Category Archives: Church

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)

Reflections from Mundford Rectory Jul’17

Where love is there God is

Dear friends,

Normally I would write to you with a reflection for the church season, but today my writing to you has a different focus with special attention being given to our families who have loved one’s mortal remains interred in the parish church of St Leonards, Mundford.

As you will know that in past years Mundford’s churchyard has been kept beautifully with the grass cutting having been contracted out from a generous grant from our local parish council. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the contract came to a sudden end just before the Easter weekend, and since then generous volunteers have given much time and devotion to trying to keep on top of the grass in the churchyard, but it is an enormous task to which we have been struggling.

I am aware of the distress the state of the churchyard has caused for our families who visit loved one’s graves on a regular or irregular basis, to which as your parish priest and on behalf of St Leonards PCC, we offer our heartfelt and sincere apologies for any distress that has been felt.

I wanted to assure you that the situation is not one of neglect or disrespect to our families and those whom they have loved who have passed, or to the memories of those who are laid to rest within the churchyard. But we are struggling and doing our very best during this temporary period.

We want to assure our families of our love for you and your loved ones and are working to a solution that will see St Leonards churchyard to its former condition as soon as we can. As for now if any of our families who can offer some time and support to help us in the meantime in keeping the churchyard cut regularly with a focus around personal family graves, we would be truly grateful to you, as the parish church and churchyard belongs to the community in which it is set, which is good and right and is our shared responsibility.

Grief I know from my own experience of grieving the loss of loved ones is something that never truly leaves us, and is something that over time we learn to try and live with each day, knowing that we are changed by it.

Our loved ones remain for-ever dear in our hearts and memories, and each person we have loved and lost has been instrumental in shaping the people that we are today, and we know that the places where our loved ones are laid to rest also has great significance in enabling us to grieve and feel close to them.

Please forgive us if we have caused any distress to you in recent weeks due to our current situation, and please do support us as we get back on our feet again and attempt to restore St Leonards churchyard to its former beautiful condition.

 

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 Jun’17

Where love is there God is

Dear friends,

It is a joy to write to you on this rather sunny morning where we continue to be immersed in the glorious Easter season. Where in the church’s cycle of readings set for this season we enjoy hearing again the many resurrection visions of Jesus Christ to the thousands of people who experienced these many powerful moments. So much so, that lives were changed instantly and many people came to faith through these experiences.

On Thursday 25th May we celebrate that Jesus went back to his Father in heaven, known as Ascension Day. The disciples were instructed at this time to stay in Jerusalem and wait together for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Our lives so often are filled with endings and beginnings. Whether this is an ending of a lovely holiday and returning to work, or for our young people at this time who for some will be preparing to leave primary education and move on to a new beginning at high school.

The Ascension however although marked an ending in many ways, also spoke of promise in the future, where the Day of Pentecost was literally the birth of the Christian church…and so for Christians throughout the world we can well and truly shout with joy ‘Happy Birthday!’

In the Church of England during the Ascension-tide season we have by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York been encouraged to be immersed in a time of prayer known as ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, where each parish church has received its own candle to light every time the people meet in a time of prayer, to focus our prayers on more people coming to faith in Jesus Christ in the communities we live and serve. This has been very exciting, and even more exciting in that the first time we lit our Ascension candle in Mundford was at a special school Ascension service with our wonderful young people, teachers and families from Mundford Primary Academy. This experience itself fills me as a parish priest with great joy!

We wait now…in a time of hope and anticipation for the gift of the Holy Spirit to fall afresh on us this Pentecost.

Our Pentecostal reading from Acts says “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came the sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire appeared among them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability”

Wow, what an amazing start to the early Christian church!

In the Hilborough, Oxborough and Mundford groups of churches this Pentecost (4th June), we will be like those early disciples….this year we wait together in St George’s Gooderstone from 11am…..and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit….Come and share in this wonderful celebration…and together let’s see what a ‘new beginning’ may mean for us in this place….

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 May’17

Where love is there God isDear friends,

By the time you sit and read this reflection, Easter Sunday and the school holidays will probably feel like a distant memory and hopefully the weather will be blessing us with some warmer sunshine as we head on into the summer months.

In the church calendar following Easter Day we begin to look towards the Ascension, where the Gospels report Jesus as having ascended bodily into heaven with his disciples left behind in praise and worship.  Ascension Day this year falls on Friday 26th May, however we will celebrate this significant event on the Sunday following in church.

Jesus’ ascension into heaven falls 40 days following Easter Day.

Numbers in the Bible always hold great significance, with the Israelites having been in exile for 40 years following Moses to the promised land.  Moses himself went up the mountain for 40 days and nights before receiving from God the 10 Commandments.

Jesus, following his baptism went into the wilderness for 40 days before beginning his earthly ministry, and today the number 40 in the church calendar is significant in that we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday and 40 days later celebrate Easter Day.

The number 40 in biblical times actually meant ‘a really long time’ and for those of us when we reach our 40th birthdays, if you are like me, can feel we have been around for a rather long time….!

The Ascension itself on my trip to the Holy Land a couple of years ago was said to have taken place in the same landscape where Jesus had given his disciples instruction in prayer, with the words of the Lord’s Prayer.  A rather wonderful connection here with prayers rising up towards heaven, as our Lord had once arisen bodily into heaven itself.

The great significance too of this season is that in the 40 days prior to this event, the post – resurrected Jesus had been seen by a significant number of people in different situations, where we hear in the gospels of Thomas doubting until he physically saw the risen Christ, to the event on the road to Emmaus when the people only recognized Jesus when he broke bread and shared this with them.

This season is a truly remarkable time, as we look back at events long ago, but holds great significance with us today in that it is a period of watching and waiting. Watching for the signs that God is among us, and preparing ourselves for the major event of Pentecost (Whitsun), when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples with what was described as tongues of fire – how amazing these things must have been, and how amazing they are to us in this day and age, because all of these events give us hope, in what can seem a really challenging time in our world, especially when we hear of events like that of the Westminster bridge tragedy and the way that humanity can be so cruel to one another.

But the Christian faith in all its seasons gives us hope, that our Saviour Jesus Christ is right there with us in the midst of it all in the gift of grace in our prayers.

With love and blessings, 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 Apr’17

Where love is there God isDear friends,

As I sit here and write to you we are well and truly in the season of Lent – a season of Holiness and masses of administration!

I chuckle to myself as I emerge from a mountain of paperwork to sit and write this article…..hahaha!!!!

At this time of year there is a lot to prepare for with Annual meetings soon to take place where we elect our churchwardens and church parochial members, along with the many people who I have the privilege of sharing ministry across the parishes.  However, it is also with deep joy that we prepare too to host a Deanery Easter Vigil Service at St Leonards church here in Mundford on 15th April (Holy Saturday night) at 8pm, where 10 people from across the deanery are currently being prepared for their next step on their journey of faith, to be confirmed by the Bishop of Lynn in preparation for receiving communion, and to continue in their baptismal calling of going out and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

This time of year too is also a deep blessing, where we spend a lot of time together, eating together and sharing in a time of study and prayer, and has been a wonderful opportunity to share with members of our communities and wider afield in the Saturday Soup Kitchens where we have shared many conversations, friendship and fun – a special thank you to our St Leonards Fundraising team who have provided us with wonderful food and hospitality which provides a sense of the church being where it should be, at the heart of the community in which it is called to serve.

But our focus in the midst of all the busyness and extra commitments that this season provides is always to look towards Jesus. 

As we approach the Holiness of Holy Week and Easter, we look to the one who wept in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he uttered the words “Father, if this cup could be taken from me, but not my will but yours be done”, the one who suffered so much for our sake, the one who was prepared to die for the sin of the whole world, the one who gives us hope in the resurrection and the hope of life everlasting.

As we approach this Easter season, may we let go of some of the busyness that the world provides and may our hearts and minds be focused upon Him, the one who came so that the world may be saved through Him.

Every blessing to you and yours this Easter.

Christ is Risen, He is Risen indeed. Alleluia!  

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 Mar’17

Dear friends,

By the time you read this we will have already begun the season of Lent.  With the fun and joy of Shrove Tuesday where we will fill ourselves with yummy pancakes, and where we will enter into the season of Lent with a said communion in Mundford at 10am the following day on what is known as Ash Wednesday, with ashes placed in the sign of the cross on our foreheads, reminding us to ‘remember that we are but dust, and to dust we shall return, turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ’.  These words, a powerful reminder not only of our own mortality, but that as we enter into the 6 week season of Lent, we remember all that Jesus did for us as he prepared for and died on the cross to bring us into a right and close relationship with God, where His resurrection takes us into a new way of living, with hope in faith, that we too will receive eternal life, where there is no more death or pain, but only peace and eternal love.

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land where we walked the Dela Rosa through Jerusalem, the Way of the Cross.  The streets were crowded, long and narrow, it was hot and all up hill.  It was a powerful experience as we placed ourselves into Christ’ shoes, as we were led to the place where he was crucified.  How painful it must have been for him, and a contrast from Palm Sunday, where the people had rejoiced at the coming of their King – for this was a very different journey, one of sadness, pain and rejection, and then there ahead was the site of the cross, so powerful as we placed our hands into the place where he was said to be crucified.  The smell of the anointing stone will remain with me for- ever, where they lay his body after death, to anoint him and wrap him in cloths, and then the visit to the empty tomb – how great and awesome the feeling of emptiness, for he had Risen – Alleluia!

For us, life can sometimes feel a journey of up-hill struggle, one of pain, rejection and sadness, but as we journey through the season of Lent into Holy Week and the rejoicing of Easter, we are reminded that Jesus walks with us all the way, and eventually will lead us into a deep place of hope, and joy and rejoicing….it is not the end, but only the beginning….!

Every blessing 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)