Vicar's Letter June / July 2018

The recent revelation of the deportation of some of the “Windrush generation” has shocked many in our nation. It seems very wrong that those who were invited here, bringing their skills and willingness to work, have been treated so badly. Perhaps it has been particularly shocking to us, living in Norfolk, as the area has a tradition of welcoming the stranger. In the seventeenth century Norwich became home to “strangers” from the Low Countries; invited here, not only to escape persecution, but also to restore the cloth industry in the city. They soon became part of Norfolk life and many of us are descended from them today.

Jesus challenges his followers to welcome the stranger and in doing so to welcome him. So what does such hospitality mean and how might it apply to our Benefice?

True welcome often requires us to make space for the stranger, not only physically, but for their culture, their beliefs and their needs too. True welcome involves setting ourselves aside and considering the good of all. It is costly, but it offers us the opportunity to learn from those who come among us, temporarily, or more permanently, and to receive the benefit of their gifts and skills.

We are good at hospitality for our local communities with lunches and cafés in our village and church halls, where all are welcome (and the food is delicious!). Our clubs and societies welcome new members and seek to make them part of the group, making time to get to know them and to help them know others. How good are we, though, at welcoming the stranger, those who are not like us - those for whom we need to make changes to make room?

It may be that we need to be mindful of the benefits of diversity, of the gifts and skills that others may bring to our communities, and of our need to be willing to make changes, before we will be truly welcoming to all.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the villages of the Brooke Benefice became hallmarked by their willingness to offer a true welcome to everyone!

May God bless you,

Lynn

 

 

 

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May ’18 Winged and Floral Delights, St Peter’s Patch

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.

 

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Vicar's letter April - May 2018

As I write this the village is covered in a blanket of snow. Before it fell, however, the signs of spring were all around and we know that it will return when the thaw comes. Those signs of hope, in buds and unfurling leaves, are a visible reminder of the hope in which we can live our lives. The snowy weather has brought out the best in people with amazing acts of kindness and neighbourliness taking place. If we can do it in the snow - we have it in us to do it at other times too. What a great basis of hope for the future and the possibility of a kinder more generous world.

This period of the year, immediately after the Easter celebrations, is also a time of hope. In church we remember Jesus’ promised resurrection and the joy of his disciples as he overcame death and appeared among them again. It is sometimes hard to translate the “then” of Jesus’ story to the “now” of our own lives, but Jesus’ love is still at work in the world through the deeds of those who follow him. We have the opportunity to support some of them as we keep this year’s Christian Aid Week in May.

As well as setting an example of care, Jesus showed his disciples the importance of celebrations too. On the 13th May we will be celebrating with John Ash as he gives thanks for thirty years of licenced ministry as the Reader of this Benefice. Details of a special service are inside. The following weekend we will mark the Royal Wedding with our own service of celebration for Marriage. All are invited and during the service there will be a quiet moment to remember with thanksgiving those who kept their marriage vows “until death us do part”, acknowledging their special place in the heart of their widows and widowers.

There is much that we can celebrate and much cause for hope. As we go about our daily lives may we be lit from within by that joy and hope and share our light with the people we meet.

 

 

May God bless you,

Lynn

 

 

 

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Two Seasons in One Month! A Beast from the East and soft Easter rain

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.

 

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