War Memorial Gary Trouton

Benefice Newsletter - May

June 2015

What a month that was May that is: it started off with the birth of a new Princess who is now living with us here in Norfolk, quickly followed by the election and then the VE Day celebrations. I watched the Remembrance service on the telly on the Friday, with the old (very old now) veterans marching past the cenotaph, some being wheeled along in wheel chairs. It was a very moving sight, especially when the camera caught a few hastily wiped tears as lost friends and loved ones were remembered. Saturday saw the celebration side of VE Day with street parties and concerts around the country -who can remember the street parties of The Coronation in June 1953? I just missed the original VE Day parties despite some youngsters thinking I am that old! Then on the Sunday it was time to give thanks for victory over oppression, peace and sacrifice given. What a dilemma? In Church should we celebrate the Sixth Sunday of Easter, VE Day or Rogation Sunday when we usually, as a church family, have a picnic and 'Beat the Bounds'? I decided to do all of them - a real dolly mixture of a service. First we had the Easter Reading about baptism being for everyone, not just the Jews, which fitted in nicely with the concept of freedom, equality and our, taken for granted, right to vote and worship (or not) as we saw fit. Then we gave thanks for all that VE Day stood for which in fact enables us today to vote freely, choose our religion etc. and finally, we had our traditional Rogation Service - I told you it was a hotchpotch

So what is Rogation Sunday and 'Beating the Bounds'? Well, we started at the Church door where we gave thanks for the seed and growing crops for a good harvest and then on down the path to the Church gate where thanks were given for all the farmers and farm workers and all who provide our food, right up to the shop assistants, local corner shops and super markets. Then the fun started: off we all marched up Church Lane (we were at Christ Church Whittington that Sunday), out the other end at the top of Whittington Hill, where prayers were said for our immediate neighbours in Northwold. Then branches were used to beat the boundary between the two villages - hence 'Beating The Bounds' a really old tradition that was meant to ensure that the boys who were beaten (we only beat the nearest tree or fence I hasten to add) never forgot where the boundary was. Then on down Norman Drive, along the pathway at the end and into Old Methwold Road where we repeated the whole exercise only this time praying for the folk in Brookville and beating the boundary there.

Finally, Roger led us down the New Methwold Road and into his yard at Grange Farm to the northern boarder between Whittington and Stoke Ferry where he gleefully told me that I had to wade out into the middle of the river to pray for the Stoke Ferry folk as that was were the boundary was - in the middle of the river. I declined! Nobody was willing to beat the bounds in the appropriate place either so prayers were said and the bounds beat on the river bank. I must say we had some really strange looks along the way, as this group of twenty odd people were spotted hitting the tress/fence/ground with twigs, especially as we had pinched them from the Christmas decoration bag, which meant they were sparkly gold! It didn't end there either. When we had finished we marched back to the Church to finish our celebrations as only we English could - a nice hot cuppa with hot dogs (with real butchers sausages not those frankfurter things) and fried onions! What a service - who said going to church is boring? CarolNicholas-Letch.

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