RESUMPTION OF CHURCH SERVICES
Although worship in churches has not actually been prohibited during the current period of Covid restrictions, we decided to discontinue our services due to the growing infection rate. Now we are seeing a rapid decrease in infection and the majority of our regular worshippers have had at least their first vaccine, I am delighted to say that we will be having a service of Holy Communion at 9am on Easter Morning. We will be following the arrangements previously made for safe worship and we will receive communion by taking the Bread only. Easter is one of those feasts when all communicating members of the Church of England are required to take communion and we very much hope that all who have been unable to attend a live service will celebrate with us. Please note the earlier time of this service, which will give plenty of time after for opening Easter eggs, champagne breakfasts or a good walk. For those who cannot make it for any reason, the clergy are able to offer a House Communion and may be contacted via the details in the “Who’s Who” at the front of this magazine.
Services on the Sunday following Easter will probably have to remain on line but, if all goes to plan, the lifting of general restrictions will allow us to start our regular Sunday services at 10:15 from April 18th, from when we may even be allowed to sing again.
The flintwork repairs described in the last edition commenced on time, but completion was delayed pending warmer weather and further drying out, as lime mortar does not set at low temperatures.
The PCC will be considering a list of other repairs deemed urgent by the Architect at the last inspection; as always, funds permitting.
The display of wild crocus in the churchyard was particularly good this year, helped by a spell of warm weather, and they are now spreading to other areas including the Church Street frontage. A welcome sign of spring, and harbinger of hope for a summer of much needed greater freedom.
Richard Vogt, Churchwarden
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: email@example.com
Clergy: Revd Miriam Fife (acting Team Rector)
Phone: 01328 700765 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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