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The Glaven Valley Benefice – Rector’s Letter

Thoughts from the Rectory

for October 2020

Dear all,

Brenda and I have been in Norfolk for nearly 18 months now, and we’re gradually adding to our (still extremely limited) knowledge of birds!  The proliferation and variety of birds is one of the joys of being here for us, as I imagine it is for most people.  For example, this time of year is the season when geese re-appear in great numbers – a spectacular sight and an amazing sound.  The whole business of migration fills me with wonder. 

I gather that Brent geese, for example, (at least the dark-bellied ones?) breed in Siberia, before heading south-west, arriving in large flocks on our shores in early October and spending the winter here.  In April, they’ll leave the UK and head north-east again to Siberia, stopping off along the Baltic coast before reaching the Arctic in early June, just as the snow and ice is beginning to thaw. 

But even those distances are nothing compared with the arctic tern, which evidently travels further than any other creature, from one polar region to the other and back. 

I quoted in a recent sermon something I’d heard in a best man’s speech at a wedding once.  He’d got hold of some of the bridegroom’s school reports, and quoted one from the geography teacher, who’d written simply: “I imagine he has difficulty finding his way home!” 

We humans are surprisingly unimpressive when it comes to direction-finding, compared with other creatures.  Which is one reason why the animal world is a source of such wonderment for me. 

But that very capacity for wonder is, I suppose, one of the things which distinguishes us from other species.  The same could be said about our natural tendency to worry about the future.  We are still living in very uncertain times, and we don’t know what life will look like when the geese will next leave our shores. 

I see one part of my role as helping people through uncertainty; and helping others to appreciate that, rather than making an annual round-trip, the journey we make as humans is one life-long migration from our heavenly nest and back again!  Inevitably we’ll have times when the going is stormy, but we never need to be journeying alone.  And a sense of wonder can help overcome anxiety.

And in the meantime……. amid the uncertainties, some things are happening again! 

At the time of writing (mid-September), although Covid regulations continue to change, it does seem that we’ll be able to proceed with planned events, including two concerts this month, albeit with the appropriate restrictions on numbers, seating, tickets and so on.  They are scheduled for 4th October at Cley (5.00pm) and 11th October at Blakeney (4.00pm).  Please see the poster for these on a separate page of this edition for more details.

And do check the GVN online and the Benefice website for updates.

Similarly, do see our page giving details of the services currently scheduled in our churches (including a weekly Communion Service at Blakeney Church on Sundays at 11.00, also streamed on Zoom, and monthly evening services at Wiveton and Cley).  Please do come and join us for any of those.

Other information is available on our benefice website:  www.glavenvalleychurches.org.uk

Or feel free to contact me on [email protected]  or by phone on 740686.

And whatever else you do this month, enjoy the geese!

Richard.

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