A simple soup lunch in the beautiful St Lawrence Centre in South Walsham offered an opportunity for local clergy to share the joys and challenges of rural ministry in this area with their new bishop.
A visit to Fairhaven Primary School saw the children lead a simple act of worship service with Bishop Graham in an afternoon assembly. “Friends make your heart feel warm,” said one pupil when the Bishop questioned them about the qualities of friendship. He explained that is how Jesus wants us to be a good friend to others. A question and answer session followed in the library with a smaller group of pupils. “What’s your message to God?” and “Why do you believe in God?” give a flavour of the forthright questions the Bishop faced. He was delighted to hear that the school has an Eco-Club and promised to send them a hazel tree sapling to plant in the school grounds.
A quick stop off at a local pub, The Ram Inn, Brundall to chat over a cup of tea with the Deanery Lay Chair was followed by a visit to Brundall Home Hardware store, run by the Revd Andrew Bevan, combining church ministry with serving the local community through his Aladdin’s cave emporium.
The Bishop presided at a Eucharist service at St Laurence, Brundall in the early evening and then enjoyed sharing a delicious supper at the adjacent St Laurence Centre with about 40 people.
The visit was rounded off with an evening at Lingwood Village Hall with a large audience from across the Deanery. They had prepared a series of photos projected on a large screen to give the Bishop a snapshot of their local communities. He responded with photos of people and places that have been significant on his faith journey so far. A lively question and answer session brought the visit to a close.