On Monday 29 January, there's a Conference on Social Justice at King's, Norwich aimed at charities and their supporters. Speakers include the Bishop of East Anglia, The Bishop of Lynn and Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Speakers will cover major issues facing the disadvantaged in different areas of social deprivation. Everyone's welcome and it would be good to have some of our Church Family there: places are free but they're going quickly! Details here: http://ow.ly/BTE230gTeLL
It's been a great year at St Mary's Attleborough and All Saints' Besthorpe. Here's just a taste of what we've been up to! Our church aims to be a place of love, laughter and lots of prayer, where all are welcome.
Lunch will be served as usual in St Mary’s Church Hall on Christmas Day. Anyone who might otherwise be alone is invited to come along to enjoy a traditional lunch in friendly company followed by some light entertainment and the Queen’s Speech. Please make your friends and neighbours aware of this invitation. There is no charge for the lunch but donations are invited for St Martins Housing Trust in Norwich.
To book in, preferably before 24th December, please ring Dorothy on 01953 456211. If there is no answer leave a clear message with your phone number. Guests may arrive from 10.30 onwards and lifts are available.
If you could offer a lift to our guests either to bring them in the morning and/or to take them home at 3.30, that would be greatly appreciated. Please let Dorothy know.
'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.
This is a warm invitation to you and your family to come to the Parish Church at 4pm on Sunday 29 October for a special celebration of marriage. This autumn Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip will celebrate their seventieth wedding anniversary, so it’s a good time for us all to give thanks for marriage and family life.
All husbands and wives are welcome to attend, whether you were married in Attleborough Church or not. If you’re sadly bereaved, come and give thanks for the joys you shared and pray for your spouse.
We’ll be singing favourite wedding hymns and recalling the marriage vows. Our guest preacher has a Royal connection: it’s Canon Jonathan Riviere, Rector of Sandringham and Domestic Chaplain to The Queen. We’ll also be on the lookout for the longest-married couple who tied the knot in St Mary’s!
Before the service there’ll be a recital of popular wedding pieces on the church organ from 3.40pm: come early to enjoy the music. After the service, there’ll be tea and cake in the Church Hall.
It’s difficult for us to reach everyone who might like to come, so please tell your friends and let them know they’re welcome. If you’ve got any questions, ring the Church Office: 01953 454977.
The previous day, Saturday 28 October, Attleborough Heritage Group is organising ‘A Lovely Day for a Wedding’: a whole day’s extravaganza in St Mary’s with a display of wedding dresses and memorabilia, wedding fair and a talk in the evening.