Shellrock Ramblings - 2nd May

My Dear Friends

Earlier this week we had a ministry team meeting following on from all the APCMs that took place last week. One of the topics we discussed was the on-going issue of communication, about church services and events connected with the church. As you know Colin has been chiefly responsible for co-ordinating communication and has done so effectively and efficiently for a long while. Before lockdown Ramblings consisted of just a list of the key services, events, and a small amount of “special” news.

At lockdown it was decided that in addition to the telephone calls and e-mails I make, I would try to keep in touch with everyone by sending an introductory reflection on the week which would be contained in each week’s Ramblings. Now that we have the opportunity more readily to meet face to face we decided at the ministry team that this would no longer be necessary. So ------ this is my last, at least for the time being, although Ramblings as it has been previously, will continue, along with several other sources of information, including new magazines. 

I also want to let you know that I shall be away from 7th-21st of May. We are having some work done on our house and shall be without water, gas, electricity etc. Hopefully on our return the worst of the disruption will be over.

Finally, I am adding below the letter received from our Bishop Graham about the appointment of the new Bishop of Lynn. I know that not all of you take the EDP where it was announced, and this pastoral letter gives information about her. 

You remain in my thoughts each day.

My love to you all

Christina

Letter from the Bishop of Norwich

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

I am delighted to let you know that 10 Downing Street has announced that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Dr Jane Steen, currently Archdeacon of Southwark, to be the next Bishop of Lynn. Archdeacon Jane has a deep pastoral care for the people and communities that she serves currently in Southwark and has a rich experience of mission in the Church of England, including supporting church communities to flourish. She will bring these aspects, together with her great sense of joy and fun, to the role of Bishop of Lynn. ------- Archdeacon Jane will be consecrated a bishop in Norwich Cathedral on the Feast Day of St Etheldreda, 23rd June 2021. For further details please see the news article and a short video where Archdeacon Jane introduces herself:

https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/news/new-bishop-of-lynn-announced/

I am confident that Jane and her husband, Pip, will soon come to love this diocese and its people. Please pray for them today and as they prepare to join us. May we be a blessing to them, as they will be a blessing to us

Notices

Sunday 2nd May, the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 8 v 26-end, Psalm 22 v 25-end, 1 John 4 v 7–end, John 15 v 1-8

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

10.30 Rockland All Saints - Holy Communion

Sunday 9th May, the sixth Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 10 v 44-end, Psalm 98, 1 John 5 v 1-6, John 15 v 9-17

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

Scheduled broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with members of the Church Leaders’ Group, Ireland

10.45am BBC1 - Sunday Morning Stories, the Revd Kate Bottley share tales of faith, hope and spirituality

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Claire McCollum and Sean Fletcher

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from St Peter’s Eaton Square, London (23 April 2021)

This will be the final program listing.  I hope they have been of some use during this period of limited Sunday services.  Of course, the programs will continue! CT

Centering Prayer

‘Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, that is prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us.’

Prior to our first lockdown in 2020, a workshop was being organised to introduce this form of prayer to our benefice.  Obviously this got cancelled.  Now the bonds of isolation and restrictions are being loosened I have started the process of organising this workshop again.  It is likely to be held on a Saturday in July or (more likely) early Autumn, and will run from 10am to 4pm.

I have attended one workshop on this form of prayer and it is simple and effective.  It can be used as part of your individual prayer or within a group prayer session.

So are you interested?

It would be helpful to have an idea of numbers for this workshop before I go too far into the planning stage.  So can you please let me know of your interest either by email on colin.thomas196@btinternet.com or by telephone on 01953 453455.  Although this is essentially a form of Christian prayer, it appears that some who have attended a workshop have no religious belief and found it beneficial, so it is open to everyone.

Thank you.

Colin

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 25th April

My Dear Friends

Speaking to several people during the week, they all remarked about what a shock it is to go to a busier schedule. Certainly, I have felt it as this week has been particularly active with quite a lot of time being taken up with the Annual General meetings of the 5 PCCs, and which need to happen before the end of April. This year has been complicated because of course last year it was only possible to meet via zoom or through e-mails, so there was more business to get through.

At the RAS meeting we said goodbye to John Scase who is retiring as warden of that parish, and also as a member of the PCC. John has been a wonderful warden, totally reliable, extremely conscientious, and always head of the game in terms of seeing what needs doing and ensuring the smooth material functioning of this church. The role and duties of a warden are often underestimated. There should be two wardens for each church in order to share the work- load, and for too many years John has been on his own. We are glad that he will be having a rest from this heavy responsibility, but of course he will be sorely missed. John, we thank you for everything you have done for the parish of RAS as well as the benefice as a whole.

In addition to the five annual meetings, we have had two funerals: Isobel Rann on Monday 19th at Breckland crematorium and Anne Ellis on Thursday 22nd at RAS.  We shall continue to pray for their families and friends.

The weather on several days has been gorgeous and all of us must surely be grateful for some warmth for our tired bodies. Robin and I went for a lovely walk in Merton earlier in the week and just caught the tail end of the daffodils. The ground was covered with them. I would certainly recommend Merton as a not too difficult walk, not just now but at any time of the year. On the way back we called for a beer in a marquee outside a pub, the first opportunity for many months. I guess there will be many firsts for the next weeks ahead, including the opportunity to greet new grandchildren and relatives who are in care. It’s not over yet, but slowly and surely, we’re emerging out of what for so many has been such a difficult and indeed traumatic time.

My love to you all

Christina

Notices

Sunday 25th April, the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 4 v 5-12, Psalm 23, 1 John 3 v 16–end, John 10 v 11-18

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

10.30 Rockland St Peter - Morning Prayer

Sunday 2nd May, the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 8 v 26-end, Psalm 22 v 25-end, 1 John 4 v 7–end, John 15 v 1-8

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

10.30 Rockland All Saints - Holy Communion

Scheduled broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Revd Ann Easter, former royal chaplain

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning Stories, the Revd Kate Bottley share tales of faith, hope and spirituality

* 1.15pm BBC2 - Songs of Praise, with Revd Kate Bottley

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from London Church of St Matthew, Westminster (6 April 2021)

* change of channel for football again.

 

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 18th April

My Dear Friends

It has been a strange week. There’s been so much to be pleased about as on the 12th there was some more lifting of restrictions. But then we were saddened as we became aware of the loss of yet another of our well known Rockland friends. We heard of the sudden death of Ann, loved for herself and her cheerful disposition and warm welcome at the door of RAS as we came in for the morning services. And of course, before the weekend we heard about Prince Phillip, the Queen’s loss of a husband of 73 years; a long time indeed.

It is still the case in some quarters that whenever grief is mentioned the name of Elisabeth Kubler Ross comes to the fore. She developed a theory that grief manifests in five stages which she called denial, anger, bargaining (often with God), depression and acceptance. Like Richard Coles writing on his experience of loving and losing, I have always been doubtful about the neat and tidy stage model. In the experience of many, grief “does what it wants to do: it is not obedient to psychological patterning or theological argument” (Coles, 2020). So, we need always to be extremely sensitive to the varied ways in which people express their feelings about a loss. Assume nothing; listen carefully.

Just as each of us has a unique way of expressing ourselves following a loss, so it is with our religious and spiritual beliefs and preferred practices in worship, and this takes me to the other subject of my ramblings this morning! Yesterday afternoon the benefice team met face to face for the first time in many months.  Zoom has certainly had its benefits, but it was such a relief to be able to see and hear each other without electronic devices.  We looked at and shall continue to discuss the pattern of services for the whole benefice for several months ahead. In these planning meetings we try to be respectful of as many shades of opinion as possible, but I have no doubt that there will be some who would prefer what is not being provided. Do please let us know your views. That is the only way that we can be truly responsive to your needs, wants and preferences. 

My love to you all.

Christina 

Notices

Sunday 18th April, the Third Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 3 v 12-19, Psalm 4, 1 John 3 v 1–7, Luke 24 v 36b-48

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

10.30 Rockland All Saints - Holy Communion

Monday 19th April

13.00   Scoulton Crematorium - Funeral of Isabella Rann

19.00   St James, Great Ellingham - APCM in the church

Tuesday 20th April

19.00   St Peter, Little Ellingham - APCM in the church

 Thursday 22nd April

14.00 Rockland All Saints - Funeral of Anne Ellis followed by burial in the Methodist graveyard in Chapel Street Rocklands

Sunday 25th April, the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 4 v 5-12, Psalm 23, 1 John 3 v 16–end, John 10 v 11-18

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

10.30 Rockland St Peter - Morning Prayer

(Please note that attendance at funerals is still limited to 30 people.)

Scheduled broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship from Bishopthorpe, residence of the Archbishop of York

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning Stories, the Revd Kate Bottley with tales of faith, hope and spirituality.

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Katherine Jenkins talking to the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Worcester Cathedral (April 2009)

Shellrock News

With the change to the management of the village magazines, the church news will be confined to those churches covered by that magazine.

In order that everyone is informed as to what is happening in the benefice the Shellrock News will, once again, be circulated at the Benefice service on the Fourth Sunday of each month.  You can receive your copy either by email or as a hard copy (on paper).  It will also be sited on our website.  Hard copies will also be made available in each of the churches for visitors.

As the default, I shall send the Shellrock News to all the recipients of the Ramblings as an email, but if you would prefer your copy as a hard copy please let me know via my email colin.thomas196@btinternet.com.  Please let me know of anyone else who would like a copy.

A reminder to anyone who wishes to have something included in the Shellrock News or the Ramblings, please give me the information and preferably a few days before publication.  If I am not informed, it can’t be included.

George Reeve

Sadly we have been informed of the death of George Reeve, wife of Ann Reeve, after a long illness.  We send our sincere condolences to Ann and the family.  Please keep them all in your prayers.

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 11th April

My Dear Friends

I think it was TS Eliot who wrote “April is the cruellest month.” It has certainly been a topsy turvy one so far, with lovely warm summery days followed by the bitterest chill that sometimes hits East Anglia. But as promised, we managed our five Easter day services, one in each parish, and this was such a joy to be meeting people face to face after such a long absence.

From now onwards there will be services in both the Rockland and Ellingham churches, as well as at Shropham. Over the next few weeks, we shall be working together on a rota indicating where and when these will be, and we shall communicate this rota as widely as possible. Because of the return to regularity of services, we shall not be publishing a written weekly reflection, which has been something which Sue and I have done during the past few months.

As little by little we are coming out of this most difficult of years, we have a great deal to think about. In the Rockland churches alone, seven of our faithful members have died (not of covid) and we haven’t been able to mourn them as we would have liked. For months the phrase “the new normal“ has been on people’s lips. But what is that new normal when it comes to a benefice of five parishes? And where usefully does the church fit with the villages and people we serve? We shall also be thinking of the way ahead in terms of how we can most effectively respond to the issues of the day. As Mike Starkey, a writer in the Church Times, this week noted: “It is hard to think of a commodity more urgently needed in today’s world than hope. The C20th narrative of human progress has been found wanting:  we emerge from the pandemic against a backdrop of climate crisis and a re-birth of authoritarian politics. The loss of hope is tangible”.

I think you know by now that I am a fan of the Church Times and this week there was a poem in it which I really enjoyed. This was written by Dallin Chapman, a novelist and poet, when he was recovering from a severe episode of Covid. It was inspired by the phrase ‘and we give thanks for that’ which he heard regularly in daily services.

And I give thanks for that –

Dawn whispering at the window

Nudging memory, books by the bedside

Waiting to be read,

Far echoes of a kettle coming to the boil,

Footsteps on the stairs.

I give thanks for that.

 

I give thanks for that ---

Kindness, a doctor who took

Time, a nurse who ignored

Night to combat fear,

Care and circles of concern, the distant telephone.

I give thanks for that.

 

I give thanks for that --

Grasses and scent of spring

Squirrel busy on the lawn,

Birds enjoying our berries,

Faint murmur of mowing,

Wide morning sky, and snowdrops,

The trees’ ancient lullabies.

I give thanks for that.

 

I give thanks for that ---

For life and breath, for chance

To dream again of longer days, touch

Of loved ones’ hands, of laughter

And visiting old friends.

For just being.

 I give thanks for that.

With my love to you all

Christina

Notices

Sunday 11th April, the Second Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 4 v 32-35, Psalm 133, 1 John 1 v 1 – 2 v 2, John 20 v 19-end

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

10.30 Rockland St Peter - Morning Prayer

Wednesday 14th April

13.30 Rockland St Peter - Benefice Team meeting

 Sunday 18th April, the Third Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 3 v 12-19, Psalm 4, 1 John 3 v 1–7, Luke 24 v 36b-48

 10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

10.30 Rockland All Saints - Holy Communion

Scheduled broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship exploring the road to Emmaus

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning Stories, the Revd Kate Bottley with tales of faith, hope and spirituality.

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, tributes to HRH Prince Philip

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from St Matthew’s Church, Westminster

Ann Ellis

Sadly we have been informed of the sudden death of Ann Ellis, a member of Rocklands All Saints church.  We send our sincere condolences to her family, especially her children Jessica, Megan, Greg, and her brother Roger.  Please keep them all in your prayers.

Ramblings

Just a reminder that if you want anything in the Ramblings to be communicated to the rest of the benefice, then you need to tell me.  I usually send the Ramblings out on Saturday afternoon.  You can contact me via telephone 01953 453455 or email colin.thomas196@btinternet.com.

It is still uncertain as to how the benefice news will continue to be communicated.  Hopefully the Benefice Team meeting on Wednesday will clarify this.  If you have any views then please let me know.

As Christina has indicated, as church services have now resumed the service and reflections circulated each week will cease effective from now.  I would like to thank both Sue and Christina for their contributions each week which has given us the opportunity to hold our own worship at home.  We now look forward to hearing them within the walls of our church buildings once again.

CT

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 4th April

My Dear Friends

Earlier in the year in one of these weekly ramblings I was speaking about journeys, the real and the metaphorical.  We are now almost at the end of a journey through Lent, this wonderful opportunity for reflection.

Today as I write, we would have been preparing for the Maundy Thursday service which it has been our custom to hold as an ‘agape’ meal at Rockland St Peter (agape is a Greek word for unconditional love). I always look forward to this service as it brings together the central aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry through the readings set for the day. On Maundy Thursday we remember the Last Supper when Jesus, much to the protests of Peter, knelt to wash the disciples’ feet.  For me, it highlights wonderfully well Jesus’ true humility and the example he gave to us all, of respecting the dignity of every person. There will be many churches in the land where this ritual of foot washing is actively recalled, but not in our own benefice. 

Another of the set readings for the day is from St Paul (1 Corinthians 11) and it recalls Jesus’ words which we use each time we celebrate Holy Communion. But perhaps central to the way we are intended to follow as disciples are those words spoken by Jesus towards the end of this supper with his friends. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13, 1-7 and 31-35).

On Good Friday, for those who were NOT able to walk or to attend the 3.00 pm service at St James there have been a wonderful variety of programmes, on radio and TV, with the story of Our Lord’s crucifixion told in different ways as well as being able to hear inspiring music.

And then there is Easter. For the first time for a long while, we have been able to arrange for each of the five churches in the Shellrock Benefice to have an Easter Day service. We have been able to achieve this by having different service times (9.30 at Shropham and Little Ellingham, 10.30 at Rockland All Saints and Great Ellingham, 11.30 at Rockland St Peter). Sue will be presiding at the Ellinghams and I shall be at Shropham and the two Rockland Churches. I am very pleased that we have been able to manage this and particularly for those churches where there has been no service for a considerable time. But I must confess that for me personally there is a down-side in that I won’t be there to greet people in the Ellinghams on this special Easter Day. I shall miss you.

I began with “journeys” and perhaps it is with this metaphor that I should end. During the past year, it has been a journey, sometimes seemingly endless, and for all of us in different ways. We had little idea of what we would be facing in March 2020 and there have been times of despair on the way. But the end IS in sight and although care is still required of us, we are reaching that point where we can begin to be a little freer in meeting people, seeing family members and friends, and be together again as a community of disciples. Who knows, we might very soon be able to raise the roof with our singing. Just in case, let’s keep practising!  

I wish you a blessed Easter and love to you all,

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 4th April, Easter Sunday

Readings: Acts 10 v 34-43, Psalm 118 v 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15 v 1-11, Mark 16 v 1-8

Collect: Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him; grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen

Sunday 11th April, the Second Easter of Sunday

Readings: Acts 4 v 32-35, Psalm 133, 1 John 1 v 1 – 2 v 2, John 20 v 19-end

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Morning Service

From this Sunday, 11th, St James will be hosting a Morning Service to which everyone is invited.  In accordance with the current rules, social distancing will be in place and congregational singing will still not be allowed.  However it is intended to start ‘normalising’ this service in preparation for better times ahead.

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Easter Sunday Worship from Canterbury Cathedral

10.00am BBC1 - Easter Day Eucharist, from Canterbury Cathedral

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Katherine Jenkins from Llandaff Cathedral

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, an Easter service, live from Manchester Cathedral

Singing

The latest rules on singing in churches have been relaxed.  Congregational singing is now allowed outdoors within the confines of the churchyard and with each ‘bubble’ socially distanced.  Singing indoors is confined to a small number of socially distanced people but not the congregation.

Isabella Rann

We have been informed that, sadly, Isabella Rann of Rocklands has recently died.  Our sincere commiserations to Shirley and Laura at their loss.  Please hold them in your prayers.

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 28th March

My Dear Friends

This morning (Thursday) I was at Rocklands, taking the funeral of a well-known local farmer. After the tribute, one of his family read an extract from the farmer’s diary which he’d been keeping since being a young lad.  As I was listening, I was struck by the daily rhythm of this man’s life. It provided structure and meaning; the regularity of the changing seasons with their necessary tasks to be completed, seedtime and harvest, birth and death. For the farming community of course, this kind of rhythm remains, but during this last year, many people have lost the security of a sure structure of work outside the home, the normal school day, meeting with colleagues and/or friends, the letting go at the pub or cinema on a Friday night, and so on. I believe this loss of a regular pattern, and with it a growing uncertainty about “what comes next”, has contributed to the growing numbers who have become mentally unwell.

The other thing that struck me as I was coming away from the funeral is that in the villages served by the Shellrock churches several of our friends will have gone from our midst. This of course is the tiniest fraction of the total loss of life being experienced in the UK. On Tuesday of this week we were reflecting on the loss of 126,000 lives as a result of covid, some families having been decimated, as they were during the war, by the loss of several members.

I don’t know what you did on Tuesday. I lit a row of candles and put them on the porch window-sill, just a token. There would have been no such rituals for the mourners of those who died. The pandemic took away those important symbols which give meaning at the time of loss of a loved one:   no wakes; no places of worship packed with mourners; no funny and public reminiscences about the person who has died; no hugs of comfort from friends.  A man writing in one of our newspapers said “I’ve been robbed ------it feels like you’re in limbo. It’s hard to move on”.

Quite apart from those who have died, it has been estimated that there are around 37,000 people who are currently experiencing what has been called “long covid” and some of these have been very severely affected and are disabled by the condition.  We all of us long to move on.  I certainly do and am very happy that, unlike last year, we shall be having services in all five of our benefice churches on Easter Sunday. As we do move forward though, perhaps we can all continue to remember those whose lives will never be the same. 

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 28th March, Palm Sunday

Readings: Psalm 118 v 1-2, 19-end, Mark 11 v 1-11

Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race, sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you   in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

10.30am-11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer (Palm crosses will be available during this ‘service’ and at Little Ellingham at 11.45)

Monday 29th March to Thursday 1st April, Holy Week

The Revd Sue Strutt will devote her mornings through Holy week to being in St James Great Ellingham at 10.00am and at St Peter, Little Ellingham at 10.45am for a scripture reading and prayer.  Sue invites everyone in the benefice to join her.

Friday 2nd April, Good Friday

Readings: Isaiah 52 v 13 – 53 v end, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10 v 16-25, John 18 v 1 – 19 v end

14.00 St James, Great Ellingham - Walk of witness around village

15.00 St James, Great Ellingham - Good Friday service

Sunday 4th April, Easter Sunday

Readings: Acts 10 v 34-43, Psalm 118 v 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15 v 1-11, Mark 16 v 1-8

10.30 St James, Great Ellingham - Holy Communion

0 9.30 St Peter, Little Ellingham - Holy Communion

10.30 Rockland All Saints - Morning Prayer

11.30 Rockland St Peter - Holy Communion

09.30 Shropham - Holy Communion BCP

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship A celebratory service for Palm Sunday

11.00am BBC1 - Lent Worship, from Hale Barns in Greater Manchester

1.15pm BBC2 - Songs of Praise, with Aled Jones, ‘Finding Hope’

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

8.00pm BBC4 - Brotherhood: the Inner Life of Monks

Singing

Information has been received from the diocese giving us further guidance on singing in our worship.  Though the government rules are being relaxed there is a lot of information to sift through to get an accurate picture of what is and what isn’t allowed.  More information will be given in due course, but it does appear we all shall shortly be allowed to sing outside within the confines of the churchyard.  So, being the optimists we all are, start loosening up those vocal chords in preparation.

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 21th March

My Dear Friends

This time last year I was lamenting the fact that the very important and much loved occasions for meeting around Holy Week and Easter were not going to be possible. It is with enormous relief that this year we are going to be able to have services in all of our churches on Easter Day and some other opportunities for meeting during Holy Week. You will see below the schedule of local services and activities that we have brought together.

I know that some of you are still shielding, or are needing to be extremely careful about going outside the house. For those of you who will not be going out, there are a lot of splendid services on all television and radio channels as well as plenty of documentaries on “religious themes”. A couple of years ago as part of our Lent study programme, a group of us went to a synagogue and a mosque and had speakers to give us a talk on Modern Judaism and Islam. Those of us who were involved learned a good deal from these ventures into other faiths. The reason why I mention this is that I have noticed a 5 part BBC1 series called “Being” which begins on 27th March. These 5 programmes will be looking at what ritual means for individuals from Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities. We all benefit by being aware of and attempting understanding of each other.  

Next Tuesday is the Day of Reflection and this is an opportunity to remember all that has happened over the past year, to mourn those who have died but also to give thanks for the care received both in hospitals and communities throughout the nation. At 12.00 midday there will be a minute’s silence and we are all invited to keep this as a mark of remembrance and respect. For those people throughout the country who have lost someone either as a direct result of Covid or for other reasons, it has been a terribly hard year and perhaps in addition to that time of silence , we can keep them in our thoughts throughout the week.

I am also aware as I am writing that in our benefice we have several people who are extremely unwell and also at least one recently bereaved family. We hold them in our minds and hearts. 

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 21st March, Fifth Sunday of Lent, Passiontide begins

Readings:  Jeremiah 31 v 31 – 34, Psalm 51 v 1-13, Hebrews 5 v 5-10, John 12 v 20-33

Collect: Most merciful God,   who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ   delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross   we may triumph in the power of his victory;   through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you   in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

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

Sunday 28th March, Palm Sunday

Readings: Psalm 118 v 1-2, 19-end, Mark 11 v 1-11

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

There will be extra services over the Easter weekend.  More details next week.

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship marking the anniversary of the first Covid lockdown with Debbie Thrower

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

11.30am BBC1 - Lent Worship, from St Martin’s Church in Maidstone

* 1.15pm BBC2 - Songs of Praise, the Revd Kate Bottley’s favourite moments

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

* Change of channel, football again, what else!

Covid Anniversary

This coming Tuesday, 23rd March, there is a National Day of Reflection to mark the anniversary of the start of our first Covid lockdown.  During this period much has happened and yet little has happened.  Our cosy little worlds have been changed in so many ways it can be hard to visualise anything different.

Sadly a planned service to mark this day has had to be shelved due to current Covid regulations but we can all have our own moment of reflection in the comfort of our now very familiar homes.

The Bishop of Norwich gave his own reflection on the past year which was broadcasted on Radio Norfolk recently.  It is an interesting reflection which you can read by following the link below:

https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/news/bishop-graham-reflects-on-the-past-year/

Shellrock News

As most of you are aware, the Ellingham Pump and the Rocklander each have a new editorial team.  The Rocklander was first published for March and The Pump will first be published for April.  It is unclear as to the future of the Shellrock News within these two publications, though each magazine is including the local church news.  Whilst these magazines ‘bed in’ I shall endeavour to send out the Shellrock News on the last week-end of the month via email thereby providing all members of our church with what is going on in other parishes.   If there is anyone who wishes to receive this in paper form please let me know and I will arrange to have a copy delivered.  You know how to get in contact with me.

Colin

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 14th March

My Dear Friends

Somehow, it has seemed particularly busy this week although if you were to ask, with what, I’d be hard pressed to tell you. I guess that during the last year we have become used to working at a different pace, and then it all changes again.  Some of the things that have been pre-occupying have been the various diocesan meetings we have attended. As just one example, on Monday of this week Sue and I were part of a diocesan ZOOM meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury being present. He took the opportunity to say thank you for all the patience, forbearance and support given by so many people during the last difficult year. I had a sense that his words of gratitude came from his heart. He spoke of the many people in different walks of life who have been exhausted and deeply troubled by the changes that have affected everyone and he assured us that they are very much in his daily prayers. It was a privilege being with Archbishop Justin. I thought he looked very tired and certainly in need of time away for the rest and refreshment which he will be taking over the next few months. He has come in for quite a lot of criticism for his decision to close churches last year at the start of the pandemic, and towards his time with us on ZOOM he said “I was wrong and I am sorry”. Just as a passing thought ------ I do wish that some of our politicians could have similar courage and honesty to openly apologise for their errors of judgement!   

Quite a lot of the activity this week has been around thinking about Holy Week and Easter. Last year we missed Mothering Sunday and all the services leading up to and including Easter. This year, thanks to vaccination, some restrictions have been lifted to such an extent that we are able to have several services in the benefice, even though the numbers attending each will need to be limited in order to maintain safe distance between us. Dates, times, and places will be announced over the next three weeks.

This is also the time of year when each parish will be coming up for its annual general meeting. These meetings will be brief, even though there will be a two-year catching up with business and administrative matters to be dealt with, including the voting of office bearers for the forthcoming year. After May, and as soon as it is possible to meet more freely, we will be planning some meetings to consider the future: how we want things to be in the communities served by the churches in the months and years to come. All my reading and all the meetings I have been attending over the last six months indicate that there will be some structural changes within the church as a whole. However, I really don’t think we should worry about this, despite what some newspapers have been indicating. Rather, perhaps we can look forward to change as a golden opportunity to be creative, and in a lot of different ways.

As I was writing this, I received an e-mail from Eleanor Langan with news about Michael. Earlier last year, he was very unwell and needed to be admitted to hospital for a while. I had been concerned, and asked Eleanor to keep me informed of progress. She said in her note this morning that he is now much better, is home again, and looking forward to being able to travel more freely, an activity which you will remember was extremely important for his health and well-being.

Sunday is Mothering Sunday. Although the emphasis is clearly on mothers, I always see this day as an opportunity to remember all those who have been important in nurturing us into adulthood. Especially in our modern society, there will be many who have been and are being cared for with great love by people other than their mothers. Perhaps we can bear this in mind as we think of people important to us and give thanks for their love and care on Sunday. 

I wish you well for the forthcoming week.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 14th March, Fourth Sunday of Lent, Mothering Sunday

Readings:  1 Samuel 1 v 20–end, Psalm 127 v 1–4, 2 Corinthians 1 v 3–7, John 19 v 25b-27

Collect: Merciful Lord absolve your people from their offences, that through your bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the chains of those sins which by our frailty we have committed; grant this, heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

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

Sunday 21st March, Fifth Sunday of Lent, Passiontide begins

Readings:  Jeremiah 31 v 31 – 34 Psalm 51 v 1-13, Hebrews 5 v 5-10, John 12 v 20-33

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

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship a service for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

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

11.15am BBC1 - Lent Worship, A Mothering Sunday service from St Cuthbert’s Church, Preston

* 1:15pm BBC2 - Songs of Praise, Brenda Edwards visits a new Christian Community grocery

** 4.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge

*   Change of channel, football again, what else!

** Time change

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 7th March

My Dear Friends

This week, I want to share with you some of what might be going on in the Church of England beyond the boundaries of our benefice, but which may have future implications for all of us here in Shellrock.

Today, Bishop Graham sent an invitation to the diocesan clergy to meet with Archbishop Justin Welby on line on 8th March. This is an open invitation to all licensed clergy to speak with him about our experiences of the pandemic and its impact on ministry. If I have any contribution to make at all, it will be to reflect on how difficult I personally have found it not to be able to visit people in their own homes. E-mails and telephone calls obviously are available, but brought up on the importance of personal pastoral care, I have found it hard to be obedient to the law of the land. I wished that more had been done to give minsters a protected status which acknowledged the importance of emotional and spiritual well-being alongside physical protection.

Another e-mail came in today from Bishop Graham and this was a thank you for the efforts made by so many people to keep up their financial giving. Although there are certainly shortfalls, it is remarkable that the total overall amount of parish share is as high as it is.  “The Parish Share received for the year ending 31 December 2020 totalled £6.160 million (77.28% of the total request).  Whilst this is a decrease of £926,398 compared to 2019, and £1.812 million less than the requested amount, it is a phenomenal effort.”

Bishop Graham ends with the following paragraph.  

Significant work has already been done to limit expenditure and secure additional grant funding, but there is more to do as we review our activities – both centrally and locally – and we will continue to keep you updated as we move forward with our new vision to be transformed by Christ to be prayerful, pastoral and prophetic.  For now, though, please accept my gracious thanks for your parish’s commitment and ministry!”

It is clear that there are going to be some fairly major changes to accommodate these shortfalls, and also to look again and with perhaps fresh eyes at what we are doing as a church. Later on this week, on March 4th, at their request, Sue and I are meeting on Zoom with Bishop Alan and Archdeacon Steven Betts. Neither Sue nor I have any idea what will be on the agenda although I imagine that it will be a significant meeting for us all. I shall let you know as soon as possible the outcome of this meeting.

My love to you all.

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 7th March, Third Sunday of Lent

Readings: Exodus 20 v 1-17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1 v 18-25, John 2 v 13-22

Collect: Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

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

Sunday 14th March, Fourth Sunday of Lent, Mothering Sunday

Readings: 1 Samuel  1: 20 – end, Psalm 127: 1 – 4, 2 Corinthians 1: 3 – 7, John 19: 25b - 27.

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

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Revd Canon Jutta Brueck

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

11.30am BBC1 - Lent Worship, from All Saints Church, Hale Barns

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, Katherine Jenkins reflects on personal prayer

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford (2012)

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 28th February

My Dear friends

I have just come back from my allowed daily constitutional and while out I saw the many signs of Spring in the air with wonderful carpets of snowdrops, quite a number of daffodils just coming into flower, newly born lambs, some calves and the birds being very busy building their nests.  Talking of daffodils, I hope you will forgive me for being rather nostalgic, for on Monday it is St David’s Day.

For anyone brought up in Wales, this is a very important day. March 1st is the date when we remember Saint David's death in 589 but it was quite a lot later, in the C12th, that he was canonised. He was born in south west Wales into an aristocratic family. He founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosyn (the Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Pembrokeshire where St David's Cathedral stands today. This is a beautiful Cathedral and well worth a visit.  David's fame as a teacher spread among Celtic Christians, and he helped found about 12 monasteries.

When I was growing up in South Wales, there was always a holiday atmosphere on March 1st with a half day off school. We tried to find traditional Welsh costumes with the tall black hats and woolly shawls and some, with the aid of crepe paper, came dressed as daffodils. And of course, not to be outdone by the Scots with their Burns’ night haggis, we feasted on leeks and other delicacies!

Away from memories and back to the here and now in East Anglia, we are almost through our second week of Lent. I hope that you are able to find the opportunity to use this time to reflect on your Christian journey, as I have previously suggested, in any way that is right for you. As we slowly come out of “lockdown” there will be much to think about as we get used to being together again, but also things that we would like to develop in the future. This is a golden opportunity to make changes, to leave behind those things that we have not been so happy with, and to take some risks.

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 28th February, Second Sunday of Lent

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

Collect: Almighty God, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth, that they may return to the way of righteousness: grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion, that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

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

Sunday 7th March, Third Sunday of Lent

Readings: Exodus 20 v 1-17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1 v 18-25, John 2 v 13-22

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

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Revd John Davis, Archbishop of Wales, in Brecon Cathedral

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

11.15am BBC1 - Lent Worship, St Martin’s Church, Maidstone

*1.15pm BBC2 - Songs of Praise with Sean Fletcher explores Tintern Abbey in Monmouthshire

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, a service for Ash Wednesday from the chapel of King’s College, London (2013)

* change of channels, football again!

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 21st February

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 21st February, First Sunday of Lent

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

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

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

Sunday 28th February, Second Sunday of Lent

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

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

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Fr Dermot Preston

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

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

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

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

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 14th February

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 14th February

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

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

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

Wednesday 17th February, Ash Wednesday

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

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

Sunday 21st February

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

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

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Revd Richard Littledale

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

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

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

Lent

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

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

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

Colin

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 7th February

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week, and my love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 7th February

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

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

10.30-11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Sunday 14th February

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

10.30-11.30am St James Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 31st January

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 31st January

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

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

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

Sunday 7th February

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

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

Broadcasted religious programs Sunday 31st

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship with Revd Stephen Forde

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

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

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

Lent

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

 

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 24th January

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

My love to you all

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service and reflection are here

Sunday 24th January

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

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

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

Tuesday 26th January

16.00 Benefice Team Zoom meeting

Sunday 31st January

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

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

Broadcasted religious programs this coming Sunday

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

10.30am BBC1 - The Big Questions

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

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

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

 

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 17th January

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

My love to you all

Christina

From Bishop Graham James (12th January 2021)

To the Licensed Clergy and Churchwardens of the Diocese of Norwich

Dear Colleagues,

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

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

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

Notices

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service reflection and prayers are here

Sunday 17th January

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

Collect

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

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

Sunday 24th January

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

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

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

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

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

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

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

Parish Magazines

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

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

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

 

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 10th January

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

My love to you

Christina

Sunday Service

The Shellrock Sunday Service reflection and prayers are here

Sunday 10th January

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

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

10.30am St James Great Ellingham - Morning Service

Sunday 17th January

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

10.30am St James Great Ellingham - Morning Service

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

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

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

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

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Ely Cathedral

* moved to accommodate football!!

Diocesan News

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

Join us online for Bishop Jonathan's leaving service

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

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

https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org

 

 

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Happy Christmas from the Ramblings editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wish you all a very Happy and safe Christmas.

Colin

The ‘Star of Bethlehem’?

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

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

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 20th December

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

My Love to you all,

Christina

Sunday 20th December

Readings: 9 lessons

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

Tuesday 22nd December

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

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

Wednesday 23rd December

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

Thursday 24th December

6.00pm Christmas Eve Holy Communion - St James Great Ellingham

Friday 25th December

10.30am Christmas Day Holy Communion - Shropham

Sunday 27th December, First Sunday of Christmas

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

10.30am St Peter, Little Ellingham - Morning Service

Sunday 3rd January

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

10.30am Rockland St Peter - Morning Service

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

Broadcasted religious programs over this Christmas period

Sunday 20th

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

11.00am BBC1 - A service from Winchester Cathedral

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

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Hereford Cathedral

Christmas Eve

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

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

Christmas Day

8.00am Radio2 - Good Morning Christmas with Revd Kate Bottley

9.00am Radio4 - A Christmas service

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

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

Sunday 27th

8.10am Radio4 - Sunday worship with the Archbishop of Canterbury

9.10am BBC1 - A service from Llandaff Cathedral

1.20pm BBC1 - Songs of praise with Mica Paris

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

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

 

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 13th December

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

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

10.30am Rockland All Saints - Morning Service

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

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

Sunday 20th December
Readings: 9 lessons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very many thanks for your support.

Kathryn

 

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Shellrock Benefice Facebook

Attention – Facebook users

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

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

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

Yours in anticipation,

 Sue

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 6th December

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A hymn for shelter

Each year we sing with bated Christmas voice,

As if events in Bethlehem were nice;

When men from house to house had shut the door,

And Mary in a shed her baby bore.

 

Forgive us, Lord that things are just the same,

That Christ is homeless under another name;

Still holy families to cities come,

Where life is sick and sore in crowded slum.

 

Lord, make it clear that joy will be denied,

Unless the door into our life stands wide;

That even with our tables richly spread,

Our house of life is short of living bread.

 

Give us, O Father, restlessness of soul,

Till right is done and life is healed and whole;

Keep us impatient till the time has come,

When all your children are on earth at home.

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 6th December

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

10.30am Rockland St Peter - Morning Service

Tuesday 8th December

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

Thursday 10th December

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

Sunday 13th December

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

10.30am Rockland All Saints - Morning Service

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship

10.30am BBC1 - A Very Country Christmas – Advent preparations

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

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

 

 

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Christingle service - cancelled

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

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 29th November

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In your name we pray. Amen

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 29th November

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

10.00am to 11.00am  Shropham                               Private Prayer

Daily                           St James, Great Ellingham     Private Prayer

Tuesday 1st December

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

Thursday 3rd December

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

Sunday 6th December, Second Sunday of Advent

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

10.30am                   Rockland St Peter               Morning Service

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

 8.10am          Radio 4            Sunday Worship

10.30am          BBC1               Sunday Worship for Advent from Brecon Cathedral

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

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

COVID-19 rules

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

Shellrock Benefice Facebook

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

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 22nd November

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

My love to you all

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 22nd November

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

10.00am-11.00am Rockland  St Peter - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Tuesday 24th November

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

Sunday 29th November

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

10.00am-11.00am Shropham - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

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

1.15pm BBC1 - Songs of Praise, with Katherine Jenkins

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Chichester Cathedral

 

 

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Shellrock Ramblings - 15th November

My Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

My love to you

Christina

Shellrock Worship

Sunday 15th November

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

10-11.00am Rockland All Saints - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Tuesday 17th November

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

Thursday 19th November

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

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

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

10-11am Rockland  St Peter - Private Prayer

Daily St James, Great Ellingham - Private Prayer

Broadcasted religious programs this Sunday

8.10am Radio 4 - Sunday Worship,

10.30am BBC1 - Sunday Morning live

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

3.00pm Radio 3 - Choral Evensong, from Ely Cathedral

Foodbank

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

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

 

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