Monday, December 1, 2014

Rector's View - December 2014

Dear friends,

Of all the season's of the year it is Christmas that most likely finds us journeying to our local church to become part of that great story of wonder and new beginning.

The Nativity story itself is one of the great journey narratives of our time. Mary and Joseph journey to Nazareth, the Shepherds journey from their fields, the Wise journey from nations afar, even we ourselves journey to Carol Services, Midnight Mass and Christmas Morning that all the more we may wonder at God's journey to come among us in the babe, the Christ child.

We have the gloss of century's tradition, and these days Christmas shows putting their own shine on that first daystar starlit sky.

The reality of Mary and Joseph's perilous census journey to crowd the village of their ancestry though is all too common an experience for modern day refugees.

Today's migrants seek new beginnings in escaping poverty, and seek safety in escaping war. And these days we see more desperate journeys still, as people travel to temporary tarpaulin shelters or swiftly constructed treatment centres seeking aid against Ebola.

Please remember these modern day nativity families in your gift giving this year to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

May we be ready to offer new beginnings for survivors of poverty war and epidemic that all mankind may look to the light and hope of a new dawn in realising our belonging together in our common humanity.

Grace and Peace be yours this Christmas.

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reverend Canon Martin Seeley anounced as 11th Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Great news to hear that Her Majesty the Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Martin Seeley, who will become the 11th Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

Further details on the Diocese's website.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rector's View - November 2014

Dear friends,

I'm blessed to have recently returned from a Cursillo Pilgrimage amongst the ruins at Leiston Abbey near the East Suffolk coast. Cursillo is a renewal ministry for Lay people seeking knowledge and love of God through Christian discipleship. This blessing begins with a short three day course (Cursillo means 'short course') in community living and shared worship.

Our worship amongst the ruins of Leiston Abbey spoke powerfully of our shared inheritance of faith across generations past and generations to come. The ruins themselves still speak powerfully of God's presence in people's lives, their solid foundation directing our gaze upward to behold, by day the wonders of God's own vault of the sky (we rejoiced to see the sign of God's promise and sign of Cursillo – the rainbow), and by night the wonder of the stars, both speaking of that truth of Christian wisdom that whatever darkness blights our lives, light still shines.

As our days darken toward midwinter this year, there seem dark days indeed ahead through climate change, war and epidemic. By our November remembrances we remind ourselves of the great challenges faced and overcome by previous generations, who so valiantly laid for us foundations of peace social justice and accountability amongst the families of the nations. By their example we will find strength and resolve in this generation to proclaim however dark our days, the light of future hope still shines undiminished.

May God's bright Son, shine ever brighter in our lives, a hope expressed in the Cursillo cry of encouragement, De Colores!

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shoebox appeal - Operation Christmas Child 2014

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 a Churchwarden for passing on to our Co-ordinator. The deadline for handing in the completed Shoeboxes is Friday 31st October, as they need to be taken to a collection point in early November.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rector's View - October 2014

Dear friends,

October's Harvest services set our mind to thanksgiving for this plentiful garden of creation, for all who tend and work in it. In this thanksgiving for the good we too call to mind our failing toward our natural world, how we by consumerism endanger nature's capacity to provide. The extraction of new energy resources becomes more complex and brings greater dangers yet we seem unable to accept greater cost in ‘green’ energy generation and recovery.

As the year darkens though we seek comfort in stories of hope. Looking to the stars we remember the light of the Saints who through the generations have given hope to others by their great works. We too remember the lives of All Soul's, those who brought light to our lives, those whom we have loved and known. This year we will hold at Wickhambrook Church 2nd November our 3pm All Soul's service commemorating our own faithful departed. All are welcome to attend to hear read any name they might put forward and light candles joining together after the service for refreshments and conversation.

This year's commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War offers stark reminder of our frailty and failing. For despite the sombre reflection on the tragedy of war still we face new conflicts and dangers and continue to look to the self-sacrifice of service men and women to offer us protection. So our Remembrance Sunday service at 10am Lidgate 9th November calls us to honour our debt to those who died and those who survived in providing for their need in the face of life changing injuries, psychological and physical.

November closes with the hope of realising our daily prayer for 'God's Kingdom come on earth as in heaven' in the festival of Christ the King. May our season of thanksgiving and remembrance instil in us the desire to determine all things for the good and in the face of this world's darkness ensure light still shines.

Your servant in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

HOST uk - welcoming international students

HOST is looking for kind, friendly, hospitable people of all ages whose imaginations are caught by the idea of welcoming an international student at university here, far from his or her own family, to their home, for a day, a weekend or at Christmas. You don’t need to live near a university, as students will travel for the privilege of meeting you, learning about real life in this country, and sharing their own culture. HOST is a voluntary activity which makes ambassadors for international goodwill of us all. Please see Thank you

Margaret Stevens

Publicity Officer, HOST


Monday, September 8, 2014

Suffolk Historic Churches Trust Sponsored Bicycle Ride and Graffiti event at Lidgate church

Sponsored bike ride

Saturday the 13th September 2014 will be the 33rd 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?

Finding out about Graffiti

Matt Champion, the man in charge of finding the graffiti at St Mary's church, Lidgate is making a visit on Sept 13th which coincides with the SHCT sponsored cycle ride. Matt will be on hand to show and discuss the graffiti to anyone who visits on the day between 10am and 4pm. Come along if you would like to learn more.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rector's View - September 2014

Dear Friends

September’s return from holiday and travel sets us back to work with the thanksgiving of Harvest. And in thanksgiving we might reflect on our needs and blessings, that which truly feeds and enriches us, that which truly offers fulfilment. So much today seems to break down our giving value to those who support us and strains our ability to support them, particularly when we think of our reliance upon our neighbours and our village communities. So much of what we take for granted in our enjoyment of village life these days seems under threat as fewer people are willing to give of their time or to take part. Village Halls, local clubs and community events as well the gatherings of the faithful in worship compete with a broadening horizon of individual interests and pursuits, and much of today’s aspiration demands more of our time to secure the income to afford them.

Perhaps the disciples faced similar pressures in their day, as the main source of income for their families and dependants, the harvest of their nets provided for their needs as well the growing demands of the Roman Empire. Rome’s advances in engineering and city life offered little to the settled Judaic rural community and neither Rome’s taxation nor even the Temple’s tax offered benefit to the rural settlements of Galilee. Yet Jesus’ calling of those fishers beside the Galilean sea enabled them to think beyond their being tied to mending their nets to give their all in building a new community after the promise of God’s Kingdom – ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of people’ being Jesus’ call.

This call remains with us today, we who as those early disciples find ourselves tied to mending nets in providing for the growing demands of modern life. Our Harvest services remind us to be ready to answer and welcome those in this age who offer thanksgiving in reflecting on their needs and blessings. So it is our Churches offer welcome to all who feel caught up in the pressures of modern life, we hope our catch in faith may release us for more enriching work, that of a more rewarding Kingdom bringing blessing to home and village alike. May our daily prayer for God’s Kingdom come be seen at our hand, in your days and mine.

Yours in Christ
Bansfield Benefice Rector

Friday, August 1, 2014

Rector's View - August 2014

Dear friends,

August begins with the sombre remembrance of the outbreak of the First World War. At that time churches became centres of prayer and many held prayer vigils throughout each day of the war. Churches today, especially the first week of August, are encouraged again to open their doors, as most in our benefice are, that parishioners can prayerfully mark the great sacrifice of that wartime generation. For those answering the call to arms 'Scripture Gift Mission' published 'active service' pocket gospels to offer strength and comfort in time of dire need, forty three million items of scripture were printed over the course of the war. We will issue replica gospels at our 11am morning worship at Stradishall 3rd August, and use the hymns at the back of the St John gospels that accompanied services in the field. We hope all who receive these gospels will not only mark the great sacrifice of our forebears, but also mark how we can best serve our fellows in this day.

The story of our Diocese began in those War years and to mark our first 100 years of building faith and serving communities in Suffolk we held a theatrical Songs of Praise at the Ipswich Regent theatre. Those who were fortunate to be there enjoyed a multi-media journey through the century, with plenty of song, prayer and worship. 'Being there', to share encouragement and good news, is just what we hope to offer our villages. We have been enjoying the realisation of 'the Lord adding to our number those whom he is calling' not only in Baptisms and Weddings, but also in our Sunday Worship. With thanks to the re-commissioning of our Elders we are now able to offer our villages one service on the same Sunday and time each month. And already we see more people in worship than our joint benefice services attract, so if you're looking to share prayer and fellowship do come along, join our worship and say hello, we would love to see you.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Rector's View - July 2014

Dear friends,

Summer for our Benefice Churches began most gloriously in song, as Denston hosted the vocal group Voces8 who are enjoying a great year of deserved acclaim and success.

Not only did they sing for our Concert but also for our Morning Worship, which bought to my mind the power of song to bring together communities whatever their need, whether to relax or entertain, whether to reflect spiritual presence in worship, or whether to console in time of challenge.

Song can tell our story in ways that transform our spoken word so as to more fully express the emotion of the telling. Music will feature at commemorations of 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, and at St Margaret Stradishall's 11am morning worship 3rd August, we will receive service issue St John's Gospels which offered strength to so many who were to lose their lives and helped inspire vision for the future in the care of those bereaved and those who returned. Our Remembrance service at St Mary Lidgate, 10am 9th November will feature a local folk song telling the story of the village through that great trial and loss.

This summer our Diocese tells the story of our first 100 years. And it is a song, specially written for our centenary year, which most fully expresses our Diocesan vision for growth, secured from our daily prayer, 'Your will be done, Your kingdom come'. A Song arranged for traditional choir, congregational singing and worship band, being heard in our Cathedral and Parishes throughout the Diocese. Our benefice choir led our congregational singing as Bishop David visited St Margaret Stradishall for our Confirmation service, where two young members of our fellowship gave testimony to their faith. Our Diocese holds a day of song at Ipswich Regent Theatre 6th July, 3pm for Songs of Praise and 7pm for Worship, perhaps you would like to book your place and join us? Bishop David writes of this great theatre venue 'you yourselves are the stars of our story, and we together will be the people who take God's good story for Suffolk forward into the future'. Indeed at the close of our Centenary year our Deanery Songs of Praise will again hear the words of our centenary song ‘Steer our path and be our vision all our life-time through’. Here we will be singing favourite hymns of the last hundred years, taking strength in our gathering and inspiration in seeking God's vision for us in our song. I do hope you will have opportunity to sing with us of our hope and vision, that we may see in our generation something of God's Kingdom come.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Monday, June 16, 2014

Clare Deanery Quiet Day at Clare Priory - 3rd July

You are warmly invited to the Clare Deanery Quiet Day at Clare Priory on Thursday 3rd July from 10am to 3.30pm.

The subject for the day will be the "A passion for poetry" led by The Very Rev'd Frances Ward, Dean of the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

There will be worship to begin and end the day as well as time for quiet reading, reflection and prayer.  The Dean will share with us in the morning.

The cost is £14, please bring a packed lunch.  Further information can be obtained by emailing

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Confirmation Service on Trinity Sunday with Bishop David

Trinity Sunday was an especially wonderful day for the Bansfield Benefice as we hosted Bishop David who had come to be with us to confirm two members of the benefice at Stradishall church.  It was a very uplifting service and we were very pleased for both Sarah and Ellen who were the candidates being confirmed.  Congratulations Sarah and Ellen!!

Ellen, Bishop David and Sarah ( Left to right)
In the porch at Stradishall church

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Trinity Sunday Benefice Confirmations with Bishop David at Stradishall church

On Trinity Sunday - 15th June at 11am - Bishop David will be joining us at Stradishall church to confirm two candidates from the Bansfield Benefice.  We hope to see you there for this important time in both candidates' spiritual lives. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rector's View - March 2014

Dear friends,

Many may share bemusement at the mood talk of 'green shoots of economic recovery' and wonder why if 'we're all in it together' we're not, the parties of power still pouring blame on past failings with little attention to those of the present.

Our calling in faith through Lent to Easter, is to look honestly at our own failings and in reforming the foundation of our lives allow the waters of blame to flow away. It is as that great Easter hymn has it ‘in the fields of our hearts' that the 'green blade riseth'.

Through Jesus’ own journey from His childhood presentation in the Temple (Candlemas) to His triumphal return entering again Jerusalem's Temple (Palm Sunday), the mood talk was all about forgiveness and reconciliation. Stories He told such as the Prodigal son - he whose Father has love for both the prodigal and the faithful son, the Lost Coin - joy at finding the lost, and the Good Samaritan - those hated and blamed who yet perform good works, enabled His followers to make new friendships and beginnings.

Our new beginning in faith this Easter will celebrate the resurrection with our 6am Dawn Eucharist (thanksgiving). Just as His birth saw the gathering of the faithful at the Midnight hour, so again we gather to celebrate the time of His rising again.

I do pray whatever new start you look for, you may find it early in this life's day, that all the more may share your rejoicing.

May Lent's reward bring Easter's joy.

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Monday, February 17, 2014

Children's Society donations

This year our combined Christingle service (£79) and Children's Society boxes (£510) have raised £589 for the Children's Society. Thanks to all those who helped arrange these events and contributed.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cathedral visit

Churches Together are planning an outing to the Cathedral in Bury St. Edmunds on Thursday 13th March at 2pm.

We meet at the Cathedral for a guided tour, followed by tea and cakes. The cost is £7 each.

Everyone is welcome.

Following the time at the Cathedral, Fr. Antony Foreman will also show us round the ruins of the Abbey.

For more information email 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Christingle Service Sunday 2nd February

Dear All

Please do come and join us for our annual Benefice CHRISTINGLE SERVICE with a collection for the Children’s Society.

Bring yourselves, children and grandchildren. There will be lots of fun both with making the Christingles from oranges, candles, dried fruit and sweets as well as music, activities and songs.

When and Where...
On Sunday 2nd February at 4pm. All Saints Church, Wickhambrook

Do come and enjoy making your Christingle and singing songs.
If you have a collection box, please bring it to the service.

See you on Sunday 2nd February at 4pm.

Rector's View - February 2014

Dear friends,

The Story told by the Church through February begins in the first Sunday of February with the Presentation of Jesus the first born son in the Temple, and just forty days after his birth the Gospel sets the scene for us of Mary Joseph and Jesus meeting with Simeon and Anna, these Temple faithful.

Simeon sees in Jesus a light for all peoples, and prophet Anna's praise speaks of Jesus' work to redeem Jerusalem – from Luke's Gospel, chapter 2 verse 22.

There are many journey's begun in the story of Jesus’ Nativity. Last month I was pleased to journey south to another rural group of parishes to see the beginning of a new ministry for one of my theological college colleagues and his family.

It was an unexpected delight to find myself sharing my pew with two other colleagues from the same college, and then after the service to meet up with three more, as well hear news of those who had influenced us all so much – our teachers.

As we shared our news my mention that benefice's in our Diocese commonly had groupings of half a dozen parishes or more was greeted with some surprise.

The new benefice priest when placed in their stall offered the call to worship which was received enthusiastically, it was most affirming for all of us that our gathering in worship is still so highly valued.

Of course you will all be familiar with rapid change for the Church of England's mission and ministry, as retirements among the baby boom generation of clergy comes about. Of course today's generation still give themselves in vocations, as my college re-unions reminded, it is just that there are fewer from whom to raise the call. No longer then may Anglicanism's focus for local mission be expected with the priesthood, but with the local fellowship themselves. Not a Parson in every place but a person of God, as those faithful Simeon and Anna, so today's to speak of light and redeeming.

Anna saw in Jesus the redeeming of Jerusalem, Simeon the people's light, so in this day the redeeming life and light for our peoples may be seen in the priesthood of all believers, all who follow would Christ.

I pray our churches with their fellowships may truly be guiding lights for our journeys of life and that the brightening of our season may reveal that light for all who look to share their story with ours.

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rector's View - January 2014

Dear friends,

How we long…

Life in all its fullness John 10.10, that this year be the gateway to pastures new John 10.9. For many life is no grazing in lush pasture, the pasture may be far from sight, the way denied or hidden.

We long for sure footing, sure company and guide.

For many, faith provides if not the release to lush pasture, then the hope of drawing nearer its reward each day. The pilgrim's progress faces both reward and adversity, it is our guide who lifts us when we fall and sets our footing sure.

Our Bishop's remind us of our Good Shepherd, our guide who is our Way, our Christ, by carrying that sign of pilgrimage the Shepherd's Crook, Crosier, and reminds us of the Light of our Way by wearing the flame of Christ's presence the Holy Spirit, seen in the Bishop's Hat, Mitre.

So it is that all who are promised to faith in baptism are encouraged to be received by our Bishop in the great assembly, the sheepfold of faith, to publicly witness to their faith in Christ, and receive by the Bishop's hand the Spirit's gift, that is knowledge and love of God's presence in Christ.

Among all this New Year's resolutions many will simply be hoping for better things, life in all its fullness. If any long for the gateway to pastures new, that is faith in Christ, sure footing, sure company and guide in His Way, please do be in touch with me, whether baptised or not. Our Bishop David will visit our Deanery the evening of June 15th this year and will baptise and confirm all who hear God's call to follow the Way of faith in Christ, the promise of life in all its fullness.

Maybe for you 2014 will be the beginning of a new pilgrimage in faith.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton