Nets blessed and herrings eaten at Yarmouth Minster
2017: A large all-age congregation gathered on Sunday October 15 for a special service in Great Yarmouth Minster to celebrate the medieval tradition of Blessing the Nets of the fishermen of the town before they went to sea.
The Minster was artistically decorated with hanging fishing nets, giving it a ‘quayside’ feel and fuelling the imagination with memories of the hundreds of fishing boats once moored along the quay on the River Yare.
The Revd Jemma Sander-Heys opened the service with a warm welcome to all and gave the Bidding Prayer. All then sang that great seafarers hymn ‘Eternal Father Strong to Save’. During the service Sandra McCullagh read some seafaring poems and a brief history of the town’s fishing industry was presented by Henry Cator, then Ernie Childs focussed on the human cost of fishing in a reflection called ‘The Dangers of Fishing in the North Sea’. Following gospel readings, Revd Grant Bolton-Debbage gave a thought provoking and apt homily on the presence and protection of God in the lives of the first disciples, who of course were fishermen, and on the ongoing protection of God in our lives and our need to seek out Christ for direction.
Children from Great Yarmouth schools once again played a central role in the service with sea shanty and a harvest thanksgiving song that remembered the fruits of the sea sung by local school choirs. During the hymn ‘Will your Anchor Hold’ the children from both schools carried the long procession of nets up the centre aisle, and into to the sanctuary, where they were received and blessed. Prayers were then said for all fishermen.
Following the final blessing all were invited to share fellowship and a Herring Supper together and the children’s choirs were provided with free fish fingers. Thanks to Michael Cole who supplied and gutted the herrings, and Mark Dixon at the Kings Arms in Fleggburgh for cooking them.
For the full story, plus pictures, visit Network Yarmouth, where this article first appeared.
The picture of Yarmouth Minster is courtesy of http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk
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