Welcome Message

Prayer, Witness and Service

Welcome to the website for the Waterside Group of Churches (Benefice), we are a group of church communities committed to following Jesus and sharing his love in the heart of the Norfolk Broads.

Our four parish churches are All Saints', Catfield, St. Mary's, Hickling, St. Catherine’s, Ludham and St. Nicholas, Potter Heigham. A warm welcome can be found at all of our churches, we look forward to greeting new visitors and old friends alike.

The four churches of the Waterside Benefice are committed to providing a welcome to all members of the community and our many visitors. We do this through prayer, visible witness and practical involvement in our individual parishes and in our community.

The Waterside Group has a deep desire to show the Grace of God in its community, guided by the example of Jesus Christ.

The Churches of the Waterside Group Benefice

All Saints, Catfield

All Saints, Catfield

The church at Catfield was completely rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries, built in traditional Anglian flint and stone. The oldest part of the church is the 14th century west tower. In the tower is a first floor chamber used as a residence by the priest. It contains a fireplace and recessed stone cupboard, with light from four narrow lancet windows. Above the nave arcades are traces of wall paintings. One thought to have been painted around 1377 and shows Stephen kneeling in prayer, while two men throw stones. All Saints contains many more treasures click on the link below to discover more and to find out about our services.

St Mary's, Hickling

St Mary's, Hickling

St. Mary's church was built in the 13th century by the canons of Hickling Priory, founded by the Valoins family in 1185. Hickling village is situated on the edge of the Hickling Broads, a popular destination for tourists and holiday makers. St. Mary's is said to be a gem of a historic building, in a beautiful setting. The striking west tower is perhaps the best feature of the church. It stands 90 feet high, with diagonal corner buttresses rising over 3 stages high towards an embattled top. For more information about the church and services held there click on the link below.

The parish of Hickling remains part of the Waterside Benefice until a planned pastoral reorganisation moves it formally to the Coastal Benefice. In the meantime, it is under the care of Canon Catherine Dobson.

St Catherine's, Ludham

St Catherine's, Ludham

St Catherine's church sits at the centre of the pretty village of Ludham. Its size and splendour is a reminder of Ludham's wealth in the heady days of the 14th and 15th centuries, when Norfolk thrived on the proceeds of the wool trade. The present church was begun in the 14th century, but only the striking west tower and the chancel date from this period. The nave was rebuilt in the 15th century in Perpendicular style and given a superb hammer-beam roof of oak. St. Catherine's contains many uniqe and interisting features click on the link below for more information about these and services and events held in the church.

St Nicholas, Potter Heigham

St Nicholas, Potter Heigham

Situated in a quiet spot amongst trees at the edge of the village. St Nicholas is one of Norfolks round tower churches, an early round tower rising over 10 meters has an embattled octagon belfry added around C14. Remarkable are the six tall Perpendicular clerestory windows on both north and south sides of the church topped by a neatly thatched roof. Inside can be found a striking brick font and many wall paintings the best are the Seven Works of Mercy in the south aisle. For more about these wall paintings and to find out about services click on the link below.

Worship in the
Waterside Group Benefice

sunday service

Churches in the Waterside Group are open for worship as follows:

Face coverings must be worn to all services

Sunday 2 May
St Catherine's, Ludham, led by John Savage at 10am also on Zoom
St Nicholas', Potter Heigham, led by Christine Wall at 10am, joint service with All Saints', Catfield
*St Mary's, Hickling, led by Ian Watton at 10:30am

Sunday 9 May
St Catherine's, Ludham, Holy Communion led by The Rev'd David Smith at 10am also on Zoom
All Saints', Catfield led by Judith Gardiner at 10am joint service with St Nicholas', Potter Heigham
*St Mary's, Hickling, Celebration led by Rev Cannon Catherine Dobson at 10:30am

Thursday 13 May - Ascension Day
St Catherine's, Ludham, Evensong led by Christine Wall at 6pm also on Zoom
*St Mary's, Hickling, Holy Communion led by The Rev Cannon Catherine Dobson and Ian Watton at 10:30am

Sunday 16 May
St Catherine's, Ludham, led by Lynda Savage at 10am also on Zoom
St Nicholas', Potter Heigham, led by Judith Gardiner at 10am joint service with All Saints', Catfield
*St Mary's, Hickling, Family Service led by Ian Watton at 10:30am

Sunday 23 May - Pentecost
St Catherine's, Ludham, led by Christine Wall at 10am also on Zoom
All Saints', Catfield, Holy Communion led by The Rev'd Margaret Whittaker at 10am joint service with St Nicholas', Potter Heigham
*St Mary's, Hickling, Morning Service led by Ian Watton at 10:30am

Sunday 30 May - Trinity Sunday
St Catherine's, Ludham, led by Stephen Pitkethly at 10am joint service with Ludham Methodist Church also on Zoom
St Nicholas', Potter Heigham, led by Judith Gardiner at 10am joint service with All Saints', Catfield
*St Mary's, Hickling, United Holy Communion led by The Revd Canon Catherine Dobson and Ministry Team at 10:30am

* The parish of Hickling remains part of the Waterside Benefice until a planned pastoral reorganisation moves it formally to the Coastal Benefice. In the meantime, it is under the care of Canon Catherine Dobson.


Has the Church Died during Coronavirus?

During the past few months churches have been locked and apparently desolate. Yet Christianity is not suffering. Amongst other things, many of us have been meeting 'virtually' for weekly Sunday worship, using our computers.

Initially, many of us disliked computers and some were a little apprehensive, But with a bit of determination and not a little excitement we embarked on a road which has been a comfort to many and has kept the 'word of God' alive and kicking in our villages a bit reminiscent of those first believers, meeting against all odds, at the very beginnings of Christianity some 2000 years ago. So successful has this enterprise been that it may become a permanent feature of Christian worship, running alongside in-church services.

Some cannot get to church through age, disability or other reasons; they may feel reluctant to take that first step; but if you would like to join us, from your own home, at 9.30am on a Sunday morning for an informal time of worship you will find it very easy.

Contact me at Email: johndsavage@ymail.com to receive simple advice on how to download ZOOM and follow the links. Yes, I know it sounds daunting but it really is easy and we could even arrange a 'trial run'!

You will find us happy, relaxed, welcoming and so very pleased to see you.

The true 'Church' is not the large building we see in our villages, it is the people who love God, want to share His love and want to find out more about His Son, Jesus Christ! Are you one of those people?

John Savage
Authorised Worship Assistant
Waterside Benefice


Worship on Zoom

Benefice wide Zoom Sunday Worship joins
St Catherine's for its Sunday Morning Service.

Please see the list of upcoming Benefice Services on this page for details.

To view or download a PDF copy of this week's Order of Service click the button here.


Holy Communion

Holy Communion, represents the greatest expression of God's love for His people.

Today, when we partake of the bread and wine at Holy Communion, we are declaring that Jesus' divine life flows in our mortal bodies and that we are forgiven and have been made righteous.

Jesus' blood gives us right standing before God, and we can go boldly into God's presence (Hebrews 4:16).

When we pray, we can be sure that God hears us!

Join us for Holy Communion at Ludham on the 2nd Sunday of the month, all are welcome.


Churches in the Benefice are also open for individual prayer and reflection during the week.

For more details visit the church's webpage using the tab at the top of this page.


St Benets Deanery on YouTube

Watch the first St Benets Deanery YouTube service that took place on Trinity Sunday 7 June.

Led by Revd Canon Catherine Dobson.
Rector, The Coastal Group.
Rural Dean, St Benet at Waxham & Tunstead, Diocese of Norwich.

You can find this on your YouTube app or smart tv or click play on the image below.


Services at Norwich Cathedral on YouTube

Follow this link for the Norwich Cathedral Services YouTube Channel.

Local Church Service Live Streams

In line with Government guidance all church buildings are closed, however many churches are live streaming services, hosting virtual groups, and sharing content digitally.

The Diocese of Norwich provides a full list and links to churches across Norfolk and Waveney on their website at the following link.


The following link to the Church of England website offers links to prayer resources, guidance and further information.


Join in a service of Daily Prayer

The following link to the Church of England website offers the opportunity to join in a service of Daily Prayer which is available in both contemporary and traditional forms and for all times of day.


Supporting good mental health

Given the challenging times we are living in with coronavirus, the Church of England have updated their booklet supporting good mental health with new reflections and new resources. They seek to provide hope, reassurance and comfort.

If you want to speak to someone, please visit the Mental Health Foundation website, which has lots of helpful resources and contacts. Visit the Mental Health Foundation website.


Church of England on your Smart speaker

Access the Church of England with your Smart speaker for prayers, explanations of the Christian faith, location-based information about local church events and services, and more.

To get started, just follow the instructions for your device below

"Alexa, open the Church of England"
"Hey Google, talk to the Church of England"

Church of England
Facebook page

Follow the Church of England on its Facebook page to follow live services and events, and to receive regular prayer and guidance.

Morning Prayer
St Catherine's Ludham
Every Wednesday 8:30am

Suspended - meetings will resume as soon as it is deemed appropriate to do so

Join us at St Catherine’s Church during the week for a short time of prayer and scripture reading as we celebrate morning prayer.

Morning Prayer is said at St Catherine's Church, Ludham every Wednesday morning at 8:30. The office is said from Common Worship: Daily Prayer, embracing the three key elements of praise, intercession and engagement with Scripture.

All are welcome to join us for Morning Prayer.


Julian Prayer Meeting in Hickling every third Tuesday in the month

Suspended - meetings will resume as soon as it is deemed appropriate to do so.

However, contact in the group is being continued via email or post of the reading to folk so that they may pray when we would normally meet.

Are you drawn to Christian Contemplative Prayer and Meditation?

Julian Meetings are meetings for Christian silent, contemplative prayer.

We meet in Hickling every third Tuesday in the month at 10:00am.

People from all denominations are very welcome to join us.

In silent, contemplative prayer we seek to be aware of the presence of God and to remain in that presence, completely open to God.

Waiting, Listening, Open, here we meet with God. "All we can do in prayer is dispose ourselves.  The rest is in the power of the Spirit who leads us."
 Theresa of Avila 16th C.

For more information contact Zephney Kennedy Tel: 01692 598179 email: zlkndy@gmail.com

Please check the monthly Hickling Herald or Benefice calender for any changes.

Waterside Message

Village message

The month of May holds two Christian festivals, Ascension Day and Pentecost. Let’s think about Ascension Day. Do you really expect me to believe that Jesus Christ was crucified, died, rose to life again and then ascended to ‘heaven’? Interesting question. Do you have to park your brain at the door going into church? Is it committing intellectual suicide to be a Christian? Not at all. The Christian faith is based on facts.

Let’s take the ancient texts of the New Testament, are they reliable? Well, over the years, they have been subjected to the science of textual analysis, as are all texts from antiquity. Textual analysis asks the questions; when was it written? When was the earliest copy? What is the time span between the originals and the earliest copy? How many copies are there? The smaller the time span and the greater the number of accurate copies the better.

The Greek historian Herodotus wrote in the period 488-428BC, the earliest copy is dated to 900AD, that’s a span of 1300 years and there are 8 copies. He is often referred to as “The Father of History”.

The New Testament was written between 40-100AD, the earliest copies are from 130AD with full manuscripts from 350AD.That is a span of 30 to 300 years for full manuscripts. There are 5000+ Greek copies,10,000 Latin and 9,300 others.

The New Testament stands head and shoulders above any other text from antiquity when using textual analysis. The problem is that it’s content challenges us to make a decision. Was Jesus a liar? Was he plain evil? Was he, who he claimed to be, the Son of God?

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

Stephen Pitkethly
AWA Waterside Benefice


Weddings, Baptism and Funerals

It is our privilege to be involved in many of the significant moments of people's lives. Here at The Waterside Group of Churches we will do our best to guide you through what Christians mean by baptism, marriage and funerals.

In the light of recent Government advice on non-essential contact, you should also check the Church of England's website FAQ's for up to date guidance on Weddings, Baptisms and Finerals. Click following link to view



We are committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults and ensuring their wellbeing.

If you have any concerns for a child or vulnerable adult then please contact :

All Saints, Catfield - Judith Gardiner - tel 01692 580391
St Catherine's, Ludham - Helen Middleton - tel 01692 678072
St Mary's, Hickling - Zephney Kennedy - tel 01692 598179
St Nicholas, Potter Heigham - Judith Gardiner - tel 01692 580391

As part of The Church of England, The Waterside Benefice, its clergy and leaders are committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church.

‘The Church of England is called to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The life of our communities and institutions is integral to how we address this task. The good news speaks of welcome for all, with a particular regard for those who are most vulnerable, into a community where the value and dignity of every human being is affirmed and those in positions of responsibility and authority are truly trustworthy. Being faithful to our call to share the gospel therefore compels us to take with the utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing abuse from happening and responding well where it has’.

From ‘Promoting a Safer Church’, The Church of England’s Safeguarding Policy Statement.

Below is a link to the Norwich Diocesan Safeguarding page with contact details for Diocesan Safeguarding.

You can also speak to the ChildLine helpline - call free on 0800 1111

or click on the link below to find out how they can help.


The Friends of St Benet's Abbey

It is our privilege to be involved with The Friends of St Benet’s Abbey.

The Abbey has stood for over 1,000 years on the site near Ludham/Horning in Norfolk.

Founded in 1019 on land close to the meeting place of the rivers Bure and Ant in Norfolk, St Benet's Abbey was the only Benedictine monastery in Norfolk, founded in the Anglo-Saxon period which continued in use throughout the Middle Ages.



Throughout the year the churches of The Waterside Group Benefice organise regular events for all the family.

For more information about our upcoming events got to the calendar/events page.


Photos & Video

Take a look at some photographs and video clips from past events and services on our media page, click on the link below.


Bible Discussion Group

bible discussion Thanks to the hospitality of the Methodist Church, the Bible Discussion Group that met at The Greyhound will be able to meet together after a break of six months.

We look forward to welcoming new members and old friends to the meetings in the Church Room of the Methodist Chapel in Hickling.

Please bring your own cup or mug for tea or coffee.

All Covid related precautions will be adhered to when we meet.

Everyone is welcome to join us.

We read a passage from the Bible and discuss issues raised – and others.

If you would like to meet us and join us there, please contact Zephney Kennedy Tel: 01692 598179 email: zlkndy@gmail.com

Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path. Psalm 27:11

Please check the monthly Hickling Herald or here on the Benefice website for any changes.


Waterside Scratch Band

Suspended - meetings will resume as soon as it is deemed appropriate to do so

sratch band

We are the church band for the “Waterside” group of parishes.

We meet for practice, fellowship, fun and a tea break every Thursday evening at 7.30pm to around 9.30pm in Ludham Church Room.

Singers and players of all sorts of instruments, and all levels of ability are more than welcome to join us.

For more information contact: David Frost, Tel 07981 002144 or Helen Middleton, Tel 01692 678072 Email helenmiddleton315@btinternet.com


Would You Like To Be More Involved In Your Local Church

All are welcome. We need musicians, readers, singers for the choir/worship group, people who would like to pray, worship assistants, help with buildings and maintenance.

People to help with youth and children's work, people who would like to help with pastoral care, fundraising people.

Would you like to host a house group or fellowship group? There are many opportunities for all.

Please come along to one of our churches and speak to a Churchwarden.

Ministry Team

Vicar - Vacant

John Savage (Authorised Worship Assistant, Ludham Organist and Choirmaster)


01692 678654

John Savage (Authorised Worship Assistant, Organist and Choirmaster)

Lynda Savage (Authorised Worship Assistant, Verger)


01692 678654

Lynda Savage (Authorised Worship Assistant, Verger)

Christine Wall (Authorised Worship Assistant)


Christine Wall (Authorised Worship Assistant)

Stephen Pitkethly (Authorised Worship Assistant)


Stephen Pitkethly (Authorised Worship Assistant)

Judith Gardiner (Authorised Worship Assistant, Churchwarden All Saints' Catfield)


Judith Gardiner (Authorised Worship Assistant, Churchwarden All Saints Catfield)

Zephney Kennedy (Authorised Worship Assistant)


01692 598179

Zephney Kennedy (Authorised Worship Assistant)

How to reach us

For enquiries during the vacancy please contact:

The Revd Catherine Dobson
Rural Dean St Benet at Waxham & Tunstead


Dioces of NorwichThe Church of EnglandChurch Support HubChurch Support Hub Website