Church of England Diocese of St.Edmundsbury & Ipswich Barsham with Shipmeadow

January Newsletter 2021

1 Jan 2021, midnight

                                     “Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,

A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;

Blinks but an hour or two, and then

A blood-red orange, sets again.”

(From “Winter-Time”, by Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist and poet, 1850-1894)

A new year, a fresh start, and resolutions to make! God works in mysterious ways, and has certainly set us some challenges in the past twelve months.

The most wonderful thing about our Barsham church community is the spirit with which we pull together as a team, and get things done. We have not only had a global pandemic to cope with, but also an interregnum, brought about by the retirement of Rev’d Ian Byrne.

A sense of togetherness was maintained throughout the lock downs, and beyond, by the tireless work of our wonderful retired clergymen, who wrote weekly sermons, appeared in Deiniol’s youtube services and spent hours on the telephone, making sure we were all keeping our spirits up and maintaining faith in God during these hard times. Once again we owe them a huge THANK YOU.

Many events have had to be cancelled, amongst them our thank-you lunch for Barsham’s ministry team, the summer lunch and the harvest supper. 2021’s events will all be scheduled soon, and we just hope to be able to enjoy them this time around.

The PCC has worked incredibly hard during this time, not only maintaining and running the church, but organising the driveway renovation and preparing for the recruitment of a new incumbent. Countless meetings, on Zoom and face-to-face, have taken place; a resolution passed to ensure our traditional worship can continue; interviews have been held (no appointment made), and more advertising planned for the New Year. This has all had to take place in a safe environment; with risk assessments, social distancing and sanitising regimes observed. Thank you all, and also those who have joined the church sanitising team.

Incredibly, we have also given generously to the Food Bank, raised money with produce sales and donated funds for the driveway project too!

The church looks magnificent, with its smart newly re-surfaced driveway and user-friendly path. Inside, it has been enhanced by the beautiful Creation tapestries, the work of Bernadette and Sarah Jane, and the addition of an elegant brass thurible stand (Donated by Caroline Baron in memory of her father Patrick Baron).

Father Malcolm and Margaret Griffin kindly gifted a new ciborium for the reserved sacrament, and Margaret made an exquisite veil of white and gold. These were blessed by Father Jonathan Olanczuk on Sunday 13 December. Grateful thanks; we will treasure them for years to come.

Nony Ollerenshaw, who has been such a part of Barsham church for many years, has moved away to live closer to her family, in a care home. We wish her well, and will keep in touch. Nony would love to hear from you, and her address is available if you would like to write.

“May joy and peace surround you, contentment latch your door.

May happiness be with you now, and bless you evermore.”

“Let me but live my life from year to year,

With forward face and unreluctant soul;

Not hurrying to, nor turning from the goal;

Not mourning for the things that disappear

In the dim past, nor holding back in fear

From what the future veils; but with a whole

And happy heart, that pays its toll

To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.”

(From “Life” by Henry van Dyke, American clergyman, educator and writer, 1852-1933)

Food Bank donations numbered 203 in November. Thank you, Amy, for organising and transporting these.

Sarah Jane has made £50 for church funds with her preserves. Many thanks.

Chris Bardsley raised £140 with her gorgeous Christmas cards, bee wraps and Barsham honey (donated by David at Esmeralda Bees). A superb result!


Father Malcolm has kindly offered to hold his Lent Masses again in 2021.

Bishop Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough, and Bishop Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, are planning a joint visit to Barsham for our Harvest Evensong this year.

“What are days for?

Days are where we live.

They come, they wake us

Time and time over.

They are to be happy in:

Where can we live but days?

(From “Days” by Philip Larkin, English poet, novelist and librarian 1922-1985)

Church correspondent: Cheryl Coutts 01502 714655/[email protected]