RESUMPTION OF CHURCH SERVICES
Easter Sunday was marked by a “live” service of Holy Communion conducted by the Revd Kevin Blogg. We were pleased to count twenty five attendees. The singing of hymns was still not permitted and, as organist as well as churchwarden, I am very much looking forward to when voices can be raised once again. Pupils at the schools had spent some time in making hundreds of brightly coloured paper flowers which completely covered the pulpit for the Easter celebration. Despite restrictions, the traditional Easter Garden was “planted” and the commemorative Easter Lilies displayed.
The current batch of urgent repairs has been completed, but plenty more are queuing up, as always with a building of this nature. We will need a period of financial recuperation before we are able to tackle any more. The Friends of Litcham Church are always looking for new members and have been a great help with restoration projects. No contribution is too modest.
The season of new birth has never had a greater significant than this year with an increase of personal freedom and new prospects of overcoming the Covid pandemic. We go forward in hope for the life of the Church and for all of us together. We also give thanks for our small community of Litcham, which has shielded us from many of the stresses prevalent in towns and cities enabled neighbourly support and provided green spaces for us to enjoy. Neither do we forget the village shops and businesses who have soldiered on, supplying us with food and essentials.
Richard Vogt, Churchwarden
NEWS from LITCHAM ALL SAINTS
June Bevan Writes
On Easter Day we were able to have Holy Communion to celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus taken by the Revd Kevin Blogg with a socially-distanced congregation filling the Church. It was good to be back in Church – with real people. Thank you to all who contributed to the cost of the lilies this year. Particularly thank you to the children of both Litcham Primary and Litcham High School who created a wonderful drape cascading from the pulpit with lots of coloured tissue flowers and also the two vases of tissue flowers which adorned either side of the Chancel steps. Thank you also to Mrs Birkbeck for planting up the lovely Easter Garden. Although throughout this latest lockdown the Church has remained open for private prayer, it is good to be able to have public worship again. The Church looks alive, if you get a chance, please do go and see the flowers and the Easter Garden – you will be pleased you did.
Another ‘thank you’ goes to Diana Paterson who has gone in each month to clean the areas that have been cordoned off, and to all who lock and unlock the Church and at the end of each day, sanitised the accessible route to the Lady Chapel.
The fundraiser “Recipe and Kitchen Utensil Book” is still ongoing, so if you can contribute we would all be very grateful. The funds raised on the sale of this book will go towards all the churches in our Benefice.
My raffle for Litcham All Saints ends on 1st May. Tickets available from my porch, at Number 1 Dereham Road or from Mike, the Butcher. I have lots of prizes including a brandy-infused rich fruit cake, a hamper, bottles of wine and lots of goody bags.
I finish with this quote from my book:
Light looked down and beheld darkness
“Thither will I go” said light.
Peace looked down and beheld war
“Thither will I go” said peace
Love looked down and beheld hatred
“Thither will I go” said love
So light came, and shone;
So came peace, and gave rest;
So came love, and brought life.
And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
So look forward to summer, stay safe. Until next month love and God Bless, June Bevan
PS Chester’s outlook on life, is eat, sleep and walkies, in that order. Spoilt or what!
CLYPPING THE CHURCH?
I was going through one of my books called Seasonal Worship from the Countryside. A gem of a book which the Rev’d Heather Butcher suggested I should have. In it I came across an ancient church service of which I knew nothing about and would indeed welcome any local knowledge that you may hold on this subject. The service is called Clypping the church.
This caught my attention and although a service usually held on Easter Monday; in fact, the day on which I write this, I think it may well be a service worth reviving at another time, in the future when restrictions allow us.
Let me explain why…
The word Clypping has its origins in the Anglo-Saxon meaning to embrace or hug. In this service the congregation and parishioners, adults and children alike form a ring around their parish church and embrace it, giving thanks for it and celebrating its role in the community.
What a wonderful sight this must have been, with prayers, singing and celebration as people gathered together for such a joyous occasion.
So how can an ancient service like this be of any relevance to us today?
As we are well aware, the constraints of social distancing as we protect our communities has meant that we cannot hug or touch others whilst we battle this monstrous virus. Having a tangible way of gathering when it is safe in the future, may be an Important way to mark what has been a transformational year in our lives.
During this last year we have been acutely aware of our interdependence on one another and on our communities, but still many see our churches as being far removed from this daily reality, but it need not be so.
Let us imagine our villages without churches, what loss that would be. Not only as historical buildings, but as sacred spaces where we can nurture our spirituality and a sense of the Divine. A place for contemplation, devotion, and renewal.
A place where life and death are held as sacred, where tears of sadness and of deep joy are shed. A place where we as a community can gather and welcome all into our midst.
Could the ‘hugging’ of our churches begin a movement towards drawing us all as a community of hope as we gather again in our ancient buildings? I hope so.
I have been so inspired by the fundraising efforts that are happening in our parishes which help keep our churches alive, do join in with these, we need your help, and maybe we will one day revive the service of Clypping the church, by then we will all need a good hug too!!!
Meanwhile would you consider holding your parish church in your heart, thoughts, and prayers as we face the future with hope.
A Prayer for our Parish Churches
Our parish and church are made up of people like me.
Help me with others to make it what it is.
It will be friendly if I am.
It will be holy if I am.
It will do good works if I work.
It will be prayerful if I pray.
It will be generous as I am generous.
It will be a parish family of love, fearlessness and faith,
compassion and mercy, if I am filled with the same qualities.
Almighty God help us all to form the community
that you would have us be in our churches and beyond.
Mother Shawn Tomlinson, Assistant curate
Reverend Julia writes…
In place of the usual Vicar’s letter below is the notice of my retirement which was announced on 7th March. This has partly been driven by the financial situation but on a personal level the time has come to let go of the stress that the work entails and have more time for other interests , as well as spending time with family and friends who are a casualty of the demands of the job.
A popular joke is that being a Vicar is a great career (which it is) because Vicars only work one day a week which is of course very far from the truth! But I do not feel ready to hang up my collar just yet. I still feel a strong connection and calling to ministry here and we are actively looking for a house locally so that we can stay involved.
I came to join Heather in 2016 when the Benefice of 17 churches was formed as we shared a passion for rural ministry and wanted to see the churches grow and flourish and be part of their communities, a vision Miriam also shared when she came to join us. The Benefice was very blessed to have had Heather’s inspired leadership and is blessed again to have Miriam as Acting Team Rector, who is doing a fabulous job of continuing to nurture the green shoots of growth we have seen over the last 5 years.
Since the announcement of my retirement I have been overwhelmed and touched by the lovely messages I have received, and I would like to thank all of you who have written, emailed and phoned.
……Meanwhile, as we begin slowly to emerge from a long winter and a lockdown that has felt endless there is a feeling of excitement, hope and new beginnings in the air as we welcome the Spring and rejoice in the promise of new life that we celebrate on Easter Day.
After much thought and a lot of prayer I am retiring from my post as full-time Team Vicar in the Benefice of Launditch and Upper Nar.
Our Benefice of 17 parishes currently has the benefit of two full time paid priests but the parishes barely contribute enough to cover the cost of one of us. We have been extremely fortunate to have had a second post subsidised by the Diocese but the Diocese is running a large deficit and with the huge negative impact of the pandemic on income this situation can no longer continue.
You may have read that the Diocese needs to lose 10% of clergy posts which it hopes to do without redundancies and our Deanery (group of local Benefices) has been asked to lose a post. Having studied the overall situation and staffing levels in our neighbouring Benefices I have decided that my post is the obvious one to go and retirement will allow me the opportunity for a much needed change in pace and direction.
I will therefore be retiring on the 31st May and will move out of The Vicarage in Gressenhall. My last service will be on the 30th May. I will hopefully be licensed to The Benefice at some stage in the not too distant future but in a voluntary and therefore much reduced capacity. For now my main priority, licensed or not, will be to support Reverend Miriam our acting Team Rector who is doing an amazing job running the Benefice whilst we seek to appoint a new Team Rector.
I have loved being your Team Vicar and there are a great many things I will miss when I retire but I am very much looking forward to laying down some of the heavy burdens of ministry and exploring a new and exciting chapter in my life. It is my hope and intention that this new chapter will include some form of ministry within these parishes that I have grown to love.
NEWS from LITCHAM ALL SAINTS
Every Wednesday through Lent there has been two “reflections” at 11am and 7pm. As the church is still open for private prayer, I have decided to put some lilies in church, in memory of all our lost loved ones, with a donation box so that you can contribute towards them. It will remind us that God gave his only son, Jesus, for us all.
Litcham School (Primary) are going to make flowers and put them on a net hanging from the pulpit. It will add some colour to the church and will be a good way to encourage young people into church, don’t you think?
Again, all services are on zoom, including Holy week and Good Friday but on Easter Day there will be Holy Communion at 9am in the church.
It will be so good when we can all go back inside to worship, won’t it?
Do remember our reflection on a kitchen tool with recipe for our book, in aid of all the churches in the Benefice.
As we still cannot hold functions, I aim to run another Raffle like our successful one at Christmas. So, dig out unwanted “pressies”. I will prepare a hamper and ask you to contribute prizes. Even small things can make up “goody bags”. Tickets £5 a strip from my porch or “Mike the Butcher” please.
I would like to add our “thank you” to our dear friend, Alice Caleby who turned 100 years old on 17th March. She would be our bingo caller for the Village Hall and always ran our Church Raffle if we asked her and you Dave – “not ask her!” Enjoy your new home Alice, and God Bless you for all you did.
I finish with this small reflection from my newly acquired book.
“I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life
He gave me life that I might enjoy all things.”
Wishing you all a safe, happy and peaceful Easter, Love and God Bless, June Bevan
PS Chester’s way of relaxing is upside down with all paws in the air! Perfect
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 (retiring on 31st May)
The Vicarage, 4 Lodge Farm Meadows, Gressenhall, NR20 4TN
Phone 01362 861380 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clergy: Revd Miriam Fife (acting Team Rector)
Phone: 01328 700765 or email: email@example.com
Revd Mother Shawn Marie Tomlinson, (Curate)
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