Special Services to Remember those who have died

Child looking at candle

Love, loss and remembering

Autumn has traditionally been a time when Christians explore the big questions
about life and death. Watching the leaves fall and the nights draw in is an opportunity
for all ages to think about love and loss and remember in special ways.

Children ask questions about death for all kinds of reasons. It may come from seeing
a local war memorial, or closer to home with the death of a pet. Or maybe your child
has lost a great-grandparent, grandparent, a family friend, a teacher, a neighbour, an
aunt or uncle.

For some children, the impact of loss has huge consequences, especially if it’s the
death of a parent or a sibling. However and whenever those questions come, there
are good ways to remember those we see no longer with family at home:

• Light a candle on important days and say a prayer. “Loving God, thank you for_________ and help us to remember them well. ” This is a simple prayer to say together.
• Gather some items that remind you of that person – letters they wrote, photos of them, items of clothing – and keep them in a nice box. Children can add
things to the box.
• Taking part in charities connected to the person who died; Race for Life is a family friendly event that can honour people who died from cancer, for example.
• Children can help taking care of a gravesite – pulling weeds, choosing flowers or
other items to bring at special times, washing a memorial stone, etc.

The church also has ways of remembering those we love who have died. This
happens at the start of November, at All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. A week
later, at Remembrance Sunday, we remember those who died in wars, and pray for

At All Saints’ Day (November 1st), we remember those Christians who have died,
who we don’t know personally. A “saint” is someone whose life shows us how to
follow Jesus.

There are all kinds of saints – teachers, artists, scientists, social reformers,
troublemakers, writers, and many more. Is there a saint who shares your child’s
name? Their birthday? Think of well-known saints, like St George for example, and
discover together who they were and what they did.

On All Souls’ Day (November 2nd), the church remembers all those we know who
have died.

In our Benefice we hold a special service, this year it will be on Sunday 5th November 2017 at 4pm in St Mary’s Church, Stoke by Nayland, and all invited to add any names
they would like read out to a list – we can hear the names that mean something to us
and light a candle to remember them.

We also hold special Remembrance Sunday Services on Sunday 12th November 2017 details of these services can be found here.  Why not join us and with your child we can remember along with the whole church family.

If your child is struggling with a bereavement, there are resources available:-
• Child Bereavement UK, (https://childbereavementuk.org/forfamilies/support/)
Grief Encounter (https://www.griefencounter.org.uk)
and Winston’s Wish (https://www.winstonswish.org.uk), are all charities which
offer support to bereaved children.
• SANDS (https://www.sands.org.uk) is for anyone coping with the death of a baby,
including siblings.
• At A Loss (http://www.ataloss.org/find-support/search) can help you find the right
services for bereavement in your area.
• Your child’s GP may also be able to offer help and support.


Benefice responds to those affected by Hurricane Irma

Devastation in wake of Hurricane Irma

Following the devastation that has been wrought throughout the Caribbean Islands and the United States, the benefice have decided to offer those across the benefice the opportunity to make a donation to help those in some of the poorest islands who have lost everything.

Please do encourage friends and neighbours to give what they can.  Collecting boxes have been place at the following points in the Benefice,


  • St Mary’s Church
  • The Village Store and Post Office
  • The Cock Inn


  • St Matthew’s Church
  • The Hare & Hounds Pub
  • The Lion Inn


  • St James Church (then at the Post Office during the week)
  • Kerridge the Butcher’s
  • The Village Stores Bear Street
  • The Anchor Inn


  • The Church of St Mary the Virgin (c/o Nicola Thorogood)

Stoke by Nayland:

  • The Church of St Mary
  • The Village Store and Post Office
  • The Crown Inn
  • The Angel Inn
  • Eaves Garage
  • The S-b-N Hotel & Golf Club

The collecting boxes will be in place for another week until about 18th or 19th September.

If you would like to donate online, directly with Aid Organisation helping those affected please donate to:

Oxfam Hurricane Irma Appeal

World Vision Hurricane Irma Appeal

Care International Hurricane Irma Appeal

USPG Rapid Response Caribbean Appeal

We continue to pray for all who suffer as a result of this catastrophe, and what is to follow, as well as those having to abandon and flee their homes, and homelands, through persecution, tyranny  and other disaster.

Stoke by Nayland & Nayland proudly flies the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day

Once again this year we are proud that the Red Ensign, flag of the Merchant Navy, will fly atop Stoke by Nayland and Nayland church towers to mark Merchant Nay Day (3rd September).  Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day has honoured the brave men and women who – vitally – kept our nation fed and fuelled during both World Wars, and celebrates our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers.

September 3rd happens to be the day Britain went to war in 1939 and is now Merchant Navy Remembrance Day in Canada, too.  On the very first day of war in 1939, the unarmed Donaldson liner Athenia, Liverpool to Montreal, was torpedoed 200 miles northwest of Northern Ireland with the loss of 112 lives including 16 children, the first sign of what has become known as the Battle of the Atlantic, and the first hostile act of war between Britain and Germany.

Britain’s Merchant Navy – or mercantile marine – has played a significant role in our nations history.  It is much older than the Royal Navy which was brought into existence to protect our vital maritime trade.  Merchant shipping suffered severe losses from German U-boat and surface raider attacks in both World Wars, during which approximately 32,000 merchant seafarers were killed.  However, with the protection of the Royal Navy merchant ship convoys imported enough supplies to allow an Allied victory.

Nowadays the merchant marine and its seamen are responsible for 95% of UK imports, vital to our well being and economy, including half the food we eat, as well as a similar share of our exports.

Our nine foot Red Ensign – or Red Duster, as it is affectionately known – which you will see flying on the church was generously supplied by Seafarers UK (formerly King George’s Fund for Sailors), following a request by Richard Channon.

There could be few better places for such a flag to fly in Suffolk, as Stoke church tower is in line of site of the North Sea off Clacton as well as the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich.  If you feel able, please give to Seafarers UK (www.seafarers.uk) or one of the several maritime charities which dedicate themselves to the welfare of present day merchant seamen and seafarers’ families.

See www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day for local councils and other organisations recognising Merchant Navy Day by flying the flag.

10th Anniversary Fun Day – Saturday

The weather was wonderful for our day long celebration to mark the 10th Anniversary of our “First Sunday” service.

We look forward to Welcoming you all back tomorrow for our Special Celebration Service – Bacon Rolls from 9.30am and the Service begins at 10am – #everyonewelcome

Jester Jim teaching balloon modelling

Keeping out of the sun in the First Aid Tent

You can never have enough bouncing

Being Transformed into a beautiful butterfly

Old and young alike enjoying the atmosphere

GIANT Bubbles!

Its all about that first twist

Tea, Coffee, Cakes and Copella Apple Juice

Conversations and Cake

Learning to keep the plates spinning

“Our God is a Great Big God”

More Parachute Games

Keeping the plates spinning

BBQ Ready to Go

Parachute Games

Seven and a Half Churches: The Legacy of St Thomas in South India

When 16th century European priests arrived in southern India to introduce Christianity, they were told that a more famed Christian missionary had been there many years beforehand.
As they travelled in and around the regions of Travancore and Cochin, the priests found that there were indeed a long-established community of Christians, and the man who first converted them was none other than St. Thomas the Apostle (the “Doubting Thomas”), who it was said, arrived in India aboard a Roman trading vessel in 52 AD.Now, whether St. Thomas himself actually preached under the palm trees of Travancore and Cochin more than 1900 years ago, in the end come down to an act of faith. One thing is certain though and that is that Indian Christian traditions predate any in Europe, and for the more than 2 million Christians in the region there is no doubt.
However, just like St. Thomas, sometimes it is easier to believe when you can see and touch things for yourself, and so to trace these historic roots and traditions for yourself I am inviting you to join me in discovering these in depth first-hand from the 17th September to 4th October 2018.
Together, we will explore these unusual stories, the “seven and a half” churches founded by Thomas, and the Christian traditions of south India. Our journey will take us along the south west Malabar coastline, through the backwaters of Kerala to the very southern tip of the subcontinent, before travelling on to the Coromandel coast in the east, where, tradition tells us that St. Thomas met his end at the hands of an angry king on a hilltop just outside modern-day Chennai (Madras).
Along the way we will visit a modern-day legacy of St Thomas’ Christian influence, as we visit the Donhavur Fellowship, a community founded by the late Anglican missionary and spiritual writer Amy Carmichael. As well as experiencing and participating in the Christian traditions; we will also take the opportunity to visit the magnificent Hindu temples in Madurai and the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Mahabalipuram – all with plenty of time to relax, shop for gifts or handmade clothes, eat well and to enjoy all that India has to offer.

This tour really does offer something for all, whether you have travelled to South India before, or a new to the region or country, this tour will enable you to meet the real people and explore those places overlooked by tourists – allowing you to become a pilgrim instead and to follow in paths once trodden by saints.

I very much look forward to travelling with you.    All are welcome.

The Revd Mark Woodrow

More information can be found at http://www.soulofindia.com/seven-and-a-half-churches/ 

Gospel Oak & Rural Mission Sunday 2017

The view from Polstead – but not the ‘Gospel Oak’ itself

The sun almost shone as we took our service outside and into the grounds of Polstead Hall which are adjacent to St Mary’s Church for our annual celebration of St Cedd coming to the parish in 653AD and preaching outside underneath the ‘Gospel Oak’.    Whilst the old tree finally died in 1953 (revealing it was almost 1,400 years old), the Gospel Message continues.

Age is no barrier – so all were involved in the retelling of the Parable of the Sower

No, domestic violence isn’t taking place but Bill Wigglesworth (our churchwarden) and wearing his yellow shirt as he takes on the role of “The Hot Sun”, withers the poor plants.

Other plants, growing in good soil are growing quite happily – ready to bear much fruit!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this a special occasion, from the musicians, to those who provided refreshments, as well as those who helped carry the chairs.

A Prayer for Rural Mission Sunday

Creator God,

through whose word all things came into being, and by whose
power all is sustained: your creation renews inspires awe and
worship, strengthens us with hope and calls to us to wonder
at your mystery.
We pray that, filled with the Spirit who leads us to Christ, you
would open our eyes to see your gifts and open our hearts
that we may share them with others.
May the churches across our countryside be centres of
community, places of welcome and human warmth, and
channels of the hospitable love offered us in Jesus.
We pray this prayer in His holy name.


Rt Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury