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Broome Church 2


For further details click: St. Mary’s Church

Rev’d Chris Hutton (Rector)
Tel: 01986 895423 ~ email: chrishutton@hotmail.com

The Church Office, School Road, Earsham NR35 2TF
Mon, Wed & Fri 10am ~ 2.00pm
Tel: 01986 894494            e-mail:  office@earshambenefice.org.uk


January Church


Church Thoughts – December 2019

What would Christmas be without Christmas trees, or Christmas dinner, or Christmas carols, or most recently, the Christmas jumper?
The Christmas jumper has given us the opportunity to wear clothes we would never normally be seen in. What other time of year would we wear an elf’s hat or a light up jumper? Christmas jumpers range from the tasteful to the tasteless. Now, I must admit I have been getting into the Christmas jumper spirit over the last couple of years as the range of them has increased. Christmas jumpers can now say something about who you are and what you like. My current favourite is my Chewie from Star Wars Christmas jumper declaring clearly that I like Star Wars and am looking forward to the latest film coming out a few days before Christmas. (Why do all the best films come out just before Christmas when they know I am busy!)
This got me thinking about my Christians faith and what that might look like on a Christmas jumper? If Christmas jumpers now say something about who you are or what you like, what would that look like as a Christian Christmas jumper and would I be brave enough to wear it? Maybe it would say ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ or ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ or a nativity scene?
At Christmas it can be all too easy to become swept up in all the extra stuff, and forget why we have Christmas, because Jesus really is the reason for this season. Without this wonderful celebration of his birth we would not have CHRISTmas. We would have no reason for our tasteful and tasteless Christmas jumpers. If you want to be reminded more during this very busy season about the reason for it, why not come along to one of our many services and celebrate CHRISTmas.

The Christingle Services are on:

  • Sunday 1st December 3:30pm at Broome Village Hall.
  • Wednesday 4th December 6pm at Ditchingham Church.
  • The Candlelit Carol Services are on Sunday 15th December at 5pm in Hedenham Church, Sunday 22nd  December at 6pm in Ditchingham Church, and Sunday 22nd December at 7:30pm in Broome Church.
  • Christmas Eve Communion is 11:30pm at Hedenham Church
  • Christmas Day services at 10am in Broome and Ditchingham Churches.



We have the opportunity to make our voice heard. We pray: “Father; Jesus said: ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another’ (John 13, V 34). He also prayed: ‘I ask on behalf of those who will believe in me, that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you, May they be one in us’ (John 17 v20, 21).

We keep hearing: ’We must work together’. Lord help us to hear your voice, to trust, obey and move forward in harmony, peace and love, with justice and unity of purpose, in Jesus name”


Church Thoughts – November 2019

Ah, Ohhhhhhhh, look at that one, bang, whizz and crackle! The sounds of November, the sounds of fireworks, the sounds of lights flashing in our cold November skies, the sounds of fireworks!

Fireworks night will soon be upon us. Once upon a time huge fires would be lit, started from blazing tar barrels that were rolled up and down the streets.  Gunpowder was let off to explode. Councils today would have a fit! In fact, it was very dangerous to be out on the streets that night. And many houses were burned as a consequence of this wild night. Fortunately, regulations came into force forbidding the burning of tar barrels on the streets and so the practice started of having much smaller bonfires in one’s own garden, which grew into the communal bonfires of today.

Fireworks night is an odd celebration every year about a plot to over throw the government of the time. The reason however we love it is not just the sense of danger that you got as a child – the one and only night that you were allowed to play with fire- but that reminder of light on a dark November night.

The idea of light and dark are very important symbols in our culture (think Star Wars, Harry Potter etc) but to the Christian they take on extra meaning. In the bible light and dark are mentioned 277 times!

In the book of John it says: ‘Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  This verse is referring to Jesus as the light of the world. God sent his Son to light up our world, to bring it out of darkness into light. God gave Jesus a job, to shine a light in people’s lives, to help people live his way, to make choices to love others and not just themselves. For Christians Jesus is the shining example for others, using his light to shine a way through life.

Another common illustration of Jesus and light is that he can be like a torch in the dark, shining a path, helping us through the twist and turns of life. Life always throws up twist and turns and during these darker months they can often feel more oppressive and scary. So I urge you, if you feel like you need some light in your life, come join us one Sunday and see if you can see the light of Jesus in our lives.

Revd Chris Hutton (Rector)

This year, our All Souls service will take place on Sunday 3rd November at 3pm at Earsham Church.  This is a time when you can come to church to remember departed loved ones, whether they have passed away recently or several years ago.  The gentle service will last about 40 minutes and there will be the opportunity to light candles in memory of your loved ones. Afterwards, refreshments will be served and people will be around for a chat, if you would like to stay.

Our Remembrance Sunday service will take place at 10:50am on 10th November at Broome Church where we will read out the names of those who lost their lives during the wars from the villages of Broome, Ditchingham and Hedenham. A short act of remembrance will take place at Ditchingham church after the Broome service. There will also be a contemporary remembrance service in Ditchingham School, 10am for breakfast followed by the service at 10:30am.



We need to continue praying for our country. Let’s bring this country to the foot of the cross, where the victory of the Love of Jesus gloriously overcame people’s hatred. We kneel in repentance before our All-Holy, Mighty, All-Powerful God, yet whose heart is filled with unbelievable, indescribable love. We ask the grace of the Holy Spirit to overcome the insidious evil permeating our society, that the light of Christ in us shines in the darkness of the hatred around us. May this country be renewed in Spirit, in love, in the name of our saviour Jesus Christ.

“Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us”


Church Thoughts – October 2019

Did you have any childhood heroes?

It could be the kind that wears a mask or a cape or swings from a spider’s web or leaps from tall building to tall building in a single bound. Maybe however it’s the more normal down to earth kind. Someone who you admire because of some character trait or other. Someone you look up to. It might be a teacher you had who made a genuine difference to your world view. It might be a family friend who was always there. It could be someone more famous such as an activist or religious figure. It could even be a politician!

It’s quite easy to romanticise our heroes. Possible character flaws become endearing foibles. Unpleasant incidents get glossed over or rewritten or ignored completely. Our heroes cease being human and become more mythical. All they need is a trip to the Superhero Superstore to pick up their mask and cape, and they can join the pantheon of other great, Superman, Batman, Mrs Smith – your Year 3 teacher.

The reality is that behind every superhero is a flawed being. Mild mannered mis-fit Clark Kent is Superman. The multi-millionaire out to avenge his parent’s death Bruce Wayne is Batman. Mrs Smith the year 3 teacher had a husband she probably shouted at, children who undoubtedly got on her nerves, and a habit of occasionally leaving the dinner in the oven too long! Even superheroes must sometimes burn the lasagne.

Which just makes the character of Jesus even more remarkable, That much loved carol Away in a Manger gets it all wrong with the line ‘the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes’. ‘The infant Jesus undoubtedly cried, undoubtedly burped, probably threw up the odd bit of milk every now and then, and will without question have filled his first century nappy. Jesus was fully human but being God he is without error.

As we read the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, here is the hero who lived a perfect life. His choices were godly choices. He shows the way for us to live in the way that he lived. This man is the only man who can live up to the term ‘superhero’. No mask or cape required!

Revd   Chris  Hutton    (Rector)

This year, our All Souls service will take place on Sunday 3rd November at 3pm at Earsham Church. This is a time when you can come to church to remember departed loved ones, whether they have passed away recently or several years ago. The gentle service will last about 40 minutes and there will be the opportunity to light candles in memory of your loved ones. Afterwards, refreshments will be served and people will be around for a chat, if you would like to stay.

Our Remembrance Sunday service will take place at 10:50am on 10th November at Broome Church where we will read out the names of those who lost their lives during the wars from the villages of Broome, Ditchingham and Hedenham. There will also be a contemporary Remembrance service at Ditchingham School at 10am.


Again we pray for our country “Our Father in heaven, we praise your holy name. Thank you for your love that surrounds us everywhere through the grace of Jesus Christ, and for all who are discovering his peace and love. In Jesus’ name we pray against the divisions and chaos that prevail, against the underlying ever-present evil. ‘Now, Lord, look at these threats, and grant to us your servants, to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus’ (Acts 4 v 29,30). Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer”


August 2019

Grow with attitude

We will be celebrating Harvest Festivals in our benefice churches over these next months. (All welcome on 22nd September at Broome Church at 9:30am or Ditchingham church at 11am, or 6th October at Hedenham Church at 6pm). Harvest is a time of thanksgiving to God for all His provision for us. It is good to cultivate a grateful heart, and studies have shown that people who practise thankfulness tend to have a more positive outlook on life, be more optimistic about the future, and are generally healthier than those who do a lot of grumbling and complaining.

On one occasion Jesus met a group of ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). They called out to Him in a loud voice, asking for Him to have pity of them, which He did. He sent them to the priest, and on the way they were healed. However, only one of them returned to give thanks to Jesus. He threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him, giving praise to God in a loud voice.

It occurs to me that most of us make a loud noise when we are in need of help, but we are much quieter about giving thanks. We are not inhibited when making our needs known to God, but how many of us make a point of giving Him thanks when we have received His help? Do we sing His praises loudly? Do we give clear testimony to what God has done?

Why not try and cultivate the discipline of gratitude in your life this autumn? Make it a rule to thank anyone who helps you in some way, or who encourages you. Let them know you appreciate them. Review each day before you sleep, reminding yourself of every good thing that happened, and offering your thoughts to God as a prayer. Keep a gratitude diary.

Rather than focus of what you don’t have, or what has gone wrong, train your mind to focus on what you do have, and what has gone right. You will be surprised at the difference it can make.


Revd Chris Hutton (Rector)



We need to pray for our country

“Almighty God, you created all things and ‘they were very good’. Now they are not. Forgive our self centeredness, greed, anger, hatred, violence. We pray for a change of heart. A change of attitude, to work together in peace, harmony and trust. Help us build brotherly love and compassion in Jesus name – in parliament, in the public services, in business, in daily life on the streets, that chaos will be overcome”

“Lord have mercy on our land, revive your church, send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the children. May your kingdom come to our country in Jesus’ mighty name” (The Caleb Prayer)

Church Thoughts – July 2019

This term in our local primary schools ‘the value for life’ is thankfulness.

So often in the church we only cover this subject during the season of Harvest but we have so much to be thankful for all year round. When something significant happens such as when we receive a bonus at work, or a clean biopsy report, or there is an unexpected break in the weather and the sun comes out, it is easy to be thankful. It comes naturally to us.

And it is even easier when the church gives us an opportunity to give thanks. On the 14th July we have a chance to be thankful for our pets. To give thanks for all the blessings we receive from them out our annual Pet Service. Do join us in Ditchingham School at 10am on Sunday 14th July for our Pet Service.

But how often do we forget to be thankful about the little things that we have each day? St Paul encourages the church in Thessalonica to Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5). How often do we rejoice and give thanks in all circumstances for the myriad of good things that happen each day that make us happy, and that we can be thankful for?

So often we can forget the small word that Paul places before circumstances in the letter to the Thessalonians – that little word is all. When we have that illness and we don’t seem to be getting over it, when the kids are being a pain again, when the credit card bill lands with a thud through the door, when life pressure start to grow, we don’t feel like being thankful. When the grass is clearly greener on the other side.

It is at this point where we have to stop. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to pray and in praying to give thanks. Paul is adamant that in all circumstances there is something to give thank for. Even if it is just to give thanks that God loves and cares for each one of us.

So before you turn over the page and read the latest update from the parish council, why not take a moment to pause and remember all that you have to be thankful for in all circumstances.

Revd Chris Hutton (Rector)




Praying is not one of the many things the Christian Community does. It is it’s very essence.

“Help us remember that prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. We pray for a sense of the divine presence. Holy Father we tune into your presence. You answer prayer. You either change things or change us in accordance with your will. We come in reverence and awe before an Almighty Holy God. We draw near to a heart that is filled with indescribable love. We pray this summer for our village life, our hospital, our country, our own selves. Bring us back to where you want us to be. Your will be done in Jesus’ name.”

June 2019

Spring is coming!  Isn’t it lovely to see the sunshine?  I realise that there is a risk in writing this, as by the time it goes to print there may be a monsoon or even a snow storm (it will be only June after all).  You never know with the British weather.

But as I write the sun is shining and all is well with the world.  (Well, as long as I don’t turn on the news or look at social media – is Brexit happening?  Is the PM still the PM?  No, no, I am not going there….)

Paul writes in the book of Philippians (chapter 4, verses 8-9):

‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.’

Or, as the Message version puts it:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.  Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realised.  Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.’

In times when there is turmoil and unrest (I am not mentioning the ‘B word’) it is good to remember that spring always comes and that when it is difficult we need to think about things that are ‘true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious’. So often we focus on the negative, but actually there are good things all around us, whether the flowers growing in the garden or kind words from a stranger, which remind us to focus on the good and the true.

What is your story of a stranger helping you out?  Or have you been the kind stranger to someone else?  In times when there is so much negative news, it’s good to remember that small acts of kindness change people’s day or even their lives. So as we wonder about our iced up world let’s fix our eyes on the good things we see, and try and be a blessing to all those around us that we might be part of God’s ‘excellent harmonies’.



The Acts of the Apostles portrays the church powerfully alive with the Holy Spirit (e.g. Acts 4). Much of our 21st Century church seems very different, lacking that vitality.

“Lord Jesus, where we miss out or fall short Spiritually we repent. Forgive us. Revive us, dear Lord, and bring us back to where you want us to be. Prayer is the golden key that opens heaven. We pray: Open heaven and again our hearts in expectation. Enliven us afresh, our churches and communities, the spirit and the bride say ‘come’. Let everyone who hears say ‘come’ (Revelation22). May ‘thy kingdom ‘come’.

We continue to pray for revival of all Hallows Hospital.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

May 2019

As a man I am not that keen on shopping, especially when it comes to clothes shopping. However when I go I generally buy roughly the same as I bought before, and usually in blue. When I go with my wife she likes to try on different styles and I am always amazed at all the different styles of cloths that there are to choose from. When choosing a skirt you can have A-line, mermaid, tiered, pencil, mini, maxi, bustle, pleated, wrap, sarong, flared, gathered, high waist, low waist and the choice just goes on. So many different styles to meet different tastes.

As a Benefice we are very aware that we need to put on a range of different styles of church service for different people. No two people are the same and therefore no two people like exactly the same thing.

This means that if you are the sort of person who enjoys the 1662 Prayer Book then Broome Church on the fourth Sunday at 9:30am or 6pm Evensong at Hedenham Church on the 1st Sunday are the services you should head for. If you enjoy a traditional service in modern language then head for the usual 9:30am or 11am services at Broome or Ditchingham.

The majority of our services across the Benefice are traditional in nature, and everyone of any age will receive a warm welcome at them, we understand that some people might prefer a different service.

On the Second Sunday of every month we have a service in Ditchingham School at 10am. This has recently been renamed to be called ‘St Mary’s in the School’ and we have revamped how we do the service. We meet in the schools as it’s a space where we can do things a bit different not constrained by pews and hopefully it’s easer for people to get to and come into, and easier for those with children. We meet around tables and start with breakfast (bacon butties or toast) and coffee/tea. There is a chance to read newspapers, chat to your neighbours or join in the crafts that both adults and children usually get very involved in. After we have finished we have a short service with a small music group and Sunday School for the children. Everything should be finished by 11am. People of all ages come from those in there 90’s to toddlers in there 2’s.

If you are interested in finding out more about Jesus and what Christians really believe, then you are very welcome to any of our services but do also consider checking us out at Ditchingham School on the 2nd Sunday of the month.



Easter – Resurrection

A week after Easter Thomas met the risen Jesus, and believed. Apparently more people are persuaded to accept Christ by a sense of God’s presence, than by all our apologetics combined. Jesus prayed that his disciples “know you, the only true God, and Jesus who you sent”.

” Heavenly Father may we know you and the risen Jesus. Many have witnessed your tangible presence after intense prayer. Help our prayers to be deep, passionate, believing prayers in our congregations and alone. We pray for resurrection, a fresh experience of your presence in our lives. Risen Jesus, walk with us on the road. Thy Kingdom Come”.

From the Rectory – April 2019

Dear Friends,

April is the month of Easter. Now for many people Easter is all about chocolate eggs, bunnies and a few days off. Even for many of us in church it is easy to miss out on its importance, however, for Christians Easter Day should be the most important day of the year (much more significant than Christmas). It is a day of joy and excitement, of overwhelming gratitude and celebration. However, to understand its importance we shouldn’t just leap to Easter Sunday. We have to first journey through the previous week and Good Friday so this year I want to encourage you this year to journey through the whole story of Jesus’ last week.

It starts with Palm Sunday – Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  In church that morning we tell the story of the crowds shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’. Everyone in the city is celebrating Jesus coming into Jerusalem. Finally, the people were recognising who Jesus was – this was it!   

Monday – Wednesday – Jesus teaches the crowds and turn over the money changers tables at the temple. Jesus teachers what it really means to follow God. This upsets some of the important people around at the time.

Maundy Thursday – Jesus organises a meal with his best mates. He says some really strange stuff about the fact that he is going to die. He breaks bread and shares wine calling it his body and his blood. He washes their feet. I am sure there was laughter and joy, silly jokes and teasing – like there is when friends eat together. And then the night changes – Jesus goes for a walk… the disciples sleep… Jesus prayers… soldiers come.

Good Friday – If Easter Day is one of best days of the year, then this is by far one of the most difficult because today we remember what Jesus went through – the pain, the suffering, the loneliness, the agony.  We hear the cry of the crowds change to ‘Crucify him’.  We remember that he chose that day to suffer for us – and it was a choice.  Way back after his baptism Satan tempted Jesus to choose a different path – not the path of the cross – but Jesus refused.  Jesus chose to be there – for me and for you. This day is solemn and holy and sad, but Sunday only makes sense if we have lived through the agony of Good Friday. Do join us for some or all of our Good Friday Pilgrimage around our Benefice as we hear the readings from that day.

Holy Saturday – The waiting day.  Nothing feels quite right.  Nothing is concluded.  We wait.

Easter Day – We celebrate! Forget chocolate and bunnies – the joy as we experience the revelation of Jesus’ resurrection is incredible!  The stories come in from all sides…  The first evangelist, Mary, telling the disciples, ‘He’s alive!’  Peter and john finding the empty tomb.  Cleopas and his friend rushing back to tell of an encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus.  It’s true, he’s risen, everything has changed! 2000+ years later we are still celebrating this and living life filled with joy because of this fact.  Today is the day that we rejoice and shout with intensity and overwhelming excitement:


This year, join the journey.


In Lent we journey to Calvary to the cross.

“Jesus, I may not have been at the cross, but I was certainly represented there – represented by people who were involved in your death. All sin includes our attitudes (as well as actions) such as prejudice, self-centeredness and indifference – all in evidence at the cross, so all of us are sinners. I was represented at Calvary, just as if my own hands had hammered in the nails. But now I’m forgiven, redeemed, restored and reconciled by your sacrificial love. Breathe on the embers of my faith, so that our of the ashes comes a new and living flames, a resurrection of your very presence in me”.

Church Thoughts – March 2019

At the moment the news is full of difficult issues around the ever-present Brexit debate. The Brexit deal vote has gone to Parliament and Theresa May’s deal was rejected overwhelmingly and as I write we are still heading for a no-deal at the end of the month. People are divided on what the answer is; anger at those we disagree with seems all too prevalent in society, and people are asking themselves: What does the future hold for us? What this country coming to?  Where is our hope?  Where is our peace?

On social media recently, (or my social media – it  might indicate what sort of things I ‘like’ or ‘follow’) a prayer taken from the Church of England’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer which was read before the Brexit debate was being posted widely:

Most gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for this Kingdom in general, so especially for the High Court of Parliament, under our most religious and gracious Queen at this time assembled: That thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy Church, the safety, honour and welfare of our Sovereign, and her Dominions; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety may be established among us for all generations.  These and all other necessaries, for them, for us and thy whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and Mediation of Jesus Christ our most blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

I don’t know what is going to happen in the next few months in our country. I don’t know if you are a Brexiteer or a Remainer or a ‘I have given up caring-er’.  This is not an article to influence you either way, but merely to remind us all that in difficult times we can cling on to the hope we have in Jesus. In these times of uncertainty, ‘peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety…for all generations’ as the prayer says might seem a long way away, and all around us people are worried and concerned.

At times like these we, as individuals and as a country, have to remember to put our hope in Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  I know this isn’t easy, but somehow we have to turn our face away from the scaremongering and towards Jesus.  He is ‘the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End’, and the one whom we can trust in even the darkest times. And no matter where in the debate you fall we can all be praying for God’s will to be done and for his peace and reconciliation in a divided nation.



God is a God of love, and His purpose for us is to make it holy.

“Heavenly Father, pour out the grace of the Holy Spirit, increase our holiness. Help us choose your standards, not the world’s, obeying your commandments out of choice, to love you and our neighbour. With lives centred on Jesus, may our love overflow in worship of him and compassionate care for each other.

God, please flood your church (ministers and us all) with light. We are in desperate need of deeper emphasis on holy living. Help us, Father, in this our witness to Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Please, God bless us all.


Where do you find your local church? You might think it’s the old building up the hill. You might think it’s the place where you find the Rector droning on and on, on a Sunday morning.  However, I can assure you that it is not where you find the church.

The real Church is the people in your community. Whether they work in a bank, a school, a shop, take care of children at home, keep an eye on neighbours, care for elderly relatives, or volunteer in the community. Every member of church is called to serve God as circumstances and abilities allow. Every member is a witness of Jesus Christ working in this world. The church is not a building. The church is the people of God. That means those who are paid (me), the ordained, the ministry team and the lay members (those who fill up the pews).

The church meets for worship a few hours each week, usually in the old building up the hill. Our weekly worship gives us an opportunity to come together. It enables us to praise God in song and prayer. It helps us seek guidance from God regarding how we are to serve in the coming week. It nourishes us for what we are called to do through Holy Communion.

But what is the church doing the rest of the week? It will be in our jobs, in our communities, in our families. Most of the time, the church is dispersed. That is the Christian calling, the Christian mission. Many of them won’t be used to thinking of themselves as ministers of Jesus Christ. However, every member of the church is ministering, being led by Christ to work and serve in the world. Some people are better at sharing the gospel in words; some people are better at sharing it through their works. Just like those first disciples they will be a mixed bag – the disciples quite often misunderstood and got it wrong, they fell out with each other and jostled for position, and so will the modern day church. However, wherever you go in our communities you will find people being church, often unnoticed, often unsung. But it is what God calls us to be, and how God calls us all to minister in this part of his world.

Revd Chris Hutton (Rector)



In these uncertain times let us pray for our country.

“Father God we pray for harmony in our families, and in ourselves individually. We pray for a generous attitude in our communities, our villages, among friends and acquaintances. We pray for reconciliation between M.P’s in parliament, that they work together for the good of all, that negotiations reflect people’s view not political bias. We pray for our country, that the way forward will not be fraught with danger, be without racialism; that public services function, especially police, N.H.S.; that we may live in peace.

Lord we pray for the seemingly impossible. Have mercy on us and hear our prayer


Church Thoughts – December 2018

Now we are in December we are starting to think all about Christmas. This month I want to use some chocolate to talk about the real meaning of Christmas. I should warn you that some of this is slightly tenuous with a bit of artistic licence, and some really bad puns!

In the beginning, God created the Galaxies. But people decided to break away from God. And it all became rocky. God promised that he would send a Saviour, who would put the world right. Eventually, an angel appeared to a girl named Mary, and she was terrified. The angel thought it might-eas-‘er distress if he said to her, “Do not be afraid”. Mary felt very unworthy, but she was God’s selection to be the mother of his son and although she was in a bit of a Twirl, Mary humbly put her trust in God. Mary was promised in marriage to Joseph. The baby was all kin’er a surprise to him so he planned to divorce Mary quietly, but an angel appeared to him in a dream to tell him that this was all God’s doing. His son would save the people from their sins.

The Roman Emperor, Ceaser Augustus, d-éclair-ed that everyone had to go back to their home town to be taxed. So Mary and Joseph had to make the journey betwixt Nazareth and Bethlehem, because Joseph was of the house and line of David. With Mary heavily pregnant, it was no picnic. Of course they couldn’t take a Double Decker. So I guess they buttons’ed up their coats, maybe they put on their snickers. Just when Mary was beginning to Flake, they came to the inn. It may have been in a Quality Street and perhaps it was After Eight when they got there. The inn keeper might have said to them, “If I had a room, I’d give you your-key, but we’re totally full. You can use the stable if you like. Of course you won’t be able to Locket, but at least it’s pretty dry”. There maybe some Animals in the stable, and even a kitty kat but certainly no Penguins to Nestle up to Jesus!

Anyway, Jesus, God the Son, was born and they laid him in a manger. Shepherds were out in the fields taking care of their sheep, when God gave them a boost. Angels told them to go to see the baby who was born to be their saviour, Christ the Lord. It was news of great joy for all the people. Straight as an Aero they headed into town and were there in a jaffa. When they had seen the baby, they went on their way with celebrations, rejoicing and praising God.

The wise men from the East had seen a star burst, perhaps up in the Milky Way or near Mars, which spoke to them of a new king so they went for a hob nob with King Herod in his palace in Jerusalem. They had heard a whisper of the one who was to be born king of the Jews. But, horribole (Haribo) wicked king Herod was a Jammie Dodger. He tried to fudge it and lion and trick the wise men. Herod said he wanted to worship Jesus, but really he wanted to kill him. But the wise men were smarties and they didn’t fall for it. The wise men came to Jesus and presented him with their bounty, their gifts of gold, frankinsense and myrrh, and they bowed down and worshiped the baby as their king and their God.

You might say that the shepherds and the wise men were randoms but they remind us that Jesus came for All Sorts. His birth is good news of great joy today for you and for me. Now I hope this has been a useful Refresher on the Christmas story. Why not this year take some Time Out midst the Christmas Revels to think about God’s great gift to us of his Son. With the crunch(ie) question being whether we will trust him as our Saviour and seek to live with him as our Lord. As the Bible says, we are to taste and see that the Lord is good.

For the times of our Christmas Services see the magazine or visit www.earshambenefcie.org.uk

Revd Chris Hutton (Rector)



Let’s pray for peace and harmony in our villages and our country, with thanks for what we have.

“That the barriers that divide may be broken down;

That we may live in unity, peace and concord;

That we may come to mutual understanding and care;

Lord have mercy

Upon all who suffer from dissensions and quarrels;

Upon all who are divided in their loyalty and love;

Upon all who are torn apart by violence or disasters;

Upon all who are not at peace within themselves;

Christ have mercy.

That all who work for unity may be blessed;

That all who heal divisions may have hope;

That all who lead may seek peace;

Lord have mercy”



Church Thoughts – Remembering – November 2018

Since this year marks 100 years since the end of the First World War, it seems
especially fitting to devote this November letter to the subject of Remembrance.
Remembrance Sunday happens to fall on 11th November this year too. We will
observe the reading of the names for Broome, Ditchingham and Hedenham and the
traditional two-minutes silence at 11am, which means the Benefice service at
Hedenham Church has a start time of 10:50am. We hope you’ll be able to join us for
this important community occasion even if you’re not a regular in church. The
Broome church wreath will then be laid at the war memorial at the church as usual
at 12noon. Later in the afternoon in Broome at 4pm there will be short service at the
new village sign and at 6:45pm there will be a memorial service at Ditchingham
church with lighting of candles for all those who are remembered on the memorial.
Following this there will be a peel of bells at 7:05pm where we will join in with 1000
churches ringing their bells.

So much could be said about war, peace and remembrance and there will be an
opportunity to reflect further in these themes at our services. For now, maybe I
could make three simple points:

(1) We are such forgetful creatures, and there are some things we ought
especially to remember.
You probably know the experience only too well of walking in to a room and
wondering why you went there. Often I can’t remember the most basic details of the
last fortnight, and I don’t think that is just me. We are forgetful. But there is so much
we really ought to remember. Not least the horrors of war. And the sacrifices of all
those who died that we might know peace. We should take seriously the pledge we
make each year: “We will remember them.”

(2) However God remembers.
Although we too easily forget, God always sees and knows. He remembers and cares.
Every life, every moment matters to him. And all will be called to account. Justice will
be done. Wrongs will be righted. In the end peace will reign. All those who are
forgotten by history and by their descendants are remembered by the Almighty and
Eternal God.

(3) But surprisingly there is one thing God says he will not remember.
Amazingly, there is one thing God says he will not remember. Not literally that it will
slip his mind, of course. Rather, he will deliberately refrain from calling it to mind
and acting upon it. God will forget his people’s sins. He will put them away and wipe
them out. Because of the supreme sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, all our foolishness and
rebellion can be erased. Sometimes we have to live with the consequences of our
mistakes, but in eternity they will never be brought up again. God has pledged
himself to remove believers’ sins from them as far as the east is from the west. He
will bury our wrong-doing in the depths of the ocean. Not because he turns a blind
eye to vice or winks at evil, but because Jesus has fully paid the price for sin. Jesus’
victory over sin and death towers over all the wars and conflicts of human history
and of the human heart. Now that is worth remembering.
Revd Chris Hutton (Rector)

As we remember victims of conflict, we remember the far greater sacrifice of Jesus
Christ, crucified to bring us all true freedom.
“Father, we remember the dead who suffered through our collective treachery in
war. Grant that we override such evil by emulating Jesus’ sacrificial love in our own
lives. As members of the human race, we confess our collective guilt as party to
conflict. You created us in pure love. ‘Peace be with you’ said Jesus. We respond with
selfishness, intolerance, exploitation, indifference. ’Father Forgive’ (Coventry 1940).
“Forgive us as we forgive others. Keep us from temptation, protect us from evil. For
the Kingdom, power and glory are yours.”


Church Thoughts – October

This last month many children will have began a new adventure. For some it will be their first taste of school on a full-time basis; for others it will be moving to a new school; from primary to secondary or on to University. This can be both traumatic and exciting. Parents will be equally nervous and anxious as to how their child(ren) will settle in to their new environment with all its challenges.

Most of us I guess don’t remember our first day at school but we probably do remember those giant steps taken when we move to Secondary school or University. I remember quite clearly my first day at Secondary school and feeling quite lost and overwhelmed. Everything so unfamiliar and confusing with everything so much bigger and all the other children so much bigger. No longer are you in the top year but rather you are right back down at the bottom. The smallest fish in a bigger pond.

Suddenly there is a timetable to follow with different classrooms for different subjects with different teachers which all seemed much scarier than my friendly primary school teachers. There was so much to take in and get used to.

When we reach a transition in life, whether moving home, starting school, retiring or getting married, these events can be the most traumatic of events or the most exciting of times as you embark on a new venture of discovery.

Many think the Christian journey to be in the same mould, believing it has to be a sudden change just like clicking your fingers or turning on a light switch as many describe the experience of saying yes to Jesus. That suddenly life changes and you become a different person or suddenly you understand everything about God.

The Christian journey can have times like this but more usually it is a long journey in which we evolve as we get to know God more. It is for me the most exciting of journeys as we discover more and more the nature and love of God in our lives. It is an adventure I believe cannot be matched by any other journey or exploration in life; unpredictable, yes; boring, never! God never ceases to surprise as I trundle along; and just when you least expect it he hits you between the eyes with something utterly amazing. Don’t get too comfortable for God might just have a surprise in store for you too!

As the disciples found ‘Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!” Luke 5:26


God’s blessing

St Paul wrote: “… your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit”. Jesus said: “The kingdom of God is in you”, and: “Love your enemies”, “Bless don’t curse”.

“Heavenly Father equip us to live your love, joy and peace, individually, and as your church through your Holy Spirit in us. Give us courage to bless others, not curse, complain or criticise. Father God, you bless us with your love. Help us to radiate your presence in our daily lives, a blessing to all. Encourage us to pass that on as we say, “Bless you” or “God bless you”. Thank you for the joy of sharing your blessing with others”.

Church Thoughts – September

‘Please’ and ‘Thank-you’ were probably among the first things we ever learned to say as children. ‘What’s the magic word’ your parents may have said to you before they would allow you to open your present from great granny. Make sure you say thank you to auntie before you eat your sweets. And saying thank you is still what we do as adults. As you step off the bus you say thank you to the driver. As you fight your way through Bungay you say thank you to the car driver who pulls in, even when it’s your right of way. It’s what you do!

Here in the church season we are running up to Harvest. Harvest is the churches time for saying thank-you. Thank you that someone (chances are that even in our rural communities it was not one of us) has been busy ploughing the fields and scattering the good seed, so that, after a bit of snow in winter and some warmth to swell the grain, (apart from this year with a bit to much snow and then a bit to much warmth) it can be harvested and processed, allowing us to pop out to the supermarket and buy food for Sunday lunch, neatly packaged, shrink wrapped in plastic and possibly even ready-to-serve or pop into the microwave.

But how often do you say thank you for our food? The annual Harvest Festival gives us an opportunity to celebrate all that God provides for us: “first the grain, and then the ear and then the full seed shall appear.” This cycle of life in the natural world is one of nature’s miracles. We so easily take it for granted especially with on time delivers and supermarkets down the road. That is until we turn on the TV and see floods or droughts threaten the world’s supplies; then we’re reminded that food supplies are often uncertain for many people across the world.

This year the Broome Harvest Thanksgiving Service is on Sunday September 23rd at 9:30am, the Ditchingham Harvest Thanksgiving Service will be 3pm on Sunday 30th September with the Salvation Army Band, and the Hedenham Thanksgiving Service will be at 6pm on Sunday 7th August. Come along to any or all of our Harvest Services (they will all be different) and say Thank you for all the good things that we have received.

Rev’d Chris Hutton (Rector)



Jesus said: “love one another”. Jesus whole life was a witness to his Father’s love, and Jesus calls his followers to carry on that witness in his name.

In this world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of God’s love.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Simon Peter (“The Rock”) denied you, abandoned you in your hour of need, yet you used him powerfully. You forgave. You have called us, as your followers, to be visible signs of God’s unconditional love, a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds. Bless us as we obey in your name.” (from Henri Nouwen 9/8/18)


Church Thoughts – June 2018

All three of our local schools follow the Ofstead approved ‘Values for Life’ scheme which means that every half term each school follows a different value. The Values for Life take 18 Christian values and characteristics that then underpin the whole ethos, curriculum and life of each school and this half term the Value for Life is creativity. Now we are all creative in some way. Some people are creative in the way that they sing, some are creative with their hands in the garden, and some are creative with a pot of paint. Other maybe creative with written words or movement of dance or the way you create on a computer. All people are creative in some way and can create. The Christian value of creation stems from the belief we are all made in the image of God, and God is creative. The bible tells us that God created the world (not how but why) and God made us. He created the beauty and all that is wonderful with our creation. And, he didn’t just create us all the same; he created us each unique (Psalm 139). God has put a lot into making us special in the same way that children spend time making intricate patterns and swirls with the paint. But here is the difference. When a child comes home from school with what they have created, several things may happen to it. Some of their creations get left on the floor and stood on, some get forgotten on the backseat of the car, some others will be lost in the bedroom, and others will be put in the special place that parents put all the special creations. Some of the things created are just not very good and are throw them away, or get rid of them. This however is the complete opposite with the Christian understanding of God who creates. When God finished creating he didn’t sit back and marvel and then put it on a shelf and forget about it. Rather than disposing of his creation Christians believe that when God creates us, he knows us, he wants to be our friends, he cares for us, he helps us. If we break he comes along side us to fix us. The Christian value of creation teaches us that we are special, we are unique, that God made each of us different and that he continues to looks after us, he loves us and that he cares for us. We as people are creative and care because God first created and cared for us.

Rev’d Chris Hutton (Rector)
TEL:- 01986 895423 EMAIL:- chrishutton@hotmail.com Church Office Tel:-01986 894494, Email:-office@earshambenefice.org.uk

The Beatitudes – Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you — because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

The Beatitudes offer a self-portrait of Jesus. Without accusing anyone, he is considered an accuser. Without condemning anyone he makes people fell guilty and ashamed. Without his judging anyone, those who see him feel judged. We’re challenged by the cross, we fear witnessing to its truth. “Lord God Almighty, bless us with the grace that allows us to cope with condemnation and rejection without bitterness and hatred, that as we live in accordance with the beatitudes we’re blessed as Jesus was.

Then we really can rejoice and be glad” Thanks be to God


Church Thoughts – June 2018

After the latest disappointment of this years football season for us Norwich fans (as well as for any Ipswich supporter who have slipped over the border), it is with trepidation that I bring up the subject of football.

This month we are starting to look forward to the excitement (excitement for some – dread for others) of another World Cup as the England team heads to Russia. Finally that excitement that comes from months of anticipation has arrived. As that first English goal is scored there is the release of happiness. Men dance and women shriek with joy and for a moment the whole nation celebrates. It’s truly an awesome thing to see the power sport has over us.

As England fans we know this truth, because when the first ball is kicked the emotional roller-coaster starts. Being an England supporters (or Norwich for that matter) is as one writer puts it, having ‘reached a comfortable level of gloom mixed with half a shot of insane optimism’! How true that is – we all know the pendulum that swings so easily between euphoria and despair.

Similarly there’s an incredible burden on the shoulders of England’s players. They enter this tournament – as every other – knowing that really only winning the trophy is enough for the nation. Our world ranking may suggest that we should temper our expectations, but such a dose of reality is not what we want. Rationally we may know that we are just one of a few teams in with a shot, and so it would be sensible to moderate our hopes – but nobody cares for logic at such times. The stakes are too high! We want success. We want to come first!

The Bible however speaks of success in a completely differently way. Jesus sees success in an entirely different context; that of our salvation. It doesn’t matter if Norwich is the definition of mid table mediocrity or England win the World Cup. It doesn’t matter what ‘success’ you have or have not had in this life because Christian success is something completely different. Real success for a Christian is measured by your faith and love of Jesus and the security of salvation through your faith in him. A successful life for a Christian is a life lived in the aim of pleasing God. Loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and loving your neighbour as yourself.

Strive therefore not for worldly success but eternal success in your salvation in Christ Jesus.

Rev’d Chris Hutton (Rector)


The Beatitudes – Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.

The Hebrew word for peace (shalom) means perfect welfare, serenity, prosperity, happiness and peaceful relations among people> The Greek New testament word describes God’s ultimate blessing. We can bring peace only if we are at peace within ourselves and with God and everything else.

“Father God peace workers say prayer and listening are the two main activities in peacemaking. Help us pray fervently, listen to others, acquire inner peace. As we witness to Jesus may we be called (recognised as) children of God. We ask in the name of Jesus Christ”

Jesus said: “Peace be with you”


Benefice Annual Report for the Year 2017-2018

The Parishes of Broome, Ditchingham and Hedenham are all part of the Earsham Benefice under the Rector, The Revd Chris Hutton. St Michael’s, St Mary’s and St Peter’s are all Grade 1 listed churches and play an important role in the local community and is used by many within the local community. They are the oldest building in the villages and it needs the concern and generosity of everyone to maintain them for future generations. All three church building are well-cared for. The graveyard’s in Broome and Hedenham are looked maintained by the church and looked after by volunteers from the church while Ditchingham Churchyard and Cemetery is under the responsibility of the Parish Council.

The churches provides a variety of forms of worship from the very traditional 1662 Prayer Book through Common Worship to a more modern Café style service. Most services have good numbers for Rural churches while our Café service in Ditchingham School on the second Sunday of every month gets a good attendance. There are services taken by the members of the Earsham Benefice ministry Team at 9:30am every Sunday in St Michael’s Broome, 11am on the 1st, 3rd and 4th in St Mary’s, Ditchingham along with our 10am Café Service on the 2nd Sunday, and 6pm Evensong in St Peter’s Hedenham on the 1st Sunday. 

Major celebrations throughout the year including Mothering Sunday, Easter, Palm Sunday, Harvest, All Souls, Remembrance Sunday and Christmas are very well attended. During 2017 there were 7 funerals, 4 baptisms and 4 weddings celebrated in the local church buildings. (2016 – 8,8,3)

We have excellent links with the Ditchingham Church of England Primary Academy School. The school visits Ditchingham church for termly services as well laying wreaths on Remembrance Day at all three Churches as well as using the churches for class visits. Members of the church ministry team lead a weekly assembly, as well as special assemblies in the school at major points of the Christian calendar where parents are invited and several church members enjoy being active school governors.

Local Churches receive no central financial funding from the Church of England or the Taxpayer and have to raise all costs locally to pay for ongoing costs as well as keep the church building in good repair so we have to carefully consider expenditure. Our main expenditures include donations to other charities, parish share (£14,600 for Ditchingham, £10,500 for Broome, £4,550 for Hedenham), heating, lighting, grounds and building maintenance, insurance of £1500 per church, churchyard maintenance, a contribution to the Benefice administrator’s salary and other running expenses. For 2017 our expenditure was £16,000 for Broome, £20,000 for Ditchingham of which £6,000 comes from an old trust and £9,000 for Hedenham of which £4,000 comes from a trust. This means we have to raise £35,000 from sources such as standing orders, fundraising, collections, Legacies, gift aid and fees every year. If you would like to help us meet these costs a standing order form can be picked up from the churches or e-mail the Benefice office. The audited accounts go on display in the churches after the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on April 24th.

In 2017 we paid for a new solid standing car park at Broome. In St Mary’s, Ditchingham parts of the organ which run under the stone floor needed replacing after last been replaced by the Victorians. We also continue to apply for grants to fix the roof where it is leaking.

We say a huge thank you to our churchwardens, the PCC’s and all those who keep our churches running. The Rector is always available to be contacted and the church is here to meet your spiritual needs and to serve the communities of Broome, Ditchingham and Hedenham.

Rev’d Chris Hutton (Rector)


The Beatitudes – Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
Christ stresses purity of heart. He compares those who follow the laws of purity but lack mercy, with white washed tombs. Purity is a heart full of compassion which burns for all creation, the natural world, all life, all people, every creature, even the unloveable, the cruel and unkind. ”Lord give us hearts full of compassion, merciful hearts, loving hearts, individual hearts, aware of the creator in all or creation. Then may we see you, Lord God, in and through all people and all things, knowing the radiance of your peace, the peace of God, in the love of Jesus Christ.”

March 2018


Church Thoughts – Easter

When does the season of spring begin? For those who like things organised and fixed this has been an issue as seasons slowly merge from one to another, with fits and starts. Signs of spring, such as daffodils flowering can abound in February, only to be killed off in March with a cold snap of a week or two. Those who like to bring order to chaos will put a calendar date on it and this year in the northern hemisphere it was either Tuesday March 20th on the astronomical calendar or 1st March on the meteorological calendar.

Either could be technically right while outside winter reigns with feet of snow and minus degree temperatures, and we continued wearing heavy coats gloves and scarves. In fact in England it is statistically more likely to have snow at Easter, which is often in April as it is this year, than it is to have snow at Christmas. Apart from longer (and warmer) days, Spring also reminds us of budding leaves, blossoming flowers and gambolling lambs. (NB I had to look up ‘gambol’, it means run or jump about playfully.)

Spring reminds us of new life. And that is part of the reason that Easter has many symbols of new life:- Eggs, bunnies, chicks, bonnets with flowers on. Like many cultural traditions, Easter is a mixture of secular and sacred, ‘pagan’ and Christian. Though Christians believe at the heart of Easter is a story of Jesus death and resurrection, the church has integrated images and motifs from Spring and from earlier religions to help us understand the consequence of the Easter events. Sometimes of course, the images get in the way of our understanding. Eggs may remind of new life; chocolate eggs, less so; giving a box of chocolates has little symbolic meaning.

As we celebrate Easter it is quite easy to forget that new and abundant life is what the promise of Jesus’ resurrection on Eater Sunday brings. We might actually be in spring, we might acknowledge Easter has happened, but we act as if winter were still all around. The new life that is supposedly celebrated at Easter with all the symbols feels as sad as a forgotten chocolate Easter egg that has been left in the sun on a windowsill. Easter shows us that life is full of promise. Because of his resurrection Jesus says ‘I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

Rev’d Chris Hutton (Rector)
TEL:- 01986 895423 EMAIL:-
Church Office Tel:-01986 894494, Email:-office@earshambenefice.org.uk



The Beatitudes – Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

 After poor in spirit, mourning, meekness, hunger, and thirst for righteousness – comes mercy. The meaning of the Hebrew word for mercy includes self giving, unconditional love, that implies forgiveness.

“Father, in the parable the Pharisee boasted, the tax-collector felt his unworthiness before you Almighty God. The tax-collector was shown mercy. Your mercy is infinite and absolute. Jesus taught us to pray: ‘Forgive us as we forgive others’. Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me”.

Our Lord and Master calls us to live God’s mercy. Jesus said to his faithful: “Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom…!



Alburgh Church have arranged a visit to St John’s College Cambridge for Saturday 12th May 2018.  St John’s are patrons of All Saints, Alburgh.

We meet at the College Chapel forecourt at 3.45pm where we will be taken for afternoon tea in the Old Music Room. There will also be a short and informal presentation from current students about life at St John’s and a tour of the college followed by Evensong in the Chapel at 6.30pm.

The college can accommodate a maximum of 45 persons per parish. There are two small flights of stairs to negotiate so those with reduced mobility may find this difficult.  Transport to be arranged.

Please contact Sandra Donno on 01986 788732 or Ann Wrench on 01986 789102 by 30th April.

The list of The Patrons for our churches are:

Alburgh : College of St John’s Cambridge

Broome : Countess Ferrers

Ditchingham : Bishop of Norwich

Denton : Archbishop of Canterbury

Earsham : John Meade

Hedenham : Countess Ferrers

And the right to present the Rector is held jointly