5 min­utes with...

...CAR­O­LINE RAWLINGS, who co­or­di­nates Open Churches Week in Nor­folk

EDP Norfolk - - What’s On -

How many churches will be open?

Most of the 600 churches are nor­mally open all year round, but some open es­pe­cially for the week, which runs from Satur­day, Au­gust 5, to Sun­day, Au­gust 13.

Is there a theme this year?

The theme is Our Parish and the World. Over the cen­turies, Nor­folk and Waveney have had strong con­nec­tions with the wider world, through trade, con­flict, mi­gra­tion and tourism. There are many sto­ries to be told in our churches and church­yards about how our an­ces­tors trav­elled the world, how peo­ple came to the UK, and about cur­rent over­seas links. There are also on­go­ing of­fi­cial links and friend­ships that bring parishes to­gether with peo­ple lead­ing very dif­fer­ent lives in far-away places. Just one ex­am­ple is Wood­bast­wick church which serves a vil­lage of only 100 peo­ple, but has past and present links to at least three other con­ti­nents! An­other is the dioce­san link with Pa­pua New Guinea and the Dio­cese of Lulea in Swe­den. Each parish has unique sto­ries to share with visi­tors and lo­cals alike and this year’s Open Churches Week aims to cel­e­brate these con­nec­tions to the wider world.

What are some of the high­lights?

There are so many to choose from. It is the 10th an­niver­sary of the car rally which marks the start of the week and on Sun­day, Au­gust 6, there is the an­nual St Benet’s Abbey ec­u­meni­cal open air ser­vice.

Our amaz­ing churches also al­ways seem to be able to de­liver that lit­tle ex­tra to wel­come visi­tors so ev­ery year is re­ally spe­cial. You can find a list of events hap­pen­ing across the dio­cese dur­ing the week at www.dio­ce­se­ofnor­wich.org/open/

Will there be any­thing new?

This year the Dio­cese of Nor­wich launched a photograph­y com­pe­ti­tion aimed at test­ing en­trants’ creative photograph­y skills by cap­tur­ing what they thought the church in ac­tion was. The over­all aim was for en­trants to show how the church, whether as a build­ing or a group of peo­ple, is serv­ing their com­mu­nity. The en­tries were short­listed down to 12 photos, which toured Nor­folk to be judged by the pub­lic as well as a panel of judges. The win­ners are go­ing to be an­nounced at Wy­mond­ham Abbey on Au­gust 13, which I think will be a lovely way to end a fan­tas­tic week!

Above: Car­o­line Rawlings, church de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, co­or­di­nates Open Churches Week in Nor­wich Dio­cese

The Bishop of Nor­wich ,The Rt Revd Gra­ham James, ar­rives at St Benets Abbey by wherry on the Broads to lead a spe­cial open air ser­vice St Benet’s Abbey the for­mer wealthy Bene­dic­tine house of An­glo-Saxon foun­da­tion

A free guide to churches in Nor­folk and Waveney which are open week­days, as well as Sun­days, can be picked up at tourist in­for­ma­tion cen­tres and li­braries and is on­line at www.dio­ce­se­ofnor­wich. org/visit­ing/guides

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