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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Christina

Ramblings from Christina - 31st May

My Dear Friends,

The weeks go by and I expect we are all looking forward to some kind of resolution to the “lockdown”, and if no resolution, then a lessening of the uncertainty which has been the case as time has gone on. I think that this week has been particularly unhelpful as a result of comings and goings and different opinions about what our political leaders are actually saying ----- or meaning.  There has been a general concern about the impact of the crisis on mental health and one thing which seriously impacts on people’s mental well-being is on-going uncertainty.   I pray that we will begin to receive a clearer picture of what can be possible in our parishes, and whether we are planning for a few weeks, or much longer.

In the meantime, I know that a lot of you are engaged in helping others in various ways. The community shop in Rocklands is just one example, and I am enormously grateful to all volunteers who are running an efficient, friendly service whether for over the counter purchasing, or the delivery of ordered boxes of food.  This and all other similar acts are inspiring examples of love in action.

We remain concerned about the vulnerability of several parishioners and I have noted some prayer requests in our weekly service sheet. We have been saddened to learn that Doreen L died on May 27th and I will be watching out for news of her funeral. Although numbers at her funeral may be very restricted, it may be possible to arrange a “guard of honour” as we did for Elizabeth Griffiths who died a few weeks ago. This was much appreciated by her bereaved husband, Peter.

Another issue that I would like us to be thinking and praying about is the re-opening of the schools on June 1st, at least for some children.   There is considerable worry about this, the physical safety as well as the psychological well-being of children and staff at every level. A great deal of hard work has been going on locally, and nationally, to ensure the best environment for all.  Let us remember all who are concerned about this important development.

I haven’t mentioned anything about Pentecost, and of course we can only lament in true Psalmist’s fashion that we are not able to come together, face to face, for this important festival. But there will be many opportunities on Sunday for services of different kinds, on TV, Radio, YouTube, and so on, and we may like to tune in and enjoy one or more of these. And I have included all the readings for this Sunday on the weekly service sheet together with a few words of reflection. May the Holy Spirit uplift and continue to guide us.

My love to you all, Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Please include in your prayers this week:

- Doreen Lincoln who died last week, her family and friends

- Jonathan Graham who has so far failed to recover from his illness

Christian worship programmes

Sunday, 31st May:
 
                          8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship from City Church Cardi
 
                         11.00am          BBC1               Sunday Worship from Hereford Cathedral
 
                           1.15pm          BBC1               Songs of Praise with Revd Kate Bottley
 
                           3.00pm          Radio 3            Choral Evensong from St David’s Cathedral

Benefice Team meeting

There will be a ‘Zoom’ Benefice Team meeting at 19:30 1st June.

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina - 24th May

My Dear Friends,

Yet another week goes by, and we are still separated from each other, apart from telephone and e-mail. I hope that you are all still reasonably well, and are able to use the time to be involved in things that you enjoy and find creative and beneficial. Everyone recognises the frustration that is still around and the longing to see, face to face, our loved family members and friends.

Several times a week I am in touch with other clergy through this amazing resource called ZOOM. This last week there was a Zoom meeting involving clergy from this Deanery at which Bishop Alan and Archdeacon Steven Betts were present. You can imagine that there were a number of questions being asked, such as “how much longer” “what do we do when the churches are open again”, “what of the future” and so on. I will say again, the diocese has been excellent in keeping people informed and making available to us all resources which we can use if we wish.  We will be hearing quite quickly as decisions are made.

As you know I have been sending out a service sheet and I continue to hope that this has some use for individuals and families. Over the next few weeks, we are going to try and arrange for a service to be available online through Zoom.  Irrespective of this, I will continue to be in touch by phone and e-mail and my prayer is that VERY soon, even if we can’t meet as a full congregation, I can be confident that it is safe to come and visit.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Christian worship programmes

Sunday, 17 May            8.10am           Radio 4            Sunday Worship
                                    10.45am           BBC1               Sunday Worship from St Bangor Cathedral
                                      1.15pm           BBC1               Songs of Praise
                                   
  3.00pm           Radio 3            Choral Evensong from Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford (2016)

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina - 17th May

My Dear Friends

This week I had hoped I would be conveying some news about the fuller opening of our churches but, as yet, no change has been indicated. I met with Sue and Colin earlier this week (on Zoom) and we had a conversation about bringing together members of the Benefice Team, again on Zoom, to share some ideas about the way ahead. This we hope will happen in the next fortnight, and we will certainly be keeping everyone in touch with changes and developments.

In the meantime, there are an increasing number of different resources that we can use. I must say I think our Diocese has done well to identify so much that can be used. Just this morning, Bishop Graham was advising of a talk by our former Archbishop Rowan Williams which will be available to tune into in June.

Now I know that not everyone has access to computers and one of the things we will be addressing when the Benefice Team meets is how to ensure that everyone DOES have access to these materials. My hope is that, as visiting is loosened over the next months, we might be able to share these resources with each other, keeping the required distance of course.

You will probably observe that the weekly service sheet I’m posting out is growing ever shorter. This week on the advice of others in the ministry team, I am just listing possible topics for prayers. This is in an effort to bring the service sheet down to a single sheet. I didn’t manage it this week, but that’s the intention! It would be very helpful if you could let us know what is, and would be most helpful for you. For example, do you enjoy the radio or TV broadcast services on a Sunday? Do you already identify web-based materials that you enjoy? Anything else? We welcome your opinions.

John Scase has given his permission for me to share with you a very nice letter we received from Bishop Alan at the beginning of this month. Here it is:

Dear John and Christina,

I write to thank you for the generosity and thoughtfulness you have shown in paying 100% of your parish share at this early point in the year.  Your appreciation of the difficult financial situation faced by the diocese at this time is much appreciated, and will go some way to easing our way through the challenges we face.

Along with this goes gratitude for all that you do in the service of God, not least in supporting those hardest hit by our current situation.   I imagine, like me, you are praying for all those most affected by this crisis, for a speedy resolution to the challenges we face and a hope that we may emerge with a changed and better sense of what is most important. With all good wishes.  
God bless you. + Alan

It is good in these troubled times that we are able to make this significant contribution from the life and witness of our community.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Christian worship programmes

Sunday, 17 May            8.10am           Radio 4            Sunday Worship
                                    10.45am           BBC1               Sunday Worship from St David's Cathedral
                                      1.15pm           BBC1               Songs of Praise
                                    11.15am           BBC1               Sunday Morning Stories - series with Revd Kate Bottley tells tales of faith, hope and spirituality.

Ascension Day service
A reminder that there is an Ascension Day service being broadcast from St Mary’s church, Attleborough on Thursday 21st May at 7.30pm. Details of how to connect to the broadcast can be found in the Shellrock Ramblings for 3rd May here. You can request another copy if you have lost it.

There is a service broadcasted on radio - 8.00pm Radio 4 A Celebration for Ascension Day

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina - 10th May

My Dear Friends

Today is Friday, VE Day, and it seems to me to be even more strange that we are not in the company of each other to enjoy all the many activities that had been planned. I know that the creative amongst us are putting on a special spread for their families, where this is possible. Some items on the menu include crab paste sandwiches, jam tarts, jelly and trifle; all apparently included in the street parties of 1945, of which most of us have no memories. I hope that you will get something from reading the war time stimulated thoughts and recollections of those who sent a contribution to me and which I posted out last evening. Please don’t think that this avenue of expression is now closed. If after this weekend or the weeks to come you would like to add your own or further thoughts, these can easily be incorporated into the existing document.

I’ve been speaking to a number of people by phone and have got the sense that what I have been sending out, through Colin, as a Sunday service is too lengthy. I acknowledge the cost of paper and ink, and the hassle of getting the document printed for those without a facility. This week I have shortened the service so that it can be printed on a single sheet. Rather than printing out the readings, I have just identified them so that you can look them up in any available Bible. The full service, including the readings, will still be on the website.

Our Prime Minister will be making some announcements on Sunday about how we move away from lockdown, and it’s likely that our Bishops will give their decision soon afterwards. It is obviously our hope that we soon will have a clear picture of what is going to be possible during the next phase.

There is a wealth of material on all media to choose from, and I do hope that this weekend will prove to be one of both thanksgiving and reflection on the war and its implications and aftermath. We so need justice and peace in our world, and I pray most fervently that our thoughts about the war and about where we are as a nation and a world will bring about positive change. Thy Kingdom Come, O Lord; Thy will be done.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Christian worship programmes

Sunday, 12 April            8.10am           Radio 4            Sunday Worship with Dr Rowan Williams
                                    10.45am           BBC1               Sunday Worship from Hereford Cathedral
                                      1.15pm           BBC1               Songs of Praise with Kathryn Jenkins
                                    11.15am           BBC1               Sunday Morning Stories - new series with Revd Kate Bottley tells tales of faith, hope and spirituality.

 

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina - 3rd May

My Dear Friends,

Yesterday, the Prime Minister and his partner were rejoicing with lots of champagne at the safe arrival of a baby boy. This morning I joined a guard of honour as the funeral hearse of Liz Griffiths passed from Little Ellingham on its way to the Scoulton crematorium. And there are several of our families who are bitterly disappointed that their planned wedding cannot happen as arranged. Births, marriages, deaths; life events which are such an important part of the life of any parish, reaching out to families and individuals. And there are other important transitions which also are being affected. Our young people are facing a deal of uncertainty about the new system of assessment grades, and are wondering whether they will make it to their chosen college or work place.   We can do little except to keep thinking and praying for people known to us who in so many different ways are being impacted by this viral disease.

Resources continue to be developed to help us. A new one appeared this last week. It was launched By Archbishop Justin Welby and it’s called “Daily Hope”. This is a free phone line service offering hymns, reflections and prayers and it has been especially designed for people who don’t have access to on-line materials. For those who do have access, there is an enormous amount now available, and some of it is excellent.

I continually wonder about what you are all doing ------ a lot in the garden and baking I know. I thought I’d send you this lovely cartoon from last week’s Church Times suggesting some of the things clergy might be getting up to during this lock-down.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Christian worship programmes

Sunday, 12 April            8.10am           Radio 4            Sunday Worship
                                    10.45am           BBC1               Sunday Worship
                                      1.15pm           BBC1               Songs of Praise

Sue Strutt has provided us with a prayer written by her Father which she believes is rather appropriate for today’s circumstances and which you may wish to use:

Dad’s Prayer (Sydney Baines)

We thank you, O Lord our God, that you are in every place,
and that no space or distance can ever separate us from you;
that those who are absent from each other are still present with you.

Have in your holy keeping those from whom we are now separated,
And grant that both they and we, by drawing nearer to you,
may be drawn nearer to one another in this fellowship,
In Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Ascension Day Service

Although this is a few weeks away, it may be that some of you are interested in joining in with this service.  Each year an invite goes out to the Deanery to get together at St Mary’s church Attleborough, and, although the following letter is addressed to members of the Deanery Synod, the service is open to all.......

Dear Deanery Synod member,

In the past couple of years it has been a pleasure to welcome congregations from across the Deanery to a Service on Ascension Day. Sadly we can’t meet in person this year but we can still worship together via ‘Zoom’. The Service will also be live streamed on YouTube.

Please do join in the Service on Thursday 21st May at 7.30pm and encourage others to be part of the celebration too. Canon Steve Wright will be our preacher during the service which will last roughly half an hour.

You will need this link to access St Mary’s via Zoomhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/9507543972

If you have not already done so, you will be invited to install a small program called, "Zoom" onto your device (PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone) and then you will get access. You might like to try the link in advance to check that you know what to do.

The Service can also be viewed on YouTube here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT9-hfpluCuxwW5haAixYzQ

You can also access the services by phone:
Use this number (charged at standard geographical rate) to join us: 0131 460 1196
Meeting ID: 950 754 3972
If you have friends who do not have internet access and would like to join by phone please pass on the numbers.

You will also need sight of a Service Sheet which will be available from Monday 18th May from www.attleboroughchurch.org.uk

Hope to see some of you then.

With best wishes,

Matthew.

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina - 26th April

My Dear Friends

Yet another week of lock-down, but also, the continuation of beautiful weather, perfect for gardening and the delight of pollution free air. I think that so far, as a group of parishes, we have remained free of the virus, but I hope that I haven’t missed hearing about anyone who has fallen ill with it. My understanding, from what I’ve read and heard on TV, is that there is tremendous variability in the impact of this particular virus on physical health. It seems that there is similar variability in our reactions to “lock-down”. I try to contact at least three people each day, either by phone or e-mail. In doing so, sometimes I’m aware of a continuation of considerable anxiety, but for others, it seems to be a blessed relief to be working at a slower pace. There is no right or wrong way of coping. We are all unique and respond accordingly.

As you know, I am producing a short service sheet for any who would like to keep to the routine of 10.30am on a Sunday, and this is now going to be included on our Shellrock website. I have had just a little feedback on this service sheet, and it would be good to hear your views. I have been toying with the idea of doing something on “Zoom” but will only purse this if it is going to be welcomed. I have discovered that this interactive visual and auditory system is much easier to navigate than I had thought, although it still requires some degree of IT literacy. I’ve also been listening to different versions of hymns on U tube and some of them are suitable for singing along with. One of the hymns listed for this week, Easter 3, is appropriately “Bind us together Lord”. Shall we try it? Certainly, there has been creativity throughout the diocese on how to keep up the momentum of worship and prayer, and I am impressed with the ideas that have been forthcoming and put into practice. If you have any thoughts about what you think might be helpful, do please let me know.

In the meantime, you are in my thoughts and prayers each day. I miss seeing people terribly and long for us to be able to be together, or to be able to visit each other freely. However, all the indications are that the safeguards currently in place will take a long time to be lifted and the next challenge will be, for all of us, how to move into the future as a Christian community.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service is here

Christian worship programmes

Sunday, 12 April            8.10am           Radio 4            Sunday Worship
                                    10.45am           BBC1               Sunday Worship
                                      1.15pm           BBC1               Songs of Praise

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina - 19th April

My Dear Friends

I don’t know if it’s been your experience, but contrary to what I had anticipated when we went into shut down, time seems to be whizzing by. And I certainly have managed to keep active, but in a different way from usual. There‘s a lot of discarded “stuff” to be taken to the charity shops when they open again, and that has meant thinking about priorities. What is important; do I really want to keep that birthday card or letter from 40 odd years ago; what happened to Billy in this photograph I wonder; why did I do that?  Done slowly and methodically it has been, and indeed can be, an important opportunity for reflection.  In this process I have remembered people who have been important on the journey, people who have been influential in different ways. I have remembered some of the tricky decisions where a change of direction meant opening up to a different set of options and a contrasting world view.  It’s been a challenging, but spiritually useful opportunity; going backwards as a preparation for moving forward, I suppose.

I do hope that each one of you has found some unexpected opportunity that has arisen as a result of an imposed change in the normal pace of living. I know that a lot of gardening has been going on, and all of us have appreciated the lovely warm sun and longer days.

But I also know that there has been a lot of sadness and anxiety about family members who are ill, vulnerable and extremely lonely.  I have in mind the worry that some have, knowing that someone close is working at the sharp end, in hospital or community, and is at risk of becoming ill with the virus. There is so much to be thinking and praying about in the days and probably weeks ahead.

Whatever your position, please be aware of my thoughts and prayers. As for previous Sundays, I have designed a brief service sheet which you may find useful.

My love to you all

Christina

 

Elizabeth Griffiths

Sadly we have been informed of the death last week-end of Elizabeth (Lizzie) Griffiths of Little Ellingham.  Lizzie was a key and founding member of the Friends of St Peter, Little Ellingham and we owe her a huge debt of thanks for all the hard work she did on behalf of St Peter's church.  In this restrictive time we can only offer our heartfelt condolences to her husband Peter and include Lizzie and Peter in our prayers.  The funeral will be held on 30th April with only close family attending.

Sunday Services

The Shellrock Sunday Service provided by Christina is here

Christian worship programmes

Sunday, 19 April            8.10am           Radio 4            Sunday Worship
                                    10.00am           BBC1               Sunday Worship
                                      1.15pm           BBC1               Songs of Praise

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina - 12th April

My Dear Friends,
 
And yes, it is Easter Sunday. Who could have anticipated at Christmas that we would be in this situation, as a world, as a country, as a church. We were of course going to be having a united service today for the whole Benefice, with choir and joyous hymns. Fortunately, we are blessed with a lot of modern technology that can take us to “virtual” church services that are being broadcast by the BBC, and services which can also be downloaded from a number of different web-sites. So, we can join in the singing and at least something of the atmosphere of the service.
 
As I did for Palm Sunday, I have also brought together a brief service which can be used, if you wish, for our usual meeting time of 10.30 am. There is a lot to be thankful for, and also, a lot of people needing our prayers. You will know that wherever you are, you will be in our thoughts and prayers, as we give thanks for the miracle of Resurrection.
 
Just as I was completing these Ramblings, I received a card from Bishop Graham. He writes: “With Bishops Alan and Jonathan, I send you warm greetings as we prepare to celebrate an Easter unlike any we have known before”. -------- and he continues, “ Public worship in our churches may be suspended but our joy in the Resurrection is not. We believe that on the cross God has confronted and defeated evil, death and despair because of the great love He has for us, the love in which He holds us even through these difficult and challenging times. Wherever we are this Easter, let this be our prayer: May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds. Please pray for us, your bishops as we pray for you. May God bless you, and those you love”
+ Graham
 
My love to you all
Christina
 
....The service for Easter Sunday includes two Easter hymns. The first hymn comes with a link to the musical accompaniment played by Neville Moon. Thank you to Harold Neal for setting up the link.
 
Prayer requests
Whilst I am sure there are many who need our prayers, there is only one request for this week, Sheelagh Peachment who has recently returned home from hospital.
 
Christian programs over the Easter week-end include:
Saturday, 11 April 7.00pm BBC1 Easter from Kings
Sunday, 12 April 8.10am Radio 4 Easter Sunday Worship
11.25am BBC1 Sunday Worship
1.15pm BBC1 Songs of Praise
1.30pm Radio 4 Three Vicars talking (Richard Coles, Kate Bottley, Giles Fraser)
 
Contacts
Rev Dr Christina Mason 01953 797622
Rev Prebendary Sue Strutt 01953 797336
Benefice admin: email shellrockbenefice@gmail.com
website http://shellrockbenefice.org.uk/
 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina and Colin - 5th April

My Dear Friends

Palm Sunday when Jesus enters Jerusalem is the start of Holy Week, a time when we would have been gathering together throughout the week and following His journey to the cross and to the triumph of Easter. It has been all the more poignant that we cannot physically be together at such an important time. Bearing this in mind we have prepared a brief service which we can use together at the usual time of our Sunday services. What we are suggesting is that as many as wish to do so, follow this service at 10.30 on Sunday morning. I shall continue to prepare an appropriate brief service for each Sunday that follows. It’s not satisfactory I know, but it gives a sense that, yes, we are a worshipping and caring community and that even though we can’t meet face to face, we can together take time to remember and to pray for each other.

It would be helpful if you could let us know what you think of this idea. We also would like to know of requests for prayer and anything that you would wish to be communicated throughout the benefice. I shall continue to be in touch by telephone and e-mail and to remember each one of you in my daily prayers.

My love to you all

Christina

Further notices.........

Shellrock Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service will be published each week with the Ramblings as a separate attachment. As usual, please print off a copy for anyone who does not receive the Ramblings and wishes to join in the worship. If you have any prayer requests, can you please email them to me with the subject title of ‘Prayer Request’. It would be helpful if you could send the requests for each Sunday by the preceding Friday to my personal email address colin.thomas196@btinternet.com

Further worship resources

The ‘Sunday Hope’ podcast for Palm Sunday is now available There are several churches in our diocese live streaming services. A list can be found on the diocesan website using the following link https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/news/live-streams/?utm_source=eNews&utm_campaign=2d81fb2f90-eNews-03-
04-2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cd70a841d3-2d81fb2f90-
301766261&mc_cid=2d81fb2f90&mc_eid=ed3520c52e

Daily Reflections during Holy Week

The Revd Canon Keith James, CMD officer for the Norwich Diocese, has compiled some Daily reflections from Holy Monday through to Good Friday.

By Susanna Gunner:
A painting, a short reflection and a prayer are offered to make connections between aspects of our Holy Week journey and the global pandemic which, this year, is inescapably our context for that journey https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/resource/holy-week-reflections/

So much of our work and other contacts is now via screens and phones. Brian Draper's Midday Moment is a helpful oasis in the day. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF9Ig6JeFQKBTiLatNNH66Q

He has been producing emails during Lent with short reflections, prayers and practical actions – he is continuing to do this after Easter http://briandraper.org/lent-2020-wilder-ness

How to stay in virtual touch with older friends and family https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51933618

Many useful resources around church and covid-19 on the Heartedge website – from St. Martin’s in the Fields https://www.heartedge.org/

A comment piece from Pete Phillips (Durham University) - some reflections on what we already know about the church in the online world
https://mcusercontent.com/d12dcf1ac0951a3d0a9c1829f/files/4de62329-3548-48d6-b456-
d09fd5f04ae2/The_Church_Online.pdf

The pattern and shape of my days has been disrupted and shaken and still doesn’t feel settled in any way yet – here is a prayer that draws us to seek God’s gift of this day and the days ahead.

No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that travelled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.
The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.
We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one. -John O'Donohue

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina and Colin - 29th March

My Dear Friends

The situation we find ourselves in as a world, a nation, a community and a church has certainly highlighted some key aspects of human beings and human behaviour. We are seeing the very best and the very worst of what we appear to be capable of, and of course each one of us has the capacity to move in either direction. A fundamental aspect of humanity is that we are social, and I suspect that many of us feel deeply frustrated at the restrictions on meeting. I certainly long to pop in to see people, have a coffee and a chat and share news. But if we are all of us obedient to the best advice coming from government and reinforced by our church leaders, we will surmount this major crisis.

There is so much to be praying for. Outside our own country, the situation of people in refugee camps is quite dreadful. Within our shores, the plight of the homeless presents a major challenge. Many of us are privileged to have a good amount of space around us and a garden in which to take a breath of air but what about those who are confined to a high rise flat with no outer space to call their own. And I am aware of the psychological impact on those who are naturally of an anxious disposition. So much to think about and so many people to hold in our prayers.

I am trying to keep in touch with different people every day, by phone and by e-mail and I know that in each of our parishes, people are reaching out and are providing practical help and psychological support for each other. The diocese is producing a lot of information and guidance and the Diocesan website is a helpful resource for all of us.

Let us pray for patience to recognise what we need to do for ourselves and for each other at this quite extraordinary time in all our lives.

With love to you all

Christina

 

Church closures

By now you should know that all churches in the Church of England have been instructed to close. This means that no forms of worship will now take place within the building, nor is anyone allowed to enter. The only service being conducted will be a funeral at the graveside and that will be short and restricted to immediate family to minimise the possibility of transmitting/catching COVID-19. Crematoriums will have their own rules but are likely to be similar.

British Summer Time

A reminder that the clocks go forward 1 hour on Sunday at 1am. Not that we are going to be late for anything as we are not allowed anywhere.

Lent

Although all church activities have ceased, it is still Lent and well done to all of you who are keeping to their Lenten promise. Not long to go now. We have a box of Cadbury’s Eggs bought to distribute on Easter Day. What am I going to do with them all!?

Regular Sunday Worship

Last Sunday Norwich Diocese broadcast the first of a weekly audio podcast service of worship called ‘Sunday Hope’. This first service celebrating Mothering Sunday was led by Bishop Graham, the Bishop of Norwich. A transcript of each service is also available. For further details, including how to access the podcast and the transcript of the service, follow the link below:

https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/news/podcast-sunday-hope/

The service for this coming Sunday, Passiontide Sunday, is now available led by Bishop Alan, Bishop of Thetford.

The readings for this Sunday are:
Ezekiel 37. 1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8. 6-11
John 11. 1-45

For those who wish to catch up on the Mothering Sunday ‘Sunday Hope’ podcast and transcript they are still available. If you can’t for any reason access the podcast then just use the transcript.

I personally enjoyed this relatively short service (yes even I, the IT dinosaur, managed to access it following the instructions given). Maybe it was the fact that relying on sound only with no visual distractions allowed me to focus solely on what was being said. I am looking forward to this Sunday and hearing Bishop Alan when I sit down in the peace and quiet of my own home.

There are many other podcasts around which may appeal to you more. You can look for services on Youtube and several churches in Norfolk have been streaming their services. You can go to the Church of England website and it gives a list of all churches streaming a service, though not sure whether these will happen with the new rules on church closures.

Other broadcasts this Sunday are:
08.10 Radio 4 Sunday Worship
13.15 BBC1 Songs of Praise
15.00 Radio 3 Choral Evensong

Lift up your Hearts

Starting this week, the newspaper Church Times is producing an A4 leaflet entitled ‘Lift up your hearts’. They plan to produce each week a ‘collection of prayers and reflections which, we hope, will help to support the people who are deprived from the gifts that come from churchgoing’. I have copied this first edition in the next two pages. If you wish to continue to read this leaflet in the weeks to come, you can access it via their website:

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk

The leaflet can be found under the ‘Resources for churches’ on the right side of the home page. If you know of someone who would like to read this leaflet but does not have access to the internet, you have their permission to print it for them. If you have any difficulty, please let me know. I particularly liked the item entitled ‘Not huddled like frightened sheep’. Like so many of you, I remember it well.

There is also much more information on this website you may wish to explore.

I think that is all for now.

God Bless and keep safe.

Colin

 

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Christina

Ramblings from Christina and Colin - 22nd March

My Dear Friends

I needed to see someone in Dereham today and on my way back, I called into Morrison’s to see if there was any rice or those other things that have disappeared off the shelves! While I was wandering around the shop, I came across a young woman with a toddler in a push chair. She looked on the verge of tears, so I asked if she needed anything I could help with. She said, “I’m so stressed”, but thank you for asking. She touched my sleeve and walked on her way. People, at the moment, are terribly frightened about ------ more or less everything. We can’t change the situation, but I guess we can reach out to people, even if not physically. Following in Jesus’ footsteps, we can try to be as acutely sensitive to others as He was, and wherever we happen to find ourselves.

Today of course is Mothering Sunday and we would normally have been having services and probably sharing a meal with some family members. Even though we can’t do the former this year, we can still be thinking of all mothers, everywhere, and give thanks for that wonderful capacity to love that is demonstrated, not just by mothers, but by all who have a pivotal role in the care of children, young people and often others, within families. I am glad that in the church we call it “Mothering Sunday” and not “Mother’s Day.” Mothering is something that many men do extremely well and demonstrate the deep care and empathy that we so admire and are thankful for. We are encouraged to light a candle today, remembering particularly Mothering, but also as a reminder that Jesus is the light of the world.

My love to you all

Christina

And........
It goes without saying that all church events planned for the next few months have been cancelled. It may feel like the world has stopped but of course it hasn’t. Whilst the government has brought in tougher controls with the subsequent loss of employment and services, there are still many people who will continue to work. The issue of panic (or selfish) buying continues to cause problems for many so it is important we keep things in perspective. Having collected the Foodbank items from Sainsbury’s supermarket yesterday there doesn’t appear to be a lessening of people’s generosity in giving. There was even a bag of pasta!

Please note also that all APCMs have been cancelled, probably until September. Current members of the PCCs and churchwardens will continue in post until the APCMs can be held.

With services now curtailed there is a need for us to maintain our worship, albeit not physically together. With Easter just round the corner it will feel strange not coming together to celebrate the trio of Easter events, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter Day. The readings for each Sunday will continue to be published and next week it is hoped to provide you with an order of service to use at home. There are also streamed broadcasts which I shall investigate further and let you know. In the meantime you can join in the Sunday Worship service broadcast on Radio 4 at 08.10.

On the subject of services, sadly the funeral of Ronnie Holmes will be limited to 7 people, as per the instructions from the diocese. This will be very disappointing to anybody who was planning to attend Ronnie’s funeral. Instead let us remember him, and say a pray for him and his family at the time of his funeral; Tuesday 24 March at 11.00.

At any time throughout this period of isolation, if anyone has difficulties, or you know of anyone in difficulties, and require help please contact a member of the Ministry Team if nobody else is available.

Stay safe and, especially if you have children at home, stay sane.

Colin

Readings:
Exodus 2. 1-10 or 1 Samuel 1. 20-end
Psalm 34. 11-20 or Psalm 127. 1-4
2 Corinthians 1. 3-7 or Colossians 3. 12-17
Luke 2. 33-35 or John 19. 25b-27

 

 

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Christina

Rambings - 17th March

My Dear Friends

This time last week I wrote of continuing to say something about Mothering Sunday and the ancient traditions we have surrounding it. But, I am afraid that Mothering Sunday services will not be happening in any of our churches this year. This is in response to the health crisis caused by the coronavirus. I met with colleagues this afternoon, and we read a circular letter from the two Archbishops Justin and John which can be found on the Church of England website. This was followed by a further communication from Bishops Graham, Alan and Jonathan from our own Diocese. The message is clear and from today there will be no services of public worship. This is in order to try and bring about control of the spread of the virus and is in accord with the advice of the Government and experts in public health.

Although there will be no services, the churches which are open during the day will remain so, and anyone who wishes to take advantage of the quiet in these will be very welcome. We are still able to pray, wherever we are, and given that quite a number of friends and families may fall ill, there is much for us to be offering to our Lord in our daily prayers. Furthermore, as part of our discipleship, we will be reaching out to others; neighbours, friends, family members. Most of us have access to a telephone, and many an e-mail account. We may not meet on a Sunday, but we can still be in touch and help each other. One of us in the ministry team will be posting messages regularly, and over the next few days we shall be constructing a list of people who can be contacted, not just for an emergency, but for conversation. We know that this emergency will pass and although we don’t have an end point as yet, scientists are working hard to produce an effective vaccine. We pray that they and all those whose vocation it is to help at this time will be blest with courage, energy, patience and inspiration. As Bishops Graham, Alan and Jonathan remind us, “we know that at the heart of our life as Christians is prayer and we hear the voice of the Psalmist afresh in our own time, "I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer".

My love to you all
Christina,
Priest in Charge, Shellrock Benefice, 01953 797622

The full text of the Archbishops letter can be read here

The following churches are open for all during the daytime:
St James Great Ellingham
St Peter, Little Ellingham
Rockland St Peter

Further information regarding weddings, funerals and the APCMs will follow shortly. Notices are below. For those who wish to follow the Lectionary, I shall continue to include the readings for each Sunday.

If you need any further information or help, please contact us.

Colin

 

 

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Christina

Rambings - 15th March

My Dear Friends

We often say to each other in conversation “it’s a strange world isn’t it”. I certainly have been thinking along these lines for the past week or two. For a devout Christian in the Anglican and Catholic tradition, our minds might have been preoccupied with keeping Lent and preparing ourselves in heart and mind for the central festival of the church at Easter. This year it seems to have been particularly difficult to be fully involved in this reflective preparation because each day we are at risk of becoming ever more alarmed by the media, and the government information about the new virus and how to prevent it from spreading. Even our church services are impacted as we have been advised not to shake hands at the peace, and, this week only to receive the bread at communion. It certainly has felt like a strange world!

We can be saddened for those families who have lost a loved one because of the coronavirus and also for those, suffering from health anxiety, who have become extremely fearful. But I for one do hope that the fear of infection will not have too great an impact on us in the Lenten weeks yet to come. There are some special services during this time starting with Mothering Sunday on 22nd. On this day I like to think we aren’t just saying thank you to and remembering the women who gave birth to us, but also all those people who have helped to nurture us into mature adults: God-mothers, teachers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sometimes family friends. I shall be saying a little more about this in next week’s Ramblings but, in the meantime, keep well.

My love to you all
Christina

Readings:
Exodus 17. 1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5. 1-11
John 4. 5-42

 

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Christina

Rambings - 8th March

My Dear Friends

The last week of February brought three special days: Shrove Tuesday when we enjoyed our pancakes, Ash Wednesday when we marked the start the period of reflection and repentance for Lent, and of course the extra day on 29th which we have in a leap year, and who knows how we used this day! Like much in our Christian year the rituals are ancient. For example, the tradition of marking the start of Lent goes back to the second century. The specific British custom of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday dates to the 16th century. Another old tradition in many Christian parish churches, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, is the ringing of the church bells. The deep tone of one of the bells known as the Shriving Bell is to “call the faithful to confession before the solemn season of Lent" and also for people to "begin frying their pancakes".

These traditions, such as the pancake race that we have been having at St James for many years, can be a source of fun and I remember when my daughter was young, spending many hours preparing pancakes for her friends who seemed to have insatiable appetites for them. But of course, the day afterwards, the start of Lent, is when we can start a period of serious reflection on our discipleship. I have always found the opportunity these 40 days provide helpful in re-evaluating where I stand in my beliefs and practices as a follower of Jesus. There are many opportunities to do just that, and in the weeks to come we may be suggesting alternative ways in which Lent can be marked and used for ourselves and also for others.

My love to you
Christina

Shellrock Talks
Our Shellrock Talk in RSP church last Wednesday, entitled ‘Trekking tales and desert dramas’, proved to be a very entertaining evening. Our very own Julie and Victoria gave an excellent presentation of their exploits in the desert in aid of Cancer Research UK; followed by a short talk by Debbie on the work of the charity. Thank you to everyone involved.

Readings
Genesis 12. 1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4. 1-5, 13-17
John 3. 1-17

 

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Colin

Rambings - 1st March

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus

Ronnie Holmes

Last week we were informed of the death of Ronnie Holmes; until recently a Churchwarden of Shropham church for many years.  We offer our condolences to Ronnie’s family and friends.  His funeral will be in Shropham church on Tuesday 24th March at 11am.

And don't miss...

Readings:
Genesis 2. 15-17; 3. 1-7
Psalm 32
Romans 5. 12-19
Matthew 4. 1-11

 

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Christina

Rambings - 23rd February

Dear Friends

Last week I was faced with preparing a sermon on the verses from Matthew’s gospel ---- “Consider the lilies of the fields; they toil not, nor do they spin”. The passage is certainly well known but it remains a puzzle. Although we repeat it, and enjoy the poetry, we find it hard to follow the advice. We are told that it is unnecessary to worry, even that it is wrong to worry. And as I said in my address on Sunday, so much of our modern life is prefaced on the fact that that is just what we do: worry about money, our appearance, health, our children, what Bill said to Bob in the pub last night ----- and so on, and on. And where would our economy be if we didn’t worry --- tranquilisers, cosmetics, fashion?

Rather than discarding the whole passage as being lovely poetry but inapplicable to our modern world perhaps it might be used to stimulate further thinking about our human tendency to worry. Clearly it is right and sensible to worry about for example, a persistent cough that doesn’t get better. We could be blamed for being irresponsible if we didn’t seek advice and help. But what about the many other things that agitate us during the day and keep us awake at night. Sometimes it is both legitimate and sensible to worry, but it’s also maybe a good idea also to reflect from time to time on the stock pile of concerns that weigh us down and ask ourselves if we can just leave some of these in God’s hands? Just a question.

My love to you

Christina

Readings: Exodus 24. 12-end
Psalm 22
Peter 1. 16-end
Matthew 17. 1-9

 

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Christina

Rambings - 16th February

My Dear Friends,

In many places during Lent, parishes have special courses of Bible Study and other related activities and there will be advertisements locally for such events. It is certainly the case that in the past our Shellrock benefice has done something special for Lent, but not this year. However, we would hope that the 40 days and nights could still be used for some extra personal reflection, prayer, bible study, reading, quiet times or whatever is our personal choice.

Life seems to become ever busier and the opportunity to set aside time for some regular contemplation seems to be increasingly hard to find. But there is a great deal of valid and reliable evidence pointing to the tremendous benefit for all of us, physically, emotionally and spirituality, if we engage in regular times of complete relaxation. Many people have found benefit in what has come to be called “mindfulness”; focusing on breathing and relaxation can help deal with all those daily worries that seem to swamp us so often and erode energy, sleep and well-being. Negative stress increases and with it irritability, impatience and impaired relationships.

Reading the stories in the gospels of Jesus’ life, he seems to be for ever on the move and to have packed in an enormous amount of activity each day of his ministry, and yet we are also told that he would withdraw from his disciples and have a time entirely on his own for prayer and reflection. Perhaps during this coming Lent, if not doing it already, we might put aside a regular time each day, simply to reflect. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy period ----- fifteen minutes ------- it might be worth a try and see what happens.

My love to you all

Christina

Readings:
Genesis 1.1 - 2.3
Psalm 136
Romans 8. 18-2
Matthew 6. 25-end

 

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Christina

Shellrock News - 9th February

My Dear Friends

I anticipate that most of you will now know that David Strutt, the husband of Rev Prebendary Sue Strutt has died. His illness was fortunately fairly brief; his death was peaceful. We thank God for David and all the energy and humour he brought to the benefice in the time that he has been with us. Sue and David have been married for 50 years and they have four children and several grandchildren. All will be missing David terribly in these early days and I hope that they will take comfort in knowing that we are with them in our thoughts and prayers. The funeral will be held in St James, Great Ellingham and will be led by one of Sue ‘s long standing clerical colleagues from Herefordshire. There will be plenty of notice of the date and time of the funeral.

December and January also brought an end to the lives of a number of people who are associated with the benefice, and who are known to us. Spouses, children, grandchildren, friends can all be affected by these losses and we can never anticipate how different people will respond. Grief has been described as like an illness and as such it will take variable amounts of time to recover. We take bereavement and the pastoral care of the bereaved seriously in the Church as a whole, and I am grateful for all those who, in the past, and currently have drawn attention to the particular needs and sensitivities of those who have lost a person close to them. So, let us remember in our own private prayers all those who like Sue and her family are experiencing the very particular suffering associated with loss. 

My love to you all

Christina.

Readings:

Isaiah Chap. 58 Vrs. 1-9a (9b-12)
1 Corinthians Chap. 2 Vrs. 1-12 (13-end)
Matthew Chap. 5 Vrs. 13-20

 

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Christina

Shellrock News - 2nd February

My Dear Friends,

Already the month of January has passed and we are beginning to consider the next major time in the church’s year; the season of Lent. Like Advent, this is a time for reflection and of course traditionally we are supposed to “give up” something during the 40 days. I’m fairly sure that there will be several of you who will remember this being a standard requirement.

When I went to Sunday school, we were given a Lenten box and we put in it whatever as children we could, pennies from our pocket money, or whatever.  I think the collected money was sent to a charity, but I’m not sure of that.

Sunday school there is no more, but there remains the opportunity to think carefully about how we want to use this time of reflection on our discipleship as individuals, as congregations and the whole benefice, there are so many different ways, none better than another.

However, this year in response to a special appeal which came to the benefice last week, we are asked to pray for and to perhaps increase the number of items which we give to the food banks. These are very badly needed in all parts of the country and I know that we have done well in the past with our contributions. I have asked that we put up a poster in each church to remind us of the valuable work of the food banks and the items that are particularly needed. 

My love to you.

Christina

Readings:

Malachi 3 Vs. 1-5.

Hebrews 2 Vs. 14-end.

Luke 2 Vs. 22 - 40

 

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Colin

Shellrock News - 26th January

Starting again in February, the monthly service of Compline will be held on the first Thursday of each month in St Peter, Little Ellingham at 7pm.  This is a short service, highly valued for its simplicity and for bringing the day to a close in the presence of God.

Next Sunday we shall be celebrating Candlemas; the end of Christmas for the church.  Please note it has been decided that there will only be the two services on this Sunday one each at RAS and Shropham.

There are numerous references to prayer in the bible.  As is proper, prayer forms the major part of our worship; even the hymns can be prayer put to music.  However the prayers we say together are scripted in the order of service and the intercessions are led so giving no opportunity for input from the congregation.  The only time we have the opportunity to pray with complete freedom is in our private prayer. What we do not have in this benefice is a prayer group; a group of people who come together on a regular basis to simply pray.

Now there are many versions of prayer groups, with differences in style, content, method, focus, frequency, time, participants and leadership.  For some time I have had the belief that this benefice needs to have a regular prayer group; I also have a vision of how this group would operate.  But before I do anything I would first like to know what you think. Please communicate your thoughts on this, in whatever format you like, to me or one of the Ministry Team.

 

Readings:

Isaiah 9 Vs. 1-4.

Psalm 27. Vs. 1, 4-12 (or 1.11).

1st Corinthians 1. Vs.10-18.

Matthew 4. Vs. 12-23.

 

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Colin

Shellrock News - 19th January

Last Thursday we said a sad farewell to David Clarke in St James, Great Ellingham.  During the service David was described as a ‘gentleman’ with never a harsh word uttered.  There are probably few, if anybody, who would disagree with this description of David; someone who appeared to have only friends.  How many of us can say that about ourselves.

In the time given for reflection on our relationship with David, it occurred to me that we could all perhaps consider making this year a time of reflection on all our relationships.  As Christians we are empowered to ‘love thy neighbour’ which is not always an easy thing to do. Maybe we just need to try harder!?

Apparently, as part of his tour of the Deanery last Tuesday, Bishop Graham paid a visit to Rocklands Community Shop.  We hope he found the visit informative and pleasurable, although the two don’t necessarily always go together!

Shellrock Talk. 

The next Shellrock Talk is being organised with Julie Dekker and Victoria Graham as our guest speakers.  The talk will be on the work of Cancer Research UK and their walk last year to raise funds for the charity.  The provisional date for this is Thursday 5th March starting at 7.30pm in Rockland St. Peter church. As always, it will be good if as many of us as possible can attend this talk so please put it in your schedule.

CT.

Readings:

Isaiah 9.Vs. 1-4.

Psalm 27. Vs.1, 4-12. (or 1-11)

1st Corinthians 1. Vs.10-18.

Matthew 4. Vs.12-23.

 

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Colin

Shellrock News - 12th January

Firstly a message from the Rural Dean:

‘On Tuesday 14 January Bishop Graham, Bishop of Norwich, will be visiting our Deanery as part of a series of tours getting to know the Diocese. The day will culminate in a celebratory service at St Mary’s, Attleborough at 7pm, during which the Bishop will celebrate the Eucharist and we will sing his ‘Desert Island Hymns’.

There will be a chance to meet Bishop Graham and chat to him over refreshments after the Service. Please do come along and encourage your friends to come too. Let’s make the evening a real celebration of the Bishop’s new ministry among us and make him feel really welcome in our part of the Diocese.’

For a trial period, the readings for each Sunday will be included in your Ramblings.  This is to help you prepare for the service on that day.  You may wish to bring along your bible and read whilst you listen.  For non benefice services not all the readings may be used.  At this time I don’t know the readings for the Covenant service on 19th.

Sadly, Revd Sue Strutt will not be available to continue her ministry with us for the time being.  Sue’s husband, David, is still very ill and requiring Sue’s continual support.  Please include David, Sue and their family in your prayers during this very difficult time for them.

Whilst Sue is unavailable, Christina will continue to fulfil her role as priest-in-charge.  The intention was for our two priests to job share and Sue had recently taken on principle responsibility for the two Ellingham churches.  So please be aware that Christina is now shouldering all the responsibility and do whatever you can to minimise her workload by referring to Christina only when it is necessary.

On a happier note, Beryl Chilleystone appears to be making good progress and there is even a possibility she will be returning home shortly.

CT

 

Readings:

Isaiah 42. 1-9;    Psalm 29

Acts 10. 34-43;  Matthew 3. 13-end

 

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Colin

Shellrock News - 5th January

Happy New Year

Now the merry making and frenetic activity surrounding Christmas is but a memory, we enter a new year with high expectations. At one time I would liken it to a blank canvas with all the bad bits from last year gone and forgotten. However life is not like that. It is more like a garden with the expectation of new growth just around the corner but with the weeds patiently biding their time; like our Quinquennial Inspection Report from 2019 which has just been circulated!

Whilst our churches have rung out to the good news of Christ’s birth, I am sure we have all been saddened by the sudden death of David Clarke shortly before Christmas Day. David had regularly attended our services and was a member of the Benefice choir. In recent months he had experienced poor health and had been supported in many ways by other members of the church. Our condolences go to all his family and friends. His funeral service is scheduled for Thursday 16 th January at 2pm in St James, Great Ellingham.

Our prayers and good wishes also go to Beryl Chilleystone and David Strutt who are both experiencing ill health and for whom Christmas was not as they had wished.

Wishing each one of you and all the churches in our benefice a very happy and prosperous 2020.

 

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