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A Prayer for Protection

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“I know families whose loved ones’ graves are no longer in my churchyard. They are in the records, but the graves are no longer there.”

Sitting atop the cliff at Pakefield in Suffolk, is All Saints and St Margaret’s Parish Church.

Coastal erosion continues to impact the community here, as it has for years, and the issue is becoming more desperate. Homes and livelihoods are at risk but this is a resilient community with generations of families making their lives here.

Back in the 1950s, part of the churchyard fell into the sea during flooding. The church building itself continues to be at risk, standing on the clifftop.

The situation understandably causes a lot of anxiety for people living in this parish, meanwhile, there are also many differing voices on what to do about it.

The church building is the only public building that can hold a large number of people. The Revd Sharon Lord has been the vicar for nearly 6 years. She supports this coastal community in several ways including facilitating public meetings for all these voices and groups to be involved in crucial coastal campaigning.

The Revd Sharon Lord shares more:

“We set up a meeting about how we can raise the money to help and started a CIC, a community interest company.

“Residents that live near the cliff top are so anxious and as a church, we pray for them every day, for their protection. I walk my dog and pray along the whole of that cliff. We are all really worried about what’s going to happen next, every community along the coast needs money.

“The caravan park is an important employer for the community. They’ve had to move caravans and have lost income. If coastal erosion carries on at this speed, there won’t be much left of Pakefield south of the A12.

“People want to stay, they want the coast to be protected, rather than just leave. Many have lived here their whole lives and families for generations.

“These are fragile, sandy cliffs and the biodiversity here is so fragile too, with Sand Martins always coming in and out, having babies.

“We want tourists to continue to come here and see the wonderful wildlife. Our thriving school is heavily involved in learning about coastal protection too. Together, we talk about caring for our beach, God’s creation, and being safe near the cliffs

“Eventually Pakefield will have a lagoon and it will be protected. Our prayer is that the Ness at Kessingland will grow and once it travels to Pakefield, it will protect the cliffs.”

What can you do to help us?

  • Pray for the future of Pakefield
  • Pray that the community here will continue to thrive
  • Pray that the Ness at Kessingland will grow and help to protect the cliffs at Pakefield.