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Parish Weekend Away
St Andrew's & St Mary's

Friday 26-28 April 2019
Belsey Bridge Conference Centre, Ditchingham, Bungay, Suffolk NR35 2DZ

 Relax                       Reflect                   Refresh
Our 2019 joint Parish Weekend Away was a great time for all who were lucky enough to go. With ages ranging from 2 to 80+, it was an opportunity to spend time together across our two congregations from St Andrew's and St Mary's, for friendships to be made and strengthened, plenty of fun and laughter to be had and time for worship, teaching and reflection, too. 

We returned to Belsey Bridge in Suffolk for a joint Parish Weekend Away after our first such visit in April 2017. Our theme for the 2019 weekend was Amazing Grace - God's radical hospitality and loving kindness. We had the opportunity to:

Relax   in 20 acres of grounds, country walks, wide games, evening bar
Reflect   with optional workshops and talks
Refresh   with times of worship and prayer

A selection of photos from the 2019 Weekend Away:

Reflections on the Weekend Away 2019:

Amazing Grace - God's radical hospitality and loving kindness was the theme for our Joint Parish weekend on 26th–28th April held at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre near Bungay, Suffolk.
CHRIS SEWARD: On the Sunday afternoon, travelling home on the A14 near Bury St Edmund’s, we spoke about exiting a great big bubble. For forty eight hours we had been at Belsey Bridge, surrounded by friends, immersed in the details of our programme and, yes, filled with the spirit of God.  The worship was uplifting, the workshops laid the ground for new directions and the companionship helped forge new and deeper friendships. We pray that the energy and enthusiasm of everyone who took the road to Suffolk will sustain us over the months ahead.
Well done to the birders who rose at 5.30am to enjoy the special qualities of the Dawn Chorus in late April. Congratulations to the walkers who trod a very windy (but not too lengthy) path across the country footpaths led by Helen & Robin and thank you to the leader of our Saturday evening game called “Don’t Miss the Train” - Wayne, you were awesome!
We set ourselves a mission to explore and understand a little better God’s amazing grace. We reflected on the idea that we are all in receipt of His grace, always without deserving, sometimes without asking or, indeed, realising. God’s hospitality to us knows no boundaries. Now we are home, out of the bubble, the challenge is to remember this on a daily basis and to keep the spirit of hospitality alive for all we meet and for all who seek.

PETER SHARMAN: I really enjoyed going on the church weekend away at Belsey Bridge.  This was my second time of going there and I really enjoyed my first, so I looked forward to more fun. The activities that we did were really good. We did this game where there were lots of names of countries around the room, then someone would read out a law and you had to go to the country you thought the law was in.  Also, the first year I was in a room with my parents, so I really liked having my own room away from Mum (and Dad who couldn’t come this time).  Another pro was that I was always surrounded by friends in our corridor area. To add to that I really enjoyed doing the puppet show – even though they are really heavy. I also loved the range of food there was.  I am generally a fussy eater.  However, there was always something I liked.

HAZEL & PETER RISBY: A week-end full of grace, with plenty of everything to suit everyone.
Planned to perfection to give loads of absorbing workshops with a wide range of worship and plenty of time to reflect, relax, chill out and socialise. There was even time for two of the most elderly couples, both of whom live in bungalows, to walk from their second floor rooms furthest from the dining and activity areas to arrive at them in good time!
We got home exhausted but exhilarated!
Our sincere thanks and congratulations to all those who gave us such a memorable occasion. 

Hello and welcome to St Andrew's. If you are new, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello 

The following information is specifically for those planning a visit so that you know, beforehand, what to expect on a Sunday morning. During the period of Covid-19, please see the information at the bottom of this page.

Where and When

We meet at the Church Building (details below) for our main Sunday Service starting at 10.30am. For your first visit, we recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early to ensure you find a parking space and can settle in before the service begins. When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team who will be wearing a Welcome Badge.

Plan your journey:
Unfortunately, St Andrew's does not have its own carpark. However, there is a council-run pay and display carpark a short distance along St Andrew Street, to the east of the church - there is no charge for parking in this carpark on Sundays, but please check for charges on other days.

This is a useful East Herts Council website page for full details of parking in Hertford.

There are single yellow lines outside the church with parking restrictions, but some 30-minute parking bays are situated on the opposite side of the road for short stays (longer on Sundays).

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There is a disabled toilet towards the back of the church, behind the kitchen.

Our Service

The service will usually begin promptly at 10.30am and will last between 60 and 75 minutes. We enjoy the presence of an excellent choir who help us sing hymns (modern and traditional) as well as provide anthems and special songs through the period of communion. We have a traditional organ but also benefit from music played on the piano and by our band (eg on the Second Sunday of each month when we have an All-Age Service in which our children and young people are fully involved).

Each 10.30am service includes a sermon, prayers and eucharist.

After the service, everyone is invited for coffee and conversation - some like to stay for a  quick chat while others remain in the church for a longer time.


Children and Young People

We have a great programme lined up for our children. This is organised by our Family, Children and Youth Worker, Tracy Plumpton, who is always delighted to welcome new faces. Those arriving before their first service at St Andrew’s can ask to see Tracy or one of the other leaders.

We really value worshipping God together as a family, so children stay with their parent or grown-up at the start of the service before being invited to leave for the age appropriate activities after the first hymn. You will need to go with your children to their groups and register them as part of our child safety policy.

The children and young people then return to the main service in time to join the eucharist and, if confirmed, take Holy Communion or, if not, receive a blessing.

There is a Children's Corner in church where you can go at any time. You will find books, toys and drawing materials there.

Toilet and baby-change facilities are located at the back of church, behind the kitchen.

Junior Church celebration

Getting Connected

Home Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week. Check out Home Groups on our website and see if there’s one that you could join. Alternatively, speak to a member of the Welcome Team who will give you the information that you need.

Serving and Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. Please contact Phil in the Church Office.

What we describe above reflects our normal practice on Sunday mornings. However, since March 2020 we have had to adopt new ways of organising ourselves. For up-to-date information about current services (in church and online via Zoom), please look at details on our Worship and Prayer Page.
Get in touch with us
If you have any questions, please do get in touch. You'll find our contact details here.

We hope that you will feel at home at our church.