Church is beacon of hope in the heart of Breckland
From care for the homeless to a drive-in Christingle, St Mary’s Watton has found imaginative ways to keep serving its local community. Kyla Sorenson, curate at the church, reports.
Lockdown has been a very busy time for the team at St Mary’s Watton. During the past ten months the church has been involved in ongoing activities supporting the local communities.
Subject to very strict procedures to keep visitors as safe as possible, the church has been open for private prayer during the past few months, enabling those who seek it to find comfort and solace in the light and airy space.
“As well as seasonal prayer booklets, we have been sending out regular written reflections on email,” says Vicar Gerry Foster, “and our Church Buddy system has ensured that no one is left out. Buddy Group Leaders stay in touch with those in their group and post out printed copies of reflections and other church news to those who don’t have internet.”
Families Matter Keyworker for Watton, Marianne Starling, has been overseeing a number of activities vital to the ongoing wellbeing of families in the area. Her supportive role has been even more important during this time as families struggle with access to usual facilities.
The situation regarding homelessness is ongoing. As a church we are committed to helping in any way we can. Working alongside the police and Breckland Council, we have been able to assist a number of gentlemen this year. Still more needs to be done to ensure that anyone in this situation is housed quickly. Their safety and wellbeing are of paramount importance.
Revds Gerry and I took the difficult decision not to have congregations at the Christmas services, choosing to live-stream them instead. Reviewing all the information available at the time, we felt that it was the best way to keep everyone as safe as possible.
The church then held its first drive thru Christingle. It is usually the most popular service of the year and this year many volunteers braved the cold and the rain to bring Christmas cheer to visitors who came in their cars to see the lights on the church and church green and to receive their Christingles, ready bagged for home assembly. The youngest volunteer was just 4. Chocolates and biscuits donated by local man John Lister from Thorp House were also given out to families.
Of course, this is all backed up by the army of people praying for it all. Everything we do comes from prayer plus action. We couldn’t do what we do without the prayerful support of the whole community.
Pictured above is the drive-through Christingle