Vicars's letter June / July 2019
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This edition of the magazine spans two years and gives us the opportunity to look back over 2018 and forward to 2019.
The last year seems to have been overshadowed by uncertainty. Firstly, the uncertainty of the weather. A long cold winter followed by a very short spring and then the hot very dry summer. This of course was what had been predicted as an outcome of our changing climate, but it still comes as something of a shock. It certainly brings home the need to change some of our practices regarding emissions and to think about being much better stewards of the world. And then there has been the political uncertainty of Brexit which, as I write, an agreement is still to be reached on. I sometimes sit and ponder what sort of world we are giving to our grandchildren. Closer to home we have the retirement of Bishop Graham who has been a source of inspiration with his very human and caring approach to the Diocese of Norwich. I know his Christian Ministry has touched many people of all faiths or of none. His successor will not be known until well into next year, so we move into another period of uncertainty.
It may appear on the surface that 2018 was a miserable year but of course there have been many good things to reflect upon. The success of the Brooke Village Hall Café, the appointment of a new head at the school and I am sure you all have your own good memories, perhaps of holidays or special occasions such as weddings or birthdays.
Christmas will soon be upon us, and at that first Christmas things were also uncertain. Mary and Joseph lived in a country under Roman occupation, with many rules. One of them was the need to register in your home town. For Mary and Joseph this meant a difficult journey for a very pregnant Mary, not jumping into the car, or on a train or bus but walking, and riding on a donkey. Then there was the uncertainty of not knowing where they could stay and when the baby would be born. On failing to find a room at the inns in the area they were offered shelter by a kind inn keeper, but in a stable at the back of the inn. Not what they had anticipated but it was warm and dry. When Jesus was born God singled out the ‘ordinary’ shepherds to be the first to hear the good news and the first to see the baby. What a thrill it must have been for them, an experience that surely changed their lives.
Looking forward to 2019, the future may be uncertain, but we can go forward in hope, doing our bit to help others not just locally but in the world, and rejoicing when things go well. Mary and Joseph set forth on an uncertain journey, but it was one that changed lives. With God’s help, we pray that the same will apply to us in 2019.
May God bless you and keep you.
Have a very Happy Christmas and New Year,
Leaving behind the Flower Festival displays on Sunday 6th May, I walked into the strong late afternoon sunshine which heated the East end of the churchyard by the wood. The stage was set for another glorious display of the weekend. Into the sunlight danced six different types of butterflies although not fluttering together but generally taking their cue one by one over the course of an hour.
The most obliging individual was a “Comma” which offered some patient watching as it warmed its wings sitting on Cow Parsley, some grass cuttings and bare earth. I managed to photograph it when in this resting position. It looks as though its wings have been ripped like a torn paper. It doesn’t have the smooth outline of the “Small Veined White” which also obliged me enough to warrant a photo but it’s camouflage gives a “Where’s Wally” type puzzle! There were also two small whites fluttering about.
A Peacock butterfly made a brief entry. A Holly blue became a brillliant bright surprise visitor although later, on leaving there were two dancing together outside the Old Vicarage hedge. Over the previous afternoon an Orange Tip had been fluttering over the gravestones at great speed. The Male Orange tip lives up to its name and is easily spotted on the wing dallyancing until it’s pale winged mate is located. I managed a photo of a female in my garden this week feasting for a moment on the one Lady’s Smock that’s sprung up this year. Again – you have to look hard at the photo.
There is a legend that the mother of Constantine the Great, St Helena, found a smock in a cave near Bethlehem, left by the Virgin Mary! The flower lhas been said to look like little smocks hung out to dry.
And no spring post would be complete without bluebells, here with the Bell tower behind taken this week.
To view all images, look in the Churchyard album via The Gallery.
Saturday March 3rd, we dared walk out into the snow-covered roads and paths and down to the Churchyard. It was one of the first days following the several snowfalls of the preceding week that the “beast” had stopped its’ howling. In St Peter’s Churchyard the wildlife felt comfortable enough to venture out and we found the tell tale tracks. Pheasants and partridges had come out of the wood at the north east end and made the snow look like a busy thoroughfare. On the opposite corner, by the boundary with the Old Vicarage, a hare had lolloped its way from the wood to the safety of the wall - it’s tracks longer and larger than a rabbit - more of a longjumper.
Good Friday, March 30th, soft rain began to fall in the afternoon. The tombstone on the Easter Garden was sealed to represent the after noon when Christ’s body was placed within. A walk into the churchyard revealed the blessings a few degrees of warmth had brought since the “beast” had left us. To be seen still are wild primroses both yellow and pink - not all primroses are yellow, even in the wild. Some have almost pure white flowers while others have a pink or purplish tinge. Under the hedge boundary with Dovecote are the most stunning royal purple violets, like jewelled amethysts in the grass. The snowdrops, though, are showing their final flowers before hiding underground for another year. Up from underground venture the small burrowing mammals; photographed here a clear hole, probably for a mouse, under the lea of an old gravestone, perhaps Mrs Tittlemouse getting ready for her spring cleaning! What will a few more degrees of warmth reveal in April?
View the Churchyard Spring 2018 photo gallery for more images.
A huge thank you for your wonderful support for St. Peter's Church's celebration weekend 'Harvesting our Gifts' on 30th September and 1st October.
The Church looked stunning with floral and fruit displays and displays about how St. Peter's serves God and serves our community and beyond. The weekend culminated in a lovely Harvest Festival service of praise and thanksgiving.
A total of £1966 was raised, including Gift Aid, for which we are especially grateful. It will all be put towards the continuing work and upkeep of this very special place in our community.
Heartfelt thanks once again. May God richly bless you.
Bells and bells
In the 14th century bluebells were first recorded and described by a Friar Henry Daniel as “lilies of the wood…. like daffodils but blue”. Reflecting of Victorian imagery, their depiction in our Lady Chapel window in the 1930’s, would have been to symbolise sorrow; their bell heads hung in sadness at Christ’s crucifixion.
In contrast, the Woodland Trust this spring ran a campaign to record all British bluebell sightings in the UK to celebrate their glory….. My family and I went on two bluebell “pilgrimages” to Foxley Wood near Fakenham and then Sisland Carr next to nearby Loddon. But, in our own St Peter’s Patch we have only one patch behind the front railings, but I am pleased to say that these are English bluebells, not the Spanish import.
For St Peter’s April was bells month. The bells project in the tower: the installation of the new frame, the redecoration of the ringing chamber and the re-hanging of the bells was speeding to its conclusion throughout April. So in honour of our splendid St Peter’s bells I am writing about bluebells. In Brooke there were more in flower around the Meres than in the churchyard. Perhaps this is apt as the church bells ring out for us all to hear throughout the village.
“There is another quality that makes the bluebell magical: it is in a hurry… The flowers have to beat the closing over of the tree canopy and their rush to become themselves is what makes them taut and glossy”… “ It doesn't last; as soon as they are perfect, they are over. Within a couple of weeks, the entire population will be drowned as if a flood has run through the wood. Now is the moment: it's when spring turns into summer.” So wrote the writer and historian Adam Nicolson in the Guardian in the spring of 2010.
This was such an apt quote for our April in St Peter’s: “in a hurry”. Everything had to be ready for the visit of Bishop Graham Norvic to rededicate the bells in a special service. You can’t slow down the progress of spring to summer and as a church we could not delay for the great moment of the special church service on May 7th.
The bells of St Peter’s Church in Brooke rang again on Sunday 7th May following six months of being silent to rehang them in a new frame. Last November, the bells were taken out of the tower to be fitted with new headstocks, wheels and clappers and returned in April to be rehung in the newly installed steel frame. The work has been carried out by John Taylor and Co bellhangers assisted by local volunteers. The bells were rededicated by the Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James at a special service on 7th May at 6.30 in St Peter’s Church. The service included commissioning the ringers to ring the newly rehung bells and they were rung by the local band as part of the service with open ringing afterwards.
Thanks to grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Norwich Diocesan Association of Ringers and donations from villagers and the Friends of St Peters, the project will ensure the bells ring out for the future. New fittings were last installed in 1912 and this project, which was awarded £58,900 from HLF, should see them lasting for the next 100 years.
The six bells were installed in the existing timber frame in 1758 by Joseph Mallows of Dereham and are the best surviving example of Joseph Mallows bells in the county. The bells in the new frame are ‘easier’ to ring and this will encourage more people, especially younger ones, to take up this ancient skill. The National Lottery funded project has also included community involvement from the local history group, scouts and the village school.
Dawn Pullan, the ringing master said: “We now look forward to regular ringing again and welcoming new ringers to ensure that the bells are heard throughout the village for many years to come. I would like to thank all those who have generously donated time and money to this worthwhile project.”
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”
So wrote Charles Dickens in Great Expectations. We stood outside the side door of church last Sunday morning (26th) during our Mothering Sunday Café Church making bug boxes for St Peter’s Patch. It was extremely warm in the lovely March sunshine although a few hours earlier, we would have felt the chill of winter in the same spot.
As if on cue, as the young people were assembling their bug hotels, using sections of bamboo and hollow plant stems packed into lengths of drainage pipe, a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly landed nearby and posed for a photograph. Some hibernate throughout the winter. Today also the ladybirds were warming up and flying around.
The three bug boxes made that morning are now hung under the conifers on the north side of the Churchyard. Ladybirds like to hibernate in the nooks and crannies in dead wood, and the homemade artificial homes can mimic this.
Lacewings are pretty insects that like similar accommodation to help make it through the winter. Such minibeasts like a chambered box to stay when it’s cold and they’ll have a better chance of waking up in the spring.
In the grassy areas of the churchyard the ground is green with long grass shoots and the woodland plant species are in flower. Early lesser celandines open their yellow petals in the sun, however when it’s dull the flowers remain closed. Red deadnettle and mouse-eared chickweed are also growing in abundance under the blue cedar tree in the front churchyard.
We most associate the primrose with this time of year. There are carpets of them on the back lanes into Brooke at the moment. St Peter’s churchyard, however, is not quite so well endowed although we photographed a few. They like to set seed in well-drained grass around early July.
Our native birds time their breeding season to the warmest part of the year, when there is plenty of food and lots of daylight in which to find it. As winter turns to spring, the lengthening daylight switches male birds into breeding mode. We watched starlings and robins together with coal tits, blue tits and gold finches in the tree cover on the eastern and northern boundaries.
The Norfolk Wildlife Trust are working with us on a fabulous wildlife day in the churchyard on Saturday 24th June, 11 – 3, “Wild about St. Peter’s”. It will be free to all. Save the date and find out more on further posts and watch out for posters and flyers nearer the time.
|Taylors the bellhangers returned earlier this month to relocate part of the old bell frame in the sound chamber.
This was a requirement of English Heritage as they considered the 18th century timber frame to be of historical importance. We will be using the old frame to hang two dumb bells to help with teaching learners to ring. The old frame was lowered down in five sections and reassembled on new steel beams. The work went smoothly under the direction of Andrew from Taylors who was ably assisted by John Ash and Steve Hayman.
The new frame for the bells is now being constructed in the bell foundry and will be arriving at Brooke on March 21st. The bells will follow shortly after that and it is hoped that they will be in place and ringable by Easter (all being well and with no hitches).
We have not been idle while the bells have been away. New lights have been installed in the ringing chamber, sound chamber and bell chamber. The bell chamber has been cleared of rubbish and the rotten floor repaired. Charles Wilde has also done an excellent job of repairing cracks in the ringing chamber using traditional lime mortar and will be lime washing the walls during March.
The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size. ~Gertrude Smith Wister (1905–1999)
Despite this being a quote from a North American horticulturalist, it is nonetheless true here in Norfolk. We are in mid-February desperately longing for signs of spring and snowdrops are looked for with great excitement. There are quite a few clumps in the churchyard, particularly towards the south-east where the trees in the Old Vicarage overhang.
Common snowdrops flourish in leaf-litter enriched soil underneath trees. Even when the tree canopy is in full leaf the shady moist soil continues to harbour the right conditions for the nurture of the underground bulbs. The group photographed here are probably Galanthus nivalis with double flowers.
There is an established hazel tree on this same southern boundary in the corner of the old vicarage garden just next to the current churchyard compost heap. Hazel has many stems as opposed to a single trunk. It’s branches lean out some way into St Peter’s Patch from which hang pendulous yellow catkins. On the same twigs are tiny crimson flowers looking like red fingers reaching out from the nascent leaf buds. These are the female flowers that are pollinated by the wind-blown pollen from the catkins. The female flowers go on to form the nuts. We’ll have to see just how many in October when they’ll be ripe for picking.
We are currently between Candlemas and Lent in the church calendar. The snowdrops are sometimes called Candlemas bells as they are generally out for the Feast of the Presentation of the Infant Christ in the temple on 2 February.
This year there are four weeks between Candlemas and Ash Wednesday (1 March) when the fourty days of Lent begin (the period of preparation before Easter-tide).
The daffodil, particularly the wild narcissus is sometimes known as The Lenten Lily. Right now, there are plenty of long leaves emerging ready to be followed by the yellow flowers in a few weeks; so they’ll be in flower during Lent and probably out for Mothering Sunday on 26th March.
All are warmly invited to our Mothering Sunday Café in Sunday 26th March in St Peter’s Church from 10.30am where they’ll be coffee, squash, cake plus craft and other activities to celebrate mothering.
Observations are just that. Rural residents see so many things in the process of going about our daily lives that we tend not to “notice” the obvious which might draw attention in an urban site. For example, a pheasant walking down a drive in central Norwich would cause excitement but most of us see them regularly in our gardens and roadsides and therefore discount them.
This visit to St Peter’s Patch in late January is like that; we saw things that are around about us in the village but yet we can relish and celebrate what we have and can be seen in this peaceful sanctuary.
Luxuriant overgrown hedges and small trees on the northern boundary attract many small birds. Today we saw:
Sparrows, long-tailed tits, blue tits and robins.
On that same northside of the front churchyard near the wall with Dovecote, and over ancient headstones, ivy has become one of the dominant plants but their winter berries are a source of food for small birds.
At the east end of the churchyard there is a woodland boundary in which sat pigeons and rooks with occasional flights overhead plus a common gull in soaring glide.
Some of you might have seen the amazing images of starling murmurations on BBC Winterwatch last week. In winter the British starling’s numbers are swollen by migrants from northern and central Europe and it is then when their aerial manoeuvres en masse happen. At about this time of year male starlings start building an untidy nest of leaves and grasses that is completed by the female before egg-laying. They like to nest in trees, rocks and buildings. High up on the north east corner of the church where the Lady chapel ends, just under the guttering, you can see the recent bird droppings of one of these males who is getting ready to invite his mate to join him in the next couple of months.
Molehills are abounding at the moment. Apparently moles thrive best in permanent pasture so are in an almost ideal habitat in a churchyard. Clearly judging by the number of molehills spread throughout the patch, this is a good place to be for Moldy Warp. There’s probably an abundance of worms!
The photographs of the red-legged partridge on the south wall bordering the old Vicarage were taken a week ago. Apparently there are about two dozen birds currently living in and around the churchyard. Males will frequently perch on vantage points in their territories, such as the high boundary wall. It is an attractive game bird and is probably eating beech mast and other seeds from the deciduous trees that grow on the boundaries.
“In order to know it properly a landscape requires routine and repetition… Nature keeps it own pace. To do things routinely, to take the same walk time after time, is not to see the same view over and over. It is to notice the incremental rate of natural change and to appreciate that nothing is ever repeated.” So writes Mark Cocker in his introduction to “Claxton”, 2014.
Local writer Mark Cocker delighted in publishing twelve years of notebook observations collected in monthly chapter headings made as he walked out of his front door in the South Yare Valley (which just happens to be a few miles down the road from Brooke.)
Bill Oddie writes and broadcasts about his going out and about in his own local patch on Hampstead Heath noting what he sees. The BBC Springwatch team base their broadcasts on observations made in one location over three weeks in early summer.
In his article in Brooke Parish Magazine in August 2016, Philip Strachan wrote about the great possibilities for exploring and learning about local nature in our own little reserve surrounding St Peter’s Church. Churchyards can be great places for wildlife and are often full of wildflowers. In fact, as Philip explained, the Parochial Church Council (the group of individuals involved in running and managing the church and its activities), now have an initial survey of the plants in the churchyard undertaken by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. It covers a snapshot in time in late July 2015 and the plants manifested then.
One of the uniquely interesting factors of churchyards in the 21st century is that in thousands of communities, ours included, there are sizeable areas of land – usually about an acre- that has survived untouched by either urban development or intensive agriculture. In many instances this “set-aside” element even pre-dates the church foundation because it was usually based on common land. This means, that, unlike our gardens and fields, there are unique reservoirs of wildlife that are not necessarily replicated elsewhere. “As such, churchyards have assumed an importance not only for the people of the parish but for its wildlife also.” Francesca Greenoak in “God’s Acre”, 1985.
Given that St Peter’s, Brooke now has a website which is regularly updated with news and activities, a group of interested individuals want to try observing “St Peter’s Patch” on a regular basis and sharing what we see there with some photographs. We want this to be an inclusive experience and as so many Brooke residents visit the churchyard regularly, please do share observations so that we can build a picture of the wildlife in St Peter’s Patch.
29th January 2017
On Advent Sunday the Benefice Gathered to launch our new Growth Plan. The result of a year of planning, the plan details our hopes and prayers for the coming year as we seek to commit ourselves to God's mission in our Benefice.
Areas of planning include continuting our exploration of Cafe Church and informal forms of worship, planning for conservation in our churchyards and extending the welcome that visitors receive in our open churches.
The full growth plan and the action plan which arises from it are available in the resources section of our web-site.
On Monday 31st October Andrew, the bellhanger from John Taylor and Co, duly arrived to remove the bells from the belfry. The scaffolding had already been erected, strong enough to carry the weight of the tenor bell at 14cwt (700kg). ably assisted by John Ash and Steve Day the first job was to install a lifting beam inside the tower. The after removing the louvres to the SW opening work started on lifting the bells out of the frame, moving them across the tower and scaffolding and lowering them to the ground and then into Church for safe keeping. All went to plan with the 4th, 3rd, second and treble bells removed by Tuesday evening followed by the 5th and tenor on Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon and Thursday saw half the 1758 oak frame removed which as you can imagine was quite an undertaking. WE marvelled at the skill of those carpenters who put the frame together with no power tools, tenon joints and dowels on a large scale. The other half of the frame is to be saved and placed in the sound chamber to hold the dumb bells.
Friday morning and the lorry arrived to take the bells to the bell foundry in Loughborough. They were loaded and disappeared down the street with a touch of sadness and you can image my relief when I heard that they had safely arrived in Loughborough that afternoon. Now we have to clean out the years of accumulated birds nests etc. move the rest of the frame and wait for the bells to arrive back in February.
Brooke Adventurers Youth Football Club has been running now for around 20 years, the Club is Sponsored by St Peters Church Brooke and Lynn Chapman our Vicar is The Chairwoman. We are in the Norfolk Christian League and have been since the League was formed over 20 years ago. We currently have between 55 and 60 Children registered with us to play from the age of 8 to 16 Years old. We are a really friendly Club with some Fantastic Coaches and helpers and a brilliant network of Supporters.
This season has probably been the Adventurers best Season ever.
All four of our teams managed to get to their respective Cup Finals,first time this has ever been achieved.
The Under 10s had a great season,they started off the year winning the First two 5 a side round Robin tournaments held inside during the winter,there league age group doesn't doesn't award points at this stage,but had they been given points they would have been fairly high up in their league.
They won the U10s Trophy Final in a really hard fought game against Old Catton 2 - 1 and lifted the Cup in front of a very large crowd.Then in the Season end 5 a side they made the semifinals(they won it last year).
A big well done goes out to Benny Brown and his coaching staff for all their hard work during the season.
The Under 12s also had a brilliant season,they finished Second in their league just being pipped to the title by Stoke Utd in a very hard fought league.It came down to the last game of the season.
The Cup was a different story,Brooke beating Stoke 3-0 in a very commanding fashion to pick up the award.
They didn't finish there,at the season end 5 aside tournament they triumphed again making it 3 years in a row of winning this event.So another 2 more trophies for Brooke.
Great effort by all,and a massive thanks to Carl Mayhew and his coaching staff for all their hard work.
The Under 14s had a strong season as well.They also finished Runners up in their league behind Heartsease Whites who are a very strong team.They also made the Cup Final but after a hard fought game against Heartsease lost 3-1.
All was not lost though as Brooke picked up the very Prestigious FairPlay trophy,this is won with points picked up during the season and awarded by the other teams to do with sportsmanship,attitude,behaviour etc.The league look upon this Cup being as important as winning the League or Cup so a big well done to the boys.
Another big thank you goes out to Mike Liggins and his coaching staff for all their great efforts.Mike is taking a sabbatical next season to recharge his batteries perhaps till the season after?Thanks Mike for what you have done from all at the Club.
Lastly we finish with the U16s.
This has been the best ever season for the U16s,doing the League and Cup Double.
They won the league with 2 games to go after being Undefeated in 13 of the 14 League Games.After 19 years of being in the league the U16s had never won it until now!
They also made the Cup Final for the first time and triumphed in that beating our arch rivals ENYP 4-1 in a very hard fought game which went to extra time.They put the win down to the extra cheering from our U12s who came to add vocal support in the extra time,and stormed the pitch at the end.The League and Cup double is a great success.
Big thanks Rob Dixon and David Mead for all their efforts with the U16s.
The Christian league committee congratulated Brooke on all their achievements this season at their recent A.G.M.
Let's hope for another Great Season starting in September.
St Peter's Day was celebrated in a new venture this year with a Songs of Praise service held in the open air between the meres in Brooke. Despite the uncertain weather a small congregation gathered, sheltered by the trees as the sun tried to shine and the rain stayed at bay for a while. The local ducks took an interest, leaving the water to have a look at the goings on, but swiftly returning when no food was offered.
Our singing was led by a group of (mainly) recorder players, recruited from the congregation and the hymns rang out across the water as we joined in with well known favourites like "Lord of the Dance" and "Praise my Soul the King of Heaven". We heard about St Peter and had the opportunity to pray with fish.
The highlight of the evening, however, was the production of a dramatised bible story by some of our Open and Book team and friends. The possibilities opened by the meres were exploited to the full and the story of the calling of Peter and the miraculous catch of fish took on a new light as our St Peter (aka John Ash) set out across the mere in his boat and brought back his huge catch of multi-coloured fish.
It was agreed by everyone that this was a wonderful way to worship and to share time together and a future event will be planned. Perhaps our very own St Peter will walk on water next time!
See the Gallery for further photographs.
St Peter’s Church and the bellringers received an excellent Christmas present just before Christmas. The grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was approved and we have a grant of 80% towards the total cost of £75,000 to rehang the six bells. This really is good news as competition for grants is fierce. The project is to rehang the bells in a new frame with new bellfittings which will make them easier to ring and they should last for another 100 years. The bells were last rehung in 1912 and the timber frame was installed in 1758. The project also includes community involvement and there will be more details regarding this aspect of the project in due course. A contract has been let for John Taylor & Co
John Ash, Fabric Officer; Dawn Pullan, Tower Captain.
A recent shopping expedition to a “major Supermarket” revealed an aisle already dedicated to Easter Eggs and other chocolate treats for the season. For many this appearance so soon after Christmas seems out of place – but it is not so far from the direction of our attention in church.
Visitors to our churches will have observed the presence of our crib scenes right up to the very beginning of February, when we keep the Feast of Candlemas. This festival marks the end of the Church’s celebration of Christmas and we turn to look towards Easter. For Christians, however, a sudden jump from Christmas to Easter does not take place without a consideration along the way of all that Jesus experienced and taught in the lead up to his death and resurrection. Much of this takes place in the season of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday on the 18th February.
As I write the terrorist acts in France are dominating our news and many in the world are asking huge questions about how atrocities of this sort can take place. There is suspicion of all forms of religion, as some fanatics seem to lose their humanity in the pursuit of their claimed beliefs. In our relatively quiet villages it can be hard to imagine the fear and insecurity in which many people live, and difficult to find ways to stand beside them.
Perhaps this Lent, as we prepare to commemorate the suffering and self-giving of Jesus, we can make it our special intention to stand beside all those who suffer and all those who give of themselves in service as we hold them in prayer. Our Easter celebrations will rejoice with the message of resurrection hope, that good can triumph and light can overcome darkness. Maybe we can be vessels of that hope for our world, and in our trust and belief, help to spread hope to all those who have lost sight of it.
May God bless you all,
Lent Study Groups offer the opportunity to meet with other Christians to consider our faith. This year in the Benefice we will be considering the texts from Scripture which tell the story of Jesus’ last days in Jerusalem and his death and resurrection. We will use a variety of methods including discussion, reflective story-telling, lectio divina, and the thoughts and ideas of Biblical scholars through the ages. We will also consider how the traditions and services of Holy Week and Easter help us to commemorate and experience for ourselves these events, so that our understanding grows not only from what we read but also through what we do.
There will be two groups running throughout Lent, one on a Monday afternoon and one on a Wednesday evening. You are welcome to attend which ever group suits you, and to “mix and match” if you wish to. Each session will be complete in itself, although together they will make a good overview of our keeping of Holy Week and Easter.
Sessions are as follows:
The Last Supper
Trial and Execution
Groups will meet:
Monday 2.30-4.00pm Long Meadow House, Thwaite
Monday 23rd February, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, March
Wednesday 7.30-9.00pm The Vicarage, Brooke
Wednesday 25th February, 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th March
Download your own copy of the leaflet "Lent, Holy Week and Easter in the Brooke Benefice 2015" from the Resources link at the top of the page.
Sunday 29th March
Palm Sunday procession and Eucharist
10.00am Kirstead Church
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
in Holy Week
30th, 31st March, 1st April
Mon, Brooke, Tues, Seething, Wed, Brooke
Thursday 2nd April
The Lord’s Supper and The Watch
6.30pm Mundham Church
Friday 3rd April
Family Activity morning
10.30am Brooke Church and Hall
The last hour at the foot of the Cross
2.00pm Thwaite Church
Saturday 4th April
The New Fire and
Renewal of Baptismal vows
5.00pm Brooke Church
The Easter Vigil
8.00pm Seething Church
Download your own copy of the leaflet "Lent, Holy Week and Easter in the Brooke Benefice 2015" from the Resources link at the top of the page.
Sunday 5th April
The First Eucharist of Easter
A formal service of Holy Communion to celebrate the Resurrection—”early in the morning on the first day of the week”. Liturgy from Common Worship, with hymns.
Followed by a light breakfast.
7.00am Kirstead Church
Holy Communion on Easter Day
A traditional service of Holy Communion with the liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer.
9.00am Thwaite Church
Family Service with Holy Communion
Easter worship for all ages and stages including hymns, readings, activities and Holy Communion.
Followed by refreshments
and an Easter Egg Hunt
10.30am Brooke Church
St Peter's Church at Brooke were delighted to welcome the whole of Brooke VC Primary School, along with many parents and supporters, for their end of term Christmas Carol service.
The children were in good voice and joined in heartily with the carol singing. In between the traditional Christmas lessons were read by groups of children; some giving a dramatic twist to their readings. They had practiced hard and we were able to hear them clearly as the story unfolded. Cecil the caterpillar made an appearence to help Lynn tell the Christmas story, but he was more interested in dressing the Christmas tree. He soon showed the children how to use the lights and trimmings to remind them about Jesus and the message of love that he came to bring.
The children returned to school to collect their belongings before going home for their Christmas holiday.
Members of the Open the Book Team from St Peter's Brooke achieved their long held desire to play the main parts in the nativity story when they went to Brooke School this week. The team held the children in thrall as they completed their first term of visits with "The First Christmas" - a presentation of the Nativity story, told especially for children. Along with Mary and Joseph the Angel Gabriel and the Inn Keeper made an appearance. We are assured that the donkey is not eating the Baby Jesus, merely having a good look!
Open the Book assemblies are warmly welcomed by the school, who tell us that the children love this interactive way of learning about Bible stories. The team have also been on hand to welcome the children to church on two occasions this term.
Thank you for your wonderful welcome to the benefice. I have been overwhelmed by your warmth and friendliness. Hopefully, over the coming months, I can begin to get to know you better and start to put names to faces. A huge “thank you” too, to all those who held the fort during the interregnum and worked faithfully to keep everything going.
As this magazine is published we stand at the very beginning of the Church’s year, the season of Advent; what a place to make a new start! Many people will be aware of the use of Advent as a time of preparation for Christmas – especially through the tradition of Advent Calendars (many of which involve chocolate!). It is indeed a time when Christians prepare themselves to celebrate the feast of Christmas, recalling how God came to earth in human form as a tiny baby at Bethlehem. They try to make sure that they are ready to welcome their Lord Jesus into their lives in a more hospitable way than that first birth amongst the straw and the animals. Advent is also, however, a time of preparation for something that will be even more wonderful: the expected return of Jesus as King over all.
We only have to read the newspaper or turn on our televisions to be made aware of the huge unrest and suffering that there is in our world, indeed in our own country. As Christmas approaches many of us will try to remain conscious of the needs of others, less fortunate than us, as we make preparations for our festivities. Perhaps we need to bear in mind that promised Reign of God, where war will be no more and the hungry will be fed. When the new calendar year comes and many make New Year resolutions maybe we need to consider how we can work to bring in that Kingdom here in our villages. How can we allow God’s love to shine through all we do and how can we allow Jesus’ example to rule all our actions?
I hope and pray that in your Advent you may find time to ponder as well as to prepare and that your Christmas festivities and New Year rejoicings may be enriched by the things you discover.
May God bless you all,
In the last fortnight I have attended two talks which in different ways dealt with spirituality.
In a world of ‘must have’ and instant communication, spirituality (to do with understanding our inner self) is important I believe, if we as Christians are to act responsibly in the world in which we live.
The first talk was about Julian of Norwich, who as many of you may know lived in Norwich in the 14th century, and whilst very ill at the age of 30 experienced a number of visions. She recovered from her serious illness and spent the next 40 years locked in a room adjoining St Julian’s Church. Here she not only gave advice and comfort to those who visited her but also wrote down what she had learnt from the visions in a book “The Revelations of Divine Love”. This book, the first ever to be written by a woman, took 20 years to write and is now regarded as a spiritual classic throughout the world. Her clear thinking and deep insight speak directly to today’s troubled world. She was clearly ahead of her time and her understanding of God’s love was that of a tender loving mother, as well as that of a father – more 21st century than 14th !!
The second talk was given by Brother Sam of Hilfield Friary in Dorset. He is a Franciscan brother and very much in today’s world. He suggested that our spirituality was formed by a mixture of: the environment; the community in which we live or have lived; those on the margins of society that we come into contact with; and our prayer life. His discussion linked all four areas to the life of St Francis who was not just a lover of animals as he is so often portrayed, but a well-educated man who renounced his well-off background to work in the world, providing love and care to those in need of help, the poor and the sick, but also with a deep understanding that everything; humans, birds, animals, rocks, landscape, etc. are all from God. We are after all, made up of the same chemical element building blocks so are all interdependent.
The message that I took from the day was one of a need for us to engage in practical sharing both in our community and in the world, doing things together and seeing the world more through Gods eyes.
You can visit Hilfield Friary in Dorset or attend one of their courses and The Revelations of Divine Love can be bought or borrowed from the library – I recommend the latter, and the former if you are in that area or are in need of spiritual refreshment away from home.
May God keep and bless you.
01508 550116; firstname.lastname@example.org
In the absence of a Vicar, if I can be of help or if there are any issues you would like to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me (phone or email).
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Buy a little extra to donate to the Norwich foodbank.
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Date for the Diary...
Sat 22 Mar 2014 – St Luke’s Church,Norwich NR3 2HF
A new series focussing on the seasons of the Christian Year. Drawing on the arts and topical issues to enrich textual study and theological reflection, the ‘maps’ in this series will offer ideas, information and an introduction to a whole range of resources, and may be particularly useful to those who lead worship, lay or ordained. The ‘maps’ will cover All Saints, All Souls and Remembrance Sunday.
Please note: Mapping Advent is still available.
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