We are a group of 8 rural parishes in the beautiful Norfolk countryside, who enjoy living, working and worshiping together.
The Group was founded in 1964. This was a pioneering and visionary step taken by Bishop Launcelot Fleming to revitalise and enrich the church in an area of thinly populated villages.
This has been our experience. Since then, the parishes have grown together and continue to share resources and benefit from opportunities for collaboration in numerous ways. We have discovered that can do more together than we can alone.
This is abundantly evident in these difficult times, where a network of practical support and help has emerged in our villages. Thank you to those who have a share in this. We all have different needs and there are those who can assist. Let’s continue to cope with this crisis with a spirit of kindness and loving service to those around us. Please don’t hesitate to contact someone to help or just for a chat.
If I can be of help, I am only a
phone call away - 01508 482366
The Reverend Liz Billett
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
To contact us please call The Hempnall Group office, 9am-1pm Mon-Thurs 01508 498157
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Thought for the Week - Sunday 28th November 2021
Over the four Sundays of Advent, starting at the end of November, we think about and prepare for Christ’s coming.
Advent is a longstanding feature of the Church’s year, having probably been observed in some form since the fourth century, though its emphasis has changed. Originally, it seems to have been a time when converts to Christianity readied themselves for baptism at the great January feast of Epiphany, spending 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration. By the sixth century, Roman Christians had connected Advent to the coming of Christ - though what they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem but his return in a second coming as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas.
Nowadays the Church, during Advent, covers both elements, concentrating initially, in readings and prayers, on preparing for the coming of Christ’s kingdom, before getting us ready, in the final week before Christmas Eve, to celebrate again Christ’s birth. As someone put it: “Lent is the time to make ready for Christ to die for us, but Advent is the time to make ready for Christ to live with us.”1.
It’s definitely the aspect of ‘counting down to Christmas’ that most people associate with Advent, as emphasised in the widespread tradition of Advent calendars. These first became popular in Germany in the late 1800s and began to be mass produced at the start of the last century: the first calendars with 'doors' were made in Germany in the 1920s.
So - here’s a different kind of ‘Advent Calendar’ for us to think about. It’s a poem by Rowan Willams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, about Christ’s coming, leading us through Advent to its dramatic conclusion with the marvellous surprise of the new:
Notes: Image: Art Nouveau Angels Advent Calendar 1Quotation, author unknown, given on ‘Called to More’ website
Readings for Sunday:
Jeremiah 33: 14-16
Psalm 25: 1-9
1 Thessalonians 3: 9-end
Luke 1 25-36
Let us continue to support and strengthen each other
- Daily by saying the Lord's Prayer together, morning and evening
- Lighting a candle at home 10.00am on Sunday
This week we pray for:
- In the morning: the day and its tasks; the world and its needs; the Church and her life
- The Church, that she may be ready for the coming of Christ
- The leaders of the Church
- The Nations, that they may be subject to the rule of God
- Those who are working for justice in the world
- The broken, that they may find God’s healing
- In the evening: peace; individuals and their needs