All Saints Church GRESHAM
Our church in North Norfolk, is in the benefice of Aylmerton, Runton, Beeston Regis and Gresham
Rector: Vacancy advertised , The Reverend Ruth Adamson, Interim Priest-in-Charge
Assistant Curate: The Reverend Ruth Adamson
Churchwardens : Mr Robert Batt and Mrs Jill Fisher
Deputy Churchwarden : Peter Campbell
Service pattern :
1st Evening Prayer 9.30-10.00am Wednesday worship
2nd Holy Communion 11:00am
3rd Morning Prayer 11:00am
4th Holy Communion 11:00am
5thMorning Prayer 11:00am
Message from The Rector, David:
I’ve been Rector of the Quintet Benefice (Gresham, Aylmerton, East and West Runton, and Beeston Regis) since 2014, and all my churches are in their way wonderful. The congregations are friendly and dedicated, and, if sometimes small, are very welcoming.
Gresham church is set in the middle of its strung-out village, with a very beautiful country church setting and churchyard and a classic round tower. It is a jewel, a quintessential medieval Norfolk church.
It speaks of timelessness and stability, and is a place of comfort, refuge and thoughtfulness. Although some parts of the church are locked, the main body of the church is open at all times for anyone in the community to come in, think, pray, be quiet. Its availability at moments of need is a great asset. It is also available and used for larger events, including with the school.
We want to continue to offer this welcome. Some of the work of repairing the church will simply be to ensure that the building does not degrade, and that we are good custodians of our common heritage. The church is visited by some as a beautiful and historical object.
Other parts of what we hope to achieve are more subtle. In maintaining the church fabric and its appearance – and the inside does need decorating – we want all who enter the church to feel that it is cared for, and that therefore they are too. There should be no sense of disappointment. Without demanding that people should come to services, we want to offer a quiet place for them to think on all that is inside them without distractions and to feel that they matter; for the building to tell them that they themselves are important.
Message from Curate Ruth:
A Curate’s Eye view of Gresham
Not surprisingly I see All Saints church as the heart of the village. I stand in a very privileged position where the past, its traditions, its memories and its experiences become known to me by those who have lived here, gone to school here, found friendship, married, had babies baptised and died here. In all of these life journeys I believe God is present in the loving, the sorrows and the generosity of spirit amongst the villagers. For me, the prayers of the present moment bring together the stories of the past and the hopes for the future. I picture a beautifully restored building, but more than that I see the grace of God at work in in the lives of the people he loves here. It is absolutely wonderful.
Churchwarden Jill Fisher’s thoughts:
Jill came to Gresham in 1979, helped with the Sunday School from 1980 and has been church warden since 2000. She describes All Saints as welcoming, peaceful and with “amazing acoustics.” These views are echoed in the Visitors’ Book, the current one running from 2016; of the 150 entries to date, 22 of them use the word “peaceful”. Jill loves to see the church full, such as when the School opposite (Gresham Village School and Nursery) use the church to celebrate harvest. All the children attend (currently 108), all participate and parents and friends join the congregation to support the youngsters. It is a marvellous occasion.
One hundred and eleven visitors signed the Visitors’ book in All Saints Gresham in 2017. Of those 30 were local to the church, 11 came from the rest of Norfolk, 62 came from other places in the UK and 7 from foreign countries, including Belgium, Holland, Canada, USA and New Zealand. One person from New Zealand was visiting family graves and the other was a descendant of the Paston family. (The Pastons owned a substantial Manor House in the village, known as Gresham Castle.)
Adjectives regularly used in the Visitors’ Book are : peaceful, delightful, beautiful and lovely. Many comments focus on the fact that the church is open, and people are grateful for this. 10% comments refer to the remarkable font in such good condition.
A selection of quotes :
- “Clean, light and welcoming- amazing memorials in the chancel.”
- “Thank you for preserving our heritage.”
- “Exploring fonts- astonishing detail on this one.”
- “Lovely to see- exactly as I recall it from more than 60 years ago.” (Grandson of Rev. F Rawson- Briggs, previous Rector, early 20th century.)
- “Thank you for preserving the church of my ancestors.” (Texas USA)
- “A welcoming clergy, we come every time we holiday in this area.”
- “Simplicity and stillness.”