General Synod took part in an informal virtual meeting.  The usual July meeting at the University of York was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and General Synod cannot currently conduct business remotely.  Therefore no votes were taken at this meeting.  However it did provide an opportunity for members to raise questions and to hear from those tasked with leading the Church of England’s response to COVID-19.  The questions covered a range of items; there was much unease around the closing of church buildings to everyone, including clergy and many questions focused on this (to the obvious frustration of the Archbishop of Canterbury).

The Bishop of London spoke about the need for the Church to note and pass on the lessons we have learned through the last few months, both nationally and locally.  She stressed the need to care for people through this time of uncertainty and vulnerability, as people are feeling weary and tired, and the need to continue moving forward safely.  The expectation is that we will continue to see local spikes of the virus in the future, so the Recovery Group’s aim is to help people to take decisions at the local level.

We also shared morning and evening worship, and the new Archbishop of York gave his first Presidential Address, in which spoke about the Vision and Strategy Group he is leading, which will be setting out the Church of England’s strategy for the next few years.  The proposals which come out of this exercise will be brought to Synod next year.

It was a very different experience to meet in this way online.  It was much harder to gauge the mood of the meeting, there were a few technical glitches, and I missed the opportunities of informal conversations with other Synod members.  By and large, the view of those I have spoken to since seems to be that it was better than not meeting at all, but no substitute for meeting together.  It would also be much harder to conduct business in this way, particularly any controversial items.

However, there are various items of business which do need to be conducted before the end of the year, including the approval of the budget.  There are plans to hold a special session of General Synod in September, with just the minimum number of people attending in person to be quorate (carefully selected to be representative).  This should mean that the session can be conducted safely, with social distancing.  The purpose of the session would be to pass legislation which (once approved by Parliament) would enable General Synod to conduct business through virtual meetings.  This in turn would allow for the possibility of the November group of sessions being held remotely (at least in part).  This could be challenging, as the Living in Love and Faith resources are due to be published in early November, and I am sure that there will be some discussion about this at Synod in one form or another.

This July should have been the end of the current Quinquennium of General Synod, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic the current term has been extended by a year, so the next elections to General Synod will now be held in the autumn of 2021.

Caroline Herbert

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 26th July

My Dear Friends

It’s coming up to August and at long last a return of a service each week in one of our five benefice churches. We can’t sing yet, but it’s very good to be able to meet together after such a long time. It’s important to look at all notices for the rotation of services which will be advertised as widely as possible. We will start with Rockland All Saints on August 2nd at 10.30 for a short service of morning prayer.

I don’t know whether I’m being over-optimistic in believing that very soon we will have an effective vaccine. I read in the papers of the enormous amount of effort which is going into this and am grateful to all the scientists and clinicians who are working so hard to produce one. We all know what a relief that will be when one has been found, but in the meantime recognise that we must remain alert and look after not just ourselves, but all those around us. The church takes “keeping safe” very seriously and there is plenty of advice forthcoming which we will of course follow when we hold our services.

Take care and I hope to see some of you soon.

My love to you

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

St James, Great Ellingham - open 10.00 to 12.00 for private prayer and service 10:30 to 11.00.

The service at St James, Great Ellingham will have the same rules as for private prayer.  The order of service will be projected on to a screen; there will be no singing.   Everyone is welcome.

Rockland All Saints - open 10.00 to 11.00 for private prayer

From next Sunday a rota for acts of worship will begin.  All services will start at 10.30 and last for approximately 30 minutes.  Though music may be provided, congregational singing is still not allowed.

Sunday services for August

2          10.30   Rockland All Saints                              Sunday Service

9          10.30   St James, Great Ellingham                  Sunday Service

16        10.30   Rockland All Saints                              Sunday Service

23        10.30   St Peter, Little Ellingham                      Sunday Service

30        10.30   St Peter & St Paul Shropham              Sunday Service

Christian worship programmes

 Sunday              8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise with Revd Kate Botley 
                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong from St Alban’s church, Holborn (July 2018)

Face coverings in church

An extract from the Church Times............

PRIESTS, worshippers, staff, volunteers, and any other persons entering Church of England churches and cathedrals should wear a face covering from tomorrow, Church House has confirmed.

New guidance on face coverings was published on the C of E website on Thursday, and other documents, including on weddings, baptisms, and funerals, have been updated to reflect this.

It states: “We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from Covid-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.”

In line with government advice, children under 11 and people with disabilities or certain health conditions are exempt. The church guidance on face coverings does not mention holy communion, but states that masks can also be removed “to eat or drink, but only if you need to”, as well as to take medication and avoid distress or injury.

In Scotland, churches reopened this week for their first public services since March, for congregations of up to 50. In England, singing and chanting, however, are restricted, and the contact details of all those present must be collected beforehand. In response to some churchgoers’ reluctance to return, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s advisory group has released a video indicating what to expect. It can be watched on Facebook and YouTube.

Churches in Wales have also been allowed to reopen since last Sunday if they can abide by safety regulations, which include two-metre distancing and cleaning protocols. A Coronavirus safety assessment must be completed beforehand.’

Using a face mask in church has also been sanctioned by our diocese.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 19th July

My Dear Friends,

When I have been speaking on the phone and being out and about, one of the things that has struck me is the number of people who have described feeling exhausted.

Our diocesan Bishops recognise this and for this reason I am including part of a letter which the three jointly wrote to clergy and others working in ministry which I received today.

“We write very mindful of the huge effort that many have been putting in during these last months of lockdown. We’ve had to learn new skills and find new ways of undertaking mission and ministry, and we are extremely appreciative of the work being done across the Diocese by clergy and laity to support the sick, the bereaved, the anxious and to continue to witness to the Gospel of God’s love in many creative but often quite costly ways. There has been an abundance of encouraging stories, but we are also aware of the strain these last months have put on clergy and lay leaders alike.

At the start of the lockdown, some speculated that there would be more time freed up in our diaries, but that has not been the reality for many involved in the life of the Diocese. We have also had to cope with ever-changing guidance and, in recent weeks, the welcome but demanding opportunity to begin to open our churches for private prayer and worship. We recognise how hard it has been for many to take proper time off, whether that is a regular rest day or the times for holiday that enable us to feel refreshed and renewed.

Whilst there is huge admiration for the commitment and hard work of so many in these last months, we all need to recognise our need to find times to allow God to refresh us, to restore perspective, and to enable our strength to be renewed. Please be assured of our continuing gratitude and prayers for you: may you know God’s blessing in these coming months.

With our best wishes, The Rt Revd Graham Usher The Rt Revd Dr Alan Winton The Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick Bishop of Norwich Bishop of Thetford Bishop of Lynn”

I have found that the Diocese has a continuing recognition of the stresses and strains of the health crisis on everyone and I am personally very appreciative of these words by our Bishops. They acknowledge the work of all parishes in supporting people during the crisis. Let us all take heart that what we are trying to do is most definitely welcomed and appreciated.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

St James, Great Ellingham - open 10.00 to 12.00 for private prayer and service 10:30 to 11.00.

The service at St James, Great Ellingham will have the same rules as for private prayer.  The order of service will be projected on to a screen; there will be no singing.   Everyone is welcome.

Rockland All Saints - open 10.00 to 11.00 for private prayer

Christian worship programmes

 Sunday              8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship, a Catholic service from the Diocese of Leeds
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise, lockdown of Eyam 1665/6
                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong from Chichester Cathedral (September 2010)

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 12th July

My Dear Friends,

This morning (Thursday) was the funeral at RAS of Norah Lincoln. This is the second funeral for that family in a short space of a month and our prayers are for all members of the family and also friends who are grieving their loss. Despite the rain the service was held out of doors and I was certainly thankful for the thoughtfulness of John S and all who helped him to put up some shelter for the family and some of the mourners. Thank you.

Loss brings change and change brings loss and we are having plenty of that aren’t we.  Some change and its accompanying losses are quite trivial and can bring rapid accommodation to new ways of being and of doing things. But others are fundamental and have far reaching consequences.  The church as an institution is right in the middle of all this, of course. I find it hard to believe that the decision to close all the church buildings was taken lightly, and even today it remains controversial. Having for the last few months become almost used to their closure,  we are faced with more change as we begin to open up the buildings, initially for prayer, and now to think about our first services since lockdown.

Yesterday morning I was taking part in another zoom meeting organised by the Diocese for people involved in ministry throughout the whole of Norfolk and tipping into Suffolk as well. I come away from these meetings always heartened because some of the anxieties I experience are being shared by many people.  Everyone is doing their best to work with congregations at a pace that is right for them, but also keen to get back into a rhythm of regular worship.

A start IS being made in different places, including in our own benefice. The first priority is to ensure safety and everything is being done according to the most reliable advice and recommendations we receive several times a week. I am delighted that St James and RAS are opening for prayer on a Sunday morning. Additionally, St James Great Ellingham will be holding  a short simple service on Sunday 12th at 10.30.  A more regular pattern of services will begin at the start of August and there will be plenty of notification of dates and locations in the days and weeks to come.  Thank you for your patience .

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

St James, Great Ellingham - open 10.00 to 12.00 for private prayer and service 10:30 to 11.00.

The service at St James, Great Ellingham will have the same rules as for private prayer.  The order of service will be projected on to a screen; there will be no singing.   Everyone is welcome.

Rockland All Saints - open 10.00 to 11.00 for private prayer

Christian worship programmes

 Sunday              8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship from South Wales Baptist Church
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise with Aled Jones
                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge (2015)

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 28th June

My Dear Friends,

Preparing the service sheet for this week I was wondering whether it might be the last, at least for a while. There is a lot to be considered and discussed in the days ahead. However, as you will now know, permission has been given for churches to re-open, not just for private prayer but also for services. It has been emphasised that this is a permission and NOT compulsion, and once again there has to be a great deal of careful planning to ensure the safety of people who come through the door. For example, are numbers to be restricted as they are for a wedding? Again, I think we love singing, or at least most of us do but the controversy about whether it is safe to sing has not yet been resolved. There are also major considerations about communion and the distribution of bread and wine.  But the Lord be praised! We can meet again face to face and for many of us that will be such a blessing. Dare I say it ---- ‘phones and lap-tops and Zooms and all the wonders of technology are splendid, but is there anything to match the immediacy of personal contact?

So, what is actually happening? At the time of writing there remains uncertainty. The benefice team has been meeting on Zoom and we are also individually in touch with each other. St James will be open on Sunday (see Notices) but apart from this we will publicise when and where the first service in nearly four months in our benefice churches is to be taking place. Yes, I know; it really does sound like Vera’s song “we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when”! Thank you, everyone, for your patience.

With my love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

St James, Great Ellingham - open 11.00 to 12.00 for private prayer

As you may already know, we are allowed to hold services in our churches starting next Sunday.  Whether we shall or not is yet to be decided and is dependent on the instructions we shall receive from the diocese as to the measures we need to put in place to keep people safe.  When a decision is made, this shall be communicated immediately.

Christian worship programmes

 Sunday              8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship with John Bell of the Iona Community
                                                 BBC1               The Sunday Worship appears to have been discontinued
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise
                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong from Manchester Cathedral (March 2020)

Norah Lincoln

Sadly Norah Lincoln died earlier this week.  There will be a graveside funeral on 9th July at RAS at 11.00 am.

Benefice Team meeting

The next Benefice Team meeting will be held at 7pm Monday 29th June.

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 21st June

My Dear Friends,

Whoever would have thought at the beginning of March that some of us would be spending a number of hours a week on something called ZOOM ----- I hadn’t even heard if it! Each week the Diocese arranges a “virtual” meeting of clergy on Zoom and this has been useful. I have attended some helpful seminars (because they’re on line, they’re called ‘webinars’) and also “catch-up” sessions. You see I’m learning a new language as well as new skills! People have been able to share their feelings about all that has been happening and their sense of shock when we had to close churches. People have ben helpful in speaking of resources and talking of ways to support people when nothing seems to have been allowed. This morning we had a “catch up” session and were talking about the different ways parishes have chosen to open their churches for private prayer, which is now allowed, but with restrictions. It was gratifying that, without exception, all were extremely cautious, and a comfort to know that parishes like our own in rural areas are taking things VERY steadily indeed.

What is happening in Shellrock then? We are opening for private prayer in our churches as follows:

  1. Two churches only will be open on a Sunday morning;
    1. St James will open on Sunday 21st from 11.00 to 12.00
    2. RAS on 5th July from 10.00 to 11.00
  2. Both churches will open at these times until further notice. The number of participants attending will be reviewed. If there are any changes in this schedule, as many notifications as possible will be published
  3. In each church, there will be clear guidelines of where to sit
  4. There will be hand sanitizers
  5. If reading material is needed, could you bring your own, and take it away with you

After these Sunday times, the two churches will remain closed from Monday through Saturday, and not re-opened again until Sunday. It is very important that people do not try to “pop in” to any of the churches and the bishops are very keen that we are compliant with their recommendations.   

At this time of writing we have no idea when the churches will be able to be open for services. Even when they do, it is likely that certain safeguards will need to be in place. We have received information about the conduct of funerals, but NOT about weddings in church. It is certainly sad that couples who had been planning a big wedding in church may not be able to go ahead with this. 

People have said that sometimes it feels like a dream, and any moment they will wake and it will be back to normal again. Yes it does feel like a dream and that is what we all feel when we have had such a shock and a disruption to our customary patterns of activity and doing things. Let us pray that all those who have been seriously affected by any kind of loss, trauma, or disappointment will be able to be supported by us as a loving community and be assured of God’s love.

My love to you all

Christina 

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Christian worship programmes

 Sunday               8.10am         Radio 4             Sunday Worship from Westminster Cathedral
 
                         11.45am         BBC1                Sunday Worship from Manchester’s Holy Trinity Platt Church
 
                           1.15pm         BBC1                Songs of Praise
 
                           3.00pm         Radio 3             Choral Evensong from Trinity Chapel, Cambridge (2010)
                     
     10.45am         BBC1                Sunday Morning Live. A topical debate covering religious and
                                                                         
ethical issues.

Benefice Team meeting

The next Benefice Team meeting will be held at 7pm Monday 22nd June.

A personal ‘Thank You’

My family would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who sent my mother, Peggy Thomas, cards, presents and good wishes on her 99th birthday last Friday, the 19th June.  The occasion and the response from well-wishers gave her a tremendous boost such that she thoroughly enjoyed her special day.  A big ‘Thank You’ from us all.

Colin

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 14th June

My Dear Friends,

After 10 weeks when little seemed to have been happening in our life together as a church, it has suddenly become quite a lot busier.

Monday evening saw the Benefice Team meeting together again on ZOOM to start some serious discussion and planning for the time when we will be able to see each other face to face, and not on a screen. We are receiving regular bulletins from the diocese and we shall be following the guidelines very carefully. Despite the seeming improvement in the declining numbers afflicted by the virus, we cannot be complacent.  But starting next Sunday, 21st June, we shall begin the process of opening our churches for private prayer. Be assured that these churches will have been very carefully prepared and there will be someone on hand to ensure that all the rules of hygiene are adhered to. We have no idea how many people will wish to come to pray in these two churches.  Several have expressed the longing for the churches to be open for private and quiet reflection. Please read the announcements in the Notices for further details.

Thankfully, it was a lovely warm and sunny day for Doreen’s funeral. A goodly number stood to watch her leaving her home on Rectory Road and again were at the periphery of the graveyard at RAS. Thank you for supporting her family and for honouring Doreen.  We continue to pray for all members of her family and friends.

My love to you all,

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Christian worship programmes

                           8.10am          Radio 4              Sunday Worship from Westminster Cathedral
 
                         11.00am          BBC1                Sunday Worship from Manchester’s Holy Trinity Platt Church
 
                           1.15pm          BBC1                Songs of Praise
 
                           3.00pm          Radio 3             Choral Evensong from York Minster (2019)

Benefice Team meeting

The next Benefice Team meeting will be held at 7pm Monday 15th June.

Opening our Church buildings for private prayer

With the relaxation of some of the rules governing the Coronavirus epidemic in England, the Norwich Diocese has relaxed some of the rules governing the use of our church buildings; we are now allowed to open our church buildings for private prayer.  To ensure the safety of anyone who enters the building the diocese has given guidelines as to what we must do to prevent cross infection of anyone who may have COVID-19.  As we are becoming aware, not everyone who has the virus displays symptoms so we must treat everyone as being potentially infectious.

After much discussion, the Benefice Team has decided that any open church building will be for a limited period and will remain closed for at least 72 hours thereafter.  Certain rules for operating have been agreed and the church will be under the supervision of a verger at all times.  Initially there will only be one church opened, St James Great Ellingham.  Other churches will follow once we are happy that the rules put in place are sufficient and work well.

The details of our first opening are:

Church:            St James Great Ellingham

Date/Time:      Sunday 21st June 1100 to 1200

Verger:            Charles Mason

Anyone attending is asked to abide by the following instructions:

    • entry to the church is via the porch door only
    • hand sanitizers will be available on entry
    • the wearing of masks is advisable
    • you are to sit where instructed by the verger
    • all seating will be spaced to allow two metres between groups
    • groups (or bubbles as the government calls them) can sit together
    •  seating will only be used once at each session
    • no books, bibles or orders of service will be available, please bring your own if required; Christina’s Sunday Service could be used as a basis for private prayer
    • votive candles will be available, please check with the verger
    • there will be a retiring collection for those who wish to make a contribution
    • no toilet facilities will be available
    • no refreshments will be available

Although these rules may appear draconian they do comply with the Diocesan guidelines and they are for everyone’s safety.  As imperfect as it is, we hope this is the start of our long awaited journey back to normality.  Further information on the opening of other churches will follow in due course.

If transport is a problem, please contact one of the Ministry Team or a member of your PCC who will organise you a lift.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 7th June

My Dear Friends

As I am writing this I am looking out of the window and seeing some blessed rain. It’s been so beautiful for weeks and thankfully those with gardens have manged some outside space and fresh air.  But, oh dear, everything has become parched. Just as we’ve needed rain, we have also longed for some clarification on the future of churches. I’m sure some of you will have been aware of rather bold statements reported in newspapers and attributed to Bishops about the future size and structure of the Church of England. It is certainly the case that a great deal of discussion IS going on, both nationally and locally. Our own Shellrock Benefice Team has started to discuss what we do after the churches are allowed to open again. Because of the continuation of social distancing and all the other safeguards that will need to be put in place, it certainly cannot be “business as usual”. We had our first meeting, by Zoom, on Monday past, and will continue these meetings until there is clarity about the way ahead. We want to identify the needs and wishes of each village community, so I would encourage you to put forward a view, so that we can try to encompass as many perspectives as possible. 

Tuesday of this forthcoming week (June 9th) sees the funeral of Doreen Lincoln. This will be a graveside funeral beginning at 11.30 am at Rockland All Saints Church. Doreen has been a prominent member of the community for many years and I have suggested that, apart from her small family at the graveside, anyone who wishes to honour her could be at the periphery of the churchyard. Alternatively, people might like to be present on Rectory Lane as the hearse leaves her former home to travel to All Saints Church. We are saddened at the loss of Doreen and will continue to pray for her family.

I am aware that what I have written above has a somewhat “down” tone. We are living through tough times which are affecting some people very badly. I think it is right that we acknowledge this and all the attendant losses and do our best to support and to remember through prayer and continuing to care. As a balance, I want to end with a brief report of a seminar I was present at earlier in the week. This of course was on Zoom and there were 169 people present. Bishop Graham had invited our former Archbishop Rowan Williams to speak to us. I found his words were inspirational. He reminded us that we are the body of Christ here on earth. Whether we are alone, apart from each other, in a group, at work, on the shop floor, in fact wherever we are, we are connected and remain connected, not just in our small corner of Norfolk but throughout the whole of creation.  At moments of feeling isolated, I warm to that thought.

My love to you all,

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Christian worship programmes

                           8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship
 
                         11.00am          BBC1               Sunday Worship from St David’s Cathedral
 
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise with Aled Jones
 
                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong from St Mary’s Collegiate Church, Warwick

Benefice Team meeting

After a few hiccups all the participants to the meeting last Monday managed to link in with the last making it 30 seconds before the end!  Hopefully this time we shall all be ready to go from the start.

The next ‘Zoom’ Benefice Team meeting is scheduled for 1900 on Monday 8th June. If anyone has something they wish to bring to the attention of the Benefice Team please contact your church warden or a member of the PCC.

Bishop of Lynn

The Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick has announced that he will retire from his post as Suffragan Bishop of Lynn on 25 January 2021.  Full details of the announcement can be found on the diocesan website via this link:

https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/news/bishop-of-lynn-announces-retirement/

 

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