Shellrock Weekly News - 19th May

I am sure you have seen in local news that we will be welcoming a new Diocesan Bishop to Norwich in the Autumn. The Rt Rev’d Graham Usher is presently the Suffragan Bishop of Dudley. Before that he was the Rector of Hexham in Northumberland and has also worked in Ghana, Africa. He will be visiting the Deanery on 14 th January, 2020 so perhaps we will be able to meet him then.

There is an earlier opportunity to meet a bishop next week. Jonathan, Bishop of Lynn, is making a Pilgrimage to this Deanery (Thetford and Rocklands) on Tuesday 21 st May. He will arrive by train at Attleborough Station at 10.06 am then walk into Queen’s Square for prayers at 10.15a.m. (let’s hope the train is on time and it is not raining!). He is then expected to arrive at St George’s Distillery for coffee and more prayers around 10.45a.m. then, after lunch at Attleborough Day Centre at 12 noon, he will visit Banham Zoo until leaving by train for Thetford at 2.00p.m.

You are very welcome to join in the Pilgrimage at any point. The Bishop will be in Thetford Priory and Town Centre at 3.00pm if you are that way.

Ascension Day, Thy Kingdom Come
There has been a request from our two Archbishops to join with them in prayer between Ascension Day (30 th May) and Pentecost (9 th June). The prayers are for the renewing and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, specifically for people we know, that they may hear Jesus’s call for themselves, coming to know his love and joy.

To help with this St Mary’s, Attleborough is holding a Day of Prayer on Ascension Day, Thursday 30 th May, beginning at 10a.m with Holy Communion. Then:

- 12 noon Midday Prayer; 2.30p.m. Prayers for the Holy Spirit

- 5.00p.m. Evening Prayer; 7.30p.m. Sung Eucharist - The Shellrock Choir will be joining choirs from the Deanery at that service and The Rev’d Preb. Sue Strutt will be preaching.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 12th May

Last week I mentioned that we, as inheritors of the worship which has been experienced and seen in our churches in past generations, are given the task of proclaiming the message of the Good news of Christ to the world. The question is how do we do this? Are not the times in which we live very different to the time in which the Church was key to the state let alone in the time of Jesus? Will we not be mocked and ridiculed? What words do we use when much church language is no longer understood by the majority, even down to using ‘forename’ instead of ‘Christian Name’?

There are many questions we can ask. Another one might be, where are the gaps in the ministry of this Benefice? What can we do to help people come to know Jesus, because that is our main task. Your Shellrock Ministry Team discuss these issues nearly every week. We listen to what you say in meetings and after services, but the members of the Team do not have all the answers.

We feel that the recent Lent Course, Re-imagining Church, which was attended by an average of 18 people, began thought processes which led to an uncomfortable sense of changing times. Our challenge is whether we grasp the opportunities change can bring and which will hopefully help us to reach out to those who are seeking God, or whether we stay as we are, secure in the services and worship we provide, hoping others might find us and join in.

The Ministry Team can make suggestions and plan for change, but the final outcome is with the present membership of the Church, you. It is your Church. We would love to hear your ideas for your future:

Dates to particularly note for next week:

Shellrock Talk, Wednesday 15 th, 7.00pm, Rockland St Peter. Jeremy Warren talking about ‘Chaplaincy in Prison’. Jeremy is a volunteer and valuable member of a Chaplaincy Team.

Big Brekkie, Saturday 18 th , 9.30am, St James, GE, in aid of Christian Aid, an organisation which does sterling work throughout the world for those whose lives are so much harder than ours in ways we cannot imagine.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 5th May

On Sunday I attended the St George’s Day Parade at Dickleburgh.  It was lovely to see members of the Scout Movement of all ages parading with their flags, a brass band in the lead playing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’.

St George’s Day, as you know, is on 23rd April, but because this fell in the octave (8 days) of Easter, it was transferred to 29th April.  Similarly, the feast of St Mark (25th April) was moved to 30th.  It means that every day of the last week was dedicated to a saint or celebration within the Church – Philip and James, Apostles; Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, 373 AD; Invention of the Cross; English Saints and Martyrs of the Reformation Era - from 1st to 4th May respectively.

All those years of prayer, devotion, and sacrifice by these individuals, and others, to our Lord Jesus Christ have brought us the Church as we are now.  Generations of worshippers in our parishes have led the way in showing that the love of God exists in these places.  Our churches stand as a sign of that very love we have so recently experienced this Easter.

It is now our task to take up the challenge that has faced all Christians throughout the ages and continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in our neighbourhood, and wider.  We pray that God will give us the strength and boldness to do this, also help us grow individually and as a Benefice.

One more date I, personally, would like to commemorate is May 7th, the Eve of the day of Julian of Norwich.  25 years ago on that day that I was ordained priest, along with 15 other women in our Diocese, after decades of struggle, discussion and argument within our Church of England that women could become priests.  Sadly, there are some who still cannot accept it. It seems to be the way of the world, and apparently some of the Christian family, that we must live with dissension, so please make special prayers on that day for everyone in ministry, men and women, lay and ordained, paid and unpaid.

Whatever our theology or beliefs, faith in the God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is key.  The Community of the Trinity is our model, we are all in it together.  We look forward to the work ahead and opportunities to meet together in the coming month of May – see the notices!


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Shellrock Weekly News - 28th April

I hope the Easter weekend has been an enjoyable time for you. The three services across the Benefice on Sunday were reflective and joyous. Thank you to all involved in organising them. The arrangements of flowers and crosses were glorious, the churches bright and welcoming.

In contrast to our experience of the joy of Easter and the Resurrection, however, there was news of people being plunged into grief by tragic events internationally and, sadly, locally. These events remind us media vita in morte sumus, in the midst of life we are in death, a phrase first used in the Church of the 14 th century, and very much the theme of Easter. As we enter into the grief of bereavement our hope must be in the living, risen Christ who is, for us, the true life. His love encompasses all and we surely become a part of his love as we move from this world to the next.

As we pray for those in distress let us open our hearts and minds to them, and to each other, that we may show compassion and love to those whom we meet day by day. Life often takes an unexpected turn, we must live for the moment.

Looking ahead, we have several opportunities to meet together during May, ending with Ascension Day when we will be joining with the choir and congregation of St Mary’s in Attleborough. It is important for us to remember we have a wider Church family to whom we can turn for advice and support if necessary. A look at the Diocesan website can be quite informative in all sorts of ways.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 21st April

Happy Easter to all our congregations
Through the discipline of Lent, the highs and lows of Passion Week, we can now celebrate arguably the most joyous time of the Christian calendar; the resurrection of Jesus Christ. With it comes the hope that death is not the end, but merely the next stage in our existence. Sadly for many, this hope is of no consequence and ignored. As Christmas is simply a time for presents and merrymaking, so Easter is simply a time to gorge on chocolate.

Over the next few weeks we shall read and listen to the birth of our Christian church. It has existed for nearly two thousand years and shows no sign of disappearing. In fact, in many parts of the world, Christianity is a growing faith, often experiencing the type of persecution the early Christians experienced; whilst in the so-called Western World the Christian faith appears to be in decline. There is a song by David Ruis called ‘There’s a wind a-blowing’ (Source 501). The words of this song sum up much of the experiences of the early Christians as the Gospel was spread far and wide and their faith grew. With the APCM’s over, two of our churches find themselves without a churchwarden and all of our churches face difficult times ahead. But that wind is still blowing so maybe now is not the time to take shelter but do as the song says, ‘let it blow over me’.

Thank you to everyone who supported the visit of the pilgrims to Little Ellingham last week on their way to Walsingham. The food supplied was very much appreciated as too were the congregation that came to their simple evening service. It means a great deal to them that we take an interest in their Walk of Witness; the children in particular who are at the core of this particular group.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 14th April

Passion Week
..or Holy week or last week of Lent. Whichever one you use to describe one of the Holiest weeks of the Christian calendar, this is the final week before we celebrate the risen Christ. This coming week we have a series of services and events to commemorate those final days of Jesus:

Monday we welcome the pilgrims on their walk to Walsingham. They will be staying over in Little Ellingham village hall and holding a service at 8pm in the church. They will join the other ‘Legs’ on Good Friday at Walsingham for a combined Walk of Witness.

Thursday we shall be holding our regular Maundy Thursday Agape service at Rockland St Peter.

Friday we start our own Walk of Witness from St James Great Ellingham to Rockland All Saints for our Good Friday service. We hope for good weather to encourage as many people as possible to join us. Numbers have varied over the years but a good crowd is always welcome; don’t worry, you will not be pressured into carrying the cross. So please join us if you can.

Finally on Sunday we shall celebrate the risen Christ at one of the services being held in our benefice.

Lent Course
Our Lent course concluded last Wednesday with a lively debate that overran the allotted time! The Ministry Team would like to thank everyone for attending any of the five sessions, for their fellowship and for their valued contributions. Admittedly it can feel like a marathon at times, but there was much to consider and many good ideas have sprung from our discussions. Now all we have to do is put that into practice!

If anyone is interested in attending the workshop on ‘Transforming your church for mission’, being held at St Mary, Watton, on Thursday 16 May between 1000 and 1300, please let one of the Ministry Team or Margaret Moore-Vale know.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 7th April

Lent Course
The final session of our Lent course takes place this week. It has been an interesting and stimulating series of sessions on how we can ‘Re-imagine our Church’. Upwards of 20 people have come together to listen, reflect and discuss how we are as a church and potentially what we can be as a church.

This course is happening in churches and benefices across the diocese. In fact the diocese itself has already been through the process under the banner ‘Mission Strategy 2021’. Its conclusions so far have been published in the latest PCC News. It makes interesting reading, not least that it gives us an example of what we in this benefice should be aiming for. If you are interested in its progress then you can read the PCC news, Spring 2019, Page 8 on-line. Go to If anyone is interested and cannot access the website then please contact our administrator, Margaret Moore-Vale or one of the Ministry Team. In time we shall publish the results of our deliberations.

The reading for this week’s final session is Luke 10 v 1-9.

The end of Lent
Yes, Lent is coming to end which signals the start of our Easter celebrations. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday when we shall remember the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. How quickly things change. A bit like what is happening in Parliament at the moment!

This is an anxious time for this country with its future hanging in the balance. Whatever side of the fence you are in this debate over Brexit, please spare time in your prayers to pray for our government, our Parliament, and for the many people whose business is in limbo because of the failure of our politicians to agree a deal. Maybe we do need to put our trust in God rather than our politicians.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 31st March

Lent Course
Session four continues our Lent course this coming Wednesday. In preparation, you may wish to read the bible text for this session, Luke 6 v 36-38. Next week will be our final session.

Student Cross
Student Cross is a Christian pilgrimage to Walsingham during Holy Week. It started in 1948 with a male only Catholic Pilgrimage starting from London; women were officially included in 1966! There are now eleven ‘Legs’ starting from different parts of the country, each carrying a wooden cross as witness to the people they see along the way. Although predominantly a Catholic pilgrimage, Christians from other denominations join in. When required, they are provided with accommodation and food by parishioners along the way.

We have been supporting the Wensum Leg since it started in 2012. This Leg is for families with older children of secondary school age. The Leg starts at Wymondham walking no more than 10 miles each day over five days to arrive at Walsingham on Good Friday.

They arrive at Little Ellingham on the Monday of Holy Week, staying overnight in the village hall and each of our parishes contribute to the provision of a cooked dinner. We shall be supporting this Leg again this year. We are expecting around 30 people to arrive on Monday afternoon, 15 April. If anyone wishes to help with the catering, then Margaret Thomas, on telephone 01953 453455, would be pleased to hear from you. To finish the day, the pilgrims hold a service in Little Ellingham church in the evening. They all make some contribution to this very special service, especially the music. We are all invited to attend which this year will be starting at 8pm.

If you wish to know more about Student Cross, you can visit their website:

Spring Fling
Congratulations to everyone at St James, Great Ellingham, on a thoroughly good Spring Fair, sorry Fling. The stalls, the children singing, the Shellrock Hand-bell ringers, the refreshments, the friendly faces all made for a lovely Saturday morning.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 24th March

Lent Course
It was gratifying to have so many turn up for the second session of our Lent course, ‘Re-imagining Church’. Thank you to everyone for their contributions in helping us to have a much deeper understanding of where we are and where we need to be.
The more we delve into our life as a Christian community, the more we identify our strengths, our weaknesses, our failings and potential. It is not all bad news either. In fact we are discovering that there is much to celebrate and that our churches do much to enhance the life of our communities.
In preparation for session three this week you may wish to read the bible text for this session, Matthew 28 v 16-20.

Mothering Sunday
There are two services being held to celebrate this special day next Sunday, 31 st March; in St James Great Ellingham and in Rockland St Peter. Why not invite someone to one of these services? It is an ideal time to give someone outside the church an opportunity to experience a relaxed and joyous church service!

British Summer Time is here!
Yes, it is that time again. The clocks go forward on Sunday 31 st March. So make sure you wind your clock forward one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. You don’t want to miss your Mothering Sunday service now do you!?

Annual Parochial Church Meetings
Did you know that every parishioner in your parish has the right to elect a Churchwarden? A meeting to do so will be held in your Parish within the next few weeks. The dates and venues are printed on the other side of this Weekly News. In addition, have you ever considered how our Church is organised and where the money goes? If you would like to know, why not attend your parish’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting which will be held
after the Churchwardens election. Everyone on the Church Electoral Roll is welcome to attend these meetings and elect members for the Parochial Church Council (PCC) who will run the Church for the next year.

Please come to find out more about your Church and have your say.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 17th March

Lent Course
A very big thank you to everyone who came to the first session of our Lent course, ‘Re-imagining Church’. Despite lasting 5 hours, it was a very
enjoyable and productive session. There was much meaningful discussion on various aspects of our church which will help form our future planning
for this benefice. The next session is to be held next Wednesday 20 March starting at 1900 in the Benefice office. Do not feel you have to attend every session or even the whole of the session. As happened last Saturday, please feel free to drop in and drop out as you wish.

In preparation for this session you may wish to read the following Bible passage; 1 Peter 2. 4-10; then reflect on these questions:
- What is our church?
- What are we like?
- What could we be?
- How do we become?

We need to identify what role our church, our faith, has in this ever changing world and in our community. How do you think Christianity is
perceived by the communities in which we live? Do we, as a Christian community, truly fulfil the role of followers of Christ? These are just some
of the many questions we need to ask of ourselves before we can get a true picture of what needs to be done for the future.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 10th March

George Lynne
With immediate effect George Lynne, one of our Readers, is now working with the Oxborough Group of parishes. We wish George well with his new parishes and thank him for all the support he has given to this Benefice.

A fitting service on Ash Wednesday in St Peter, Little Ellingham, heralded the start of Lent. Good luck to anyone who has decided on a discipline for Lent this year. Easter is not too far away! If you feel that it is going to be a tough 40 days, read one of the lessons for the Ash Wednesday service, 2 Corinthians 5.20b – 6.10.

Lent Course
Our Ministry Day yesterday was the first of our five session Lent course. The next four sessions will be on consecutive Wednesdays starting on 20 th March. Do not worry if you cannot attend all the sessions. Each session is of equal importance and any input is of value. So please attend as many as you can or wish to.

Electoral Roll reminder
Remember that this year your church Electoral Roll is discontinued and a new one is being compiled. It is necessary for each of us to re-apply for membership to your church Electoral Roll. If you have not yet done so, then please talk to your Electoral Roll officer or a member of your PCC. If you are not on the Electoral Roll, then you are not entitled to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, except of course for the Church Wardens.


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Shellrock Weekly News - 3rd March

As you will know from Colin’s news of last month we have chosen the subject of THE CHURCH for our Lenten study.  We will be thinking of the various reasons people go to church, and how people who don’t necessarily attend, see the church. We also want to look beyond these to where we are going and want to go in the future. Are we happy with the status quo, or are there different paths and goals for us?  Where are we being called to go and, if this involves change, what strategies are needed to for getting there.

The whole Church of England is concerned about growth; growth, not just about an increase in numbers, but growth in terms of the recognition, and then the realisation, in practice, of how to work with God towards the Kingdom. This is central to Jesus’ message as we read in the gospels.  The images that He uses about the Kingdom are familiar:  the sower and the seed, the mustard seed, the yeast that works in the dough to make the bread rise to double its size. These are images applicable also to church growth. Let’s consider --- where can we find the seed of mustard? What can we do to persuade the yeast to start doing its work?

One of the important sources, I believe, is to recognise, and fully use, what we have been given------our gifts and talents, and we see plenty of those in our benefice. We are already using these gifts well, but perhaps we could be making even more of them. One way we could do this is by parishes coming together and sharing gifts that are presently available in each. This is already happening to an extent, but we can consider how we could share even more. In coming together and sharing resources and concerns, so much can be achieved.  

The kind of discussions that I think we need to be engaging in over the Lenten period and then, in the months ahead, are about developing strategies for resilience. Change that comes suddenly as a result of crisis is not a good idea, because it leads to decisions which can be made too quickly and without firm foundations. Taking time to examine what changes are needed, taking the opportunity to look hard and realistically at the overall picture will lead to decisions and plans which are much more firmly embedded and with strong roots.

The title of the Lenten study material which has come from the diocese is “ Reimagining church”. Implicit in this title, re-imagining, is the idea that the church might change and become different from what we have become accustomed to. That need not be frightening. It could be exciting; a process of putting our imaginations to work to see what we come up with. And we are not on our own. God is with us and working with us, helping us to discover how we might grow and develop and possibly change in ways which make sense, bearing in mind the particular characteristics of the village communities which we serve in this benefice. 

Let’s talk. Let’s imagine and re-imagine how we can share our gifts and resources, grow like the mustard seeds and the yeast in the dough, and build a really strong foundation for our future together as a benefice, and effectively serving our villages communities. Please do come along and share. We need you and your ideas.

With love, Christina (Priest in Charge)


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Ministry Day and Lent Course

Yes we are coming up to Lent, that period which precedes Easter. We are once again
having a Lent course to which everyone is invited. This year we are following a
suggested theme from the Bishop of Lynne entitled Re-imagining Church. There are
five reflections on church, posing the question ‘Can you imagine what your church
will be like in 2031?’,. The Ministry Team has decided to cover each reflection in a
series of five sessions. The first session will be part of our next Ministry Day. All the
sessions will take place in the benefice office. A timetable of sessions can be found in
the ‘Diary’ section.
The Ministry Day is scheduled for Saturday 9 March. It would be helpful if you could
inform a member of the Ministry Team or Margaret Moore-Vale of your intention to

Although 2031 sounds a long way off, it is only 12 years from now. In fact, come
2031, our benefice may look very different from the one we recognise today.
Considering the overall age of our regular worshippers, we may not have the
necessary resources to turn around our dwindling congregations in such a short time.


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In January we had a very interesting talk as part of the Shellrock Talks from Hannah of the Norwich Foodbank.  She explained the history behind The Trussell Trust and how the foodbank started.  It was interesting to understand the process behind the food parcels, how they are put together and distributed, as well as some of the other projects they organise and support throughout the city.  Norwich is the eighth largest foodbank in the country - during 2018 they gave out almost 9,500 parcels.

We have recently started to take the majority of the donations from this benefice to the food bank in Thetford.  Since April 2018, they have fed 2,130 people – providing parcels for singles, couples and families.  Since donating to Thetford, we have given 173.8 kg.

At the talk there was an interest from some of the attendees for more information about volunteering.  Thetford Foodbank welcomes volunteers – either at the warehouse session on a Monday 12pm -2 pm where food is sorted or at a session open to clients (held at Attleborough, Brandon, Thetford and Watton).  Alternatively, names can be added to the contact list for local supermarket collections which happen across the year.

To volunteer, please contact, message them via facebook or call 0844 288 9618.  All volunteers need to have training, complete an application form and read a few documents.


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The Leprosy Mission - Used stamp collection

The Leprosy Mission - Used stamp collection

Do you have used stamps lying around at home?  Do you throw them away with the envelope?  We now have collecting boxes for these stamps in four of our churches, Great Ellingham, Little Ellingham, Rockland All Saints and Rockland St Peter, and these will be donated to The Leprosy Mission.

Leprosy is a mildly infectious disease, usually associated with poverty, which is easily cured. Leprosy starts by damaging the small nerves on the skin’s surface resulting in a loss of sensation.  Without the gift of pain, everyday activities are fraught with danger.  Unnoticed burns and ulcers can lead to permanent disability.  Due to the inability to detect grit in the eye, blindness is a common consequence of leprosy.  The charity works in ten countries across Asia and Africa supporting training, education, healthcare and research.

So please support this extremely important charity by recycling your used stamps.  Cut them out from the envelope leaving a small amount of envelope around them and place them in one of the collecting boxes provided.  Three of the churches are open during the day.  Alternatively give them to a member of the church who can do it for you.  Thank You.


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Around the Benefice - March News - Shropham with Snetterton

The Benefice Service on 27 January took place on one of the coldest days of the winter! A big thank you to the choir and to the organist, Gudrun Warren, who occupied the un-heated Chancel, and for their lovely music and strong singing. We all appreciated a hot drink after the service. Hopefully it will be warmer for our next Benefice Service on 24th March at 10.30am. We will also have our regular Services on 3rd and 17th March 10.30am.

Unfortunately, we will not be having a Mothering Sunday Service, but it is hoped a Family Service with Holy Communion can take place on Easter Sunday – more details next month.


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Around the Benefice - March News - Rockland St Peter

Rockland Saint Peter had our annual Barn Dance on the 16th February. Unfortunately we failed to sell many tickets, so the event actually ran at a small loss. This was a bit of a shock to us all, as this was the first time we have had a deficit in our fund raising. Despite this, the people who did support us had a wonderful evening with everyone dancing in almost every dance; lots of tired legs at the end of the evening.

Our special thanks have to go to all the dancers who stayed at the end to help us clear up: removing lights, bunting and replacing tables and chairs.

Both of our Clergy and their partners attended and hopefully had a fantastic evening. We thank them for their support. 

The Village shop had their A.G.M. in the church on Friday 15th and made full use of our heating system and our new sound system. Committee members and shareholders made donations to the heating bill.


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Around the Benefice - March News - Rockland All Saints

First of all a big THANK YOU to all who attended our Candlemas service on the afternoon of February 3rd. As always, this was a very memorable and powerful service, with lots of laughter and activity.  Thanks to help from the children and Julie, the older members of the congregation now know what a ‘kenning’ is and hopefully would pass a KS2 test!! The youngsters, including little Emily, helped put away the crib set as the nativity characters were guessed correctly from the kennings.

We all enjoyed watching the drama as Ellie and Eric acted the parts of Mary and Joseph, while Sam and Phoebe were the two old codgers (aka Simeon and Anna) waiting in the shadows of the Temple with a real life old boy wearing a tea towel on his head (photo opportunity missed, unfortunately!) as the newborn Jesus was presented….The sacrificial doves needed a bit of TLC but flew into the congregation anyway! ‘Lord, now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace….’ until next year!

Thanks too to the Benefice Music Group for leading the music….it was lovely to sing a mixture of old and new songs and carols as we said ‘goodbye’ to the Christmas season for a few months! 

Just as we at All Saints were feeling happy that, with the re-decoration of the church and schoolroom complete, all was well with the fabric, we had the bad news that the structural survey of the tower has revealed serious problems.  It is estimated that repairs will be at least £200,000….so a lot of hard thinking to be done!  Does the village want All Saints church to continue to function?  The regular congregation is not young (chronologically anyway!) and there is a limit to the extra fundraising that can be done by a small number of good folk.  There are lots of questions and soul searching to be done and in the meantime, the bells will remain silent as it would be too dangerous for them to be rung!

Thinking about fundraising events, it has been decided that Barbara’s Day, held in mid-May for many years, will not be happening this year.  Instead, we are holding ‘Lunch on the Lawn at Barbara’s’ (but please don’t tell Barbara!!) on Wednesday 22nd May.  Please put the date in your diaries and look for more details nearer the time!

Every 6 years, we are required to revise the church electoral roll and 2019 is that year!  If you are already on Rockland All Saints’ electoral roll, you will be contacted and asked to fill in a simple form. If you would like to be added, please ask Cath Jones for the relevant information.

Finally, we were saddened to hear of the passing of a dear friend, Evelyn Harrand, recently. Evelyn was brought up in Rocklands, and although she had lived in Caston for many years, always supported All Saints as much as she could and was a regular worshipper until her health deteriorated last year. We will all miss her very much.  God bless you, Evelyn!


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Around the Benefice - March News - Little Ellingham

We have started our new monthly service pattern; a service of Holy Communion on the first Sunday and our Prayer and Praise service on the third Sunday.  We will also take our turn on the benefice service on the fourth Sunday.

On the table inside the main church door we now have a box to collect used stamps and these will be donated to The Leprosy Mission.  See the article on The Leprosy Mission below.

We still wait for work to start on our kitchen facilities.  The area has been cleared with a faculty applied to create more space in this area for when the work is complete.


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Around the Benefice - March News - Great Ellingham

Our February café church service was the first with the revised format.  Many of our congregation made the most of the new toaster and enjoyed breakfast, coffee and conversation before the service.  This month our reading was taken from Luke 5: Jesus calls his first disciples.  After speaking to the crowds, Jesus asked the fishermen to go back out and fish, despite having been unsuccessful overnight.  The catch they brought in was so heavy that the boats started to sink.  The fishermen then left their boats and followed Jesus.  Our service included the song James and Andrew, Peter and John to the tune of Scarborough Fair.

This year we have a new service pattern for St James’.  There is an evening service on the first Sunday in the month which will have a few hymns and be a time for reflection.  The second Sunday in the month is café church with breakfast starting at 9.45am (cereals/toast/croissants) and the service at 10.30am.  The third Sunday will be a 9am Holy Communion.  On the fourth Sunday we have a benefice service where our congregations join together and this rotates around the churches.

In St James’ church we now have a box to collect used stamps and these will be donated to The Leprosy Mission.  See the article on The Leprosy Mission below.

Christian Aid has produced a prayer guide for Lent, both for adults and children.  There are a small number of these in church – please help yourself to a copy.  It covers some of the work the charity does as well as raise awareness of a number of worldwide issues.  We will also be hosting a Big Breakfast for Christian Aid week in May – watch this space for more details….

Shrove Tuesday is just around the corner on 5th March.  We will be holding our annual pancake party with toppings available to suit all tastes.  If you wish to join the races, bring along a frying pan and pancake (if you can), starting from the Methodist church at 3.30pm.

Don’t forget our annual spring fair on Saturday 23rd March, 10-12.30.  The Great Ellingham school singers will be coming along and there will be plenty of craft stalls, refreshments, cakes and jams, plus the tombola, an Easter egg raffle and bacon rolls!


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Annual Parochial Church Meetings (APCM)

All our operating churches are managed by their respective Parochial Church Council (PCC). Each PCC is chaired by the incumbent, Revd Christina Mason, with a lay member acting as vice- chair.  The PCC can comprise the ministers for that parish, the church wardens, secretary, treasurer and other lay members. Each year the PCC is disbanded at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and reformed by the votes of members on the church Electoral Roll.

Each church has an Electoral Roll comprising mostly members of the congregation and this is renewed every six years. The sixth year finishes this year so a new electoral roll will be created prior to the next APCM.

The exception to the voting procedure is the election of the Church Wardens. Probably the oldest appointment in the church, the role of the Church Warden is broadly to ensure the well being of the church, its fabric, the churchyard, the congregation and the worship. As well as members of the church electoral roll anyone who is on the local government electoral roll for that parish is also entitled to vote in the election of the church wardens.

All church APCMs must be held by 30th April.  A list of all the forthcoming APCMs is set below.


Benefice Annual Parochial Church Meetings:

Great Ellingham                     Monday 8th April, 19.30 in the church

Little Ellingham                      Sunday 24th March, 12.30 in the church

Rockland All Saints                 Monday 8th April, 10.30 in the Benefice Office

Rockland St Peter                   Sunday 14th April, 12.30 in the church

Shropham                               Tuesday 26th March, 19.00 in the Vicarage


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Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight

Are you looking for a new resolution or something to consider for Lent?  Fairtrade fortnight is 25th February to 10th March.

Fairtrade works with businesses, consumers and campaigners so that farmers and workers have an equal say.  It promotes fairer trading conditions and empowers farmers and workers to combat poverty and take more control over their lives.  It sets standards and enables people to invest in business or community projects.  A small change to your shopping habits could make a big difference to someone’s living standards.

This could be a chance to enjoy chocolate in lent – but of the fairtrade variety instead!


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Around the Benefice - Editorial Jottings - The Ministry Team

Our Benefice is ministered to by a team of ordained and lay ministers.  Our incumbent is priest-in-charge Revd Christina Mason with Revd Sue Strutt acting as Priest Associate.  This is an unusual situation in that, although the former is legally in charge, it is considered to be more of a job-share.  Both are ordained ministers, both live outside the benefice (the Rectory is currently rented out by the diocese), both work part-time, both are of retirement age.

The other members of the team are known as Readers, or Lay Ministers as they are often now called.  Carol Bennett, George Lynne and Colin Thomas support the two priests by presiding at services and in other aspects of ministry apart from Holy Communion, Baptisms and Weddings.  Colin and Carol are also authorised to conduct funerals.  They operate on a voluntary basis.

There is one other member attached to the team, Jeremy Warren.  Jeremy is exploring his vocation to become an ordained minister and whilst he is with us has the title of Assistant Lay Minster.


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Around the Benefice - February News - Great Ellingham

Cafe Church

In February we see the return of café church after a winter break!  This will be in our new format with breakfast available before the service from 9.45am.  Anyone is welcome to join us for breakfast – a choice of cereals and toast - you don’t have to stay for the service.   The café church service will begin at 10.30am.  Please come along and enjoy the worship, led by Colin and the music group.  Sunday 10th February.  All welcome.

Food bank

Food bank donations continue to be dropped off at church – Thank you to everyone who donated over the festive period.  Two ‘boot loads’ were taken to Thetford Food bank!  The current most needed items are rice pudding, long life juice and squash, tinned/long life sponge puddings (and custard).

Pancake Party!

Looking ahead to March, it will be Shrove Tuesday and the annual pancake party!  Last year it was well supported (despite a cold, damp and windy day) - we hope people will come along to enjoy a pancake with toppings available to suit all tastes.  Bring along a frying pan and pancake (if you can) and join the fun for races starting from the Methodist church at 3.30pm.  Pancake day is 5th March.

Spring Fair

Our annual spring fair is back on Saturday 23rd March.  Planning for this is in the early stages but if you are a local crafter and would like a stall, please contact Kathryn – 456525 or


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Around the Benefice - February News - Little Ellingham

Christmas has come and will remain with us until Candlemas (2nd February).  Our Christmas Day service was made extra special with the Blessing of a marriage and a new-born baby! Very much in the theme of the celebration of Christ’s birth.

New Kitchen!

The installation of our kitchen facility is in progress though no work has started in the church itself.  As yet we do not know how this will affect our ability to worship in the church.  It will depend on the degree of disruption and whether there is a health and safety risk.  If it is the case that the public are not allowed in the church during installation we shall find alternative accommodation.


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Around the Benefice - February News - Rockland St Peter

Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund donation

We are pleased to announce that with the help of the Youth Club and Carol singing outside the village shop, and the hard work and transport supplied by Richard Baker for Santa's Tour, we sent a cheque for £310 to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. We also made a donation of £83 to the Air Ambulance.

We decided this year to have a real Christmas tree, after all the Christmas festivities, we have discovered another use for the old tree. All the branches have been cut off and the trunk will be made into a cross. Members of the congregation will be invited to bring flowers on Easter Sunday, and decorate the cross.

Valentine's Barn Dance

On 16th February we have our Valentine's Barn Dance; dancing to the Fezziwigs Ceilidh Band. Tickets are eight pounds if purchased in advance, ten pounds on the door. There will be a licensed bar and snacks. Too good to miss!!


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Around the Benefice - February News - Rockland All Saints

It has been a quiet month ‘up the hill’……no bad thing after all the activity over the Christmas period!  As always, the candlelit ‘Midnight’ Mass on December 24th was well attended and a very meaningful service.  We were very grateful to Rev. Sue for stepping into the breach at almost the last minute after Rev. Christina went down with a very nasty bug earlier on Christmas Eve, which laid her low for several days.  We are glad to see that, in her inimitable way, she did bounce back quickly and is now functioning as normal again! Well done to Rev. Sue who somehow managed to keep everything going after her preaching workload was doubled at the busiest time of year!!  Thank you!

Our Churchwarden and his wife, John and Barbara, are taking a well-earned rest as I write, but in their absence, and because they would not allow me to say this if they knew, I would like to thank them both for their tireless devotion to All Saints Church It’s only when we deputise for them when they are away that we really appreciate all that they do, not just on Sundays, but all the time!  Without them, All Saints would not be the lovely church that it is…so THANK YOU both!

We would also like to wish Richard Cooke, who looks after our big mower so well, a very speedy recovery after his operation and subsequent setback.  We are sure Sheila and Tracey are glad that, at the time of writing, he is in hospital in Norwich and that they don't have to travel all the way to Cambridge to visit daily. Get well soon, Richard!

Candlemas service

Our next service at RAS is the Candlemas Service on February 3rd at 3pm (please note the unusual time!) This will be a family-friendly service, the last Christmas event of the season! It is always a lovely service, one that brings a message of hope and peace in these turbulent times.  See our poster below for more details.

Thank you!

Lastly, a big THANK YOU to everybody who has helped All Saints in the past year, in whatever way. Without this support, we would not be able to function and we appreciate all the love and support we get from the community.


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Around the Benefice - February News - Shropham with Snetterton

As I write this in mid-January, I will start by reflecting on our Christmas Day service. A wonderful cold and frosty morning. The ages of the congregation ranged from 1 year to 90+ years and was a very happy occasion. Special thanks are due to our organist, Roger Widdison, who played at Merton before dashing over to Shropham, and to Yvonne Taylor who always ensures that the church looks immaculate. We now look forward to our Benefice Service on 27th January.

Over the last few years, on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Harvest, we have been supported by a small number of parents and children from the village. Angela is already planning activities for a Mothering Sunday service to encourage these families to come along. 

The churchyard is looking very spring-like with snowdrops near the gate. Parishioners say how much they enjoy a walk to the church to brighten their day.

We will continue to support the Foodbank throughout 2019.


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Trussell Trust Foodbank - Christmas shopping list

Trussell Trust Foodbank - Christmas shopping list

Please try and help support your foodbank this Christmas:

Savoury snacks
Cream crackers
Pickled veg
Stuffing mix
Mayo/salad cream
Christmas pudding
Mince pies
Heros/Celebrations (small)
Chocolates/selection box
Fruit cocktail
Mandarin oranges
Evaporated/condensed milk
Fruit juice
Fruit squash
Fizzy drink
Hot chocolate

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Advent Course

Advent Course

The Ministry Team have devised an Advent Course which focuses on some of the central aspects of our Christian faith:

Wednesday 21st Nov 7-9pm - Sin

Wednesday 28th Nov 7-9pm - Forgiveness

Wednesday 5th Dec 7-9pm Heaven and Hell

Wednesday 12th Dec 7-9pm Love and Hope

These will be held in the Benefice office with coffee to start.  Everyone is invited to come along, to whichever evenings they wish, to discover, discuss and reflect.


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The War Is Over!

The War Is Over!

Monday, 11 November 1918, 11am. ‘END OF HOSTILITIES’. ‘ARMISTICE’. ‘PEACE’. ‘GREAT WAR OVER’. These were some of the headlines. Bells which had been silent for over four years rang out throughout the whole country.  As the news spread, jubilant people lined the streets of towns and cities.

The Editorial in the Breckles and District Deanery Magazine of December 1918, penned just days after the Armistice, was full of religious and patriotic fervour; ‘The glorious end (as it must surely be) of the war was celebrated in all our Churches with devout and heartfelt gratitude to Almighty God. The bearing of the nation in this supreme hour has been worthy of the great occasion … The complete submission of the enemy adds another, and the greatest proof of all, to the many proofs written on the pages of history that it is the will of God that brutality and knavery defeat themselves, for they find themselves ultimately arrayed against the God – supported forces of humaneness and righteousness …’

 In contrast, many readers of this Magazine, along with families throughout the land, were still anxiously waiting for news of missing or wounded loved ones or prisoners of war. Ven. G. M. MacDermott reporting on the situation in Great and Little Ellingham said; ‘Our deepest sympathy flows out to Mr. & Mrs. Saunders, of Bow Street, who have lost their son, Ernest Edward, killed in action, in France, May 28th last. Also, to Mr. & Mrs. Taylor for the loss of their son, Walter, killed Oct 24th last, in France. Walter was very well known and much liked by all in LE. Mr Taylor is Parish Clerk and everyone feels for him and his wife'.  ‘Mr. and Mrs. Wright have heard that their son, Arthur James, has been “killed or died of wounds”; our heart-felt condolence for them in this, the loss of their second son in the war. There is a slight hope that Arthur will prove to have been a prisoner – but it is only a slender chance, we fear’. Charles Fincham has been a prisoner in Saxony, but, we hope will be home soon’.

Another great worry was the Influenza pandemic which was claiming the lives of countless people worldwide. On 31 October 1918, a Larling man, Driver Frederick Percy Burlingham, serving in France, succumbed. His family was notified on the very day the Great War ended.

We now know that the War may have been over, but the end was to be months away for most. Service personnel continued to lose their lives - Stoker Frederick Reeve R.N. who is buried at St James’ (G.E.), died of heatstroke aboard ship whilst on duty in July 1919. The long wait for demobilization caused a great deal of resentment. When the time came, men would often sign to say they had not suffered any impairment during their military service in order to be sent home more quickly. Thousands of prisoners needed to be repatriated, a task not completed until March 1919. As one newspaper said; ‘many died at the very threshold of a new life’. Wounded men, especially those requiring plastic surgery, spent many months in hospital. Pension claims were protracted.

The question of War Memorials was already being discussed within days of the Armistice – this from the December 1918 Deanery Magazine again; ‘Now is the time to set about the important question of deciding what form the memorial of the great war shall take in each parish. There should be no delay in taking sweet councel together. There are a few obvious considerations. First and foremost, the heroic dead must be immortalized as far as is humanly possible. The monument should therefore be solid, conspicuous and durable. The most natural place for it seems to us to be the parish churchyard. ….. Our next care should be the preservation of the names of those who have served with the armed forces of the Empire. ….

Thirdly there will be a great desire to establish a memorial which will be of beneficial utility to those returning gallant soldiers and sailors. Watton has made an admirable start in this way by the proposal of the erection of a public hall and club-house, primarily for their benefit. But whatever is done, this ought not to be left undone, namely the pious record for future generations, in a place consecrated to God, of the names of those who have died, and of those who have struggled and suffered for their country in the cause of patriotism, justice and humaneness’.

Thankfully, this ethos has survived the test of time, particularly during the last four years and looks set to continue. It has been a great privilige for me to have been able to play my part. Many of you have asked what I will do now that the task is complete. Well, I will continue to keep checking any further records which may come to light. Rockland All Saints is the only church in our Benefice to have a surviving record of all who served from the parish. Perhaps that should be my next task! For our other parishes it should be possible to identify many of the servicemen (and women) from the Naval and Military Absent Voter lists and from references in the Deanery Magazines. I have already done such an exercise in Shropham and have so far compiled and researched a Roll of 65.

With best wishes to you all.


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Around the Benefice - November News

We had a very joyful Harvest Thanksgiving service conducted by Carol last Sunday, 21 October, our small congregation being boosted by seven occasional supporters from the village.

A ‘loo’ has been erected to the east of the porch – comprising of a 6’ X 4’ shed and chemical toilet. Hopefully it will be a great asset and a congregation booster!

We look forward to three services in November, the extra one being 11th November organised by the Wretham and Hockham British Legion and led by Christina. The musicians will be David Barnard (organist) and Chris Ellis (trumpeter). The latest acquisition to our War Memorial shelf, Memorial Plaques to James and Wilfred Shingfield, will be on display.


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Around the Benefice - November News

Saint Peter's Celebration of Harvest with Flowers was a glorious event. Our special thanks go to all the ladies and gents who filled Church with such beautiful and imaginative floral displays. The church had the best display of colour I think we have ever had. A great big thank you also goes to everyone who supplied cakes and savouries, and helped over the two days of the event. The children of Rocklands School decorated the church with some lovely art work. Once again thank you to everyone involved, it was a huge success.

Don't forget the Winter Market on 17th November 11am-3pm.


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Around the Benefice - November News

Around the Benefice - November News

All Saints has hosted two Benefice services in consecutive months this Autumn. In September we had to manage without John and Barbara who were enjoying some Mediterranean sunshine and also Maureen, Peter and Doreen, but we were able to get set up, thanks to members of the Sacristy group! Thank you to Margaret T, Joan D and Carol who knew where everything went and in what order!! Anne did a magnificent job manning the coffee table and we all had a good time!

Apart from services, we have also been busy with maintenance. Following the last Quinquennial inspection, we have had two visits by a surveyor who has looked at the tower and its cracks! Roger and Dan went up in the cherry picker to do some work under the guidance of the surveyor, while John, Dave and Peter watched in envy!! We are awaiting a final report about what remedial action needs to be done in the long term!

By the time this goes out, the annual Harvest Supper will have taken have sold well and lots of baking etc has been done so we are expecting another good evening! Then we gear up to the joint Rockland churches Advent Lunch on November 24th...look for details about tickets soon!

The next big service at All Saints is the Advent Carols on December 2nd at 10.30. We are excited that David Barnard has agreed to play and lead the choir at this service...David practised as a small boy on our organ and has many fond memories of his local church! The Benefice Clangers (aka the handbell ringing group!) will also be doing something at this service so something for everyone. Put the date in your diaries now - it should be a cracker!!


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Around the Benefice - November News

Our apologies to anyone who turned up to our Harvest Porch Sale in September only to find an empty church. It became apparent a few days prior that, for various reasons, there were not enough people to run the event. The decision was made to cancel but we did not give enough time to notify the general public. Sorry!

Sadly we have said a soft goodbye to Malcolm Robertshaw who has moved out of the village. I use the word soft because he still retains some links with the parish including attending some of our services. We wish him well in his new home; our loss is their gain.

We now look forward to Remembrance Day when we shall be hosting the Remembrance Sunday service. The congregation move on for Acts of Remembrance at the 452nd Bomb Group memorial at Deopham airfield and at St James, Great Ellingham. Everyone is welcome to this special day.


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Around the Benefice - Editorial Jottings

During the past four years, we in this benefice have paid tribute to all the men named on our War memorials who died in World War 1, and as close as was possible to the one hundredth anniversary of their death. This has only been possible by the hard work of Cynthia Budd who has researched and compiled the life and death of each man.

This month we commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that brought to an end the bloodshed; well almost. So our Remembrance Day services this year will have a special significance falling as they do on Sunday 11th September 2018. We shall also be holding a special Remembrance Benefice Eucharist on our 4th Sunday. Cynthia has kindly written another tribute to mark this momentous time in the lives of the men and women who
survived the war and to the families left behind.

We shall soon be starting a new church year which means Advent and year C lectionary. The Ministry Team have devised an Advent course as part of our preparations for celebrating the birth of Christ; details in this issue.


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Around the Benefice - November News


1 in 3 people across the world do not have a safe and hygienic toilet. Every two minutes a child under five dies because of dirty water or poor sanitation. It’s quite staggering to think that going to the toilet can be dangerous or that the lack of one can affect an individual’s education. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to being bitten by snakes or being attacked when they go to the toilet in the bush; many teenage girls drop out of school
because of a lack of proper toilets. In our homes, toilets are taken for granted with many of us having two or even three. How many can remember an outside loo when you were younger? Possibly even the only one available. At St James’ church, we made a decision to do something, so our toilet is ‘twinned’ with one in the Democratic Republic of Congo, through the charity This action raises funds to enable people living in poor
communities to have clean water, basic sanitation and to learn about hygiene. Next time you come into the church, take a look at our certificate!


It was lovely to see a range of people and new faces at both our harvest supper service and café church this month. Our café church collection was £105 and this has been sent to Christian Aid. Their harvest appeal focuses on women overcoming the challenges of climate change and drought by providing tools and training so they can start businesses and develop skills in order to provide for their families. We also collected tins and dried goods to the Food bank – this was split to send two boxes to Thetford and one to Norwich.

Autumn fair

Thank you to everyone who supported this event. We raised over £570 for church funds. A special thanks to all those who donated prizes, especially for the raffle – The Crown, Norfolk Veg Box, the Courtyard Tearoom and Rosedales.

Small change, big difference

The world seems like it can be a hostile place; nothing an individual can do to make a difference. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. A small change can make a big difference. Just one item a week donated to the food bank, some loose change to a charity tin or a regular monthly donation, turning the lights off to conserve electricity, refusing a plastic bag and choosing unwrapped vegetables instead, buying local goods instead of online, toilet twinning. As we head towards Christmas, what gift could you give to make a difference?


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Benefice Ministry Day report

Benefice Ministry Day report

This, the second of our Ministry Days, was attended by a core of 19 people.  The aim of the meeting was to identify where we are as a benefice and how we can work together more closely.  Sue Strutt gave a brief history of way the Celtic Church operated and how this changed with the coming of the Roman Church.  The coffee break was followed by a discussion around areas of ministry redefined as in the last Ministry Day held in November 2017:­-

Worship, Church, Pastoral, Education, Community, Evangelism and Communication.

These were set alongside the themes of Celtic Christianity which fall into similar groupings.  The meeting divided into small groups and five of these areas of ministry were discussed.  Sadly, there was not enough time to talk about each one in depth:

Worship – the main topic emerged as participation in different kinds of worship; across the Benefice there are 17 variants of service.  It is the case that whenever something new is tried people attend once or twice and are made very welcome, but do not come again.  What more can be done? 

Church – Our buildings are in a good state, clean, mostly warm, records kept well, welcoming.  More can be done to reach out to the community, especially young people. Publicity is needed and maybe a questionnaire to discover what the residents in our parishes would like to see happening in our churches.

Pastoral – There is a great deal of unofficial neighbourly visiting and caring already taking place in our parishes.  There are forums where people can meet, listen to each other and talk, e.g. the Fellowship group, also the shop.  Welcome bags could be made for new comers to the villages.  A telephone number as a first contact should be publicly available, and prayer sessions outside of mainstream services should be advertised.  A Bereavement group is in the process of being set up.

Education – The churches could be available generally for the schools and other groups to use as a resource and a facility.  Prayer/play spaces arranged for comfortable and quiet(ish) activities for children.  Courses and Bible study groups set up, and especially nurturing newcomers.

Community – more use could be made of social media.  We need to look especially towards supporting young people in the community.

Above all, everything we do should be done with PRAYER and with love, for GOD.”

Yum, Yum!

With the meeting concluded everyone went outside to join others in partaking of a Barbeque lovingly prepared by Charles Mason, with salads donated from several people.

Thank you Charles it was scrumptious!

Donations amounted to over £300 which will be put into the Benefice Office fund.  Thank you.


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Around the Benefice - Shellrock Talks

The latest of the Shellrock Talks, held on 19th September in Rockland St Peter, was entitled ‘Why is religious education in schools so important’.  Our speaker for the evening, Christine Counsell, gave us a wonderfully interesting, informative and thought provoking insight into how religious education is taught in our schools, or not as is apparently too often the case.  The relevance of religions to other subjects in the school curriculum, what subject matter was included, how the subject was taught, what steps were being taken to improve the subject matter and its teaching were just some of the topics covered.  Although focussed on religious education, it also gave us a window into education in general.

We are grateful to Christine for presenting this Talk with energy and clarity which left us all much the wiser and happy that we had made the effort attend.  Thank you Christine.

Thanks must also go to Rockland St Peter for allowing us to use their church as a venue for these Talks and to the refreshments ‘ladies’ who provided the much appreciated tea, coffee and biscuits.

Our next Talk will be on Wednesday 23 January 2019.  The subject will be the ‘Norwich Foodbank’.  So if you have any interest in the work of the foodbank and why it is necessary for it to exist, then book this in your diary or calendar now.  As usual, this Talk is open to everyone, so please encourage your friends to come along to join us in what should be another entertaining and informative evening.


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Around the Benefice - October News

We had a joyous Family Service on the 2nd September, complete with a Baptism; lots of children attended and were presented with giant gingerbread men. Compliments to the baker!

Since opening Church on a daily basis we have had a large increase in the number of visitors.

We look forward to seeing you all at our Celebration of Harvest With Flowers on 30th September. St. Peter's famous bacon butties, cakes and savouries will be available. 

We have a Winter Market in the Village Hall on 17th November 1100-1500. Many local traders have booked tables to give you a chance to shop early for Christmas.

Raffle and Teddy Tombola, a chance to win a cuddly toy.

Lots of food and hot drinks available.

Please come along and support us. All donations of cakes or savouries will be most welcome. 


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Around the Benefice - October News

Around the Benefice - October News

On September 9th, our Harvest Festival was held and it was good to welcome some new faces to a traditional service. As always, the produce was sold off afterwards and the proceeds of that and the collection were sent to the Leprosy Mission…this year nearly £100.

Thank you to all who attended or contributed.

Our next big event is the Harvest Supper, which this year will be held on October 27th at 7.00pm.  The main course will consist of a choice of homemade pies, meats, cheeses etc with a wide variety of salads.  The desserts are all also homemade and we try to reflect our local harvest when preparing these. Vegetarian and diabetic options are always available.

Following the meal, we will once again be entertained by the Roskettes who have been busy practising their repertoire for weeks! Tickets are available from Cath Jones (483542) at a bargain price of £8 (£4 for children.)

We look forward to seeing you there...and we hope that, by then, the grass at All Saints will have stopped growing at such a rate of knots!


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Around the Benefice - September Cafe church report

Our cafe church service in September was on the theme of ‘The miracles of Jesus’ with our readings from Mark 7: the stories of driving out a demon and healing a deaf and mute man.  We prayed for light to the darkness of those with mental illness and the well being of all those with a disability.  We welcomed a few new faces, celebrated Samuel’s 5th birthday and congratulated Sue and Ian Bisley on their 25th wedding anniversary!

Our next café church will be on Sunday 14th October on a harvest theme.  Any tinned and packaged food will be collected for the food bank; fresh produce will be auctioned off after the service.  The collection and auction proceeds will go to Christian Aid.


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Around the Benefice - October News

We held our Harvest Festival at the beginning of September joined by several people within the benefice.  The new organ being out of commission we resorted to the old pipe organ to provide the necessary notes for our hymns.  Carey Moore managed it admirably.  Even the stuck note during much of the last hymn didn’t deter either Carey or the congregation from ‘We plough the fields and scatter’.

The repair of the new organ provided us with a painful and costly lesson.  It transpired that the main circuit board was faulty.  Apparently this is often caused by a lightning strike or surges in the electrical power.  Although we always switch the organ off at the socket, this apparently, is not enough.  The plug needs to be removed to completely isolate the organ from the electrics.  Worth remembering if you have any electrical equipment you wish to protect!

Our Harvest Porch sale will be held on Saturday 29 October organised by the ‘Friends’.  Everyone is welcome to join us for, if nothing else, a cup of coffee, a bite to eat and a chat.


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Banns of Marriage

During Holy Communion at Rockland All Saint’s Church, Banns of Marriage to be read for Rachel Clarke to Lewis Mirow of the Parish of Great Ellingham to be married at St John’s Church, Ovington on 6th October. This is for the 3rd time of asking.


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Family Service

Family Service

Our Family service is growing in popularity which includes activities for children.


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Funeral of Joan Fisher

The funeral of our Church Warden Emeritus, Joan Fisher, on a very hot August 4th was a moving service. It was led by her daughter Elizabeth, who was wearing the surplice made for her by our own Barbara, when she first became a Reader many moons ago.  The church itself looked beautiful with flower displays made by the local Flower Club, of which Joan was an active member until latterly. Joan was famous for her cooking, especially her sausage rolls that graced every event in the village, it seemed!  Apparently, when talking about her wishes for her own funeral, Joan had jokingly suggested she had a sausage roll-shaped coffin.  As this was impracticable, Liz added a plate of sausage rolls (not, she felt, up to her mum’s standard- a hard act to follow!) to the floral tributes on the Joan nearly got her wish!  Joan and Stan gave so much to Rocklands over so many years and their legacies live on in the Playing Field, Pavilion, Village Hall and, of course, All Saints’ church itself!


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Flower Festival

Flower Festival

We held a very successful week-end Flower Festival in our church celebrating the past 100 years of change.  From the year World War 1 ended to the present day, there were many wonderful and inspiring arrangements from a very talented band of women.  Refreshments were served in the church throughout the day with the marquee, kindly loaned by Rockland All Saints, serving as a seating area and a shelter from the intense heat of the sun.  Although the footfall could have been greater, especially on Saturday, everyone who came appeared to thoroughly enjoy the experience.  Many thanks to everyone who contributed, in whatever way, to making this such an enjoyable event.

Our Harvest Festival service takes place on Sunday 2nd September.  This will be followed on 29th September by our Harvest Porch Sale.


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Cafe Church

Our August café service was down a few regulars but numbers were made up by others from across the benefice (we like being the only service!).  Led as usual by our music group, albeit with three members away, Cath and Kathryn were ably assisted by Peter and Angela.  Thanks to them for standing in!  Rev Sue guided us in our worship, talking about us ‘being prepared’, about us being ready to receive and welcome God and about us living our lives as Christians throughout the week, not just on a Sunday.

At café church, we like to celebrate special occasions and this month was Joan Woodruffe’s 70th birthday.  Many congratulations!

Cath read the following poem as part of our service.  (An epicure is a person who takes particular pleasure in fine food and drink!)

Live while you live, the Epicure would say,

And seize the pleasures of the present day.

Live while you live, the sacred Preacher cries,

And give to God each moment as it flies.

Lord, in my view, let both united be;

I live in pleasure if I live to thee.

- Philip Dodderidge (1702 – 1751)


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