Cancellation of 2 upcoming fundraising events

Please note that in response to the current concerns over the Coronavirus COVID-19 and a desire to both limit its potential spread and indeed to not put some of our more vulnerable members of the community at unnecessary risk, it has unfortunately been decided that the following 2 fundraising events will be cancelled (but will be re-arranged at a later date):

14th March 2020 – Stoke By Nayland Parish Quiz

28th March 2020 – Leavenheath “Call my Wine Bluff”

If you would like a refund, please get in touch with the person you purchased from – otherwise the money will be held over to the rearranged event.

Also please note that the Wednesday Coffee Morning in St James’ Church in Nayland this coming Wednesday (18th March) is also cancelled as there will be no power to the church that morning.

We apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience that this will cause.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Important Information

A message from Bishop Martin in respect of Coronavirus (COVID-19):

“Our first response to the spread of the Coronavirus is to care for those who are most vulnerable, and to ensure practices, as best as possible, that will not contribute to infection. We need in particular to look out for those who do not have good support networks to ensure they receive the help and care they need. The tendency evidenced from behaviours like panic buying is for some people to think just of themselves – we are called to behave differently.

I realise there is a great deal of uncertainty among us as clergy and among our congregations, so I want to give advice for clarity and will update this as necessary.

These are basic practices I would now strongly advise we should all be adopting, particularly in relation to worship.

• We should all be more attentive to our normal hygiene routine of washing our hands thoroughly and often with soap and water or hand sanitiser (60% alcohol).

• At communion the priest and those who assist should wash with hand sanitiser before and after distribution.

• Communion should be only in one kind. I realise this is not yet the national guidance, but I would rather us take this step now and become used to it than regret that we did not take it sooner.

• The practice of intinction, dipping the bread into the wine, is not an option. It is an unhealthy practice in any event and should not happen. I realise it has spread widely in our churches in recent years, as an honest but misguided attempt to protect ourselves from others’ germs, or them from ours. Intinction actually presents greater risks than drinking from the same cup. Unhygienic fingers and fingernails all too often dip into the wine. Small pieces of bread break off, creating a real hazard for those who are gluten intolerant.

• No receiving the host on the tongue since there is a greater danger of passing on infection by this means.

• The peace should be passed without contact. I realise this, along with these other requirements, will seem difficult to many and urge you to develop local practices where you convey the sense of the unity of the body through other gestures – there seem to be plenty of ideas on how to do this.

• Holy water stoups should be emptied and remain so for the time being.

The Church of England’s team for Health and Social Policy is responsible for updates on the Coronavirus. They are working collaboratively with the Government and Public Health officials. The situation will be kept under close review and both the Diocesan office and my office are being updated regularly.

There is a dedicated page on the Church of England’s website which contains up to date advice. The news page on the diocesan website is the place to go for up to date advice

Since information is changing rapidly please do check the dedicated website page for regular updates

I want to thank you for your cooperation and emphasise that these are precautionary measures that will be removed once the Government gives the all clear.

We continue to pray for all those people caught up in the coronavirus situation, for those who are sick and for those who care for them, and for those responsible for planning for our care.”

Last Updated: 9th March 2020

From Bishop Martin – a response to Pastoral Guidance on Civil Partnerships

I have just returned from a two-day meeting of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England to review the developments in the “Living in Love and Faith” project.  This project will produce resources that will help the Church to learn how questions about human identity, relationships, marriage and sexuality fit within the bigger picture of what it means to embody a Christian vision of living holy lives in love and faith in our culture.  It is seeking to find a way through our deep differences on these matters.

The meeting began and ended with expressions of great sorrow and distress about last week’s publication of “Pastoral Guidance on Civil Partnerships for same sex and opposite sex couples.”  As you may be very aware, this and the resulting comments have caused a great deal of hurt to many people, both within the church and in wider society.  An apology, signed by the Archbishops on behalf of the Bishops, is due to be issued on Friday.

Whilst this statement was generated when I was on sabbatical, I share in the corporate responsibility for its production. I am very sorry that it was published, and indeed produced in the first place, and for the deep personal pain and sense of rejection that so many have felt by its content and tone.

I and a number of my colleagues asked that the document be withdrawn, but this was decided against by the majority.  Whilst I accept it expresses the existing official position of the Church of England on the place of sexual activity in our lives, I cannot grasp why it needed to be stated now and in this way, particularly since we are currently in the process of questioning, learning and reflecting as part of the “Living in Love and Faith” project.

I recognise that some hold that the current teaching is exactly what we should be saying; others feel that we can say it, but in a way that suggests it is an aspiration; and still others want the Church’s teaching to more clearly reflect the ways in which sex is part of relationships that are not, or not yet, marriage.

Personally, I would hope that we can move away from this narrow focus on sexual activity towards encouraging relationships which embody and reflect God’s love for us, in which we support one another, and those who seek our help, whether single or in a faithful and committed relationships, to deepen lives in which we ever more truly know and show the fullness of God’s love for us all.

Best wishes to all our year 6 pupils

Yesterday, Revd Mark was able to welcome the parents, staff and students from Nayland Community Primary School into St James’ church in Nayland for their annual “Celebration of Learning” and to help them wish all the year six pupils who are moving on to secondary schools every success.

This morning it was the turn of Stoke by Nayland C of E Primary School to have their leavers service, to celebrate all that had happened in the last year, to present awards and to celebrate success.    We also had the chance to see and share memories of our year six pupils from Oak Class as they begin their transition to High School, and the church presented each child who was leaving their own bible to help their continue their spiritual journey, whilst the school gave each leaver an atlas to help them discover the wonderful world that awaits them.

This morning was also poignant, as after 28 years as both a teacher and more recently as Head Teacher in Stoke Primary, we said are goodbyes to Jane Le Grice who is retiring today.   Jane presented each class a small wooden cross for their prayer area, and a larger wooden cross for the school hall;  in turn Revd Mark presented Jane with a Bible on behalf of the Benefice  in recognition of the part that she has played in nurturing the spiritual life of those children in her care.

“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.

Back to School

If September brings some kind of new beginning for your family, such as a child starting nursery, school or moving up a class, it can be helpful to know that God is always with us wherever we go.

The start of a new term is an opportunity to ask for God’s blessing on the places we will go and the people we will meet.

Here’s a simple way to do this:

• Look in your child’s school bag. Often there is a name tag built in. You can usually take the paper slip out of the tag.

• Write on the back of the paper slip a simple prayer for your child, for example, ‘Dear God, please bless (child’s name) at (nursery/school) this year’, or similar words.

• Replace the card in its holder, and nobody will know the prayer is there except you, your child and God.

• If the bag doesn’t already have a tag, you can use a keyring (one of those with a plastic frame and a paper insert) and attach it to the zip.

Parents: if you take a bag or briefcase to work (or even if you just have a handbag or sports bag) why not make yourself a blessing label too?

Plan for each day: Starting a new morning regime can be stressful but planning ahead for the next day is a great way to reduce morning panics and get the day off to a smooth start.

So the night before, try doing a few things ahead of time. Helping your child pack their bag and laying out their outfit or school uniform can help. Make their packed lunch the night before too, if they’ll have one.

Saying a simple prayer each night at bedtime can help children relax and know God will be with them through everything they’ll do the next day. Ask your child if there are any special things happening, whether there is anything they’re excited about. If they have any worries or think there might be problems to tackle the next day, let them know they can hand their worries to God, because Jesus promised that everyone who has problems can come to him, and he’ll find a way to lighten the burden.

You might then like to pray with your child about those things, to say thank you for everything that’s going well, and ask for God’s help with the challenges. The following prayer is an example, but simply talking to God like a friend is often the easiest way to pray!

Loving God, thank you for all my friends, and my teachers/carers.
Thank you that I have the chance to learn new things every day.
Please bless everyone at school/nursery, and please bless me too.
Help me to know that all day long, whether I’m having fun
or whether I’m feeling upset, you’re there for me.

Make a memory: If your child recently had a first day at school or nursery or playgroup, keep the photo of them that day as a reminder, and of how special the moment is. You could take one at the same time each year, and create an album – pick a background that won’t change, so you can see how they’ve grown!


Article taken from with permission.

The Ordination of Deacons and Priests in our Diocese

Please join with all in our Diocese in praying for those who are to be Ordained as Priests and Deacons this weekend, and for the communities that they are to serve.

It will be for them a life changing moment, committing their whole being to the service of God and to stand up and speak out against all that is wrong in this world, pointing to the saving Grace that we have all received from Jesus Christ.

In short our Deacons and Priests are real life “Super Hero’s”


To be ordained Priest by The Right Revd. Martin Seeley, The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich on 30th June 2018

Name Benefice
Mike BIRT The benefice of Woolpit with Drinkstone
Elke  CATTERMOLE The benefice of Lavenham with Preston
Donna GIBBS The South West Ipswich Team Ministry
Johanna MABEY The benefice of Alde Sandlings
Ernest OKEKE The benefice of Elmswell
Nic STUCHFIELD The benefice of Saxmundham with Kelsale-cum-Carlton
Lynda SEBBAGE The benefice of the Stour Valley
Matt SELMAN The benefice of Bury St Edmunds All Saints with St John the Evangelist and St George and The Lark Valley Benefice
Paul TYLER The benefice of Lavenham with Preston


To be ordained Deacon by The Right Revd. Martin Seeley, The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich on 30th June 2018

Name Benefice
Rebecca ARTISS The benefice of Four Rivers
Adam BARCLAY The benefice of Stanton, Barningham, Coney Weston, Market Weston, Hopton with Hepworth, Hinderclay and Thelnetham
David BUTCHER Mildenhall Team Ministry
Andrew BUTTRESS The benefice of Ipswich St Matthew, Triangle and All Saints
Lawrence CAREY The benefice of Ipswich St Matthew, Triangle and All Saints
Dennis  COBURN The benefice of Brandon
Cat CONNOLLY The benefice of Ipswich St Thomas
Mark CRESSWELL The Carlford benefice
Phil CUDMORE The benefice of Beccles St Michael and St Luke
Mervyn DYE The South West Ipswich Team Ministry
Benjamin EDWARDS The benefice of Beccles St Michael and St Luke
Eric FALLA The benefice of Whitton with Thurleston and Akenham
Jane HELD The Blyth Valley Team benefice
Bill HERBERT The benefice of Woodbridge St John and Bredfield
Sarah  JENKINS The benefice of Nacton and Levington with Bucklesham and Foxhall with Kirton and Falkenham, and the benefice of Waldringfield, Hemley and Newbourne
Gary JONES The benefice of Kesgrave
Claire KIDDY The benefice of Beccles St Michael and St Luke
Jeremy LIND The benefice of Newmarket St Mary with Exning St Agnes
Faith MARSDEN The benefice of Acton with Great Waldingfield
Kathleen MARTIN Mid-Loes benefice
David MULRENAN The benefice of Four Rivers
Kay PALMER The South West Ipswich Team Ministry
Christine  PINDER The benefice of Martlesham with Brightwell
Jay PRICE The benefice of Pakenham with Norton and Tostock

To be ordained Distinctive Deacon by The Right Revd. Martin Seeley, The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich on 30th June 2018

Name Benefice
Cheryl BELDING The benefice of Newmarket St Mary with Exning St Agnes


As you pray for those who are to be ordained, remember to include prayers for yourself, asking God where he is calling you.   


Food, Glorious Food – Community Events

They say that an army marches on its stomach – that may or may not be the case, but one thing is certain that our parishes probably do, many of our social activities all centre around food, whether it is fish and chips at a quiz night, coffee and walnut cake at a coffee morning or a giant spread at a harvest bring and share lunch or supper, its is always more fun with food.

We are grateful to a loyal team of volunteers who love to see that no one goes hungry or is lonely and run regular events throughout the year, these are open to anyone who would like to attend, and transport may also be available, please ask:   See below for our upcoming events:

Men’s Breakfast
Venue:  The Hare & Hounds, Harrow Street, Leavenheath, CO6 4PW
Saturday 17th March at 8.45am
A time of fellowship, prayer, a couple of hymns and a full cooked breakfast!
Contact Paul 01206 531224 or

Community Lunch
Venue: Leavenheath Village Hall,  Wrights Way, Leavenheath, CO6 4NR
Tuesday 13th March at 1pm
Tuesday 22nd May at 1pm
Tuesday 24th July at 1pm
Tuesday September 11th at 1pm
Tuesday 27th November at 1pm  (Special Christmas Lunch)
Join with members of the community for a delicious home cooked lunch
Contact Linda on 01206 531224 or

Community Tea
Venue: Leavenheath Village Hall,  Wrights Way, Leavenheath, CO6 4NR
Tuesday 27th February at 2.30pm
Tuesday 24th April at 2.30pm
Tuesday 26th June at 2.30pm
Tuesday 23rd October at 2.30pm
Join with members of the community for a lovely Afternoon Tea
Contact Linda on 01206 531224 or

Coffee Mornings
Venue:  St James’ Vicarage, Bear Street, Nayland, CO6 4LA
Wednesday 14th February at 9.30am
Wednesday 21st February at 9.30am
Wednesday 28th February at 9.30am
Wednesday 7th March at 9.30am
Join with the Vicar and members of the community for an informal coffee (or tea) and friendly conversation.
Contact Revd Mark on 01206 262150 or

Wednesday Welcome
Venue:  St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Stoke-by-Nayland, CO6 4QU
Wednesday 7th March at 10am
Wednesday 4th April at 10am
Wednesday 2nd May at 10am
Wednesday 6th June at 10am
Join us in Church for lively discussion, coffee and cake.
Contact Adam Sedgwick on 01206 262437 or

All are very welcome. 

Why not take the opportunity to invite that neighbour or friend you’ve been thinking of?