Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas presents for needy children in Bury

This year we were able to donate thirty five toys to the Bury St Edmunds Social Services for needy children in their care. A big thank you to all those who donated a gift and for those who delivered the gifts to Social Services.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Toys for under privileged children in Bury Social Services care

Toy Service - All Saints' Wickhambrook 5th Dec 9.30am - Toys for under privileged children in Bury Social Services care

Every year on the first Sunday of December at 9.30am we hold our Toy Service at All Saints' Wickhambrook. This used to be a Wickhambrook church event but has expanded to be a Bansfield Benefice-wide event. During the service presents are presented by the congregation at the altar for later donation by the benefice to Bury St Edmunds Social Services.

Social Services in Bury are always very pleased with the donations we give and they tell us that it makes such a huge difference to the children in their care who otherwise would receive few gifts at Christmas.

People who can not or do not wish to attend the service but still want to donate presents can do so by dropping off their donation at the Rectory next to All Saints' church, Wickhambrook. Further details can be obtained by emailing contact@bansfieldbenefice.org

We ask that the presents are wrapped and have a label on them indicating whether the present is for a boy or girl as well as the age of the child to receive it.

Please think of others less fortunate at this festive time and donate a present.

Further details can be found at

Thank you

Monday, November 1, 2010

Remembrance Sunday - 14th November

This year to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain we are holding the service at St Margaret's Stradishall. Stradishall is to be the venue since it was the site of RAF Stradishall.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bansfield Benefice Hall refurbishment - update

Report by Michael McEvoy

Report for weeks ending Friday
24th September to 15th October

The majority of the ‘fitting out’ has been done.

The electricians have rewired the premises and will return when the floor is laid in the final week, to install the lighting and heating equipment.

The new rear door has been fitted and has added to the character of the building.

The rear roof has been stripped and a new ‘slate’ material has been laid. The leak was caused by the lead flashing being laid in one eight foot length, without any expansion joints. Cracks in the lead were found as a result of this error and the roof leaked. The new roof has allowed for expansion joints.

All the new kitchen units are now in situ.

The missing uprights in the roof have been installed using some of the salvaged oak floor joists and the cracked ceiling has been re-plastered and painted.

Decorating has been carried out to all the inside walls and ceilings.

Most of the last week has been spent on the cupboards in the main hall. The open shelves have been repositioned to display the Traidcraft stock, and folding doors fitted.

The new main storage cupboard reaches almost to the ceiling. It is much larger with more shelving and should be more than adequate for storage.

The new electric consumer unit will be positioned at a lower level within a separate section of the cupboard, making it easier to reach when necessary. The remaining ‘mains metering equipment’ has been swung round to a new position at the rear of the cupboard. It was decided not to move this equipment lower as the electricity board would have been involved and the added expense was thought to be unnecessary.

Two air vents have been inserted in the walls to let the hall ‘breathe’, especially when it is not in use. They can be closed when the hall is in use to avoid draughts. Two fan lights have also been placed in the rear window.

An officer from the council’s highways department visited and gave permission for the new tarmac stretch outside the hall.

Work has now begun on the perimeter, with new shingle laid abutting the hall for better drainage. A new concrete threshold step has been installed at a lower level to allow disabled access to the hall. The door panel will be lowered to meet the lower floor threshold.

A plumber will be on site in the next few days to install the disabled toilet and kitchen supplies.

The oak flooring and vinyl is planned to be laid on Tuesday the 26th October, followed by the electricians completing the fitting out of the electrical goods.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme

The following is a bulletin taken from the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme website.



The Department has announced that the LPW scheme will continue for a further 4 years from April 2011. There will be an annual fixed maximum budget of £12 million, and the Department will discuss with faith groups and denominations how the scheme can best operate within that budget. The restriction to scope already announced from 4 January will remain in place- professional fees, and repairs to clocks, pews, bells and organs, will remain ineligible from 1 April. Further announcements will be made in due course.


The Department for Culture, Media and Support very much regrets that, in line with the need to reduce public expenditure, funding for the scheme in 2010/11 has been reduced. The views of denominations were sought as to how this could be achieved, although we acknowledge that the choice was a difficult one to make.


With effect from 4 January 2011 the following will become ineligible under the scheme, irrespective of when the works were undertaken:

professional fees
repairs to organs, pews, bells and clocks


From January 2011, the VAT rate is due to increase to 20%. The scheme will still refund the full VAT paid for works that remain eligible.

Enquirer's Course

Firstly, a significant number of people have said that they would like to find out more about the Christian faith. We, in the Church, are sometimes guilty of making assumptions about what people think and believe, but for many people they are not sure, or are still exploring. To try to respond to this need, I would like to run a short course in November. Over five one hour meetings, we could meet together informally, with no pressure or expectations, to explore what Christianity is all about. There would be plenty of opportunity to discuss, to ask questions and to listen to each other in an atmosphere of openness and trust. I hope that existing members of the church will also come along to talk about what their faith means to them and how their membership of the church gives meaning and purpose to their lives. Everyone will be very welcome. It would help us to know likely numbers so if you, or someone you know, might be interested in attending the course, please let me or a Churchwarden know. All the sessions will be on:

Monday evenings at 7.30pm in the Benefice Hall, next to All Saints' Church, Wickhambrook. Details are as follows:

1st November – Why have faith?
8th November – Why the Christian Faith?
15th November – Why the Church?
22nd November – Why attend and get involved in the local church?
29th November – “Why me?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Dean of St Edmundsbury

The Revd Canon Dr Frances Ward was installed as the new Dean of St Edmundsbury at a service in Suffolk’s Cathedral on Saturday 16th October.

Formally a Residentiary Canon and Canon Theologian at Bradford Cathedral, Frances is only the fourth woman to been appointed Dean by the Church of England.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

All Souls’ Tide 2010

At 3.30pm on Sunday 7th November 2010 at All Saints’ Church, Wickhambrook we will be holding a service to remember and pray for our departed loved ones. Everyone is warmly invited to this service, which we hope you will find helpful and comforting.

During the service, the names of the departed will be read out and there will be an opportunity to light candles in memory of them. The candles serve as a symbol – both of the prayers we offer for our loved ones, and of Jesus Christ the light of the world, in whom we place our hope and who leads us from death to life.

If you would like the names of departed loved ones to be included in the prayers at the service, please write them on the list at the back of All Saints’ Church.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thousands rally to historic church buildings cause

Over 9,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to safeguard the future of historic church buildings by extending a VAT exemption scheme on repairs due to end in March 2011.

For full details please see


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kagera calendars 2011

These superb full-colour calendars are available at just £4 each direct from Bury St Edmunds Cathedral and Diocesan House, Ipswich.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

World Development Newsletter September 2010

From: Sue Young, World Development Adviser, Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich


This year Micah Challenge wants to change the world through millions of tiny promises.

What one thing could you do that would help those in poverty around the world? Have you been to the “What’s your promise?” website (www.whatsyourpromise.org.uk) and made your promise?

Your promise will be delivered to your local MP with all the other promises from your area. In turn the MP will be asked to make their own commitment to action.

“What’s your promise?” isn’t just a campaign for individuals: it is also for churches to do together, as a way of strengthening their common commitment to fight poverty. You can gather promises in your church (see web site for a downloadable form). And on Sunday 10th October 2010 (10.10.10), your church can join millions of Christians in dozens of countries to pray that God will use our promises to create a more just world. The prayer that will be used across the world is attached to this newsletter. It echoes the prayer of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:1-10) who when he heard how people were suffering prayed day and night and then worked to end suffering. On the web site you can download a resource pack which will give your church all it needs for a 15 minute slot during the Sunday service (this includes ideas for children & youth involvement).

“What’s your promise?” is part of the Micah 2010 campaign of Micah Challenge. This world wide movement is committed to taking up the challenge laid down by the Old Testament prophet to speak out against the injustice of global poverty. “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) See www.micahchallenge.org

If we, as Christians, commit to a lifestyle that remembers those in poverty – and act on our commitment – God can use us to do great things. It starts with a promise. What will yours be?


Publicity for the Big Brew in 2011 will be available very shortly. The dates are 28 February – 13 March 2011. If you have not already done so, please let me know if your church might be interested in hosting a fairtrade event and I shall make sure you get the material. This is an opportunity to reach out to others by inviting them into your church or home for tea or coffee.

You will be pleased to hear that as a result of reminding churches that it is 5 years since we became a fairtrade Diocese, at least a further 5 churches have registered as fairtrade churches and a number of others have committed to additional activity to promote trade justice. So I am hopeful that we shall get more doing the Big Brew next year.


One World Week takes place from 17 – 24 October with the theme Peacing Together One World. There is a worship anthology to download from www.oneworldweek.org

December 4 is the Global Day of Action on Climate Change. This coincides with the next round of UN talks on climate change at Cancun, Mexico. Check out www.globalclimatecampaign.org

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to Church Sunday 2010 is September 26th.

Back to Church Sunday is now the largest single local-church invitational initiative in the world. It is based on the simplest and shortest step in evangelism - that we should invite someone we already know to something we love; invite our friend to our church. The initial focus was to invite ‘back’ those who used to attend, but we want to ensure that anyone who doesn’t currently attend can be guaranteed a specially warm welcome.

BTCS has grown beyond all expectations since the first one in Greater Manchester in 2004.

Back to Church Sunday 2010 is September 26th.



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Suffolk Historic Churches Trust Cycle Ride

Saturday sees the Annual Suffolk Historic Churches Trust Cycle Ride. Why not sponsor people from the Benefice who are cycling again this year?


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Is God calling you to ordained ministry

The Church of England wants to encourage gifted and committed young men and women, from all kinds of backgrounds, to consider whether God is calling them into ordained ministry as priests. From there, there are lots of exciting and challenging job options! You can find out more about those choices on this website. If you feel a sense of calling from God, we'll help you explore that and consider what to do next.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Bansfield Benefice Hall Project- update

Report by Michael McEvoy.

Floor - Our chosen option with the ‘perimeter’ concrete base keeps the disturbance of the ground to a minimum, and lessens the likelihood of disturbing any earlier interments even though they would be 200 years old or more.

The blocking of the old toilet doorway and the forming of the new one from the hall is well under way. This shows how well the old hall is built. The outer wall is entirely constructed from large flints to a depth of 14 inches.

The last two days have seen the floor being skimmed of surplus soil taking it down about 12 inches. This has revealed the earlier, probably second phase, where several parallel lines of broken floor bricks were laid to give support to the existing floor joists. These broken bricks could have been part of the original floor. A few items of interest were found – a lead button; an old roof slate, probably used as a child’s blackboard. Chalked on it is the Girl Guides sign marked ‘Kingfisher Troop’. John Seal and I visited the hall after the builders had left and found a slate pencil, some pieces of clay pipe, and a few other as yet unidentified items.

31st August-3rd September
No work was done by the builders, partly due to some leave being taken.

The rainwater downpipe at the front of the building has been moved to empty into the churchyard. Extra pipework will be added to give a ‘tidy’ appearance, and a small soakaway will be dug to take the run off. These jobs are being done by the church members to save on costs. These changes will remove the danger of icy patches forming on the footpath, and eventually save around £30.00 a year in Water charges.

The Saturday working party saw the church being cleaned in preparation for Samantha Chester’s wedding the following week. Most of the wood removed from the hall was found to be in poor condition and was burnt by Philip Draycott and young Tom. A few sections were kept for possible repairs in the roof space.

I would like to thank John and Margaret Chittock for providing temporary storage for the glass kitchen cabinet and some sacks of insulation which we hope to reuse once the woodworm treatment is completed in the loft space.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wickhambrook church news

It is very probable that Christian worship has taken place in part of All Saints Church for more than a thousand years – or for over half of the Christian era so far! This staggering statistic can easily make us feel that, to all intents and purposes, the church has always been here and always will be. People naturally assume that when it is time for a family Baptism, Wedding or Funeral, or when they would like to attend a Carol Service or Harvest Festival, or if they would like to attend a service at Christmas or Easter, the church will always be there for them. Very sadly, this cannot be guaranteed.

The sad fact is that a small but dedicated congregation is struggling to maintain the church, not just for themselves but for the village as a whole. In addition to funding the upkeep and repair of the building, we also have to cover the cost of keeping a priest here, as well as day to day expenses, such as insurance, utilities and church requisites. We are running at a deficit and soon our limited reserves will be exhausted. Equally serious is a shortage of church office holders – to carry on the work of the church. Why can a village of our size only find one churchwarden, when many smaller villages have two? In a few months’ time we will need a new Secretary and a new Treasurer as the present post holders stand down. At the time of writing
there is no-one willing to come forward to fill any of these three posts. Unfortunately, however much we love the church building, and however much we spend on it, we simply will not be able, or allowed to continue as a parish church unless people come forward to fill these key posts.

Please, if you value your parish church, think and pray about how you could help us. Could you help us financially with a monthly, annual, or even one off donation? If you are a tax payer and would be prepared to sign a Gift Aid declaration, this would increase the value of your gift by 28p in the pound at no extra cost to you. Would you be prepared to do some fundraising? Please talk to me, Paul Bevan or Margaret Jackson if you think that you could help. Do you feel that you have some gifts, skills and a little spare time that you could offer to serve as second Churchwarden, Secretary or Treasurer – the Church Council only meets four times a year? Again, Paul or I would be delighted to talk to you about what is involved. Of course, if you would like to join us for services, regularly or even occasionally, that would be wonderful and you
would be assured of a very warm welcome. If you haven’t been to church for a while, or if you have never been, why not give it a try?

I fervently pray every day that the churches of this Benefice will grow in terms of active support and attendance. This they must do if they are going to have any future. It cannot be achieved by one individual; or by a handful - these churches will only survive if the villages in which they are set want them to, and are prepared to do something about it. Please don’t let our generation be the one in which All Saints Church closes.

May our church communities grow in faith, love and service. May people see in our Christian lives our faith, our love, our humility and earthiness, and our concern for others; our trust, confidence and joy; our fellowship and fun; and may they see God in us, and through us. May they see new meaning and purpose in their own lives and feel valued and loved. May they want to join us.

You can now read the latest news around the Benefice and in the wider Church on the Benefice blogspot. Please go to the following: http://bansfieldbenefice.blogspot.com/ This can also be accessed from the Benefice Website home page.

With every blessing,


Friday, August 20, 2010

Bansfield Benefice Hall Project - Work begins!

Report by Michael McEvoy.

Roof Space:
Inspection; insulation temporary removal and clean

Monday afternoon - Mike Chester and I removed the fibreglass insulation from the loft space prior to the woodworm treatment. Most of the roof timbers have been affected by woodworm although we found them to be still sound. One area needing attention is that in the southeast corner where one vertical support that connects the ceiling to the roof joists is missing and the ceiling is flexing. Cracks in the ceiling are visible from the ground floor . The construction of the roof does appear to be of a rather ‘basic’ construction and I feel that a few more ‘supports’ in the roof space would be advisable to give extra strength and rigidity. This should be simple to remedy with the insertion of timber supports attached to the existing joists with metal braces at each end.

The roof beneath the slates has been insulated with a bitumen like covering and there was no sign of any movement in the rafters, nor could we identify any sagging which is evident on the front elevation to the east. Work was probably carried out on the roof in the last thirty or forty years.

In the east and west gables considerable ‘straw’ was removed – presumably from the accumulation of birds nests over several years. All of this was removed and parts of the floor swept where possible. Around twelve sacks of rubbish were removed and has been burnt. It would appear that in the past that the roof was thatched as shown by small coils of hazel, string and pieces of wood that I have seen in my own loft.

Several Victorian small bibles/prayer books were found – although in poor condition.

Woodworm was identified as a problem in the floor and a conversation with the conservation Officer explained that until the Victorian period floors were commonly constructed with a puddled clay base with the bearers laid over, then the floor covering. This was also the normal method for lining and waterproofing ponds.

Work to remove the floor begins at 8.30 a.m. on Monday when I will be present, and at intervals during the day to check on progress.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diocese Kagera visit

Bishop Nigel leads a small group from Suffolk to Tanzania next week (August 2nd) to join the silver jubilee celebrations of Suffolk’s link diocese, Kagera.

For more information see


August Benefice news letter available

The latest news letter is now available for view on the benefice website. Please see


Monday, July 12, 2010

Benefice Survey Results

The results of the 2010 survey are now available.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Full text of Book of Common Prayer available online

Following the publication of Common Worship on the Church of England website, the Archbishops’ Council has added the full text of The Book of Common Prayer to the worship pages of the site at


Sunday, July 4, 2010

17th Anniversary of Stephen's ordination

Seventeen years to the day since Father Stephen was ordained at Norwich cathedral. Happy anniversary!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Head Verger at the Cathedral

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, is pleased to announce the arrival of its new Head Verger, Duncan Withers. Duncan has taken up this key role which ensures the smooth running of all Cathedral services and events.

For further details see


Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Very Revd Neil Collings RIP

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of the Very Reverend Neil Collings, Dean of St Edmundsbury from 2006 to 2009. He died on Saturday 26 June in Devon where he had lived, since January 2010, close to his family, including his father and brother. He was 63.

Former Dean of St Edmundsbury (the senior priest of the Cathedral and Diocese), Neil retired in September 2009 due to ill health. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour in October 2008 and despite surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and the continued efforts of his medical team the cancer returned in recent months.

The funeral will take place at Exeter Cathedral on Tuesday 6 July at 11.30 a.m. People in Suffolk will be invited to gather in St Edmundsbury Cathedral at the same time should they wish to do so.

A memorial service will be held at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in due course.

For further details see


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wanting to get married at church ...

www.yourchurchwedding.org is a website with lots of ideas and help. Why not take a look.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Agenda for July General Synod at York University

Key debates centre on women bishops’ legislation, while other subjects include clergy pensions, clergy terms of service, relations with the Church of Scotland, the status of deaneries and resources for Fresh Expressions in sessions of the Church of England’s ‘parliament,’ the General Synod, to be held in York from July 9th to 13th.

For full details see


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Millenium development goals and Micah 2010

It is 10 years since the nations of the world made the promise to halve global poverty by 2015. The critical Millennium Declaration Review Summit takes place in September in New York (20 - 22 September). The annual global ‘stand up’ has been brought forward this year to take place just before the conference (17 – 19 September). This year the plan is to ‘Make a noise for the Millennium Development Goals’. For ideas see www.bond.org.uk/pages/standup2010.html

Then on 10 October churches worldwide are planning a further focus on the MDGs – Micah 2010.

The Micah Challenge is a global coalition of Christians which seeks to hold governments to account for the promises they made towards the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals. The idea is to make sure that these promises are not forgotten.

The objective is to have:

100 million Christians praying a global prayer on 10/10/10.
10 million making a promise to remember the poor and commit to living a life of justice. We will be asked to raise our hands in promise, then make a special handprint.
1,000 politicians worldwide reminded that there are only 5 years remaining to meet the promise the nations have made. The handprints will be the visible message to pass on to the politicians.
The global prayer is already on the Micah web site (www.micahchallenge.org). Churches can register online (www.michahchallenge.org.uk) and then they will be sent updated details for action as they unfold - worship ideas, the use of handprints to indicate promises and the co-ordination of the lobby of MPs.

So please do get your church signed up and ensure that Sunday 10 October is a special time of prayer in support of the 8 Millennium Development Goals.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fairtrade and trade justice

Five years on from the Diocese receiving Fairtrade status, churches are being invited to renew their commitment to fairtrade and trade justice. I have written to all PCC secretaries and serving clergy. Churches which do not already have fairtrade status have been invited to apply, whilst Fairtrade churches have been asked to take their concern one step further. Each letter included a number of enclosures and suggestions about how to become more involved. These included:

ideas for incorporating teaching & prayers about trade justice in worship, Bible studies, home groups, Sunday school, youth groups etc.
taking part in the Big Brew in 2011 (28 February – 13 March 2011)
extending the range of Fairtrade products used in church
taking campaigning action (joining the World Development Movement) &
giving third world producers a step up into world markets (through Shared Interest or Traidcraft Exchange).
It has been that these ideas should be considered at a PCC meeting. If you are a recipient of one or both of the letters, please take action. If you are not a recipient and hear nothing about this at your church perhaps you could ask your PCC Secretary what is happening!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Church buildings repairs and possible VAT increase

A strongly worded letter to Prime Minister David Cameron from the Church of England’s governing body in Suffolk has raised the alarm over suspension of the Government’s e-petition service on the Downing Street website and the impact it could have on repairs to church buildings.

More information can be found at


and more information about the petition at


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Diocesan Clergy conference

later this month Father Stephen, together with the other clergy of the Diocese, will be meeting with our bishops from 22nd to 24th June for the Diocesan Clergy conference. The theme of the conference is "Speaking of God today". Amidst all the noise of our civilisation, hearing the voice of God and the deepest cries of the world is not easy. But it is crucial - God doesn't change, but our understanding of Him, and the ways in which we can bring His love to a world in need, does. We will gather together to listen to some eminent speakers, in order that we might be able to speak more effectively and responsibly of God today. Please remember the conference participants in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Philip Draycott celebrates 40 years as a Reader

Sunday June 13th marks 40 years to the day since Dr Philip Draycott was commissioned as a Reader in the Diocese of Ipswich and St Edmundsbury. This is truly a great achievement. We all wish Philip heartfelt congratulations on reaching this great milestone.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Dean announced

The Revd Canon Dr Frances Ward has been named as the new Dean of St Edmundsbury. Currently a Residentiary Canon and Canon Theologian at Bradford Cathedral, Frances is responsible for liturgy and worship, and for developing engagement with the Muslim communities in the multi cultural city. She is currently writing about the Church of England and Islam.

Previously she was a vicar in Manchester Diocese, at the other Bury in Lancashire, and she has done various jobs in parishes and as an educator since she was ordained in 1989. This includes teaching for the United Reformed Church at the Northern College in Manchester.

"Suffolk holds real attractions for me," says new Dean. "As a child I sailed the estuaries of Suffolk and North Essex, and will relish rediscovering this beautiful part of Britain, and serving the town of Bury St Edmunds and the diocese as Dean. The diocese and cathedral will celebrate their centenary in 2014, and already all sorts of ideas are shaping to make that a year to remember," she says.

"I am delighted that we are welcoming a person of real spiritual depth with an ability to relate well to all the communities the Church serves," says the Bishop of St Edmundsbury, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock. "This is an exciting time for the Cathedral, and I very much look forward to this next phase of ministry."

Frances is married to Peter, who is a Consultant Paediatrician, and they have four children, Matilda (23), Jonty (21), Theo (18) and Hugh (12) and a dog called Phoebe. She will move in late summer, to take up the position Saturday 16th October.

Canon Ward replaces the Very Revd Neil Collings who retired as Dean in August 2009 due to ill health.

Source http://www.stedmundsbury.anglican.org/

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ascension Day - 13th may

One of the festivals of the Christian year which does not receive as much attention as it should is Ascension Day. This year Ascension Day falls on Thursday 13th May. We will be celebrating the festival with a Eucharist for the whole Benefice at 7.30pm at St. Mary's, Lidgate. If you are able to, why not come along?

Why is Ascension Day important? The disciples had spent three years with Jesus, watching, listening and learning. They had seen him crucified and then wondrously resurrected. They had enjoyed those unpredictable encounters with him during the forty days after his Resurrection. But now, Jesus is mysteriously taken from them. This was a different sort of experience, save perhaps for those three friends who had witnessed the transfiguration. St. Luke depicts the disciples as being open-mouthed, speechless, staring up into the sky, wonder-full.

Read more


Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library Exhibition

In celebration of its 400th anniversary in 2010, the Library is opening a very special exhibition to the public in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace. The exhibition runs from 17 May - 23 July 2010.

For further details see


Debates on legislation to enable women to be bishops

The Church of England has published the 142-page report of the Revision Committee that has been considering in detail the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England. Also published is an amended version of the draft, eleven clause Measure and associated draft Amending Canon.

For further information please see


Monday, May 10, 2010

Cherish your churchyard

Thousands of growing churches are preparing to celebrate Cherishing Churchyards Week this June as part of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity. The event will run (Friday June 18 to Sunday June 27).

For more information please see


Sunday, May 9, 2010

John receives a long service certificate

Today at the benefice service at All Saints' church Stansfield, John Dennis received a certificate from Stephen, the Rector signed by the two Bishops and the Rural Dean celebrating his 40 plus years of service.


To read me please see


Christian Aid Week 9-15th May

Today see the official start of Christian Aid week. Why not go to


and see how you can donate to this important worthy cause?

Please help make a difference.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Archdeacon's Visitation Service

The Archdeacon's Visitation Service for the Clare Deanery will be held at the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds at 7.30pm on Thursday the 6th May. This is the service when all churchwardens are sworn in officially into their posts for the coming year. All are welcome to attend.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

John Dennis Steps Down After 40 Years As A Churchwarden

John Dennis has retired after serving as a churchwarden at All Saints' church in Stansfield for more than 40 years.

For the full story please see


Christian Aid Week 9-15th May

Please remember Christian Aid Week starts on the 9th May.

Here in the Bansfield Benefice and the Churches Together organization we are meeting at the Methodist church in Wickhambrook on Thursday 6th May at 7pm for a Bring and Buy followed by the United Christian Aid Service at 7.30pm. Please help support this important mission.

Also see


Monday, May 3, 2010

Denston Festival Weekend (29-30 May)

To raise funds for St. Nicholas, Denston, and Denston's Village Hall.

Saturday, May 29, 2.30-4.30pm
On Denston's village green:
Stalls, Dog Show, Vintage cars and fire engine, Surprise Events.

Saturday, May 29, 3-6.15pm
Denston Hall Gardens open (£3), teas available.

Saturday, May 29, 7pm
In St Nicholas' Church , 'Here's A How-De-Do!', an evening of music and laughter with international G&S star Richard Suart. Tickets for the Concert and Reception (delicious food and wines) are £27.50 from Rosemary Macaire, Denston Hall, CB8 8PW.

Sunday, May 30, 11am
Festival Matins, taken by the Rev'd Bob Torrens; soloist Richard Suart.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Church of England plays a vital role in the life of the nation

The Church of England plays a vital role in the life of the nation, proclaiming the Christian gospel in words and actions and providing services of Christian worship and praise.

For more information please see


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Church Commissioners' 2009 results confirm long-term growth

Church Commissioners' 2009 results confirm long-term growth - level of support to the Church to be maintained.

The Church Commissioners achieved a 15.6 per cent return on their investments during 2009. The Commissioners’ asset value has grown to £4.8 billion (from £4.4 billion at December 31, 2008).

For full details please see


Monday, April 26, 2010


Forty Days Of Prayer

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."
Psalm 62 v.8 (NRSV)

Your prayers are important to God


A Call to 40 Days of Prayer for the local Church*

(Parish, Benefice, Churches Together and all Christians.)

During the 40 days there will be weekly prayer meetings in the church hall covering the themes for the 40 days:

Ministry teams, worship leaders, musicians and singers
Church officers and administrators
Family units and single folk
The way forward

* Not forgetting we are part of the body of Christ worldwide and that we are in the world but not of it.

Encouragement from Stephen:

We cannot expect to overcome the challenges and difficulties which face us – finance, falling numbers, lack of church officers, among others – in our own strength. We only grow in faith and number in God’s strength. We deepen our relationship with Him, and with each other in prayer, as we humbly come before Him to seek His blessing and guidance in all that we seek to do in His name.

Please, for the sake of God and His Church, support this Prayer initiative. 

Note from Ann:

Surely the Church is worth at least 5 minutes extra prayer a day!

This prayer initiative is for us all to seek God’s help for our part in the Church (His people) and in the church He has entrusted to us (buildings etc.).

So that we can pray in unity there are 40 Inspirational Verses (1 for each day).

Guidelines for this prayer initiative, if needed:

Read the verse for the day, pray according to how you understand the verse in relation to the local Church.

More time to pray? Read the verses in context or any other Bible passage – what does it say to you? Something personal? or something to share (perhaps at the next prayer meeting)?

Don’t worry if your prayers move away from the local church into an entirely different direction.

No-one is excluded or forgotten – if you are unable to attend the prayer meetings, your daily prayer at home is still most important. Requests and shared thoughts will be prayed for at the meetings. Written prayer requests may be left in the church. 

“There is no condemnation in Christ” – better to catch up or pray ahead for 2 or 3 days if forgetfulness or circumstances overtake us, rather than give up! 

Bible verses (NRSV; NKJ)

Day: Church Leaders

1 Psalm 23: Any one verse (or all.) 

2 John 20 v. 22: . . . he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” 

3 Ephesians 2 v.20: built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.

4 Matt. 11 v.28: Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

5 Psalm 32 v.8: I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you the way the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

6 Luke 11 v.9: . . . Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

7 Heb. 13 v.17: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing – for that would be harmful to you.

8 1 Peter 5 v.4: And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades.  Ministry teams, worship leaders, musicians and singers

9 John 15 v.16: You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 

10 Acts 14 v.23: And after they had appointed elders for them, in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

11 Tim. 2 v. 1: First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be made for everyone.

12 2 Chron. 29 v.28 So all the congregation worshipped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

13 Psalm 30 v.4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.

14 2 Kings 3 v.15 ‘But get me [Elisha] a musician.’ And then, while the musician was playing, the power of the Lord came on him.

15 Psalm 33 v.3 Sing to him a new song. Play skilfully on the strings, with a shout of joy.

16 Psalm 150 v.4 Praise him with the tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

Church officers and administrators

17 1 Cor. 12 v.5/6: and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 

18 Heb. 6 v.10: For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.

19 Phil. 4 v.13: I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

20 John 12 v.26: Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

21 Psalm 100 v.2: Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before his Presence with singing.

22 Col. 3 v.23: And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men

23 James 1 v.5: If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.

24 1 Peter 4 v.10: Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.

Day: Family units and single folk

25 Psalm 68 v.6: God sets the solitary in families; . . .

26 Ephesians 5 v.25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it

27 Proverbs 19 v.14: House and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord. 

28 Proverbs 10 v.1: A wise child makes a glad father, but a foolish child is a mother’s grief. 

29 Matt. 19 v.14: but Jesus said ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’

30 1 John 2 v.14 (part): I write to you, young people, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

31 Proverbs 20 v.29 The glory of youths is their strength, but the beauty of the aged is their grey hair.

32 John 1 v. 12: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name


33 Psalm 127 v.1: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. 

34 2 Cor. 9 v.7: Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

35 Proverbs 3 v.9: Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the first-fruits of all your increase 

36 Rev. 3 v.8: I know your works. Look I have set before you an open door which no-one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and not denied my name.

37 Matt. 5 v.24: leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, then come and offer your gift.

38 Psalm 84 v.1: How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts!

The way forward

39 John 14 v.6: Jesus said to him ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No-one comes to the Father except through me.’

40 Psalm 86 v. 11: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Forty Days of prayer

Prayer Initiative - On Monday 26th April we are starting our "Forty Days of Prayer". This is a Benefice and Churches Together event. Please get involved if you can. We are meeting in the Benefice Hall on Tuesdays at 7.30pm. If you can make please come along.


Today we welcomed Matilda to the family of the Anglican church during out Benefice service at Cowlinge. Welcome Matilda!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vocations Sunday- 25 April 2010

VOCATIONS SUNDAY is an opportunity for churches to encourage everyone to reflect, discover and recognise God's call to them.

For more information see


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

General Synod Elections

Every five years the entire General Synod is re-elected giving 378 people a chance to be part of the big picture in saying how the Church of England is governed.

For full information please see


Friday, April 9, 2010

Licensing of Haverhill Benefice Missioner

The Benefice of Haverhill and Withersfield are licensing Captain Andrew Payne C.A., as Benefice Missioner on Wednesday 21st April at 7,30pm. This will be a St Mary's church Haverhill with the licensing being performed by the Rt. Rev'd. Nigel Stock, Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

The Benefice Missioner will be working full time in Haverhill out in the community bringing the church to them. He will be working ecumenically and in the schools, old peoples homes, anywhere where people are. He will set up study groups and house groups. He will be working with some fresh expressions of being church.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gift to Kagera

We are please to announce that the Bansfield Benefice has donated over £1100 to Kagera. All Saints' Wickhambrook donated £1000 and the rest of the money came from a retiring collection after the Benefice Palm Sunday service at All Saints' Wickhambrook.

Our diocese has a link with Kagera in north-west Tanzania, one of the poorest areas in Africa, which is struggling with increasing temperatures and water shortages. The wonderful news is that the Church of England has chosen Kagera as one of the three areas it will be supporting in its newly launched Climate Justice Fund, in partnership with Tearfund.

For more information about the Benefice's association with Kagera see



We celebrate Easter, not just on Easter Day, but for fifty glorious days - the season lasts until Pentecost or Whit Sunday. We celebrate the victory over death won by Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life, which he offers to us today. He died once and for all for the sins of all humankind. He willing and lovingly paid the price for our sins, so that we don't have to. His victory - the power of His Resurrection - is with us always and can touch our lives, if we allow it to do so. To think of Easter only as a past event is to miss the central Easter message, for Christ is the Resurrection and the life.

There is a true story from Uganda, which illustrates the transforming and life-giving power of Christ's Resurrection now. It was Easter morning. Pastor Kefa Sempangi returned to his house after taking the morning service ... to run into an ambush from a gang of five armed killers. "We are going to kill you", said the leader. "If you have anything to say, say it before you die." Kefa began to shake. "They won't need to kill me", he thought. "I'm going to fall over dead." But then, as he recalls, from far away he heard a voice, and he was astonished to realise that it was his own:

"I do not need to plead my own cause", I heard myself saying. "I am a dead man already. My life is hidden in Christ. It is your lives that are in danger. You are dead in your sins. I will pray to God, that after you have killed me, he will spare you from eternal destruction.&uot;

The leader stepped forward, his face had changed. "Will you pray for us now?" he asked. It was the turning point. All five men were to become members of Kefa's church.

We don't have to wait until the end of our lives to experience the life-giving power of Christ's Resurrection. We too can recognise the power of the Resurrection in our everyday lives, whenever all that separates and injures and divides is being overcome by that which unites and heals and creates. When we manifest goodness, we are ourselves raised from death and are also the agents through whom others experience resurrection. That which we glimpse in this life, we can confidently expect in fullness in the life of the world to come.

May the life-giving power of the Risen Christ fill your hearts with joy and gladness, this Eastertide and always,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Palm Sunday

On this Palm Sunday we are very pleased to be having two baptisms and to welcome the Archdeacon of Cambridge to our Benefice Service at Wickhambrook church.

Passiontide and Easter Services

Why not join us for our Passiontide services right up to Easter Sunday? A full list of services over the Easter period can be found on our website - http://www.bansfieldbenefice.org.uk/services/

We would be delighted to see you there at any of our services.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Children's Society Collection Boxes

The Children's Society Collecting Boxes which are issued and collected annually in February yielded £317 this year. Although a Benefice led event, contributions are made by church and non church goers alike, mainly from Wickhambrook. A big thank you to all involved.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday, this year, falls on 14th March. We will be celebrating the day with a service for the whole Benefice at St. Mary's, Lidgate at 10.00am. All Christians have the opportunity to give thanks for our mother the Church, which loves us and nurtures us and cares for us from birth to death. It is also, of course, an opportunity to give thanks for, and to, our own mothers and to show our appreciation for all that they do for us. For those of us who have lost our mothers it is an opportunity to say thank you for all that they have done for us, and to pray that God will care for them and look after them, as they looked after us, and to pray that through God's mercy we may be re-united with them one day. As part of the service, flowers will be blessed and given to all the ladies present. If you are free, why not join us?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lent Lunches

We are holding Lent lunches each Tuesday during the season of Lent in the Benefice Hall at 12.30pm. The lunches will be simple and we are aiming to donate to charity the proceeds from these lunches. So if you are available please do come along both to enjoy the food and company as well as to help a number of charities during this Lent time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lent Course - When I survey ... Christ's Cross and ours

There is still the opportunity to join our Lent Course, which is entitled: "When I survey ... Christ's Cross and ours". We shall meet on Monday 22nd February and on Mondays 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd March at 7.30pm in the Benefice Hall. Everyone is very welcome.

The course booklet, written by The Rev'd Dr John Pridmore, includes questions aimed at provoking wide-ranging discussion. Each group member needs a course booklet, which costs £3. This is the only expense involved in this five session course. An interesting feature of this course is that there is an accompanying CD, in which distinguished Christian speakers give some input into each session. The participants on the course CD are John Bell, General Sir Richard Dannatt and Dr Christina Baxter. Dr David Hope introduces the course and Colin Morris provides the Closing Reflection at the end of each session.

There will also be the opportunity to chat informally over tea or coffee. Please consider joining us, if you are able to.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fairtrade Fortnight

It is five years since we became a Fairtrade Diocese. Half our churches signed up – so there are a lot still to do so! And are all the fairtrade churches keeping their promises? We think it is time to revisit fairtrade. The three goals a church must fulfil are:

* use Fairtrade tea & coffee after services and in all meetings for which they have responsibility
* move forward on using other Fairtrade products such as sugar, biscuits and fruit
* promote Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and during the year through events, worship and other activities whenever possible.

To find out more visit www.fairtrade.org.uk

FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT (22 February to 7 March)

Over 40 churches already have Big Brew events planned. By simply inviting friends in for a fairtrade cuppa or promoting a larger event, the Big Brew offers every church a way to reach out to the community it serves and to promote fairtrade at the same time. It is not too late to join in. Check out www.traidcraft.co.uk/bigbrew

A Church Action Guide and Reflections & Prayers with ideas for action and worship during Fairtrade Fortnight can be downloaded from www.fairtrade.org.uk.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Christingle Service

The Bansfield Benefice Christingle service held at All Saints' Church Wickhambrook was a great success again this year. we raised £75 for The Children's Society. A lot of fun was had by all as we made the Christingles during the service.