Rector's letter

June 2017

Dear Friends,

June is traditionally ‘wedding month’, with the hope of fine, sunny days for these great celebrations. This year, there is a wedding in one of the churches in the Heart of Norfolk Group on each of the June Saturdays, so let’s hope for plenty of sunshine.

The first Sunday in June, however, is Pentecost. One of the major festivals of the Church, when we recall how the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus’ apostles, empowering and enthusing them for mission. Indeed, things really took off from that point on and the Christian faith was taken across the known world.

When I was growing up, we referred to this Sunday as Whit Sunday and, of course, it was always followed by a bank holiday Monday. (They became separated in 1978, when the fixed Spring bank holiday was created.)

There are different theories about the name ‘Whit’. Possibly the white garments of people coming for baptism on that Sunday? Possibly a tradition of young women coming to church or chapel in new white dresses? A medieval interpretation suggests it was because that was the day that the Holy Ghost brought ‘wit and wisdom’ to all Christ’s disciples.

The origin of the name seems to have got lost. And so have some of the traditions once associated with Whitsuntide. With the coming of industrialisation, it became a week-long celebration, when mills and factories would be closed for cleaning and maintenance, and the workforce given a week’s holiday. That led to f»átes, fairs, pageants and parades, including Whit walks with brass bands and Morris dancing. I imagine they were a lot of fun, even if they resulted in some sore heads!

Well, things have moved on, of course, and most of us can choose when to take our holidays. And perhaps it’s just as well that we don’t have to cram everything into one single week.

Whatever you’re planning for June, I hope and pray that it will be a time of blessing for us all.

Yours, in Christ,

Revd Sally

Printer Printable Version