Bishop sails as churches throw open doors
As 135 Norfolk Broads
churches open their doors to the public, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James
, took to the water on Sunday August 5, 2007, to sail to the ruins of St Benet’s Abbey
for the annual service in his ancient role as Abbot.
Open Churches Week from August 5-12 sees 135 churches in the Norfolk Broads and Rivers area staging special openings and events.
Highlights will include family fun days, art and photography exhibits, jazz, piano and choral performances, craft fairs and nature walks. People can find the dragon with the monkey face at Stokesby, look out for the lion at Ashmanhaugh and see the Sacristan’s Garden at South Walsham.
Crispian Emberson, Norfolk Tourism director, said: “I hope lots of local residents and visitors take the opportunity to explore these architectural and historical gems and enjoy the peace and tranquility in the beautiful buildings.”
The Bishop will sail to the site of St Benet’s Abbey on the northern bank of the river Bure for the annual service at 3.30pm. He will be joined by the Rector of Horning, the Revd Sandra Ellison, who bears the historic role of Prior of the Abbey and who is the first female prior in the Abbey’s 1200-year history. Choirs from across the Diocese will combine to help lead the worship to which all are invited.
There has been an abbey on the site since 800AD. After re-founding by King Canute in 1020, St Benet’s grew to be one of the largest and most influential monasteries in East Anglia. At the Reformation in the reign of King Henry VIII, the Abbot was consecrated Bishop of Norwich. As the Abbey was never officially dissolved – it simply fell into decay - the bishops of Norwich have continued as abbots since then.
Picture inside a Broads church by Ed Grapes, Norfolk Open Churches