Joy in Lent

Kalpana, brothers and sisters in the Himalayas. We support them.

Lent is a time for reflection and for giving things up. But why can’t it also be a time for joy!

This year as part of a Lent Reflection I will be posting about joy.


Joy can be seen all around us, it is infectious and children share it very easily.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people“.  Luke 2, verse 10.

What better news could there be.

Joy, happiness and blessings in abundance.

Rev’d Sue Martin







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The Transfiguration

Scene  from Mt Tabor

Three years ago I come back from the Holy Land where I had first-hand experience of Mount Tabor, seeing and walking  in in the place where the Transfiguration happened.

What was it that Jesus was asking his disciples here? Why once again, did he just take Simon Peter, James and John? How amazed were they as they stood and watched Jesus transform into dazzling brightness, how unbelievable that as the cloud descended there beside Jesus, stood Elijah and Moses?

Mt Tabor is a mountain that stands clear above the plain of now farmed land, it’s a proper mountain shape and as you ascend to the top, it feels very much like being on the top of the world.

And Jesus took the three there to try to open their eyes to what was happening.

Often in Jewish scriptures we hear of the ‘veil of ordinariness that normally prevents us from seeing the inside of a situation. This is a view and an insight into God’s kingdom, Jesus really did appear as the Messiah. The disciples were transfixed. They could see with their eyes wide open, the veil was removed.

There is now the magnificent Church of the Transfiguration on Mt Tabor and you can see more on my Holy Land blog.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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The Visit of the Magi

To show or to make known, to be made manifest, the meaning of Epiphany.

It is also a revelation or an ‘epiphany’, when all becomes clear.

In church it is marked by the colours of gold and white and is best known for the visit of the three wise men to the stable on the twelfth day of Christmas.

An interesting fact is that, around January 6, the symbol +C+B+M+ with two numbers before and two numbers after (for example, 20+C+B+M+12) is sometimes seen written in chalk above the doorway of Christian homes. The letters are the initials of the traditional names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. These letters also abbreviate the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The beginning and ending numbers are the year, 2012 in the example above. The crosses represent Christ.

Read more in Epiphany,Faith goes Walkabout

 Rev’d Sue Martin

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To Christmas Day and Beyond…

When the presents are unwrapped and the food is all eaten, what happens next?

In recent traditions Boxing Day and the days of holiday time, are spent in doing things, going for a walk, taking the dog and the children to the beach,visiting friends, visits to the cinema, planning the holidays ahead.

We were a little ahead this year and made the annual visit to the pantomine before Christmas, But such good fun and sharing time with family and friends is just the best thing.

But in all of that time, let’s not forget Jesus, he is  Christmas. And then let’s go out into the world and journey on.

When the song of the angels is stilled
When the star in the sky is gone
When the Kings and princes are home
When shepherds are back with thei 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
And to bring love to the heart.  Prayer – Anon

Rev’d Sue Martin




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A time of festivity, of giving, a time of love and laughter, of friendship and togetherness.

Twinkling lights in the midst of darkness, presents and gifts, trees brought in the house and traditions to mark this special time.

Christmas, the time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, Son of God into the world.
Christ among us.

The story of the Nativity, the journey of Mary and Joseph, the manger and the stable, the shepherds on the hillside, the wise men traveling from afar.

The brightest of stars marking the place where Jesus lay in Bethlehem.

Read more on pages of Christmas at Faith Goes Walkabout

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Advent and only a few days to go…

Sitting at the computer and knowing the daylight will soon be going, even though it is only 2.00pm, brings thoughts to mind of all those without a warm home.

A world full of anguish and uncertain futures.

I have just visited a parishioner, Pearl, who I should have seen much sooner. She lives on her own and wanted to pray for all those who are on their own over Christmas. Her family are close but her life has become lonely.


A prayer…

Close the door of hate, and open the door

Of love all over the world.

Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Advent The Messenger

Advent – The Messenger

All out of darkness we have light

Which made the angels sing that night

Glory to God and peace to men

Now and for evermore.


The messenger! And who sends the messenger?

An important message, in fact a very important message, probably the most important message in the world!!

A message from whom?

Who is it that is calling out to us in the time of darkness, nights getting longer and days getting shorter, it’s getting closer and closer… Read more in Advent

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Remembrance November 11th 2017

Sunday 11th November St Nicholas Church Gayton

 Remembrance Sunday

Poppy at King’s Cross London

If we do not remember it can happen again

I think myself as lucky for being part of a generation that has not known war close at hand. But I have know the effect on lives of people close to me, through injuries, illness and often very long term effects of all aspects of war.

Many  have experienced war, both in the past and in recent times.

Nowadays we are always reminded about wars in different parts of the world.

Our toll of lives lost across the world goes on, more soldiers and air personnel killed, more people back home  having lost someone very close to them.

But today is about remembering, Remembrance Service, held every November to mark Armistice Day, the marking of the symbolic end of the First World War on November 11th 1918. And special today as we are here on November 11th.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

The armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany at Rethondes in France for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. Although hostilities continued in parts of the Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottaman Empire.

The cruelest of wars which lasted from 1914 – 1918. A war fought in the most abysmal of conditions and with such an enormous waste of life.

If we remember we hope it will not happen again.

If we do not remember it can happen again

More in Sermons 2017

Rev’d Sue Martin

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St Michael & Michaelmass

St Michael is an Archangel and the guardian angel of autumn. He also looks after the element of fire. He helps the farmers with their harvesting. He is the angel of courage and strength. He helps people to reap rich rewards for their labours earlier in the year and to celebrate their achievements.

He is often portrayed on churches and in paintings in his red clothing and killing the great dragon as we have heard in Revelations. His function also is to be the leader of the heavenly armies and drive rebel angels from heaven.

Michaelmass is held on September 29th and is a celebration around the equinox of our changing times, the end of the summer and the start of the autumn.

We held our service at All Saint’s Church Ashwicken on Saturday 30th September. It was a beautiful evening and we started the service outside at the West End as the sun was setting.

A time for reflection and a time to contemplate on St Michael, angels and heaven.

The sermon and prayers can also be seen on Faith Goes Walkabout.

Rev’d Sue Martin

Diocese of Norwich


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Diocese of Norwich Clergy Conference 2017


Every four years our Norwich Diocese has a ‘Big Get Together’. This year from 11th – 14th September 2017 we (I think about 200) met at University of Hertfordshire for 3 days and 3 nights.

There were some amazing speakers, both in Key Note Addresses and in the workshops. The days were spent in a mixture of listening, worship and meeting up with friends, as well as some excellent meals, sports sessions  and evenings together.

Worship is always a major part in our days together and we shared in Eucharist, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline, so lots of time to allow for the spirit to get to work!

Personally I came away refreshed and reinvigorated, with a clearer sense of direction in my next steps in ministry. Change is always a challenge, especially when you can’t see the way ahead.

Highlights for myself at the conference were the Key Note speakers, Peter Wilson, Bridget Kendall, MBE and Dr Iain McGilchrist. The following short pieces are my reflections from notes on their lectures. All three had a faith involvement but this was not the main reason for their critiques and all the more stimulating to consider from a wider angle than clergy can sometimes perceive.

Peter Wilson

Peter has been the Chief Executive of Theatre Royal in Norwich for many years and has transformed the theatre into a community based theatre with a huge range of productions which are enjoyed by so many people in Norwich and Norfolk.

His background is an actor and director among other things, with a constant supply of different projects on the go at the same time. He was famously involved in The Woman in Black , now one of the longest running theatre productions in London. He was also instrumental in developing J.B. Priestley’s, An Inspector Calls, and the touring carried on many years after the original South Bank performances.

He very passionately described the way the family, in An Inspector Calls is on stage in the isolated room. Depicting life after the First World War, but written in 1945, after the Second World War, the play looks at how we can find a more compassionate society and a hope for the future.

Peter had an aim for the theatre to be a community space; somewhere people can meet, can enjoy, can communicate. Theatre Royal is now certainly that and the ever booming productions show how well it is received. One example of the care for community is the Get Together Group, people can meet as friends and enjoy going out to a performance which they may not have done alone.

There were many interesting questions; it made me reflect on the similarity of attending a performance and attending a church service, expectations, delivery, performance maybe, a message, indeed!

Bridget Kendall MBE

Bridget is now Master of Peterhouse College in Cambridge. Previously she was BBC correspondent in Moscow at the break-up of the Soviet Union, BBC’s Washington correspondent, and correspondent in Iraq at the time of the invasion, amongst other missions.

She talked about the change since the 1980’s when devoted listeners and viewers would make a regular commitment to newspapers and 6 or 10 O Clock news. Over time this has changed to a plethora of news feeds, social media where most people now dip into for updates to news. But they are usually only listening to the things they want to hear, they follow people and articles of similar minds, they are closed to different views. She said that young people have a Pick and Mix approach to what they need to hear.

It is a change from, ‘What we ought to know, to what we want to know’, and politicians play on this, feeding people with news and comments that they will want to hear, rather than situations as they really are.

Bridget said  it is hard for authorities, especially the Kremlin to have control over the news broadcast to the people as they receive news from all over the world and from all over their own country.

Dr Iain McGilchrist

Iain Mc Gilchrist is a former Fellow of All Saints College, Oxford, Fellow of the Royal Society of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and former consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at Bethlem Royal Maudsley Hospital, London.

He has recently published a book called, The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.

Over a series of two lectures Ian explained the reasons behind the theory that the two hemispheres of the brain are not simply; emotion on the right and reason on the left, but a complex interdependence acting as one but with two very separate parts. The right hemisphere acting as the master, and the left as the emissary. Neither hemisphere can act alone, they need each other for making connections.

He described it as like a bird pecking at seeds of grain on a gravel path.

The birds need the left side of the brain to let it know which is the grain. The right hemisphere is aware of the surroundings, the need to keep watch. So together the messages are passed through the Corpus callosum as one.

The left hemisphere can be described very simply as dealing with order, mechanics, linear relationships. It has simple version of the world, yet is very confident. The right hemisphere has a wider view, deals with ambiguity, truth, beauty, morality, music, art, relationships, love, trust.

The RSA Animate lecture is brilliant at explanation.

A fundamental problem arising in today’s world is the rise of the left side way of working, the analytical reasoning , mechanistic approaches in so much of our lives, a fundamentalism and authoritarian delivery which makes sense to those where the right side of the brain is not engaged so much.

An example Ian used was of learning a musical instrument; we have to practice each piece, and then we can use that process to support the performance, which is more than the sum of the practises.

An amazing theory and supporting research in finding truths and seeking an understanding of not only the function of the brain but how that influences our world and civilisations.

Much to think about and delighted to leave conference having spent time listening to others with amazing stories, and to finding new direction and onward travel.

Rev’d Sue Martin




Diocese of Norwich



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