Welcome and thank you for coming online to look at our benefice. You’ll discover much of the basic information about us here and get a feel for the many different ways by which our churches contribute to life in our community. If you are in a hurry, though, perhaps the following outline might help.
I was ordained in 2008 and I’ve been Rector for Saxmundham with Kelsale cum Carlton since July 2011. It was the diversity of these churches and the participation of their members in the fuller life of the church which attracted me then and which attract me now.
St John’s, Saxmundham, is a town church with a strong sense of service, as you’ll discover if you visit the volunteer-run café and bookshop on the High Street for a hot drink and a browse. You’d also find that desire to serve evident in one of St John’s parent and toddler groups (there are two), or in our annual Holiday Club. Furthermore, St John’s congregation includes very many who understand the need to help others hear the Gospel and they have worked to do that through accessible Families Services and the café church style of the Coffee and Donuts outreach. The Alpha Course is run regularly, too, as we seek to introduce people to Jesus Christ. Gifted and trained laity are valued here and St John’s is used to Lay Elders leading worship and to Lay Readers preaching. The adult congregation enjoy varied styles of worship and are used to the sounds of organ, keyboard, music group or the CD player. Good work is being done separately with the children and young people. As I look for how God is using this church I see the people of St John’s as increasingly disciples who make disciples.
The congregation of St Mary and St Peter’s, Kelsale, serve in more diverse ways. Many are older so are able to serve through their extensive interconnections with those living in that rural part of the benefice. Others run a fortnightly afternoon club for the elderly or act as trustees for local charitable funds, or serve in the Parish Council or on the Village Hall committee, or as Lay Reader, Churchwarden or Lay Elder or governor at the CEVC Primary School. The list goes on, yet most do not see anything unusual in it – they serve simply because there is a need. What is unusual is that Kelsale cum Carlton is a ‘united parish’ and it therefore has St Peter’s, Carlton, available as a second place of worship. That place of worship is sat in the fields and has no water, electricity or gas supply. It is used infrequently and, sadly has to be kept locked when not being used, but is the most delightful setting when used for a service during the summer. The worship style of the congregation of the parish of Kelsale cum Carlton appeals to those who enjoy the more-familiar patterns of Common Worship and the sound of the organ or piano. Inspiration for the way forward comes from the illuminated cross on the tower of St Mary and St Peter’s – we should be a congregation who are sharing the light.
You may be looking for a church to visit, or a church where you may belong, or one where you may simply explore this complex way which we call Christianity, but please know that you will be welcome on either basis. This website will continue to develop as our churches continue to develop and we hope that it gives you an idea of who we are. Thank you for visiting it – we hope that you’ll come and visit us in person soon.