Part of a curate’s training includes the opportunity to undertake a placement in a different situation, such as a hospital, a prison or another kind of parish. As a Suffolk boy, I chose to go and experience multi-parish rural ministry based in Laxfield, also responsible for Brundish, Cratfield, Wilby, Syleham and Wingfield.
|All Saints’ Church, Laxfield|
So it was Saturday afternoon when I arrived at Laxfield Vicarage after an interesting journey along unfamiliar country lanes, with snow still on the ground and icy roads. I did have a little skid, but my Fiat and I arrived safely. “You’ve found us!” said Fiona the Vicar and with that I was shown my room, given a cup of tea and then it was off to my first appointment, an elders’ meeting in Wilby parish. The first “difference” was that we had to drive more than a mile to get to the meeting in the Vicar’s car/office/vestry/store cupboard! After the meeting it was off to a social event in Syleham (almost in Norfolk, but luckily I didn’t find any supporters of the other football team).
The alarm went off at 6.30 am on Sunday (nothing unusual there) and it was up for breakfast before heading off to Cratfield for 8.00 o’clock Holy Communion. In Woodbridge, it only takes me five minutes to get to church, but in a multi-parish benefice you have to allow anything from five minutes to 25.
Throughout the week, it was much the same as St Mary’s, with school assemblies – including a last-minute part as Saul – parish life in all its richness. I felt privileged to be part of it. One thing that I will take away from my time is that the Vicar speaks at each parish as “us” and “we”, treating each parish individually. Fortunately, she has a huge team of lay people helping her promote the Kingdom of God in that beautiful part of Suffolk.
Bishop Clive will be leading a meditative prayer walk, open to everyone, on Saturday 24 April around the Dunwich area. The timing is approximately 10.00 am to 3.30 pm.
Further details are to be announced, so check the church noticeboard for final arrangements, or contact Christine Krekler on 01284 763778 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.
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