We are a group of 8 rural parishes in the beautiful Norfolk countryside, who enjoy living, working and worshiping together.
The Group was founded in 1964. This was a pioneering and visionary step taken by Bishop Launcelot Fleming to revitalise and enrich the church in an area of thinly populated villages.
This has been our experience. Since then, the parishes have grown together and continue to share resources and benefit from opportunities for collaboration in numerous ways. We have discovered that can do more together than we can alone.
This is abundantly evident in these difficult times, where a network of practical support and help has emerged in our villages. Thank you to those who have a share in this. We all have different needs and there are those who can assist. Let’s continue to cope with this crisis with a spirit of kindness and loving service to those around us. Please don’t hesitate to contact someone to help or just for a chat.
If I can be of help, I am only a
phone call away - 01508 482366
The Reverend Liz Billett
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
To contact us please call The Hempnall Group office, 9am-1pm Mon-Thurs 01508 498157
To receive Weekly Thoughts and Prayers please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive monthly Village News please email: email@example.com
Thought for the Week - Sunday 17th October 2021
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Familiar childhood words, defying would-be bullies. Many of us will have been there. And here’s another scene to which we can relate: mother dealing with recurring friction between two daughters. For whatever reason elder daughter has stuck out her tongue at her sister who is hurt and complains to Mum. So, Mum asks the culprit to write down five uses of, or facts about, the tongue, and what it should be used for. Here’s the result:
1. Helps you talk better
2. Helps you taste better
3. To eat and drink
4. Girls have more taste buds than boys (?..!!!)
5. Purpose: to say nice things.
Mum asks “So where does your list say to stick it out at someone else?” Response? A sheepish smile. “Nowhere.” She then writes an apology to her sister.
Recently one of the weekly biblical readings spoke of the power of the tongue and the damage it can do if not controlled. Proverbs 12.18 says There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. In extreme cases, victims of bullying or abuse are up to nine times more likely to commit suicide than others. We may not always consider seriously the words we speak or, often more importantly, how we say them, but Christ himself warned us to be careful. By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matt 12:37)
During WW2 we were warned “Careless talk costs lives”. Today in our own tightly knit communities this could well be translated “Hurtful talk costs friendships”. And rumour — most of it ill-informed — spreads, like wildfire. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire. And the tongue is a fire. (James 3:6)
Again Proverbs (18:21) warns us: Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and those who love it will eat its fruit. No matter what we say, our words will surely bear fruit, and it’s us who ultimately will taste it. If our words hurt it will be us who will, in God’s eyes, be the more demeaned.
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK
Take hold of my words.
Help me to think before I speak.
Help me to build and not to destroy.
I want my words to glorify you and
Not to be used as a tool of the enemy.
Readings for Sunday 17th October:
Isaiah 53: 4-end
Psalm 91: 9-end
Hebrews 5: 1-10
Mark 10: 35-45
Thought for the Week - Sunday 24th October 2021
Getting to know London
I wonder how we read the Bible.
In my own case, I’ve been prompted to think about this by a course I’m studying - and I’ve quickly realised that my knowledge of the Bible is very partial. Not just because of deficiencies in my understanding of its detailed history or sophisticated interpretations but in the more basic sense of knowing its contents.
This is despite the fact that for years - decades - I’ve regularly heard or read the Bible in church and have thought carefully about the passages concerned. In my own case, it’s not the frequency or regularity of encountering the Bible that’s the issue – it’s the fragmentary way in which I usually do it.
I’m referring, of course, to my reliance on the Lectionary, the set passages of Scripture used in common by mainstream Christian churches of several denominations to take us through the year. It’s a wonderful resource. But it’s only part of the picture.
So, if describing my own Bible awareness, I’d see it as akin to someone knowing London mainly by way of the Underground map. I know it in segments; I know how one ‘stop’ (reading) relates to the one before or after and perhaps to those further up or down the line: but how the ‘real’ London looks (above ground), how one gets from A to B round corners and down alleyways, what the characteristics are of different districts and neighbourhoods, how the whole ACTUALLY fits together, the full, vibrant experience London has to offer - that’s a different, richer kind of knowledge.
Look at the three thumbnail images below of Leicester Square – the underground map, the overground map and what the place looks like if we walk round. The ‘tube map’ - the Lectionary - gives us only one perspective.
Of course, some of us may know London well already and may have lived there or be frequent visitors. Others of us will have ‘stopped off’ and spent time exploring particular parts (e.g., Bible Study Groups). But many, like me, may need a reminder not to rely quite so much on the Underground (Lectionary), valuable as it is, and to see and enjoy the real London (the whole Bible). We may be surprised at what we discover…
Readings for Sunday 24th October:
Jeremiah 31: 7-9
Hebrews 7: 23-end
Mark 10: 46-end
Let us continue to support and strengthen each other
- Daily by saying the Lord's Prayer together, morning and evening
- Lighting a candle at home 10.00am on Sunday
This week we pray for:
- In the morning: the day and its tasks; the world and its needs; the Church and her life
- The social services
- All who work in the criminal justice system
- Victims and perpetrators of crime
- The work of aid agencies throughout the world
- Those living in poverty or under oppression
- In the evening: peace; individuals and their needs