Dawn

Digital Advent Calendar

Subscribe to our new digital advent calendar

 

The advent calendar is an exciting new project from the diocese and is a way to reflect and engage with Advent differently through a selection of images, music, and more.

Twenty-six very varied contributors from across the diocese (a shepherd, a teacher, a prison chaplain, for example) will offer us something to ponder each day. Sign up here to have each day’s offering sent automatically to your email inbox. You’ll also be able to access the calendar via all the diocesan social media channels; on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The digital advent calendar is designed to foster a sense of connectivity between Christians all over the diocese and also, in these uncertain times, to foster both comfort and joy as the church’s wonderful diversity in membership, mission and ministry is celebrated and as the thrum and momentum of Advent hope quickens and grows.

Lovely things will be shared by contributors which will by turns challenge, inspire, console and nourish. The hope is that each door will leave us all with something rich to turn over prayerfully throughout the day in question.

 

 

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Dawn

Tasburgh Christmas and Crib Services - click title to find out more

Please contact Andrea Tel: 471529 if you would like to attend any of these services. In order to maintain social distancing, which limits available space, seating will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Village Carol Services

Friday 18th December 19.00

Sunday 20th December 16.00

Crib Services

Thursday 24th December 15.00

Thursday 24th December 16.30

 

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Dawn

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

Wreath made by Rainbows from Saxlingham Nethergate Scout and Guide group

 

 

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Dawn

Emerging Church

Emerging Church

Emerging Church

 

It’s good to see the tentative emergence from lockdown happening all around us.  But the relaxing of regulations brings its own challenges…. we watch with incredulity and anger the news reports of crowded beaches and what seems to be the blatant abuse, by some, of this new measure of freedom.

 

The churches here in Tas Valley have been opened for private prayer and we began offering ‘live’ services in two parishes as well as continuing with Zoom services during July and August.  From September we’ll be building on this, with three more of our churches opening their doors to worshippers on Sunday mornings.  Each step forwards involves familiarising ourselves with revised rules and adapting to new ways of worship.  At the time of writing, congregational singing is still prohibited and Holy Communion is to be given in ‘one kind only’ – sharing of the cup is not allowed.

 

That said, there’s a lot to be gained from meeting together, having face to face contact (or more accurately, ‘eye contact’ - over our face masks) sharing in fellowship and worshipping together. 

 

Recently I attended a drive-in ‘Songs of Praise’ style service at the Norfolk Showground and took part in a mini-retreat at home via Zoom – two events organised by the Diocese.  Although I joined in both with a certain amount of hesitation, they each proved to be valuable times of encounter with God. 

 

I know many of us have been blessed in unexpected ways as we’ve found ourselves doing church differently over the past few months and reassured to experience for ourselves the truth that our circumstances may change but God remains unchanging, love eternal, ever faithful, always true.

 

With my prayers and every blessing

 

Dawn

 

 

 

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Dawn

Keep Calm and Carry on...

Keep Calm and Carry on...

 

Keep Calm and Carry On…

 

With the gradual easing of lockdown comes a host of further concerns…how to interpret the new rules, how to make things work in new and different ways, how to move into the future leaving behind what is no longer of benefit but taking with us lessons learned and the good we’ve gained.

 

This will be a ‘work in progress’ for some time to come.  Meanwhile we keep on keeping on….

 

The church is making good use of technology and digital resources to help negotiate our way through the current challenge.  As well as our own Zoom service, the Diocese of Norwich website www.dioceseofnorwich.org  offers links to services of worship and a variety of useful resources to help maintain and nurture our spiritual life.  Likewise www.churchofengland.org

 

I’d like to highlight the ministry of Canon J.John who delivers spiritual truth with good humoured wisdom.  At www.canonjjohn.com you’ll find ‘Word for the Day’ ‘Facing the Canon’ and ‘The J.John Podcast’.  From the site menu you can access his blog – I particularly recommend exploring this for many articles reflecting on our current situation.

 

There are two excellent Christian radio stations offering music, teaching, interviews, articles and news, which I encourage you to check out:  www.premierchristianradio.com and www.ucb.co.uk.

 

If you haven’t already discovered www.youtube.com as a source of encouraging preaching, I suggest going there to find a wealth of teaching from HTB Church (Holy Trinity Brompton), among others.  There is an almost endless list of ministries on YouTube – particularly from ‘across the pond’.  Discernment is needed when ‘surfing the net’ for good teaching – it’s usually apparent when something is whacky, or slightly off track.  If in doubt, ask!  Always take the Berean approach (Acts 17:11) and you won’t go far wrong!

 

With my prayers and every blessing

 

Dawn

 

 

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Dawn

Night Prayer with Bishop Graham

Night Prayer with Bishop Graham

          

            

An invitation to join with Bishop Graham
for night prayer via Zoom


Bishop Graham is inviting everyone across the diocese to join him at 9pm each evening between Ascension Day and Pentecost in a virtual Compline service. Together with millions of other Christians around the world we will be praying the words of Jesus, 'Thy Kingdom Come'.

'Compline' is the ancient 'office' with which monastic communities end their day of prayer. The word comes from the Latin 'completorium' which means completion, so the day is complete when this time of prayer is offered.

The liturgy for each evening is available to download here.

Compline will be held every evening starting on Thursday 21 May (Ascension Day) until (and including) Saturday 30 May.

Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/95501245043?pwd=eHpDOGpiTmY4TmRYME1Tb21pM0VWQT09

Meeting ID: 955 0124 5043
Password: 955067


If you know someone without internet access who would like to join, they can phone 0203 481 5237 and enter the meeting ID and password when prompted.

 

 

              https://dioceseofnorwich.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=8477d8a03014a58cb41be0b8d&id=dd65c4a954&e=060a501b6c

 

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Dawn

Challenging Times

Challenging Times

We've all heard that Sunday services and other mid-week gatherings are to stop until further notice - posing a new and exciting challenge for us as we seek to 'do differently' in being Church in Tas Valley during these uncertain times.

Despite the inconveniences and in some cases, very real difficulties that we may encounter, we can continue to look to God for wisdom, help and comfort.  This is our moment to shine.  Here is opportunity to deepen our prayer life, to reach out in practical ways to neighbours and friends.  To show support and strengthen community in our villages.  We can all pick up the phone or write a card offering words of encouragement.  Many of us can offer help in a variety of practical ways.

Meanwhile, keep safe and well - watch this space and elswhere for further updates and developments.

With love and prayers

Dawn

 

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Dawn

Unhindered Worship

Unhindered Worship

 

"Keep a Christian from entering the church sanctuary

and you have not in the least bit hindered his worship.

We carry our sanctuary with us.

We never leave it."

AW Tozer

It may be frustrating not being able to gather physically for worship but as the above quote reminds us, the presence of God dwells within us and worship can take place wherever we are - not least when we're on our own.  Some are discovering online resources for worship - where 'virtual community' is possible.  I'm putting together a small selection of online resources that I've found useful and will share this in due course.  It is in circumstances such as this current crisis that we are made more aware than ever of our need to lean on God.  In many ways this time is a gift - we suddenly have the space to nurture our personal walk with the Lord.  It takes discipline to develop our prayer life and spend quality time reading the Bible but there is little excuse not to do so in such a time as this.  

Other things are happening as we share the love of God and neighbour through acts of kindness and service.  I'm hugely encouraged by what I'm hearing from a number of people giving and receiving help with shopping, collecting prescriptions and making telephone calls to keep in touch and help to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.  Please let me know of needs you or others may have - if we can help in any way we will.  Contact me on 01508 498924 or dawndavidson@btinternet.com 

With every blessing and my continued prayers for us all

Dawn

 

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Dawn

This may be Friday...

This may be Friday...

Six weeks ago I was in Jerusalem, walking the Via Dolorosa - the route Jesus took on his way to the crucifixion.  Stopping, along with fellow pilgrims, for the stations of the cross.  The street was narrow, crowded and lined either side with open fronted shops - vivid with colour, glittering with trinkets.  The scent of spices mingling in places with the acid stench of urine, shopkeepers attempting to make a sale, traders interrupting our prayers waving their wares at us - "Come, you buy - only ten dollars"...it was chaotic, not an atmosphere conducive to contemplation.  It was also uncomfortably cold.  Disappointment began to well up within me...until I caught the whisper of God's voice....this is not so different, this noisy, crowded, unglamorous jostle.  People going about their business - others disrespectful, not understanding what your purpose is, not interested in what you're doing - not comprehending the significance of what is happening.

Come, my child and walk with me....those who walk with me through the suffering of this world, will share in the joy that is to come.  This may be Friday....but Sunday's coming....

God bless you as we journey through Easter together.

Dawn

 

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Dawn

The Blessing of Giving

Around 40 people gathered to worship at our Benefice Service this morning in Swainsthorpe Church.  Julian Bryant from Christian Aid spoke on John 6:1-15.  The collection totalled £175.70 all of which will go to help children in Kenya affected by HIV.  This is a ‘matched giving’ scheme - for every £1 donated another £17 is added - this means the project will benefit by almost £3000.  Thanks to all who gave so generously.

God blesses us to be a blessing!

Dawn

 

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Dawn

An Easter Message

An Easter Message

The message of the cross is central to the Christian faith. As a symbol, the cross is universally known, and either revered, reviled or ignored. But how many people connect the cross with Easter? Reports suggest that these days very few could even explain what it means....could you? Here’s a quick summary: God created man and woman to enjoy friendship with him – but they chose to ignore God and go their own way. Because of this, evil has flourished and all mankind suffers as a result. But God, in his love, has not abandoned us and left us to it. He did something about it – by sending his own Son, Jesus – who lived a pure and unblemished life – to take the punishment we all deserve by dying in our place. No one else was qualified to do this – the payment for ultimate evil could only be made by ultimate good. And it gets even better....the Bible says that whoever comes to Jesus asking forgiveness will be forgiven and receive a new life that never ends. A life that begins now - and continues beyond death for all eternity. When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, it was proof positive that all he’d said and promised was true. There are some excellent books that help explore the evidence for the resurrection – please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

This website features details of our Easter services and events  – we would love to welcome you, wherever you are on your journey of faith. God bless you this Easter and always! 

 

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Panto Stars To Help Boost Funds At Norfolk Church Targeted By Lead Raiders

Panto Stars To Help Boost Funds At Norfolk Church Targeted By Lead Raiders

Some of the stars of this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime are throwing their weight behind a bid byNewton Flotman church to boost its coffers after being targeted by lead thieves.

Ben Langley, who plays Silly Billy in Jack and the Beanstalk this Christmas, will be making a guest appearance at the festive fair at St Mary’s Church in Newton Flotman.  The event runs from 10am-3pm on Saturday 3rd December with light lunches and cakes available.  Ben will be arriving at 12 noon..

He will be exploring the stalls and meeting some of the parishoners who are helping to raise money for the church.  Maybe he'll be in some of the Christmas photos - you can book a Christmas photo shoot for your child with Vicky for just £3.  The photos make great Christmas presents and will be delivered in time for the Christmas post.

The fair was initially going to boost the parish coffers to make the building more of a space for community events but now at least some money is going to have to be diverted to replace the lead following November’s theft and also increase security at the building.

It is the second time the church has been targeted in recent months following an attempted lead theft back in May.

The Revd Canon Sally Gaze, Team Rector for the Tas Valley which includes Newton Flotman, said: “Newton Flotman is a wonderful community,  We’re all pulling together after the lead theft and still intending to invest in adapting our building for more community use as soon as possible.  We’re really looking forward to having Ben with us.  The fair will be lots of fun”

Ben’s visit comes amid rehearsals for this year’s pantomime which opens on December 13 and runs through until January 15. He joins a star cast which includes world-renowned dancer, choreographer and performer Wayne Sleep, and the Theatre Royal’s panto stalwart Richard Gauntlett. 

John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “Ben was delighted to visit Newton Flotman in his native South Norfolk and help support the fundraising efforts. The festive event is a key part of the church’s calendar and it is great to have the chance to help them end 2016 in a positive way. Oh yes it is.”

 

Jack And The Beanstalk, Tuesday 13 December 2016-Sunday 15 January 2017. Tickets £7-£23.50

On the same day nearby Swainsthorpe Church's Christmas Coffee Morning will run from 10am -12 noon.  Why not come to both

 

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Dawn

Good News at Easter

Good News at Easter

Two friends went through university together but separated after graduation, eventually losing touch with each other. One of them went on to become a judge, the other took a very different path and ended up a criminal. One day the criminal was brought before the judge. He had committed a crime to which he pleaded guilty. The judge recognised his old friend and now faced a dilemma. He was a judge, so he had to be just, he couldn’t let the man off. Yet he didn’t want to punish him because their friendship had meant so much. So he told his friend that he would fine him the correct penalty for the offence. That is justice. Then he took off his wig and robe, came down from the bench and wrote a personal cheque for the amount of the fine. He gave it to his friend, saying he would pay the penalty for him. That is mercy.This story, used by Nicky Gumbel on the Alpha course, illustrates something of what Jesus did for us on the cross. The crucifixion brought both justice and mercy as Jesus paid the penalty for all our sin. In so doing he gave us a fresh start and opened the way to friendship with God. As we celebrate not only his death but his resurrection this Easter, why not renew your faith at one of our services – or perhaps come along for the first time and discover the good news of God’s love, forgiveness and freedom – the gift he offers to all who recognise their need of it.

May you know God’s blessing this Easter! Sally, Dawn, Martin, Jenny and David

 

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David

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

It is time once again to launch the annual Shoe Box Appeal for children in need in Central and Eastern Europe.  The information leaflets and posters are in churches and the final date for handing in the boxes will be on Remembrance Sunday November 8th.  Newton Flotman Cafe church packed 25 boxes at a packing party on October 18th in the school and in Tasburgh, there are packing parties most weekends Contact Jane Rae for details 470692

Last year we sent over 400 boxes from the Benefice and with your help we hope to match this or achieve an even better  amount this year.    David Lancaster   Tel.01508 493159

 

 

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New Village Shop Vending Machine in Newton Flotman?

New Village Shop Vending Machine in Newton Flotman?

New Village Shop Vending Machine in Newton Flotman?

As part of St. Mary’s Newton Flotman’s Growing for the Future project, the PCC is exploring how the church building can better serve the village.  One of the ideas the PCC is looking at is the possibility of installing a village shop vending machine in the church tower.  The BBC reported on the installation of a similar village vending machine in Derbyshire, (see that report online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-26680076)

Newton Flotman & Tasburgh’s village shops closed a while ago, and anyone wanting to buy the basics such as milk, bread, toilet rolls etc. has to trek to Mulbarton, Long Stratton or the outskirts of Norwich.  That’s not always easy or convenient.

To find out if a new type of village shop vending machine, open 7am-7pm and selling essential fresh foods and groceries, would be of benefit to the village, the PCC is undertaking a survey.  The survey, and a stand explaining how the church tower could be adapted to improve its use for the community, will take place at Newton Flotman’s Village Fete on Sunday 7th September.  The survey will also be sent to every household in Newton Flotman & Swainsthorpe via the parish magazine Partnership, and is also available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BWSX9JL.

Please do take part and let us know what you think. Thanks!

 

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Ian

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
At the time of writing, we've enjoyed over two weeks of intense summer sunshine here in Saxlingham Nethergate.  Booootiful!! 
Eratosthenes, an Egyptian librarian who lived around 2,200 years ago heard that the sun could be seen shining at the bottom of a well in the town of Syene on the longest day of the year. He surmised that to make a reflection in a well, the sun had to be directly overhead on that day. And a sun directly overhead would cast no shadows from upright columns or posts. Yet on the longest day of the year in the city of Alexandria, where he lived, he observed that straight columns did cast shadows. He decided to travel to Syene himself to verify that what he had heard was true. At midday on the longest day of the year, he looked into the well and saw the sun reflected. And sure enough, the posts in Syene cast no shadows. He reflected on that. After a while, he began to see a bigger picture of what these seemingly unconnected facts meant. Surprisingly, it went against what nearly everyone believed at the time. In the third century BC, nearly every scholar believed that the earth was flat. But Eratosthenes reasoned that if the sun’s light came down straight and the earth was flat, then there would be no shadows in both Alexandria and Syene. If there were shadows in one location but not the other, then there could be only one logical explanation. The surface of the earth must be curved. In other words, the world must be a sphere. That’s a pretty impressive mental leap, although it seems perfectly logical to us today. After all, we’ve seen pictures of our planet from space. But Eratosthenes made that ‘big-picture’ discovery.
How well do you see the ‘big picture’? A world map published by the National Geographic Society has this notation: “Earth’s mass is 6.6 sextillion tons.” And what supports all that weight? Nothing! The planet we inhabit spins on its axis at 1,000 miles per hour as it hurtles through space in its orbit around the sun. The Old Testament character Job repeatedly thought about this ‘big picture’ stuff. “God stretches out the north over empty space. He hangs the earth on nothing!” Job said in chapter 27 of his book. Job marvelled at the clouds that didn’t break under the weight of the heavy water inside them and the horizon “at the boundary of light and darkness”, but called them “the mere edges of God’s ways”.  For Job, the heavens and the earth pointed him to God the Creator. This goes against what many believe today - but I'm with Job. It thrills me to know that the same God who created and upholds the universe by the “word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3) is with us in our everyday lives.

(Thanks to John C. Maxwell for some of these thoughts - Ed.)
 

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Ian

Real Hope

Real Hope
When the snow was still with us, I spent a very cold Friday evening a few weeks ago, sitting in a barn on a farm in Suffolk, chatting with a teenage girl at a youth weekend I was helping at. The other youngsters were playing pool, table tennis and badminton all around us (it was a large barn!) We’d been talking for just a few minutes when she told me that a couple of years before, her life had been completely transformed by Jesus. He had become her closest friend! It was lovely to hear her talking about Him. I asked her a simple question; “What would you say was the most wonderful thing about becoming a Christian?” She replied without hesitation. “Real hope.” 
Actually, you may feel that the word ‘hope’ doesn’t say very much – it doesn’t sound very certain. We might say, “I hope everything works out for you” or “I hope the weather stays fine” but there’s little or no confidence that things will ‘work out’ or that the weather will ‘be fine’. Its fingers crossed time! If you’re in the habit of buying a lottery ticket, you hope to win I’m sure. The odds of winning the EuroMillions Lottery jackpot are 1 in 76,275,360 – a fairly faint hope I think you’ll agree. And what about feelings of hopelessness? They are extremely powerful, bringing down even the sturdiest of individuals, and can lead to severe depression and sometimes even thoughts of suicide. 
Everyone needs hope and love. Alexander Pope once said, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast” It is my belief that our society needs a hope revolution! Of course, whatever we are placing our hope in, in this life, will eventually be gone. But here’s a true saying and one to ponder…. “If you have been reduced to God being your only hope, you are in a good place.” My teenage friend had found that place. She'd discovered that in Jesus real hope is found. Why? And how can she be so sure?  Because everything God promises He does. The Bible is jam-packed full of God’s wonderful promises (around 3,000 of them!) Yes, everyone needs love and hope; and in God both are abundantly found. Over the Easter period we are reminded that Jesus was amazingly raised to life again to bring us real hope – to bring you real hope. Have you discovered it?
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13)
 

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David

Shoebox Appeal Success

Shoebox Appeal Success We were thrilled with the response to this year's Samaritan's Purse Shoebox Appeal.  We gathered 250 shoeboxes to send to children who otherwise would receive no Christmas presents this year.

Thanks to all who gave so generously of their time, money and effort to make this possible.
 

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