Based in the small village of Iken, St Botolph’s is a pilgrimage church and receives a constant stream of visitors over the summer months many of whom make the walk from Snape Maltings, home of the Aldeburgh Festival.
It is a very old church site, the place of St Botolph’s original monastic community in the 7th century (an archeological team found the foundations of the original wooden church). The current thatched church, is very simple, but houses the shaft of an 8th/9th century stone cross.
The church is on a raised knoll jutting out into the Alde estuary (thought to have once been an island with tidal causeway) and has an atmosphere of peace and ancient sanctity. We keep the church open at all times for visitors and pilgrims. St Botolph is revered by the Russian orthodox church and in an ecumenical spirit we welcome parishioners from the Norfolk and Suffolk orthodox community who make an annual pilgrimage to the church. From our visitors book, it is clear that people come back again and again to visit and always comment on the sense of peace and tranquillity.
We have had a varying pattern of services over the years with the only constant being a once monthly communion service (sometimes twice monthly). We have also been able to offer a lay led Taize service of chants and prayer, a family service and a service of parish prayers, and have also organised from time to time a designated “quiet hour” when people are encouraged to come and pray or read or be silent.
With a robust PCC and 2 active churchwardens, Iken is always looking to increase our congregation through outreach — we are very aware that it is not only through services but through offering a constantly open place of prayer that the church serves the community.