Vicar's Emails

Email 9 April  2021

I hope and pray you remain safe and well as tributes pour in from around the world to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with our Queen, the Royal family and our nation in these sad times.

Christ Church is open from 10.30am-4pm daily for private prayer and reflection. Catherine Jeffries has kindly put the church flag at half mast. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we cannot open a physical Book of Condolence in the Church but the Church of England's online Book of Condolence is available here. Letters of condolence may be sent to the Lieutenancy Office, Norfolk County Council, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DH.

The readings this Easter Week have included the Exodus, and the Song of Songs. Prince Philip's family were forced to make their exodus from Greece with him in a cot made from a fruit box. Elizabeth fell in love with Philip at a young age and he became the longest serving consort in British history. The Song of Songs is poetry between young lovers, but has traditionally been read as pointing to our longing for God and God's love for us: “Love is strong as death.”

I remain on holiday, but Alistair will lead Morning Prayer on Zoom  at 1030 on Sunday 11th April, and Colin Way will preside at communion in church at 330pm.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers in this season of resurrection,

Patrick

 

Email 31 March 2021

I hope and pray you are safe and well. The sun has been shining and there is hope of the UK lock-downs continuing to ease, though Europe is seeing surges.

Justice is in the news, with reports on institutional racism and policing of the Sarah Everard demonstration being argued about and the trial of Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd underway.

In our readings at Morning Prayer for Holy Week Christ undergoes injustice. The Sanhedrin find him guilty of blasphemy, though as divine Messiah he speaks the truth, and Pilate, although unconvinced that Jesus is guilty, hands him over to be scourged and crucified nonetheless. Both Sanhedrin and Pilate seek to preserve the status quo and to please people, but to follow Christ we must seek justice, mercy and to walk humbly with our God.

Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, when we remember Jesus having the Last Supper, the institution of Holy communion, the foot washing and the new commandment. You can find details of our 9am and 730pm Zoom services below. The 730pm service uses recordings of the lockdown choir and Matt playing the organ.

Please do book for the 1030am service on Good Friday and the 8am communion on Easter Day in church, ringing N. 250844 or by Email. Matt will be playing the organ live in church.

You can join these services on Zoom, please Email if you would like the details.

The new noticesheet will soon be in church (in limited numbers while the office is closed) and on the website.

With Enfys' passing we have an electrically operated reclining chair in good condition to offer free to a good home. Please let Jacky know on Email if you might be interested.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers for Palm Sunday and Holy Week,

Patrick

Zoom services this next week - please Email if you would like the details: 
Morning Prayer: Thursday and Tuesday to Friday next week
730pm, Maundy Thursday
Our Morning service by Zoom on Good Friday and Easter Day gathers at 1025am for 1030 start
8am service on Easter Day 

 

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Email 27 March 2021

I hope and pray you are safe and well. There are signs of the spring weather that was an encouragement in the first lockdown a year ago. There are also signs of elections looming and increased political news, as well as concerns about allowing imports but not viral variants to enter the country easily.

In our readings at Morning and evening prayer, we have several warnings against stubborn arrogance. Jeremiah has been prophesying for 23 years, but having been ignored, invasion by Babylon is imminent. In Exodus, Pharaoh brings plague and disaster on his land by refusing God's call to set his people free. In John, the religious leaders want to kill Jesus for his words and miracles, fulfilling Isaiah's words, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Let us humbly hear God's words, pray for our leaders and trust in God's power to bring good even out of evil.

In further sad news, Mike Trendell died peacefully yesterday. I had taken him and his family communion earlier in the week. May Mike rest in peace and rise in glory. Please pray for his family.

The new noticesheet is now in church and on the website along with the new, April Magazine.

Please remember the Clocks go forward tonight.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. You can find details of our Zoom services below. There are Palms in church you can pick up and the Zoom service has the dramatised Passion Story according to Mark.

Our upcoming services for Holy Week and Easter are here.

You are warmly invited to join us on Zoom from Monday to Thursday of Holy Week at 9am for Morning Prayer and at 730pm on Maundy Thursday.

Please do book for the 1030am service on Good Friday and the 8am communion on Easter Day in church, ringing N. 250844 or by Email.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers for Palm Sunday and Holy Week,

Patrick

Our Morning service by Zoom, gathers at 1025am for 1030 start, with small group discussion at the beginning, and at the end if you want to stay. Please Email if you would like the regular Sunday morning Zoom details. Service orders are here. If someone wants printed copies, we will gladly reimburse expenses if you can get it to them.

There is also a short evening prayer on Zoom at 6pm.  Please Email if you would like the Zoom details. 

Please Email if you would like the Zoom details for Morning Prayer during the week

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Email 24 March 2021

I hope and pray you are safe and well. I have just had my first AstraZeneca jab and am grateful that it was not delayed by the continuing international tensions over supply. At morning prayer, the readings from John's Gospel tell how Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead causes the religious leaders to want to kill both Lazarus and Jesus, and Mary's anointing of Jesus causes tension within the disciples. However, I finally realised that Mary's pouring the expensive perfume over Jesus makes emotional sense; Jesus has just restored her brother to life! Let us not be dismayed by tensions within and without, but remember that Jesus has given us the priceless gift of eternal life.

In sad news, Enfys Chalmers, a member of our congregation, died this morning, but I was able to take her communion yesterday. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. Please pray for her family and friends.

Please pray for the children's Easter Packs to have a good effect. 149 children have asked for a pack, the highest number so far. Please also pray for all those receiving the pastoral care packs. Our thanks go to all who've helped with the packs.

Catherine Jeffries has kindly laid out Palm Crosses in church for you to take. For safety reasons please don't handle crosses unnecessarily.

The Church of England is backing VaccinAid to Give the World a shot at defeating Covid 19 by supporting the biggest vaccination drive in history. See here for details.

Details of our services are here. Please do book for the 1030am service on Good Friday and the 8am communion on Easter Day in church, ringing N. 250844 or by Email.

Sarah Scott is revising the electoral roll for Christ Church for the annual meeting on 25th April. If you would like to join the roll, or if you are already a member but your contact details have changed, please complete an electoral roll form from the back of the church and on the website here. Details of who is eligible to join the roll can be found on the form. Please either email the completed form to Sarah or leave a printed copy at the back of church (preferably in an envelope addressed to Sarah Scott). Forms should be returned by 10th April. If you have any queries, please get in touch with Sarah (01603 505720, email).

Catherine Richmond is completing the next noticesheet which will shortly be on the website.

I expect to write again on Saturday, with details of Palm Sunday's Zoom services, as we begin Holy Week.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers as we approach Passion Sunday,

Patrick

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Email 20 March 2021

I hope and pray you are safe and well. After yesterday's hopeful sunshine the sky is grey. UK vaccinations have gone outstandingly well (I just got a text inviting me to have a first jab on my birthday), but, as we may have grown to expect, the way ahead is not plain sailing, with international issues and variants making international holidays unlikely.

In our readings from Morning Prayer, Jeremiah's words from God cause him persecution and he regrets the day of his birth, while Mary and Martha mourn the death of Lazarus and Jesus' delay in coming to them. At Evening Prayer, readings from Exodus relate how Moses prayers to Pharaoh make things worse before they get better and the letter to the Hebrews notes that heroes of faith like Abraham travelled in hope without seeing faith's final fulfilment. Prayer is rarely instantly gratified. Though we have signs of Christ's love and goodness, if we are to keep faith it will require patient perseverance.

The new noticesheet is now in church and on the website. The Diocesan Enews is out with several interesting stories, including Bishop Graham's reflections on the past year and Mark Jeffries being appointed Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance. Mark was present this morning for the Diocesan Synod, which I was co-chairing. Synod agreed to commit to a diocesan environmental policy (please might you like to help Alistair Bolt lead us to becoming an eco-church?), to clergy care and well-being, and to the Bishop's new vision statement “transformed by Christ, prayerfully, pastorally and prophetically”.

On Tuesday, the anniversary of the first lockdown, there is a National Day of Reflection. We will try to ring the church bell for the silence at Noon and there is a cathedral service with Bishop Graham live-streamed at 5.30pm to remember those who have died in the diocese from COVID-19 and all are encouraged to light a candle at 8pm.

Does anyone know anything about the cutting down of bamboo at the corner between the church car parking opposite the porch and 2b Church Avenue? Please let me know if so.

This Sunday is the fifth in Lent, Passion Sunday, starting a season of heightened attention to Christ's sufferings for us before Easter. You can find details of our Sunday Zoom services below.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers for Passiontide,

Patrick

Our Morning service by Zoom, gathers at 1025am for 1030 start, with small group discussion at the beginning, and at the end if you want to stay. Please Email if you would like the regular Sunday morning Zoom details. Service orders are here. If someone wants printed copies, we will gladly reimburse expenses if you can get it to them.

There is also a short evening prayer on Zoom at 6pm.  Please Email if you would like the Zoom details. 

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Email 17 March 2021

I hope and pray you are safe and well. The evidence of the positive effects of the vaccines are encouraging but there are warnings of a reduction in supply (just as I was expecting to hear soon about my vaccination...), tensions with the continent over vaccine exports, and highly disputed fears about rare blood clots. At morning prayer, the readings from John's Gospel reveal the tensions and disputes that Jesus caused. Many seem unable to follow the evidence of his claims and miracles because of their prejudices or because of fear of persecution and try to stop people accepting him. We are called to follow the evidence and accept the offer of salvation, for the risks are small in comparison to the offer of eternal life.

Catherine has done the new noticesheet, which is on the website. There is still no update from the Church of England or the government on when restrictions on singing and communion might relax so we are again offering communion alternately at 8am and 330pm from Easter Day, while also continuing to offer a chance to meet, chat and sing together on Zoom until restrictions have eased considerably, probably by July. Please do book for the 1030 service on Good Friday and the 8am communion on Easter Day. Details of our services are here.

Please note the National Day of Reflection on Tuesday 23rd March and the minute's silence at noon remembering the loss and grief of the last year.

As mentioned on Saturday, Sarah Scott is revising the electoral roll for Christ Church for the annual meeting on 25th April. If you would like to join the roll, or if you are already a member but your contact details have changed, please complete an electoral roll form. Forms are available at the back of the church and on the website here. Details of who is eligible to join the roll can be found on the form. Please either email the completed form to Sarah or leave a printed copy at the back of church (preferably in an envelope addressed to Sarah Scott). Forms should be returned by 10th April. If you have any queries, please get in touch with Sarah (01603 505720, email).

Iris Colin's funeral will be in church and on Zoom at 1345 on Friday 16th April. The electrically operated single bed in very good condition is still free to a good home, so please let John Colin know by Email if you are interested.

I expect to write again on Saturday, with details of Sunday's Zoom services, which will mark the beginning of Passiontide.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers as we approach Passion Sunday,

Patrick

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Email 13 March 2021

I hope you are safe and well as the tragic death death of Sarah Everard makes the nation reflect on the safety of women. The Old Testament has several horrifying stories of violence against women, and violence and power is the context for many prophetic calls for justice. Christ encourages us that God honours women and the Church is called to model justice and care for every person as we are all created in God's image. Mindful of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, we are called to doorstep vigils in memory of Sarah Everard and the wider issues at 930pm tonight.

After two days off, I was on a training conference on Zoom this morning that noted how our society can be divided by other questions of social justice, with race and the royal interview also in view. Holy Trinity are hosting Why does the church need to talk about race? on their YouTube channel on Monday 15th March at 7.30pm. More information 

The new noticesheet is in church and on the website.

The worship committee is proposing resuming services in church from Good Friday, with communions alternating at 8am and 330pm from Easter Day, as well as continuing with Zoom services while normal singing in church is not allowed.

Our thanks go to Sarah Scott, who is revising our Electoral Roll for the last time before retiring after many years of faithful service. David Archer has kindly volunteered to take over. If you want to join or change your details forms are available at the back of church and we will put a version on the website. Electronic submission of the form is possible and the deadline is 10th April. More details will follow.

This Sunday is the fourth in Lent, Mothering Sunday.

Our Morning service by Zoom, gathers at 1025am for 1030 start, with small group discussion at the beginning, and at the end if you want to stay. Please Email if you would like the regular Sunday morning Zoom details. Service orders are here. If someone wants printed copies, we will gladly reimburse expenses if you can get it to them.

There is also a short evening prayer on Zoom at 6pm.  Please Email if you would like the Zoom details. 

You can find resources for keeping a holy Lent on our website here.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers for the holy season of Lent,

Patrick

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Email 10 March 2021

I hope and pray you are safe and well. The rain drops and reactions to Harry and Megan's interview have come thick and fast. Encouraging statistics and warnings about the dangers of complacency and new virus variants are prominent in the news too. After the Budget, the economics of our national debt and the NHS continue to generate discussion and debate.

At evening prayer the readings continue to tell the story of Joseph. Joseph's foresight and wisdom allow him to sell food when the whole region is in famine, and this leads to both foreigners and Egyptians becoming indebted to and dependent upon Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. No doubt at the time people were grateful, but we know that in the longer run slavery and oppression results. We should be realistic about the risks of over-dependence and debt and to be grateful that in Christ God pays our debts and sets us free from slavery to sin and death.

There is still no central word from the Church of England or the government on when restrictions on singing and communion might relax. Several cathedrals, including our own, have resumed some services, whereas in Scotland places of public worship will not reopen until 26 March, with a maximum of 50 in attendance after that. Our PCC has agreed it seems appropriate to restart worship in church after the “stay at home” instruction ends on 29th March and the worship committee is meeting on Zoom tonight, so please pray about this and I will update you on plans soon.

In sad news, Iris Colin died at the beginning of this week, but I was honoured to take her the last rites. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. Her son John is kindly offering two electrically operated reclining lounge chairs and an electrically operated single bed in very good condition free to a good home, so please let him know on Email if you are interested.

Catherine is completing the new noticesheet, which will be on the website soon.

I expect to write again on Saturday, with details of Sunday's Zoom services, which will mark Mothering Sunday.

The Bishop now advises clergy to take at least two consecutive days off a month, and I am taking tomorrow and Friday off.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers in this season of Lent,

Patrick

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Email 6 March 2021

I hope you are safe and well as the cloud and cold persist. Our prayers are with the Duke of Edinburgh and the nation, where increasing attention is paid to nurses' pay, along with the return to school, beer gardens and holiday destinations. The Pope is visiting Iraq for the first time, holding talks north of the ancient city of Ur, associated with Abraham, and slightly south of Babylon, which is threatening Jerusalem in our readings from Jeremiah at Morning Prayer. As the Babylonian siege approaches, Jeremiah exclaims “I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control”. We may sometimes feel in control, but the pandemic has reminded us that we are limited. Clearly natural forces shape our destiny from without, but we are ourselves part of nature. If blind, pitiless nature is ultimately all that there is we might well despair and be demoralised, but we can draw hope that all nature is itself the creation of God and unable to separate us from his love in Christ.

There is more information about the Churches' response to the housing crisis I mentioned last week here.

This Sunday is the third in Lent. Our Morning service by Zoom, gathers at 1025am for 1030 start, with small group discussion at the beginning, and at the end if you want to stay. Please Email if you would like the regular Sunday morning Zoom details. 

Service orders are here. If someone wants printed copies, we will gladly reimburse expenses if you can get it to them.

There is also a short evening prayer on Zoom at 6pm.  Please Email if you would like the Zoom details. 

You can find resources for keeping a holy Lent on our website here.

I will put the new noticesheet in church this evening and it is on the website along with the new March Parishes Magazine.

Former congregation member Vandra Ahlstrom's funeral is at 1230 on Monday 8th March and can be viewed online. Please Email if you would like the link.

Everyone is welcome to Mission Focus Meeting on Zoom, Wednesday, on 10th March - 2.30 – 4.00pm and monthly after that. Again please Email if you would like the Zoom details.   

I have been planning speakers for the rescheduled Visit of Dippy to the Cathedral - now 13 July 2021 until Saturday 30 October 2021.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers for the holy season of Lent,

Patrick

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Email 3 March 2021

I hope and pray you are safe and well. The weather has been cold but the budget is preparing for the economy to warm up. The statistics for infections, hospitalisations and vaccinations remain positive and vaccine effectiveness is very encouraging, so there is much to be thankful for. The government is encouraging us to get vaccinated when we can and not to be complacent as attempts to track down new variants continue.

The Archdeacons have confirmed in a letter that the Bishop hopes we will be having services in church by Easter and I am waiting for more guidance from the Church of England website about what might be advisable and singable in church and when.

The Bishop has thanked for all the continued giving to the church during the pandemic. Christ Church managed to pay its full share but many, especially rural, parishes have seen a fall in income. The total share income for the year was only about three quarters of what was asked for and diocesan income is lower this year too. I am so very thankful for all your support in financial, practical and spiritual ways.

At evening prayer the readings continue to tell the story of Joseph. He recognises his brothers and they, in their guilt for selling their brother into slavery, interpret the trouble he causes them as divine punishment, but eventually the children of Israel are reunited in Egypt and are spared the full effects of the famine. It is right that we recognise our guilt, but we can be hopeful that God is always working to bring good even out of evil.

Former congregation member Vandra Ahlstrom's funeral is at 1230 on Monday 8th March and can be viewed online. Please Email if you would like the link.

Catherine is completing the new noticesheet, which will be on the website soon.

I expect to write again on Saturday, with details of Sunday's Zoom services, which look at God's commandments and the Temple.

With love and prayers in this season of Lent,

Patrick

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Email 27 February 2021

I hope you are safe and well as the sun shines and the infection rate continues to fall overall, but with warnings against complacency. I have spent the day on a General Synod Zoom call. We heard reflections on the vision for the church, the need for independent safeguarding and how the church can help with the housing crisis and the provision of truly affordable housing for the poor.

At Morning Prayer our readings continue to be from Jeremiah. The prophet pronounces judgement on prophets, priests and people. The stench of their unfaithfulness and unjust treatment of the poor and vulnerable was not covered by the smell of their expensive foreign incense. This season of Lent is one to reflect and truly repent of our sins and resolve to be humble, faithful and seek justice.

This Sunday is the second in Lent. Our Morning service by Zoom, gathers at 1025am for 1030 start, with small group discussion at the beginning, and at the end if you want to stay. Please Email if you would like the Zoom details. 

Service orders are here. If someone wants printed copies, we will gladly reimburse expenses if you can get it to them.

There is also a short evening prayer on Zoom at 6pm.  Please Email if you would like the Zoom details. 

You can find resources for keeping a holy Lent on our website here.

I will put the new noticesheet in church this evening and it is on the website along with the new March Parishes Magazine. You can also now see the text of Vicar's emails on the website though please note Zoom links can't be in them there for security reasons.

There are still places on my Lent course Daring to See God Now A York Course on finding God in our and our neighbours’ lives, on Zoom, Tuesdays 7.30-9.00pm, 23rd February – 23rd March

If you would like the Zoom details for the World Day of Prayer on 5th March, described in the noticesheet, please Email

Alice Smith, at Norwich High School, practises on our organ and is organising a celebration of women composers of organ music - more details on March 7th.

Vandra Ahlstrom's funeral is at 1230 on 8th March at Earlham Crematorium.

If you need practical help or you would like to talk to someone, please let Vivien Humber, who is wonderfully coordinating our pastoral team, know by Email or 01603 507855.

With love and prayers for the holy season of Lent,

Patrick

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Email 24 February 2021

I hope and pray you are safe and well as the weather warms up and the country plans for gradual release from lockdown. The statistics for infections, hospitalisations and vaccinations are encouraging but the government advice is still to stay home. Thankfully, vaccines are now being distributed by the Covax scheme to poorer nations.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York continue to encourage us to pray for the Nation at 6pm (of course, you can pray at other times! )

Legally, churches can already have services, but this was allowed before the spread of more infectious variants of the virus and the resulting spike in infections. The “stay home” rule should end on 29 March and I heard Bishop Graham this morning saying he hoped most Churches might be having services in person again by Easter. There is currently no word at all on when we might be able to sing in church and Easter will not be normal but I hope to have more guidance soon. Please let me know if you have strong views.

At evening prayer the readings tell the story of Joseph. His personal suffering coupled with the inspiration of God leads to the saving of many lives. Joseph wisely makes preparations for the coming famine during the years of plenty and so helps those from other nations as well as Egypt. We too should trust in God's mysterious providence and be thankful for provision made in the past as we face the economic shock of Covid and, I hope and pray, learn lessons that will help us face up to the increasingly urgent climate crisis.

My Lent course met last night. You would be welcome to join us next Tuesday at 730m, finishing at 9pm. Please let me know if you might be interested. It doesn't matter if you missed the first one.

Catherine has completed the new noticesheet, which will be on the website soon, where you can find information about Lent courses and the Archbishop's Lent Appeal to help vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic.

My email of the 21.2.21 about my emails going into spam/junk confirmed that leaving out links helped in some cases. Please let me know if someone you know is missing out on my emails.>

I expect to write again on Saturday, with details of Sunday's Zoom services, which look at faith and hope.

With love and prayers in this season of Lent,

Patrick

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Email 21 February 2021

I hope you are safe and well and won't mind a short email about emails. I'm aware that many people are not receiving my emails because they are going into the junk/spam email folder. I suspect this is because they contain various links to websites, so please let me know if you receive this email, which doesn't have any links, having not received previous ones that do contain links, and I will know that is likely the problem.

If you haven't received emails from me for some time but get this one please check your spam/junk folder. If you use an email programme it may be worth also checking the spam folder on the online webmail version of your email provider. If you find email from me mark it as “not spam” or “not junk”, and add my address to your “white list” or “safe sender list”. You can find more instructions using google. Please also spread the word to any other members of the church you might know who may not be receiving my emails.

I usually send emails in the middle of the week and on Saturday.

There are still places on my Zoom Lent course on Tuesdays at 730pm so please let me know if you would like to take part in this too.

With love and prayers for this holy season of Lent,

Patrick

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