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Flourishing in Lothingland Deanery

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A delicious homemade butternut squash soup was the lunch-time welcome for Bishop Graham as he began his deanery visit to Lothingland. Lunch came after a Eucharist in which Bishop Graham spoke on the sacrifice of St Edmund, on St Edmund’s day, in St Edmund’s church, Kessingland.

After discussing with the clergy the best and most challenging aspects of living and working in the deanery, Bishop Graham travelled via the Oulton Broad bridge to Blundeston Primary School. The route was chosen to show the Bishop how out-of-the-way routes in Lowestoft can be when the main, Bascule, bridge is raised to allow craft to enter the canal. The people of Lowestoft are hoping to get a third bridge, between the current two, to help alleviate the problems.

At Blundeston Primary School, Bishop Graham was interviewed by children from across the ages in the school including his favourite past times, the most important part of his job, and what qualities you need to be a bishop.

Bishop Graham left the school to head down to the port and meet with workers from the Fisherman’s Mission – who serve and care for the wellbeing of fishermen along our coasts. While there, he also met with Phil Aves (Lowestoft Rising) and Dave Eagle (Community Action Suffolk) to talk about their hopes and plans for working with the community in Lowestoft to improve life there.

Remaining in the Lowestoft Port, Bishop Graham spoke with a Port Pilot about the kinds of craft the Port sees and what is involved in piloting a craft in to the safety of harbour. He was also shown how the Bascule Bridge works and the system by which traffic is stopped to allow the bridge to rise.

As the sun started to set Bishop Graham went to the relatively new – less than ten-years-old – Gunton Woodland Burial Ground. Despite being one of the newer woodland burial sites, Gunton is no less peaceful and thoughtfully-managed than its older siblings. The ground is managed by a charitable trust manned by members of the local church, with the intention of developing the grounds in an environmentally sensitive manner – using all-native British trees to support local wildlife.

It was then a short stroll up the road to St Peter’s, Gunton, for a meal of fish and chips with members of the clergy.

Following dinner, Bishop Graham went to the St Andrew’s Community Fridge and met those who rely on the donations of food from the local Marks & Spencer to this project so that they can get something to eat. Bishop Graham helped the volunteers by weighing the food (so they knew how much they had) before putting it out on tables for the hungry to help themselves. The Community Fridge opens in Lowestoft every night, Monday-Saturday, under the care of incredible volunteers.

The day closed with an interview in St Margaret’s Church, Lowestoft, by the journalist Mark Boggis – featuring hymns chosen by Bishop Graham including ‘Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?’, ‘Bless the Lord oh my soul’, and ‘Let all who are thirsty come’ from the Taize tradition.