Welcoming Caroline to Walton

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Another packed church, this time at St Mary’s, Walton, one of Felixstowe’s many fine churches (well done Felix!). I was there on Tuesday 2nd to launch the ministry of Caroline Allen as the new priest-in-charge there and at Trimley. She’s just finished a curacy with us and is one of the best: she and they look a perfect match and they’re both very blessed to have each other.

There was a great gang of clergy and readers there to help with the launch (over 30 – a tribute to Caroline’s ability to make friends), and a special bonus was that as the patronage of the living is with CPAS, their Director of Ministry came to present and preach, and is no other than Graham Archer who was minister himself there once.

The church has been well re-ordered for modern worship so we had organ and choir but a good music group as well, and it feels a great place to worship with your family. Give it a go! (And all the other fine churches in Felixstowe, he quickly adds…)

Evensong at Landwade

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I went on from Rede, and a fine lunch chez the Wildes, to an equally fine occasion which was to preach at one of the regular summer evensongs at Landwade, in the estate church there. The photo shows folk gathering but don’t be misled: it was full to the door a few minutes later. Rev Colin McC is in sight, local SSM and presiding genius, helping us get into gear, and I can’t think of a better way of spending a summer afternoon. So thanks to Colin, the Gibsons of the Hall who keep the church in such good order, and all those who came along and made it an occasion to remember.

A Sunday Service at Rede

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Rede is a small village in the Suffolk Heights benefice, south-west of Bury St Edmunds. I was there on the morning of Sunday 31st for a benefice service, just for fun as it were, with no special occasion to mark or item/person to bless, except to celebrate the wonder of the Resurrection and bless the wonderful people there (and give the excellent local Rev, Cheryl, who is also an old friend from Ely Diocese, a lighter Sunday before she went off on holiday). And as you can see the angels were with us. Splendid!

Mothers Union in action

I’ve just been sent this picture of Monica Twaits and Val Jeffreys with the Mothers Union Stand at the Wedding Fair held at Trinity Park Ipswich last weekend. The MU have been to several Wedding Fair’s this year promoting marriage in church and the MU’s support of marriage and family life. They talk to the prospective brides, grooms and their parents about the forthcoming marriage and how their plans are going. They offer them a leaflet entitled “Why not get married in church”. This includes information on hymns, readings and general information on how to arrange a church wedding. Then they are asked if they would like to put their names and the date of their wedding on a paper heart. This is tied to the display and MU members pray for the couple from now until they are married. These paper hearts are distributed among the various MU Branches in the diocese. The fair recorded approx 200 Brides of which approx 60 accepted the offer of Prayer and discussed their wedding plans with Monica, Val and Anne Clarke who also helped out on the day.

A windswept walk

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The rather fine late summer that we’ve been having has lured Jean and I into the Great Outdoors. On a welcome free day we drove north to enjoy the up-market delights of Holt (no Royals spotted in the shops that day) and then went and stretched our legs at Sheringham Park. There had to be a lot of stretching the next day too as our walk involved climbing a watchtower on a hill to get a great view of the coast, but some aching calves too. So here is a rare Thomson selfie as the wind caught what little hair I have left and moulded into a Tintin look.

Fighting talk

from the late, great Norman Scarfe who died earlier this year, in his excellent 1972 The Suffolk Landscape (in the tradition of the equally late, great W G Hoskins) which has just joined my shelves after being discarded by Kent. County Libraries. Scarfe was indubitably a Friend Of Suffolk so I sense a twinkle in the GOM’s eye… It’s good to remember him this Ride and Stride weekend: he was also a good friend to Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, (Don’t forget to make a donation: http://www.shct.org uk).

Anselm’s Prayer

I’ve just been reviewing a collection of essays in honour of Sr Benedicta Ward SLG for the Church Times and – as she was a fellow student mediaevalist with me back in the Good Old Days – I thought I ought to dust down my copy of her translation of Anselm’s Prayers. And rather than read them all at a rush as I did then, I’ve been taking one a day along with mattins. How about this extract from his prayer to St Paul as a side-dish to the photo from our celebration of shared ministry?

And you, Jesus, are you not also a mother?
Are you not the mother who, like a hen,
gathers her chickens under her wings?
Truly, Lord, you are a mother;
for both they who are in labour
and they who are brought forth
are accepted by you.
You have died more than they,
that they may labour to bear.
It is by your death that they have been born,
for if you had not been in labour,
you could not have borne death;
and if you had not died, you would not have brought forth.
For, longing to bear sons into life,
you tasted of death,
and by dying you begot them.
You did this in your own self,
your servants by your commands and help.
You as the author, they as the ministers.
So you, Lord God, are the great mother.

Then both of you are mothers.
Even if you are fathers, you are also mothers.
For you have brought it about
that those born to death
should be reborn to life  —
You by Your own act,
you by His power.
Therefore you are fathers by your effect
and mothers by your affection.
Fathers by your authority,
mothers by your kindness.
Fathers by your teaching,
mothers by your mercy.
Then You, Lord, are a mother,
and you, Paul, are a mother too.
If in quantity of affection you are unequal,
yet in quality you are not unalike.
Though in the greatness of your kindness
you are not co-equal,
yet in will you are of one heart.
Although you have not equal fullness of mercy,
yet in intention you are not unequal.