The Upper Room

The Upper Room is to this day, an inconspicuous space along a quiet street in Jerusalem. The windows  are hardly noticeable on the first floor next to some dangling electric cables. Jerusalem normally bustles with people, but in these days of lock down it is a quiet and eerie street.

The disciples had returned to the Upper Room in secret, and Jesus was with them for a short time, and showed them his side and feet.But Thomas, was not there and he could not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. When Jesus did return, then Thomas believed. There is much more to this story and it can be found in John 20, verses 19-29.

I am intrigued though with  the secrecy of the Upper Room and gathering there without the authorities knowing. In our isolation world at the moment, we have become aware of being fearful, to know that going out is a risk, to know that there may be people watching us. This is so strange and I am reminded this morning from our Sunday readings just how powerful it is to be isolated.

And yet, like Thomas, many of us do go out and do the essentials, the shopping, the daily exercise, maybe a visit at 2 metres distance to a vulnerable person. I delivered a birthday card to Pearl yesterday, aged 88. The notice at the back door said,” Please knock on the lounge window, I would love to see you.” So I did that and we stood 2 metres apart and had a chat. “How good to have a chat!” said Pearl.

We don’t know what Thomas was  doing, and sometimes he is perceived as doubting Thomas just because he wasn’t there. He was just being very realistic though.

Maybe he too had just been out for some essentials. Don’t judge him too harshly


Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Upper Room

On this day…

Six weeks ago I was one of a number of pilgrims from Norwich Diocese on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We stopped in the Garden of Gethsemane and looked over the valley to Jerusalem. We visited the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest where Jesus spent the night in his dungeons. It was a dark and dismal place.

Today is Maundy Thursday, and amazing that we are all, in some ways contained in our own houses with the Corona virus pandemic.

We hope soon to be able to journey away from our homes and get back to some kind of normality, whatever that will look like, but I strongly suspect that for so many of us life will not be the same again.

The events of the crucifixion and Easter happened over 2000 years ago. Jesus lived among us and died for us. Life can change for us all, His resurrection meant that life would never be  the same again.


Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in Easter, Faith goes walkabout, Holy Land | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on On this day…

Have we locked God in the church?

Have we really locked God in the church along with the pews? Did we firmly turn the key and slide the bolt so we can’t get in and He can’t get out?

Over the last week , or is it two… all the churches have been locked. Understandably church goers are distressed. Where can they go to pray and worship? Is anybody doing anything?

But out of sadness there comes joy,and out of a locked church emerges online services. Numbers for people listening in to a service of their choice is huge, larger than church attendance by far. So, now is the time to reach out and offer help and support to all those who are getting in touch.

And, no, of course we haven’t locked God in the church, how could we. He is out there, with us, walking with us through this crisis, reaching out to all who ask.

And all we have to do is to ask, to pray and to find Him in our lives  today.


Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in pilgrimage, theological | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Have we locked God in the church?

So long as we…

Above all else in this time of social distancing, isolation and world wide pandemic a little prayer to remind us of life in this world.

So long as we enjoy the light of day

May we greet one another with love.

So long as we enjoy the light of the day

May we pray for one another,

Zuni prayer taken from A Child’s Book of Prayer, compiled by Tessa Strickland, Barefoot Books

Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in community, Faith goes walkabout, pastoral | Comments Off on So long as we…

Places and travels

At the end of my travels to the Holy Land we found these beautiful anemones at Abu Gosh, the site of Emmaus.

But lets start with the travels of Jesus. His own pilgrimage, in a sense, places he walked to, he didn’t have a coach or a car or a bike. He  used a donkey from time to time, but generally he walked. Places where he performed miracles, gathered his disciples, went into the wilderness, and places where he met with God. Travels in the wilderness, travels into towns and villages.

In our own pilgrimage to the Holy Land 2020, we followed in his footsteps and walked in his ways. And now challenged to bring back to others the sights, the sounds and the knowledge we have gained.

Sermon for 3rd Sunday in Lent follows our journey and also relates to the Samaritan woman at the well; John 4: 5-42.

Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in Faith goes walkabout, Holy Land, pilgrimage | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Places and travels

Holy Land Pilgrimage 2020 – Thoughts and Experiences

We arrived back in the UK from the pilgrimage with the Norwich Diocese on March 2nd, pilgrims together, full of thoughts and experiences that would stay with us forever. For many it was the first and possibly only visit to the Holy Land, and incredibly special. My second visit and still a deeply significant place of holiness… The Holy Land.

Where did we go?  Walkabout Jerusalem 2020 Blog has all the places we visited. We travelled to Galilee, Jericho, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, with each day packed with places and services.

Forever in my mind will be the Sea of Galilee, The Dead Sea, and the roads to Jericho and Jerusalem. But I would also never be able to forget Bethlehem, the wall and manger Square, the River Jordan, the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

A special thank you to Hanna, our guide, The Very Reverend Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich Cathedral and The Right Reverend Jonathan Meyrich, Bishop of Lynn, Diocese of Norwich and Pilgrimage People.

Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in Faith goes walkabout, Holy Land | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Holy Land Pilgrimage 2020 – Thoughts and Experiences

Visit to The Holy Land in Lent 2020

As the winter continues I am delighted that I am about to embark on my second visit to the Holy Land. We arrive at the Sea of Galilee on February 24th and  have a full itinerary for the week including;  Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho and the Dead Sea.

Really excited to be not just revisiting but re-energising my understanding of the life of Jesus, visiting the same places and walking in his footsteps. Spiritually it will touch my soul, physically  it will give me great hope as I visit further places in my pilgrimages and travel journeys. The Dead Sea has been a place I have wanted to visit since I learnt about it at school.

Physically,the whole region is set on the edge of the Mediterranean and Europe and the edge of the Middle East and Africa. Never a very settled area of the world. The Dead Sea is at the end of the deepest valley in the world, with the River Jordan flowing through this rift valley.

So, now to start planning the next Blog  for the journey ahead.

Rev’d Sue Martin


Posted in Faith goes walkabout, Holy Land, Lent | Tagged , | Comments Off on Visit to The Holy Land in Lent 2020

Happy Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman 1899-1981

Happy Christmas!

Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in Christmas, church seasons, Ely cathedral | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Happy Christmas

Carol Service in Deepest Norfolk

Window lights in

On a dark and dreary night one week before Christmas, in deepest West Norfolk, I walked along the lane, covered with mud from the fields.

As I turned into the church entrance the windows were lit up with a warm glow from within.  This was a warm welcome to St Mary’s Church.

I was leading the carol service that evening and along with my robes, bag and service sheets, I had assorted necessary items; spare bottle of mulled wine and 12 mince pies.

Opening the creaking door, I immediately felt the warmth from the coal fired boiler, glowing red in the corner; beautiful singing was coming from the a small choir.

“Hello,” said Bill, the churchwarden and farmer.

And I knew that St Mary’s Church, would remain my favourite place for a Carol Service.

“We have 6 bottles of mulled wine, dozens of mince pies and shortbread, all we need now are the people. said Bill.

“I’m sure we will be fine”, I answered in that reassuring way of a vicar!!  And we were.

The creaking door continued to groan at every entrance and people stepped in out of the wet and cold,  joining us with chatter and laughter.

We began singing Once in Royal David’s City. After an hour of listening to the story of Christmas, singing the well known carols, dreaming of the good news that Christmas and Jesus will bring we gathered at the back of the church to share in fellowship with each other. And of course to eat a considerable quantity of mince pies and mulled wine.

Christmas can start once the carols are sung, the readings are read and we are ready to share with families and friends the good news that Jesus came down from heaven.

Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Carol Service in Deepest Norfolk

Advent 1

Advent literally means the arrival or the coming.  Just as it’s getting darker and darker with the nights getting longer and longer, we start thinking about the light of the world;

All out of darkness there came light,…

The light of the world has come among us to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light from the collect.

What does that all mean, darkness, the works of darkness, the armour of light?

After news of another attack on the people of London near London Bridge, can we reconcile ourselves to be aware that there are still many incidents of dark deeds in this land and on this earth.

Having been completely disillusioned by politicians of any side of the debate, I wonder when we can get back to knowing that there is still a deep unrest in this country and others too.

Read more in Advent 2019

Rev’d Sue Martin

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Advent 1