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Broome Church 2

St. Mary’s Church, Ditchingham
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

BROOME CHURCHWARDENS DETAILS
Liz Tipple 01986 893069/ Roger Tuffley ~ 01508 518977

DITCHINGHAM CHURCHWARDENS DETAILS
Sally Ellson ~ 01986 892687

HEDENHAM CHURCHWARDENS DETAILS
Hannah Morris ~ 01508 482794 / Rosie Sethia ~ 01508 482522


~ SERVICES IN OUR PARISH CHURCHES ~

Services held in BROOME

3rd April 2022 ~ No Service

10th April 2022 Palm Sunday ~10.00am ~ Morning Prayer Service at Broome

Maundy Thursday Service 15th April 2022 ~ 7.00pm ~ All Saints, Earsham

Good Friday Walk of Witness~15th April 2022 9.00am start Alburgh Church

17th April 2022 ~ Easter Sunday ~ 10.00am Holy Communion Service

17th April 2022 ~ 5.40am ~ Sunrise Service ~ Ditchingham Church Tower

24th April 2022 ~ 10.00am Holy Communion Service

BROOME CHURCHWARDENS DETAILS

Liz Tipple 01986 893069/ Roger Tuffley ~ 01508 518977


Services held in DITCHINGHAM

3rd April 2022 ~ 10.00am ~ Holy Communion Service at St. Mary’s

10th April 2022 ~ Palm Sunday ~ No Service

Maundy Thursday Service 15th April 2022 ~ 7.00pm ~ All Saints, Earsham

Good Friday Walk of Witness~15th April 2022 9.00am start Alburgh Church

Sunrise Service ~ 17th April 2022 5.40am ~ Ditchingham Church Tower

17th April 2022 ~ Easter Sunday ~ 10.00am Holy Communion Service at St. Mary’s

24th April 2022 ~ No Service

DITCHINGHAM CHURCHWARDENS DETAILS

Sally Ellson ~ 01986 892687


Services held in HEDENHAM

3rd April 2022 ~ 6.00pm Evensong Service

10th April 2022 ~ No Service

Maundy Thursday Service 15th April 2022 ~ 7.00pm ~ All Saints, Earsham

Good Friday Walk of Witness~15th April 2022 9.00am start Alburgh Church

Sunrise Service ~ 17th April 2022 5.40am ~ Ditchingham Church Tower

17th April 2022 ~ 11.00am ~ Easter Sunday ~Holy Communion Service

24th April 2022 ~ No Service

HEDENHAM CHURCHWARDENS DETAILS

Hannah Morris ~ 01508 482794 / Rosie Sethia ~ 01508 482522

The Church Office, School Road, Earsham NR35 2TF

 Mon, Wed & Fri 10am ~ 2.00pm
Tel: 01986 894494            e-mail:  office@earshambenefice.org.uk


RECTOR’S NEWSLETTER

Church Thoughts – Easter 2022

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 the official start of spring was either Sunday March 20th on the astronomical calendar or 1st March on the meteorological calendar.

Well it certainly feels like spring at the moment as I write – sitting halfway between the 1st and 15th. I know however by the time you read this, outside winter may well be reigning with feet of snow and minus degree temperatures, and we continue 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 google ‘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 window sill. 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.’

Why not join us on our Good Friday pilgrimage around our Benefice (you don’t have to do it all) or join us on Easter Sunday at one of our services as we celebrate our risen Lord.

Chris Hutton (Rector)

The Rectory, School Rd, Earsham ~ 01986 895423 ~ www.earshambenefice.org.uk

For your Easter Service times check out the times in this magazine or visit the website – All Welcome

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

St Paul said: ’Pray continually, with thanksgiving’

“We give thanks for the generous response to those suffering now, and for the blessings we enjoy here.

We pray for the suffering, and for the perpetrators of war. Jesus, you told us to bless, not curse, to love our enemies. We pray for Vladimir Putin and Russia. Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing. Have mercy, change them. May the lies be silenced the truth revealed.

We pray for Ukraine. We pray for our country, that we take care to limit increasing covid infections. We pray for those suffering increasing financial hardship”.

Everyone can pray. We persevere in prayer, believing from the heart.


Church Thoughts – March 2022

Dear Friends

As I write this in the middle of February we’re putting Christmas behind us and preparing for the start of Lent. While we are still in winter, the signs of spring are already to be seen piercing through the cold drabness of the month.  The first snowdrops are beginning to appear, and some bushes (I am sure they have proper Latin names) in The Rectory garden are starting to blossom and bud. These harbingers of spring remind us that unlike in Narnia the long dreary days of winter won’t be with us for ever and that beyond the crispness of a winter morning the abundant new life of spring isn’t far behind.

Is it any wonder that Lent the word we use to describe the 40 days (which starts on the 2nd March) from Ash Wednesday to Easter Eve has nothing whatsoever to do with repentance and fasting. It is simply the Anglo Saxon word for to lengthen describing how the days get progressively longer during these months. Even so, it is a good metaphor for what Lent is all about.  As we look around our churches, particularly in the chill of a cold February morning, and as we recover from COVID, it can be all too easy to feel as if not a great deal is happening.  Our churches can, therefore, feel as if in true Narnia fashion “it is always winter”.

That however would miss what is really happening and has happened for generations. It would fail to see what church is all about. If we look more closely we can observe those signs of real Christian witness of people. Lent is about examining what we do, giving thanks for all that is good and positive and life affirming and asking God to help us with the rest. It is not about being flash and exciting. It is about the steady following and worship of God. It is about keeping the rhythm of prayer and thinking about God. It is the daily following of Jesus’ teaching. It’s about nurturing the growing plants while making the cold, hard soil of indifference into the good soil in which the Holy Spirit can and will plant new seeds of hope and change.

As we prepare for our Lenten journey this year may you be encouraged, inspired and enriched.

Have a happy and blessed Lent.

Rev’d Chris Hutton
Earsham Ditchingham Benefice, 01986 895423, www.earshambenefice.org.uk

 

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

Thank you Father, for hope as spring comes, covid restrictions are lifted and we look forward. We pray for progress. May Your will be done. Give us peace in body, mind and spirit. We pray for progress with covid infections. We pray for progress in the N.H.S. – care workers, dentists mental health. We pray for our country and the international situation, for leaders in the world and business. May Your will be done. May we be able to cope as the world heats up. Help us respect your creation. Your love surrounds us Give us eyes to see and ears to hear you Lord God Almighty. Give us your peace and joy this spring.


Church Thoughts – February 2022

“Just do your best” is a mantra that we often hear and use. It is perhaps meant to mean, “It is okay if you don’t get an A* in everything, just be your best.” It is what we say to our children about their school work. It is how I approach the role of being your vicar.

But it can be pretty hard work always trying to do your best in everything. One has to prioritise and pick.

And can I even ever really do my best? I could have studied more. I could always spend a bit more time on that task, spend more time visiting, writing that sermon and attending that extra community event. And if my best was a C-, well that’s a bit depressing. Maybe it would have been better not to actually try very much, then the results wouldn’t touch the real me. There is also much to be said for focused effort and expertise. If you want to win the Olympics, it will be an effort to include art, poetry, music, maths, reading, family and friends in your life. You have to choose.

So you cannot be the best at everything always and give everything maximum effort. And so if that is the case, where do we put our effort into ‘doing our best’. What matters most? Well the Bible’s answer to that is ‘to love God and love your neighbour’. Not to ace every maths test, necessarily, if the duties of love need to come first.

Because the truth is doing your best will never be good enough. Maybe not for yourself. Maybe not for those you are trying to please. Only Jesus is the best and always did the best. Your acceptance, affirmation, approval and many other a-words, are only to be found in him, by the undeserved grace of God. To do your  best would be a grateful acceptance of the grace of God which sets us free to serve in the best way possible.

This means that the best we can do, is not doing your best, but receiving god’s best as a gift.

 

Best blessings to you

Rev’d Chris Hutton

Earsham Ditchingham Benefice,

 01986 895423,

www.earshambenefice.org.uk

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

There’s prayer in hope, there’s prayer in belief. Thank you Father for prayer, and for your goodness – health and wellbeing, your glory displayed in the world.

We pray for improvement in the Covid situation, we pray that we can cope with increasing global temperatures, that we respect your natural creation, worshipping you, creator God. Help us be “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation” (Phil.2,14). We pray for our leaders, that Godly morals replace self. We pray for Afghanistan, its people in poverty, its regime, for your presence among it all. We pray for the miraculous healing of Ian Bentley (former rector here)seriously ill at the moment, and for strength and trust for all his family.


Church Thoughts – December 2021

At this time of year there is always a great sense of anticipation and of hope, especially following Christmas 2020.  As we make our plans for Christmas, we anticipate the variety of services which help us to celebrate the birth of Jesus: Christingles, carol services, nativity services and the uniquely special service of midnight Mass. Check out the times of our Christmas services in the magazine.

One of my favourite stories about a school nativity service (not in our local schools!) is of the little boy who wanted to play the part of Joseph. He was very disappointed to be given instead the part of the innkeeper, but he appeared to accept his teacher’s decision and got on with his part in the play. However, on the day of the performance, in front of a school hall packed with parents, the boy took his revenge. When Joseph and Mary asked him if there was any room in his inn, he abandoned the script, stood back so that the door to the inn was wide open and said, ‘yes there’s plenty of room; come on in!’

That might not be the way the familiar story goes but I think the little boy’s actions have some things to say to us at Christmas. We all are invited to ‘come in’ to greet the holy child, born into such very humble surroundings. All will be welcomed to the variety of different services, which our churches offer at Christmas as we join together in celebrating the birth of Jesus, the One who comes to save us and bring us joy. There literally is ‘room for all’ because God welcomes each and every one of us. He does not want anyone to be turned away, because He loves each of us so much. God has shown the depth of that love in His unique gift to us; the gift of His Son, born as one of us, part of a loving human family; the One who was willing ultimately to give his life for us, so that we might share in his life, forever.

We anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth, not only because it is a great excuse for a bit of a party, but also because his birth gives us hope. Hope for the future. At Christmas, God welcomes us all to celebrate the birth of His Son, the One who brings hope to the world. God invites us to come in because He has made sure that there is room for us all.

I wish everyone a very HAPPY & HOLY CHRISTMAS and a peaceful New Year.

Rev’d Chris Hutton
Earsham Ditchingham Benefice 01986 895423
www.earshambenefice.org.uk

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

We give thanks Lord for Cop26. May pledges be honoured effectively. Correct us where we fall short, that we’ll be able to live in a better world. Above all we pray to know salvation through Jesus, whatever the outcome.

We give thanks for Covid vaccinations. May they stem the tide of infections. We pray for common sense and co-operation. We pray for the N.H.S. under near unsustainable pressure. Lord have mercy. Help us accept life with future uncertainties. We thank you for life itself, for love, joy, peace, etc, the fruit of your spirit. Strengthen our faith and trust in you and your word. Lord Jesus, friend and brother, we believe, help our unbelief.


Church Thoughts – November 2021

November is here again. As I write this (in October) the radio this morning (I confess I was listening to Jamie and Amanda on the way back from the school run) mentioned that there were 72 sleeps till Christmas. The big festival is coming! There may even be shortages, as our toys are stuck in the ships. Everywhere will be getting ready, if they haven’t started already. I am tempted to complain a bit about how stores bombard us with Christmas stuff far too early and it all seems to commercialise the Day itself, but I won’t and instead think about the whole business of getting ready.

The Church in its wisdom also thinks we should focus on getting ready, with a special time starting in November called Advent which starts on the 28th. However, Advent it is not about getting ready for Christmas. It is about getting ready for a much bigger and significant event. It is about getting us ready for the future! Christmas day will come and go, and hopefully a wonderful time will be had by all, and we will repeat it again next year and so on. But what the Church is encouraging us to prepare for has a cosmic dimension.

Each week in our services during Advent we remind ourselves of Christ’s promise to return. Now we don’t know if this will be before Christmas and all those toys will go to waste or much further into the future, but that is not the issue. The issue is about reminding people to be prepared, to be getting ready. Advent is the Church’s way of reminding us to be prepared. Jesus tells a parable with a story of people being caught out without oil for their lamps. They fall asleep and run out of oil and so they are not ready when the bridegroom arrives. They are left out in the dark, the story reflecting how prepared they were.

One version of the hymn “Sing Hosanna” which many sing in school, begins with “Give me oil in my lamp keep me praising”. Perhaps we would do well to think about how our lives reflect a burning light, What is it that keeps us burning? Where is our source of oil? There is a reason Advent precedes Christmas. It gives ourselves the chance to ask whether we are ready, not just for Christmas but for the future.

Rev’d Chris Hutton

 

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

We thank you Lord God for the Climate Conference in Glasgow. We pray for genuine acknowledgement by all the nations, of the problems involved, including the future spin-off. We pray for proactive results, wealthy nations supporting less able ones.  Have mercy on those selfishly disrupting efforts to restore the balance of nature

We pray for support for people suffering from disrupted supplies, financial hardship, services under pressure. We give thanks for continuing vaccinations, and pray for the ongoing protection of all.

Bring us out of trouble. Guide us to pick up the pieces and start afresh differently, with altogether more wisdom. May our ears hear you voice. Have mercy Lord and bless our attempts


Church Thoughts – August/September 2021

If you have taken a walk in the northern parts of the parish you will have seen signs have appeared on the footpath posts for a new pilgrimage walk. The ‘Via Beata’ which means ‘a way of blessing’.

The Christian faith has a long history of pilgrimage. Ever since those first disciples rushed to see for themselves the place where Jesus had been buried and was now no longer present, men and women have travelled to sites made significant either by the deeds carried out there, words spoken there, or the fact that a holy man or woman lived there or whose remains are present. This practice has had a huge influence not only on the spiritual history of the British Isles but on the physical infrastructure as well, leading to a glorious network of abbeys built to support the needs of those travellers. One of those famous pilgrimage destinations was right here in Norfolk at Walsingham.

The purpose for those undertaking a pilgrimage is to get away from the stresses and worries of the world and deepen the Christian’s connection with God. As you walk and visit places where God has impacted people’s lives it gives you time to reflect on the beauty of creation, and where people have done great things and experienced God.

The ‘Via Beata’ is a new pilgrimage route across the U.K. from East to West at its widest point, Lowestoft to St David’s. Along the path there will be way stations of Christian art-works that will communicate God’s love for people, and for the U.K. So next time you happen to be in the northern of the parish, you may see a small group of pilgrims walking their way right across the country marvelling at the beautiful Norfolk countryside that God and man has created. Visit www.viabeata.co.uk for more info.

Rev’d Chris Hutton

Earsham Ditchingham Benefice 01986 895423

www.earshambenefice.org.uk

 

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

We give thanks for the freedoms we have enjoyed this summer, for holidays, for socialising again, for the vaccinations.

As we go forward locally, nationally and worldwide, we pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance for hope, for peace, and we trust you to lead us forward, not just back to the old ways. We contributed to the Covid crisis by our own lack of stewardship. We repent and ask you to refill us today with the love, power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, that we may be effective witnesses to Jesus. We love the natural world, and we praise and worship you, Father, through the grace of Jesus Christ, out Lord and Saviour.


Church Thoughts – July 2021

Mid-summer approaches! Where did the first half of the year go? It hardly feels like the year has began but we are already half way through and the calendar doesn’t lie. All those New Year resolutions that were time limited still incomplete. All those things that needed to be done in the spring (weeding the garden etc) that didn’t get completed. All the things that we want to get done before the kids break up from school. Is it any wonder that life can feel that it is, or has, run away from us? It is so hard to differentiate from the urgent and the important, from the necessary and preferable, from the inconsequential and the desirable. Sadly, although most of these dilemmas are first-world issues they are still ones that exercise our time, our energy, and our resources.

The first disciples of Jesus lived in a very different world. Their options were far more limited. They were subject to all sorts of vagaries and changing circumstances over which they had no control and although this was first-century Palestine, much of our world today finds itself in a similar position (albeit with a different sort of technology available which has both advantages and disadvantages). Yet, Jesus spoke to them about an approach to life which may speak as much to us in the Western world of the 21st century. His simple sentence saying “why worry about tomorrow, tomorrow has enough worries of its own” (Matthew 6v24), challenges us to let go of a lot that can wear us down.

Jesus says, in short, we ought to let tomorrow worry about itself. He’s not saying we cannot or should not make wise plans. Nor is He saying we ought to literally ignore anything but the most immediate questions. His context here is about the emotions of fear and anxiety. Those who trust in God should try not to allow useless worry over the future. Tomorrow’s fight will happen tomorrow. Today has plenty of trouble with which we need to trust God. We are to trust God in a moment-by-moment way. So as we realise that we reach the half way point to the year, we don’t look back and worry about what’s not happened, we don’t worry about tomorrow as we leave that to God, we enjoy his blessings Today in all there fullness!

Rev’d Chris Hutton
Earsham Ditchingham Benefice 01986 895423
www.earshambenefice.org.uk

 

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

At this time with others we pray psalm 91:-

‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust”

Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare, and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of the night,

Nor the arrow that flies by day,

Nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

Nor the plague that destroys at midday.

These who love me I will deliver,

(Ps 91, v 1 – 6, 14a)


Church Thoughts – June 2021

As we come to the end hopefully of the last ever COVID lockdown, as the vaccines start to work and we go back to normality, today I want to address a question I have been asked several times in this last year – Why did God allow COVID? If God is loving, why did he let my loved one die? There is no easy answer to the problem of suffering (and the 500 words I’m allowed will only allow me to scratch the surface). There is not a section of the Bible, a verse which tells us the reason why what has happened to you, happened to you. What there is in God’s word is something to help us understand what suffering is, what it might be for and how to live through it.

The first thing to say about suffering is that it isn’t natural. It’s real, it hurts and the writers of the Bible knew that more than most, but it isn’t natural. The first page of the Bible, Genesis 1 records the creation of the world, when each stage is completed it says this; “and God saw that it was good”. The world in its original, intended state does not contain suffering; there is no crying, no pain, no death. Christians believe that when God made the word, there was no suffering and the world is not how the loving God made it.

Even though suffering isn’t natural, the Bible also says that suffering isn’t meaningless. Firstly this is demonstrated in the person of Jesus. Jesus was God become man. Jesus was tired, he was hungry, he wept over sickness and disease, over the death of a friend. He was rejected by his own people, even his closest friends abandoned him. All his suffering had its crescendo at the cross where Jesus was crucified as a common criminal. He was mocked, spat upon and endured the most excruciating physical pain and, more than that, the most excruciating emotional and spiritual pain as God the Father turned away from the Son that he loves. Why did he go through that suffering – so we could be forgiven – suffering isn’t meaningless.

Peter writing to the Christians in Asia Minor who were being persecuted and killed during the reign of Emperor Nero, are also told that times of suffering are often times that faith is refined – and he uses the example of making pure Gold (1 Peter 1). During times of suffering we can either run towards God or run away from him. We may look back and not know why God allowed us to suffer in a particular way, or why he allowed a bad thing to happen to a good person, but Christians do believe that the suffering isn’t meaningless, often God uses it for good and often for the refinement of faith.

Thirdly the bible also shows us that suffering isn’t forever. So even though suffering isn’t natural or meaningless, you may be asking the question, why doesn’t God just do something about it – and the answer is that he has, through the death of Jesus Christ. As Christians we look forward to a time when there will be no more suffering and we will be with God forever in heaven (Revelation 21).

So why did in 2019, God allow a virus to mutate and spread across the world? Sorry but no one can answer that exact question but I can tell you that suffering isn’t natural, it isn’t meaningless and it isn’t forever.

Rev’d Chris Hutton

Earsham Ditchingham Benefice 01986 895423
www.earshambenefice.org.uk

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

Yours Lord, is the greatness, and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor. Your agenda was infinitely broader than the disciples realised, broader than we realise. Open our minds now, Lord God. We praise your glorious name. We give you thanks. Thanks for vaccines, reduction in Covid cases (hopefully) and easing of restrictions locally. Thanks for increased awareness and valuing of the natural world, for our desire for meaning in life.

We pray earnestly for continued improvement in the pandemic situation (including variants) and for an awareness of your presence, for an attitude of gratitude, of outgoing love and care. Your kingdom come and Your will be done in my heart as it is in heaven.


December 2020

Church Thoughts – December 2020

What a strange year it has been! It seems unbelievable that we are at the end of the year, because so many planned events have been interrupted, postponed or cancelled. Now we are approaching the build up to Christmas, and the Christmas celebrations themselves, so much is unknown – will we be able to gather as families, as churches, as communities? Will we have to hold only virtual celebrations, each in our home or can our services go ahead?

Whatever the answer, Christmas will be celebrated differently this year, but this does not necessarily mean that it will not be as good as before. This will be a season like no other! Many of our regular symbols and traditions; candles, lights, decorations can and will be used. We can however also make exciting, new traditions, as we explore the art of the possible and what will be allowable.

That is because while our celebrations may change, the meaning of what Christmas is about doesn’t. The Christmas celebration is all about the birth of Jesus Christ. At Christmas we remember God, not as some distant deity in the sky but as a real living human person. God being born as man, God experiencing what it is to be human, God being with us then, now and forever. As the gospel of John says: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Do join us for our online Christingle service – 6pm on Tuesday 1st December. Grab a round fruit, a birthday candle, 4 cocktail sticks and some sweets and join with us as we create our Christingle at home. Check out the link from our website and Facebook page. Please do also keep an eye out on our website check out all our Christmas services. If allowable we will be holding a Christmas Service on Sunday 20th at Broome church in morning and a service in Ditchingham church at 4pm. On Christmas Eve there will a Communion service at Hedenham at 11:30pm and on Christmas Day a service at Ditchingham Church at 10am.

I am sure that we will continue to celebrating God’s love and faithfulness to us, even in difficult circumstances so may God bless you, and keep you safe at this special Advent and Christmas time.

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

“Father, thank you for research and front-line teams, and for a possible covid vaccine. For bringing us closer to nature during lockdowns, and seeing your hand in it. For your love in Jesus, born at Christmas to give us all eternal life.

We pray for continuation of prayer for covid-19, a successful outcome and effective control arrangements for vaccines. For change, individually, and nationally, to see a bigger picture behind everything. We pray that we live with a healthy environment, healthy bodies, healthy relationships, and work together positively for our future. We pray to know within ourselves your love through Jesus, who lived and died for love of us. In his name we pray.”


Church Thoughts – November 2020

As you receive this newsletter we will only be days away from the American presidential elections. Whoever wins will be leading one of the most influencing counties in the world, which will impact even us across the sea. However, I must confess I’ve been tempted to wonder whether the present U.S President cares for anybody else but himself as our present crisis shows (and while the vast majority go into politics because they care, the same could be said of one or two in every political party in our country too). Following his treatment and how he’s responded to his exceptional care, he has made little mention of 210,000 victims of the virus in the U.S and those affected by bereavement as well as no mention of the numerous White House staff he infected. If I was American I’d be wondering whether this man noticed the suffering of others.

It’s caused me to reflect on who is paying attention to us and cares for each us. If you have ever hand to care for a loved one, whether a child, a sick partner of an elderly relative, you will now what this means. You will know this experience of not letting a loved one out of your sight unless they’re sleeping. We do it with our children, especially when they are babies and toddlers and we do it later in life with our parents. However, when it comes to our relationship with God, we can often feel out of his sight. When times are hard, we feel we’ve slipped off his radar. With isolation and distancing from others, from family and friends rearing their ugly heads again, it can be destabilising when we fear being isolated from God.

I believe it’s important for us to remind ourselves that this feeling of being away fro God’s sight is wrong, that we have a God who, incredibly, is always paying us loving attention. Jesus was the master of the art of noticing. His eye was always focussed on those missed by other people. His compassion was directed with laser like intensity towards the social pariahs, the vulnerable, and the victims of discrimination. Jesus shows us that God has mastered the art of noticing and seeing. On one occasion he asked “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” In effect he’s saying if God is attentive when a sparrow falls to the ground, how much more will he notice what is going on in your life – every minute of every day! There is not the smallest detail of our life that is not of vital interest to God. God is not dozing off. His gaze is not easily distracted like ours. As we perhaps enter another stage of lockdown, we remember that God is always paying loving attention to us.

Revd Chris Hutton (Rector)

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

 “Father God, thank you for Jesus, for his sacrificial death, that through him all believers are declared righteous in your sight – a holy people. James writes: ‘the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective’ (James 5 V16). We believe and trust as we pray for our present uncertain situation. Father may your will be done. Consider the threats we face, and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal, and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus (Acts 4, v 29, 30) Inspire us to co-operate together, that people and businesses will survive and by your grace we’ll get though this. Lord have mercy on us”


Church Thoughts – October 2020

What skill have you learnt over lockdown? Some of us may be a long time from school days but ‘you are never too old to learn’. It may be that as you helped you children with the home schooling, you finally learnt what a ‘fronted adverbial’ (aged 8 Grammar) is. Maybe you leant new exercise moves following Joe Wicks, new art skills following ‘Draw with Rob’. Perhaps you discovered a new skill pottering away in your ‘man shed’ that you were set to at the bottom of the garden, or maybe you discovered some new love of nature during your daily prescribed walks. You might even have learnt how to ‘zoom’.

King Solomon writing in the book of proverbs writes this: “remember what you were taught, and listen carefully to words of knowledge”. For Christians, we are encouraged to never stop learning and the place where we are to get our knowledge from is the Bible. For Christians it is the guide for our lives, it is our ‘living water’. If you consider yourself a Christian I would urge you as Solomon said to ‘remember what you are taught, and listen carefully to words of knowledge’. Remember what the bible has taught you and keep on learning from it.

These wise words of the Bible however do not just have to be for Christians. Over the years we are taught many things and we never stop learning, but as we get older we can forget to listen carefully to words of knowledge. We start to assume that we know everything, or that we have nothing new to learn. This is far from the truth. So please as we come out of lockdown/enter a stricter lockdown (delete whichever is not applicable – we have no idea where we will be in a months time) please don’t forget all you have learnt in this strange year and listen carefully to all it has taught you.

Revd Chris Hutton (Rector)

PRAYERS FOR OUR PARISHES

“Father God, thank you for the scientists latest understanding of Covid 19, and our part in our dire situation. Also for practical love all around. Yet we fail to value your creation – Earths resources over –exploited and wasted ,polluted. Life dying More Covid 19 cases. Self centeredness. Stress and its consequences. We repent. You command us to love

‘Father forgive us we don’t know what we are doing’. This wake up call tells us to change our attitude by radical action. Do we really believe? Do we seriously believe in the power of prayer? We pray for things to happen rightly. Have mercy on us. Lord look at our predicament. Give us wisdom. James letter, chapter 5 verse 16 can encourage us – “Lord have mercy on us for the sake of Jesus Christ”.