Arrangements for services
Wider activities remain curtailed, but we continue to maintain the many centuries of worship at All Saints with our Sunday services in Church. These continue at 10:15am most Sundays, with the slightly later time of 10:30 on second Sundays, when a service of Holy Communion will be held with a variety of celebrants. A way of receiving communion has been devised which allowed for safety and comfort of communicants.
Sanatiser is available at the Church entrance and this will continue until we are told otherwise.
The policy of opening the church daily has proven worthwhile, as a number of visitors have been to see the building and view its now celebrated mediaeval and later graffiti.
Reverend Julia writes ….
This year every area of life has been affected by the pandemic and we have had to become more accustomed to loss: the tragic loss of life, jobs, businesses, holidays, education, sport and entertainment, freedoms we took for granted and the loss of so much we used to enjoy without thinking, perhaps the most important of which is spending time with the people we love.
The next big loss we are about to face is Christmas. Christmas will be very different this year. Our churches have been grappling with what we can safely offer our parishes this Christmas. Our Carol Services and Christingle Services are times when our churches are packed but you will see from our list of services that we have had to strike a balance between celebrating the birth of Christ, keeping people safe and following government guidelines. This has hit our ministry team very hard as we love to welcome you to our churches at any time of year but particularly at Christmas when we can sing carols, hear the Christmas story and be full of Christmas cheer, excitement and hope.
But Christmas is definitely not cancelled this year! The birth of Jesus has been celebrated every year for 2,000 years and this year the message of Christmas of love, light and hope is more needed than ever. We may have to pare down Christmas this year but that’s a good thing as it gives us a chance to hit the reset button. It often feels as if we have lost sight of the message of Christmas which is one of love coming on earth in the form of a vulnerable baby. It has become obscured by frenzy and commercialism so maybe a simpler, quieter Christmas will give us time and space to think about the true meaning of Christmas and what really matters in our lives. After all is said and done is there anything more important, more cherished, more needed than love?
What is Christmas?
It is tenderness for the past,
courage for the present
and hope for the future.
I wish you a very Happy and Blessed Christmas and a brighter, happier 2021!
NEWS from LITCHAM ALL SAINTS
Although churches have again been closed for services, we have at least been able to open for private prayer during the second lock-down. Until the reimposition of restrictions we have faithfully maintained Sunday services worship in church. We are reminded that, although we have spent much time, effort and money in repairing, maintaining and beautifying our much loved building, its prime purpose remains that of communal worship. The bidding prayer which commences the morning office in the Book of Common Prayer, still the basis for all our worship, says that we are moved by scripture in sundry places, but that we ought chiefly to pray when we assemble and meet together. Of course, when the book was compiled in 1662, there were few decent highways, let alone the internet and Zoom! The church has been and remains open daily for private visit and prayer and, this time, priests are permitted to transmit prayers from church buildings. We are also grateful that Remembrance ceremonies outside churches were allowed and were duly marked in Litcham and other parishes.
The Christian churches have made representations, led by Cardinal Nichols who has spoken very publicly that collective worship in safe conditions should be permitted and is important to the spiritual health of the nation, so vital in troubled times.
At the time of writing, we have no knowledge of which we may be allowed to do at Christmas. We pray that perhaps the situation may have stabilised enough to allow the festival to be properly marked. This is the prime time of year when secular celebration most closely chimes with the religious meaning and we sincerely hope to be able to honour it in the way that it deserves.
At the end of this month, our Rector, Heather, retires, having taken her final service in the Parishes in November. Even with the help of Julia, Miriam, Kevin and Shawn, as well as our much valued retirees, such a large group of parishes is a heavy task. Heather has said that retirement brings mixed emotions. In common with all Parish Priests, I am sure that she will not miss the amount of administrative work which burdens the clergy these days. As I write, it seems unlikely that we will be able to have any kind of farewell gathering. Very cruel circumstances to have to “go quietly” after such a long ministry. We wish her and Philip a happy and rewarding retirement in their new home. We now embark upon the complex and rather bureaucratic process of recruiting a new incumbent. Meanwhile, we are determined to continue such pattern of worship in Litcham as circumstances allow.
Richard Vogt, Churchwarden
from June Bevan…
Although Church life, like everything else, will be different this year. The Advent ring will still be in the church from the end of November. We do not yet know what else we will be able to do in these uncertain times.
We still have our “running costs” however, so as we cannot have any get-togethers for fundraisers this year one possibility is to have a raffle for much needed church funds?
I have made a Christmas cake and I have champagne, wine and many more prizes to put to it. I will also accept more donations, please. There will be the usual £1 a strip (6 strips for £5). They will be in my porch and I will put 1 or 6 strips in envelopes and ask you to put money through my letter box please.
Arrangements for Christmas Services will be on the Church Notice Board.
May the beautiful spirit of Christmas
Remain throughout the year
To warm our hearts with kindness
And bless our days with cheer.
Helen Steiner Rice
We all wish you a good and peaceful Christmas.
Stay safe and well, Love and God Bless, June Bevan
PS Chester has had to go to the vets for a teeth clean. He did not like that one bit!
The work on the tracery and support columns beneath the organ gallery has been completed. We are very pleased with the result and hope that this will be received as an enhancement to the already beautiful building. It has been a most enjoyable and rewarding project and we are very grateful to Richard Timpson for the artistic interpretation and paint research and for joining me as we executed the decoration.
We have been discussing a better lighting scheme for the chancel screen and now the new work. Developments in LED lighting have creted a host of new possibilities for showing historic features and artwork. If anyone would like to help sponsor this we would be very grateful.
Richard Vogt, Churchwarden…
Churchyard Burials and Memorials
Burial or the interment of cremated remains in a churchyard is a right open to all who have resided within the parish concerned. Burial in a churchyard is subject to the rules set out in the Churchyard Regulations 2016; this can be found in the Litcham Church porch or on the internet. This is a document with the authority of national law.
The regulations stress the principal of Christian burial with its emphasis on the expectation of the afterlife, rather than dwelling in detail upon the life of the deceased. They also make it clear that this is an essential difference between church burials and those in municipal cemeteries.
Although many of us find great interest in exploring older graveyards with many colourful inscriptions on the stones, the current regulations have turned their back upon such things and only permit simple stones of a limited range of materials and design, with simple inscriptions recording the name and dates of the deceased and a short message from the bereaved family. Phrases from scripture are permitted, but not other verses and most pictorial emblems are also not permitted.
Permission to erect a memorial is delegated to the rector or vicar (the incumbent) of the parish, provided that it complies with the regulations. It is normal to wait at least six months before commissioning the memorial, but the loss of a loved one can still be keenly felt and the incumbent can be put in a stressful position if demands are made that they cannot accede to within the rules. The family should therefore check that their requirements are within the regulations and ask their funeral director or mason to do the same. If an agreement cannot be achieved the proposal has to be the subject of a Faculty Application to the Diocesan Chancellor. This is a legal process incurring the inevitable delay and red tape.
Apart from disagreements about the design of memorials, there can be friction over the way in which they are subsequently decorated. The regulations are clear about what can be put on a grave. One vase against the headstone or sunk into the ground is permitted. Bulbs may be planted. There can be no other items placed upon the grave. This is partly for practical reasons when mowing grass, which is why kerbs and chippings are no longer allowed. It is also because people’s tastes in tributes varies widely and one person’s tribute can upset another tending a nearby grave. Lanterns, lights, ornaments, balloons etc. are all ruled out, as are plastic flowers and wreaths. Given that churchyards are invariably sanctuaries for wild life, distracting lights and plastic toxins are clearly harmful. Although a grave can be a focal point for grieving, the Christian teaching is that the deceased is not there.
Churches and their churchyards are regularly inspected by the Archdeacon during his quaintly named ‘Visitation.’ The incumbent and churchwardens are held responsible for upholding the regulations. We have all seen coverage in the press of how heated matters can get when the rules are invoked and no one wants to cause upset over such a sensitive issue. We always try to discuss any difficulties with the family concerned, rather than remove unsuitable items without warning, but there are times when this is not effective. The clergy and wardens therefore ask that all those tending graves in any of our churchyards be mindful of the rules and avoid the risk of disagreement.
Litcham All Saints, Churchwardens
If anyone collects stamps from their Christmas cards and is looking for a worthy cause. I shall be sending a parcel to Embrace the charity that supports hospitals and schools in Palestine. Please drop them into your local church.
Vicar: Reverend Julia Hemp
The Vicarage, 4 Lodge Farm Meadows, Gressenhall, NR20 4TN
Phone 01362 861380 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clergy: Revd Miriam Fife
Phone: 01328 700765 or email: email@example.com
Mr J. O. Birkbeck, Litcham Hall, Lexham Rd.
Mr R. C. Vogt, The Cottage, Pound Lane
Mrs. Karen Moore, Point House, Back Street.
Telephone 01328 700313
Fees are payable to visiting clergy only for the Sunday Eucharist (Holy Communion)
and where appropriate for officiating at Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals.
The Drop In is held at the Jubilee Hall on Tuesdays in term time.
We are changing our opening times to 10am – 12 noon
The Drop In is for everyone, from all our villages.
- Caring for someone with dementia?
- Lonely or feeling isolated?
- At home with young children?
- New to the area?
- Looking for information about debt?
- Like to knit?
- Just would like coffee, cake and a chat.
Come and join us, we are a friendly bunch
£1 includes coffee, refills and cake