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
Sunday 25th July 2021 - Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Thoughts and Prayers for the Week
What’s in a name?
In the Hempnall Group, we have three churches (Hardwick, Hempnall and Topcroft) dedicated to St Margaret, who is commemorated on 20 July. What’s the significance of our Patronal Festivals?
From an early stage, it was common to name a place of Christian worship after a saint and to honour the feast day of that patron/guardian. Those practices were discouraged by the Reformation of the 16th century but were revived in the Victorian era.
In medieval times, St Margaret of Antioch was widely venerated as a martyr - a young Christian woman living in Asia Minor (now Turkey) in the 4th century who, having refused marriage to a Roman prefect, was persecuted and killed. There were many legends about her: the best-known story told how, swallowed by a dragon (Satan), she escaped when her cross irritated the dragon’s intestines. Because she was said to have emerged from the dragon’s belly unharmed, she also became the patron saint of childbirth. She was certainly popular in Norfolk. Over 40 churches are dedicated to her, far more than in any other county, making ‘St Margaret’ the fifth most common name in our Diocese.
Today a Patronal Festival for her can seem problematic, given the fanciful nature of her story and indeed doubts about whether she existed. (In 1969 the Roman Catholic Church stopped marking her feast day for those reasons).
Yet, however dubious we may now find the credentials of a particular saint, Patronal Festivals still provide opportunities to celebrate our local churches – past, present and future – and the communities in which they’re grounded. And, as we do so, let’s remember that ‘the church’ is far more than ‘just’ the building: let’s pray for all that we are and can be as a living church in our communities in the 21st century.
“O God, make the door of our church wide enough to receive all who need love and fellowship… but narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife.
Make the threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling block…but strong enough to turn back the tempter’s power.
God, make the door of our church a gateway to your kingdom.”
Bishop Thomas Ken (1637-1711) - adapted
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
On Sunday we pray for:
~ That each day may be holy, good and filled with God’s peaceful presence
~ That we may strive for the wellbeing of all creation
~ That in the joys and struggles of life we may know the love of God and be thankful
~ That we may be bound together by God’s good Spirit, as we entrust one another and all our life to Christ
Readings for the week:
Wisdom 1: 13-15, 2.23-24
2 Corinthians 8: 7-end
Mark 5: 21-end
This weeks our services are:
Sun 25th July | Eighth Sunday after Trinity
11:00am | Eucharist at Shelton Church
Please contact Liam Pilgrim by
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to book your seat.
6:00pm | Evening Worship from Iona via Zoom
Meeting ID: 838 8348 9839
There will be no 9:30am Eucharist service at Woodton Church on the 25th July
as there is a wedding in the church that day.
There is no Family Praise this week or next week
Next week’s services:
Sunday 1st August 2021 | Ninth Sunday after Trinity
10:00am | Group Family Praise at Hempnall Church
Please contact Claire Key by Email: email@example.com to book your seat.