Action Zones 

From the Rectory November 2017

Simon WardRev Simon Ward
Team Rector, Great Yarmouth Minster

I sometimes get asked how much of Great Yarmouth and the surrounding area I remember from when I was young. Growing up in Belton, Great Yarmouth was the place we came to for shopping so remember being dragged around Palmers and Market Gates by my mother. I remember standing in the market place in my cub uniform for St George’s Day. I remember the excitement of trips to the Pleasure Beach and the Hippodrome
Sometimes people ask me if the town feels different or whether it has changed. My reply is that Great Yarmouth is different but I don’t mean that in a nostalgic “things aren’t what they used to be” kind of way. It feels different to me now because I am at a completely different time of my life fulfilling a completely different role from what it did as a boy in the 1970’s. I notice the things I need to notice as a parish priest rather than as the child who saw sweet shops, playgrounds and anything which was an opportunity for fun
But the most obvious way that being in Great Yarmouth feels different is the people. There are the people I remember being with on the trips to town. Walking round shops with my mother, struggling to keep up with my Nan who walked far too fast for my then little legs, waiting in the queue at Barclays bank with my Dad back in the days when doing anything involving a bank meant waiting to see a cashier. All of these family members I mention I have said goodbye to over the course of time and I remember them with affection but I miss them too
November is a month of remembering. First of all in church we remember the holy ones of God on All Saints Day (1st November). Then, on the 2nd November we have a more homely kind of remembrance with All Souls Day or the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed when we thank God for those we have loved but see no longer. Then we come to Remembrance Sunday when many of us will gather in the town to remember those who have died or whose lives have been irrevocably changed in wars. So there is much remembering to do in this month
The act of remembering before God does three things. It offers us comfort that those who we love are safe in God’s eternal keeping and that we are placed in the context of God’s eternity. Second, it gives us the chance to remember with thanks those whose lives have touched or shaped ours. Third, it gives us opportunity to reflect upon how we choose to live the life God has given us. Sometimes remembering the past is not always easy because we recall the bad times, challenges and frustrations as well as the good. We must not remember only with rose tinted spectacles. Daily we are granted the chance to experience forgiveness and God’s healing in our lives: not to be bound by the past but to live full lives in the present and shine in God’s goodness and glory
With every Blessing Fr Simon

as published in Parish Life