A Year in the Life of St Mary's, North Elmham - March 2013

Posted in Parish Matters

Once a year there is an opportunity for all those interested in the life of St Mary's church to meet with its governing body, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) at the Annual Church and Vestry meetings when the church wardens and PCC are elected for the next year. The accounts for the previous year are agreed and the annual report is presented. This formal report, produced by the rector is available in the church and from the rector, either by e-mail, (Nicholas.Varnon@)btinternet.com) or in hard copy by telephoning 668030, and any matters of concern can be raised. This year the Annual Church meeting will be held at 7.30 in the Institute on Thursday 18th April when everyone is welcome.
Although much in our church life changes very little from year to year, we hope that the next few years will see major developments to make the church more welcoming and accessible.
Worship is always at the centre of our church life with at least one service every Sunday. The pattern of services was explained in last month's Elmham News and details of our services for each month can be found in the back of Elmham News as well as on the church website (www.elmhamchurchgroupnorfolk.org.uk). About once a month there is coffee and biscuits after the service and the fact that most people stay behind and that lively conversation can go on for a long time is an indication of the sense of companionship that our church community fosters.
There is much more to our church life than formal services. The Bible Study group continued to meet on Wednesdays with the Lent course taking its place after Compline during Lent. The Tea Service also met once a month for an informal half-hour service with a short talk followed by tea and cakes.
Other events involve the wider community. The Garden Fete, with its Fun Dog Show, in the beautiful grounds of Elmham House is always a great attraction. The Flower Festival has now been running with hardly a break for forty years and last year's theme was 'Think of a number' which produced some amazing and inventive displays. These fund raising events involve over 100 helpers to make them a success and raise money both for the upkeep of the church and to contribute a share to church expenses.
A small team has been busy putting together a Heritage Lottery Fund application to provide a major part of the cost of much needed improvements to the church. These include better disabled access and toilets as well as the conversion of the chapel at the end of the north aisle into a small meeting room enclosed by glass. This could be used for quiet reading and reflection as well as by community groups. How successful this bid is, will not be known until the autumn.
These developments mean the church, both its building and its activities, would allow St Mary's to play an even more active part within the community. We are proud of our church and its' Christian witness. None of this would be possible without the leadership of Nicholas the rector, and a team of helpers who undertake a whole variety of tasks from taking services to cleaning the brass. The church is a living entity which must always be open to change and all who can bring new ideas and skills will find a warm welcome at St Mary's.
Susanna Wade Martins (Church Warden)