Sunday, December 9, 2012

Toy Service - Thank you

The Toy service at Wickhambrook was a great success again giving 42 wrapped presents for children in the care of Bury Social Services.  Thank you to all those who contributed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Samaritan's Purse - Love In A Box - Thank you

Collecting For Christmas 2012

In 2012 we collected and sent 60 shoeboxes for the Samaritan's Purse - love in a box appeal. Many thanks to all those who donated their time, money and energy. And a special thanks to Mrs Jean Coe for organising the appeal. This year the shoeboxes were sent to Kyrgyzstan and Serbia. A break down of the age and gender distribution is shown below.

Age RangeGirlBoy
2 - 485
5 - 92412
10 - 1465

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shoebox appeal - Operation Christmas Child 2012

Operation Christmas Child is the world's largest children's Christmas project, bringing joy into the lives of underprivileged children since 1990. Last year, nearly 1.2 million shoeboxes were packed with gifts and goodies and sent from the UK to children who need them most in  some of the toughest parts of the world. In most cases the shoebox will be the only Christmas present that child will receive.

Our Benefice is again supporting the Shoebox Appeal. Please consider supporting the Shoebox Appeal. Information leaflets, containing full details, are to be found at the back of all the churches and on our website - details below. Please then pass your completed Shoebox to your Churchwarden for passing on to the Benefice co-ordinator. The deadline for handing in the completed Shoeboxes is the 31st October, as they need to be taken to a collection point at the beginning of November.

Completed boxes to our Co-ordinator by 31st October.
Either directly or via your churchwarden(s).

Further details

If you want to know more about Operation Christmas Child then please visit

If you require details about how to pack the shoebox please visit
their How to pack your shoebox page.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Guild of servants of the Sanctuary and more ...

In addition to the usual Harvest services that start in September the Benefice is holding a special service at Lidgate church on Friday 21st September at 7.30pm- Guild of servants of the Sanctuary.  Why not come along and find out more.

Also Lidgate will hold its Harvest festival with music being once again provided by the Fowlmere Choir.  Their Harvest Festival is on September 30th @3pm.

All other services can be found at

31st Suffolk Historic Churches Trust bike ride

Saturday the 8th September 2012 will be the 31st annual fund raising sponsored bicycle ride for churches of the Bansfield Benefice and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust.

Half of the proceeds go to the church of your choice and the other half to the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust to help with their charitable work.

The event starts at 9.00am and finishes at 5.00pm. Start and finish whenever you like between these times. Visit by bike or on foot (no horses please) as few or as many churches as you wish. It's a great day out for all the family and there are refreshments (tea, biscuits and soft drinks) at all the churches you visit. It's a great opportunity to visit other churches in the area and to see the rich history of our religious buildings. It's also fun for the whole family and even helps to keep you fit. Why not visit all Seven churches of the Benefice?

Pick up a sponsorship leaflet from any Bansfield Benefice church. Further information can be found on the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust website.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

World Development Newsletter - May 2012

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

Have you noticed our special focus on water issues?  This is a growing global issue – more floods and droughts affecting the most vulnerable people – 731 million without a safe water supply - 2.8 billion without basic sanitation – conflicts over scarce resources. We have highlighted it in the East Anglican, in the Enews and on the web site. Please  do visit the page on the web site
which highlights some of the action being taken locally and how you can join in.  There is also a new leaflet in the World Mission Group series which can be downloaded from the web site or is available from me on request. This gives more ideas on action. Finally, there will be an exhibition at the cathedral from 25 June until 20 July. Many people will be in the cathedral for the ordination week-end, so do ask them to allow a few minutes to look at the exhibition. Paul Daley the Local Water Aid speaker is keen to come and speak to churches. Contact him on 

Bishop Louis of Kigali will be in Suffolk next month for the arrival of the Rwandan Olympic Team in Bury St Edmunds where it is training. He has been invited by Rwanda Direct, a small charity based in Ipswich. He will preach at the cathedral at 10am on Sunday 8 July. If you would like to meet Bishop Louis or invite him to speak at your church, contact the Revd Paul Daltry, Chair of Rwanda Direct & Commissary for Bishop Louis at  Visit for information about Bury St Edmund’s project to enable hundreds of Rwandan children to take part in sport.

Our focus on water has highlighted how drought and floods impact on the most vulnerable. But this is only one effect of climate change. The poor are  also ill equipped to cope with temperature changes, sea level rise, storms, etc.  There are a number of occasions coming up for prayer and worship around the topic of the environment and climate change. June 5 is World Environment Day.  From 20 to 22 June the UN conference on sustainable development RIO +20 takes place. 20 years on from the groundbreaking Rio Earth Summit, leaders from around the world will meet again in Rio de Janeiro. Let us pray for real progress in plans for a sustainable and safer future for our planet. Keep in touch through your aid agency or  This page will tell you where to look for worship materials on the environment.  Looking further ahead Churches Together Creation Time will run from 1 September to 4 October. The theme this year is Sustainable Energy in Creation – Time for prayer and action. Resources will be available on the Churches Together web site ( by the end of June.

“Food Matters” is the theme of this year’s Ecumenical World Development Conference. From the 1– 3 October at the Hayes Conference Centre Swanwick, there will be a great opportunity to explore with others interested in development issues why in a world of plenty so many go hungry.  Go to to see the impressive range of speakers and for booking details.  

Thank you to those of you who sent me details and pictures of your Big Brew event. It seems you were very busy with coffee mornings, tea parties & fairtrade stalls – with the odd breakfast, quiz, children’s activities and concert thrown in. Well done!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wickhambrook History Weekend - "Wickhambrook discovers its past" 15th - 17th June

In association with the Wickhambrook History Society the PCC of Wickhambrook is proud to announce the Wickhambrook History Weekend to be hosted at All Saints' church Wickhambrook.

A Village history, viewed through Film, Artefacts, Maps, Famous names, Agriculture, Monuments and Buildings and much more.

   Friday 15th Jun 7 - 9 pm Cheese & Wine preview Evening
   Saturday 16th Jun 10 - 5 pm
   Sunday 17th Jun 10 - 4 pm followed by Songs of Praise at 5 pm

Cheese & Wine preview evening £10.00 per person (includes weekend pass).

Tickets per day (Not Friday) Adult £2.50 Accompanied Children Free. Unaccompanied £1.00.

Further details.

Christian Aid Week - Money Raised

We are pleased to announce that Churches together - Wickhambrook Methodist and URC, Kirtling RC and the churches of the Bansfield Benefice raised a total of £404 for Christian Aid Week.  The Bansfield Benefice contributed £70.50 of that total.

Thanks you to all who organised and contributed to this charity.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Christian Aid Week 13-19th May

Christian Aid is one of the charities we at the Bansfield Benefice support. Christian Aid Week is always in May each year and starts on the second Sunday of May.  Please help us support Christian Aid Week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A tea for East African refugees

Raising money for CARE International who are paying for donkey carts to carry food rations for starving refugees from distribution points to their tents. Many are unsupported mothers and children.

Raffle, Games, Activities and Bring and Buy.

At the Wickhambrook  W.I. Hall on the 28th April between 3 and 5 pm.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Palm Sunday and Easter Day Services

We are joined by Archdeacon David Jenkins who will officiate at both Palm Sunday and Easter Day services.  Please do join us if you can.

  • Palm Sunday: Wickhambrook church at 10am - Archdeacon David
  • There are no Holy week services in the Bansfield benefice except for Good Friday Walk of Witness: URC, Meeting Green, Wickhambrook at 10am
  • Easter Day: Stansfield church at 10am - Archdeacon David

Elizabeth Hollingsworth Retires As Organist

A lovely morning for a Benefice service at Stradishall and also a very special occasion. The occasion being the retirement of Elizabeth Hollingsworth as organist in the Bansfield Benefice. Elizabeth, who turns 90 later this year has decided to retire after 20 years of devoted service to the benefice. Elizabeth's main churches were All Saints' Wickhambrook and St Margaret's Stradishall. In a short address at the end of the service the Benefice's Lay Reader, Dr Philip Draycott, spoke about Elizabeth's contribution to the Benefice over the years and thanked her for all her hard work and devoted service. Following the address Elizabeth was presented with a gift, a card and a bouquet of flowers which she clearly was delighted by. She thanked the congregation and concluded the address with a few reminiscences about amusing things she had seen over the years as an organist.

After the service people chatted with Elizabeth over refreshments at the back of church which gave people the chance to thank Elizabeth for all her work as an organist over the years.

Thank you Elizabeth!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ageing Well In Wickhambrook And District

Information event for older people to be held on Tuesday 8th May 10am - 3pm at the W.I. Hall Wickhambrook.

A free lunch will be served.

The event is organised by The Church of England in Suffolk working with Age UK Suffolk.

Come along, be our guests and meet people from the organisations that support older people. You will have discussions about what they provide and talk about what you think is needed to live an independent and enjoyable life. There will also be an opportunity to be part of a local group to discuss services you need in your area. Places are FREE but must be reserved. To book your place please complete the reply slip and send it back by Friday the 27th April. A letter will be sent to you confirming that you have been allocated a place.

Please complete and return to:

Susan Gogarty,
Age UK Suffolk,
14 Hillview Business Park,
Old Ipswich Road,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rector's View - March 2012

Dear friends,

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, it was a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family.

Mothering Sunday, this year, falls on 18th March. We will be celebrating the day with services across the Benefice. At All Saints', Wickhambrook there will be a short, informal Family Service at 9.30am. At All Saints', Stansfield there will be a short, informal Family Service at 11.00am. During the service there will be a baptism and a welcome into our Church Family - so, two reasons to celebrate! 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? You will be most welcome.
Annual Church Meetings

The most important meetings in the life of a Parish Church are the 'Meeting of Parishioners', at which Churchwardens are elected for the coming year, and the 'Annual Parochial Church Meeting' (APCM) for members of the church electoral roll, at which the PCC is elected, the accounts and annual report adopted, reports received, and questions of general church interest discussed.

Over the next few weeks all seven parishes of the benefice will be holding their annual meetings. It is always disappointing when there is a low attendance. It is vitally important that as many people as possible attend these meetings to ensure that they are truly representative and that decisions reached have the consent of the majority.

Above all, it is vitally important that we come together prayerfully, with open hearts and minds, as together we try to discern God's will for our parishes for the coming year.


As many of you know, our younger son, Mark, is in Manzini, Swaziland for three months, volunteering with Skillshare International, an organisation which seeks to reduce abuse against women and children, through education, counselling, and court observation. Mark is using his legal training to help those who are vulnerable and who have few other people to help them. Skillshare International describes its vision in these words "Our vision is of a world without poverty, injustice and inequality where people, regardless of cultural, social and political divides, come together for mutual benefit, living in peaceful co-existence".

Some of you kindly sponsored Mark, and I often get asked how he is getting on, thank you for your interest and concern. I am pleased to say that he has settled well and seems happy and fulfilled in his new environment, tackling such challenging work. If you would like to read Mark's account of his experience so far, please go to:

Full details of our services for Holy Week and Easter can be found on the Services section of the website. Everyone is most welcome to attend any or all of our services.

With every blessing.


Rev'd Stephen Abbott

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lenten 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.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rector's View - February 2012

Dear friends,

This year Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, falls on 22nd February. The best way to begin Lent is to attend the Celebration of the Eucharist at All Saints', Wickhambrook at 7.00pm on that day. There will be Imposition of Ashes at the Eucharist, for those who wish to receive it.

The service on Ash Wednesday is still conducted in much the same way as it was a thousand years ago. The priest dips his thumb in ashes, produced by burning some of last year's Palm Crosses, and makes the mark of a cross on people's foreheads, saying to each person: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ." The Ash from the Palm Crosses serves as a vivid reminder of the fickleness of human nature - how the happy crowds singing 'hosanna' would, in less than a week, be screaming 'crucify him'. Lent is a time for sorrow and self-denial, but with a confidence in the forgiveness of God, which is limitless and freely given to those who ask for it in good faith.

Traditionally, Lent has been a time to give up something we enjoy, but many now make a resolution to do something positive and constructive during this period - 'taking up', rather than 'giving up.' This might be setting aside time each day to read from the bible and/or from a Christian book - there are many Lent books for sale in Christian bookshops. It may be visiting someone who is lonely; attending a mid-week Eucharist, or setting aside extra time for prayer and meditation. There are many possibilities, as long as what we choose to do helps us to grow in love for God and for other people. Please think and pray about how you will observe Lent for the love of God - what about attending our Lent course?

Our Lent Course this year is entitled: "Handing on the Torch" We shall meet on Monday 27th February and on Mondays 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th March at 7.30pm in the Benefice Hall. Everyone is very welcome.

Christianity is the largest movement our world has ever seen. It continues to grow at an immense pace - especially in Asia (including China), Africa and Latin America. At the same time, Christianity in the West struggles to grow and - perhaps - even to survive. In this course we consider some of the reasons for this and what it might mean for individual Christians, for churches and for Western culture, in a world where alternative beliefs are increasingly on offer.

The course booklet, written by Canon John Young includes questions aimed at provoking wide-ranging discussion. Each group member needs a course booklet, which will be available at the first session and costs £3.50. 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 Archbishop John Sentamu - the Archbishop of York, Clifford Longley - RC author, broadcaster and journalist and Rachel Lampard - who has responsibility for the Methodist Church's engagement with political issues. Bishop Graham Cray - Archbishops' Missioner and leader of the Fresh Expressions team - provides the Closing Reflection at the end of each session. Dr David Hope - former Archbishop of York - introduces this course.

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

With every blessing.


Rev'd Stephen Abbott

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Funds Raised for the Children's Society - £629

Over the Christmas and Season of Light period which includes Chirstingle the Bansfield Benefice is proud to report that we have raised £629 for the Children's Society:

Stansfield Carol service - £259
Christingle service - £70
Children Society boxes - £300

Many thanks to all those who contributed.

World Development Newsletter January 2012


Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 27 February – 11March 2012. The new Church Action Guide is now available free from the Fairtrade Foundation as well as lots of other materials and resources.

Take a Step for Fairtrade by organising a Big Brew event in your church. The theme this year is “Help Families to Flourish”. All you need for holding an event is available from Traidcraft, including a free resource pack, church worship resources, school resources, etc. If you phone 0845 330 8900 to order this (item code 59400) you should be able to get it without a postage charge.

Please do let me know if you are planning a Big Brew event. Or better still send me a report with photos after the event!


If you are looking for a Lent course, there are many to choose from, but choosing one with a global perspective will give a new dimension to your study. One such has been produced by USPG on the theme of 40 Days of Peace. The aim of this course is to inspire congregations to consider what it takes to find peace in their own lives – and to become peace-makers in the world. The study course can be downloaded from

Or if you want some ideas for personal action during Lent join the Tearfund carbon fast for daily actions and prayers (


The World Mission Group has been busy producing a series of new / updated information leaflets. The topics are: world development; Kagera link; fairtrade & trade justice; the Millennium Development Goals; & Five Marks of Mission. All of them can be downloaded from the Diocesan web site Or free copies are available from me. The complete set comes in an attractive A5 folder. If there are any opportunities when you can use copies of these do please let me know – we want them to be used!


Being better informed in our prayers for the world is something we should all strive towards. There is an absolutely brilliant resource designed to help with this which is produced weekly by Christian Concern for One World ( You can have it emailed directly to you each week by contacting It provides all the links you need to understand key global issues. I highly recommend it.


Finally, watch this space for events in Suffolk this year.
A special focus on the issue of Water is planned for early summer. A growing global issue – with floods and droughts – lack of running water & sanitation for many – potential for conflict over scarce resources.

In July & August Suffolk is host to Olympic Teams from Rwanda, Azerbaijan and Brazil (gymnastics). The Bishop of Kigali will be here to support the Rwandan team and events are being planned.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christingle Service - St Margaret's Cowlinge - 4.00pm (15th Jan 2012)

Local children and their families will be taking part in The Children's Society's Christingle service at St Margaret's Cowlinge - 4.00pm (15th Jan 2012) . Money raised will help runaways and children forced from home to have somewhere safe to go and someone sound to turn to. If you would like to join in this magical candle-lit church service or want more information please contact the Rector.

The Christingle service aims to raise £100 for The Children's Society. We will be joining 5,000 other churches and schools across the country to raise £1million to help the charity continue its good work.

At the service, children will make a Christingle - an orange bearing a candle, red ribbon and decorated with sweets. The highlight of the service is when all the Christingle candles are lit, shining light into darkness.

Each year The Children's Society helps over 50,000 children and young people through its 90 projects across the UK. It helps children at risk on the streets; children in trouble with the law; young refugees; children with disabilities. Please help us support the work of the charity by attending our service. You can be sure of a warm welcome. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rector's View - January 2012

Dear friends,

New Year's Day falls on a Sunday in 2012. This gives us a fairly rare opportunity to celebrate the occasion in a church service; details of all Church Services in the Benefice are to be found above under Services. The 1st January is also celebrated in the Church's Calendar as the feast of the Naming of Jesus - a name which means "God saves".

As we begin a New Year, we may be thinking of new beginnings - hoping that our heartfelt resolutions will last well into the New Year! We might also be thinking about the purpose of our lives. That might sound deep - but we all need to have purpose in our lives. In the midst of all our uncertainties, hopes and fears over what this new year may bring, it is reassuring to know that our lives, and our world, are part of God's much bigger purposes - "this" is not all there is!

We are reminded, on the 1st January, that God's purposes are seen supremely in Jesus - in the weakness and vulnerability of a baby, but yet a baby who saves the world from sin and death! A baby who grew to be a man. Through this man God saves us from our weakness and selfishness, our pride, the damage we inflict on ourselves and others. In this man there is the promise of a real new beginning, for us and for our world.

Please join us at church to celebrate and give thanks for the meaning and purpose in our lives; for the love and acceptance that surrounds us, and to God who loves and cares for us, just as we are, more than any human being could. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

May God bless you and grant to you, and to all whom you love, a truly happy and blessed New Year.

With every blessing.


Rev'd Stephen Abbott