A Year in the Life of St Mary’s, North Elmham - March 2016

Posted in Parish Matters

On Wednesday March 16th at 7.30 the Annual Church and Vestry meetings will be held in the church and all those living in the parish are invited to come to hear about church activities during 2015 and plans for the future. All parishioners have the opportunity to vote for churchwardens while those on the Church Parochial Roll can vote for ten members of the Parochial Church Council which is responsible for much of the day-to-day running of St Mary’s affairs. The accounts for the previous year are agreed and the Annual Report is presented. The 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 at the meeting. The PCC is always happy to hear the views of any of those within the parish whether regular worshippers or not, so please come along and let us hear your views and ideas.
Much of the church life at St Mary’s has changed little over the last eight years, but there may well be changes after April as our new enlarged benefice with Sally Kimmis as Team Rector begins to take shape. The current pattern of Sunday services, up to April included within a monthly cycle, are, worship to suit everyone, from a monthly ‘All-age Worship’ with refreshments afterwards (designed for a family) to traditional 8a.m Communion and 11a.m Matins or Morning Prayer twice a month. If there is a 5th Sunday in the month, we have joined with the other five parishes in our Group for a united service. As well as this regular pattern, there is a monthly Tea Service, and an Advent and Lent discussion group. Also in Lent there is usually Compline each Wednesday. Church Festivals are marked by special services such as the Christmas Eve Christingle – by far the most popular service of the year with standing room only last time. Easter Sunday is welcomed by a Dawn Service in the neighbouring Bishop’s chapel ruins. Details of all these services and other church activities are on the church website (www.elmhamchurchgroupnorfolk.org.uk).
Open Churches Week
Open Churches week is always held the first week of August and this year there were welcomers in the church for much of the week to introduce visitors to the main points of interest in our beautiful buildings and to offer light refreshments.
Church reordering
At the end of 2015 we were disappointed to learn that our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund had been turned down for a third time. This mean that we will have to decide on the most urgent repairs and undertake them from our own resources, most of which have been raised by the hard work of the many helpers at the Fete and Festival. Without this money it would be very difficult to keep the church watertight and the PCC is very grateful for the help of the Events Committee and their helpers who organise this fundraising.
The Elmham Church Events Committee organises events enjoyed by and involving the whole community. Both the Church Fete and Festival were very successful and a Jazz Evening, a Concert by the Ampleforth singers and a lecture on Garden History were all popular. As a result of these events, which are also seen as important village activities, the church had received £2,357 towards the insurance and £4,715 for fabric.
A time of Change
While activities in 2015 followed very much the pattern of previous years there will be major changes from April this year with the enlargement of our present Group of five parishes to include the six which make up the Foulsham Group with Sally Kimmis, the current rector of Foulsham taking on the role of Team Rector. We are hoping that it will not be too long before a part-time Team Vicar is appointed to join her. We look forward to working with Sally and welcoming her to this benefice.
Our impressive church, at the top of Church Hill, which can be seen for many miles around has stood as a witness to Christianity for nearly one thousand years. It is one of Norfolk’s finest medieval buildings and is kept clean, welcoming and decorated with flowers by a loyal band of volunteers. The money raised at Fetes and Festivals helps ensure that it can be kept in good order to serve future generations, but we will always have to rely the continued generosity of all of us-the people of Elmham.
John Labouchere
Susanna Wade Martins (Churchwardens)