Some of us may have enjoyed a holiday at last over the summer; others of us have had holidays thwarted by Covid restrictions (again!) or perhaps illness? But we are so fortunate to be living in such a beautiful area; I hope you have been enjoying the harvesting scenes (or you might have been part of the scenery?) and the sunsets and maybe even sunrises over the fields each day.
We have been enjoying some wonderful gatherings in church; we welcomed Hilary De Lyon to our ministry team at her licensing service at Tittleshall, and at another Benefice service we said farewell to Mthr Shawn-Marie who was with us as curate in her final year. Shawn will be missed, but a parting gift from her to us was the publication of the ‘Reflections and Recipes’ book, produced to raise funds for the Benefice, as well as being a lovely thing to have. If you would like to purchase a book, please contact Mike Lake on email@example.com. Books are £10 each.
This is one of the loveliest times of year for Church and Village to come together; Harvest Festival services are being held in almost all our churches in September and early October, as well as Harvest Suppers and teas. Everyone is welcome; even if you haven’t been to church for donkey’s years, or have never been, we would love to welcome you to join us for favourite hymns and favourite foods as we celebrate and give thanks for the Harvest. Please see the services rota and your village page for details. Keep an eye on noticeboards and the websites too as new events may be added after this has gone to press.
We keep in our prayers all those going back to school and preparing for university, especially those going into a new setting for the first time, and that there will be no more disruption to education at any level due to the pandemic.
Stay safe, God bless, Miriam
NEWS from LITCHAM ALL SAINTS
June Bevan Writes
On Sunday 1st August we said our goodbyes to curate Shawn Tomlinson in Weasenham Church. We had a very warm welcome and Miriam, John Blore and Shawn took the service between them. We wish Shawn good luck and every happiness for the future.
This means Miriam now has 17 Parishes to look after on her own, but I know that you will all give her as much help as you can.
On Friday 30th of July the Revd Hillary Dr Lyon was licensed at an evening service in Tittleshall Church, which means that she will be able to help out for a couple of days a week until we get a new incumbent. So I would like to say thank you to all the retired, non-stipendiaryClergy and Church wardens for giving their own time to help us all out.
Our book “Recipes and Reflections During Lockdown”, that was instigated by Revd Shawn, is out now and is £10 a copy available from Mike Lake (firstname.lastname@example.org). It is a collection based round reflections on various kitchen utensils with recipes to go with each one. It is quite unique and full of fun, I think you will like it. It has contribution from a lot of people in the Launditch and Upper Nar Parishes during the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns.
All the money from sales of the book go towards the Churches in the Launditch and Upper Bar Benefice.
On Friday the 24th September I am having a coffee morning at my house from 10:30am to 12:30pm (see box below for details). Proceeds will go towards much needed funds for Litcham Church. So clear out your cupboards and get baking for me please. Any queries call me on 01328 700274
I finish with a little poem from my book.
Overheard in an Orchard.
Said the robin to the sparrow,
“I would really like to know
Why these restless human beings
Rush about and worry so?.
Said the Sparrow to the Robin
“Friend I think it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me”.
So until next month Love and God bless. June xxx
P.S. Chester was rather surprised when I threw myself into the road the other day, leaving me a little battered and bruised. But he wants to thank the two lovely gentleman that came to my aid and the lovely lady called Faye that grabbed his lead and got him out of the road.
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
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.
Clergy: Revd Miriam Fife (acting Team Rector)
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