Here is a letter sent out by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, to all parishioners:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ
Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. We begin again the annual cycle of hearing and praying the story of Salvation in the birth and ministry, passion and death, resurrection and ascension, of Jesus Christ.
Our Christian pilgrimage is a journey into the life and company of Jesus. I invite you to seek to live out our diocesan vision to be “Transformed by Christ”.
To be Transformed by Christ inspires us to be Prayerful, Pastoral and Prophetic. All three ‘P’s’ are powerful words, full of promise and potential, and they will help us navigate the route along our journey of holy transformation.
Will you come with me on this journey? It is not another programme, not another project, not another ‘thing’ to do. In fact, much more than more ‘do-ing’, I see this as a gift to ‘be’ more, to inhabit more fully and completely our lives as baptised children of God.
Our new Vision is simply inviting us to build on what we, as disciples of Christ, are already doing – being open to God through prayer, being open to the needs of those around us through pastoral care and being open to issues of justice near and far through finding our prophetic voice.
With the beginning of Advent, we will be focusing during the course of this next year on the first of those ‘P’ words – Prayerful. We could not begin with anything better, for everything flows from prayer. Advent’s weeks of watching and waiting are such good ones in which to begin deepening our prayer.
At a time when we can often feel overloaded, and there is a pandemic ‘scratchiness’ around, how good it is to remember that the most important - yet simplest - thing we can do to prepare for the transformation brought by the Christ-child is to let prayer ready our hearts for his arrival.
But our journeying together towards living more prayerfully goes on long after Advent. Our churches already have many wonderful resources at our disposal to help us to pray but some new ones – specifically for us in this diocese – have been produced to help us in the weeks and months ahead.
There’s a poem … a new hymn … some notes for preachers … and various prayers and suggestions for how they might be used. All can be found on the diocesan website. In addition, do sign up for this year’s digital Advent Calendar: each of the ‘windows’ will reveal a different person from across this diocese, sharing with us the particular ways of praying. A wonderful opportunity to be inspired daily an incredibly rich variety of prayed-in lives.
I see this year’s journey into deeper prayerfulness as a great gift. It is a gift offered to each one of us, to each congregation and to the diocese at large. An invitation to journey with me and each other into the mystery of God. As Bishop Jane, Bishop Alan and I travel around the diocese during this next year, we will be keen to hear from you what you are discovering about prayer. And to learn from you.
Every blessing as you travel through Advent and open this gift in the coming weeks.
Please see the diary page for upcoming events at Shropham.
Rockland St Peter
November has been very busy for St. Peter's with some really memorable events.
On 30th October we had Pudsey Lunch in aid of Children in Need which was a huge success. It was wonderful to see the children in church doing activities, and adults enjoying cake and bacon rolls. People were very generous even to the point of one little girl who donated her £1.50 pocket money. We raised a total of £300 on the day.
The Winter Market on 6th November was another success. There was a lovely atmosphere in the hall despite the chilly air temperature. This was a perfect opportunity for villagers to get together and shop. The traders all remarked on how much they enjoyed being part of our winter market and working with our local community.
We have to say a massive thank you to Chris Riddell for his 'talk and draw' on 20th November and also for his on-line draw that raised much needed funds for St. Peter's.
On the 18th December we have a Nine Lessons and Carols service at 4pm. We are proud to say that the Wymondham Choristers will be there to sing for us.
On the 17th December Rocklands School will have their Carol Service at 2pm.
Santa's Grand Tour will also be on the 17th December; the tour will be around the villages of Little Ellingham and Rocklands finishing at The White Hart.
On Christmas Eve at 3pm is the Light of the World service aimed especially at Rocklands children. The stable will be in church from 1st December, please come and have a look.
Happy New Year.
On the 2nd January will be our first Family Service of 2022.
Rockland All Saints
It has been a busy month with various things going on and when you read this, December will be here and the ‘silly season’ will be well and truly upon us! The Advent Lunch and Advent Carol service will be over and the Church Year will have started again!
On December 5th at 10.30, the service will be at All Saints and we will be remembering and celebrating the lives of all those we have lost since the beginning of the pandemic, including one of our PCC, Laura Thompson, who sadly passed away so recently on 11th November at home.
The wonderful Christingle service (see poster) is being held on December 12th. The children come at 2.30 and make their Christingles in the Victorian schoolroom and the actual service begins at 3pm. It is a short, lively informal service, with the highlight being the children holding their lit Christingle candles in the semi darkness singing ‘Away in a manger’. The Benefice Music Group leads the singing, with Colin and Kathryn playing guitar and flute……we finish off by eating Nativity biscuits! If you plan to bring a child, I’d be grateful if you could please let me know beforehand so we can make sure we have enough oranges! (email@example.com) All monies raised will go to The Children’s Society as usual.
The other service at All Saints in December is the traditional ‘Midnight Mass’ held at the more civilised hour of 10pm on Christmas Eve. This is a candlelit service and all are most welcome to attend. It humbles me every year to think that Rocklanders have been attending a service on Christmas Eve in All Saints for hundreds of years and very little has changed in that time in the church, even though the world outside and our lifestyles are so very different!
Please make the effort to join us…I am sure you won’t regret it!
We wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and happy 2022 from all at All Saints Church. Look after yourselves and stay safe.
St Peter, Little Ellingham
It gives me great pleasure to report that the doors to our recently installed units now been fitted. They were removed several months ago to facilitate the repairs required including a change of hinges. Also the notice board is scheduled to be secured to the wall. All together the West end of the church will look very much better. Thank you to Peter Griffiths for his persistence in getting this work carried out, and in time for Christmas too.
On the subject of Christmas, we shall be holding our Carol Service on Sunday 19th December which will be accompanied with the usual refreshments of drinks and mince pies after the service. Everyone is invited. At least this year we shall have it indoors where it will be dry and relatively warm.
Sadly, we have been informed of the death of Ann Nash. Ann was a long-time resident of Anchor Corner, Little Ellingham and has always supported our church. A fall in July resulted in Ann being hospitalised from where she failed to recover sufficiently to return home. Covid rules meant only her husband Robin was allowed to visit. Her funeral is scheduled for 1pm on Friday 10th December at Breckland Crematorium. We send our sincere condolences to husband Robin and family, and to her many friends.
St James, Great Ellingham
We’ve just held our first event for almost two year – a Christmas Shopping Evening. Thank you to everyone who attended; it was great to see the church full of people buying their gifts and meeting people. It raised almost £485. (That covers a quarter of our annual insurance renewal or a third of our gas bill.) There were some super crafts available and the stallholders enjoyed themselves too. Our raffle prizes were donated – special mentions go to Tony Perkins Butchers, Norfolk Veg Box, Rachel Ray Reflexology. Thanks to all who helped in some way, particularly Abby, Pat & Beryl, Charles & Iain, Christine, Nancy.
Another Thank You is for Nancy who makes a variety of jams and donates all the money to church funds. Take a walk along church street to the white house (Attleborough Rd end) and you might be lucky enough to find a jar or two available for sale. They are tasty!
Remembrance Sunday was well attended. Warming refreshments were enjoyed by all after the service with homemade pumpkin soup by Charles (thank you to Richard at Rookery Meadows for the pumpkins). Another beautiful banner representing the sections of Great Ellingham (St James’) scout group was presented at the service, made by Christine Fuller.
Carols around the tree is back! It will be on Tuesday 21st December at 6.30pm. This year it will feature members of the Great Ellingham school choir and the Village Singers, alongside traditional carols for everyone to enjoy. Mince pies, mulled wine and other assorted goodies will be available.
There won’t be a café service on the 12th December as the music group will instead be playing at the Christingle service at Rockland All Saints. Traditional midnight mass will be held at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve. Is it too early to wish you all a very Happy Christmas?!
Keep an eye on the service sheet in the porch or notice board for our services. Changes and additions are likely during the festive period. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Donations received at the church (there is a green lidded box in the church) and the village shops are now split between Norwich and Thetford Foodbank. Most wanted items on the list include: tinned tomatoes, tinned rice pudding, tinned fruit, UHT/long life milk, long life juice & tinned fish. They are well stocked with pasta! If you are making extra donations for Christmas, please do this as early in the month as possible so we can get them to the distribution centres.
If you are in need of a referral, contact Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8848. Please don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. For donation queries, contact Kathryn 456525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is the Certificate of Appreciation sent from the Norwich Foodbank thanking us for delivering to them 3,044 Kg of food which is estimated to supply 358 people with enough provisions for three days. It is sad that this service is even necessary but your generosity makes it possible.
See also the item on the Salvation Army’s Toys and Tins Appeal
Salvation Army Toys and Tins Appeal
Every year, the Salvation Army collect new toys to be made into parcels for families referred to them and in need of help. If you are interested in supplying anything, then I'm happy to collate and drop off. The earlier they arrive, the sooner they can be sorted, boxed and distributed - however, anything that arrives too late is kept ready for the following year. Financial gifts through their Just Giving pages are welcomed, or you can buy gifts direct for delivery via their Amazon wish list.
Amazon Gift List
Please contact Kathryn on 456525 or email@example.com
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