Merchant Navy Day 2018

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports, including half the food we eat, plenty of the fuel we burn and virtually all the products and goods we take for granted!

We again this year flew the Red Ensign at Stoke and in Nayland


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.

Important Public Meeting – The Future of St Matthew’s church

You are invited to attend a public meeting to discuss the future, including the possible closure, of St Matthew’s church, Leavenheath with the Archdeacon of Sudbury and the Diocesan Pastoral Secretary.

The meeting will be held on Thursday 30th August 2018 at 7pm in St Matthew’s church, Leavenheath.

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.   


Grave Talk

It’s not easy to think about your own funeral.

Talking about death, dying and funerals raises big questions that we need to face at some point, but it’s sometimes hard to talk to family and friends.

So why not join Revd Mark for coffee on Tuesday 17th July at 2.30pm at the Vicarage (St James’ Vicarage, Bear Street, Nayland CO6 4LA), where we can all talk about these big questions in a safe and friendly space

Shrinking the Footprint – Becoming an Eco Church

 The Church of England’s national environmental programme exists to enable the whole Church to address – in faith, practice and mission – the issue of climate change.    The Church is committed to a carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050, with an interim target of 42% by 2020.

“Responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation. Meanwhile, to love our neighbour – particularly, in this case, our neighbour whom we may never meet but who lives daily with the profound threat posed by this moral crisis – is at the core of what it is to follow Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

As part of our own local commitment to using our churches to promote a more sustainable future for all, we are beginning to look closer on what we and congregations can do to make a positive difference in our day to day lives, e.g. switching our electricity to ‘Green’ and Renewable Tariffs, reducing our dependency on plastic and harmful chemicals, encouraging bio-diversity in our churchyards and when possible to share transport and encourage those who are able to walk or cycle to church.

Even small changes, replicated across our parishes, benefice, diocese and beyond can have a large cumulative effect and we would love for everyone to be involved.

For ideas and the latest environmental news download the latest e-news here

Do keep an eye out for more information and activities from our own benefice, especially as we are also aiming to achieve an “Eco Church” award (initially at Bronze or Silver but ultimately at Gold level) for all five of our churches in the benefice over the coming months.   Please do get in touch if you would like to be involved.

Children’s Summer Holiday Club Plans Announced

In an exciting new project to offer even more for those families in the Benefice, and to build upon our successful Messy Church and family@polstead Service, and Kidz Club at Stoke-by-Nayland CofE Primary School, we are pleased to announce that from the 13th to 17th August 2018 we will be inviting Primary School Age Children to become “Guardians of Ancora” during our FREE week long Summer Holiday Club.

Once, the Hall of Memory in the city of Ancora was filled with wonderful story-treasures, each a reminder of one of the great stories of the Saga.   Now, many of those objects have been lost.   Each day of the club, the task of the Guardians will be to find a lost story-treasure, return it to the Hall of Memory and explore the story that it represents.  As the Hall fills up, the Guardians will discover how each story fits together to reveal more about who Jesus is and how they might develop their own relationship with him.

For more information please contact The Revd Mark Woodrow (01206 262150) or use the form below.


Want to get a sneak peak of what the Guardians of Ancora get up to?

Spring Fair & Church Fete – Thank You

What a difference it makes when the Bank Holiday weather is not only dry but fantastically warm!

The good weather certainly brought out the crowds in the morning for Stoke by Nayland’s bi-annual Spring Fair, where people enjoyed climbing St Mary’s tower to admire the views, watch the kites being flown, purchased, ice creams, beer and crafts, as well as watching a wonderful demonstration of May Pole Dancing by the pupils of Stoke by Nayland Church of England Primary School…. even the vicar joined in!

Then in the afternoon, many went down the hill to join in all the traditional fun and games at Nayland Church Fete.   The children (and a few adults) got into the swing of things with the sack race, egg and spoon race, three legged races, and the fiercely fought sprints – followed with more ice creams (and for the adults at least a chance to drink the Pimms tent dry not once but twice!)

In what seems to be turning into an annual occurrence The Revd Mark Woodrow once again volunteered to have wet sponges thrown at him (although we suspect that this might have just been a ploy to cool down!)

All in all it was the most wonderful day, raising much needed funds for St Mary’s Church in Stoke-by-Nayland, St James’ Church in Nayland and St Mary’s Church in Wissington.

Can we say a massive thank you to all the Committee members and Volunteers who made both events such a success, and for all of our Parishioners, Visitors and Friends for once again supporting these events.