The Church of St. Peter’s Lt. Thurlow is now part of the Stour Head Benefice which was created on 30 October 1977, with H.M. The Queen signing the oYcial order. This means that we no longer have our own rector but share one with Gt. Thurlow, Gt. and Lt. Bradley, Gt. and Lt. Wratting, Kedington and Barnardiston. The Reverend John Eley took charge on 15 June 1998, when he was inducted at All Saints, Gt. Thurlow.
Two services are held each month in St. Peter’s: a communion service following the Alternative Service Book or matins from the Book of Common Prayer at 11 a.m. on the first Sunday of each month, and communion service from the Book of Common Prayer at 8 p.m. on the third Sunday. On the month which has five Sundays a benefice service is moved around, each church getting its turn. The parochial Church Council has eleven members. Five parishioners read the lessons, and the hymns are mostly from “Ancient and Modern”, sometimes from “A Hundred Hymns”.
The average congregation at services is only about twelve. The yearly quota is £3,000, this sum being mainly for rector’s stipend, and fund-raising events are held to pay for this, mainly the Thurlow Fayre (in 1997 £549.75), the Christmas bazaar (1997 £180) and plant sales.
The church is decorated for the Harvest Festival (usually in October) and at Christmas, when the Thurlow Estate provides a Christmas tree. A flower rota is in operation but on special occasions everyone helps out, Easter being the most important. Marriages by parishioners from any of these parishes can take place in any of the churches belonging to the benefice, but very few baptisms and marriages take place as the population is mainly elderly and families are mostly very small and the popularity of cremation means that traditional funerals and burials are seldom held. However some people do have a service in Church, which is well attended by village people. The practice of drawing curtains when the cortege passes through the village has long gone, as has the use of the hand-pulled bier. In the 30s the village had its own undertaker, but huge limousines from outside the village are now used.
The pews and woodwork were restored in 1996 and the old bier was placed in the church in 1997. A new lectionary was given in 1998 by Len and Sylvia Robinson to celebrate forty years of marriage.
The 18th century chandelier which was stolen on 8 April 1997 and returned later that year now has a new brass dove on its top for which the Parochial Church Council paid £900.
The bells are to be re-hung for the millennium. There are five, and they were last re-hung with new fittings for chiming only in 1965. Now they can peal out once more.
The following are the costs of church services at the present time:
Verger £16 Banns of marriage £4
Marriage Certificate £67
Funeral Service £28
Organist for weddings £42
Organist for funerals £31
Use of video in church £52
Burial following funeral £111
Burial on separate occasion £33
No service in church burial £111 Cremation £33
Monuments range from £7 for a small wooden cross to £63 for a memorial stone.
St Peter’s, Little Thurlow