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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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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Christina

Shellrock News - 22nd and 29th December

Dear Friends,

As I write this, we are coming up to the end of Advent and making final preparations for all that Christmas brings. Throughout the five churches we have been celebrating with a variety of events, some quite serious and others, simply fun. Actually, it is six churches because we sometimes forget All Saints, Snetterton which is still officially part of the Benefice even though it’s been closed for repairs for some time. The renovations are now finished, and a lovely carol service was held there on Monday December 8th, complete with two donkeys and lots of children.   

What I increasingly am aware of is that there are people in every church who work extremely hard throughout the year. Especially in December they bring the spirit of Christmas to church and community alike. I am personally most grateful and give thanks for all those people who are actively involved in the forefront AND behind the scenes, all the year round. You are dedicated and I know, always go that “extra” mile.

It is invidious to name particular people, but there is one I would like to mention because she is standing down at Christmas and this is actually the last of the Ramblings that she will be involved in circulating. Margaret Moore-Vale has held the position of Benefice Administrator for the last three years. She has worked away quietly, developed efficient systems to keep important records up to date, reminded us of important things we may have forgotten, and in general, and in the gentlest possible way kept us on our toes.! Margaret, we thank you for all you have done and hope that you will now enjoy a period of rest.   Kate Reynolds will be picking up the administrative reins in the New Year.

Thank God, although most of us in the Benefice can enjoy a healthy and happy Christmas with others, this is certainly not true of all. Across the Benefice there have been a number of significant losses of family members and friends. We are especially aware that for some of you this will be a Christmas without this loved person. We hold you in our hearts.

We are also aware of those in our society for whom Christmas may be painful for many different reasons; for instance, isolation, homelessness, or difficult memories. Let us remember them in our on-going prayers.  

You will notice that this “edition” of ramblings is covering two weeks. May you all have a blessed Christmas wherever you are, and a good entry into 2020.

My love to you all

Christina

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 15th December

After all the hype of the past few weeks........

Happy, sad, angry, relieved, disappointed, concerned, tears even.  These are some of the emotions people will be experiencing in response to the results of our General Election held last week.  Whatever the future now holds under a Conservative Government, with a large enough majority to basically do what they wish, only time will tell what kind of government we now have.  Brexit of course is major one on the list, with no certainty what kind of Brexit we shall ultimately be signed up to.  It is a time for cool heads to bring about some stability to this country and to temper the emotional roller coaster we have had these past three years.  Please hold these people in our prayers.

On the subject of prayers, please include Beryl Chilleystone in your prayers this coming week.  Sadly Beryl had a bad fall last week and although there is little information about her condition, it appears she has sustained a serious injury.  We wish her a speedy recovery.

We are now entering that time of the year when all our churches will be hosting celebrations for the birth of Jesus Christ.  Shropham have their Carol Service this Sunday and we have our Nine Lessons and Carols next Sunday.  It is a time when irregular attendees of church grace us with their presence.  Please look out for them and make them feel welcome.  Pour upon them the spirit of Christmas which is peace and goodwill to all.  We can all do with some of that!

CT

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 8th December

Dear Friends

Our two services today reflect the hope of Advent,

Firstly, at Café Church, we will be building a Jesse Tree.  The name comes from Jesus’s ancestry.  It is recorded that he is of King David’s line, and David’s father was Jesse.

The decoration on the tree remind us of the history of the Hebrews as recorded in the Bible, beginning with the Creation, through Adam, Noah Moses, the prophets, and others in between, until we reach Mary, John the Baptist and Jesus himself.  The candles on the Advent Ring also represent the Hebrew Fathers, the Prophets, John the Baptist and Mary, ending with the central white candle (Jesus) being lit on Christmas Day.

It is good to remind ourselves of the history from whence comes our faith.  Anglicanism may be relatively recent but the tenets upon which we hang our faith are ancient, formed before the very beginning of time. Although the interpretation of the faith may have changed over the generations, God was the same, is the same and always will be the same – our Rock upon which we build our lives.

The Christingle this afternoon will be bringing our faith into the present, explaining the fullness of Christ as we experience him in the world today, also discovering why he is our Saviour. His whole life and ministry was directed towards God the Father, towards Love and Hope for the survival of the human race, and to live in peace with each other which is, indeed, the message of Christmas

There are two more Sundays of Advent before Christmas day itself.  Let us keep a good Advent, remembering why we believe, what has been, and why we hope for the world to become a place of peace springing from the Love God has shown to his people
My Advent love to you all,

Sue

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 1st December

Dear Friends

As I write I am listening to Dvorak’s Stabat Mater.  I was privileged to sing it with the Midlands Festival Chorus in Worcester Cathedral seven or eight years ago. 

This Festival Chorus performs only once a year, bringing together singers from around the Midlands for an initial gathering to introduce the piece to be performed, then two more day-long rehearsals before the wonderful performance in the Cathedral.  It was an experience I will never forget.

One of the great things about it was that my brother was also singing in the chorus having come from Bedfordshire.  He had sung with the chorus for several years and being there gave us a few extra precious hours together.

 Listening now to the soaring voices of the soloists and the stirring choruses, and reliving those memories, it reminds me that singing with others in a choir, or a church congregation, or a band, or just together, lifts the spirits.  Music itself is, of course, a source of joy and peace but joining voices and/or musical instruments brings an additional companionship, especially when trying to hit the right notes whether it is practising for a more formal performance or just for fun.

Families and friends that came before us had the right idea, gathering around a piano in the parlour to sing all the old favourites, time to forget the stresses of life for a short time while making music together.

As we sing our Advent Carols today, we can look forward to the next few weeks with the carol services around the Benefice when we can all raise our voices in the familiar hymns and songs of Christmas - together - and remembering people around the world are doing the same.  Christmas is about joy and peace, love and goodwill for all.  Let us enjoy this season of expectation as we wait for the celebration of God coming into the world as a tiny baby, helpless, but heralded by the sound of the angels’ song bringing the power of his love to all.

My love to you all, Sue

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 24th November

Dear Friends

With the General Election looming, whenever I listen to the radio or watch TV there is nothing else being broadcast but discussions on this party or that, and what the polls say or where people are intending to place their vote.  Many of those interviewed seem not to know, very few are certain.

It has occurred to me that this confused way of being may affect our thinking on other matters, or is it just that nothing is certain in life?  Perhaps this is why we need our faith more, now, than we ever have before except when the country has been at war.

Believing that God is ever present in the world and in our lives, that he is the Supreme King above all earthly kings and governors, brings a confident assuredness that, in the end, all will be well. 

We live in a country where we are free to express our faith, our politics, our opinions, our gender, our everything else………….where our police do not carry arms, where crime is punished fairly, where we can be ill and receive treatment free of charge……………..let us count our blessings, it begins to put everything into perspective.  Why is it that people who live in countries where these things do not exist seem to have more faith? 

There has to be hope for the future, and experience has taught me that our hope is in God, not a political party or the economy.  As we approach Christmas, remember what we are celebrating – Emmanuel, God with us.

A reminder that the Advent Course begins on Wednesday.  Last week I mentioned it was called ‘Mapping Prayer’.  I was wrong!  It is ‘Mapping Advent’ (of course!).   Maybe we will map prayer in Lent.

The new Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Rev’d Graham Usher, is being welcomed in St. Cuthbert’s Church, Thetford tomorrow, Monday 25th at 7.00pm.   All are welcome to attend.

My love to you all, Sue

 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 17th November

Dear Friends,

This Sunday marks a slight lull from the nostalgic time remembering the saints and souls who have gone before us.  We now look towards ending the Kingdom season with Christ the King Sunday next week.  This refers to the idea of the Kingdom of God where Christ is described as sitting at the right hand of God. More of that next week.

Advent Course:  Advent begins on December 1st but a date to remember is November 27th when we will hold the first session of the Advent Course.  This year we are considering our prayer life and we have literature published by the Diocese called ‘Mapping Prayer’.  This will help us to look at what prayer is, how to use it in our daily lives as well as in regular church worship.

There will be 3 sessions, on 27th, 4th , and 11th December at 7.00pm, in the Benefice Office.

Advent Worship:  In addition to the usual Sunday services through Advent, Compline (night prayer) will be held each Thursday at 7.00pm in St Peter’s, Little Ellingham.  Compline is a quiet, reflective service, lasting for 15 - 20 minutes.  It is exactly right for Advent when we think about the coming of Christ and what that means in our lives.

Advent Calendars:  Please leave your name on the sheet at the back of the church if you require a REAL Advent Calendar this year.  They are £3.99, and produced by the Meaningful Chocolate Company.  Alternatively, you can contact Sue or the Benefice office to order, within the next ten days please. See contact numbers over leaf.

Exciting times ahead. Oh, and don’t forget the Advent lunch at Rocklands Village Hall on Saturday 30th November, 12.30p.m. for 1.00p.m.

My love to you all, Sue

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 10th November

November is the month of remembrance.  It is good that the Church recognises we need a time to look back, be sad and nostalgic, remember our loved ones and all those who have left this earth before us, ask for God’s blessing on them and us, and then shift our focus towards preparing for the birth of Christ as we move into Advent.

Having remembered our own dear departed last Sunday along with those who have died for the love of Christ in generations past at All Saintstide and All Souls, we now think about all who gave their life in service to this country, especially the armed forces in times of conflict.  It is fitting that names will be read out from all our churches; none will be forgotten.

St James will welcome the scouts to the service.  We look to the next generation to take on these traditions.  Our young people have a very powerful voice when they raise issues – check the moves to take the changing environment seriously. I am sure that peace is at the top of their agenda, and learning about the casualties of war, present as well as past, is an important move to ensure diplomacy and negotiation take precedence over warlike gestures and threats in future.

It is also interesting to note the changing colours of the hangings in church during these seasons – white for All Saints, red on Remembrance Sunday, remaining red through the Sundays before Advent, then purple when Advent arrives on December 1st.  White, of course, for Christmas………

My love to you all, Sue

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 3rd November

My Dear Friends,

At St James, Great Ellingham, this evening at 6.30, we are having a service of remembrance and thanksgiving for the lives of those relatives and friends who have died, and not just in the past year. Everyone is welcome.  It is a quiet, prayerful service with some well-known hymns, and it gives us all the chance to reflect on our loved ones and to share some of our sadness in the companionship of others who have had experiences of loss.

Grief can be extremely painful and bewildering. The writer of the Narnia chronicles, C S Lewis, said “no one told me that grief feels so much like fear”. In loss and grief, sometimes we feel very unwell physically; this is absolutely normal, although it can be worrying. Time does heal eventually, although it can indeed take a long time. Every single person is unique, and the relationships we have with each other are unique. There is no “rule book” about the time it takes to get over a loss. What does seem to help and bring comfort is the opportunity to speak with others who will listen and respect the particular characteristics and circumstances of each bereavement. We hope very much that this is something that we can offer in a Christian community, and not just at this special time of year.  

After Christmas, I am planning to develop a bereavement support group, and this will be for anyone in the communities served by the Shellrock Benefice, and not just those who are attending church. I have been wanting to do this for many months and I would be very grateful to hear from anyone who has ideas about such a group; for example, time of day or evening, location, frequency ------ and so on.

Wherever you are this weekend, I ask that you find peace and know that we will be thinking and praying for all people who have been bereaved of someone who is important to them.

With my love to you all,

Christina

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 27th October

My Dear Friends,

As I write this, I am also thinking about the weekend when you will receive it, either by e-mail or when you come to church for the service. Sunday 27th October is Bible Sunday, an occasion for us to consider how important the Bible is to us, as a church and as individuals. I suspect we all know that different denominations give greater or lesser authority to the words of scripture: some take a literal approach and believe that the Bible contains the actual words of God; others believe that the Bible describes the experiences human beings have had over the centuries in their encounters with God. There is a similar variation when it comes to individuals. There are those who read and study the Bible regularly and would feel lost if they were not able to do this every day, whilst others hear the Bible read at Sunday services, and that is their only contact with it.

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the new Testament in Greek. Quite apart from the translations into most languages spoken today, there are now also different versions of the Bible in English, and we all have our favourites. I guess that a lot of people attending church today in the over 60 age group would be most familiar with the “King James” Bible and be able to quote from it. Certainly, it was the version I was accustomed to both in church and at School. But whichever translation is used, there are some parts of the Bible that are difficult to understand and not just in the Old Testament. We can easily be put off. This is where the various commentaries can be helpful in giving the context in which a passage might have been written, as well some very interesting historical insights and helpful alternative interpretations.

We have a long-standing Fellowship group in this Benefice. It is held on a Tuesday morning and Bible Study is central to the gathering. BUT there is no reason why there could not be another group, perhaps on another day or evening. Anyone who is interested in studying more of the Bible and/or who might be thinking about a group such as our existing Fellowship, just have a word with one of the ministry team.

With my love to you all

Christina

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 20th October

The sun was warm today and while I was out and about, I was aware and thankful for the wonders of the Autumn colours which looked glorious.

From now until Christmas and beyond we are entering a particularly busy season with many opportunities to come together for worship and for service to each other. November sees us remembering members of our families and friends who have died in the previous year as well as further back in time. Those who come to such a service feel moved as well as supported by the comradeship of others who also have been bereaved. This service will be held in St James on November 3rd at 6.30pm. Remembrance Sunday falls a week later and for many people this is also an important time to think of and give thanks for the courage of those involved in the wars that have afflicted humankind in the twentieth century.

November also sees the Right Revd Graham Usher installed as the new Bishop of Norwich. Although this is the official start of his ministry as Bishop, he has already been quite active and has been visiting various parts of the Diocese. He will be presiding at a service in St Cuthbert’s Church Thetford on November 27th at 7.00pm and this will be an opportunity for anyone in our Benefice who wishes to meet him. Although, the election and installation of a new Bishop may seem remote from us in rural areas, his ideas, priorities, and particular areas of concern impact on all of us. Over the coming weeks we shall be praying for him and his family as he settles into a new home and environment.

With love to you all

Christina

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 13th October

For those who didn’t make it on Wednesday evening, you missed a thoroughly good presentation by the Revd Dr Peter Herbert on ‘Science and Religion’, our recent Shellrock Talk.  He obviously knew his subjects and his delivery was one of great enthusiasm; I, for one, felt informed and challenged as well as entertained.  Thank you to all who came to hear the talk, to RSP for providing a warm venue and to the ‘Refreshment Ladies’ for the tea and coffees.

Another huge “Thank You” to everyone who supported the MacMillan Coffee Morning last Sunday at St Peter, Little Ellingham.  Considering the atrocious weather, it was so good to see so many of you coming along and enjoying the refreshments on offer and contributing to the £211 that was taken.  All the donations will be sent to the charity.

It is hard to say whether the recent Brexit talks between PM Johnson and PM Varadkar will come to anything; but where there is a will there is a way!  The whole process has been gladiatorial in its style so we must consider ourselves fortunate that only words are being slung between the opposing sides rather than bullets and bombs; progress of a sorts at least.

It is all fodder for the media of course, but what about the aftermath.  There are going to be many people who will feel let down whatever the outcome, so necessitating a degree of reconciliation.  Of course Jesus showed us the way.  Let down many times by his weak and rebellious followers, he nevertheless always kept the door open to them, no matter how much he was hurt by their actions.  It is never too late for a new beginning.

Let the Love of God comfort you, the teaching of Jesus Christ guide you and the power of the Holy Spirit give you strength.

Have a good week.

Colin

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 6th October

When I started the Shellrock Talks the general idea was to give us the opportunity to expand our knowledge and understanding of what is happening in this world that has a religious or moral element to it.  So far we have heard how Christian Aid operates, the state of religious education in our schools, why we support Food Banks, and what role religion has in our prisons.  This week we have a talk from Revd Dr Peter Herbert on the association between Science and Religion.

For many people the notion is that science and religion are on opposite sides of an argument; the beginning of the universe and life itself is a good example.  Although science gives us answers to many questions about us and the world we live in, does it really give us all the answers?  As we have discovered, science is not infallible; many ‘truths’ have consequently been proved incorrect necessitating a rethink on what had been accepted as fact.  So how does science and religion make such good friends, or even are they good friends?

 Dr Herbert is an astrophysicist and an ordained minister in the Anglican Church, so a foot in both camps places him in an ideal position to help us formulate an answer if that is possible.  So do come along to RSP this Wednesday to what should be an interesting evening.  The talk starts at 7.30pm, with coffee and tea served from 7pm.  This is also an opportunity to bring along a friend who may sit firmly on the science side of the fence.

A reminder that this Sunday, 6 October St Peter Little Ellingham are holding a MacMillan coffee ‘morning’ in the church between 12 and 2pm after their Harvest Festival service.  Anyone who has been affected by cancer and supported by the MacMillan charity will know how important that support is to people travelling on this very difficult journey.  So please come along, spend your money, enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.  All the money will go to the charity.

Finally, a reminder that St James, Great Ellingham is holding its Autumn Fayre this coming Saturday, 12 October.

Your support is always welcome.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 29th September

“Come ye thankful people come” ------ the first line of a lovely harvest hymn that is probably being sung in many churches throughout UK and possibly in other countries as well at this Autumn time. What struck me as I was writing this was that thanksgiving for the harvest, which we have been doing now for many years, is happening at the same time as thousands of people throughout the world, led by young people, have gone on strike or have engaged in a major protest about the climate crisis. There will be controversy and different views being expressed about so many children missing a school day. But we also know that climate change is a challenge for our time and for our future on this earth.

The topic has been in all the media, almost daily, following after a brave Swedish school-girl called Greta spoke out clearly and expressed the views of her generation. But of course, it has been around for a lot longer than that. Bishop Hugh Montefiore was a prominent church man who was drawing attention to environmental and climate issues back in the 1960s and the previous Bishop of Thetford, David Anderson, was likewise seeing part of his calling as drawing attention to these issues.

I believe it is part of our Christian responsibility to translate these issues into action, not necessarily by joining the next march – and I’m sure there will be more -- but by carefully considering how every aspect of our travel,  purchases, heating and many other aspects of daily life are affecting the planet. God has given us responsibility to be stewards of this wonderful world and “all that therein is”.  Let’s discuss and go on discussing how we can do this most effectively through our actions and choices. 

My love to you all

Christina

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 22nd September

Almost as soon as September is over, we are busy preparing for Christmas and the year ahead. One of the essential items of preparation is the rota of services for the year starting in January. As you can imagine this is quite a complex business trying to make sure that all five churches have a similar number of services and that they are the types of service that people wish to have.  In the Shellrock Benefice, we have quite a variety of different services and liturgies: those that are based on the Book of Common Prayer, the more modern liturgies from Common Worship and ones that we develop ourselves. A substantial number of people indicate quite strong preferences, and we need to take account of as many as possible of these.  Following on from meetings and discussions in the ministry team and the different PCCs, ideas and wishes are brought together. Several people are then involved with the construction of a complex rota and I am always grateful to them for their hard work and attention to detail.

It really is a challenge and the end-result cannot possibly please everyone because there are so many different experiences and preferred styles of churchmanship, even within a small benefice such as Shellrock.  But we are helped, and want to hear your ideas, views and feedback on all aspects of our communal worship as well as our life together as a church.

With love to you all

Christina

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 15th September

I always think of the latter part of September, and into October, as the beginning of Autumn, that “season of mellow fruitfulness”.   It is rightfully a time of inspiration for the poets. The harvest services have begun, and we can sing our hearts out with well-known hymns and songs and enjoy all the other activities, such as Autumn fairs and harvest suppers. All too soon the shops will be reminding us of just how many days there are left to Christmas, so let’s all enjoy the particular character of the Autumn as we begin to hunker down to the shorter evenings.

Everyone has their seasonal preferences.   For me Autumn is particularly beautiful, and I well remember many years ago being lucky enough to be there for the Canadian and New England fall; the oranges and reds, the golden yellows and burnished browns – a wondrous sight. We have so much to be thankful for in our natural world whether it be the magnificence of the mountains and valleys, or on a smaller, but not lesser scale, the scent of a newly unfolding rose. Our harvest services and celebrations give us the opportunity to stand back, take stock, appreciate, but also to remember all those who are not as fortunate as ourselves.  In many different ways and in other countries, as well as our own, there is a shortage of food, an absence of shelter, and for some, a constant and dreadful fear that comes from the effects of climate change or political oppression.In the midst of the muddle that our country finds itself in, for us atleast, Autumn can be a time of peace and joyfulness andthankfulness.

With my love to you all

Christina

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 8th September

On August 29th at the benefice office, we had a goodly number of people from across the benefice attending a meeting about stewardship.
Robert Culyer from the diocese came along to the meeting to help us in our thinking. He reminded us that Stewardship is not just about money.
It includes the time and the talents that we give as part of our Christian discipleship. I have always been struck by the generosity with which people give of their time and their talents in each of our churches. Some of this is highly visible; a lot is invisible and involves all the maintenance activities going on behind the scenes so that the five churches are in a good state of repair and are clean and welcoming for the weekly services.  I am also aware of the love and support that is freely given to those who are unwell, frail or housebound.  Robert reminded us that Stewardship is for the purpose of building up the Body of Christ in response to God’s love and, yes, it does indeed involve financial giving as well as of time and talents. Over the next weeks and months, we will be talking a lot more about stewardship and the different ways in which each of us can be involved. And there are indeed many and various ways. For example, Robert challenged us to consider how long ago it was that we had invited another person to join us in coming to a service!  Now ----- there’s a thought.

The schools are back but summer isn’t quite over yet and I hope that you can enjoy the still warm weather and the beauty of the natural world, wherever you are.

With my love to you all

Christina

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 1st September

You will be reading this as the last days of the school summer holiday come to an end. I have no doubt that parents and grandparents will be busy getting the next size of school uniform and ensuring that all is ready for the new term. For some families, they will be preparing for that important major transition: first day of school, moving up to secondary school, leaving home for college.  It’s likely that some of our clearest memories are of these key stages of change in our lives. I pray that for all in this position, everything will go smoothly and be without any major difficulties. 

The summer has been busy and there have been several successful fund-raising events. I mention just two. Our Rockland churches worked together with their open gardens, refreshments in the village hall and the chance to have portraits drawn by Chris Riddell (former children’s laureate) at Rockland Manor. Thanks to efficient advertising, people came from many different places in Norfolk and Suffolk.  It was clear that everyone enjoyed the day which raised a substantial sum. A very different event took place on August 3rd when the Holst singers came from London for a free lunchtime concert at St James. The church was packed, and everyone was treated to an hour of gorgeous unaccompanied and high quality singing. Donations at the end were generous.

All such events are not only financially worthwhile. They are pleasurable, and bring new people into our communities and churches. Thanks to everyone who attended and those who work hard in many different ways to make these and other similar events such a success.

With love

Christina

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 25th August

Dear Friends,

As I looked out of my kitchen window today I saw three collared doves on the handles of our lawnmower.  One was only half grown and fluttering for balance.  The adult on the same handle was obviously its mother and looked as though she was trying to feed the young one who eventually fell to the ground.  The other, larger, adult I took to be the father flew off on to the rotary washing line.

The mother stayed on the lawnmower handle, looking a little anxiously towards the ground, twisting her pretty head this way and that, trying to see where her little one had fallen.  It was very tempting to go out and interfere, but I knew if I did that the chances were the mother would fly away. She didn’t leave her post and soon I spotted the young one on the ground, walking out of the hedge into which it had fallen.  The father continued to fly between the washing line and the nearest tree, watching over the whole proceedings.

Then, horror, the mother flew away!  What happens now?  Not to worry, she came back after a few minutes, flew to the ground beside her baby with more food.  This perked it up no end and it followed the mother as she walked it to the side of the garden into deeper shrubbery, then she flew up into the tree above.  Father was still coming and going, but not abandoning. 

Having lost sight of the young one, and having other things to do, I deserted my post but assumed all was well.  I was a little concerned about our cat finding the baby but I guess she was away hunting mice somewhere else.

All this took about a quarter of an hour, and while I was standing there it occurred to me that nature replicates God.  Jesus teaches us that God, the Father, looks over us the whole time, he will not abandon us although sometimes he seems far away.  God, the Son, nourishes us and stays by our side so long as we need him.   God, the Holy Spirit, encompasses all with her love……….there is so much GOD in the world, in the smallest things, we need have no fear of coming to harm….…..we will always be saved…….be joyful.

My love to you all,  Sue

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 18th August

How important is it that we know from whence we came?  Does it really matter?  Jesus tells us it doesn’t matter who our blood relations are but becoming part of the family of God is all we need (Matthew 12:46-50). Once we step into that family everyone is our mother, father, brother, sister.  This week, however, the Ramblings should be called ‘Pride comes before a Fall’. At my age I should have learnt that proudly thinking we know one thing doesn’t mean it is true until we have proof.

For years my husband’s family have thought they were related to nobility going back to the early nineteenth century.  We have even imagined similarities with today’s family photographs against portraits of supposed ancestors and have boasted about it to many people.  There was meant to have been a big row in the family with one member being disinherited and this explained our lack of status and funds.  Our children love the story.

Today, David and I went to The Suffolk Record Office to test the truth of some information we had seen, written by his Grandfather.  We managed to search back to 1812, all illiterate labourers, and discovered that his 3x great grandfather was a William Strutt born to Maria Strutt, no father’s name but the words under the entry in the Baptism Register were ‘Base born’! Haha!

Now, we can begin surmising all sorts of things.  It would seem Maria was not married but that does not mean she was not from the noble side of the Strutts (I am trying to salvage something).  The thing that really catches my imagination, though, is that if she had married we would not be Strutts at all – how about that? I would be Mrs…….. something else.

Which brings me back to the fact we are all God’s children, all one family, all equal in the sight of God.  It is how we love that matters, that makes us true children of God.  Status, funds, and name, mean nothing once we slip off this earth into his very arms, generation after generation, for time eternal.

My love to you all,   Sue

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 11th August

Dear Friends,

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer (as in the song by Nat King Cole) seem very real for me right now.  Starting backwards, crazy because life is never the same two days running….is anybody’s?

Well, yes, there are folk for whom life seems never-changing and probably boring, especially those who are not mobile, have no means of getting out, or are suffering from a condition that restricts them in some way. 

I know that in the Shellrock communities care for those who are in need is in plentiful supply, and that all good neighbours are on the lookout for someone who is coping alone, but often there are hidden difficulties which is why, as a Church, we need to think about our pastoral care and how effective we are. 

Hazy days come about when we are not sure of the direction in which we are heading.  We are all concerned about the future of these parishes.  Christian ministry is wide ranging.  Everyone works extremely hard to keep our parishes buoyant and, while there are developments, they seem to be a little haphazard.  We shared ideas on our Ministry Days, but we have not always followed up in a constructive way, hence we continue to talk about this idea, or that, but still trying to find our way.  Nothing happens quickly, however, so we are still a work in progress.  The Ministry Team discuss ideas regularly.

As I mentioned in last week’s Ramblings, your ideas and thoughts will be very welcome to the Ministry Team.

Lazy days are mine for the coming two weeks as I am taking leave until 20th August, although not too lazy because I am attempting to sort out our garage so my son can build an office inside.  A trip away is not on the cards at the moment but I will be happy to have more space for the paperwork generated by being associated with the Shellrock Benefice – happy days as well as lazy, hazy and crazy……….

My love to all,  Sue

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 4th August

My dear Friends,

Firstly, I would like to comment on how caring the people of the Shellrock Benefice community are.  I have observed the love and respect you show towards each other, especially when people are really suffering.  During my husband, David’s, illness that care has been brought into focus on a personal level.  Thank you all very much for the good wishes and prayers, they have been a blessing.

Secondly, I have been thinking about the Ministry days we held, three of them in the last eighteen months.  The Ministry Team have brought thoughts and ideas about ministry before you, mainly that we could all share the responsibility of ministry in the Benefice.  You have two appointed Priests and two licensed Readers working together as a Ministry Team, organising services and overseeing the different types of ministry there are.  As Christians, however, we believe that Jesus is the great High Priest and through him we all have access to God, in our baptism. We are, therefore, all spiritual in the sight of God and are priests all together.  Let us remember this as we move forward in the Benefice, trying to find ways of growing and developing in our faith as well as the practical side of being a Church of the people.  If you have any ideas or thoughts on the future please do not hesitate to contact one of the Ministry Team.

My love and thanks to all, Sue

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 28th July

The schools are now closed for the summer and for many the holidays begin in earnest.  One hopes that the lovely sunny weather we have had this past week isn’t the last we shall see of the sunshine, though not quite so hot please.  East Anglia is well-known for being a dry part of Britain and we could well do with a greater share of the rain that the rest of the country has been getting; but not during my holiday please.

One unfortunate aspect of the long school summer holiday is that those families who rely on free school dinners have to make other arrangements.  Consequently, the foodbank becomes busier at this time of year and demand for donated food and other items increases.  It may also be a time when, due to holidays and other commitments, donations may temporary decrease.  So, we are asked to keep those donations coming in please and maybe put a little extra in if you can.

A reminder that this coming week we have our new, monthly service of Compline in St Peter, Little Ellingham.  This is held on the first Thursday of each month; so, this week it will be on Thursday 1st August starting at 1900 (7pm).

Also don’t forget we have the Holst Singers concert in St James, Great Ellingham 1300 (1pm) Saturday 3rd August.  This free concert is open to all-comers so bring your friends along with you.

Three weeks ago a questionnaire went out requesting your views on how the benefice news is communicated.  The response has been poor which can mean a lot of things!  Without anything to suggest otherwise, it shall be taken that all are satisfied with the current system and we shall carry on as we are.

Happy Holiday

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 21st July

This week has a touch of the journey into the unknown.

Firstly, today is the 50th anniversary of the first human to set foot on the moon.  After blasting off from earth, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their Apollo 11 Lunar Module at 20:17 GMT on 20 July 1969.  This was followed 6 hours later on 21 July by both astronauts stepping on to the lunar surface.  This was an amazing feat on so many levels.  There were so many things that could have gone wrong which would have ended the mission in total disaster.  It is reminiscent of those early explorers who sailed the uncharted seas in search of undiscovered lands.  Nobody knew what they were going to find or whether they would return.

We now await our own mission into the unknown.  By Tuesday of this week we should know who is going to be our next Prime Minister.  Whoever of the two candidates the Conservative party members choose, the implications are that a relatively small number of people will have decided the directions this country will now take, in particular Brexit.  Whatever your political leaning, prepare for blast off!

Another on a mission of discovery is Jeremy Warren.  As most of you know, Jeremy has been accepted for ordination training.  He has been placed on what is called the Two Year Pathway which means that, all being well, by June 2021 Jeremy will be ordained Deacon.  Jeremy’s training starts officially next month, in August, with the Revd Tim Weatherstone and within the Barnham Group of parishes.  However, Jeremy has had permission to continue presiding at his regular service of Morning Prayer BCP at Shropham.  So we shall not be saying goodbye to Jeremy just yet.  What we will be doing is wishing him all the best in this new and exciting stage of his journey.  May God continue to keep him company all the way.

We send our condolences to John Abel and his family at the sad and sudden death of Delphine Abel.  The funeral service and burial is scheduled for Tuesday 30th July at 1300 in the church Rockland St Peter.

 

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 14th July

It has been a busy week for many of us.

Rockland All Saints completed a very successful Flower Festival, which was excellent as usual.  If you think that flower arranging is all about shoving a few flowers into a vase then think again.  There is a lot more to it than that as anyone who has tried it will vouch.  There is also a lot of preparation involved; like putting up the ‘tent’ and providing refreshments.  So well done everyone and thank you to all of you who supported this wonderful annual event.

In Great Ellingham the Teddy Festival comes to a close today with the Teddy Thanksgiving service.  The committee and all the helpers will probably be glad that these two weeks festival of Teddies and fun is over for another year.  There is no indication as to how successful it has been this year though the weather has been very kind with more sun and hardly any rain.  The street party will have been held yesterday, which is a new event this year.  Hopefully all will have gone well.

As we are on the subject of events, in just under three week’s time, on Saturday 3rd August at 1.00pm, the Holst Singers conducted by Stephen Layton will be giving a concert in Great Ellingham church.  This internationally renowned choir will be delighting us with their high quality singing.  There is no entry fee to this concert to which everyone is invited.  So please mark it down on your diary/calendar and encourage your friends to come too.  It promises to be a ‘must hear’ event.

If you wish to know about them, then visit their website: https://holstsingers.com/

St Peter, Little Ellingham has started holding a short Compline service on the first Thursday of each month.  If you want to come along to a quiet, end of the day service, then the next one will be on Thursday 1 August at 7pm.  It only lasts about 20 mins but its effect can last until the next day!  If unsure what a Compline service is, please ask one of our ministry team.

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 7th July

Thank you to Sue and Christina for their Ramblings during May and June respectively; it is always good to include a bit of variety in our reading.  Be assured, they will be back.

This year has seen a change in the way the Shellrock News is produced.  The dissemination of information around the benefice has been a constant requirement whenever we have asked the question ‘what do you want?’.  It started with the monthly Shellrock News newsletter which appeared to be well received.  This has now been included into the Parish Magazines as part of our outreach to people who do not attend church.  The Shellrock Ramblings came from a need to provide more up-to-date information as a lot can change in a month. These two sources of information are also available on the Shellrock website.

So how are we doing?  Here is your chance to comment by filling in the short questionnaire available from the main page on this website.  If you know of someone not in church today, please take a copy to them as well.  Your views do matter so please fill it in then send it in.  If you prefer, once filled in you can email it to me at colin.thomas196@btinternet.com

There are several people within our Christian community who are battling illness of one sort or another.  It is good to hear that David Strutt continues to make good progress after his operation, whilst Alice is still recovering from her operation.  Please keep them all in your prayers.

Rockland All Saints have their Flower Festival this week-end so, if you haven’t yet paid them a visit, go along and enjoy the fruits of their labour.  The festival continues into Monday if you can’t get to them today.

The Great Ellingham Teddy Festival enters its second week.  There is a fantastic array of ‘Teddies’ to see with various events being held.  This culminates with the Street Party on Saturday followed by the Teddy Thanksgiving Service (cafe style) on Sunday.  This annual event is well worth a visit.  Check what is still on offer.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 30th June

We are rapidly approaching the summer holiday season, a time of relief for many who have been working extremely hard and longing for a rest. The summer holiday season is also a time of anxiety for our 16 and 18 year olds as they await the result of their GCSEs and A levels; some successes and some disappointments but all important for their futures as well as their self-esteem. It’s also a difficult time for people whose resources are meagre. Families in straightened circumstances long to do something special with the children/young people but finances are already tightly squeezed.

On Saturday evening (22nd) there was a delightful concert at St James to raise money for Christian Aid. We are quite familiar with the often appalling poverty of people overseas, and Christian Aid and other charities raise our awareness of their hardship. However, we hear rather less about poverty in our own country or about the work of such agencies as “Christians against Poverty”, an organisation whose aim is described on their web-site as follows:   

“We are on a mission to release thousands of families from grinding poverty through award winning debt counselling and community groups. By equipping and empowering local churches to reach out on their doorsteps, we’re bringing hope to over 21,500 families every year”.

Perhaps as we prepare for our own holidays, wherever the destination, can we also remember and think with compassions of those who are unable to afford such a luxury and also those for whom the summer period is one of dread and uncertainty, rather than rest.  

With love
Christina

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 23rd June

Last week, I wrote about teamwork and the important part the wardens play in the whole organisation of the church, not forgetting, of course,
all those behind the scenes who attend to the fabric and welcoming appearance of our churches.   

But there is another aspect to teamwork which is ever-present and which we often take for granted.   Yesterday (16th June) saw the celebration of Stephen and Ann Burroughes diamond wedding anniversary. It was held
in church starting with a service of morning prayer, followed by delicious refreshments and a cake made by Sharon and decorated, in her special way, by Margaret Thomas. The choir was present and, given that Stephen and Ann were married in what is now Tanzania, on this occasion the choir led a truly joyous African greeting which had been identified by Cath Jones. As well as our regular worshippers, Stephen and Ann’s family and friends were there, and we had a lovely time talking and laughing and reminiscing. The church was full and didn’t empty until around 2.00 pm. I mentioned particular named people, but the whole splendid event, like all the other celebrations we have been having lately, required team-work.

This social aspect of our coming together as a church is very important. It is in this context that we can get to know each other, to appreciate each other’s gifts, to listen carefully to each other’s concerns and worries, to grow in trust.  These are an essential and sometimes forgotten part of our ministry as a whole people of God, and I rejoice that we have such opportunities to come together in this way.  

I am going to be going away for seventeen days from 30th June. It’s a rather special holiday, looking with astonishment at the inspiring grandeur of the Rockies and then exploring just a little of Alaska.  For me it will NOT be “out of sight, out of mind”: I shall be thinking of you ----- well maybe not ALL the time!

My love to you all    Christina 

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 16th June

Team-work is something that people in Shellrock do extremely well. Quite a lot of it goes on behind the scenes and there is often little, or no, awareness of just how much there is to do, to keep the five parishes which constitute our benefice, able to sustain a busy programme of services and other activities. 

One of the most important people in this team is, of course, the church warden and last evening we went to the Cathedral to “sign in” the wardens who were elected at the annual meetings which are held in each parish in April.   This “ceremony” at the Cathedral is a compulsory part of becoming a church warden, which is a legal position within the structure of the church.

The service highlighted the responsibilities that wardens have, and I quote from parts of the service to illustrate the seriousness with which the role is viewed.

Archdeacon: Will you work together with the clergy of your parish for the good of the
                       Church and for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom?

Wardens: We will

And then the wardens say together : I ---- of the parish ----- solemnly and sincerely declare before God and his people that I will faithfully and diligently discharge the duties of the office of Churchwarden for the parish of which I have been chosen during the period of my appointment
   
All the clergy present join in this prayer : Mercifully look upon these you have called to the office and work of Churchwarden; that beginning their work in reverence, following it through with obedience, and completing it in faithful devotion, they may be constantly renewed by your Holy Spirit

The warden’s role is quite complex, requiring time and dedication. It’s interesting work and probably fulfilling, but it is also demanding. Four of our seven wardens retired in April and   all of us are extremely thankful for the work that they have been doing so efficiently and effectively. Our four retiring wardens, Ronnie Holmes, Stephen Burroughes, Margaret Thomas, and Charles Mason have given years of service and are certainly needing to have some respite from the worries that occasionally come their way, as well as the energy needed to keep abreast of matters arising.  We thank them all most sincerely. And we continue to pray for the three wardens who were elected in April 2019: John Brown  (Rockland St Peter), John Scase (Rockland All Saints), David Napier (St Peter and St Paul, Shropham).

Clearly there are vacancies and we would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in the role of warden for St Peter, Little Ellingham and St James, Great Ellingham.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 9th June

Ascension Day saw a small number of us enjoying a festive service at St Mary’s Attleborough. This is an important day in the church’s calendar when we celebrate the ascension of Jesus to heaven. It is a day which appears to have been lost in people’s consciousness and although it was a lovely service, even in the expanding town of Attleborough there was only a small congregation.

And now as you read this, it will be the feast of Pentecost. Many people will remember this being called Whitsun and someone suggested the other day that we revert to this title. Those of us who are in our 60s and older will probably have fond memories of the Whitsun treat when we travelled to a field or picnic site in a bus (or in my case an open sided lorry driven my dad ), competed in races, enjoyed the swings, had shared goodies and lots of ice cream. It certainly was a fun day but I’m not sure there was a lot of “theological” recognition of the significance of the day. Nowadays almost everywhere the day is called Pentecost which literally means 50th.   It is a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the Passover by the Jews, and it is a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the Resurrection of Jesus by Christians. The Jewish Pentecost was originally a post-harvest thanksgiving festival and later had included in it the remembrance of God’s Covenants with Noah after the Deluge and with Moses at Mt. Sinai. Pentecost (Whitsunday), with Christmas and Easter, ranks among the great feasts of Christianity. On Christmas we celebrate the birthday of Christ in His Physical Body. Today there are those who see it as the birthday of the Church, when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples the apostles as fiery tongues These initially frightened apostles were transformed into fiery preachers and evangelizers and were given the gift of tongues.  The listeners heard Peter speaking in their native languages and became powerful witnesses and brave martyrs for their Faith in Jesus.

Pentecost is an event of both the past and the present. The gift of the Holy Spirit is something to be shared with others. It moves its recipients to action and inspires them to share this gift with others.

The Spirit is also called the Paraclete, a Greek word that is translated as counsellor, comforter, helper, encourager, or enabler. The Holy Spirit quietly works in us and through us every day behind the scenes in the basic activities of our lives and the lives of the people around us. It’s coming is indeed a cause for celebration!

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 2nd June

In our ministry team meeting we decided that each of us should take a turn to write the Shellrock Ramblings for a month. Now that we are coming into June, it is my turn.

As Sue said in Ramblings last week, May was a particularly busy month. During the Family Service at Rockland St Peter, Beryl Chilleystone was able to enjoy her “special” birthday cake with her family and friends. Those present learned a lot that had been kept hidden by her modesty, and it was a pleasure to see her enjoyment during the party with so many to share with her. It was a cold day for the Rockland fete on 6th but the weather didn’t deter people from enjoying the races and competitions that were part of this annual celebration.

There was an excellent turn-out for the Little Ellingham open gardens, and a lovely atmosphere, as people enjoyed, not just the walk about, but also the chat over tea and the exhibition in the hall showing how the village has changed over the years. Thank you to those who made this occasion a success.

St James hosted the “big breakfast” for Christian Aid on 18th May and there was a good crowd of around 40 people supporting the event as well as eating a substantial meal. Thank you to Kathryn and all those who made this a successful occasion for learning more about Christian Aid as well as enjoying a time of fellowship. Another Christian Aid event will be held, also in St James, on June 22nd. This will be a concert, with the D’Capo choir singing a range of music from Bach to Bob Dylan (look out for posters and further information).   It is good that our churches can be used for these events which are enjoyable as well as supporting the work of charities such as Christian Aid.

“Barbara’s Day” now called “lunch on the lawn” brought a good crowd to Rocklands on May 22nd. Traditionally this is a splendid event which gathers people of all ages together and this year has been no exception, despite the change of name. Stalls full of bargains; plenty of home cooking for lunch; lots of opportunities for chat and exchange of news; Rocklands school children coming to spend their pocket money. Thank you to the Scase family and all who have made and continue to make this a special, enjoyable and “rewarding” event.

In contrast to these aspects of community life was a sad but nonetheless inspirational funeral on May 15th for Gina Ayres. It was of course tragic that Gina died so suddenly, a cruel loss for her children, partner, parents and other family members. Gina has been a key figure in the community and her loss has been felt throughout Rocklands. The church and the marque erected outside was packed for her funeral with others standing or sitting on the grass outside All Saints Church. It was inspirational to be part of such a very special leave taking, and it indicated the healing power of human contact and love.  We shall continue to pray for and support this family in the weeks, months and indeed years to come.

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 26th May

Looking back
May has been a very busy month for our Benefice. There have been training events for the clergy, Open Gardens at Little Ellingham, Christian Aid week with a ‘Big Brekkie’ at Great Ellingham, a Benefice Team meeting, the very interesting Shellrock Talk on the working of prisons and the Chaplaincy at Rockland St Peter, a wonderfully lively Pet Service at Rockland All Saints, the annual Barbara’s Day and, sadly, a village funeral to say goodbye to a much loved Gina Ayres.

Phew! Everyone has worked so hard. If we are in need of a sign that God is at work in the world, just look at the Shellrock Benefice. Think how many people have been touched by these events, how many opportunities there have been to express the love of God to all those who have ventured into the welcoming fellowship that you, our regular, worshipping congregations, can provide by going about God’s work in these parishes. Thank you, all.

Looking ahead
On Thursday this week we celebrate Ascension Day. It is 40 days since Easter during which, through the Sunday readings, we have lived with the disciples as they recognised our Lord walking among them after being raised from the dead. He could not stay forever and is taken from their sight to be with God. But the love Jesus had for the people is still present and he bequeathed the message that proclaims it to his followers – that means us, you and me, generations later.

Jesus, being ascended to the Father, means that God’s love can reach every person in the world if they are willing to receive it. He is no longer tied to a small geographical part of the world. His message is for everyone – God is LOVE.

What a gift! Help us celebrate at St Mary’s Church, Attleborough, on 30 th May at 7.30pm Then…..

- 10am Holy Communion

- 12 noon Midday Prayer

- 2.30p.m. Prayers for the Holy Spirit

- 5.00p.m. Evening Prayer

- 7.30p.m. Sung Eucharist - The Shellrock Choir will be joining choirs from the Deanery at that service and The Rev’d Preb. Sue Strutt will be preaching

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 19th May

Bishops
I am sure you have seen in local news that we will be welcoming a new Diocesan Bishop to Norwich in the Autumn. The Rt Rev’d Graham Usher is presently the Suffragan Bishop of Dudley. Before that he was the Rector of Hexham in Northumberland and has also worked in Ghana, Africa. He will be visiting the Deanery on 14 th January, 2020 so perhaps we will be able to meet him then.

There is an earlier opportunity to meet a bishop next week. Jonathan, Bishop of Lynn, is making a Pilgrimage to this Deanery (Thetford and Rocklands) on Tuesday 21 st May. He will arrive by train at Attleborough Station at 10.06 am then walk into Queen’s Square for prayers at 10.15a.m. (let’s hope the train is on time and it is not raining!). He is then expected to arrive at St George’s Distillery for coffee and more prayers around 10.45a.m. then, after lunch at Attleborough Day Centre at 12 noon, he will visit Banham Zoo until leaving by train for Thetford at 2.00p.m.

You are very welcome to join in the Pilgrimage at any point. The Bishop will be in Thetford Priory and Town Centre at 3.00pm if you are that way.

Ascension Day, Thy Kingdom Come
There has been a request from our two Archbishops to join with them in prayer between Ascension Day (30 th May) and Pentecost (9 th June). The prayers are for the renewing and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, specifically for people we know, that they may hear Jesus’s call for themselves, coming to know his love and joy.

To help with this St Mary’s, Attleborough is holding a Day of Prayer on Ascension Day, Thursday 30 th May, beginning at 10a.m with Holy Communion. Then:

- 12 noon Midday Prayer; 2.30p.m. Prayers for the Holy Spirit

- 5.00p.m. Evening Prayer; 7.30p.m. Sung Eucharist - The Shellrock Choir will be joining choirs from the Deanery at that service and The Rev’d Preb. Sue Strutt will be preaching.

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 12th May

Last week I mentioned that we, as inheritors of the worship which has been experienced and seen in our churches in past generations, are given the task of proclaiming the message of the Good news of Christ to the world. The question is how do we do this? Are not the times in which we live very different to the time in which the Church was key to the state let alone in the time of Jesus? Will we not be mocked and ridiculed? What words do we use when much church language is no longer understood by the majority, even down to using ‘forename’ instead of ‘Christian Name’?

There are many questions we can ask. Another one might be, where are the gaps in the ministry of this Benefice? What can we do to help people come to know Jesus, because that is our main task. Your Shellrock Ministry Team discuss these issues nearly every week. We listen to what you say in meetings and after services, but the members of the Team do not have all the answers.

We feel that the recent Lent Course, Re-imagining Church, which was attended by an average of 18 people, began thought processes which led to an uncomfortable sense of changing times. Our challenge is whether we grasp the opportunities change can bring and which will hopefully help us to reach out to those who are seeking God, or whether we stay as we are, secure in the services and worship we provide, hoping others might find us and join in.

The Ministry Team can make suggestions and plan for change, but the final outcome is with the present membership of the Church, you. It is your Church. We would love to hear your ideas for your future:

Dates to particularly note for next week:

Shellrock Talk, Wednesday 15 th, 7.00pm, Rockland St Peter. Jeremy Warren talking about ‘Chaplaincy in Prison’. Jeremy is a volunteer and valuable member of a Chaplaincy Team.

Big Brekkie, Saturday 18 th , 9.30am, St James, GE, in aid of Christian Aid, an organisation which does sterling work throughout the world for those whose lives are so much harder than ours in ways we cannot imagine.

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 5th May

On Sunday I attended the St George’s Day Parade at Dickleburgh.  It was lovely to see members of the Scout Movement of all ages parading with their flags, a brass band in the lead playing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’.

St George’s Day, as you know, is on 23rd April, but because this fell in the octave (8 days) of Easter, it was transferred to 29th April.  Similarly, the feast of St Mark (25th April) was moved to 30th.  It means that every day of the last week was dedicated to a saint or celebration within the Church – Philip and James, Apostles; Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, 373 AD; Invention of the Cross; English Saints and Martyrs of the Reformation Era - from 1st to 4th May respectively.

All those years of prayer, devotion, and sacrifice by these individuals, and others, to our Lord Jesus Christ have brought us the Church as we are now.  Generations of worshippers in our parishes have led the way in showing that the love of God exists in these places.  Our churches stand as a sign of that very love we have so recently experienced this Easter.

It is now our task to take up the challenge that has faced all Christians throughout the ages and continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in our neighbourhood, and wider.  We pray that God will give us the strength and boldness to do this, also help us grow individually and as a Benefice.

One more date I, personally, would like to commemorate is May 7th, the Eve of the day of Julian of Norwich.  25 years ago on that day that I was ordained priest, along with 15 other women in our Diocese, after decades of struggle, discussion and argument within our Church of England that women could become priests.  Sadly, there are some who still cannot accept it. It seems to be the way of the world, and apparently some of the Christian family, that we must live with dissension, so please make special prayers on that day for everyone in ministry, men and women, lay and ordained, paid and unpaid.

Whatever our theology or beliefs, faith in the God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is key.  The Community of the Trinity is our model, we are all in it together.  We look forward to the work ahead and opportunities to meet together in the coming month of May – see the notices!

 

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Sue

Shellrock Weekly News - 28th April

I hope the Easter weekend has been an enjoyable time for you. The three services across the Benefice on Sunday were reflective and joyous. Thank you to all involved in organising them. The arrangements of flowers and crosses were glorious, the churches bright and welcoming.

In contrast to our experience of the joy of Easter and the Resurrection, however, there was news of people being plunged into grief by tragic events internationally and, sadly, locally. These events remind us media vita in morte sumus, in the midst of life we are in death, a phrase first used in the Church of the 14 th century, and very much the theme of Easter. As we enter into the grief of bereavement our hope must be in the living, risen Christ who is, for us, the true life. His love encompasses all and we surely become a part of his love as we move from this world to the next.

As we pray for those in distress let us open our hearts and minds to them, and to each other, that we may show compassion and love to those whom we meet day by day. Life often takes an unexpected turn, we must live for the moment.

Looking ahead, we have several opportunities to meet together during May, ending with Ascension Day when we will be joining with the choir and congregation of St Mary’s in Attleborough. It is important for us to remember we have a wider Church family to whom we can turn for advice and support if necessary. A look at the Diocesan website can be quite informative in all sorts of ways.

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 21st April

Happy Easter to all our congregations
Through the discipline of Lent, the highs and lows of Passion Week, we can now celebrate arguably the most joyous time of the Christian calendar; the resurrection of Jesus Christ. With it comes the hope that death is not the end, but merely the next stage in our existence. Sadly for many, this hope is of no consequence and ignored. As Christmas is simply a time for presents and merrymaking, so Easter is simply a time to gorge on chocolate.

Over the next few weeks we shall read and listen to the birth of our Christian church. It has existed for nearly two thousand years and shows no sign of disappearing. In fact, in many parts of the world, Christianity is a growing faith, often experiencing the type of persecution the early Christians experienced; whilst in the so-called Western World the Christian faith appears to be in decline. There is a song by David Ruis called ‘There’s a wind a-blowing’ (Source 501). The words of this song sum up much of the experiences of the early Christians as the Gospel was spread far and wide and their faith grew. With the APCM’s over, two of our churches find themselves without a churchwarden and all of our churches face difficult times ahead. But that wind is still blowing so maybe now is not the time to take shelter but do as the song says, ‘let it blow over me’.

Thank you to everyone who supported the visit of the pilgrims to Little Ellingham last week on their way to Walsingham. The food supplied was very much appreciated as too were the congregation that came to their simple evening service. It means a great deal to them that we take an interest in their Walk of Witness; the children in particular who are at the core of this particular group.

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 14th April

Passion Week
..or Holy week or last week of Lent. Whichever one you use to describe one of the Holiest weeks of the Christian calendar, this is the final week before we celebrate the risen Christ. This coming week we have a series of services and events to commemorate those final days of Jesus:

Monday we welcome the pilgrims on their walk to Walsingham. They will be staying over in Little Ellingham village hall and holding a service at 8pm in the church. They will join the other ‘Legs’ on Good Friday at Walsingham for a combined Walk of Witness.

Thursday we shall be holding our regular Maundy Thursday Agape service at Rockland St Peter.

Friday we start our own Walk of Witness from St James Great Ellingham to Rockland All Saints for our Good Friday service. We hope for good weather to encourage as many people as possible to join us. Numbers have varied over the years but a good crowd is always welcome; don’t worry, you will not be pressured into carrying the cross. So please join us if you can.

Finally on Sunday we shall celebrate the risen Christ at one of the services being held in our benefice.

Lent Course
Our Lent course concluded last Wednesday with a lively debate that overran the allotted time! The Ministry Team would like to thank everyone for attending any of the five sessions, for their fellowship and for their valued contributions. Admittedly it can feel like a marathon at times, but there was much to consider and many good ideas have sprung from our discussions. Now all we have to do is put that into practice!

If anyone is interested in attending the workshop on ‘Transforming your church for mission’, being held at St Mary, Watton, on Thursday 16 May between 1000 and 1300, please let one of the Ministry Team or Margaret Moore-Vale know.

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 7th April

Lent Course
The final session of our Lent course takes place this week. It has been an interesting and stimulating series of sessions on how we can ‘Re-imagine our Church’. Upwards of 20 people have come together to listen, reflect and discuss how we are as a church and potentially what we can be as a church.

This course is happening in churches and benefices across the diocese. In fact the diocese itself has already been through the process under the banner ‘Mission Strategy 2021’. Its conclusions so far have been published in the latest PCC News. It makes interesting reading, not least that it gives us an example of what we in this benefice should be aiming for. If you are interested in its progress then you can read the PCC news, Spring 2019, Page 8 on-line. Go to https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/churches/comms/publications/pcc-news If anyone is interested and cannot access the website then please contact our administrator, Margaret Moore-Vale or one of the Ministry Team. In time we shall publish the results of our deliberations.

The reading for this week’s final session is Luke 10 v 1-9.

The end of Lent
Yes, Lent is coming to end which signals the start of our Easter celebrations. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday when we shall remember the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. How quickly things change. A bit like what is happening in Parliament at the moment!

Brexit
This is an anxious time for this country with its future hanging in the balance. Whatever side of the fence you are in this debate over Brexit, please spare time in your prayers to pray for our government, our Parliament, and for the many people whose business is in limbo because of the failure of our politicians to agree a deal. Maybe we do need to put our trust in God rather than our politicians.

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 31st March

Lent Course
Session four continues our Lent course this coming Wednesday. In preparation, you may wish to read the bible text for this session, Luke 6 v 36-38. Next week will be our final session.

Student Cross
Student Cross is a Christian pilgrimage to Walsingham during Holy Week. It started in 1948 with a male only Catholic Pilgrimage starting from London; women were officially included in 1966! There are now eleven ‘Legs’ starting from different parts of the country, each carrying a wooden cross as witness to the people they see along the way. Although predominantly a Catholic pilgrimage, Christians from other denominations join in. When required, they are provided with accommodation and food by parishioners along the way.

We have been supporting the Wensum Leg since it started in 2012. This Leg is for families with older children of secondary school age. The Leg starts at Wymondham walking no more than 10 miles each day over five days to arrive at Walsingham on Good Friday.

They arrive at Little Ellingham on the Monday of Holy Week, staying overnight in the village hall and each of our parishes contribute to the provision of a cooked dinner. We shall be supporting this Leg again this year. We are expecting around 30 people to arrive on Monday afternoon, 15 April. If anyone wishes to help with the catering, then Margaret Thomas, on telephone 01953 453455, would be pleased to hear from you. To finish the day, the pilgrims hold a service in Little Ellingham church in the evening. They all make some contribution to this very special service, especially the music. We are all invited to attend which this year will be starting at 8pm.

If you wish to know more about Student Cross, you can visit their website: www.studentcross.org.uk

Spring Fling
Congratulations to everyone at St James, Great Ellingham, on a thoroughly good Spring Fair, sorry Fling. The stalls, the children singing, the Shellrock Hand-bell ringers, the refreshments, the friendly faces all made for a lovely Saturday morning.

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 24th March

Lent Course
It was gratifying to have so many turn up for the second session of our Lent course, ‘Re-imagining Church’. Thank you to everyone for their contributions in helping us to have a much deeper understanding of where we are and where we need to be.
The more we delve into our life as a Christian community, the more we identify our strengths, our weaknesses, our failings and potential. It is not all bad news either. In fact we are discovering that there is much to celebrate and that our churches do much to enhance the life of our communities.
In preparation for session three this week you may wish to read the bible text for this session, Matthew 28 v 16-20.

Mothering Sunday
There are two services being held to celebrate this special day next Sunday, 31 st March; in St James Great Ellingham and in Rockland St Peter. Why not invite someone to one of these services? It is an ideal time to give someone outside the church an opportunity to experience a relaxed and joyous church service!

British Summer Time is here!
Yes, it is that time again. The clocks go forward on Sunday 31 st March. So make sure you wind your clock forward one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. You don’t want to miss your Mothering Sunday service now do you!?

Annual Parochial Church Meetings
Did you know that every parishioner in your parish has the right to elect a Churchwarden? A meeting to do so will be held in your Parish within the next few weeks. The dates and venues are printed on the other side of this Weekly News. In addition, have you ever considered how our Church is organised and where the money goes? If you would like to know, why not attend your parish’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting which will be held
after the Churchwardens election. Everyone on the Church Electoral Roll is welcome to attend these meetings and elect members for the Parochial Church Council (PCC) who will run the Church for the next year.

Please come to find out more about your Church and have your say.

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 17th March

Lent Course
A very big thank you to everyone who came to the first session of our Lent course, ‘Re-imagining Church’. Despite lasting 5 hours, it was a very
enjoyable and productive session. There was much meaningful discussion on various aspects of our church which will help form our future planning
for this benefice. The next session is to be held next Wednesday 20 March starting at 1900 in the Benefice office. Do not feel you have to attend every session or even the whole of the session. As happened last Saturday, please feel free to drop in and drop out as you wish.

In preparation for this session you may wish to read the following Bible passage; 1 Peter 2. 4-10; then reflect on these questions:
- What is our church?
- What are we like?
- What could we be?
- How do we become?

We need to identify what role our church, our faith, has in this ever changing world and in our community. How do you think Christianity is
perceived by the communities in which we live? Do we, as a Christian community, truly fulfil the role of followers of Christ? These are just some
of the many questions we need to ask of ourselves before we can get a true picture of what needs to be done for the future.

 

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Colin

Shellrock Weekly News - 10th March

George Lynne
With immediate effect George Lynne, one of our Readers, is now working with the Oxborough Group of parishes. We wish George well with his new parishes and thank him for all the support he has given to this Benefice.

Lent
A fitting service on Ash Wednesday in St Peter, Little Ellingham, heralded the start of Lent. Good luck to anyone who has decided on a discipline for Lent this year. Easter is not too far away! If you feel that it is going to be a tough 40 days, read one of the lessons for the Ash Wednesday service, 2 Corinthians 5.20b – 6.10.

Lent Course
Our Ministry Day yesterday was the first of our five session Lent course. The next four sessions will be on consecutive Wednesdays starting on 20 th March. Do not worry if you cannot attend all the sessions. Each session is of equal importance and any input is of value. So please attend as many as you can or wish to.

Electoral Roll reminder
Remember that this year your church Electoral Roll is discontinued and a new one is being compiled. It is necessary for each of us to re-apply for membership to your church Electoral Roll. If you have not yet done so, then please talk to your Electoral Roll officer or a member of your PCC. If you are not on the Electoral Roll, then you are not entitled to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, except of course for the Church Wardens.

 

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Christina

Shellrock Weekly News - 3rd March

As you will know from Colin’s news of last month we have chosen the subject of THE CHURCH for our Lenten study.  We will be thinking of the various reasons people go to church, and how people who don’t necessarily attend, see the church. We also want to look beyond these to where we are going and want to go in the future. Are we happy with the status quo, or are there different paths and goals for us?  Where are we being called to go and, if this involves change, what strategies are needed to for getting there.

The whole Church of England is concerned about growth; growth, not just about an increase in numbers, but growth in terms of the recognition, and then the realisation, in practice, of how to work with God towards the Kingdom. This is central to Jesus’ message as we read in the gospels.  The images that He uses about the Kingdom are familiar:  the sower and the seed, the mustard seed, the yeast that works in the dough to make the bread rise to double its size. These are images applicable also to church growth. Let’s consider --- where can we find the seed of mustard? What can we do to persuade the yeast to start doing its work?

One of the important sources, I believe, is to recognise, and fully use, what we have been given------our gifts and talents, and we see plenty of those in our benefice. We are already using these gifts well, but perhaps we could be making even more of them. One way we could do this is by parishes coming together and sharing gifts that are presently available in each. This is already happening to an extent, but we can consider how we could share even more. In coming together and sharing resources and concerns, so much can be achieved.  

The kind of discussions that I think we need to be engaging in over the Lenten period and then, in the months ahead, are about developing strategies for resilience. Change that comes suddenly as a result of crisis is not a good idea, because it leads to decisions which can be made too quickly and without firm foundations. Taking time to examine what changes are needed, taking the opportunity to look hard and realistically at the overall picture will lead to decisions and plans which are much more firmly embedded and with strong roots.

The title of the Lenten study material which has come from the diocese is “ Reimagining church”. Implicit in this title, re-imagining, is the idea that the church might change and become different from what we have become accustomed to. That need not be frightening. It could be exciting; a process of putting our imaginations to work to see what we come up with. And we are not on our own. God is with us and working with us, helping us to discover how we might grow and develop and possibly change in ways which make sense, bearing in mind the particular characteristics of the village communities which we serve in this benefice. 

Let’s talk. Let’s imagine and re-imagine how we can share our gifts and resources, grow like the mustard seeds and the yeast in the dough, and build a really strong foundation for our future together as a benefice, and effectively serving our villages communities. Please do come along and share. We need you and your ideas.

With love, Christina (Priest in Charge)

 

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Colin

Ministry Day and Lent Course

Yes we are coming up to Lent, that period which precedes Easter. We are once again
having a Lent course to which everyone is invited. This year we are following a
suggested theme from the Bishop of Lynne entitled Re-imagining Church. There are
five reflections on church, posing the question ‘Can you imagine what your church
will be like in 2031?’,. The Ministry Team has decided to cover each reflection in a
series of five sessions. The first session will be part of our next Ministry Day. All the
sessions will take place in the benefice office. A timetable of sessions can be found in
the ‘Diary’ section.
The Ministry Day is scheduled for Saturday 9 March. It would be helpful if you could
inform a member of the Ministry Team or Margaret Moore-Vale of your intention to
attend.

Although 2031 sounds a long way off, it is only 12 years from now. In fact, come
2031, our benefice may look very different from the one we recognise today.
Considering the overall age of our regular worshippers, we may not have the
necessary resources to turn around our dwindling congregations in such a short time.

 

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Kathryn

Foodbank

Foodbank

In January we had a very interesting talk as part of the Shellrock Talks from Hannah of the Norwich Foodbank.  She explained the history behind The Trussell Trust and how the foodbank started.  It was interesting to understand the process behind the food parcels, how they are put together and distributed, as well as some of the other projects they organise and support throughout the city.  Norwich is the eighth largest foodbank in the country - during 2018 they gave out almost 9,500 parcels.

We have recently started to take the majority of the donations from this benefice to the food bank in Thetford.  Since April 2018, they have fed 2,130 people – providing parcels for singles, couples and families.  Since donating to Thetford, we have given 173.8 kg.

At the talk there was an interest from some of the attendees for more information about volunteering.  Thetford Foodbank welcomes volunteers – either at the warehouse session on a Monday 12pm -2 pm where food is sorted or at a session open to clients (held at Attleborough, Brandon, Thetford and Watton).  Alternatively, names can be added to the contact list for local supermarket collections which happen across the year.

To volunteer, please contact info@thetford.foodbank.org.uk, message them via facebook or call 0844 288 9618.  All volunteers need to have training, complete an application form and read a few documents.

 

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Kathryn

The Leprosy Mission - Used stamp collection

The Leprosy Mission - Used stamp collection

Do you have used stamps lying around at home?  Do you throw them away with the envelope?  We now have collecting boxes for these stamps in four of our churches, Great Ellingham, Little Ellingham, Rockland All Saints and Rockland St Peter, and these will be donated to The Leprosy Mission.

Leprosy is a mildly infectious disease, usually associated with poverty, which is easily cured. Leprosy starts by damaging the small nerves on the skin’s surface resulting in a loss of sensation.  Without the gift of pain, everyday activities are fraught with danger.  Unnoticed burns and ulcers can lead to permanent disability.  Due to the inability to detect grit in the eye, blindness is a common consequence of leprosy.  The charity works in ten countries across Asia and Africa supporting training, education, healthcare and research.

So please support this extremely important charity by recycling your used stamps.  Cut them out from the envelope leaving a small amount of envelope around them and place them in one of the collecting boxes provided.  Three of the churches are open during the day.  Alternatively give them to a member of the church who can do it for you.  Thank You.

 

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Around the Benefice - March News - Shropham with Snetterton

The Benefice Service on 27 January took place on one of the coldest days of the winter! A big thank you to the choir and to the organist, Gudrun Warren, who occupied the un-heated Chancel, and for their lovely music and strong singing. We all appreciated a hot drink after the service. Hopefully it will be warmer for our next Benefice Service on 24th March at 10.30am. We will also have our regular Services on 3rd and 17th March 10.30am.

Unfortunately, we will not be having a Mothering Sunday Service, but it is hoped a Family Service with Holy Communion can take place on Easter Sunday – more details next month.

 

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Around the Benefice - March News - Rockland St Peter

Rockland Saint Peter had our annual Barn Dance on the 16th February. Unfortunately we failed to sell many tickets, so the event actually ran at a small loss. This was a bit of a shock to us all, as this was the first time we have had a deficit in our fund raising. Despite this, the people who did support us had a wonderful evening with everyone dancing in almost every dance; lots of tired legs at the end of the evening.

Our special thanks have to go to all the dancers who stayed at the end to help us clear up: removing lights, bunting and replacing tables and chairs.

Both of our Clergy and their partners attended and hopefully had a fantastic evening. We thank them for their support. 

The Village shop had their A.G.M. in the church on Friday 15th and made full use of our heating system and our new sound system. Committee members and shareholders made donations to the heating bill.

 

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Cath

Around the Benefice - March News - Rockland All Saints

First of all a big THANK YOU to all who attended our Candlemas service on the afternoon of February 3rd. As always, this was a very memorable and powerful service, with lots of laughter and activity.  Thanks to help from the children and Julie, the older members of the congregation now know what a ‘kenning’ is and hopefully would pass a KS2 test!! The youngsters, including little Emily, helped put away the crib set as the nativity characters were guessed correctly from the kennings.

We all enjoyed watching the drama as Ellie and Eric acted the parts of Mary and Joseph, while Sam and Phoebe were the two old codgers (aka Simeon and Anna) waiting in the shadows of the Temple with a real life old boy wearing a tea towel on his head (photo opportunity missed, unfortunately!) as the newborn Jesus was presented….The sacrificial doves needed a bit of TLC but flew into the congregation anyway! ‘Lord, now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace….’ until next year!

Thanks too to the Benefice Music Group for leading the music….it was lovely to sing a mixture of old and new songs and carols as we said ‘goodbye’ to the Christmas season for a few months! 

Just as we at All Saints were feeling happy that, with the re-decoration of the church and schoolroom complete, all was well with the fabric, we had the bad news that the structural survey of the tower has revealed serious problems.  It is estimated that repairs will be at least £200,000….so a lot of hard thinking to be done!  Does the village want All Saints church to continue to function?  The regular congregation is not young (chronologically anyway!) and there is a limit to the extra fundraising that can be done by a small number of good folk.  There are lots of questions and soul searching to be done and in the meantime, the bells will remain silent as it would be too dangerous for them to be rung!

Thinking about fundraising events, it has been decided that Barbara’s Day, held in mid-May for many years, will not be happening this year.  Instead, we are holding ‘Lunch on the Lawn at Barbara’s’ (but please don’t tell Barbara!!) on Wednesday 22nd May.  Please put the date in your diaries and look for more details nearer the time!

Every 6 years, we are required to revise the church electoral roll and 2019 is that year!  If you are already on Rockland All Saints’ electoral roll, you will be contacted and asked to fill in a simple form. If you would like to be added, please ask Cath Jones for the relevant information.

Finally, we were saddened to hear of the passing of a dear friend, Evelyn Harrand, recently. Evelyn was brought up in Rocklands, and although she had lived in Caston for many years, always supported All Saints as much as she could and was a regular worshipper until her health deteriorated last year. We will all miss her very much.  God bless you, Evelyn!

 

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Colin

Around the Benefice - March News - Little Ellingham

We have started our new monthly service pattern; a service of Holy Communion on the first Sunday and our Prayer and Praise service on the third Sunday.  We will also take our turn on the benefice service on the fourth Sunday.

On the table inside the main church door we now have a box to collect used stamps and these will be donated to The Leprosy Mission.  See the article on The Leprosy Mission below.

We still wait for work to start on our kitchen facilities.  The area has been cleared with a faculty applied to create more space in this area for when the work is complete.

 

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Kathryn

Around the Benefice - March News - Great Ellingham

Our February café church service was the first with the revised format.  Many of our congregation made the most of the new toaster and enjoyed breakfast, coffee and conversation before the service.  This month our reading was taken from Luke 5: Jesus calls his first disciples.  After speaking to the crowds, Jesus asked the fishermen to go back out and fish, despite having been unsuccessful overnight.  The catch they brought in was so heavy that the boats started to sink.  The fishermen then left their boats and followed Jesus.  Our service included the song James and Andrew, Peter and John to the tune of Scarborough Fair.

This year we have a new service pattern for St James’.  There is an evening service on the first Sunday in the month which will have a few hymns and be a time for reflection.  The second Sunday in the month is café church with breakfast starting at 9.45am (cereals/toast/croissants) and the service at 10.30am.  The third Sunday will be a 9am Holy Communion.  On the fourth Sunday we have a benefice service where our congregations join together and this rotates around the churches.

In St James’ church we now have a box to collect used stamps and these will be donated to The Leprosy Mission.  See the article on The Leprosy Mission below.

Christian Aid has produced a prayer guide for Lent, both for adults and children.  There are a small number of these in church – please help yourself to a copy.  It covers some of the work the charity does as well as raise awareness of a number of worldwide issues.  We will also be hosting a Big Breakfast for Christian Aid week in May – watch this space for more details….

Shrove Tuesday is just around the corner on 5th March.  We will be holding our annual pancake party with toppings available to suit all tastes.  If you wish to join the races, bring along a frying pan and pancake (if you can), starting from the Methodist church at 3.30pm.

Don’t forget our annual spring fair on Saturday 23rd March, 10-12.30.  The Great Ellingham school singers will be coming along and there will be plenty of craft stalls, refreshments, cakes and jams, plus the tombola, an Easter egg raffle and bacon rolls!

 

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Colin

Annual Parochial Church Meetings (APCM)

All our operating churches are managed by their respective Parochial Church Council (PCC). Each PCC is chaired by the incumbent, Revd Christina Mason, with a lay member acting as vice- chair.  The PCC can comprise the ministers for that parish, the church wardens, secretary, treasurer and other lay members. Each year the PCC is disbanded at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and reformed by the votes of members on the church Electoral Roll.

Each church has an Electoral Roll comprising mostly members of the congregation and this is renewed every six years. The sixth year finishes this year so a new electoral roll will be created prior to the next APCM.

The exception to the voting procedure is the election of the Church Wardens. Probably the oldest appointment in the church, the role of the Church Warden is broadly to ensure the well being of the church, its fabric, the churchyard, the congregation and the worship. As well as members of the church electoral roll anyone who is on the local government electoral roll for that parish is also entitled to vote in the election of the church wardens.

All church APCMs must be held by 30th April.  A list of all the forthcoming APCMs is set below.

 

Benefice Annual Parochial Church Meetings:

Great Ellingham                     Monday 8th April, 19.30 in the church

Little Ellingham                      Sunday 24th March, 12.30 in the church

Rockland All Saints                 Monday 8th April, 10.30 in the Benefice Office

Rockland St Peter                   Sunday 14th April, 12.30 in the church

Shropham                               Tuesday 26th March, 19.00 in the Vicarage

 

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Kathryn

Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight

Are you looking for a new resolution or something to consider for Lent?  Fairtrade fortnight is 25th February to 10th March.

Fairtrade works with businesses, consumers and campaigners so that farmers and workers have an equal say.  It promotes fairer trading conditions and empowers farmers and workers to combat poverty and take more control over their lives.  It sets standards and enables people to invest in business or community projects.  A small change to your shopping habits could make a big difference to someone’s living standards.

This could be a chance to enjoy chocolate in lent – but of the fairtrade variety instead!

 

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Colin

Around the Benefice - Editorial Jottings - The Ministry Team

Our Benefice is ministered to by a team of ordained and lay ministers.  Our incumbent is priest-in-charge Revd Christina Mason with Revd Sue Strutt acting as Priest Associate.  This is an unusual situation in that, although the former is legally in charge, it is considered to be more of a job-share.  Both are ordained ministers, both live outside the benefice (the Rectory is currently rented out by the diocese), both work part-time, both are of retirement age.

The other members of the team are known as Readers, or Lay Ministers as they are often now called.  Carol Bennett, George Lynne and Colin Thomas support the two priests by presiding at services and in other aspects of ministry apart from Holy Communion, Baptisms and Weddings.  Colin and Carol are also authorised to conduct funerals.  They operate on a voluntary basis.

There is one other member attached to the team, Jeremy Warren.  Jeremy is exploring his vocation to become an ordained minister and whilst he is with us has the title of Assistant Lay Minster.

 

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Kathryn

Around the Benefice - February News - Great Ellingham

Cafe Church

In February we see the return of café church after a winter break!  This will be in our new format with breakfast available before the service from 9.45am.  Anyone is welcome to join us for breakfast – a choice of cereals and toast - you don’t have to stay for the service.   The café church service will begin at 10.30am.  Please come along and enjoy the worship, led by Colin and the music group.  Sunday 10th February.  All welcome.

Food bank

Food bank donations continue to be dropped off at church – Thank you to everyone who donated over the festive period.  Two ‘boot loads’ were taken to Thetford Food bank!  The current most needed items are rice pudding, long life juice and squash, tinned/long life sponge puddings (and custard).

Pancake Party!

Looking ahead to March, it will be Shrove Tuesday and the annual pancake party!  Last year it was well supported (despite a cold, damp and windy day) - we hope people will come along to enjoy a pancake with toppings available to suit all tastes.  Bring along a frying pan and pancake (if you can) and join the fun for races starting from the Methodist church at 3.30pm.  Pancake day is 5th March.

Spring Fair

Our annual spring fair is back on Saturday 23rd March.  Planning for this is in the early stages but if you are a local crafter and would like a stall, please contact Kathryn – 456525 or sunflowerjones@hotmail.com.

 

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Colin

Around the Benefice - February News - Little Ellingham

Christmas has come and will remain with us until Candlemas (2nd February).  Our Christmas Day service was made extra special with the Blessing of a marriage and a new-born baby! Very much in the theme of the celebration of Christ’s birth.

New Kitchen!

The installation of our kitchen facility is in progress though no work has started in the church itself.  As yet we do not know how this will affect our ability to worship in the church.  It will depend on the degree of disruption and whether there is a health and safety risk.  If it is the case that the public are not allowed in the church during installation we shall find alternative accommodation.

 

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Around the Benefice - February News - Rockland St Peter

Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund donation

We are pleased to announce that with the help of the Youth Club and Carol singing outside the village shop, and the hard work and transport supplied by Richard Baker for Santa's Tour, we sent a cheque for £310 to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. We also made a donation of £83 to the Air Ambulance.

We decided this year to have a real Christmas tree, after all the Christmas festivities, we have discovered another use for the old tree. All the branches have been cut off and the trunk will be made into a cross. Members of the congregation will be invited to bring flowers on Easter Sunday, and decorate the cross.

Valentine's Barn Dance

On 16th February we have our Valentine's Barn Dance; dancing to the Fezziwigs Ceilidh Band. Tickets are eight pounds if purchased in advance, ten pounds on the door. There will be a licensed bar and snacks. Too good to miss!!

 

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Cath

Around the Benefice - February News - Rockland All Saints

It has been a quiet month ‘up the hill’……no bad thing after all the activity over the Christmas period!  As always, the candlelit ‘Midnight’ Mass on December 24th was well attended and a very meaningful service.  We were very grateful to Rev. Sue for stepping into the breach at almost the last minute after Rev. Christina went down with a very nasty bug earlier on Christmas Eve, which laid her low for several days.  We are glad to see that, in her inimitable way, she did bounce back quickly and is now functioning as normal again! Well done to Rev. Sue who somehow managed to keep everything going after her preaching workload was doubled at the busiest time of year!!  Thank you!

Our Churchwarden and his wife, John and Barbara, are taking a well-earned rest as I write, but in their absence, and because they would not allow me to say this if they knew, I would like to thank them both for their tireless devotion to All Saints Church It’s only when we deputise for them when they are away that we really appreciate all that they do, not just on Sundays, but all the time!  Without them, All Saints would not be the lovely church that it is…so THANK YOU both!

We would also like to wish Richard Cooke, who looks after our big mower so well, a very speedy recovery after his operation and subsequent setback.  We are sure Sheila and Tracey are glad that, at the time of writing, he is in hospital in Norwich and that they don't have to travel all the way to Cambridge to visit daily. Get well soon, Richard!

Candlemas service

Our next service at RAS is the Candlemas Service on February 3rd at 3pm (please note the unusual time!) This will be a family-friendly service, the last Christmas event of the season! It is always a lovely service, one that brings a message of hope and peace in these turbulent times.  See our poster below for more details.

Thank you!

Lastly, a big THANK YOU to everybody who has helped All Saints in the past year, in whatever way. Without this support, we would not be able to function and we appreciate all the love and support we get from the community.

 

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Around the Benefice - February News - Shropham with Snetterton

As I write this in mid-January, I will start by reflecting on our Christmas Day service. A wonderful cold and frosty morning. The ages of the congregation ranged from 1 year to 90+ years and was a very happy occasion. Special thanks are due to our organist, Roger Widdison, who played at Merton before dashing over to Shropham, and to Yvonne Taylor who always ensures that the church looks immaculate. We now look forward to our Benefice Service on 27th January.

Over the last few years, on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Harvest, we have been supported by a small number of parents and children from the village. Angela is already planning activities for a Mothering Sunday service to encourage these families to come along. 

The churchyard is looking very spring-like with snowdrops near the gate. Parishioners say how much they enjoy a walk to the church to brighten their day.

We will continue to support the Foodbank throughout 2019.

 

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Kathryn

Trussell Trust Foodbank - Christmas shopping list

Trussell Trust Foodbank - Christmas shopping list

Please try and help support your foodbank this Christmas:

Salmon
Ham
Crisps
Savoury snacks
Cream crackers
Pickle
Pickled veg
Gravy
Stuffing mix
Mayo/salad cream
Ketchup
Christmas pudding
Mince pies
Cake
Heros/Celebrations (small)
Shortbread
Biscuits
Chocolates/selection box
Sweets
Fruit cocktail
Mandarin oranges
Evaporated/condensed milk
Custard
Jam/marmalade
Fruit juice
Fruit squash
Fizzy drink
Hot chocolate
 

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Colin

Advent Course

Advent Course

The Ministry Team have devised an Advent Course which focuses on some of the central aspects of our Christian faith:

Wednesday 21st Nov 7-9pm - Sin

Wednesday 28th Nov 7-9pm - Forgiveness

Wednesday 5th Dec 7-9pm Heaven and Hell

Wednesday 12th Dec 7-9pm Love and Hope

These will be held in the Benefice office with coffee to start.  Everyone is invited to come along, to whichever evenings they wish, to discover, discuss and reflect.

 

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The War Is Over!

The War Is Over!

Monday, 11 November 1918, 11am. ‘END OF HOSTILITIES’. ‘ARMISTICE’. ‘PEACE’. ‘GREAT WAR OVER’. These were some of the headlines. Bells which had been silent for over four years rang out throughout the whole country.  As the news spread, jubilant people lined the streets of towns and cities.

The Editorial in the Breckles and District Deanery Magazine of December 1918, penned just days after the Armistice, was full of religious and patriotic fervour; ‘The glorious end (as it must surely be) of the war was celebrated in all our Churches with devout and heartfelt gratitude to Almighty God. The bearing of the nation in this supreme hour has been worthy of the great occasion … The complete submission of the enemy adds another, and the greatest proof of all, to the many proofs written on the pages of history that it is the will of God that brutality and knavery defeat themselves, for they find themselves ultimately arrayed against the God – supported forces of humaneness and righteousness …’

 In contrast, many readers of this Magazine, along with families throughout the land, were still anxiously waiting for news of missing or wounded loved ones or prisoners of war. Ven. G. M. MacDermott reporting on the situation in Great and Little Ellingham said; ‘Our deepest sympathy flows out to Mr. & Mrs. Saunders, of Bow Street, who have lost their son, Ernest Edward, killed in action, in France, May 28th last. Also, to Mr. & Mrs. Taylor for the loss of their son, Walter, killed Oct 24th last, in France. Walter was very well known and much liked by all in LE. Mr Taylor is Parish Clerk and everyone feels for him and his wife'.  ‘Mr. and Mrs. Wright have heard that their son, Arthur James, has been “killed or died of wounds”; our heart-felt condolence for them in this, the loss of their second son in the war. There is a slight hope that Arthur will prove to have been a prisoner – but it is only a slender chance, we fear’. Charles Fincham has been a prisoner in Saxony, but, we hope will be home soon’.

Another great worry was the Influenza pandemic which was claiming the lives of countless people worldwide. On 31 October 1918, a Larling man, Driver Frederick Percy Burlingham, serving in France, succumbed. His family was notified on the very day the Great War ended.

We now know that the War may have been over, but the end was to be months away for most. Service personnel continued to lose their lives - Stoker Frederick Reeve R.N. who is buried at St James’ (G.E.), died of heatstroke aboard ship whilst on duty in July 1919. The long wait for demobilization caused a great deal of resentment. When the time came, men would often sign to say they had not suffered any impairment during their military service in order to be sent home more quickly. Thousands of prisoners needed to be repatriated, a task not completed until March 1919. As one newspaper said; ‘many died at the very threshold of a new life’. Wounded men, especially those requiring plastic surgery, spent many months in hospital. Pension claims were protracted.

The question of War Memorials was already being discussed within days of the Armistice – this from the December 1918 Deanery Magazine again; ‘Now is the time to set about the important question of deciding what form the memorial of the great war shall take in each parish. There should be no delay in taking sweet councel together. There are a few obvious considerations. First and foremost, the heroic dead must be immortalized as far as is humanly possible. The monument should therefore be solid, conspicuous and durable. The most natural place for it seems to us to be the parish churchyard. ….. Our next care should be the preservation of the names of those who have served with the armed forces of the Empire. ….

Thirdly there will be a great desire to establish a memorial which will be of beneficial utility to those returning gallant soldiers and sailors. Watton has made an admirable start in this way by the proposal of the erection of a public hall and club-house, primarily for their benefit. But whatever is done, this ought not to be left undone, namely the pious record for future generations, in a place consecrated to God, of the names of those who have died, and of those who have struggled and suffered for their country in the cause of patriotism, justice and humaneness’.

Thankfully, this ethos has survived the test of time, particularly during the last four years and looks set to continue. It has been a great privilige for me to have been able to play my part. Many of you have asked what I will do now that the task is complete. Well, I will continue to keep checking any further records which may come to light. Rockland All Saints is the only church in our Benefice to have a surviving record of all who served from the parish. Perhaps that should be my next task! For our other parishes it should be possible to identify many of the servicemen (and women) from the Naval and Military Absent Voter lists and from references in the Deanery Magazines. I have already done such an exercise in Shropham and have so far compiled and researched a Roll of 65.

With best wishes to you all.

 

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Carol

Around the Benefice - November News

We had a very joyful Harvest Thanksgiving service conducted by Carol last Sunday, 21 October, our small congregation being boosted by seven occasional supporters from the village.

A ‘loo’ has been erected to the east of the porch – comprising of a 6’ X 4’ shed and chemical toilet. Hopefully it will be a great asset and a congregation booster!

We look forward to three services in November, the extra one being 11th November organised by the Wretham and Hockham British Legion and led by Christina. The musicians will be David Barnard (organist) and Chris Ellis (trumpeter). The latest acquisition to our War Memorial shelf, Memorial Plaques to James and Wilfred Shingfield, will be on display.

 

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Around the Benefice - November News

Saint Peter's Celebration of Harvest with Flowers was a glorious event. Our special thanks go to all the ladies and gents who filled Church with such beautiful and imaginative floral displays. The church had the best display of colour I think we have ever had. A great big thank you also goes to everyone who supplied cakes and savouries, and helped over the two days of the event. The children of Rocklands School decorated the church with some lovely art work. Once again thank you to everyone involved, it was a huge success.

Don't forget the Winter Market on 17th November 11am-3pm.

 

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Cath

Around the Benefice - November News

Around the Benefice - November News

All Saints has hosted two Benefice services in consecutive months this Autumn. In September we had to manage without John and Barbara who were enjoying some Mediterranean sunshine and also Maureen, Peter and Doreen, but we were able to get set up, thanks to members of the Sacristy group! Thank you to Margaret T, Joan D and Carol who knew where everything went and in what order!! Anne did a magnificent job manning the coffee table and we all had a good time!

Apart from services, we have also been busy with maintenance. Following the last Quinquennial inspection, we have had two visits by a surveyor who has looked at the tower and its cracks! Roger and Dan went up in the cherry picker to do some work under the guidance of the surveyor, while John, Dave and Peter watched in envy!! We are awaiting a final report about what remedial action needs to be done in the long term!

By the time this goes out, the annual Harvest Supper will have taken place...tickets have sold well and lots of baking etc has been done so we are expecting another good evening! Then we gear up to the joint Rockland churches Advent Lunch on November 24th...look for details about tickets soon!

The next big service at All Saints is the Advent Carols on December 2nd at 10.30. We are excited that David Barnard has agreed to play and lead the choir at this service...David practised as a small boy on our organ and has many fond memories of his local church! The Benefice Clangers (aka the handbell ringing group!) will also be doing something at this service so something for everyone. Put the date in your diaries now - it should be a cracker!!

 

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Colin

Around the Benefice - November News

Our apologies to anyone who turned up to our Harvest Porch Sale in September only to find an empty church. It became apparent a few days prior that, for various reasons, there were not enough people to run the event. The decision was made to cancel but we did not give enough time to notify the general public. Sorry!

Sadly we have said a soft goodbye to Malcolm Robertshaw who has moved out of the village. I use the word soft because he still retains some links with the parish including attending some of our services. We wish him well in his new home; our loss is their gain.

We now look forward to Remembrance Day when we shall be hosting the Remembrance Sunday service. The congregation move on for Acts of Remembrance at the 452nd Bomb Group memorial at Deopham airfield and at St James, Great Ellingham. Everyone is welcome to this special day.

 

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Colin

Around the Benefice - Editorial Jottings

During the past four years, we in this benefice have paid tribute to all the men named on our War memorials who died in World War 1, and as close as was possible to the one hundredth anniversary of their death. This has only been possible by the hard work of Cynthia Budd who has researched and compiled the life and death of each man.

This month we commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that brought to an end the bloodshed; well almost. So our Remembrance Day services this year will have a special significance falling as they do on Sunday 11th September 2018. We shall also be holding a special Remembrance Benefice Eucharist on our 4th Sunday. Cynthia has kindly written another tribute to mark this momentous time in the lives of the men and women who
survived the war and to the families left behind.

We shall soon be starting a new church year which means Advent and year C lectionary. The Ministry Team have devised an Advent course as part of our preparations for celebrating the birth of Christ; details in this issue.

 

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Kathryn

Around the Benefice - November News

Toilets

1 in 3 people across the world do not have a safe and hygienic toilet. Every two minutes a child under five dies because of dirty water or poor sanitation. It’s quite staggering to think that going to the toilet can be dangerous or that the lack of one can affect an individual’s education. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to being bitten by snakes or being attacked when they go to the toilet in the bush; many teenage girls drop out of school
because of a lack of proper toilets. In our homes, toilets are taken for granted with many of us having two or even three. How many can remember an outside loo when you were younger? Possibly even the only one available. At St James’ church, we made a decision to do something, so our toilet is ‘twinned’ with one in the Democratic Republic of Congo, through the charity toilettwinning.org. This action raises funds to enable people living in poor
communities to have clean water, basic sanitation and to learn about hygiene. Next time you come into the church, take a look at our certificate!

Harvest

It was lovely to see a range of people and new faces at both our harvest supper service and café church this month. Our café church collection was £105 and this has been sent to Christian Aid. Their harvest appeal focuses on women overcoming the challenges of climate change and drought by providing tools and training so they can start businesses and develop skills in order to provide for their families. We also collected tins and dried goods to the Food bank – this was split to send two boxes to Thetford and one to Norwich.

Autumn fair

Thank you to everyone who supported this event. We raised over £570 for church funds. A special thanks to all those who donated prizes, especially for the raffle – The Crown, Norfolk Veg Box, the Courtyard Tearoom and Rosedales.

Small change, big difference

The world seems like it can be a hostile place; nothing an individual can do to make a difference. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. A small change can make a big difference. Just one item a week donated to the food bank, some loose change to a charity tin or a regular monthly donation, turning the lights off to conserve electricity, refusing a plastic bag and choosing unwrapped vegetables instead, buying local goods instead of online, toilet twinning. As we head towards Christmas, what gift could you give to make a difference?

 

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Sue

Benefice Ministry Day report

Benefice Ministry Day report

This, the second of our Ministry Days, was attended by a core of 19 people.  The aim of the meeting was to identify where we are as a benefice and how we can work together more closely.  Sue Strutt gave a brief history of way the Celtic Church operated and how this changed with the coming of the Roman Church.  The coffee break was followed by a discussion around areas of ministry redefined as in the last Ministry Day held in November 2017:­-

Worship, Church, Pastoral, Education, Community, Evangelism and Communication.

These were set alongside the themes of Celtic Christianity which fall into similar groupings.  The meeting divided into small groups and five of these areas of ministry were discussed.  Sadly, there was not enough time to talk about each one in depth:

Worship – the main topic emerged as participation in different kinds of worship; across the Benefice there are 17 variants of service.  It is the case that whenever something new is tried people attend once or twice and are made very welcome, but do not come again.  What more can be done? 

Church – Our buildings are in a good state, clean, mostly warm, records kept well, welcoming.  More can be done to reach out to the community, especially young people. Publicity is needed and maybe a questionnaire to discover what the residents in our parishes would like to see happening in our churches.

Pastoral – There is a great deal of unofficial neighbourly visiting and caring already taking place in our parishes.  There are forums where people can meet, listen to each other and talk, e.g. the Fellowship group, also the shop.  Welcome bags could be made for new comers to the villages.  A telephone number as a first contact should be publicly available, and prayer sessions outside of mainstream services should be advertised.  A Bereavement group is in the process of being set up.

Education – The churches could be available generally for the schools and other groups to use as a resource and a facility.  Prayer/play spaces arranged for comfortable and quiet(ish) activities for children.  Courses and Bible study groups set up, and especially nurturing newcomers.

Community – more use could be made of social media.  We need to look especially towards supporting young people in the community.

Above all, everything we do should be done with PRAYER and with love, for GOD.”

Yum, Yum!

With the meeting concluded everyone went outside to join others in partaking of a Barbeque lovingly prepared by Charles Mason, with salads donated from several people.

Thank you Charles it was scrumptious!

Donations amounted to over £300 which will be put into the Benefice Office fund.  Thank you.

 

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Colin

Around the Benefice - Shellrock Talks

The latest of the Shellrock Talks, held on 19th September in Rockland St Peter, was entitled ‘Why is religious education in schools so important’.  Our speaker for the evening, Christine Counsell, gave us a wonderfully interesting, informative and thought provoking insight into how religious education is taught in our schools, or not as is apparently too often the case.  The relevance of religions to other subjects in the school curriculum, what subject matter was included, how the subject was taught, what steps were being taken to improve the subject matter and its teaching were just some of the topics covered.  Although focussed on religious education, it also gave us a window into education in general.

We are grateful to Christine for presenting this Talk with energy and clarity which left us all much the wiser and happy that we had made the effort attend.  Thank you Christine.

Thanks must also go to Rockland St Peter for allowing us to use their church as a venue for these Talks and to the refreshments ‘ladies’ who provided the much appreciated tea, coffee and biscuits.

Our next Talk will be on Wednesday 23 January 2019.  The subject will be the ‘Norwich Foodbank’.  So if you have any interest in the work of the foodbank and why it is necessary for it to exist, then book this in your diary or calendar now.  As usual, this Talk is open to everyone, so please encourage your friends to come along to join us in what should be another entertaining and informative evening.

 

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Around the Benefice - October News

We had a joyous Family Service on the 2nd September, complete with a Baptism; lots of children attended and were presented with giant gingerbread men. Compliments to the baker!

Since opening Church on a daily basis we have had a large increase in the number of visitors.

We look forward to seeing you all at our Celebration of Harvest With Flowers on 30th September. St. Peter's famous bacon butties, cakes and savouries will be available. 

We have a Winter Market in the Village Hall on 17th November 1100-1500. Many local traders have booked tables to give you a chance to shop early for Christmas.

Raffle and Teddy Tombola, a chance to win a cuddly toy.

Lots of food and hot drinks available.

Please come along and support us. All donations of cakes or savouries will be most welcome. 

 

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Cath

Around the Benefice - October News

Around the Benefice - October News

On September 9th, our Harvest Festival was held and it was good to welcome some new faces to a traditional service. As always, the produce was sold off afterwards and the proceeds of that and the collection were sent to the Leprosy Mission…this year nearly £100.

Thank you to all who attended or contributed.

Our next big event is the Harvest Supper, which this year will be held on October 27th at 7.00pm.  The main course will consist of a choice of homemade pies, meats, cheeses etc with a wide variety of salads.  The desserts are all also homemade and we try to reflect our local harvest when preparing these. Vegetarian and diabetic options are always available.

Following the meal, we will once again be entertained by the Roskettes who have been busy practising their repertoire for weeks! Tickets are available from Cath Jones (483542) at a bargain price of £8 (£4 for children.)

We look forward to seeing you there...and we hope that, by then, the grass at All Saints will have stopped growing at such a rate of knots!

 

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Kathryn

Around the Benefice - September Cafe church report

Our cafe church service in September was on the theme of ‘The miracles of Jesus’ with our readings from Mark 7: the stories of driving out a demon and healing a deaf and mute man.  We prayed for light to the darkness of those with mental illness and the well being of all those with a disability.  We welcomed a few new faces, celebrated Samuel’s 5th birthday and congratulated Sue and Ian Bisley on their 25th wedding anniversary!

Our next café church will be on Sunday 14th October on a harvest theme.  Any tinned and packaged food will be collected for the food bank; fresh produce will be auctioned off after the service.  The collection and auction proceeds will go to Christian Aid.

 

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Colin

Around the Benefice - October News

We held our Harvest Festival at the beginning of September joined by several people within the benefice.  The new organ being out of commission we resorted to the old pipe organ to provide the necessary notes for our hymns.  Carey Moore managed it admirably.  Even the stuck note during much of the last hymn didn’t deter either Carey or the congregation from ‘We plough the fields and scatter’.

The repair of the new organ provided us with a painful and costly lesson.  It transpired that the main circuit board was faulty.  Apparently this is often caused by a lightning strike or surges in the electrical power.  Although we always switch the organ off at the socket, this apparently, is not enough.  The plug needs to be removed to completely isolate the organ from the electrics.  Worth remembering if you have any electrical equipment you wish to protect!

Our Harvest Porch sale will be held on Saturday 29 October organised by the ‘Friends’.  Everyone is welcome to join us for, if nothing else, a cup of coffee, a bite to eat and a chat.

 

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Banns of Marriage

During Holy Communion at Rockland All Saint’s Church, Banns of Marriage to be read for Rachel Clarke to Lewis Mirow of the Parish of Great Ellingham to be married at St John’s Church, Ovington on 6th October. This is for the 3rd time of asking.

 

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Family Service

Family Service

Our Family service is growing in popularity which includes activities for children.

 

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Cath

Funeral of Joan Fisher

The funeral of our Church Warden Emeritus, Joan Fisher, on a very hot August 4th was a moving service. It was led by her daughter Elizabeth, who was wearing the surplice made for her by our own Barbara, when she first became a Reader many moons ago.  The church itself looked beautiful with flower displays made by the local Flower Club, of which Joan was an active member until latterly. Joan was famous for her cooking, especially her sausage rolls that graced every event in the village, it seemed!  Apparently, when talking about her wishes for her own funeral, Joan had jokingly suggested she had a sausage roll-shaped coffin.  As this was impracticable, Liz added a plate of sausage rolls (not, she felt, up to her mum’s standard- a hard act to follow!) to the floral tributes on the coffin...so Joan nearly got her wish!  Joan and Stan gave so much to Rocklands over so many years and their legacies live on in the Playing Field, Pavilion, Village Hall and, of course, All Saints’ church itself!

 

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Colin

Flower Festival

Flower Festival

We held a very successful week-end Flower Festival in our church celebrating the past 100 years of change.  From the year World War 1 ended to the present day, there were many wonderful and inspiring arrangements from a very talented band of women.  Refreshments were served in the church throughout the day with the marquee, kindly loaned by Rockland All Saints, serving as a seating area and a shelter from the intense heat of the sun.  Although the footfall could have been greater, especially on Saturday, everyone who came appeared to thoroughly enjoy the experience.  Many thanks to everyone who contributed, in whatever way, to making this such an enjoyable event.

Our Harvest Festival service takes place on Sunday 2nd September.  This will be followed on 29th September by our Harvest Porch Sale.

 

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Colin

Cafe Church

Our August café service was down a few regulars but numbers were made up by others from across the benefice (we like being the only service!).  Led as usual by our music group, albeit with three members away, Cath and Kathryn were ably assisted by Peter and Angela.  Thanks to them for standing in!  Rev Sue guided us in our worship, talking about us ‘being prepared’, about us being ready to receive and welcome God and about us living our lives as Christians throughout the week, not just on a Sunday.

At café church, we like to celebrate special occasions and this month was Joan Woodruffe’s 70th birthday.  Many congratulations!

Cath read the following poem as part of our service.  (An epicure is a person who takes particular pleasure in fine food and drink!)

Live while you live, the Epicure would say,

And seize the pleasures of the present day.

Live while you live, the sacred Preacher cries,

And give to God each moment as it flies.

Lord, in my view, let both united be;

I live in pleasure if I live to thee.

- Philip Dodderidge (1702 – 1751)

 

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