Category Archives: Church

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Jun’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

Much of my work as a parish priest involves the many joys shared with others in their lives, weddings, baptisms preparing for and leading worship and working with many young people through our schools and Stepping Stones All Age Worship, along with spending time with people in the parishes I am blessed to serve.

However, there are those sad times in parish ministry, when we walk with others through a journey of bereavement when a loved one has died. This is an enormously privileged area of ministry to care for those who feel broken in their lives due to bereavement or loneliness, or both and it reminded me of how even in the most broken times in our lives, God is there with us and uses that brokenness to often bring about fruitfulness in faith, even when faith has never been experienced before or not been an active part of our lives for a long time, and so I wanted to share with you, something that has helped me through difficult times in my own life, and I hope this may be helpful for you too, or to those who you know who may be feeling a little broken just now…. It is called

The Chosen Vessel

“The Master was searching for a vessel to use; On the shelf there were many – which one would He choose? Take me, cried the gold one, I’m shiny and bright, I’m of great value and I do things just right. My beauty and luster will outshine the rest And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best! The Master passed on with no word at all; He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall; I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your wine And I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine, My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true, And my silver will always compliment You. Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass, It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass. Here! Here! cried the vessel, I know I will do, Place me on Your table for all men to view. Look at me, called the goblet of crystal so clear, My transparency shows my contents so dear, Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride, And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide. The Master came next to a vessel of wood, Polished and carved, it solidly stood. You may use me, dear Master, the wooden bowl said, But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for bread! Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay. Empty and broken it helplessly lay. No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose, To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use. Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find, I will mend and use it and make it all Mine. I need not the vessel with pride of its self; Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf; Nor the one who is big-mouthed and shallow and loud; Nor one who displays his contents so proud; Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right; But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might. Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay. Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day. Spoke to it kindly. There’s work you must do, Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”

Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Zoe

Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879990 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory May’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

Since I last wrote to you the weather was really quite different. Today my reflections come from a sun filled garden where we can rejoice that spring has truly sprung – hoorrah!!

Just 40 days following the celebration of Easter day, we move rapidly through the Easter Season, into the Season of Pentecost. That truly amazing day when the disciples who had been instructed to remain in Jerusalem following the death and resurrection of Jesus, were to wait together to receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, with tongues of flames, and every language spoken and understood, along with the greatest sermon ever delivered from the fisherman and rock of the church, Peter. Pentecost was literally the birth of the Christian church and we rejoice in this. The week following Pentecost comes the celebration of the Trinity, remembering God as Father Son and Holy Spirit when every preacher in the land fears that they may preach some heresy!!!!

But I always think that these 2 seasons back to back offer us a time of renewal and hope and a reminder of Gods eternal grace with us now. Today I would like to leave you with a prayer for Pentecost, and pray for you too that it breathes new life into all of our lives….

Spirit of God, flickering over our heads, illuminating our faces, inspiring our thoughts, give us now we pray, words of joy and praise.

Spirit of God, filling our hearts with hope, steadying our nerves with peace, comforting our lives with love, give us now we pray, words of joy and praise.

Spirit of God, come to us now – surging through the darkness of our lives, sweeping over our weariness – so that, in this time of Pentecost, the sparkling light of faith, the rushing wind of hope, and the joyful sound of praise, may echo around the world, may echo in the church, and find their response in us.

Spirit of God, give us now we pray, words of joy and praise. Amen.

May this coming season of Pentecost give you the joy of light and love.

Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Zoe

Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879990 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Apr’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

Well it has been a bit of a chilly wee time hasn’t it…. What with the visit and major disruption from the Beast from the East where for some of our young people, they had never seen snow quite like it…and I think the last time I saw icicle’s quite so large was indeed when I myself was a child!

When the Beast from the East struck I was staying in Harrogate North Yorkshire for the week on a Leadership Conference. It was all terribly exciting when we got stuck due to the A17 being closed and had to stay another night before travelling home. Although for some, there were scenes of tragedy and destruction as we were gripped by freezing temperatures, and as I sit and write today there is more snow forecast over the weekend….

This weekend too also sees us rapidly going through the season of Lent where we will soon be reflecting on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a colt at the beginning of Holy week, journeying through the incredible journey and sadness of Good Friday into Easter Day itself, where we will rejoice in the hope and salvation of the Risen Jesus, lived afresh in our lives through His Resurrection.

When this reflection reaches you, you may well be delving into an Easter egg, and so I wanted to leave these words with you from the great Easter hymn for you to ponder in your heart as you enjoy the gift of chocolate remembering the truth, gift and power of Easter ”Thine be the Glory” written by Edmond Louis Budry….

May the Risen Jesus be with you all this Easter-tide and all those whom you love, and may the soon to be warmth of the sun be your blessing.

Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Zoe

Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Mar’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

A very cold but sunny day today as I sit and write, all wrapped up with about 20 layers….but there are signs of warmer weather to come, with a few crocuses in the Rectory garden beginning to appear, and when the wind is not ‘quite’ so cold…. You can just feel the warmth of the sun – just!

In the world around us the busyness of younger children at primary school will soon be preparing for their SATS and currently our local teens sitting GCSE Mock exams, with the real ones to come oh too soon, Christmas it seems long forgotten, summer holidays booked for some, and plans for the future being made. For me, I have had the pleasure of meeting with many wedding couples who are preparing for their weddings in the coming year, what a wonderful reminder of the power of God’s love in the lives of His people.

Another powerful reminder is that we are currently in the season of Lent, starting on Shrove Tuesday, a night with my teens where I actually managed to ‘flip’ a pancake without it ending up on the floor or ceiling, into the following day of Ash Wednesday, officially the start of Lent.

Sometimes it can feel very frustrating that Easter eggs are already filling the shelves of the supermarkets, perhaps forgetting that there is a Holy season preceding this time, however, it is also a constant reminder that we are sharing in a time together of working towards a time of renewal and new hope, a time of remembering how great God is, seen in the life of His Son Jesus.

The season of Lent itself can often be seen as ‘giving something up’, a more penitential time of being, but I rather like the thought of taking on something new, so for me this year, it’s Pilates and Prayer. Praying through exercise, and it is very grounding and rejuvenating, for the body mind and soul.

Jesus himself was a great example of prayer in action, not only do we have the gift of being able to pray The Lord’s Prayer that He gave to His disciples, but prayer itself is a wonderful opportunity of sharing the concerns we have, but also in listening to the voice of God within ourselves. I think it is truly wonderful that Jesus continues to listen and intercede in our prayers, it brings a deep sense of comfort when times are really tough, along with those times when we want to give great thanks.

In this time of Lent, I am trying to pray more and give thanks to God for the many daily blessings He gives…. Today I would like to share the privilege of prayer with you “Lord, it fills me with wonder that you have given me the privilege of drawing alongside you in the awesome work of prayer. Forgive me that I take so little advantage of this privilege. May I drink in the truth for myself that day by day I come to you to intercede for the needs of the world, needs of my friends, and neighbours. Continue to teach me to pray until I have mastered the art of effective prayer, until I have learned to pray as you pray. Amen”.

 

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Jan’18

Where love is there God is

Dear Friends,

A very Happy New Year to you all! Any New Year’s resolutions made??

As I sit and write to you we are very much in the heart of winter. It certainly feels like January out there, and we are very much huddled up in multiple layers as we wait in the coming months for the first signs of spring to appear, and an enormous thank you goes to those who donated to our parish gift day in Mundford, we have raised in excess of £1,000, thank you so much to your gift to your parish church!

In the church calendar we have celebrated the Christmas Season, receiving afresh the Good News of Jesus coming among us and had the joy of many people celebrating His birth in many of our church communities, with record breaking numbers of people of all ages at our Christingle service in Mundford on Christmas Eve. It was such a joy to share in this special service, along with some wonderful Nativity plays performed by the children of Gooderstone and Mundford schools.

Following on from the Christmas season comes the season of Epiphany, which literally means ‘enlightenment’.

During the season of Epiphany we explore God revealing Himself to us in new ways, what was once hidden is now revealed, and many of the readings we hear in this season reflect this, as we lead on into a new season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and eventually leading to Easter.

When we are very busy in our lives it is very easy to blot out a lot of what surrounds us, because we are immersed in so many of the demands of what life has to hold, and perhaps miss the signs and changes that are happening all around us in our villages and the wider world.

On New Year’s Day this year I decided to take a walk in the heart of the forest. It never fails to amaze me how beautiful the area in which we live truly is, or the diversity of the countryside surrounding us, and I made a decision that as part of my new year’s resolution was to take more time out to just be immersed in the gift that God has given around us.

However, I am also aware that there are areas of the world that are not so beautiful due to the greed and destruction of humanity, or natural disasters that occur across the world and sometimes we question how God speaks into this, along with the things that happen where we are left utterly speechless with endless questions that appear to have no logical answer.

It is these times when perhaps the ‘big’ questions of life are asked, and where God’s revealing to us is at its most powerful.

The gift of God Himself, who came as a vulnerable babe into the world, who experienced what it was to be truly human. God who in Jesus was nailed to the cross to take on all of the hurt, rejection, and pain of the world, and in love would reveal the most powerful emotion of all – forgiveness.

As we discover God’s revealing to us this year, in new ways, the greatest Epiphany of all is that the promise of Christmas and indeed Easter is that we are never truly alone, and that forgiveness is the route to all freedom. Even in the most desperate times there is an opportunity of hope, because the One who was born at Christmas-time, is the same One who leads us into a new way of living, a new way of looking at the world around us, and a new way of hearing the needs of the world, and a new way of learning how to forgive.

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Dec’17

Where love is there God is

Dear friends,

My reflection this month is very much a focus on who we are as your parish church in the communities to which we live and serve, at a time of year when many people will visit parish churches and cathedrals in the coming weeks for Advent, Carol and Christmas services, along with attending Baptism’s, Weddings and sadly Funerals.

When a Church of England Priest is installed into their new post and parishes, they are given a pastoral charge known as Cure of Souls. This put simply means that I have through my work in the parishes to which I care for, a duty of spiritual care and responsibility for every person of each parish, whether they have an active faith in God or not. Which also means that anyone who lives, as an example, in the parish of Mundford, has the right to be baptized, married or buried in the local church in the parish in which they live, and to receive spiritual care. Which means I look after, along with the people I journey in faith with, around 5000 people across the villages I serve.

Much of my ministry is in general oversight of care in each parish, which includes visiting, Sunday worship, working with our 2 schools in Mundford and Gooderstone, our pre-school, conducting services, including weddings, baptisms and funerals, burials and blessings, caring for those who are near to death, the bereaved and administration. I also attend and chair lots of meetings along with working within local Trusts and Charity’s supporting local people, and visit people in hospital and wherever I am needed. I am a Padre and Chaplain to the Desert Rats Memorial Association and Stanta MOD base, with also a duty of care to my family, doing the normal things that mums have to do with 2 teenage children. I work 6 days out of 7, and sometimes beyond that, with an average working day of 12-13 hours, pretty non-stop, that is why days off are so important, to rest and be with my family and friends.

Along with all of the pastoral ministry offered, we also manage 12 church buildings, and churchyards, community spaces, that belong to their local community. But these are very costly. For instance, to run just the parish church of Mundford alone costs £511 a week, and that is without the cost of repairs and ministry, and our small and dedicated team of fundraisers work really hard to help meet this cost. So it’s tough on small worshipping communities.

This year St Leonard’s Parish Church are holding an Annual Gift Day on Saturday 2nd December, asking our local community to support us as we seek to support the local community. I know it’s a tough time of year with Christmas just around the corner, but in order to keep these historic community buildings in current use, and open for the needs of each local community, we need the help and support of the local community to do this. We thank you wholeheartedly in advance for your love and financial support as we seek to care for each community to the best of our ability. Donations can be brought to the church on 2nd December or popped through the door of the Rectory, thank you.

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Nov’17

Where love is there God is

Dear friends,

I wanted to say and enormous thank you to you all for sponsoring me for my Skydive on 30th September, to raise money for a hoped, and planned for extension to be built onto St Leonard’s Church, Mundford. Where we hope to create a small meeting room, kitchen and toilet facilities, for all of the community to enjoy and share.

This was an enormous challenge to me personally, being someone who is petrified of heights and roller coasters, but turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life, jumping for a very good cause.

To date, we have raised in the sum of £2,500, and donations are still coming in and extremely gratefully received, and can be sent to The Rectory, St Leonards Street, Mundford, IP26 5DW, cheques made payable to Mundford PCC please.

A special thank you goes to Mundford Church of England Primary Academy, to the PTA of the school and the many parents and grandparents, children and teachers who raised money at the school and supported me so warmly. I was extremely moved to receive your sponsorship.

So would I do it again?  Most definitely Yes!!!

The photo above was literally following the moment my feet reached Terra Firma again, you can see the elation on my face!!

But I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful and professional care of UK parachuting and my instructor Ritch for keeping me safe.

So what’s next…. Well…watch this space…haha!!!

With every love and blessing,
Your skydiving parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Oct’17

Where love is there God is

Dear friends,

It is that time of year again when we begin to see a new season creep in, with some of the trees beginning to look more autumnal and the nights are beginning to draw in, with lights being put on earlier of an evening and there is a real nip in the air…. Although it wouldn’t surprise me after writing this piece to you that we suddenly head straight into a heatwave haha!!

The children today have returned to school, and it is so lovely to hear them playing again on the school field after the long summer break.

In the church season we are still very much in the season known as ordinary time, although things have been far from ordinary, with my colleague Revd Charles Sherlock now having retired and I am soon to be made Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough and Oxborough Groups of Parishes, with the hope of a new colleague to come and minister among us in the, I hope, not too distant future…. And very soon too we will be celebrating the Harvest season giving great thanks to God for all the goodness He gives as we let go of the old and embrace the new…. This is where for now this reflection leaves us…. As we let go of all that has gone before and look to a new season…. With the words of Annie Heppenstall in her prayerful poem…..’Letting Go’

The birch leaves are falling, Lord,
yellow diamonds on the green grass,
released in the autumn wind.
But I, Lord,
I still clutch tight the leaves of my old life,
useless, withered and dry.

Teach me to let go of the old –
old hurts and animosities, old troubles and grief.
Teach me to release them into the wind of your Spirit
to be whisked away,
that like the tree I may rest a while
at peace within,
then grow again in the spring.

May we all have courage to let go of all that is no longer helpful to us in the past and move on in courage into a new season of our lives, as we embrace a new yearly season.

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Sep’17

Where love is there God is

Dear friends,

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…..”

The opening words of that most amazing reading taken from Ecclesiastes.. and speaks into the changes that occur within all of our lives. Well it is very much ‘all change’ for the churches of the Mundford Oxborough and Hilborough Groups of churches as my colleague The Revd. Charles Sherlock prepares for the transition into retirement at the end of August, and where we will celebrate his ministry among us and say our sad farewells at a special service at 11am in Goodertsone on 3rd September.  All change for me too as I will now take on sole responsibility for the 12 churches and parishes of the Mundford, Hilborough and Oxborough Groups of churches, with support from colleagues from across the deanery.

But with change comes with it amazing opportunities for new adventures…. And to prayerfully consider where we are to offer a more focused ministry to the many people we are privileged to serve from within each community.

To offer a wider breadth of ministry to all there will be a change to 2 services within the Mundford Group of churches. On the 2nd Sunday of each month there will no longer be Morning Worship at 9.30am in Mundford or a 3pm Holy Communion service in Cranwich because…..

Starting from 10th September at 3pm, each 2nd Sunday of the month, we would warmly like to invite our local families and young people to a new ‘Stepping Stones’ all age service at St Leonards Church, Mundford, where for an hour together we will have a Bible themed story, an opportunity to get messy with a creative craft activity, write our own prayers praying with bubbles, and sing a song together before a special blessing for all. This service is for all…the young and the young at heart. All are very welcome! And….

Rev Zoe is doing a sponsored Skydive in Norwich on Saturday 30th September 2017 to raise money for improved facilities at St Leonards Church Mundford, to enable in the future a small meeting space adjacent to the main church building with kitchen and toilet facilities. To create an even more welcoming space of loving hospitality to the communities we serve and beyond. I am scared of heights so this is going to be a momentous personal challenge! If you would like to sponsor me, any sponsorship monies can be directly posted through the Rectory door clearly marked parachute jump on the envelope or cheques made payable please to Mundford PCC. Thank you for your generosity in advance….. pray for me… and wish me luck!! A huge thank you to all those who have already generously donated.

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Aug’17

Where love is there God is

Dear friends,

It is with great joy that we have reached the summer months and are enjoying a bit of sunshine!

Summer as we know is a mixture of both busyness and a time for relaxation where for some of us we will be enjoying some extended time with family and friends. The children are soon to break up for their long summer holiday and the busyness of juggling home life and work begins along with all of the fun things going on across our beautiful county.

In the church season we are in the season of Ordinary time, or the many Sundays following Trinity Sunday, where the colour of the season is green all the way accept for Holy days, weddings and baptisms where the seasonal colour changes. We are also in the season of many church fetes and fun days and it is to this I would like to invite you all to come and join us….

We are hosting in the grounds of St Mary’s Cranwich a

‘Family Community Fun Day’ on Saturday 19th August from 11am – 4pm.

There will be a variety of stalls hosted by the churches of Mundford, Ickburgh and Cranwich along activities for children, refreshments and lots of cake….!

We are also delighted to have stalls hosted by the Mundford Circle of Friends, WI, and The Desert Rats Memorial Association who will have information about the work of the Army and are bringing with them Military vehicles and a (safe) shooting range! Along with much much more….do come and join us for what will prove to be a really fun day for everyone!

Another event to draw to your attention and sponsorship would be gratefully received….

Rev Zoe is doing a sponsored Skydive in Norwich on Saturday 30th September 2017 to raise money for improved facilities in St Leonards Church Mundford, to enable in the future a small meeting space adjacent to the main church building with kitchen and toilet facilities. To create an even more welcoming space of loving hospitality to the communities we serve and beyond. Zoe is scared of heights so this is going to be a momentous courageous event. Any sponsorship monies can be directly posted through the Rectory door clearly marked parachute jump on the envelope or cheques made payable please to Mundford PCC. Thank you for your generosity in advance!

With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe

Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.

(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)