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Creative Church

During these challenging times as of late, it can be difficult to feel at peace, especially if you or your loved ones are needing to self isolate and keep indoors. We have created this page to share inspirational stories and different methods of worship that others are doing for themselves and for others. We believe that as a community we can keep each other motivated and uplifted through this. If you have any similar stories or events you would like to share then please do either via our Facebook page or our email; communications@cofesuffolk.org.

Home, but not Alone 

As part of the ‘Suffolk Collective’, we are working in partnership with a Suffolk-focused service that connects people who want to volunteer in their communities with people who need help during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Our churches are engaged in partnership working alongside others in over 80 villages/towns, especially supporting parish councils and local charities to provide support in the community (shopping, picking up medication, practical jobs). Many are also active in providing telephone or online support to share information and advice and to counter isolation, and in supporting or providing foodbanks or food parcels. 

 


Pitching in to help
 
Hintlesham, Chattisham, Kersey, Aldham and Elmsett have raised almost £1000 for drinks, snacks and prayer crosses for staff and patients at Ipswich Hospital, with a local pub also donating all of their chocolate and crisps stock! ! Watch the handover here.

There have also been resources made available to help schools, families and children struggling with the lockdown – all part of a series made by a counsellor, Mental Health First Aid trainer and a School Chaplain and are available for use by anyone in the Diocese – check out the first of a series of videos here.
 
Another heart warming story we have is straight from the Big Tea Lightwave group, Rougham Benefice – from Debbie Marshall! Her and her 82 year old Mum have been busy knitting and crocheting away – all to help out NHS staff and patients! From crocheted mask extenders to protect ears, to little twiddlemats for those with dementia, we are assured they won’t stop until they run out of wool! “It’s great to be able to do something together, that keeps Mum shielded, and is actually useful.”
 
And last, but definitely not least, we have a mini fundraiser – Alan is only 10 years old, but he is dedicated to raising money for the NHS – climbing up and down the stairs so the total amount of steps have already amassed the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower! Wow! Not only this, he is also painting stones with little uplifting messages on them, such as “plant smiles, grow laughter, harvest love”, and leaving them on doorsteps for all to see.


St Peter's Pantry

St Peter’s Church in Brandon has been providing essential items to the community from its makeshift facility in the church hall. The church is no stranger to helping locals by sharing surplus food through its ‘St Peter’s Pantry’, but is going the extra mile amid extraordinary circumstances. 

“We received many worrying requests for help so decided to utilise our Church Institute to distribute food, providing access to St Peter’s Pantry in our Church Hall foyer. This quickly grew into food parcels and the receiving of food donations and distribution to those in most need and in the collection and delivery of prescriptions.” Rev Sharron Coburn

Thanks to a team of amazing volunteers, as of 20 April, St Peter’s Emergency Foodbank has provided 168 food parcels to 121 households helping 177 adults and 122 children. The foodbank is supported financially by many individuals and local groups, including Tescos and Brandon Town FC. 

Read the full story here covered in the East Anglian Daily Times.


Supporting Chaplaincy and more

South West Ipswich Team Ministry (SWITM) led by the Revd Rob Hinsley has been coordinating the Ipswich Deanery support of the Chaplaincy at Ipswich Hospital.  To date £672 has been donated allowing three trips to the hospital delivering snacks and beverages for chaplaincy to offer staff.   The team also arranged for the collection of 100 Easter Eggs from Springfield Primary School to be donated to Ipswich Hospital chaplaincy.  The chaplaincy offers a 24/7 open place where staff can go for a brief rest and a treat.

SWITM has also supported 'Tiffers – The Bus Shelter’ and ‘The Teapot Project’ with donations of food via Fareshare for their food parcels to the needy and vulnerable (currently £200 kg a week).


Combatting isolation: Saxtead telephone tree

In Saxtead a phone tree has proved a successful way to combat isolation and identify where people need support in the rural village. Christina Darrell-Brown was inspired to up the phone tree by the Rural Coffee Caravan and the Lightwave Community.


Connecting all ages
 

In Sproughton, Mums from the toddler benefice group led by the Revd Annette Shannon have been ringing older residents who previously attended benefice pastoral teas to check they are ok, and the children have sent paintings and cards to cheer them up.
 
To connect with children walking around the village, Annette has knitted rainbows to hang on a tree at the end of the rectory drive. Families are invited to collect one on their walk round the village and to leave their own creations. They receive a special WhatsApp video thanking them in return.

Annette also encouraged and supported a young person who had been recently confirmed with her idea to put together an Easter video for Copdock including Easter greetings from village families alongside bible readings and prayers from church members. Watch it here. It was so successful that another is planned for Rogation.


St Augustine's Church is launching Alpha Online starting on Wednesday 29 April, if you know anyone interested they can sign up here.


Serving those in need: Red Lodge

This period of Coronavirus 'lock-down' is giving us an unexpected opportunity, to present Jesus, in a new way. We have an opportunity right now to be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus to people who are isolated, lonely, worried, sick, elderly, vulnerable or financially challenged.

Lightwave volunteers have taken the opportunities deliver shopping, medications, food parcels, Easter gifts, Easter cards, sing a birthday song, give online or phone call support or walk dogs, encouraging each person and leaving them with a blessing from God.  Lightwave volunteers have been really blessed in their serving, seeing many new faces and delighting in the little smiles of appreciation. We are getting to know people hidden behind closed doors that we may never have encountered. We feel really privileged to be loving and caring for those who need it most. The Lord has entrusted 109 people into our care which includes young single mums with their children across 12 rural villages.

With a little creativity, the Lightwave Café continues.  We have four virtual lounges meeting every week visit this video here. Toddler Café keeps us connected with young mothers through this difficult time; Wednesday is an opportunity to explore faith, Friday morning prayers keep the team energised and Monday Social is a time to relax and laugh a little. All these meetings are accessible through the website: www.lightwavemission.org

We continue to pray that the love of Jesus will emerge stronger, brighter and more powerful than our world has ever seen!

“We see many new faces, little smiles of appreciation, connection with people hidden behind closed doors. The Lord has entrusted 109 people into our care including young single mums with their children across 12 rural villages.” Diane Grano.


Church of England launches free Daily Hope prayer hotline

The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a 24-hour free phone line for Christian worship and prayer, aimed at those who have no or limited access to the internet. Justin Welby said “With many in our country on lockdown, it’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are.”

People calling the free number will hear a greeting from the Archbishop and can then choose from a range of options including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on Covid-19.  The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.


The Lord's Prayer

Join the National Church of England's reflections - a 40-day journey through the prayer Jesus taught his followers - one which continues to shape the lives of Christians across the world.  Each day provides you with a short Bible reflection, an invitation to pray and a suggestion for responding to the vision of the Lord's Prayer itself.  Take time each day to be still, to offer to God the pain and suffering around us and within us, to reflect on each line of the prayer and to pray with others across the world the words our risen Lord has taught us. To receive this daily reflection please click here.


Telephone Conferencing Success

Revd Jeremy Parsons has hosted a #LiveLent service by phone, as "not everyone has the Internet, smartphones and iPads, but we all have a phone... So we're using an audioconference service that gives us a phone "room" for up to 50 people at a time to "meet", pray and chat together" . He will also be hosting a compline in the evening to "bolster support amongst us".  

"The conversation flowed easily," commented Jeremy, “because we're all used to nattering on the phone, and so we were able to chat, to study together and to pray. Even more people were able to join us for Compline, and, if anything, the atmosphere of this thoughtful, reflective way to close the day with God was enhanced by being able to hear each other as clearly as if we were in a cosy room”


St Peter`s Church Copdock with Washbrook are opening the church and on Mothering Sunday there will be some flower posies on the alter and anyone wishing to take one for Mothers/Grandmothers can help themselves.


Box River Benefice (Boxford, Edwardstone, Groton, Lt Waldingfield and Newton) has joined forces with our local Community Council to co-ordinate a Support Hub. The church has put together a list of contacts who are willing and able (after basic training) to respond to pastoral and spiritual need, offering a friendly voice to those who are isolated. The Community Council have gathered a number of contacts who are going to organise response to any physical need such as shopping , prescriptions etc.   They are also sending spiritual support packs out to all parishioners including: 

  • An update from the Rector on current measures to protect and support our communities together with guidance, advice and encouragement. 
  • Information regarding the Support Hub
  • An updated Holy Week schedule.
  • Service sheets for both Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline for you to use at home. 
  • A copy of the lectionary readings for the next 3 months so that you can keep in sync with the readings that the church will be following.
  • A short book of prayers. Why not say some when you wake up, at lunchtime and before going to bed.

Finally they are setting up a simple 'Bring and Share' Centre in the Church, a simple 'Take What You Need - Leave What You Can' set-up.

For more information please visit www.boxriverbenefice.com or their facebook page www.facebook.com/boxriverbenefice


Graham Miles, Lightwave Rural Chaplain for Suffolk, is available for people in our farming and countryside communities call 07413 683368 if you are in need of a chat. 


Suffolk Guild of Ringers

As ringing has been suspended for the first time since WWII, the Suffolk Guild of Ringers has provided recordings of Suffolk bells that you may like to edit into your live stream videos.  Or just enjoy listening to.  The audio recordings are:

Gt Livermere 5 bells

Gt Barton 6 bells

Ipswich St Mary Le Tower 12 bells.


Please take a look at the videos – recorded in response to a request by St Paul’s Cathedral for church schools to send songs and messages of support to the lonely and ill.  Please visit:

St Gregory CEVCP School twitter.com/StGregoryCEVCP/status/1240284438086500352.

St Mary’s CofE Primary School, Woodbridge: https://twitter.com/amirving/status/1240605241286017025

St Edmundsbury CEVAP School: https://twitter.com/StEdmundsburyPr

Bedfield CEVCP School – Easter Jubilation

Sproughton CofE Primary School – have two!

Team Adventurers – Who Put the Colours in the Rainbow

Team Navigators – Lord of the Dance

For all church schools who have taken part around the country, please follow #hymnflashmob - https://twitter.com/hashtag/hymnflashmob?f=live


St Edmundsbury Cathedral are posting a series of organ recitals on You Tube the first is available here and you can follow their page to watch them all.


Grundisburgh and Hasketon are delivering flowers to those who are housebound on Mothering Sunday with a card.  The are also organising a joint project with the Baptist Chapel - putting a fridge and freezer in church – and stocking it as a Parish pantry – this is not up and running yet but hopefully getting there! 


The Lightwave team are posting daily on their social media; each day has an activity for families to try linked to a reading in the Bible.  Day one started with making a diary to share with other people  to 'Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom'.  These will start to appear on the Lightwave Facebook page available here.