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A great cuppa in St Peter’s!

21 December 2009 No Comment

Ask anyone in Sudbury, especially on market day, about Kettle & Fish and you will surely be directed towards St Peter’s Church in the centre of town, overlooking the bustling market square.

Since its inception five years ago, an estimated 350 people have entered through the doors most Thursdays between 10am and 2pm, to receive a really warm welcome from one of the volunteer staff keen to show the scheme’s hospitality.  For a very modest price, visitors can avail themselves of some delicious fare: soups, filled rolls, home-baked cakes, tea and coffee – and sit down to savour either peace and tranquillity in the ‘Quiet Area’ or the buzz of people milling around perusing the Romanian handicrafts or the Fairtrade stall, which offers a variety of gifts, groceries, cards and jewellery.  It’s a great place to buy presents or to treat yourself! In addition, there is a bookstall with a range of new books for sale and also a second-hand bookstall where books are free of charge. From time to time charities such as St Nicholas Hospice, Sudbury Resource Centre or Age Concern can be found taking the opportunity to promote their work.

Kettle & Fish is non-profit-making, and is run by around 60 volunteers drawn from the churches in Sudbury and district, illustrating how successful working in partnership can be. Tourists keen to see this historic church are pleasantly surprised to find the opportunity to take a refreshment stop whilst at the same time marvelling at the fine architecture and sense of history.

Malcolm Offord, Chair of Kettle & Fish explained: “It’s lovely to open up the church and let people experience a sense of its specialness. Whilst this is a Christian initiative, we do not outwardly promote our faith but rather adopt a gentle approach by showing Christian hospitality. We provide a place for people to come who are lonely, worried or in need, so some of our volunteers are trained as ‘listeners’ who are available to sit with people to provide a friendly ear. But we are also here for those who simply want to take refreshment and meet up for a chat with a friend.”


Many new friendships have begun with a visit to Kettle & Fish. There is a popular area set aside for mums and tots, as well as a ‘Quiet Area’ for reflection and prayer. Here visitors can light a candle, leave prayer requests, and when there is a need for personal prayer, one of the trained team members will be more than happy to attend.

Illustrating the appeal of Kettle & Fish, Malcolm again: “We draw people from all over the county, but recently I realised just how popular we are when someone rang me up at home at the crack of dawn to ask whether we were going to be open that day, as they were making the journey from Manningtree which would entail catching at least two buses!”

Clearly, visitors are attracted to the special approach this initiative takes – so if you have not visited Kettle & Fish yet, why not come and experience for yourself this friendly and unique oasis!

Pictured: Ralph from Sudbury Baptist Church busy serving teas!

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