What an amazing week it has been! Palm Sunday, April 5th, was a day of processions: at 1000, choir and congregation gathered at the Abbey School for the blessing of palms and procession to the church for the Parish Eucharist; later that day, students arrived at the river side on their pilgrimage from Colchester to Walsingham in Norfolk. Four of them carried a huge, heavy wooden cross up Quay Street and Church Street into St. Mary’s for a very short service followed by supper and overnight rest in the Church Centre. The next morning, they moved on to St. Thomas’s for breakfast before setting off for Framlingham on the next leg of their walk. pictures
Twenty two parishioners enjoyed the beauty and tranquillity of the local countryside on a parish prayer walk on Tuesday. Blessed with sunshine, they explored the area around Ramsholt before sharing a Communion service at the little church there. pictures These walks take place at regular intervals and are open to all – see notices in the church for information
During Holy week, services were held each day, reaching a focal point at the Parish Eucharist on Maundy Thursday evening. Stripping the altar and a vigil until midnight in almost darkness is a most moving experience for many. A large congregation attended all or part of the Three Hours Devotion on Good Friday, where a stark wooden cross draped with sackcloth and ropes and bearing a crown of thorns and cruel, long nails, took centre stage. Around the foot of the cross, children at their own earlier service, and later adults, had placed a lighted candle to represent his or her own life.
Then the climax of it all…Easter Day itself. Adorned with spring blossom and white lilies given in memory of loved ones with their names on ribbons hanging from each stunning arrangement, the church was breathtakingly beautiful. Unlike the snows of last Easter, the sun shone through the magnificent stained glass windows to add vibrant colour to the occasion. Every seat was filled by a congregation of four hundred plus. Led by the choir’s beautiful singing, the roof was raised by voices in joyful celebration. The Rector’s address was powerful and inspirational, as always, on this most important and glorious day in the Christian calendar. And St. Mary’s again captured the true meaning in its own, unique way. pictures As your Parish Church, we extend the love and hope of Easter to you all.
Nationally, church attendance is falling, but St. Mary’s still ‘bucks the trend’ as each of us continues to search, to ask questions, to seek meaning to life. And to explore spirituality in a different way in an era when lifestyle and material things have failed to bring the happiness and contentment promised by the adverts. Come and try us! We make no promises, but simply offer the opportunity to discover something money can’t buy: a peace which the world cannot give.
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