Give a Lunch at Lent

Following the success of the Reverse Advent Calendar, I would like to propose a Lent appeal. 
Why not forgo a meal (or two) during Lent and use the fast to pray. In addition why not donate a lunch or another meal to The Foodbank by donating the ingredients to make a family meal?
For example: Lunch or dinner-  a jar of pasta sauce and a packet of dried pasta
                                                   a tinned meat pie and canned vegetables
                                                   a jar of curry sauce and a packet of rice

                      You could even add a pudding- a tin of fruit or rice pudding
                                                                       - a tinned sponge pudding  and a can/ carton of custard
                       Breakfast - a packet of cereal, a carton of long-life milk, a jar of marmalade or a carton of fruit juice.

                       Morning coffee/ afternoon tea - a packet of biscuits, a jar of coffee or a packet of teabags and a carton of long-life milk.

There are plenty of options - just consult the list of Foodbank foods at the back of your church and create a meal to give to a household which is struggling.



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APCMs are good for us!

March is the month when four of our six benefice churches will be holding Annual Parochial Church Meetings with the other two coming in the first week of April. I like a good meeting.

Whilst every parish has a statutory duty to hold the annual meeting of parishioners and the annual parochial church meeting respectively, I truly believe that we miss an opportunity if we do not attend nor see the potential that they offer. Each of our annual reports will guide us to where God has been present during the past year and help us to recognise how He has provided for us, how we have been supported, and help us to celebrate the commonality we share.

As part of the Diocesan Mission Strategy 2021 we are encouraged to think about Reimagining Church through the four work streams - Listen, Celebrate, Imagine and Empower. 

I want to ask you to read your annual reports prayerfully and honestly.  I would like to encourage you to read the annual reports for each of the churches in our benefice too and will be placing a single copy in each church.

For some of our smaller churches the APCM serve as a reminder of the lack of PCC members, officers and churchwardens and we are not alone because many rural churches are in a similar position.

I personally believe that now is the time to consider what we can do to support one another. Do we have a talent or time to offer outside of our own church? Let us take time to thank God for the things we do share.

Please read Acts 2:42-47. Verses 44-45 read ‘All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.’

We can very easily get hung up by thinking that having everything in common means losing the individual identity of each of our churches if we pool our resources so to speak. I don’t believe this to be so and suggest that we need to be bold and imagine the potential for lifting burdens and seeking to grow the gifts that we have been blessed with here in the MATV benefice.

I really do look forward to being present at all of the APCMs and hope to see you there too!



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How do we respond in these times of uncertainty?

I am not a political person. I avoid reading the papers and would not choose to watch the news on the TV. However, it is surely impossible to avoid the uncertainty, confusion and conflict dominating the UK news now. It can be overwhelming, leave us feeling anxious, fearful, frustrated, even angry. 

We will all respond to differently, depending on many things but as Christians, how should our faith influence our response?

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds says this:
“... in these current dangerous circumstances of division, insecurity, and growing fear, the Christian tradition has something more to offer: hope.”
“...Christians are not driven by fear; we are drawn by hope. It is a hope that comes to us from the future: resurrection. It is a hope that should not be confused with fantasy. It is committed to the life of the present — in all its complexity and muckiness — but refuses to see the present reality as the end or the ultimate.”
“Christians must love the light by looking at the world — and our politics, and our media — in the light of the Christ who is the light of the world. Don’t just look at Jesus: look at the world through his eyes, say what you see — always with the humility that we might be myopic or wilfully blind — and be trustworthy and faithful.”

These are excerpts from a lecture the Bishop delivered earlier this month on “How Christians should respond to populism”.

I must confess, I don’t even understand the title! However, what he says here works for me. It reminds me that we are part of a far bigger picture, an infinite and eternal timeline, way beyond the arguments between Theresa and Jeremy, the UK and the EU, in or out. It reminds me too that when we try to look at the world through the eyes of Jesus, the perspective changes. Jesus sees through the flaws to the potential, past the bickering to the heart of those striving to do their best job amidst the turmoil. However, I think we can safely say He won’t be happy with the lack of compassion, the personal criticisms and the division it is causing between friends, families and communities.

When it all gets too much, we have a mighty weapon in our armoury – prayer. Perhaps we can share this one together:’


Gracious God,

As we move through uncharted waters, we look to You.

You are our anchor and our hope, help us to keep our eyes on You
 For all involved in negotiations and decisions please bring wisdom, tolerance, integrity and empathy.
You are our anchor and our hope, help us to keep our eyes on You
Lord, as nations in the United Kingdom, may we always be people of hospitality, compassion and kindness, welcoming the stranger, the lost and loving our neighbours as You call us to do.

You are our anchor and our hope, help us to keep our eyes on You
Lord, remove all fear of the future from our hearts and help us to look at the world through Your eyes. In Jesus' name, Amen


Jackie Clay      


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Drop In Coffee Morning

We hold a coffee morning on Thursdays from 9.30 until 12.00 which is a nice place to meet new friends and to chat to those you already know. There is no specific charge but we do suggest a small donation of £1 to cover our expenses. We serve hot and cold drinks, as many as you want, cakes on the tables and at around 11am we serve toasted tea cakes. We have celebration events such as our Christmas Dinner and occasional buffet lunches which are all great fun. We can also arrange lifts for anyone unable to walk there or who is without transport so it is ideal for those who can not always get out and about.

The majority of people are aged over 50, however we have had some younger people come along recently and that is great. It is important for us to have events that cross the generations. It also means that we could then have some younger people who can help out in the kitchen.

At the moment anyone on the rota for helping out in the kitchen is on duty around every 4 weeks. This does not however give us much scope to cover holidays or illness so we would really love to have a few more volunteers on our list. The more people we have the less often each person is on the rota. It would be great to get us back to a situation where each person is only on duty once every 6 weeks.

It is actually quite rewarding being in the kitchen. Part of the duty is to greet people as they come in and ask what they would like to drink. If it is someone new you may be the first person they speak to. There are always at least 2 people in the kitchen together so you are never just left there on your own. It only involves making drinks, collecting up cups and washing up. Toasting the teacakes is usually done by one of the regular helpers, although it is fine for anyone to do that as well.

If you are interested in coming along and/or helping out just turn up on a Thursday and ask for Lizzie.

If you would like to ring me my number is 01362 850491.

(You do have to announce who you are as we have call guardian to stop all those nuisance calls getting through.)



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Andrea Woods to become our curate

Dear friends,
I have some great news to pass on to you.

From July (well the very end of June) next year, our team here in the Benefice will be boosted by a Curate, or rather by Andrea Woods, who will become our Curate here. Currently, Andrea is Families and Children’s Worker with St. Andrew’s, Eaton and is an LLM (Reader), well known to many of the staff team in the Benefice already. Andrea is married to Tim, and they have two adult sons. You can find out more about them with this amazing video ( Please have a look.
Andrea is likely to be ordained on the 29th June 2019 and we will welcome her, Tim and family formally to the Benefice on the 30th June, when we will be having our annual Village Green service.


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Giving what's right, not what's left

Mark's talk at the Mattishall 10.30 service on 14th October on the subject of "Give what's right, not what's left" is now available in the Resources session. Note that Mark is due to speak on this subject at Yaxham and North Tuddenham on 21st October and at East Tuddenham and Welborne on 4th November.


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A Time for Reflection

Is it because “we look back” to summer, as the mnemonic for the change from British Summer Time goes, that autumn is a time for looking back? We have harvest – a time to look back at the year and give thanks for God’s provision. We have Remembrance Day, especially this year as we come up to the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 on Sunday 11th November with services in each village. We have our annual Memorial Service on the 25th November. All these events combine the flavours of thanksgiving, commemoration and remembrance, in different measure.

Therefore we will be continuing the sermon series started in September called “Generous: Our God. Our Call” as we use the Harvest time to reflect on our response to God’s generosity. For the details of this series please check back to September’s Benefice News or the website.

On the 28th October, there will be just one service across the Benefice as Bishop Jonathan comes to licence Sally as Assistant Priest, at Yaxham at 10:30. This licencing will not change the character of what she does, but is an outward mark of Sally’s own response to the generous God who called her into ministry. Over the last few years Sally’s role as a Priest who is called from the local community and stays here has developed, and so this new designation of Assistant Priest, shared with other Locally Ordained Ministers across the Diocese, will recognise that new role.


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Mid-Norfolk Foodbank

Liz Chappell, our local representative for the Foodbank writes.

With harvest starting in September, donations from churches and schools really boost our supplies and this time of year is a very important means of food requirement for the Foodbank.

The Mid Norfolk Foodbank is run from Dereham, with distribution centres also in Swaffham and Fakenham. Unfortunately, the necessity for food for those in real need is as great as ever, with over 2000 people in our local area receiving food parcels. The introduction of Universal Credit in Dereham this June has had the same impact here as around the country in increasing the demand for food. A quarter of our clients receiving food are those on low incomes unable to make ends meet and who have not got the reserves required to manage through the transition period.

We recently received a letter from someone in Dereham who received a food box. They said “I have to say what a great idea and conception it is for us to have Foodbanks, without them many people would go hungry through no issues of their own, just a bad situation or bad luck.

“I hope you never find yourself stuck without food any chance of getting any for over a week. Not everyone has family or friends that they can go to, so the Foodbank is that last life line for them.

“To those people who donate a little food, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Everyone one involved feel pride in the service you provide, free of charge. You have made a difference in my life and the kindness I have felt from the staff was overwhelming and made a shameful act (having to ask for free food) was made much easier and I walked away from there in Dereham not feeling shame but overwhelmed by kindness. You are true stars. Thankyou.”

Please continue to give generously. You can see what a difference it makes. If you would like to become a volunteer to help in this crucial work, either in our distribution centres or the warehouse please contact me or the Mid-Norfolk Foodbank online. Alternatively, see their website at


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