The afternoon began with a warm soup lunch and a discussion with the Chapter clergy – setting the scene for the tour of the deanery.
The first stop was at Saxlingham Nethergate Church of England Primary School, where the whole school of 57 pupils came out to make Christingles for their service the next day. The children eagerly recalled the symbolism behind the festive fruit when asked by their teacher and happily set about lining up their ‘fruits of the seasons’ and tin foil, with the older children helping the younger ones. Bishop Graham sat with them and joined in making Christingles while chatting with them about their favourite part of their school – not including the sweets they were sticking into the oranges!
From there, Bishop Graham went to the South Norfolk Council building to meet some of the team behind the Help Hub. The Hub is a place that multiple organisations and agencies in Broadland and South Norfolk use and their base of operations. The result is that when someone goes to one agency with one problem, but others come out of it (e.g. someone with a housing problem but who also needs support for their mental health) they can be supported and helped back on their feet quickly and effectively.
Bishop Graham then joined volunteers from the Foodbank Distribution Centre based in St Mary’s, Long Stratton for a meal at the Rural Dean’s house. The group is made up of churchgoers and non-churchgoers, Anglican and other denominations, and is a beautiful display of people working towards a common goal; that of helping those around them in need.
It was then to Hempnall Primary School hall for a Q&A session with people of the deanery – with a twist! Bishop Graham had 10 minutes on each table around the hall. During this time, those on the table could ask him questions with more of a one-on-one feel.
At the end of the visit was a Eucharist service.