The arrangements for Remembrance Sunday are slightly different this year. The Eucharist will be celebrated at 8am as normal. The Parish Eucharist will begin promptly half an hour earlier than usual, at 9.30am. The service will be slightly shortened, with a brief address. Coffee will be served afterwards in the Hall while the church is prepared for the next service. When you’ve had your coffee you can make your way to the War Memorial, where the Rector, together with town representatives and the Royal British Legion, will lead the Act of Remembrance at 10.50am, including the Two Minutes’ Silence. The procession will then go to the church for the Remembrance Service. There will be a retiring collection for the Royal British Legion. Evensong takes place at 6.30pm as usual.
On Armistice Day, which this year falls the day before Remembrance Sunday, the Rector will lead prayers and the Silence at the War Memorial at 11am. The Silence will also be observed in the Church Hall during Coffee & Chat.
'Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.’ This is always our prayer, but especially in the month of November, the month dedicated to remembrance and the Holy Souls. Our minds boggle at the vastness of God’s creation – yet we believe that each human soul is known to him, created in order to share his happiness for ever. Every day at St Mary’s we remember the recently dead in prayer, and we recall anniversaries of death. But some people think that it is futile to continue praying for someone once this life is over. So why do we?
First, because prayer is the natural outworking of love. Love lies at the heart of our being and our relationship with other people. In his Resurrection Jesus Christ overcame the power of death over creation, so our love is not limited and restricted by death. We can love beyond the grave. If we love, we pray. How could we not pray for those whom we love?
Second, we pray for the dead because we trust in God’s love. When we respond to God’s love in Christ and seek to serve him, we know that all sorts of things can get in the way and prevent us loving and serving him as we ought. Much about our earthly life is broken, fractured and incomplete. But we believe that 'neither death, nor life... nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 8.38-39) and so we have hope that after death, our growth to completion and fulfilment in God’s love does not stop. We can keep on growing, developing and responding to his love, until we see him as he is – until we come to what St Paul called ‘the full stature of Christ’ (Ephesians 4.13).
Third, we pray for the dead in order to realise that our Christian Family is one, unrestricted by time and space. We are one family in the Lord. Jesus said that his Father ‘is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive’ (St Luke 20.38). If this is true, our prayers for the Church must be for the whole Church, whether alive in this world or alive in the 'life of the world to come'. When we pray for the dead, we demonstrate the truth that we are one.
Fourth, we pray for the dead because all people have sinned and 'fallen short of the glory of God' (Romans 3.23). We pray, then, that God, who is 'able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine' (Ephesians 3.20) will forgive those who have died for those faults and failings which, in this life, have separated them from him and from their neighbours.
We pray for the dead in the faith of the Resurrection, believing that ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’ (I Corinthians 2.9). So in that trust and hope we continue to pray, ‘Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.'
November begins with the wonderful Feast of All the Saints. On this day we give thanks for all the Saints, known and unknown, who have pleased God in every generation. The Holy Eucharist will be celebrated in St Mary’s at 7pm on All Saints’ Day, after which our Servers will enjoy their annual dinner.
The next day, Thursday 2 November, our prayers turn to the Faithful Departed. There will be a Requiem Eucharist at 10am on All Souls’ Day. You might like to visit the church during the day to light a candle in remembrance and say a prayer. May they rest in peace.
We save our principal celebration of All Saints for Sunday 5 November, with festal services in the morning, including the baptism of Harriet Rose Watson at the Parish Eucharist, and children's activities. We’d love to see you. At Besthorpe Church it’s the Patronal Festival and lunch will be served after the 11.30am Eucharist. Our gentle, prayerful All Soulstide Service to remember the Departed takes place in St Mary’s at 6.30pm. Add names for remembrance to the list at the back of the church and come if you can.
A prayer for All Saintstide
Almighty and ever-living God, we are celebrating with joy the triumph of your grace in all the Saints. With so vast a multitude praying for us, may we be heirs with them of your Kingdom, and receive from you the fullness of mercy we have always desired; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
'Walsingham is a place with an atmosphere of its own, one of overwhelming peace and tranquility.'
'Going on pilgrimage as a parish group gives the opportunity to spend time together, meeting members of our congregation we don't know, talking, laughing, and getting to know each other better... Going on pilgrimage to Walsingham is rewarding on so many levels and I would urge anyone to go and immerse themselves in this wonderful experience.'
These are just two comments from members of our Church Family who've taken part in recent pilgrimages from Attleborough to Walsingham. For over nine hundred years Christians have gone in pilgrimage to Little Walsingham, nestled in the valley of the Stiffkey. They have gone in thanksgiving and in need. They have gone to seek refreshment from the deep wells of God’s love. They have gone to join their prayers with the powerful prayer of Mary, Mother of the Lord, for themselves and for the whole world. The original Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Walsingham was destroyed at the Reformation and revived in the 1920s. Groups from St Mary's have been going since at least the 1940s.
We'll be making a weekend pilgrimage next year, from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 June. The cost will be around £145 (£90 for children, free for under-5s), inclusive of all meals, accommodation and travel.
All are welcome. If you'd like to make the pilgrimage, please let us know and let the Church Office have a (non-refundable) deposit of £10. Click here to download a leaflet with more information.
We had a busy morning at St Mary’s today. The stalls at Coffee and Chat today were in aid of Church Funds - we thank everyone who came along to support helping us to raise in the region of £350. At the same time, in the Church, a record number of children and adults came to Messy Church. We were thinking about the parable of the prodigal son. Exciting craft activities such as making pig shaped biscuits and forgiving hand cards were followed by a short time of worship. Then, almost immediately, we held a Pet Blessing Service (just after St Francis’ Day) to give thanks for the animals who share our lives.
You don't need to be a member of Facebook or signed in to view the content.