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


Potato Party ‘a Smash’ in Polstead

The Best Dressed Potato

Last Saturday (8th July) whilst the village was basking in a glorious sunny day what seemed like most of Polstead descended upon the gardens at the home of Juliet  &  David Allerton, with many wheeling wheelbarrows full of mud and potato plants.

It turns out that they had been given a couple of seed potatoes earlier in the year with a challenge to see who could grow the best crop, with prizes for the the winners – and let’s just say that the crop size varied considerably, from just a couple of potatoes to whole baskets full.

If you weren’t green fingered then there were still plenty of potato themed activities to join in with – including the “Best Dressed Potato” contest (see picture above) – or you could find a shady spot and simply sit back with a cup of tea and some home made cake.

A massive thank you to everyone who joined in, and a special thanks to Juliet & David and her family for all the hard work they put in.    The total profit for the day was an incredibly respectable £723.61 but even more rewarding was the enjoyment had by all.

An opportunity to travel to India or 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 one of the following tours.

Tour #1 – An Advent Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

A 10 day inclusive tour of the principal sites of Jesus’ ministry, including Bethlehem (a particularly special time as the preparations for Christmas will be well underway), Nazareth, Galilee, Jerusalem.  With time to also visit Jericho, Caesarea Maritima, Qumran, Masada and a float on the Dead Sea.

Tour departs on Tuesday 28th November 2017 and returns on Thursday 7th December 2017.

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


Tour #2 – Tea, Tigers and Mother Teresa

A 15 day inclusive tour of North East India. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to take in the highlights of Calcutta, including a visit to the Missionaries of Charity (former home to Saint Mother Teresa), Darjeeling (including a trip on the world famous Heritage railway), Guwahati, and the stunningly beautiful Assam region.  It includes a spectacular 5-day river cruise down the Brahmaputra River, where we will, amongst other activities, endeavour to spot wild tigers whilst on an Elephant safari in the Kaziranga National Park.

Tour departs on Friday 6th April 2018 and returns on Friday 20th April 2018 – Space on this tour is strictly limited.

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


For more information, prices and full itineraries, please contact:

The Revd Mark Woodrow – 01206 262150 – revdmarkwoodrow@gmail.com

“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)

Record Breaking Fete!

Despite the Bank Holiday Monday weather not being the best, this years church fete in Nayland was the most successful ever!

After expenses it raised £13,893.66 with a further £199.00 being raised by “The Friends of St James’, Nayland”; and £850 by St Mary’s, Wiston.

With substantial restoration works currently underway at St James’ such a wonderful total will certainly go some way to helping with the significant costs involved in maintaining our church for future generations.

A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who came, donated or helped we really couldn’t have done it without you!


Rogation Day 2017

Yesterday (Sunday 21st May) the weather held fine and after a service of Holy Communion the benefice headed out in cars and shooting trailer to ‘Beat the Bounds’ of Wiston and Nayland and to bless the crops and our community as we went.

Finally we returned back to St Mary’s, Wiston, where the sun continued to shine as we shared a picnic lunch in the churchyard.

Thank you to everyone who made the day possible.  Thanks also to Jacqui Smith, and Antonia, Stephen and Joe Rowland for the photographs.

Nayland Church Fete – Mon. 29th May 2017


Our Traditional village fete will once again be held in the beautiful medieval village of Nayland on this upcoming Bank Holiday Monday:

Come along and:-

  • Admire the Great Classic Vehicle Display
  • Take part in adults and children’s novelty sports and Tug of War.
  • Shop for plants, books, vintage, gifts and more.
  • Enjoy sideshows for all ages including Splat the Rat, Bouncy Castle, Welly boot throw, China Smash and face painting.
  • Feast on hotdogs, homemade cakes, strawberries and cream and ices.
  • There will be a raffle with a £150 first prize Great fun for all

All proceeds to St James’ Church Fabric Fund.

Gates Open 1.30pm – Stalls Open 2pm

Adults £2
Concessions £1
Children 50p

Free Parking

For more information please contact:  Lorna Burgin (nickandlorna@yahoo.co.uk)

Thy Kingdom Come

25 May – 4 June 2017

An invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury

In 2016 the Archbishops of Canterbury and York invited parishes across England to join a great wave of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost.  The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of thousands joined the wave of prayer in churches of many traditions and denominations around England and around the world. What began as invitation in England started to look like the beginnings of a global wave of prayer for people to know Jesus Christ.

For 2017 the vision is even bigger. The Presidents of Churches Together in England are joining with the Archbishop of Canterbury and York to make the call to churches of all denominations in England, and Archbishop Justin Welby is sending out the call to every part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the World Methodist Council to Methodist Churches worldwide.

The three aims are:

  • To join in prayer with the whole family of God the Father
  • To pray for the empowering of God the Holy Spirit
  • That we may be effective witnesses to God the Son, Jesus Christ.

It’s not complicated – the Archbishop’s invitation is simply asking people to pray in whatever way they want, with whoever they want and wherever they can, that others might know Jesus Christ.

Learn more at the Thy Kingdom Come website here and sign up for updates.

What we are doing as a Diocese

For our diocese, Bishop Mike announced this week a special event which will be held at the Cathedral on the day before Ascension Day:

An Evening of Prayer: Wednesday 24 May 5.30pm-8.30pm

All are welcome to attend to some or all of the evening – Speak with Revd Mark if you are interesting in attending as we may be able to offer lifts.

  • Prayer Stations in and outside the cathedral: stop – reflect – think – pray
  • At half-hour intervals there will be ten-minute acts of worship under the Cathedral Tower. Come to one or more of these if you can.

5.30pm          Living Stones (Growing Younger) Choral Evensong led by the Cathedral’s junior girls’ choir

6.30pm          Listening to God (Growing Deeper) Led by InHarmony musicians and Cantus Firmus Chamber Choir. To include reflective music from Taizé, Iona and other sources.

7.00pm          Salt in the World (Growing in Influence) Led by InHarmony musicians and Cantus Firmus Chamber Choir. To include reflective music from Taizé, Iona and other sources.

7.30pm          Tell Your Children – Joel 1 (Growing in Number) Led by InHarmony musicians and Cantus Firmus Chamber Choir. To include reflective music from Taizé, Iona and other sources.

8.00pm          Sending Out

Night Prayer led by the Cathedral Lay Clerks

Followed by invitation to prayer for the week and sending out.

Thy Kingdom Come 2017 Invitation to know Jesus from Thy Kingdom Come.



Church Warden Retires after 44 Years

After 44 years of caring for the 12th Century Church of St Mary in Wissington (Wiston), Gerald Knox has decided it is time to ‘pass on his stave of office’ to the next generation.

TGerald Knox Retiremento mark this amazing achievement, The Revd Mark Woodrow, Priest in Charge, presented Gerald with a special Long Service Award on behalf of the Diocesan Bishop, The Rt Revd Martin Seeley, in recognition of his dedication and loyalty.

The Bishop also agreed that Gerald, should be granted the honorary title of Warden Emeritus.

Gerald isn’t retiring completely from church life, he has agreed to remain as treasurer – a position he has faithfully fulfilled for a mere 30 years!

“Well done thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23)


Easter and Holy Week Services

Come and join us as at one of our special services, as we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Messiah, Jesus Christ.

All are welcome to worship with us.  We look forward to welcoming you.

Sunday 9th April 2017 – Palm Sunday
8am               Polstead                        Holy Communion
10am            Leavenheath               Morning Prayer
10am            Nayland                         Cafe Church
10am            Wissington                  Holy Communion
6.30pm        Stoke by Nayland    Holy Communion

Thursday 13th April 2017 – Maundy Thursday
10am              Nayland                        Holy Communion with Foot Washing

Friday 14th April 2017 – Good Friday
10am-3pm   Nayland                        Meditation at the Foot of the Cross

Saturday 15th April 2017 – Easter Eve
7pm                  Wissington                 Easter Vigil and First Holy Communion of Easter

Sunday 16th April 2017 – Easter Day
8am                  Nayland                        Holy Communion
10am               Stoke by Nayland    Easter Celebration (see below)
6.30pm           Leavenheath VH     Easter Evening Praise
6.30pm           Polstead                       Holy Communion

A Spirituality for Every Day: The Sermon on the Mount


Thursday 16 March 2017 10.00am – 4.00pm

The Edmund Room, St Edmundsbury Cathedral

A day led by Bishop Mike

Bishop Mike writes: “One of the greatest gifts of Jesus to us is his Sermon on the Mount – but some of the ways we interpret it can seem like bad news in terms of how high the bar is set or what we are required to do. This day looks at Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount and how it is wonderfully wise teaching, enabling our spiritual transformation, a transformation rooted in the action of actually following Jesus and his teaching in ways which enable us to begin to take on something of his character. The Sermon on the Mount is not about a new and sterner legalism but pointers to what life can become for devoted disciples and apprentices of Jesus. There will be three talks during the course of the day with plenty of room for silence and reflection.”

This event is free and drinks will be provided.

This is part of the ongoing Diocesan prayer and spirituality initiatives aiming to encourage the priority of prayerfulness at the heart of all we do.

To register please go to http://www.cofesuffolk.org/events. Enquiries to Caroline Redman at spirituality@cofesuffolk.org or phone 01359 269335.