St Andrew's Church
The Parish Church stands looking out across the road over some fine meadows to the south. The Hall has powerful associations for all those who still remember how it used to be in the days of private ownership. If one casts back in the mental imagery, it is possible to imagine the people gathering on a Sunday for splendid Services in the days before the 1914-18 War. Of course, the grandeur of the past with all the associations with the great Blickling estate is past. The Rector and two curates for the one parish are long gone - like, sadly, the village school. The Buckinghamshire Arms continues to thrive. The great work of farming remains at the heart of what is seen all around, along with the fine features of the estate which draws so many visitors.
So back to the church and its ministry today. The proportions outside are excellent and the flint work, completed in the late 19th C, was part of an immense work of restoration lovingly, lavishly and devoutly carried out by Marchioness of Lothian, in memory of her husband. The church's elevation gives a false sense of the size of the building. The immense interior strikes some as cold, but after a few moments one begins to realise that this place has been a place of prayer - and still is. The work in many parts of the building, especially the east window - exhibited in Paris in 1856 before its installation, draw us to a sense of wanting to give worth to God in Christ. This is so also with the side altar in the south aisle; even - possibly because of? - with the great monument so awkwardly before it.
We gather for our Services either in the chancel, or - as at Christmas, Easter and Harvest - in the nave. With a good congregation the whole place becomes wonderfully alive with joy. Besides starting to explore the resources of the new Services of the Church, may we begin to explore new ways for this great place to help people know that it has been there - and is kept there - for the fundamental purpose of drawing people to trust in God.
The people of the parish are quite widely scattered, yet the Rural Community Association has been a really good focus. The old school building comes alive again often, with, one suspects, a more relaxed feel to its activities than in the days gone by. At the Queen's Jubilee the pleasure of coming together in its grounds for the celebration was a day that we shall all certainly remember.
Little Barningham, Blickling, Edgefield, Itteringham, Oulton, Wickmere, Saxthorpe & Corpusty, Norfolk, England
St Andrew's Church