Hethel Church is a bit off the beaten track, up a cul-de-sac from the west end of Bracon Ash, where School Road meets Cranes Lane. The building is old (the cornered flint tower is Norman, and has been dated to 1110AD by dendrochronology - just a little older than Norwich Cathedral!) but in excellent condition, with an unusual 17th century alabaster monument at one end - the splendid carved effigies of the members of the Branthwaite family. The church is unusually light - not a piece of stained glass in sight - and beautifully kept.
It's a place of peace where many come to rest, relax, pray, sit and think, or listen for the voice of God. There are a number of footpaths nearby as well as Hethel Old Thorn (Norfolk Wildlife Trust), so it's a good place to mix indoor and outdoor 'space'.
On the second Sunday of each month at 8.30am, the people of Hethel Church meet to worship the living God and to share bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus. On the fourth Sunday of the month at 4pm, there is usually a 40-minute, interactive family service called, unsurprisingly, 4th [email protected]
Recognising that we are all different, we also put on a number of occasional activities, which offer alternative ways of exploring faith or worshipping God. These have ranged from a quiet afternoon to alternative forms of short service to brainstorming Christian approaches to thinking about windfarms.
We believe that God is worshipped in many ways, not just in one-hour slots on a Sunday. So we celebrate and enjoy creation and run events connected with the countryside around us. In recent years, South Norfolk Council Rangers helped us make bumble bee nestboxes and their ecologist led a walk in the area. Norfolk Wildlife Trust volunteers help us manage the churchyard so that orchids and other wildflowers flourish in summer – we won a biodiversity award in 2014. NWT also led a walk to the ancient wood half a mile away, and on another occasion BTO met us at 4am for a dawn chorus walk.
Likewise we value the arts and all things that are beautiful, for example our unusual chamber organ has recently been refurbished and we have participated in the Art Alive in Norfolk Churches festival. History (and what we can learn from it) we judge to be important, so ran a "Hethel in the Great War" weekend event in August 2014.
And we believe that following Jesus means finding God's way in all areas of living. So we are concerned to protect the environment, try to engage fully with local/community issues and are working through both personal and church responses to climate care. Our Sustainability Weekend in 2015 explored most areas of this vital issue.
We take the line that strangers are friends we have not yet met and we go out of our way to make newcomers welcome (whilst respecting their possible need to be 'let be'). Please join us at any of our events, or just enjoy the church building on your own in whatever way blesses you. There are prayer cards and a book in which to write requests, displays, and books to borrow. Our Disability Access Statement can be viewed or downloaded from the News area in the right-hand sidebar.