Lynn

Songs of Praise

Songs of Praise

We have all missed singing together as part of our worship.  On Sunday 2nd May, weather permitting, we will be able to join our voices in praise once more at an outdoor service. 

We will gather in the Churchyard at Brooke at 6.30pm to share in "Songs of Praise" with hymns chosen by congregation members.  Social Distancing will remian in place, so we will not be able to socialise yet, but we can worship together. 

See the events notice for further details.  

We look forward to seeing your there - and do invite your friends.

 

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Lynn

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Brooke Benefice joins the Nation in mourning the passing of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Services this week will include prayers for the Prince and for Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family as their grieve.

You will have heard  and seen the many tributes, both formal and personal, to the Prince which have shown the huge influence that he has had on the life of our Nation and others across the world and the impact and inspiriation that he has been in individual lives.

We will continue our participation in the week of mourning, ringing the bell at Brooke in line with other national times of ringing.  There will be opportunties for private prayer at Brooke on Wednesday from 10am to 4pm and at Seething on Thursday from 10am to 4pm.

We will hold a Service of Commemoration for the Duke, in line with many other parish churches across the country, on the evening before his funeral.  This will be at 6pm on Friday 16th April at St Peter's Church, Brooke.  People will be able to attend in person, with social distancing in place, but the service will also be live on Zoom.  You can find the links and Order of Service elsewhere on this web-site.

God of our lives,
we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip,
for the love he shared among us,
and for his devotion to duty.
We entrust him now to your love and mercy,
through our Redeemer Jesus Christ.  Amen.
 

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Lynn

Murder, Mystery and Merryweather

Murder, Mystery and Merryweather

Our social event for April is an evening of amateur sleuthing as we join our local detective in tracking down the dastardly killer.  You can join in on Zoom from 7.30pm on Saturday 24th April as we work together to find out "who done it".  

If you like all things detective related, you can take on the challenge of our themed quiz with questions about professional and amateur detectives from books, film and television.  A wonderful opportunity to test your knowledge.

We look forward to your company - as we go sleuthing together.

 

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Lynn

Alleluia

Alleluia

Happy 

Easter!

Sending best wishes to all.

 

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Lynn

Holy Week

Holy Week

How different Holy Week 2021 will be from last year.  Although we tried hard to worship and pray together we could only rely on using the same material and committing to the same times.  Not long after Easter Zoom came along for us and revolutionised our lives.  It means that, although we cannot be physically together most of the time, we will be able to keep Holy Week 2021 together, in the spirit of our Benefice vision.

We have been able to organise a service for each day and you will find details of them in the events section of this web-site.  As the week goes on you will be able to download and print off the Orders of Service, so that you can take a full part in what is going on.

For two of our services those who wish to will  be able to come to church in person.  Social distancing and face coverings will remain in place and we will still be unable to sing as a congregation, but it will be lovely to see each other none-the-less.  See the separate articles for further details and booking arrangements.

As we move cautiously to the first step of the Government road map on Monday, hopefully we will  be able to begin to feel less isolated and shut in.  Whilst we take full advantage of our new freedom, it will be good too to take time to walk with Jesus on the way of the cross in the coming days.

WIth blessings for a holy week.

 

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Lynn

National Day of Reflection

National Day of Reflection

Next Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the lockdown in which we have all been living to some extent ever since.  In that year vast numbers of people have died, some from Covid 19 itself and others for many different reasons.  For each of those people there have been numerous others who have been bereaved.  To add to their grief and sense of loss many people have not been able to attend funerals, or to arrange the funeral that they would have liked and many have also been deprived of the opportunity to meet afterwards to share their sadness....and all those amazing memories and funny stories.

Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Church of England have worked together to create a National Day of Reflection to mark that first anniversary in a way that honours all those who have died or been bereaved.  Nationally a minutes silence will be kept at 12 noon and church bells will be chimed.  Throughout the day there will be other ways for people to pause and remember the dead, whilst supporting the bereaved.

In the Benefice we will share in a service of reflection, both on-line and in person, remembering those who have had funerals in this benefice in the last year and those who have been bereaved, as well as joining in with that national moment of silence.  There will be the opportunity to light a candle and the church at Brooke will be open for private prayer.  Further details of the service are in the events section of this web-site.

As we look towards the promised day when we can go out freely and meet one another again, we pause to remember those who are gone before us and those who mourn their passing.  May they rest in peace.

 

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Lynn

Lent 2021

Lent 2021

We stand on the brink of this year's Lent.  Given the current lockdown restrictions we have planned for our events and services to take place on-line.  Lent is traditionally a time to really focus on God at the centre of our lives.  We may do this by "giving up" distractions, by taking up a new discipline of prayer or by making a new attempt to live out our faith in service to others.

There will be several opportunities to do this together this Lent.  You may like to make a committment to join in with Morning Prayer on Thursdays at 10am, or with Compline on Tuesdays at 8.45pm as a prayer discipline.  Alternatively, you may like to take part in our "Poems to Ponder" study group.  Download each week's poem from the web-site (or sign up for our weekly e-newsletter by contacting Lynn at chapman.lynn@btinternet.com).  Spend time with it over the week and then come along on a Tuesday evening at 7,30pm to share your thoughts, and to hear what other people think.

St Peter's Church at Brooke remains open for private prayer on Wednesdays and Sundays, so do go there if you are missing the opportunity to pray in church.  We hope very much to be able to get back to worshipping in person (for those who want to) before too much longer.

 

 

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Lynn

Candlemas Greetings

Candlemas Greetings

Greetings to all on this Candlemas Day.  We have reached the end of the Christmas cycle and its time to pack away the cribs and to think about Lent and Easter, which lie just around the corner.  There is no need, however, to pack away the hope and light that we've been enjoying for the past forty days.  That message goes on.

News of the vaccine roll out seems good, and many of you have already had your first dose.  We are also beginning to see signs that our endurance of the January lockdown is also reducing the number of hospital admissions for Covid - a wonderful sign of hope.

As we continue to journey through this strange time, which will last for a while yet, we will need to draw on our store of hope to get us through.  Maybe remembering back to our Candlemas celebrations will help us to grasp the power of light in the darkness, and inspire us to continue to seek for joy in the midst of all that we are experiencing.

 

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Lynn

Welcome 2021!

Welcome 2021!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Our year of worship got off to a wonderful start on Sunday when Bishop Alan joined us for our Epiphany service and Daniel and Rebecca were Confirmed.  It was a very special morning.  Thank you to all those who made it possible.

Due to the current restrictions and the increasing infection rate that the new strain of Covid-19 has brought us we may need to make changes to our usual pattern of services at short notice.  We intend to go on using Zoom for our main Sunday services (and others where appropriate) so you will always find us there and it may be that some services take place in church for those who like to attend in person.  Please keep an eye on this web-site and look out for our weekly e-mail bulletins so that you have the most up to date information about what is happening.  

I'm sure that you will join me in continuing to pray for those who have Covid and for those who care for them, along with those who are alone or fearful and those whose jobs and livelihoods are threatened by the pandemic.  I hope, as well, that you will join me in seeking to remain hopeful, in looking for the many positive things that are happening in our local setting as well as wider afield and in attempting to care for each other in the coming days.

May 2021 bring you many blessings,

Lynn

 

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Lynn

Christmas Greetings!

Christmas Greetings!

Sending Christmas Greetings to all.

This Christmas may you be filled with the light and hope that the Christchild brings and may you know the peace of which the angels sang.

With blessings for this season and the year to come.

 

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Lynn

Advent - the season of waiting hopefully

Advent - the season of waiting hopefully

Advent is the season that opens a new church year. It offers us the opportunity to pause and to prepare ourselves for the forthcoming feast of Christmas.  Often, in the midst of all the practical things that need to be done, we neglect to prepare spiritually.  There are many things that can help us with this but two have been especially provided this year for us by the Diocese of Norwich, of which our Benefice is part.

At 9pm every Tuesday and Thursday until Tuesday 22nd December you can join our Bishop (and others in the Diocese) for the service of Compline, a beautiful, reflective way to draw the day to a close in prayer.  You can download and/or print an order of service here:  Compline Order of Service
There doesn't appear to be a direct Zoom link, but the other Zoom details (every time) are:  Meeting ID 819 7861 5511  Password:  771181     Telephone:  0203 481 5237

Alternatively......
It's still not too late to sign up for the electronic Diocesan Advent Calendar, which arrives as an e-mail each morning, offering the opportunity to pause and think Advent thoughts amidst everything else that's going on.  This link will take you to the page you need, where you enter your e-mail address and name to register:  Advent Calendar Sign Up Page

I hope that you will use these opportunities as encouaragment to deeped your relationship with God as we begin another year of church life.

May your Advent be blessed and help you to welcome the Christ-child once more into your heart this Christmas.

 

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John

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

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 johnrvash@gmail.com

 

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Lynn

Time to Remember

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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Lynn

More tea Vicar....?

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,

Lynn

 

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Lynn

WELL DONE!

WELL DONE!

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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Lynn

Norfolk Churches Cycle Ride

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 

or

Contacting Lynn (01508 558479, chapman.lynn@btinternet.com) 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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Lynn

St Margaret's Re-Opens for Private Prayer

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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Lynn

Changing Times......

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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Lynn

Re-opening for Worship

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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John

Thoughts on St Peter

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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Lynn

Conserving for all

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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Lynn

Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come

Dear Friends,

As we enter the period of time between the Ascension and Pentecost, we are invited to join with our Christian brothers and sisters in the "Thy Kingdom Come" project.  This was started by our Archbishops a few years ago and challenges us, in these nine days, to pray for God's kingdom to come in a focussed and intentional way. 

You could do this...
by praying the Lord's Prayer slowly each day, taking time to consider what it is that we are praying for in this prayer.
by exploring and using the many on-line materials available, including prayer lists, reflections and virtual resources.

or

by taking up our Bishop's invitation to join him each evening at 9pm to say Compline together.
You will find the Order of Service and Zoom codes for this here:  Compline Information

It would be lovely to think that at least one person from our Benefice joined in with this each evening.  Compline is a wonderful service which draws the day to a close and invites reflective and gentle prayer.  Being together, albeit virtually, with our Bishop and many others from across the Diocese will also give us a sense that we are part of something so much bigger than our small local congregation.

I hope that we can each find a way in the coming days to bring ourselves back to our relationship with God, at the centre of all we are and do, and to pray for God's kingdom to come.

With my prayers,
Lynn

 

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Lynn

This is Christian Aid Week

This is Christian Aid Week

This is Christian Aid Week.

Like so many other things this annual fundraising appeal has had to change its way of working.  This year there will be no door to door envelope collection and there won't be big breakfasts or Christian Aid coffee mornings.  It's not all "off", however, instead Christian Aid have thought up new ways for us to pray and donate so that their work can go on.

In spite of a year of planning, just weeks into the current crisis, Christian Aid changed the focus of their appeal for 2020 to combatting the dangers of coronavirus in the developing world.  Everything raised this week will go to help communities without running water, those in need of the basics, like soap and hand sanitizer and those who are living in cramped conditions - especially those who are already refugees as a result of war and injustice.

There are two things that we can do this week to join in with this effort.

Firstly, we can add our prayers to those of countless others, for our brothers and sisters who need our love and support,  across the globe and for those who work for Christian Aid (many of whom in this country have been fuloughed) and in their projects.  You can find resources to stimulate your prayers through this link: Prayers for Christian Aid Week

Secondly, we can make a donation to Christian Aid.  There are many ways to do this which are explained on the Christian Aid web-site.  We have created our own Benefice "e-envelope" which will help us as a Benefice to know how much we have raised.  We set the target at £500, which was the highest it would go, but we usually raise about £1000 across the Benefice, so let's see if we can exceed that £500.  You can find our "e-envelope" here: E-Envelope

Our service on Sunday morning (10.30am - more details on the web-site later this week) will have a Christian Aid theme as we pray together for the work of this wonderful organisation.

 

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Lynn

Close to Nature

Close to Nature

In these weeks when some of us have not left home at all, many people have watched the seasons change in their gardens, or out for their daily exercise.  When I began updating our web-site on a regular basis, at the beginning of this pandemic, the daffodils were just in bloom.  Now only their leaves remain and they have been replaced by unfurling leaves on the trees in brillaint green, the bursting of blossom and the appearance of miriad flowers in garden and hedgerow.

Our Benefice Organist, Brian Orland, has been paying very close attention to these stirings of nature and shares with us his photographs of nature "up close".  These were taken in the churchyard at St Peter's, Brooke on one of his daily walks and show us just how important it is to pay attention to detail.  You can see all his photographs in a new album in the gallery, here on the web-site: Close to Nature.

These detailed pictures of such small things that we may walk past in our usual busy lives, remind us of what we miss when we don't take the opportunity to pause.  They remind us too of the attention to detail that our Creator God takes.  If so much care is taken over the formation of each leaf and flower - surely it is taken over us too.  Perhaps in the spaces that our current situation is providing for so many of us, we can sit still, open our hearts to God and allow our Creator to bring us to full bloom.

 

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Lynn

The Brooke Benefice launches on Zoom

The Brooke Benefice launches on Zoom

After some weeks of experimenting and the success of our weekly virtual coffee mornings it was decided that the time has come to try out worshipping together on Zoom.  So, we will continue to gather in our homes this week, but those with internet access, who choose to do so, will be able to join up by video link, for a greater sense of being together.

The gathering will begin at 10.15am to allow everyone to "arrive" and our worship will start at 10.30am.  There is an Order of Service for this service in the resources section of the web-site.  Our organist has kindly recorded the music for our worship, so we're all set to give it a go.

For those who wish to continue to worship at home by less technical means, the weekly sheet of resources is again available, with ideas for reflection and for prayers linked to the Gospel reading of the day.

Whilst we continue to keep our distance from each other in body, we draw near in thought and prayer as we continue our weekly worship together.

 

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John

Our Reader Writes.....

Our Reader Writes.....

Dear Friends,

 

The last few months have been difficult for many people here in Britain and across the world.   We have experienced the wettest February for years, bringing floods to many parts of Wales and England with families having to evacuate their home and many of their treasured possessions lost.  There have also been floods in other parts of the world, where individuals and governments do not have the help and infrastructure to be able to respond effectively.  This came soon after the terrible fires in Australia and America.  And then, if that was not enough, we (as I write)  have the worry of Coronavirus, how widespread will it be, must we cancel holidays etc.  It  seems as if the floods and pestilence we read about in the Old Testament are revisiting us.  However, I do not think that is the case.  The scientific advice is that the floods, fires and viruses are partly our own making.  Climate change, due to the ‘misuse’ of our planet and its resources, is now having a devasting effect on peoples’ lives as are these new strains of viruses.

So, in short, we are living in very uncertain times.  How do we deal with what is happening around us, how will it get worse (or better) in the future, what can we do?  I am sure many of us feel at a loss and perhaps rather afraid.

 

If we step back 2000 years, the disciples and Jesus’ close friends must have had similar feelings.  What was happening? Jesus had been tried on untrue charges and then crucified on the cross on Good Friday.  What would happen to them? What did the future hold?  It was a very uncertain time, but they stuck together – the disciples and Jesus’ mother and a few other close friends.  There was obviously a feeling of security and companionship in being together and sharing the difficult time they were experiencing – there was not much very good about that Good Friday.  But it all changed on that first Easter Day with Jesus’ resurrection and we read in Matthews Gospel that he appeared to them and told them that “I am with you always, to the end of the age”.  All was not lost and there was a much brighter future than they had feared.

In our difficult and uncertain times, we can stick together and support each other, doing what we can for each other and the world. Remembering always that Jesus is our Saviour and is with us always to the end of the age.

 

I would like to finish this letter on a personal note.  I have been through very uncertain times over the past six months dealing with my cancer.  I would like to thank you all for your goodwill messages and prayers.  They meant an awful lot to me and really did help during the difficult periods of chemotherapy and post operation.

 

May God bless and keep you and may you have a very Happy Easter,

 

John

 

John Ash

Lay Reader

 

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Lynn

Alleluia! He is Risen!

Alleluia!  He is Risen!

We have reached Easter Day!  Let's all hope and pray that the light and hope of the Easter story can find its way into our world in the coming days.

I felt like I should send some Easter Message, but everyone else seems to do it so much better than me.  There are loads of things on line, but the link here will take you to the thoughts and words of the Bishop of Norwich, which I hope will provoke your thoughts in the coming days.

Bishop of Norwich : Easter Message

May you be blessed richly with the hope and light of this Easter Season,

Lynn

 

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Lynn

Do this in remembrance of me

Do this in remembrance of me

One of the things that we usually do on Maundy Thursday is to remember Jesus' last supper with his disciples and the new meaning he gave to the bread and wine as he asked them to remember him every time they shared it together in the future.  For the last few years we have met in Mundham church to join together in the Lord's Supper and to share just as Jesus asked his disciples to do.  Sadly this year that won't be possible as social distancing means that we cannot all be in the same place and we certainly can't share one cup.

Whilst even a few weeks ago we wouldn't have imagined a time when we couldn't take Communion, the Church of England in the Book of Common Prayer has long recognised that there may be occasions when people would not be able to receive the bread and wine in reality.  Instead it has been suggested that people receive "Spiritual Communion", acknowledging that Jesus comes to us spiritually as well as in the elements that we share, and that those who cannot receive the actual bread and wine need not be cut off from fellowship with the church - or relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  You can find lots of information (and some theological debate) about this online at the moment.  A short explanation from the Church of England is available here: Spiritual Communion

For many people Easter Day is one of the most important times of the year for them to receive Holy Communion.  Although there will be no services in church on Easter Day this year the bishops have given clergy permission to hold a service of Holy Communion in their own home on behalf of their congregation.  Having "fasted" from Communion since the suspension of public worship, I will, with great joy, be celebrating Holy Communion at the Vicarage on Sunday at 10.30am, for us all.  So that you can join in if you wish to, I have put the order of service, including a prayer for you to use at the point of sharing Communion, in the resources section of the web-site.  It will be good to know that some of you are joining me in what will be an extra special act of worship for Easter this year.

I join you in looking forward to the time when we can all once more gather around the altar and share together as Jesus asked his disciples to do.

 

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Lynn

Journey Through Holy Week

Journey Through Holy Week

We stand on the threshold of Holy Week 2020.  A Holy Week that will be very different from that we planned for a few weeks ago, and also very different from any Holy Week that has taken place to date.

Much creativity has been happening across the world to ensure that as the Church we are able to journey together through our remembrance of all that led up to Jesus death; before we celebrate his resurrection next weekend.  There are an abundance of downloads, podcasts, live streams and other resources available through the miracle of communication the internet is proving to be.  There are also lots of ideas of things for people to do in their own home, but together.

Whilst our regular daily "Prayer during the day" will continue all week, there will also be other times for us to know that we are worshipping together.  These will include:

10am on Sunday morning when we will remember the events of Palm Sunday. 

8.30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday when Compline will be said. 

7pm on Thursday when we remember the Last Supper and Jesus' arrest. 

2pm on Friday when we will take an hour to reflect on the story of Jesus' death on the cross.

9pm on Saturday when we carry the new fire of light into our homes as our celebration of Easter begins to dawn.

There are resources for all these events and more in this week's resources booklet, available on the resources section of this web-site.

 

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Lynn

Closed....but very much alive!

Closed....but very much alive!

Tuesday morning saw the closure of all our church buildings for the time being.  It is sad that those who find solace and peace in our ancient churches will be unable to do so for a while, but we must take all precautions to keep people safe as the Coronavirus continues apace.  Hopefully the weather will remain clement and, as part of their daily exercise, people can walk through our churchyards and enjoy the beautiful primrose carpets and the bird chorus from the trees and hedges.  Please remember in your prayers those who are temporarily deprived of their well-loved special places and remember too to give thanks for the beauty of creation which surrounds us.

Our buildings may be closed, but the church in the benefice continues to thrive. Many people have been in touch to say that they joined in with last Sunday's worship on the radio and some also found the Sunday Worship Resources helpful too.  These will appear each week, by e-mail to those on the mailing list, and also on this web-site.  I know that some people placed a lighted candle in their window on Sunday evening as all churches in this country came to the end of a day of "Prayer and Action" and that others joined in today with the 11 o'clock Lord's Prayer.  These acts of united prayer help us to remember that we are part of a wider church, which is active across the world.

On Wednesday we launched our "Telephone Tree" which will see twenty-one households linked by phone calls on five out of the seven days of the week.  It is still possible to join in with this project either by volunteering to phone someone, or as someone who would appreciate the opportunity to chat.  To take part please phone or e-mail the Vicar (01508 558479  chapman.lynn@btinternet.com)  Lots of other help is going on as people share shopping deliveries, pick up essentials and prescriptions and generally look out for one another.

As this new pattern of isolated living becomes more familiar, I encourage you to continue to actively strive to be the Church in our villages.  Please keep praying - it really can move mountains and doing it together, sharing the load, has been proved time and again to be beneficial.  Please keep safe and follow the guidelines that we have been given, so that you don't put yourself - or other people - at risk.  Do offer help, where you can (remember staying at home is a way to help our NHS and other people) but don't be afraid to ask for help yourselves.  We will all do our best to ensure that no-one is alone or in need in our community.

 

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Lynn

Suspension of Public Worship

Following advice from the Archbishops all public worship in our churches will be suspended until further notice.

Arrangements are being made to make it possible for us to continue the work of prayer which lies at the heart of our faith and further details will be posted in the coming days.

The Archbishops are encouraging us to consider how to "do church differently" in the coming days and weeks and emphasise the importance of our roll as "bearers of hope" to our communities.

Plans are being put into place in our villages to ensure that people are cared for and helped in this period and it will be important that we support these efforts in any way that we can - whilst maintaining proportionate concern for our own well-being.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Vicar (Lynn 01508 558749, chapman.lynn@btinternet.com) if you have questions or need help of any kind.

I'm sure that we will all be keeing all those with the virus, those who care for them and those who are making important decisions in our prayers.

 

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Churchyard Notice Board

Churchyard Notice Board

There is now a noticeboard close to the entrance to the Brooke Churchyard displaying information about the wildlife which can be found in the churchyard, updated seasonally

 

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Lynn

Vicar's letter February / March 2020

Although church-going plays little part in most people’s lives these days, many people continue the tradition of  “giving up” something for Lent.  These acts of self-denial often include going without chocolate or alcohol and some people give the money that they would have spent on these things to charity, remembering those who are in need of help or support, in this country or abroad.  There is something to be said for the feeling of success when we manage to keep up the discipline for the full forty days before Easter.

Somehow, in the midst of this tradition, the original intention has been lost for many people.  When the custom began, the act of “going without” was to create a greater awareness of the need for God and to make extra time to spend in prayer and study.  It was not intended to be an act of self-discipline but a time of deepening spirituality and faith. 

In an attempt to return to this intention many Christians now choose to focus their attention during Lent on God’s love and to take action to make this a reality in the world.  The forty days, for them, are filled with attempts to help other people to feel valued and significant.  Some people choose to carry out forty “random acts of kindness”, which can take their recipients by surprise, whilst others take time to catch up with friends or neighbours they haven’t seen in a while, either in person, by letter or on the phone.  For some their Lenten discipline takes the form of being positive about one thing each day, or ensuring that they spend time with family members during the week  -  no “devices” allowed.  Some people do something to love our planet and turn their hand to recycling, reducing their carbon footprint or conserving our wildlife.  There are those who have found their Lenten project to be so life-giving that they keep it up all year!

Sometimes it is good for us to mark out a period of time when we live a bit differently to the rest of the year.  Lent begins on 26th February this year  -  perhaps there is something you could do for forty days (until Easter Day on 12th April) that will make your world, or someone else’s, just a bit brighter and more loving.  You may even find that it begins a whole new way of life……

 

With every blessing,

Lynn

 

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Lynn

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

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

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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Harvesting Our Gifts

Harvesting Our Gifts

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.

 

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April in St Peter's Patch

April in St Peter's Patch

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.

 

 

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John

Brooke Bells ring out good news

Brooke Bells ring out good news

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.”

 

 

 

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March Days 2017

March Days 2017

 “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.

 

 

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John

Brooke Bells update – February 2017

Brooke Bells update – February 2017

 

      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.

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

 

 

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The Flowers of Winter into Spring - mid February inspiration in St Peter's Patch

The Flowers of Winter into Spring - mid February inspiration in St Peter's Patch

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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A Cold Damp Sunday in Late January 2017

A Cold Damp Sunday in Late January 2017

 

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.

 

 

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St Peter’s Patch, Brooke Churchyard

St Peter’s Patch, Brooke Churchyard

 Introduction

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.

 

Diana Wilde

29th January 2017

 

 

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Lynn

Brooke Benefice is Committed to Growth

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.

 

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John

The Bells have gone!!

The Bells have gone!!

 

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.

 

 John Ash

 

 

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Lynn

St Peter's Story brought to life in Mereside Service

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.

 

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John

Brooke Bells ring out good news

Brooke Bells ring out good news

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

 

January 2016

John Ash, Fabric Officer; Dawn Pullan, Tower Captain.

 

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Lynn

Parish Magazine Letter February & March 2015

Dear All,

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,

Lynn

 

 

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Lynn

The Diocesan Lent Appeal 2015

The Diocesan Lent Appeal 2015

Supporting the Suffering Church in the Holy Land Meeting Medical Needs.
Throughout Lent we will be supporting this appeal - look out for further details of events and opportunities.
More details are available on the Diocesan Web-site: www.dioceseofnorwich.org/lent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lynn

Lent Study Groups - "In Word and Deed"

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:

Entering Jerusalem

The Last Supper

Trial and Execution

Waiting

Resurrection

 

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

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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.

 

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Lynn

Holy Week

Palm Sunday
Sunday 29th March


Palm Sunday procession and Eucharist
10.00am Kirstead Church

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
in Holy Week
30th, 31st March, 1st April
Compline 8.30pm
Mon, Brooke, Tues, Seething, Wed, Brooke


Maundy Thursday
Thursday 2nd April

The Lord’s Supper and The Watch
6.30pm Mundham Church


Good Friday
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

Easter Eve
Saturday 4th April
The New Fire and
Renewal of Baptismal vows
5.00pm Brooke Church


The Easter Vigil
8.00pm Seething Church

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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.

 

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Lynn

Easter Day

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

 

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Lynn

School celebrate at St Peter's

School celebrate at St Peter's

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.

 

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Lynn

Open the Book - It's Christmas!

Open the Book - It's Christmas!

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.

Brooke School website

 

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Lynn

Parish Magazine Letter December 2014 & January 2015

Dear All,

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,

Lynn

 

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John

Parish Magazine Letter April & May 2014

Parish Magazine Letter April & May 2014

 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.

 John Ash

 Lay Reader

 01508 550116; sjash@waitrose.com

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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Norwich foodbank

Norwich foodbank

Help make a difference.

Buy a little extra to donate to the Norwich foodbank.

Shopping lists are available from the Village collection at St Peter's Church open daily 9.00 - 4.00.

Several trips have been made to the Centre with all your contributions. Please continue to support this worthy cause.

 

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