On June 29th The West Norfolk Jubilee Youth Orchestra comes to Litcham (see the box below)
On July 26th we have what is now our annual Benefice Fundraiser from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. This year it is to be held at Lexham Hall by kind invitation of Neil Foster, who will talk on the history of the house and gardens. Tickets are £15 from churchwardens and include a buffet and glass of wine. There will also be a raffle, so prizes to me please, at Bevan Cottage. Proceeds go towards supporting all the churches in the benefice with their annual share.
The Easter season was very busy. On Maundy Thursday friends from around the benefice gathered at Weasenham St Peters for the Seder Meal and stripping of the altar. This meal is traditionally lamb, roast potatoes and salad with red wine. Our thanks to Weasenham for their hospitality.
On Good Friday, The Revd Kevin Blogg conducted the service of Tenebrae. The 15 candles were snuffed out in pairs out after the reading of a psalm and lesson. The sound of the rending curtains and big bang is always dramatic (and made a few people jump). We all left in complete silence. Easter Day itself was well attended and The Revd Philip Butcher gave a rousing and friendly sermon.
The annual action of lilies in memory of loved ones were the best we have seen and made a dramatic display. Our thanks to all of you.
Our most recent event was the coffee morning at Bevan Cottage on 27th April. It went very well and my little cottage was heaving with people spending their money on two raffles, tombola, a cake stall and ‘Name the Golfer’ (psst… it was Vincent). We made a splendid £420 for much needed church funds. So thank you to all who contributed.
The Tuesday coffee morning run by Revd Miriam and Canon Heather continues to grow slowly. Do join us from 10 am to noon at the Jubilee Hall. You will be sure of good coffee and a warm welcome.
Enjoy the summer, until next month,
Love and God Bless, June Bevan
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.
Heather 700071, ring if you would like to know more.
YOUR CURATE WRITES……
‘There’s always someone standing on their own outside the crowd
who looks bewildered and confused.
They try to make some sense of all the jostling and the jokes
But still they do not look that amused.
What place, what life, what did they leave behind?
What sights, what sounds, what thoughts are on their mind?
What crimes, what hurt, what wars have you survived?
What hopes, what dreams were left when you arrived?
Who’ll be your refuge, your shelter, your fortress?’
These words are extracts from Howard Goodall’s song ‘Refuge’, which we sang at the Mothering Sunday service way back in March. In the light of recent world events, I find that the words keep on echoing round my head.
As I write, cyclone Fani is slamming into the east coast of India. In 1993, while backpacking around India, I was invited into the straw and wood shacks that were the homes of families in a little fishing village built on the beach about ten miles north of Puri, the area expected to be worst hit by the cyclone. The women of the village pulled me into their home, to shelter from the intense sun, to exclaim at the paleness of my skin and hair, to feed me rice and fish and to paint my eyes with kohl. I, in turn, marvelled at their generosity, warmth and welcome. The little children, running around me all excitedly, asking for ‘one pen please’, will of course now be all grown up, with children of their own. Naturally, I think of these people, perhaps now struggling to survive, and my thoughts also turn to the three million people in Africa who were affected by the cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
The song, ‘Refuge’, speaks of refugees who have been displaced from their homes through war and threat of violence, but at its heart is a message that says ‘I’ll be your refuge’ to all those who need somebody to turn to; people whose lives have been shattered by natural disaster, by war, by finding themselves homeless and destitute even in a first-world country, by crippling anxiety or a whole host of other things which render people vulnerable, unhappy and often desperate.
For over two thousand years the Christian Church has offered support and shelter to those in need; Jesus taught extensively about the need to love and care for the stranger, for the marginalised and the ostracised, the lonely, the oppressed and the unjustly imprisoned. Church buildings have been used for centuries as places of refuge. The aftermath of the terrible loss of life in the church bombings in Sri Lanka in April has brought home to many people the strength of worshipping communities, and how faith itself can be a place of refuge. Those churches will be rebuilt and will continue to offer support to everyone affected by the atrocity, of whatever religion.
Speaking as someone for whom a weather disaster is having rain falling on a line full of washing or a day-trip cancelled, and for whom a hard time in church is having cold hands and feet, and for whom ‘conflict’ usually means a petty disagreement, I feel that it really is very important to keep on reminding myself that those of us born into these easy circumstances have a duty to our fellow human beings, wherever they are in the world, to share some of our good fortune, and to offer not just help, but hope. This means responding to world events when people are in need, and also to keeping our eyes open to see what is happening more locally.
We can all make a difference to the lives of others in the world; in this area, our church buildings (not under threat from either terrorism or natural disaster) can serve as a reminder that the Church is still a place of refuge, both physically (as in Norwich where they shelter homeless people), and for those who need support in other ways. Our worshipping communities welcome all who either wish to offer, or are seeking help or support in any way. Church and village communities, working together, should be able to say:
‘I’ll be your refuge, your shelter, your fortress,
I’ll be your champion.
I’ll be your refuge, your pilot, your brother,
Your northern star.
I will be your second sight;
The light that guides your way at night.
Don’t be downhearted,
I’ll be your refuge, I’ll be your refuge.’
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
THANKING JUNE BEVAN
This year’s first Sunday Lexham Snowdrop Walk, sadly all but washed out by the only serious rain for weeks, marked the last year of June Bevan’s management of the catering for the event, before she hands on the baton to others. Over many years, June has raised thousands of pounds for Litcham Church by her tireless efforts. Many other causes have benefitted as well. No one else has applied themselves more vigorously and it is impossible to express enough gratitude for all that June has done. This is not to say that she is retiring completely and she already has the next event or two in hand. Thank you, June, you deserve a medal!
Churchwardens and Members of All Saints PCC
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.
I run a little singing group which sings at our service on the Fifth Sunday of the month.
Our next service will be on Mothering Sunday at Gt Dunham on 31st March. If you would enjoy singing, let me know, you would be welcome to join us. We have just three rehearsals.
Heather 01328 700071
Rector of the Upper Nar and Launditch Group of Parishes
The Reverend Canon HEATHER BUTCHER
The Rectory, Pound Lane, Litcham, PE32 2QR
Telephone : 01328 700 – 071 – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Vicar: Reverend Julia Hemp
The Vicarage, 4 Lodge Farm Meadows, Gressenhall, NR20 4TN
Phone 01362 861380 or email: email@example.com
Clergy: Revd Miriam Fife
Phone: 01328 700765 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.