My heart Leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.

If you have a favourite poem, why not come and share it (and perhaps the reason it is a favourite) on Saturday 21st November at our zoom Poetry Evening.  This will start at 7pm, it is a fund raising event for the Benefice and the cost to take part is £5.  Please email or telephone me if you would like to take part and put £5 either through my door (22, Brecon Road, Brooke) or Lynn's (The Vicarage, Brooke).  You will be given the zoom code on Friday the 20th.  I look forward to seeing you there.  John Ash, 01508 550116


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Time to Remember

November brings us an opportunity to remember.

On the 1st of November we remember all the saints, those who have lived their lives within the Christian faith.  We remember those whose stories have made them famous, some handed through generations, and those whose quiet faith is known only to God.  We give thanks for thier example and remember that we are the saints of our generation.

The 2nd November is All Souls Day when we remember all those who have died.  This year we've moved our remembering to the afternoon and evening of 1st November to make it possible for as many people as possible to join in.  With so many people affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic it seems more important than ever to offer opportunities to remember those we love who have died in very personal ways.  St Peter's Church at Brooke will be open in the afternoon for people to use as a space to come and remember and then, in the evening, there will be a special on-line service of Commemoration.  There are more details in the events section of the web-site.

Our annual Remembrance Service will take place on Remembrance Sunday, 8th November, but for safety reasons we've made the decision that it will take place only on-line this year.  The details are in the events section of the web-site.  We know that many people will be disappointed by this but we have worked hard to make sure that all our villages are included and we will live in hope that we can gather at our war memorials again next year.

Everything that we plan at the moment has to be subject to change, so do keep an eye on our web-site as a way for us to let you know of any changes.  If you subscribe you can receive e-mail notifications when new content has been added.


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More tea Vicar....?

As the days begin to get shorter and the restrictions become more restrictive....the Benefice Council put their minds to what we might do to create some social opportunties for our community.  Meeting up together is unlikely to be possible in the coming weeks (and perhaps months) so we thought we'd turn our attention to the possibilities that technology is offering us.

Following the success of the weekly coffee morning during the main lockdown time, we have decided to experiment with holding a virtual Afternoon Tea.  You will, unfortnately, need to supply your own tea and cake, but you are most welcome to come along, to see friends, and to have a chat.

Our first attempt will be on Wednesday 14th October from 2.30pm in the afternoon.  You don't have to be there at the beginning, guests can drop in at any time, and leave when they are ready too.  We will continue to use Zoom as our chosen platform.

You'll find all that you need to join in on the events pages of our web-site.

I look forward to seeing some of you there,



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A huge "Well Done" to all those who took part in Saturday's Cycle Ride.

Liz, Gwyneth, Carrie and Martin set off on their bikes and rode 19 miles, visiting 13 churches along the way.

Travelling by car John and Stephanie visited 26 churches all over South Norfolk.

Daniel (and Dad, Robert) started in Wymondham and cycled all the way to Brooke, covering 26 miles and visiting 27 churches.

All reported how much they enjoyed the day - and the fortunately wonderful weather.

At the moment sponsorship has raised about £800 to be shared between the Norfolk Churches Trust and parishes in our Benefice.  It's not too late to donate - you can contact any of the participants if you would like to make a contribution.

Daniel sent the following:

Thank you so much to everyone who sponsored me for the Norfolk Churches Trust sponsored bike ride. I aimed to cycle to 15 churches covering 15 miles and set a goal of raising £100. I was so happy to have raised over £400 more than the original target I had set myself. On the day, I cycled to 27 churches and covered 26 miles. So far, I have raised £575 for the Norfolk Churches Trust and the Brooke Benefice. Thank you so much again to everyone who generously sponsored me!

A big "Thank You" to those who took part and to all those who sponsored them.


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Norfolk Churches Cycle Ride

12th September this year is the date for the annual Norfolk Churches Trust Cycle Ride.  People from across the diocese will  be taking to their bicycles (and cars and walking boots) to spend the day visiting as many churches as they can.  Sponsored by friends, family and kind benefactors, they will raise money for the ongoing work of the Norfolk Churches Trust - and for their parish churches.

The Norfolk Churches Trust helps parishes to maintain their historic church buildings.  They care for some "redunant" churches and offer grants to others for building projects and repairs.  The parishes of our benefice are all members of the Trust and have benefited over the years from generous gifts.  The annual Cycle Ride offers the opportunity to make a contribution back to the Trust and to raise some money for our churches too.

This year, amongst others, we have a new rider in Daniel.  Once he found out about the event he decided that he could combine his love of cycling with his interest in churches and raise some funds for the Benefice along the way.  He plans to cycle from his home in Wymondham to his "second home" in Brooke on the day, hoping to visit at least fifteen churches along the way.  The route is about fifteen miles.  We are all hoping for good weather and looking forward to meeting him when he arrives at St Peter's.  

If you would like to sponsor Daniel you can do so by:

Visiting his JustGiving page, where you can make and on-line donation:  Sponsor Daniel 


Contacting Lynn (01508 558479, and asking to be added to a paper sponsorship form being kept at the Vicarage.  You will be asked to deliver your sponsorship money, in cash or by cheque to the Vicarage (or the Vicar) after the event.

Thank you for your support and "thank you" Daniel (and others) for your support of this special event.


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St Margaret's Re-Opens for Private Prayer

Following some cleaning and lots of guidance reading and risk assessing, St Margaret's Church at Seething is now ready to be opened for private prayer.  The church will be open from 12pm to 4pm on Sundays and from 10am to 4pm on Thursdays.  There are instructions in the porch so that all hygiene precautions are taken, in an attempt to make the building "Covid secure".

We know that some people have been missing being able to pop in on their daily walks and so we are delighted that they will now have the opportunity to enjoy the hallowed quietness of Seething's beautiful church once more.


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Changing Times......

The last few weeks have been a steep and exciting learning curve as we have opened St Peter's Church at Brooke for private prayer and for Sunday Worship following its closure in March.  Extensive risk assessments have been carried out and procedures and policies have been drafted and published.  Lots of soft furnishings and books and papers have been removed from the church to make it easy to keep clean and access to some areas has been closed off for the same purpose.  We are extremely grateful to Liza our lovely cleaner who has been so accommodating and has floors and pews gleaming in the sunshine again.

Twice each week the church is open for people to visit and make their own private prayers.  There are clear signs about what to do and people have been coming along for a few minutes, or a little while, to enjoy the peace and quiet of the church.  It's not quite the same as being able to wander in just when you want to and just at the moment you can't light a candle or leave a prayer card, but it's good to know that those who wish have access to St Peter's once again.

We've had three Sunday services in church now too.  The screen is up at the front and the gift of mobile broadband has made it possible to join up with those who are worshipping at home, via Zoom.  There have been some hairy moments, but we are beginning to get the hang of it and everyone agrees that it's probably the best we can do until we are all able to be in church again.  Huge thanks go to Brian and team who have been recording hymns and music to add to our services.  Those in church find it very hard not to be able to sing a long, but we look forward to the day when this will be possible again.  We have now removed the booking system for services as we feel able to cope with the numbers of people who wish to attend and so far we haven't had to turn anyone away.

Sunday services are planned throughout August so, if you're ready to come back to church, do come along to St Peter's and join in.  Zoom will continue too for the time being - the link and joining details are on the web-site.  We hope that in the coming weeks we can work on opening another of the churches in our benefice - so look out for news of that soon.


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Re-opening for Worship

It is with great joy that we are able to re-open St Peter's Church at Brooke for public worship this week.  There will be a Benefice service of Morning Worship on Sunday 12th July at 10.30am.  We hope that this will be the pattern for the next few weeks.

So that everyone can make a choice about whether they wish to attend church or not, we will continue to offer our worship on Zoom at 10.30am as well.  Through a generous gift it should be possible for this to include those in the chuch, so that we continue to worship as one community.

Due to social distancing those who wish to come to the church will need to book a place.  There are full details of the arrangements in the "Re-opening our churches" section of the web-site.  Those who wish to join on Zoom will find the link on the "What's on" page, or in the weekly benefice e-mail.

This is a first tentative step towards returning to worshipping together in body as well as spirit.  It will not be as we have known it in the past, but it is an opportunity for those who wish to worship in the church building to be able to do so once more.

St Peter's Church at Brooke is also open for private prayer on Sundays (12pm-4pm) and Wednesdays (10am-4pm).


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Thoughts on St Peter

One of the things I have missed over the past 12+ weeks has been walking up the Church Path in Brooke and looking up to see the statue of St Peter above the porch entrance before entering the church.

 Why? Peter was an ordinary fisherman – skilled at his work no doubt and not particularly well educated. He became a trusted and liked follower of Jesus, but he was not perfect – so there is hope for us all.  And thinking of this as I pass the porch gives me a feeling of confidence- confidence that we do our best in whatever God has set us to do and sometimes we will fall short – but God will still love us.

Peter of course was commissioned by Jesus with the rest of the disciples “to make disciples of all nations”.  He was successful in this traveling around spreading the ‘good news’ finally ending up in Rome.  Here Emperor Nero was persecuting Christians and Peter’s fellow Christians implored him to leave Rome to spare his life.  He did not run away and was put in prison where he converted his gaolers Processus and Martinian.  He was taken from the prison and crucified, head downwards at his own request for he declared himself unworthy to suffer the same fate as his Lord.

It is not surprising that so many Churches are dedicated to St Peter, the disciple who carried out Jesus’ teaching to the letter (and to death) and a saint to be an example to us all.  So taking two extreme examples Brooke and St Peters Basilica in Rome.  On the face of it they may not have any similarities – but of course they have.  St Peter’s in Rome may be more lavishly decorated (and have more gold) but both places provide a meeting place for Christians to praise God, to pray and hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, and have done that for many hundreds of years.

I sometimes think that St Peter would feel more at home in our Church, his coming from a village and a working family background, but who knows, he may prefer the enormous crowds in Rome to be able to carry out Jesus’ commission to make disciples of all nations.  When I was in St Peters in Rome there were certainly hundreds of people from all nationalities.

Over the last 12 weeks my days have comprised gardening, doing odd jobs that I had been putting off (for years) and a bit of painting as the Thursday art group cannot meet.    The challenge I set myself this week was to paint an icon – a painting of a saint on wood.  My effort of St Peter is below – nothing like the icons I have seen in Russian Orthodox Churches – but I enjoyed doing it!!


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Conserving for all

Our churchyards offer almost unique environments for the natural world.  They have been largely untouched for centuries, certainly not dug over or planted, and they are havens for wildflowers and wildlife.  

The Benefice has been trying to consciously conserve these areas over the last few years.  Sadly a planned conservation survey across our churchyards has had to be postponed, but we hope that it will happen in due course.  None-the-less work has continued to manage the churchyards so that people can visit graves - and at the moment so that we can hold funerals in them - but also to make them as natural as possible.

In Brooke the "WIldlife Friends" are a group who began to meet in the autumn of 2019.  Whilst sharing their interest in the natural world - and a cup of tea - they have also made practical steps to clearly mark out conservation areas and to provide sanctuary for wildlife.  They have also worked hard to ensure that those who visit the churchyard at St Peter's are able to spot for themselves all that is there. This has mainly happened at present through a noticeboard near the entry.

Work has been going on even in lock-down and the noticeboard has been updated to reflect the wildlife features of this early summer time.  A corrogated iron sheet has been placed in a suitable spot  in the hope that it will encourage amphibians, and an upturned dustbin lid has also been installed to offer water to our feathered friends.

Do make the most of the encouragement that we are receiving to be outside at this time and visit one of our churchyards.


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