Approaching Jesus... this Lent

Approaching Jesus... this Lent

February is the month that Lent begins.  We are planning plenty to nourish you in spirit through the season of Lent and Holy Week across the benefice.  I do hope and pray that as you tap into some of what is available, that as you approach Jesus for yourself, you will truly encounter Him afresh, in a way that is life-giving and sustaining.  May you find joy in the journey!

Each parish church will have a special service as we progress through Lent: 

  • We begin Lent with our Ash Wednesday Communion Service at Bracon Ash on 14 February. 
  • Then as Lent ends, in Holy Week:
    • on Wednesday, 28 March, Flordon will host a (new for us) Tenebrae Service, otherwise known as  a "Service of Shadows";
    • Mulbarton will host a Maundy Thursday Evening Communion on 29 March;
    • and then on Good Friday, 30 March, the Good Friday Walk through Mulbarton in the morning,
    • and the Good Friday Meditative Service in Hethel in the afternoon. 
    • In addition, there will be extra times of prayer and reflection through Holy Week, and a couple of outings arranged to the cathedral.

In between the Ash Wednesday Service on 14 February and the Tenebrae Service on 28 March, we will follow the Lent readings on Sundays, and mid-week, we will be looking at a series entitled "Approaching Jesus".   

We will learn from the ways Jesus shared the journey with a number of different people.  People, who approached him at different times and places, as recorded in Matthew's gospel. These practical and personal six studies combine honesty with humour in order to take you through the 40 days of Lent.

These six fascinating studies are sure to give us lots of stimulating and enriching food for thought, and lead us closer to our Lord.  The six sessions are:

Session 1:       The Pharisee: A Passion for Purity

Session 2:       A Father: A Persistent Prayer
Session 3:       Peter: A Question of Forgiveness
Session 4:       A Rich Man and a Generous Woman
Session 5:       Judas: A Hidden Agenda
Session 6:       Mary & Martha: A Restoration Project

I'll draw from the first of the six studies at the Ash Wednesday Service, and the remaining five studies will be the focus of small groups through Lent.  You can key into a group on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evenings:

  • Mondays: 19 February, and 5, 12, 19 & 26 March, 7:30 - 9:00 p.m., led by Jill Wright, meeting at 22 Birchfield Gardens
  • Tuesdays: 20 February - 20 March, 7:30-9:30pm, led by Fran Kittle, meeting at Willow Farm, Silfield Road, Wymondham
  • Wednesdays: 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., led by Adrian, Peter & Cathy: 21 Feb - Church View, The Common; 28 Feb - King John's Thorn, Hethel; 7 March - Hethel Hall Cottage, Hall Road, Hethel; 14 March - Church View, The Common, Mulbarton; 21 March - King John's Thorn, Hethel
  • Also on Wednesdays, 7:45-10pm, led by Tom & Becky Taylor, meeting at 69 Orchard Way, Wymondham

A study book will be available for the Lent Course, from any of the group leaders, at a discounted price of £4.50


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Diocesan Lent Appeal

Diocesan Lent Appeal

The Bishop's Lent Appeal 2018 is focused on enabling local mission in Simbai, Papua New Guinea. In this remote community the church building is the hub of village life.

Your gift will:

  • help to develop a larger church building;
  • facilitate new mission initiatives with the young people of this scattered community; and
  • support people, such as giving Lynn and Tony Fry periodic Retreat and Refreshment breaks

For further details and to donate, click here.


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Free Daily Devotionals

There are copies of the new Quarterly Daily Devotionals from United Christian Broadcasters at the back of each of our Churches – do take one or consider joining their mailing list to receive your own free copy – you can contact them directly on 0845 6040401 or contact me, as your local rep for Christian Broadcasting and Care for the Family, and I’ll pass on your details.


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The Magazine

The Magazine

Do you read The Magazine? I don't mean our benefice Mardle, nor even Mulbarton Parish News (often referred to as 'the magazine'). I mean The Magazine, produced by the Diocese of Norwich. It used to be quite boring: lists of vicars, died or moving; what other parishes have done/will be doing..... But not any longer - it is a good read with helpful articles on a bi-monthly theme. Last autumn's on Mental Health raised lots of issues; Nov/Dec was challenging - on being a Christian at work; and the current one, Jan/Feb is about the Bible and Bible Study. Very appropriate for Lent! 

Copies are normally available at the back of church - in that corner you forget to go to 'cos you are chatting as you go out..... Have a look, pick one up, read it, pass it on.... And if they go too quickly and you can't find one, have a word with Caroline and she can order more each time. After all, we pay for them as part of our Parish Share!

But I really do recommend everyone takes one and dips into it: The Magazine is a really useful and helpful Christian magazine.


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New Eco-Friendly Heating

New Eco-Friendly Heating

Hethel Church has been granted their faculty to install air-source heat pumps to heat the air in church.  Praise the Lord!  And many thanks to Peter's sterling efforts to do some ground-breaking research, and spear-head the project.  Hethel also secured a £4,500 grant from British Airways Carbon Fund towards the project. 

Mulbarton Church has its application in as I write, and we will know the outcome by the middle of February.  All bodies have made their views known now and we have had a chance to respond.  South Norfolk have given planning permission.  The DAC have given a certificate of recommendation.  Public notices have had their time.  We are just waiting for the Chancellor to give the final go-ahead, and for the BA Carbon Fund to decide on whether it will award Mulbarton £4,500 as well.  Please pray that there will be no further spanners in the works, that all the funds will be there for both projects and that the work will be able to proceed without a hitch.


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Mulbarton Mardlers - First Birthday!

Mulbarton Mardlers - First Birthday!

There are usually 35-40 each 4th Tuesday of every month in the Social Club 2:30 – 4:30p.m. On 16 December our Christmas party in the Village Hall brought around 70 together, including friends and families, and a good time was had by all!

If you know anyone who is on their own and may enjoy an afternoon out please take an invite from the back of church, Caroline’s office, or see Sue Mellows. The current invites cover January through to April. Transport is available if needed.

We would always welcome volunteers to drive or to come to chat to visitors during the afternoon.  You do not need to commit to being available every month.  If you are interested in helping in any way just speak to Sue or simply pop in to see us one Tuesday afternoon.

Thanks for the faithful band of bakers who provide us with goodies. Added with those that Angie from the Social club provides, we have a wonderful spread each time!

February’s Mardlers will be on Tuesday 27th.  And looking forward to March, we will be having a small celebration for Easter, also on Tuesday 27th, but 2:30 – 5:00 p.m., when the Social Club will also be running some games of bingo.    


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Swap Shop Report

Swap Shop Report

Our January Swap Shop at Harvest House was the third one we've run, where we invite people to come with up to 3 items and swap them.  There is also free drinks and cake, and a chance to meet others.  Donations in the pot all go to a local charity chosen at random from those nominated by people who come.

On 13 Jan 2018, about 30 people came along, over 50 items were swapped, and £24 was raised for Mulbarton Cubs.  There was a great atmosphere through the afternoon, as visitors had a lot of fun with the swapping - and there were some really high quality items that changed hands.  Thanks to those who baked delicious cakes for it, those who helped serve in the kitchen, and to Sarah for organising.

Do look out for the next one later this year - 28th April!


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Journeying with Joy?

Journeying with Joy?

Having preached through all of our 6 values, I think I’ve been most struck with this one about joy.  We value finding joy in the journey, but the reality is that for many of us joy is often elusive.  What can we learn and how can we experience more joy in our own journeys?

The Bible talks an awful lot about joy, and describes many sources of joy: good news, harmonious families, justice, wisdom, the presence of God, and much else.  There’s also a deeper level in which we seem to be encouraged to carry joy with us even when our circumstances seem against us.

Joy: The Gift

In Romans 15, we see that that real joy is a gift from God. Paul was following Jesus, praying confidently for the church, that Jew and Gentile alike would be filled with joy and peace.  Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus have had some bitter disagreements

and strained relationships over the years.  Paul was at pains to have them accept one another, just as Christ accepted them both.  He was imploring them to follow Jesus’ example.  And Paul knew that the way they would be transformed in their relationships with each other was by this experience of the God of hope, filling them with joy and peace, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  There may be lessons from that today where relationships are strained. God wants joy for us, He is prepared to give it, and it makes a huge difference, not only to us personally and individually, but corporately – it overflows to others.

Joy: The Choice

So joy is a gift from God that we seek after.  And yet the other side of the coin is that joy is also something we choose.  We see both Jesus (e.g. Luke 10) and Paul (e.g. Phil. 4) telling us to choose to rejoice, and especially to rejoice in the Lord and in what He’s done for us.  Sometimes, we can’t help it – the joy just bubbles us, but sometimes it requires an active decision from us.

Joy: Sharing Life

The disciples experienced their biggest joy, described in Luke 10, when they were out sharing life with their communities, according to the strategy Jesus had given them, and because it was appropriate and sensitive to their context, it was working.  And when Paul reflected on joy in 1 Thess. 2:17-19, he recognised that it was the people themselves with whom he had been able to share life that were his joy.

So, receive the gift, make the choice, share life, and I pray that we will all find more and more joy in the journey.


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