Norfolk church to celebrate the beauty of creation
Always wanting to punch above its weight, the tiny church of All Saints, Hethel, in South Norfolk, has organised a Celebration of Creation weekend on June 26-27 with everyone welcome.
The weekend will begin at 4.15am with a short walk to enjoy the burning sunrise followed by a leisurely wander listening for birdsong with local ornithologist Mike Harvey.
Brother Sam, past leader of the European Province of the Society of Saint Francis, will also join the weekend. Many people will have heard of St Francis of Assisi who had an extraordinary ability to commune with nature, to see its beauty and to sense the interconnectedness of all things under God. On Saturday, Brother Sam will read St Francis’ “swansong”, Canticle of the Creatures, after sunrise; he will give a keynote talk and lead a ‘Five Senses Walk’ in the afternoon as well as preaching on Sunday and repeating the walk.
On Saturday evening the building will be cleared for a ceilidh – its first-ever so far as is known – led by Suffolk band Skylarking, while Sunday also offers a walk with eminent naturalist Dr Anne Edwards BEM.
Throughout the weekend Hethel church will house an ‘exhibition of beauty’: photographs, paintings, craft objects, flower arrangements, fragrances and music.
Hethel Church is one of only two churches in the county to have achieved Silver standard in the national EcoChurch scheme. There will be a display explaining the scheme and how Hethel ticked the necessary boxes.
Churchwarden Peter Nicholls said: “We pray that this weekend will be a lot of fun and will help us all to rejoice at the natural beauty that surrounds us: from Hethel Churchyard, full of wildflowers and associated prolific insect life in late June, to the exhibition and the music and dancing of the ceilidh.
“ Having Brother Sam SSF help us explore the spiritual side of creation care is a massive bonus. Co-author of the recently published ‘Seeing Differently’, he’s a national figure who speaks widely and participates in online seminars such as St Paul’s Cathedral’s recent ‘Is Covid-19 a wake-up call to us?’ We expect to be challenged as well as interested and encouraged!”
Things to do
We want more entries to the exhibition of beauty. Have you taken photos of a beautiful place? A beautiful aspect of nature? Have you painted or drawn something? Love a particular piece of music for its beauty? Can create a beautiful or highly fragrant flower arrangement? Please get in touch.
If you would like to find out more about Franciscan spirituality, come to an informal lunch with Brother Sam (12.30 Saturday 26th) and ideally stay for his talk afterwards.
Or you could go for a Five Senses walk with Br Sam and learn about how the natural world connects us to God.
In 2020, the June 21 sunrise was clear, staggeringly beautiful and quite moving. Get up at 4am and join us in hope in 2021. Brother Sam will recite what is subtitled the Canticle to Brother Sun, reminding us of our connections with nature and through it with God. Birds and breakfast follow!
If you want to encounter some unusual and beautiful insects or flowers, join Dr Anne Edwards on Sunday 27th afternoon.
Celebrate and give thanks through music and dance – ceilidh and pizza with us on Saturday evening, not often seen in a 12th century Norfolk church!
Join us for a service at 9am or 4.30pm on Sunday, both with Br Sam SSF.
Covid-19 update: If on 21.6.21 all restrictions are not lifted as expected on the ‘roadmap’, most activities can legally go ahead with minimal change. If it proves impossible to hold the ceilidh, tickets bought will be reimbursed, or it will happen later in the year as a stand-alone event.
More information and to book for certain events visit: www.acny.org.uk/hethel.
Pictured above is Br Sam.