Benefice News & Events

Pentecost Picnic

Everyone is welcome to join in this Pentecost Picnic and Family Praise.  For more details please see below.


The Super Swing Big Band



Garboldisham Village FĂȘte

Please put this date in your diary.  Everyone is welcome.  For more details please see the poster below.


Great Garden Birdwatch

The church will be taking part in this, along with many others, on Saturday, 28th January, 8.30am-4pm and Sunday, 29th January 11am-4pm. Join us in the churchyard and learn about all the birds seen on the day, general birding and wildlife. There will be colouring activities for children, and bird seed to take away to start feeding the birds at home. Everyone is welcome.

Happy birding!



Benefice Advent Carols

Riddlesworth were hosts to the benefice 'Advent Carol Service' this year. It was a wonderful evenings with 40 or so in the congregation. 

Susan Wilson (East Harling) said:

This evening we were warmly welcomed to the Benefice Advent Carol Service at Riddlesworth. Revd Josh was leading the worship, supported by Revd’s Caryll and Lynn, with Revd Brother Simon delivering a wonderful sermon about hope, peace and love and the ‘coming again of Jesus Christ’. There was singing of some favourite Advent carols too. Afterwards everyone was treated to some delicious savoury treats, whilst enjoying some wonderful fellowship together. Sincere thanks to everyone at Riddlesworth for making everyone so welcome.

Wretham Remembers

Legion and local villagers pay Remembrance Sunday tribute.

The war memorial outside the church gates of St. Ethelbert at Wretham was the focus of attention for over 50 people on Remembrance Sunday.

The traditional service, organised by Wretham and Hockham branch Royal British Legion, was moved from Hockham through lack of a priest – and, at short notice, the Wretham service was led by the Rev. Caryll Baker of East Harling, after the curate, the Rev. Josh Whitnall, fell ill.

But the hour long service, first at the memorial and later in the church, moved with grace and reverence.

RBL secretary Miles Howard recited the names of the men from the local villages connected with the Legion branch and gave the Exhortation.

Trumpeter Chris Ellis from Shropham played Last Post and Reveille either side of the two minute silence and later accompanied organist Callum Dring during hymns.

Branch chairman Richard Burlingham carried the standard in and out of the church, where it was draped over the altar during the service. Lessons were read by Mr Howard and church secretary John Kitson.

Outside, wreaths were laid by Wretham Parish Council chairman Harold Smith and by those from the various villages whose members are within the Wretham and Hockham RBL branch.

Wretham Remembers


Special service remembers those in village war graves.

Despite poor weather, over 100 people turned out in a Norfolk village on Wednesday (November 8th) to pay tribute to Poles and Czechs who flew from its grass airfield and died during WW2.

The 20th anniversary of the annual service at St. Ethelbert, Wretham, was led by the priest in charge, The Revd Br. Simon Richardson Best, who reminded those attending that simply remembering was not enough – unless we acted on those memories so the present and future could be better.

The service has been organised for the past two decades by Thetford and District branch RAFA, whose chairman, John Macpherson, was parade marshal and read the Exhortation, before a bugler played Last Post followed by the silent tribute to men who flew Wellingtons for 311 Squadron from Wretham. They lie in 14 war graves in a corner of the churchyard.

With nine standards from RBL, RAFA and ATC units on parade, Deputy Lieutenant Melinda Raker led wreath-laying at the war memorial outside the church gates, followed by local MP Liz Truss.

Among those also paying tribute as a piper played a lament were officers from the Czech and Polish embassies, from RAF Honington and Godmanchester and the 48th TFW at Lakenheath, Breckland Council chairman Peter Wilkinson, Thetford Mayor Stuart Wright, Watton Mayor Peter Bishop and Wretham Parish Council chairman Harold Smith.

East Harling Christmas Tree Festival

A wonderful Christmas Tree Festival, with a record 85 trees, beautifully decorated by local clubs, groups, schools, businesses and individuals.  Also a record number of visitors, who all enjoyed seeing the magic and sparkle light up our amazing church.


Wretham church bids farewell to the Gibsons.

Wretham church bids farewell to the Gibsons.

In a warm and emotional end to a service of Holy Communion at St. Ethelbert, former treasurer Julian Gibson was left in no doubt about how much the village would miss the departure of him and his wife Joy, now making a new home in Bedfordshire, closer to their two sons and family.

Mr. Gibson suffered a severe brain haemorrhage in January and has had to give up his four parish clerk roles and that of treasurer to the church at Wretham, which he had held for 13 years.

Church safeguarding officer John Ford recounted Julian’s banking career, interest in music and the major role that he and Joy had taken in the life of the church and the village where they lived for 16 years.

The Revd. Simon Richardson, who was accompanied for his first service at St. Ethelbert since ordination by the new curate, the Revd. Josh Whitnall, offered special prayers for the couple before handing them farewell gifts from the congregation, garden tokens to share and cards for both of them.

They were accompanied for the occasion by Paul, one of their two sons.

The service also included a special note for George Stronge, who lived with his wife and former church treasurer Anne in Wretham for many years and still attends regularly. The last hymn was sung to the tune of “Danny Boy” in a tribute to the Irishman’s upcoming 90th birthday.


Wretham Summer Party is another success.

Wretham Summer Party is another success.

The Wretham Summer Party entertained over 90 people this year for a happy evening where the expected rain did not begin until virtually everybody had left for home!

The guests at the Wretham Lodge home of Gordon Alexander and Ian Salter saw the doors of the former Georgian rectory thrown open to them as well as offering everyone the chance to stroll around the ten acres of gardens that surround the property – with a glass in their hand.

The generosity of the hosts extended, as ever, to providing all the wine and part of the selection of soft drink, while members of the St. Ethelbert congregation produced a buffet which covered the big table and sideboard in the dining room.

What was notable, as in almost every year, was that the culinary efforts of the ladies of the church were once again boosted by gifts of food from a good number of their guests who had already paid to attend.

It summed up the spirit of the evening where the sales of raffle tickets exceeded expectations to the extent that tickets ran right out, leaving guests to choose later in the evening from a fine array of prizes.

Everyone who took part and especially those that worked hard through the evening to keep guests supplied and happy were thanked by the Revd. Simon Richardson. Making his first visit to the village since being ordained deacon at Norwich Cathedral was the new curate to the benefice, the Revd. Josh Whitnall, accompanied by his wife Bethany and very young baby.

The evening made a profit of more than £1542 which will be devoted to the St. Ethelbert fabric fund.  

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