Vicar's letter December 2018 / January 2019

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,


John Ash

Lay Reader





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Vicar's letter October / November 2018

November 11th this year sees us hold two contrasting emotions in tension. We commemorate, as we do every year, the sacrifice of lives given in service to our country. This year, however, we celebrate too: a century since that First World War came to an end.

In the last four years much work has been done to research the (mainly) men whose names are recorded on our war memorials. Projects across the country have sought to give them faces and to find out about their lives before the war. It is important that they are remembered and honoured.

Maybe this year we will remember too those who lived; those who came back. Nothing could erase the horrors they had seen, the conditions in which they had lived or the fear that they had experienced. Many were wounded or maimed and many more would carry the scars to their mental health for the rest of their lives. They were a generation who did not speak of their experiences, but got on with trying to live as best they could.

All those who helped to establish the peace that returned to this country in November 2018 were heroes and all should be honoured for their example of selfless service. We will remember them.

In our society and in our community today there are those who quietly live a comparable life of selfless service. They are often hard to identify or name because they do not draw attention to themselves or their actions. None-the-less they are working on, usually in the background, maintaining the peace of our “ordinary” lives.

At this time of the year, when we remember so many different things, and pause to take stock, perhaps a careful look around us will help us to spot these modern heroes and heroines, giving of themselves, just as those long remembered soldiers did. If you can identify one of them, thank them and help them to know that their quiet contribution to our world is appreciated.


May the peace of God fill your homes and your hearts,



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