Palm Sunday

Cross made out of palm fronds.

This coming Sunday (14th April) is known as Palm Sunday and commemorates Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

On Palm Sunday everyone who comes to our Benefice Service (10am in Nayland) will be given a palm cross of their own to take away with them as a reminder.

Here’s a simple prayer idea which you might like to do at home with your children, while holding the palm cross.

Each point of the cross links to a theme.

Hold the cross in your right hand and then place your left thumb on the left ‘crosspiece’.  Pray for the world, in these or similar words:
Loving God, thank you that your peace reaches into every situation across our world. Be close to those places that need peace this day. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Place your left thumb on the right of the ‘crosspiece’ and pray for people in need in these or similar words:
Loving God, thank you that your hope reaches into every situation. Be close to those who are ill or sad this day. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

Place your left thumb on the base of the ‘crosspiece’: Pray for the community where you live in using these or similar words:
Loving God, thank you that your joy reaches into our homes. Help us to know that you are with us every day. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Place your thumb on top of the ‘crosspiece’: Pray for those who lead in the church and teach us about Jesus:
Loving God, thank you that your love is shared through your church. Give wisdom to those who help us to know the Good News of Jesus. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

Place your thumb in centre of the ‘crosspiece’: Pray for yourself, in these or similar words:
Loving God, thank you for Jesus and the love he showed for me. Help me to follow him more and more each day. Amen.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, the most important week of the church’s year.   To find out more about what is happening in our benefice, click here

An opportunity to travel to the Holy Land with Revd Mark

“The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page” (Attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo)

There is something very special about travelling with others, and especially when there is a spiritual or faith element to the journey.

For a number of years now The Revd Mark Woodrow has been leading groups to both the Holy Land and also all across India.   All tours are inclusive and open to all – all that he asks is that you come with an open mind and a willingness to challenge preconceived ideas.

This is now your opportunity to join with Revd Mark and with others from the Parish and the wider Diocese on a special Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in June 2020.

A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Our 10 day, full board, flight inclusive tour will take in all of the principal sites of Jesus’ ministry, including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, Capernaum, Cana, Jerusalem.  With time to also visit Jericho, Tiberias, Caesarea, Qumran, Masada, a float on the Dead Sea, and even a visit to the plain of Armageddon!

Tour departs on Sunday 14th June 2020 and returns on Tuesday 23rd June 2020.

The cost is £1,965 per person sharing a twin-bedded room with private facilities.
Single rooms are also available at a supplementary cost of £475.

(More information on this tour can be found by clicking here )

For more information and full itineraries, click HERE  see below, or contact:

The Revd Mark Woodrow – 01206 262150 –

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

(Sir Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky)

“Love Actually” – Family thoughts as we approach Valentines Day

In the Bible, Jesus spoke about love. Everyone has basic needs – we all need to eat and drink, we all need clothes to wear and someone to look after us when we are poorly. We also need friendship when we’re feeling alone and forgiveness when we’ve done something wrong.

Sadly, some people don’t have even the most basic things, like food, water and clothes. Helping people, whatever their need, is really important to God.

Some of the ways Jesus suggested to be kind were:

  • Giving a hungry person some food
  • Giving a thirsty person a drink
  • Giving someone who has few clothes something to wear
  • Being a friend to someone who is alone, even if you don’t know them yet
  • Caring for someone who is poorly
  • Visiting someone who is in prison

Perhaps there’s an item in the news or something happening in the family that highlights one of these needs. This could be a good moment to talk to your child about how they would feel if they had that need, and then how they would feel if someone came along and helped them.

Or, after school or nursery, you can ask your child about how their day went. If issues of kindness or unkindness come up, talk to your child about it. Can they be kinder in any way to their friends or teachers? Is there anyone there who needs a friend? Ask your child what their nursery or school teaches about kindness.

Something as simple as watching your children play and explaining what is kind or unkind behaviour when it happens can help children learn the difference.

You might try placing a reward sticker for each kind act in a small notebook, which shows your child how much kindness they can share in just a day, a week, a month and so on.

Cardboard donation box filled with groceries


There are so many practical ways to be kind, in everyday places like where we go to work or school, but also by giving or raising money for causes that bring relief to suffering people. These are just a few examples:


  • As a family, there may be relevant charities you’d like to support, practically or with donations. Places like food banks are often looking for volunteers and donations can already be left in church or at supermarkets.
  • Local support groups for the elderly often have visiting schemes for those who are housebound and alone. It’s good for both children and the elderly to talk and do things together, even if that’s just having a drink and a biscuit one afternoon.
  • From litter-picks to coffee mornings, members of our churches often get involved in schemes in the community why not check out our facebook and twitter pages to find out whats happening.

If you pray with your child at bedtime, it may be a good time to remember love and kindness. Perhaps share with each other how you were kind to someone that day, or how someone else was kind to you, and thank God for that.

Happy New Year – Let’s count our blessings

As you look forward to the year ahead, look back too and say thank you to God for
all the blessings he gave you last year.

These very simple ideas help you do that with young children.

Blessing stars
Write on the back of star-shaped gift tags (why not use cut up Christmas Cards!) to remind you of some of the blessings of last year – family, friends, health, time together – then hang them somewhere visible;  perhaps even create a mini ‘tree’ to hang them on by collecting twigs and standing them up in a plant pot.

Thank you for food
Even if you don’t normally ‘say grace’ before a meal, why not try this simple prayer at
a mealtime:
For this food, and for each other,
and for every gift and blessing,
we thank you, God. Amen.

Make a blessings table mat
This is a great activity to do with a small child while they wait for the meal to start.
• Decorate a piece of A4 card or paper with things that remind you of the good things in your family’s life.
• If you want to keep it for more than one meal, you’ll need to laminate it.
• Your child can use it as a table mat for the special meal – a reminder to everyone of all the things to be thankful for.

Decorate a blessings jar
• Take an old jam jar or other container, and make sure it’s nice and clean.
• Decorate the outside with pictures, photos, hand-prints, stickers – everything
that reminds you of the good things in your family’s life.
• If you use PVA glue you can add an extra layer of glue at the end to act as a varnish.
• Put the decorated jar somewhere you’ll see it throughout the year, and keep some sticky notes and a pen close by.
• Whenever something good happens, jot it down and put the sticky note in the jar.
• If you’re having a tough day, or feeling down, or simply at the end of the year, get the papers out of the jar and read through them to remind you of the good things.

Carols at bedtime

Christmas is great time of year to learn songs – many have been passed down the
generations for hundreds of years. And singing together is also lovely way to praise
God, whether at home or in church. Try these well-known songs with your child.

As Christmas draws near, why not include a verse or two of Away in a Manger in
your child’s bedtime routine?

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
the stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky,
and stay by my side until morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
close by me for ever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

When it’s dark, you might enjoy singing just the chorus of This little light of mine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

A really simple song that you could use in night time prayers goes to the tune of
Frere Jacques:

Light a candle, light a candle,
God is here, God is here.
Bless our friends and family,
Bless our friends and family,
Far and near, far and near.

Safety first:  Small children love to watch a candle flame, but you must never leave
a lit candle unattended or within a child’s reach – you might prefer to use a battery
powered candle for night prayers.

For more information about our Christmas Services – Click Here

Advent – the countdown to Christmas

Advent is ‘the final countdown’ to Christmas day and many children will have an Advent calendar to help them count the days. It’s also a really special time for the church. Here’s more about why it’s so special, and some Advent activities for children.

The words Advent simply means ‘coming’ – it’s the season when Christians remember that God came to earth to be born as the Christ child, Jesus.

God also promised that Jesus will come again at the end of time to heal all the world’s hurts and divisions. Advent remembers this amazing promise, so it’s a time of hope, of getting ready, and expectation.

Waiting is hard, but Christmas is worth waiting for – it’s a special time, and at its
heart is a gift of love from God to the world. Talk about which things about Christmas
are hard to wait for and which are worth saving until the day.

Here’s what you might see in church during Advent:-

• Fewer decorations – but there might be greenery instead of flowers. This allows us to recognise that the Christian life isn’t all about celebration. It’s about hope and faith during times of sadness and challenge, too. There have been many times in history when God’s people have longed for God to come and save them, and there are times in our own life when we pray that God would come and help us, too. Those times can feel like a long, dark night. We long for the greenery to turn to flowers, just as we long for our sadness and our hope to turn to joy.

• An Advent wreath with candles on it. One candle is lit each week (usually at the start of the service) – often with a special song or prayer. Children may be asked to light the candles with a long taper.

• Many churches like ours try really hard not to start Christmas too soon, and using some of the wonderful Advent Hymns instead.   By saving the Christmas carols till Christmas itself means they feel even more special when you do sing them! Advent is a really important time to pray for peace and love to fill the world, so you may hear more of these kinds of prayers in church.

Advent at home
If your family enjoys chocolate, you might like a Real Advent Calendar ( These calendars have a piece of Belgian Fairtrade chocolate behind every window, plus an illustrated Christmas story booklet that you can read together as a family. A percentage of each purchase is also donated to a good cause.

There are other Advent calendars which present the Christmas story, like one offered on the Traidcraft website: by Divine chocolates.  Both of these calendars are available at Tesco stores too, while stocks last.

You can also download a simple Star Advent Calendar here: Star-Advent-colour  you can also see one open each day on

If you’re holding off on the chocolate, an Advent candle is a lovely way to count down the days – it’s marked with the numbers 1 to 25 so you can burn a little each day and still have enough left to light up your Christmas day. You can find them in Christian
bookshops and some department stores. There is one available on
and on the Traidcraft website,

If you believe that simple acts of kindness and creativity can make the world a better
place, why not get hold of a Love Life Live Advent booklet (, it’s
packed with thoughtful and practical actions that you can do together as a family to
help you prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas and to make your
corner of the world a better place.

Whatever you want to do and however you wish to get ready for Christmas, we look forward to welcoming you to one of our Special Services throughout December, you can find out more at

What links the War Artist James Clark to Nayland?

In 1914 the war artist James Clark rose to prominence when his moving painting “The Great Sacrifice” was reproduced in The Graphic illustrated newspaper in December 1914.

The Great Sacrifice by James Clark c.1914

The Graphic says “Like all great pictures, it was produced in a moment of inspiration.  At the foot of the Cross, which symbolizes the whole spirit of Christmastide, sleeping his last sleep lies a young soldier sacrificed on the altar of duty to country”.

The original painting was donated by Clark to the War Relief Exhibition which opened in January 1915, where under its original title of “Duty” it was purchased by Queen Mary.

The picture hit a nerve with the people back at home, with copies being reproduced in homes, hospitals, class rooms, mission halls and churches throughout the county, often becoming makeshift shrines alongside the rolls of honour.

Which brings us to the connection with St James in Nayland.

For many years the memorial window depicting “Christ the King greeted by Nayland Parishioners” and dedicated to Edith Farmiloe (herself an artist and illustrator of children’s books) has been attributed incorrectly to Robert Anning Bell (c.1921).

In fact correspondence between Clark’s grandson and the former incumbent of Nayland, The Revd David Strannack, in 1993 reveals that in James Clark’s yearbook for 1930 he noted that he had “Designed, made cartoon and painted a memorial window for Nayland Church, Suffolk in memory of Mrs Farmiloe”

Christ the King greeted by parishioners in Nayland Photograph (c) Simon Knott (

It is hoped that when the church guidebook is next reprinted the new correct attribution will be give, a small tribute to a moving and talented artist, and a most appropriate one for us to make as we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War One and we look afresh at the works of the great artists and the part that they have played in helping us understand the tragedy and horrors of war and the cost that a generation were prepared to make in the hope of a better future for all.

Join us on Remembrance Sunday as we come together as a community to pay our respects.