Author Archives: Claire

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 1st August – Ninth Sunday of Trinity

Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

To begin with, a thank-you to those who responded to my requests for views in last week’s online pew-sheet. Bearing those in mind, we will gradually introduce some more singing into our indoor services, and we will also re-introduce the shared cup at Holy Communion services. For those who might still feel uncomfortable about receiving wine in that way, please be assured that if you only receive the bread and leave the communion rail before the wine is distributed you will still have ‘received communion’. Guidance from the national church makes it clear that ‘Because of ongoing potential risks to health, an individual communicant may choose to receive only in the form of bread even if the consecrated wine is being distributed’. We will, of course, take all of the usual precautions, keeping the rim of the chalice clean by wiping it with a laundered ‘purificator’ and rotating it between communicants. All should thus be well.

As you will see elsewhere in this pew-sheet we have taken the decision to postpone Aldeburgh’s first ‘Friday Market’ from next Friday (6th) to the following Friday (13th).

The organising team say:

Sadly, our dear Aldeburgh Church friend John Aitken has recently died, and his funeral has been arranged for Friday 6th August. So, we have decided to postpone the first market as a mark of respect for John, his family, and friends. There will be many people wanting to attend the funeral. The hearse, the funeral cortege to the graveyard and the Council grave diggers will all be using the car park, so we feel it is the right thing to postpone the market.

Thank-you, team, for your thoughtfulness – it is very much appreciated.

A reminder that this Sunday (1st) afternoon in Aldeburgh church there will be two piano recitals, at 2pm and 4pm, across which Libby Burgess will play the second book of Bach’s 48 Preludes and Fugues. This is part of her extraordinary project to play ‘the 48’ in all 48 English counties. She is raising money for charities that support musicians who have had such a hard time during the Covid outbreak. Engagements simply dried up, there was no work to be had, and many had to make some very difficult decisions. Come to one or both recitals, hear some glorious music and help some very good causes.

Then, on Sundays August 8th and 15th there are afternoon concerts in Friston churchyard. Full details further down the pew sheet, and if last year was anything to go by there will be plenty to enjoy – and another very worthwhile charity, St Elizabeth’s Hospice, to support.

With my love and prayers, as ever

Mark

Collect
Almighty God, who sent your Holy Spirit
to be the life and light of your Church:
open our hearts to the riches of your grace,
that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit
in love and joy and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Exodus 16.2-4, 9-15
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.

Second Reading
Ephesians 4.1-16
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’  (When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Gospel Reading
John 6.24-35
So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’  Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Sermon for 1st August – Ninth Sunday after Trinity,
by The Revd James Marston

JOHN 6.1-21

May I speak in the name of the living God, Father son and holy spirit

“Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.”
John chapter 6; The feeding of the 5,000. It is one of the most familiar stories from the ministry of Jesus. The miracle where generosity overflows and the followers of Christ begin to understand something of who he is, after eating together.

This episode’s Eucharistic themes of drawing together and feeding the community is followed by a sense of recognition and understanding. Perhaps this is why this story resonates so powerfully. Because we too often miss what is happening until after the event.

I’m afraid we all often fail to see the depths of what God is doing, because we are all too focused only on what serves our own desires and needs. We fail to realize how graciously God is acting among us, for our sake and for the sake of the whole world.

As St Paul hints of in our reading this morning we may be “rooted and grounded in love” but we still need prayer to develop and nourish our faith and our souls. We may see something of the unknowable depth of the love of Christ but we only see partially and in distorted ways.

We need the continuing word and sacrament if we are to move more deeply into the glory of God. This is what the crowds need as well, though it will take all of chapter 6 to tell the story.

As many of you I talk far too much about myself, but if you’ll indulge me today I thought I might tell you something of my experience at the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

It has been a fascinating few weeks, not because I got to flounce around in my cassock, or swing the incense or sing an evensong – I did none of those things in the end. Instead the time there was used getting to know the clergy team, observing who does what, talking to the various congregation members and volunteers who serve God in that place in such a diverse and inspiring variety of ways.

I chatted with the Dean about church leadership, I discussed worship and liturgy with the liturgist, I spent time with the pastoral team that looks after and holds in prayer those who need and require that pastoral support. These are things we do in our benefice and it took me by surprise what we might learn from there, and indeed how the cathedral might even learn from us.

Yet above all those few weeks away gave me a chance to see myself with fresh eyes, and to see our context and churches with greater clarity. As well as giving me time to think, to assess, to stand back and to reflect on, not only the last two years but the future a bit as well. My placement at the cathedral was, in the end, less about learning cathedral ministry and more about reflecting on my own and our journey of formation and faith.

Changes, even transformations, have happened to me that I hadn’t realised had been going on. And as you, this congregation and those across the benefice, have been training me alongside Mark and the other clergy and, indeed the wider community, I thought it might be interesting to update you and share with you something of what this moment up the mountain, away from the hebdomadal routine, has revealed to me.

Firstly that, as I deaconed the mass at the cathedral, I was struck how far I’d come, how much more comfortable I am now in front of a large congregation, how powerful it is to read the gospel and how fortunate I am to have this calling. From my first service here when the nerves and adrenalin made me almost wonder however I’d got into it all to today when I preside on my own with excitement and gladness as we share again the Eucharistic feast.

But perhaps most importantly, my time away has made me realise how being here among you has ultimately deepened my faith, taught me to be seen through a different lens and shaped and encouraged my vocation and formation in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Not least, and now I see it is obvious, the startling recognition that the Holy Spirit is ultimately engaging us all, in different ways and in different respects on a journey to proclaim and to live the gospel in this place. It may not always feel like it, we may not even notice it, but we are all pulling on the same rope and engaged in the same project – one of simply sharing God’s love.

To be part of the Body of Christ in this benefice is to be in a community of mutual support and of love. And we must never lose sight of that.

As our rector Mark prepares to leave us, and this will be far more painful I think than we quite yet realise, I am, at the request of the bishops, to be curate-in-charge during what the church calls the interregnum.

Practically, this means that over the coming months, I am expecting to chair PCC meetings, work closely with the churchwardens, maintain the rota with clergy colleagues who will continue to take services, administer the sacraments, conduct the occasional offices, offer pastoral care, and keep the whole thing going, crucially, with your support and encouragement.

This in-between time is not really a time for big decisions or missional initiatives or unexpected changes in direction. We aren’t quite carrying on a normal, but we are carrying on.

And I promise we’ll do our best not to upset the flower ladies.

The concept of this time without leadership is one that is very different from the world from which I and most of us come. It might feel like a time of uncertainty and for many is frankly odd, in comparison with the commercial or public sector world.

Indeed, in previous incarnations my boss would have been replaced almost before he or she left – but in the church we take a step back, we calm ourselves, we reflect, we put our trust in God as we take time to think and look at ourselves and examine who and what we are and who and what we have become.

Just like Jesus and his disciples in John chapter 6, our community will go up the mountain to get a different view of things in order to come down it again and get on with the job we are all called to do.

Amen

Post Communion
Holy Father, who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you reveal the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language to share in the eternal
banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Next week
Sunday 8th August
Tenth Sunday after Trinity

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NOTICES

Mark’s Retirement

As we all know, we will be saying a very sad farewell to our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther at the end of August, as he starts his retirement.  All the churches in the Benefice are arranging last services etc for Mark, which I am sure the church you worship at has informed you.  At Aldeburgh we are hoping to have a 
Summer Suffolk Farewell Concert, with Geoff Lavery, and friends performing on the 22nd August 3-4pm, followed by tea and cake in the Church Hall. 
On the 29th August, we are hoping to have a Benefice Holy Communion Service.  On how many we have depends on you really.  We need your input.  Are you happy to attend church with larger numbers, without social distancing, and happy to sing, or would you prefer to be seated socially distanced and NOT sing? Or are you happy to celebrate Mark’s retirement at your preferred church you normally worship in?  We really want this to work, but need an idea of your wishes, so we can plan.  Your safety is our priority.  So please let Claire know your thoughts at admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk or speak to one of the clergy or churchwardens at the next service you attend.  Of course, all these celebrations can only go ahead if we are permitted to do so, and no restrictions return that could put people at risk.

 

Alde Sandlings Benefice Fun Days in August

UPDATE – THE FIRST FRIDAY MARKET WILL NOW BE ON THE 13TH AUGUST not the 6th as previously advertised.

As many of you know August is the month for Aldeburgh Church to host their Friday Markets. Unfortunately, last year was cancelled due to Covid. This year things are hugely better, but we still need to approach with caution. So, this August we will have two Friday markets on the 13th and 27th 10am – 2pm. The proposed stalls are as follows:

BBQ, Vegetables, Plants, Fruit and Flowers, Cakes and Savouries, Jams etc, Craft Stalls, General Bric a Brac. Tombola and Games. All the churches in the Alde Sandlings are invited to have their chosen stalls to raise much depleted funds for the churches. Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk if any church members of the Alde Sandlings Benefice would like to have a stall.

EVERYONE WELCOME

Weekly Benefice Newsletter

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

 

Aldringham Outdoor Services

The services start at 11am in the beautiful Aldringham churchyard. Weather permitting, these services will continue throughout July, August and September. August 8th will be the date for the annual Animal Service, 3pm in the churchyard.  We can’t guarantee that there will be no interruptions as the animals may have difficulty following the order of service but all animals, insects, etc. (and their owners)

ALL VERY WELCOME

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op

Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

 

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 

Pilgrims Together

The Pilgrim’s will be taking an August break from the Wednesday evening Zoom gatherings. They will be returning on Wednesday 1st September. They continue to worship by The Meare at Thorpeness every Sunday in August.
See poster in this newsletter for more information.

 

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat.

Please contact admin@aldeburghchurch.org.uk for the links

 

The 2021 Suffolk Historic Churches Ride and Stride

Saturday 11th September 9am-5pm

The Annual Sponsored Ride and Stride is a national event, and every second Saturday in September cyclists and walkers all round the country are out making money for their local county Churches Trust.
If you would like to take part, you can either walk, cycle or be a recorder on the day, or of course, you might like to
sponsor one of the team, please either:

  1. Email admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk and Claire will pass on your details to the team organiser at each church.
  2. Or see them at the church you worship (Fran Smith, Aldeburgh, David Copp, Aldringham) where they will be pleased to give you a sponsor form and take your details.

More information from Friston and Knodishall next week.

 

Project 48 Concerts at Aldeburgh Church
1st August 2pm & 4pm –
We are delighted to announce that we will be joined by pianist Libby Burgess, who will be playing Bach’s Well Tempered Klavier. Tickets £10 on the door..

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 25th July – Eighth Sunday of Trinity

Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

Last week I said that any changes that we made to our ways of ‘being church’ on a Sunday morning might well be cautious to begin with. We have now received guidance from the national church which you can read here by copying and pasting into a web browser or click on the link in the covering email (the link most probably won’t work on this document).  Or please email admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for the link.

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/
files/2021-07/COVID%2019%20Guidance%
20from%20the%2019th
%20July%202021%20v1.0.pdf

It is a long document but contains much useful information, but it makes clear that final decisions lie with incumbents. I met with clergy colleagues this week and we will be meeting frequently in the weeks to come. We think that we should begin our relaxation of rules gently, listen to what members of the congregations say to us (particularly after a service) and then take appropriate action. We will try our best to accommodate a range of views – because we believe that there is a range of views in our church communities. I have heard from people who would like to be able to sing lustily and never wear a face-mask and I have also heard from those who would be very frightened by that prospect. I have to take decisions for the general good and they will not, I fear, please everyone. Please do be patient and hopefully it will not be too long before we can return to something much more like the old days.

This week, at the usual times, there will be indoor services in Aldeburgh and Friston and (hopefully) an outdoor one in Aldringham. Our Thorpeness Summer Services begin too – at 9.30am by The Meare. At each service we will sing. The indoor services will have a single hymn at the very end, meaning that if anyone feels uncomfortable they can leave without missing any of the liturgy. This will allow us to discover what it feels like to sing and how happy we are doing it. For the celebration of Holy Communion in Aldeburgh this week I have asked that we stick to the way that we have been receiving communion in recent weeks, distributing only bread. I would really like to know your views on how comfortable you would be sharing a chalice. As I am sure you are aware, when we distribute the wine at Holy Communion, we both rotate the chalice, to mean that no-one drinks from the same part of the cup as the previous communicant, and we wipe the rim of the chalice with a freshly laundered cloth (a ‘purificator’) which should minimise the possibility of anything nasty being transferred from person to person. Please do feel free to let me, or whoever is leading the service that you attend on Sunday, know what you think.

May I also draw your attention to the notice about Duke Dobing and Alan Bullard’s short flute and piano recital in Friston church in Sunday afternoon and also the notice about the service in Aldeburgh on August 29th.

Finally, a note about sermons in these online pew-sheets. Those of us who preach have discovered that, because people are able to read our sermons before we preach them, we are sometimes thanked (or criticised!) for something we have preached before we have preached it – which is, to say the least, a little odd! So, as an experiment, we will print the sermon in the pew-sheet the week after it has been preached, allowing it to be re-read rather than read in advance. This week we have left my sermon from last week on the sheet and next week there will be one from this week – and so on. One snag is that the sermon will then often refer to the previous week’s readings but if we put the appropriate scripture references with the sermon you should be able to look them up if necessary. Once again, please do let me know what you think.

With my love and prayers, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Almighty Lord and everlasting God,
we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies
in the ways of your laws and the works of your commandments;
that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever,
we may be preserved in body and soul;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
2 Kings 4.42-end
A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat.’ But his servant said, ‘How can I set this before a hundred people?’ So he repeated, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, “They shall eat and have some left.”’ He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.

Second Reading
Ephesians 3.14-end
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Gospel Reading
John 6.1-21
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’ When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.

Sermon for 25th July – Eighth Sunday after Trinity,
by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

JEREMIAH 23: 1-6

MARK 6: 30-34, 53-END

Good shepherds versus bad shepherds – and some disobedient sheep. That’s a linking theme between our Old Testament and Gospel readings. We know, don’t we, that sheep aren’t the brightest of animals and, as Dr Cally Hammond reminds us in her piece about today’s readings in the Church Times, they can eat themselves to death, they can walk in front of cars when roaming free, they startle at the slightest thing – and they follow a leader unthinkingly, which is a behaviour no human being wants to be charged with. A good shepherd knows about all of these faults and cares for his or her sheep anyway. But a bad shepherd …. Well, look what the prophet Ezekiel thinks of them.

‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. …. It is you who have scattered my flock and driven them away ….’ A bad shepherd can, out of either ignorance or malice, cause chaos.

Question. So how do we know who the good shepherds are? We all know of stories about charismatic shepherds of one kind or another who lead their faithful flocks astray. Or who simply don’t know how to do their job properly and the sheep just wander off.

In our gospel reading Jesus is followed – pursued even – by a great crowd who want him to do stuff for them – to take care of them and their sick loved-ones. And Jesus, the writer of Mark’s gospel tells us, had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

And, Good Shepherd that he was, Jesus was there for them. And he fed them – literally. The verses that today’s reading skips over are Mark’s version of the feeding of the five thousand with five loves and two fish. And then he healed them too.

That question again. How do we know who the good shepherds are?

Well, elsewhere in the gospels Jesus warns ‘beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.’ That’s the point, isn’t it? It’s what the shepherds actually do rather than what they promise that counts – and I’d like to site a recent, and I think relevant, example.

Last Sunday night, when England came so close to winning the European Cup, did you see what manager Gareth Southgate did at the end of the game? He must have been so disappointed that the team lost that penalty shoot-out but his first reaction was to console the young players who’d failed to net their penalties – the picture of him hugging a distraught Bukayo Saka was deeply moving. Southgate knew what it felt like. 25 years ago he’d missed a rather important one himself. And then, when he was interviewed and was given the opportunity to blame Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka for failing to score, he took the blame on himself. He’d chosen them to take the penalties, he said, so it was his fault, not theirs. And that’s a good shepherd. Oh and, by the way, during the Covid-10 epidemic, Southgate agreed to take a 30% pay cut.

A good shepherd delivers. Jesus, tired and suggesting that he and his disciples rest a while, still heals the sick. And that crowd, once ‘like sheep without a shepherd’, had found theirs.

So, in this world of clamour and conflicting demands and leaders and would-be leaders that would have us believe that they have the answers, we need to look very carefully at what is actually happening in the world and try our best to follow those who are making a positive difference. Not always easy to recognise, sometimes requiring us to change some old habits too, but vitally necessary, nonetheless. And, of course, there is one shepherd who will never let us down as long as we continue to listen to what he is saying to us. I don’t think I need to say any more, do I?

Amen

 

Post Communion

Strengthen for service, Lord,
the hands that have taken holy things;
may the ears which have heard your word be deaf to clamour and dispute;
may the tongues which have sung your praise be free from deceit;
may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love shine with
the light of hope; and may the bodies which have been fed with your body be refreshed with the fullness of your life;
glory to you for ever.

NOTICES

Mark’s Retirement 
As we all know, we will be saying a very sad farewell to our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther at the end of August, as he starts his retirement.  All the churches in the Benefice are arranging last services etc for Mark, which I am sure the church you worship at has informed you.  At Aldeburgh we are hoping to have a 
Summer Suffolk Farewell Concert, with Geoff Lavery, and friends performing on the 22nd August 3-4pm, followed by tea and cake in the Church Hall. 
On the 29th August, we are hoping to have a Benefice Holy Communion Service.  On how many we have depends on you really.  We need your input.  Are you happy to attend church with larger numbers, without social distancing, and happy to sing, or would you prefer to be seated socially distanced and NOT sing? Or are you happy to celebrate Mark’s retirement at your preferred church you normally worship in?  We really want this to work, but need an idea of your wishes, so we can plan.  Your safety is our priority.  So please let Claire know your thoughts at admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk or speak to one of the clergy or churchwardens at the next service you attend.  Of course, all these celebrations can only go ahead if we are permitted to do so, and no restrictions return that could put people at risk.

 

Alde Sandlings Benefice Fun Days in August

As many of you know August is the month for Aldeburgh Church to host their Friday Markets. Unfortunately, last year was cancelled due to Covid. This year things are hugely better, but we still need to approach with caution. So, this August we will have two Friday markets on the 6th and 27th 10am – 2pm. The proposed stalls are as follows:

BBQ, Vegetables, Plants, Fruit and Flowers, Cakes and Savouries, Jams etc, Craft Stalls, General Bric a Brac. Tombola and Games. All the churches in the Alde Sandlings are invited to have their chosen stalls to raise much depleted funds for the churches. Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk if any church members of the Alde Sandlings Benefice would like to have a stall.

 

Weekly Benefice Newsletter

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

Aldringham Outdoor Services 

The services start at 11am in the beautiful Aldringham churchyard. Weather permitting, these services will continue throughout July, August and September. August 8th will be the date for the annual Animal Service, 3pm in the churchyard.  We can’t guarantee that there will be no interruptions as the animals may have difficulty following the order of service but all animals, insects, etc. (and their owners)

ALL VERY WELCOME

Also from Aldringham

July 29th and 30th (Thursday and Friday) are the days when we will be cutting the long grass in the churchyard and we need as many people as possible to cut, rake and generally tidy up the churchyard now that most of the wildflowers we have seen have seeded.  This is always a joyous occasion and there will be a splendid picnic lunch for everybody on the Friday.  If you can come on both days, so much the better.  Gloves, rakes, strimmers, barrows will all be useful if you can bring them.

 

Project 48 Concerts at Aldeburgh Church 
1st August 2pm & 4pm

We are delighted to announce that we will be joined by pianist Libby Burgess, who will be playing Bach’s Well Tempered Klavier. Tickets £10 on the door in aid of Help Musicians, Youth Music Future Talent and Live Music Now.

 

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more information

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op 

Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

 

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 

 Friston Sunday Services on Zoom 

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more information

 

Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays 

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more information

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 18th July – Seventh Sunday of Trinity

Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

So where are we with our plans to relax restrictions in our churches? The answer, almost inevitably at this stage, involves some more waiting. I received an email from Bishop Martin yesterday (Thursday) that included the following.

I know many of you are anxious to understand how moving to Stage 4 in the Government’s unlocking of restrictions will impact churches and public worship. …

The relevant Government departments are meeting with representatives of faith groups, including the Church of England, to look at the changes and understand how to implement them. Information and updates from the National Church will be sent out as soon as we have them. We anticipate this will be next week. Some people will be keen to implement these changes as quickly as possible; others will have legitimate concerns about the risks to them and some of the people in their congregations. For this reason, please let’s stick to the current guidance from the National Church until it is updated.

This is what we will be doing this week but hopefully by next weekend, the first Sunday under the new rules, we will be able to make some positive changes. They will probably be cautious to begin with because we still need to be very careful. Though, thanks to the amazingly successful vaccination programme, the link between cases of Covid-19 and deaths has been well and truly broken the numbers of people with the virus is rising rapidly and the numbers admitted to hospital (though a much lower percentage of cases than previously) is rising too. So far Suffolk seems to be one of the safer parts of the country to be but with holidays approaching and many more folk travelling things could change very quickly. Suffolk’s public health chief has said that we need to be ‘cautious, courteous and caring’ and that sounds like a good motto to me.

A word about the 2021 version of Aldeburgh’s much-loved Friday Markets. This year we plan to hold just two markets. They will be on August 6th and 27th, be held in the church car park and run a little longer than usual, from 10.00am until 2.00pm. Each of the villages has been invited to take a table to raise money for their own church, which we thought to be a good idea when so little fundraising has been possible for so long.

I wrote last week about the concert in Aldeburgh featuring Bach’s ‘48’ and there are details further down this document. There are also details of the first of three concerts to be held this summer in Friston. Next Sunday at 3pm flautist Duke Dobing (who some of you may remember from concerts he has given in Aldeburgh) with composer and pianist (and Friston resident) Alan Bullard will play a wonderful selection of music and will include something by Alan himself – and his music is always worth hearing. Definitely one for the diary.

With my love and prayers, as ever

Mark

Collect
Lord of all power and might,
the author and giver of all good things:
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of your great mercy keep us in the same;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Jeremiah 23.1-6
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord. The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Second Reading
Ephesians 2.11-end
So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by those who are called ‘the circumcision’—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.


Gospel Reading
Mark 6.30-34, 53-end
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

 

Sermon for 18th July – Seventh Sunday after Trinity,
by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

Good shepherds versus bad shepherds – and some disobedient sheep. That’s a linking theme between our Old Testament and Gospel readings. We know, don’t we, that sheep aren’t the brightest of animals and, as Dr Cally Hammond reminds us in her piece about today’s readings in the Church Times, they can eat themselves to death, they can walk in front of cars when roaming free, they startle at the slightest thing – and they follow a leader unthinkingly, which is a behaviour no human being wants to be charged with. A good shepherd knows about all of these faults and cares for his or her sheep anyway. But a bad shepherd …. Well, look what the prophet Ezekiel thinks of them.

‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. …. It is you who have scattered my flock and driven them away ….’ A bad shepherd can, out of either ignorance or malice, cause chaos.

Question. So how do we know who the good shepherds are? We all know of stories about charismatic shepherds of one kind or another who lead their faithful flocks astray. Or who simply don’t know how to do their job properly and the sheep just wander off.

In our gospel reading Jesus is followed – pursued even – by a great crowd who want him to do stuff for them – to take care of them and their sick loved-ones. And Jesus, the writer of Mark’s gospel tells us, had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

And, Good Shepherd that he was, Jesus was there for them. And he fed them – literally. The verses that today’s reading skips over are Mark’s version of the feeding of the five thousand with five loves and two fish. And then he healed them too.

That question again. How do we know who the good shepherds are?

Well, elsewhere in the gospels Jesus warns ‘beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.’ That’s the point, isn’t it? It’s what the shepherds actually do rather than what they promise that counts – and I’d like to site a recent, and I think relevant, example.

Last Sunday night, when England came so close to winning the European Cup, did you see what manager Gareth Southgate did at the end of the game? He must have been so disappointed that the team lost that penalty shoot-out but his first reaction was to console the young players who’d failed to net their penalties – the picture of him hugging a distraught Bukayo Saka was deeply moving. Southgate knew what it felt like. 25 years ago he’d missed a rather important one himself. And then, when he was interviewed and was given the opportunity to blame Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka for failing to score, he took the blame on himself. He’d chosen them to take the penalties, he said, so it was his fault, not theirs. And that’s a good shepherd. Oh and, by the way, during the Covid-10 epidemic, Southgate agreed to take a 30% pay cut.

A good shepherd delivers. Jesus, tired and suggesting that he and his disciples rest a while, still heals the sick. And that crowd, once ‘like sheep without a shepherd’, had found theirs.

So, in this world of clamour and conflicting demands and leaders and would-be leaders that would have us believe that they have the answers, we need to look very carefully at what is actually happening in the world and try our best to follow those who are making a positive difference. Not always easy to recognise, sometimes requiring us to change some old habits too, but vitally necessary, nonetheless. And, of course, there is one shepherd who will never let us down as long as we continue to listen to what he is saying to us. I don’t think I need to say any more, do I?

Amen

 

Post Communion
Lord God, whose Son is the true vine and the source of life,
ever giving himself that the world may live:
may we so receive within ourselves the power of his death and passion
that, in his saving cup, we may share his glory and be made perfect in his love; f
or he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

Next week
Sunday 25th July
Eighth Sunday after Trinity

 

NOTICES

Alde Sandlings Benefice Fun Days in August

As many of you know August is the month for Aldeburgh Church to host their Friday Markets. Unfortunately, last year was cancelled due to Covid. This year things are hugely better, but we still need to approach with caution. So, this August we will have two Friday markets on the 6th and 27th 10am – 2pm. The proposed stalls are as follows:

BBQ, Vegetables, Plants, Fruit and Flowers, Cakes and Savouries, Jams etc, Craft Stalls, General Bric a Brac. Tombola and Games. All the churches in the Alde Sandlings are invited to have their chosen stalls to raise much depleted funds for the churches. Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk if any church members of the Alde Sandlings Benefice would like to have a stall.

 

✟ Aldringham Outdoor Services ✟

The services start at 11am in the beautiful Aldringham churchyard. Weather permitting, these services will continue throughout July, August and September. August 8th will be the date for the annual Animal Service, 3pm in the churchyard.  We can’t guarantee that there will be no interruptions as the animals may have difficulty following the order of service but all animals, insects, etc. (and their owners)

ALL VERY WELCOME

Also from Aldringham

July 29th and 30th (Thursday and Friday) are the days when we will be cutting the long grass in the churchyard and we need as many people as possible to cut, rake and generally tidy up the churchyard now that most of the wildflowers we have seen have seeded.  This is always a joyous occasion and there will be a splendid picnic lunch for everybody on the Friday.  If you can come on both days, so much the better.  Gloves, rakes, strimmers, barrows will all be useful if you can bring them.

 

Project 48 Concerts at Aldeburgh Church
1st August 2pm & 4pm

We are delighted to announce that we will be joined by pianist Libby Burgess, who will be playing Bach’s Well Tempered Klavier. Tickets £10 on the door in aid of Help Musicians, Youth Music Future Talent and Live Music Now.

Weekly Benefice Newsletter
If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op 

Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

 

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 

✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info

 

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 11th July – Sixth Sunday of Trinity

Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

Some very good news to begin with, though it is good news that we need to think about a little. Providing that the government is able to stick to its proposed timetable, and many restrictions really are lifted on Monday July 19th, we will once again be able to sing hymns in our churches. We will also be able to worship without wearing a mask and distribute Holy Communion in both kinds (bread and wine) just as before. This is all wonderful, but I feel the need to ask a question or two, along the lines of ‘we may be able to, but do we want to’? I would quite understand someone who either wished to continue wearing a mask, wished not to be close to someone who is singing or who wished not to receive wine from a common cup. Our congregations include quite a few vulnerable people, and I would not want them to feel pressurised into doing something with which they were uncomfortable or, even worse, feel that what was going on in church excluded them. We have a couple of weeks to work out what we would like to do in each of our churches and I would very much value your opinion. Please do let me, one of the churchwardens or one of the clergy team know how you feel and we will take your opinions into consideration as we make our plans. There will, doubtless, also be advice from the national church that we should heed, though I do hope that any such recommendations are flexible rather than dictatorial. More on this subject next week, no doubt.

A word or two to flesh out one of the notices further down the sheet, about Project 48. One of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most extraordinary creations is the two books of keyboard pieces that he called ‘The Well-Tempered Klavier.’ Each book contains a pairing of a Prelude and a Fugue in all 24 keys (12 major and 12 minor), so 48 pieces in all, and they’ve come to be known in musical shorthand as ‘the 48’. Now, by an extraordinary coincidence, there are 48 counties (‘ceremonial counties’) in England and pianist Libby Burgess has come up with the amazing idea of performing ‘the 48’ in all 48 counties, raising money for some good causes as she does so. All the details are here – www.bachproject48.co.uk – but if you would like to dip into Libby’s performances in Suffolk, she will be performing the 2nd book of Preludes and Fugues in Aldeburgh church on the afternoon of Sunday August 1st. She has split the music across two recitals, at 2 and 4pm and the money raised goes to three excellent musical charities which, among other things, support young musicians and those whose lives have been turned upside down by the Covid outbreak and the lack of opportunities to perform. Great music, great causes.

Finally, I draw your attention to the notice about plans for a couple of outdoor Friday markets in Aldeburgh in August and the fact that our Zoom coffee mornings resume at 10.30am on Tuesday. Drop in for a few minutes and a bit of chat – and bring your own beverage of choice!

With my love and prayers, as ever

Mark

Collect
Merciful God,
you have prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you
that we, loving you in all things and above all things,
may obtain your promises,
which exceed all that we can desire;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Amos 7.7-15
This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A plumb-line.’ Then the Lord said,
‘See, I am setting a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.’  Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, ‘Amos has conspired against you in the very centre of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said, “Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.” ’And Amaziah said to Amos, ‘O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.’ Then Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycomore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

Second Reading
Ephesians 1.3-14
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Gospel Reading
Mark 6.14-29
King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’ For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. 

 

Sermon for 11th July – Sixth Sunday after Trinity,
by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

Our Gospel reading is one of the most famous of its stories that doesn’t involve Jesus – and it’s an extraordinary story of human cruelty – Herod’s daughter asking for the head of John the Baptist to be given to her on a plate. Herod had promised her anything she asked for and so, even though the story says he was ‘deeply grieved’ (because, it says, he liked to listen to him) he gave the orders for John the Baptist to be beheaded, the girl got what she asked for and then she gave it to her mother – who, the story says, had a grudge against John and wanted him dead. It’s a powerful, colourful story – and it’s not surprising to find that it’s been embroidered a bit over the years, painted, re-written and even set to music.

In the early years if the 20th-century the German composer Richard Strauss made it into a short and shocking opera that was actually banned in this country for a few years. The opera is a version of the play about the story written by the Irishman Oscar Wilde – and he originally wrote it in French – so it’s a story that has crossed languages and national boundaries a good deal. And the details that have been added that aren’t in the bible are interesting. Mark’s gospel calls the girl Herodias (after her mother)
but only a few years later, still in the 1st century AD, another writer, Josephus, had given her a different name, one that has stuck – Salome. The Wilde play and the Strauss opera both use it. And then there’s the dance that the girl performs for Herod. It’s become mythologised as the Dance of the Seven Veils in which Salome dances seductively, gradually removing her veils to reveal more of herself. It’s not in the bible, not even in Josephus – part of the historical myth.

The big question is … why is it here? What’s it doing in Mark’s gospel – the shortest and most direct of the four, the one least likely to have diversions from the main story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus? Well, the hint comes at the very beginning of the bible-reading we’ve just heard.

The place where Mark slots the story of John the Baptist’s death in is when there’s a lot of talk about who Jesus really is. ‘Jesus’s name had become known’, it says …. And some people thought he might be Elijah, the Old Testament prophet who had come back – the significance being that it says in the Old Testament that when Elijah returns, the Messiah will soon be here – that’s why, to this day, when Jewish people eat their special Passover meal, called a Seder meal, there’s a spare place set at the table, and a spare cup of wine poured out. Elijah might come! And when the meal is over one of the children is sent out to see if they can see Elijah. They’re always disappointed, of course. Well, maybe next year ….. But back in bible times some people thought that Jesus was Elijah returned. But others, including King Herod, said, no, not Elijah, but John the Baptist returned from the dead.

Now if you’ve read Mark’s gospel right from the beginning you know about John the Baptist and how he lived in the countryside and wore camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey and how he baptised people, saying that someone important was about to come. We know a bit about John, his birth – a son to Elizabeth and Zechariah – and then how he baptised Jesus, but we don’t know what then happened to him – he disappears off the scene for 5 Chapters or so once Jesus has appeared. So when Herod says that he thinks that Jesus is John the Baptist returned from the dead we think ‘O, that’s interesting, I didn’t know he was dead …’ Mark’s gospel then goes into a sort of flashback, to tell us the story of how he died.

But the story is important at a deeper level too. When he’s alive, John tells us that someone greater is to come – ‘one who I am not even worthy to untie the thong of his sandal’, he says. One who will baptise you with the Holy Spirit, not just water. And, of course, that person does come – it’s Jesus. But then we learn that John dies a cruel death at the hands of cruel human beings. He’s murdered to satisfy them. Someone really good is put to death in a very harsh way indeed. Does that remind you of anything?

Yes, of course, it’s Jesus again. It’s what is going to happen to him. Like John he’s going to be arrested and tortured and put to death. At the point in the story when people are wondering who Jesus is, we hear about John’s terrible death. And it’s telling us just a bit more about who Jesus is and what’s in store for him in the future.

Even that little bit at the end of the story about John’s disciples coming and taking his body away and burying it in a tomb – even that reminds us of Jesus’s disciples burying his body in a tomb after the crucifixion.

As I’ve said before, if you read Mark’ gospel from the beginning it positively hurtles along. Things move fast – there’s no story of Jesus’s birth and before the end of Chapter 1 we’ve already met Jesus and he’s performing miracles and healing people. For 5 chapters everything seems positive, Jesus has called his 12 disciples together, told them some important things in parables, saved the disciples from drowning when he calms the sea during a storm, brought Jairus’s daughter back to life, amazed people in his home village when he teaches in the synagogue – it’s all positive. And then, just for a moment, when we hear about John the Baptist’s cruel death there’s a cloud over the sun for a moment. Not everything is positive – and we have a sense of what it’s going to feel like when we read about Jesus’s own death. Though, of course, Jesus’s death wasn’t the end of the story. Not by a long way …. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here today, would we?   Amen

Post Communion
God of our pilgrimage,
you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Next week
Sunday 18th July
Seventh Sunday after Trinity

 

NOTICES

Alde Sandlings Benefice Fun Days in August

As many of you know August is the month for Aldeburgh Church to host their Friday Markets. Unfortunately, last year was cancelled due to Covid. This year things are hugely better, but we still need to approach with caution. So, this August we will have two Friday markets on the 6th and 27th 10am – 2pm. The proposed stalls are as follows:

BBQ, Vegetables, Plants, Fruit and Flowers, Cakes and Savouries, Jams etc, Craft Stalls, General Bric a Brac. Tombola and Games. All the churches in the Alde Sandlings are invited to have their chosen stalls to raise much depleted funds for the churches. Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk if any church members of the Alde Sandlings Benefice would like to have a stall.

 

✟ Aldringham Outdoor Services ✟

The Aldringham outdoor services started surprisingly with sunshine last Sunday. We welcomed friends and visitors. The services start at 11am in the beautiful Aldringham churchyard. ALL VERY WELCOME

 

Project 48 Concerts at Aldeburgh Church
1st August 2pm & 4pm

We are delighted to announce that we will be joined by pianist Libby Burgess, who will be playing Bach’s Well Tempered Klavier. Tickets £10 on the door in aid of Help Musicians, Youth Music Future Talent and Live Music Now.

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat – just like we used to.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info

 

Weekly Benefice Newsletter

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op 

Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

Please check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 

✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

To join the Zoom Meeting, please use this link.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 4th July – Fifth Sunday of Trinity

Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

It’s July! It’s the summer, though there are days when that is rather hard to believe. But in the hope that summer will arrive properly very soon we are beginning some outdoor worship. From this Sunday Aldringham’s 11.00am services will take place outdoors if at all possible. My BBC Weather app. is currently (Friday morning) saying ‘light rain showers and a gentle breeze’. The forecast will probably change several times before Sunday morning, and we all know of the existence of our local ‘microclimates’ but whatever happens we will give it our best shot. And if we are outdoors we can sing – and we will!

I am also going to experiment by making this service the recorded one that will, all being well, be available online from 3pm on Sunday. Recording outdoors is slightly more hazardous than indoors so I apologise in advance if things don’t quite work as well as we would hope – but ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’!

This is also the weekend when ordinations take place in our cathedral, both to the diaconate and the priesthood. Emma and Martin Steadman, from Friston, and I have been lucky enough to sing (and in Emma’s case play the harp too) at the Compline services that have been held over the last few evenings in our cathedral for the ordinands as part of their pre-ordination retreat. It has been a real privilege and we should all hold the 13 ordinands, and the 17 deacons about to be priested, in our prayers.

We had a wonderful benefice service last Sunday in Aldeburgh church as we welcomed Archdeacon Jeanette and celebrated with Jo and James. Once again, my thanks to everyone who contributed in any way to the service and to the refreshments afterwards. I know that both Jo and James were thrilled with the day and extend their thanks too.

Finally, I head to Cornwall once again this coming week to take my brother’s funeral at the crematorium in Bodmin. It is on Wednesday afternoon at 2.30 and your prayers would be very much appreciated.

With my love and prayers, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is
governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you
in holiness and truth to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Ezekiel 2.1-5
Jesus said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you. And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.


Second Reading
2 Corinthians 12.2-10
I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.  Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

Gospel Reading
Mark 6.1-13
Jesus left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.  Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Sermon for 4th July – Fifth Sunday after Trinity,
by The Revd Johanna Mabey

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

I was spoilt for choice on what to talk about this morning…and I ummed and ahhed about it for a long time, but our second reading from 2 Corinthians stood out to me – and most especially the image of strength out of weakness.

I’m giving away my age now, but as Max Bygraves used to say, ‘I wanna tell you a story’…

ONCE upon a time, in the far, far east – lived a great emperor, in a great palace, which was gorgeously stocked with the richest of goods. It was early spring, and the season of royal visits, when kings and princes called on one another and admired each other’s choicest possessions, gave wonderful gifts, and enjoyed bountiful banquets. And this year was special, because the visitors would see the investiture of the emperor’s beloved son, Kintsukuroi, as Crown Prince of the empire.

The emperor was excited because he had a new and beautiful bowl to show to his friends, specially made for him by the finest of craftsmen. Imagine, then, his horror when, on going to his cabinet, he discovered that the bowl was broken apart into a hundred pieces. How could it have happened? No one knew. What could be done about it before the first visitors arrived? No one could offer any idea; for the time was too short to start again and make another one.

The emperor was dismayed, sad that he couldn’t show off his beautiful bowl, but even sadder that something so beautiful should have broken. He retired into his private apartments with only his beloved son to share his sorrow, and they talked long into the night together.

NEXT morning, the emperor woke to the sound of a great commotion. His senior ministers demanded to see him urgently. The cabinet of treasures had been broken into, and this time the great new golden diadem that had been made for his beloved son, ready for the investiture, was quite simply gone — along with the pieces of the broken bowl, although who cared about those, now?

What’s more, the thief had been seen, but not recognised, since he was covered in dirt and scars, with nothing to distinguish him from a thousand other down-and-outs who hung around the palace; for the emperor — to the annoyance of his ministers — refused to turn them out, but shared his food with them.

No one knew for sure where the thief had gone, but he had, they thought, run off towards the prince’s apartments. There, the doors were most unusually locked, and there was no answer to the ministers’ knocking, although they could hear sounds inside. Would the emperor give his permission for them to break down the door?

They dare not act without it.

The emperor was silent for many minutes. On his face, his ministers saw sadness, but not anger; lament, but also love. What was going on? Eventually the emperor spoke. “Leave the prince and his apartments alone. If he is ready to rule, he must be allowed to act. His will and my will are as one.”

The ministers were not at all sure what this meant, but the message was clear: they were to do precisely nothing.

So the day passed. The emperor remained in his private apartments.

Those of the prince remained locked, although smoke could be seen coming out of the chimney, and a fire had obviously been lit. Eventually, the ministers tired of their waiting, and went to bed. The important guests were expected the very next day.

IMAGINE their surprise in the morning, when they went to the treasure cabinet to prepare its items for display and found the precious bowl back in its place, whole again, but glistening with veins of gold where the cracks had been.

Its beauty seemed all the greater. And, beside it, the prince’s crown: a slim band, now, but speaking in its simplicity of a strength, an authority all the more striking because it had given itself away, and given glory to another, but was itself the greater for it. The investiture could go ahead.

A smile of secret understanding passed between the emperor and the son, whose newly scarred hands had shown him worthy to come into the kingdom.

“Kintsukuroi” means “to repair with gold” in Japanese,

It’s the art of repairing pottery with gold and understanding that the piece is the more beautiful for having been broken.

I have real an example of this here today – please do come and look at it more closely after the service … it was gifted to my parents by a complete stranger in a rather wonderful and completely unexpected way when we visited Japan in 2009… but that’s another story!

Beauty and strength in broken places…

We heard that in St Paul’s words just now – as he reflected on his own brokenness.

Three times Paul petitioned God to relieve him of the issues that plagued him, and three times God reminded His servant that he had been gifted with all he needed to cope.

On this 4th of July, perhaps it’s appropriate to quote the famous American author, Ernest Hemingway who said, ‘life breaks all of us, but some of us are strong in the broken places.’

That’s the paradox…

strength often comes from great sacrifice, tragedy, and pain.

God knows us all so well; he knows our weaknesses.

Paul tells us that it’s in these periods of suffering that we’re drawn to God and reminded of His promises.

God will supply our needs; and His grace will always be sufficient.

Life can break us all, but then God makes us stronger and more beautiful in the broken places.

Amen.

The Fable of Kintsukuroi taken from The Church Times (04.08.17)
As told by The Rt Revd David Thomson (retired Bishop of Huntingdon).

 

Post Communion
Grant, O Lord, we beseech you,
that the course of this world may be so peaceably
ordered by your governance, that your Church may
joyfully serve you in all godly quietness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Next week
Sunday 11th July
Sixth Sunday after Trinity

 

Benefice Holy Communion with Revd Johanna Mabey’s Licensing to Priest – 27th June

Here are a few photos of Jo’s special day. Don’t forget you can watch the service on the Alde Sandlings Youtube Channel.

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NOTICES

Sorry, cancelled on the 6th July

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat – just like we used to.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82256956551?pwd=Q1BkMzdOQitHaWJUaDlOcTFEdzJ6QT09

Meeting ID: 822 5695 6551 – Passcode: 112626

Weekly Benefice Newsletter 
If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

 

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

Please check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info

Revd Johanna’s Licensing Benefice Service – 27th June

On Sunday the 27th June we were able to have a belated Benefice Holy Communion service to mark Revd Jo’s Licensing to priest, and Revd James ordination to priesthood. We welcomed our Archdeacon, The Ven. Jeanette Gosney who led the service.

It was a joyous occasion where members of all the benefice congregations could come together to celebrate these milestones in Jo and James ministry lives.

You can watch the service on the Alde Sandlings Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM3YVz
DVIlYmnpVFSdOOTvQ?view_as=subscriber

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 27th June – Fourth Sunday of Trinity – The Feast of St Peter and St Paul

Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

First off, an apology. Last Sunday morning I set up the video recording equipment in Aldeburgh Church before the service, checked that everything was OK – and then forgot to press the ‘go’ button at the crucial moment. So, I’m so sorry that there wasn’t an online service last week. I’ll try my very best to do better this week!

And this week we welcome our Archdeacon, The Ven. Jeanette Gosney, to preside and preach at our benefice Holy Communion service as we celebrate with Jo and James significant moments in their ministry, albeit rather late. Moving on from her curacy Jo will be licensed as Assistant Priest in the benefice and we will be remembering James’s ordination to the priesthood a year ago. It will be good to be together, and to have Jeanette with us, to mark these special occasions for Jo and James and, hopefully, to raise a glass afterwards. Many thanks to all who have worked so hard to prepare for the celebrations.

A word about sermons. All clergy prepare their sermons in different ways. Some (like me) write out more or less every word in advance. Some write ‘headline notes’ and improvise around them on the day and some, very lucky, people can preach without anything written down at all. I remember once, back in London, finding myself sitting very close to Dr Rowan Williams as he preached. The sermon was extraordinary, beautifully constructed, delivered without a single ‘um’ or ‘er’ – and all he had in front of him was a tiny piece of paper about the size of a £5 note with a few words scribbled on it. Amazing – but he was the Archbishop of Canterbury! Why am I telling you this? Partly because Archdeacon Jeanette is a ‘notes’ and not ‘script’ preacher, so I can’t put her sermon into this pew-sheet. And partly because I have included my sermon from last week. With the recent death of my brother, I couldn’t help being personal to some extent and several people commented favourably afterwards, a couple asking for a copy. So please forgive the indulgence but I thought I would share it with you all. It is, of course, inspired not by this week’s Gospel reading but by last week’s – the story of Jesus stilling the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

Next week we begin to move into ‘summer mode’ and the first sign is that the 11.00am services in Aldringham will, as long as the weather is kind, move outdoors. Aldringham churchyard is a beautiful and peaceful place and last year we discovered just how suitable it was for worship. The services will be short, informal and, being outdoors, we can sing! Bring something to sit on and pray for a fine day.

With my love and prayers, as ever

Mark

Many Congratulations Revd Johanna Mabey and Revd James Marston
on all your hard work and achievements within your ministry roles

 

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Collect
Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul
glorified you in their death as in their life:
grant that your Church, inspired by their teaching and example,
and made one by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


First Reading
Zechariah 4.1-6a, 10b-end
The angel who talked with me came again, and wakened me, as one is wakened from sleep. He said to me, ‘What do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it; there are seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And by it there are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.’ I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ Then the angel who talked with me answered me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord.’ He said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel. ‘These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.’ Then I said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?’ And a second time I said to him, ‘What are these two branches of the olive trees, which pour out the oil through the two golden pipes?’ He said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord.’ Then he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.’

Second Reading
Acts 12.1-11
About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him. The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel said to him, ‘Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.’ He did so. Then he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’ Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.’

Gospel Reading
Matthew 16.13-19
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’

Sermon for 27th June – Fourth Sunday after Trinity,
by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

‘An earthly story with a heavenly meaning’. That’s one definition of a parable – ‘an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.’ The culture of 1st-century Palestine was, primarily, an oral one. The ability to read and write wasn’t common among the ordinary people, the people with whom Jesus spent so much of his time. But storytelling was vital. That’s how you passed on the wisdom of life. Here’s the former Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks:

… Storytelling has been central to the Jewish tradition. Every culture has its stories. (The late Elie Wiesel once said, “God created man because God loves stories.”) Almost certainly, the tradition goes back to the days when our ancestors were hunter-gatherers telling stories around the campfire at night. We are the storytelling animal.

Jesus, the Jewish teacher, rabbi, knew this supremely well. He told stories that contained great truths. And the words in Mark’s gospel that immediately precede the story about Jesus stilling the storm, ending a parable-filled chapter, are these:

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables …..

I wonder if the writer of Mark’s gospel is doing something similar. Might this, in fact, itself be a parable? The story about Jesus, asleep in the back of the boat, being woken up by the disciples with a cry of ‘We’re perishing, do something!’, calming the sea and then saying to the disciples ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ Because that, of course is the whole point of the story. The disciples are put in some kind of peril so that Jesus can say ‘why are you afraid? Don’t you believe?’ That’s the heavenly meaning of the earthly story – and it’s as relevant for any of us as it was for its first audience 2 000 years ago.

Storms come in all sorts of shapes and sizes in our lives – and I reckon there isn’t anyone here who hasn’t had some kind of experience into which Jesus might speak those words. ‘Why are you afraid? Don’t you believe?’

To be personal for a moment, I’ve just spent a week sitting each day with my brother as his body gradually failed and he died. And it feels as if those words could have been just for him – and for me. ‘Why am I afraid? Don’t I believe?’ If I truly believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, that death has no dominion, that ‘the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God and there can no torment touch them’ (as it says in the Wisdom of Solomon) then what is there to be afraid of? Phil’s body may have packed up, but his soul has returned to the loving God who created him.

I try and say something like that whenever I take a funeral service and I truly believe it.

There’s an important truth that needs recognising and spelling out in all of this though. Storms do happen. Hard things do happen – the life of faith doesn’t stop them. It just gives us a different way of looking at them. The Scottish philosopher John Macmurray pointed out the difference between what he called ‘real’ religion and ‘illusory’ religion’ like this:

The maxim of illusory religion is: “Fear not; trust in God, and He will see that none of the things you fear will happen to you.” Real religion has a different maxim: “Fear not; the things that you are afraid of are quite likely to happen to you, but they are nothing to be afraid of.”

There’s a reading often quoted at funerals that actually comes from a sermon given by Canon Henry Scott Holland at the lying-in-state of King Edward VII. It’s the one that begins ‘Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room.’ The problem with taking words out of context is that the original point that the speaker or writer intended is so often missed – and this is a classic example. What Scott Holland was actually preaching about was the way we hover between two ways of regarding death which, as he put it, seem to be in hopeless contradiction with each other – and he explained them by using extreme examples.

One was that death was regarded as an insurmountable barrier – a ‘supreme and irrevocable disaster’ which ‘makes all we do here meaningless and empty’. The other is the friendly ‘death is nothing at all – I have only slipped away into the next room’ point of view – the oft-quoted passage. His point was that our task is to reconcile those two views. If we concentrate too much on the first we paint an ultimately nihilistic view – too much on the second and, apart from anything else, we deny the reality of what we feel when we grieve – then we don’t feel that death is nothing at all – we’ve probably lost someone we love – it hurts. It really hurts.

Scott Holland’s point in his sermon is that there is a way of holding together the tension between those two views of death. This is his key passage (and the sermon was preached at Pentecost …):

‘Why are we afraid? Have we not the gift of the Spirit? Has it not swept in upon us with a mighty wind? Is it not in our heart as a fire? ….. And the Spirit which we now possess is itself the Life of all Life, the Life of the Life beyond death. It is the Eternal Life of God. …… What will follow we know not. Why should we? We must wait until we experience it in order to know. But whatever it is, it will be the outcome of what we are. It will be the work of the same Spirit who works in us today.’

And, we might add, that spirit, the spirit of the living God – has given us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. There really is nothing to fear. Which is just what Jesus was saying in the back of that little storm-tossed boat. And so the telling and the hearing of that earthly story really does have a heavenly meaning, doesn’t it?

Amen

Post Communion
Lord God, the source of truth and love, 
keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, 
united in prayer and the breaking of bread, 
and one in joy and simplicity of heart, 
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

NOTICES

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat – just like we used to.

Please contact admin@adleburghparishchurch.org.uk for more information

Weekly Benefice Newsletter 

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op

Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

 

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

Please check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@adleburghparishchurch.org.uk for more information

Next Week
Sunday 4th July
Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 20th June – Third Sunday of Trinity

Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

I must begin with a huge thank-you for all of the kind messages and cards I have received after the death of my brother, Phil, last weekend. While I was away in Cornwall I was very conscious of the fact that both he and I were being prayed for and I couldn’t be more grateful. I spent just over a week visiting Truro hospital every day, where he was receiving end-of-life care from the wonderfully devoted NHS staff there. The certificate will give his cause-of-death as Emphysema, though it was rather more complicated than that. He died the day after his 62nd birthday and his funeral will be in Cornwall in the first week of July. Rest in peace Phil.

Huge thanks too to my wonderful colleagues, lay and ordained, for keeping the show on the road. As some of you will know, James is currently on holiday, will be back next weekend for our celebrations, and then will be spending a short time on placement at our Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds. This is an opportunity offered to all curates in our diocese and I know that James is very much looking forward to his time with Dean Joe and the team there.

A reminder that next Sunday there will be a single service in the benefice, at 10.30 in Aldeburgh. Our Archdeacon, The Ven. Jeanette Gosney, will preside and preach at a service of Holy Communion at which The Revd Johanna Mabey will be licensed as an Assistant Priest in the benefice, and we will (a year late!) celebrate The Revd James Marston’s ordination to the priesthood. Jo and James have had to wait a while for these celebrations because of … you-know-what – but it will be wonderful to be with them as we mark these key moments in their lives of ministry, and to have Jeanette with us. Please could you let me, Claire or Ken Smith know if you intend to be there – just so we can plan the seating. And afterwards? Bring some food and drink and we’ll share the time together, even if we can’t share the food!

A couple of Aldeburgh domestic notices to end with. Claire is trying to make sure that we have an up-to-date list of keyholders, so if you have any church or church-hall keys in your possession please could you make sure that Claire knows. And we are also on the look-out for more cleaners. The task is not an onerous one – you would be given a particular part of the church to look after, or a particular task to do, so that no-one has to take on the whole building. The commitment need not be more than for an hour or so. If you could help please have a word with Ken Smith, with one of the clergy or with Julian Worster.

With my love and prayers, as ever

Mark

Collect
Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Job 38.1-11
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 
‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 
Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall
declare to me.  ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 
On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?  ‘Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb? — when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped”?

Second Reading
Corinthians 6.1-13
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also. 

Gospel Reading
Mark 4.35-41
On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

 

Sermon for 20th June – Third Sunday after Trinity,
by The Revd Johanna Mabey

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

If we ever wanted to make a complaint against Jesus that would stick, not caring would be a hard one to justify!  The gospels are full of Jesus’ care and compassion for others. But twice in the gospels Jesus is asked ‘Don’t you care?’ On both occasions the question is put to him by close friends who really should have known better. In Luke’s gospel an exasperated Martha says to him: ‘Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me.’ The other complaint against Jesus is in today’s reading: ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?’ say his disciples.

The panic-stricken disciples are terrified that they’ll die in a storm while Jesus sleeps through it. For experienced fishermen, the fact that they’re so scared tells us that this was no mere gust of wind, but one of those very strong storms that blow up without warning on the land-locked Sea of Galilee…. in desperation they wake Jesus up.

Mark tells us that Jesus was absolutely exhausted. He’d been taken into the boat ‘just as he was’, sound asleep on a cushion, too tired to be woken even by a storm. No wonder his reply was rather terse!

Although the disciples’ question, ‘don’t you care that we are perishing?’ was irrational – Jesus was asleep and oblivious of the storm – it shows the depth of the disciples’ fear, not only about drowning but about whether Jesus cares for their safety and well-being. It’s very human to fear that you’re being abandoned to your fate. Once woken, Jesus did the necessary. He stilled the storm, and then asked his disciples ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ In other words, ‘Whatever is the matter with you?’

He had expected better of them. 

In our second reading, St Paul finds himself in a tricky place with the church in Corinth.  He’s having to tell them some unwelcome home truths.

We may rattle the list off without thinking about it – ‘afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger’ – but think for a moment about what Paul had been through… the fact that he’d kept faith with God through all this becomes remarkable. How did Paul keep faith? There must have been times when he too asked the same question the disciples put to Jesus, ‘don’t you care?’ It’s a healthy question to ask at times of distress; and it brings God into the conversation.

Today’s readings tell us that we don’t have to pretend to sail serenely through difficulty.  It’s ok to say we’re not ok, and there are times when some vigorous and probing conversation with God is called for. We only have to look at the psalms or the book of Job to realise how much a deep questioning of God is central to the Jewish faith.
Paul tells the Corinthians to ‘open wide their hearts to God’ as he has; ‘by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech and the power of God.’ But it’s easy to be kind and truthful when all’s going well – it’s much harder when you’re in crisis.  ‘Purity and holiness of spirit’ might also sound rather pious, but I remember reading that after Mother Teresa died, her journals revealed that she’d struggled daily with doubts. Her ‘holiness of spirit’ was hard-won, shaped by the daily challenges she faced in the slums of Calcutta.

Perhaps Jesus’ sharp question to the disciples in the boat is partly annoyance at being woken up but also frustration at their failure to trust him. They’ve panicked and fear that Jesus doesn’t really care about them after all.  But what was it that enabled Paul, with a few years’ experience of following Jesus, to be more secure in his response to hardship and fear, than the disciples in the boat?  Perhaps it was it the ‘cantus firmus’ in his life. Cantus Firmus means fixed or firm melody. It’s the deep-seated song that’s at the core of who we are and enables us to live with fear and change.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German priest executed by the Nazis during the Second World War, wrote from prison of, ‘a kind of cantus firmus to which the other melodies of life provide the counterpoint’.

He wrote:
‘Where the ground bass is firm and clear, there is nothing to stop the counterpoint from being developed to the utmost of its limits. Only a polyphony of this kind can give life a wholeness and assure us that nothing can go wrong so long as the bass line is kept going…put your faith in the cantus firmus.’

Some of you reading/hearing this might feel you’re being buffeted by forces beyond your control – forces which threaten to overwhelm you. I think it’s very natural and human to sometimes feel that God is asleep on the case, and that Jesus is taking a nap in the hold.  Today’s readings reassure us that God is wide awake, and that he does care for us!  In every storm God calls us to greater trust and greater faith in him.
President John F Kennedy had a small wooden block on his desk in the Oval Office. On it was inscribed the Prayer of a Breton Fisherman. It’s a memorable, simple one to cherish:

Dear God, be good to me;
the sea is so wide,
and my boat is so small.
Amen

Post Communion 
O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining
and whose power we cannot comprehend:
show us your glory as far as we can grasp it,
and shield us from knowing more than we can bear
until we may look upon you without fear;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

NOTICES

PLEASE NOTE – Benefice Service on the 27th
If you are hoping to attend this Benefice service on the 27th, could you please let your church warden know, or email Claire admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk. It is really important that we know how many to expect, so you can all be seated safely. We do have limited seating due to the current precautions that have to be made. The last thing we want to do is to have to turn people away on the day. Your cooperation is very much appreciated.

 
 
 

Benefice Service – 27th June at Aldeburgh Church

We hope to have get together lunch after the Benefice Service on the 27th of June to celebrate Jo and James significant milestones in their ministries. Providing everything goes to plan with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, after much discussion with church members within the benefice, the general feel is that we should perhaps think about a bring and NOT share lunch and bring our own picnics, as Covid is still very much in our minds. Perhaps each church could put together two picnic pack ups for our visitors on the day?

 Weekly Benefice Newsletter 

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op

Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

 

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

Please check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 
 

Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays 
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for the links

 

☕️ Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends☕️

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat – just like we used to.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for the links

Next Week
Sunday 27th June
Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 13th June – Second Sunday of Trinity

Message from The Revd James Marston

With our thoughts still with Ro and Mark, as he remains in Cornwall, we have seen the benefice pulling together in order that the life of the church continue as best it can. I know Mark is grateful and thanks goes to all the churchwardens, PCC members and congregations for their understanding and support. 

This week I point you to the notice about the benefice service later this month. If you are hoping to attend this celebration do let your churchwarden know or email our parish administrator Claire at admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk  as it is imperative we know the numbers to be able to seat you all safely.

It has been jointly agreed by all of the churches that the best way forward is to bring your own picnic for the bring and share (if we are allowed to go ahead).  Each church will also bring two pack up picnics for our guests. It will be more of a “bring and don’t share” but we think we have a plan!

We won’t be holding the zoom coffee morning next week but don’t forget there is Holy Communion each Wednesday in Aldeburgh church if you would like to see a member of the clergy team. Sunday services continue as does midweek online compline and the online fellowship of Pilgrims Together. 

Just to remind you I am on leave next week and the following week, though suspect I’ll be looking at emails once in a while. Then I start my cathedral placement for most of July. 

James 

Collect
Lord, you have taught us that all our doings
without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts 
that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Ezekiel 17.22-end
Thus says the Lord God: I myself will take a sprig
from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out.
I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs;
I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 
On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it,
in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live;
in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind. 
All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree;
I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it.

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 5.6-10 [11-13] 14-17
So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Gospel Reading
Mark 4.26-34
Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’
He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’ With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples. 

 

Sermon for 13th June – Second Sunday after Trinity,
The Revd James Marston

May speak in the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“He did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.”

I sometimes think, that for all of us, a quick word with Jesus in private would make all the difference when it comes to biblical interpretation of what he was getting at. Not least because we all learn in different ways – some of us like to read things, others hear, some like a visual explanation or a practical one demonstration.

I’m not going to throw mustard seeds around the church, or draw you a picture, but I do remember hearing a sermon on this text which left me none the wiser, partly because the scientific analysis provided by the speaker in question covered in such forensic detail the relative size of seed to bush alongside a dense treatise on agricultural practices in first century Palestine that I tuned out and started thinking about my lunch and the likelihood of whether mustard would feature in it.

Archbishop Michael Ramsey wrote, in his book The Christian Priest Today, that “First the priest is the teacher and preacher, and as such he is the man of theology…his study need not be vast in extent, but it will be deep in integrity not in order that he be erudite but that he be simple.”

So, in that spirit and in my simple view Jesus is only saying that from small acorns mighty oaks grow. And he’s saying the Kingdom of God shares this characteristic.

Which begs the obvious question what the Kingdom is Of God. Well, we know that it is central to much of Jesus’ teaching, we know it is not Kingdom in a political sense but the spiritual realm over which God reigns, we know that it is now and not yet, and we know it’s something which we strive for and hope for and build together here in community and that we’d like to see it and be part of. It is, of course, something of a mystery, perhaps best described as the reunion of mankind with God or the fulfilment of God’s will.

From which further obvious questions arise – what is God’s will? How will we know? How do we find out?

These questions, this curiosity we all have about God are part and parcel of our journey of faith. The answers may not always be as forthcoming or as clear as we expect or as we might like them. But asking questions, developing our curiosity, is one of the crucial ways in which we get to know God and his place in our lives, as well as discerning His will for us.

And we can, as St Paul says be confident as we walk in faith rather than with sight and that the love of Christ urges us on as we journey together.

Today we welcome young Freddie, through his baptism, into not only our church family here in Aldeburgh and our benefice but also into that journey of faith. Today is the beginning of his fellowship of Jesus. And we can be confident of God’s grace in Freddie’s life in the years to come.

As we baptise Freddie, with the water as well as the loud and joyful responses the liturgy requires, we are reminded of our own journey of faith, our own baptism in the fellowship of Jesus and, indeed, our own ability, through prayer, to speak to him in private whenever we need to.

From small acorns mighty oaks grow and it is delight and honour for us to be sowing the seed of faith today.

Amen

 

Post Communion
Loving Father, we thank you for feeding us at the supper of your Son:
sustain us with your Spirit, that we may serve you here on earth
until our joy is complete in heaven, and we share in the eternal banquet
with Jesus Christ our Lord.

Next Week
Sunday 20th June
Third Sunday after Trinity

 

NOTICES

PLEASE NOTE – Benefice Service on the 27th

If you are hoping to attend this Benefice service on the 27th, could you please let your church warden know, or email Claire admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk. It is really important that we know how many to expect, so you can all be seated safely. We do have limited seating due to the current precautions that have to be made. The last thing we want to do is to have to turn people away on the day. Your cooperation is very much appreciated.

 

Benefice Service – 27th June at Aldeburgh Church

We hope to have get together lunch after the Benefice Service on the 27th of June to celebrate Jo and James significant milestones in their ministries. Providing everything goes to plan with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, after much discussion with church members within the benefice, the general feel is that we should perhaps think about a bring and NOT share lunch and bring our own picnics, as Covid is still very much in our minds. Perhaps each church could put together two picnic pack ups for our visitors on the day?

Weekly Benefice Newsletter

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op 

Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

 

✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for the links

 

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

Please check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 
 

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for the links

Postponed until Autumn

Date for your diary – Next Zoom Pilgrim Quiz:
Saturday 12th June from 7pm

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 6th June – First Sunday of Trinity

Message from The Rev James Marston

With all our thoughts and prayers with Rev Mark at the moment, as he dashes to Cornwall to be with his family at a difficult time, I am reminded of how valuable our church community and our love for one another becomes when one of us faces tough times. 

Unfortunately, there will be no zoom coffee morning this week but if you feel like a chat do give me a call on 01728 688451.  I will also be in church most days for Morning Prayer. 

As part of my ongoing curacy training, I’m able to announce this week that I’ll be away for some of June and July as I take up a placement at our cathedral in Bury St Edmunds. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing just yet, but I’ll let you know how I get on. 

And a reminder too of our forthcoming chamber-music concerts in Aldringham and Aldeburgh. ‘Chamber Music Box’ visit Aldringham church this Sunday (June 6th) at 6pm and if you wish to attend you will need to book online – details further down this document. 

The Fitzwilliam Quartet concerts in Aldeburgh on Monday and Tuesday (June 7thand 8th) at 7pm are ‘pay at the door’ – cash only. 

And finally, there will not be an Alde Sandlings online service on Youtube this week, but for those who wish to worship online there is, as always, the live Friston Zoom services (see further down this pew sheet) or of course our cathedral online services can be found here:

https://stedscathedral.org/worship

James

 

Collect
O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers and, because through the weakness 
of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Genesis 3.8-15
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’ The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 4.13-5.1
But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—‘I believed, and so I spoke’—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Gospel Reading
Mark 3.20-end
Then Jesus entered a house, and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’ And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’ Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’ 

Post Communion
Eternal Father, we thank you for nourishing us
with these heavenly gifts:
may our communion strengthen us in faith,
build us up in hope, and make us grow in love;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sermon for 6th June – First Sunday after Trinity,
The Revd Sheila Hart

As I read the Bible Readings for this week, I couldn’t help being drawn to look at the familiar story – because it is only a story – a myth – of the results of the Fall in Genesis chapter 3. It may only be a myth but my goodness how true to reality it is. God the Father, the Creator searching out His naughty children to discover why they had chosen to disobey Him.

It hadn’t started like that though, for Humans were the crowning glory of the creation. They had been given authority over the creation – both vegetation and creatures – by the Creator, to nourish, tend and look after their needs on His behalf. It was a position of trust and they had been allowed to eat of any fruit of any tree in the garden apart from the one in the centre and its fruit, which they were also forbidden to touch ‘or they would die.’ Death was a concept not thought of during the creation process. Life was the central theme and this life appeared to have no end so something which could ultimately cause death was a serious consideration. We have since come to realise that life in this sense reflects a continuing relationship with the Creator and death, separation from the same.

The portion of the story which we are to read today is set after the couple had not only touched, but eaten the forbidden fruit. God had been going about doing His own thing and had decided to go for a stroll in the garden in the cool of the evening and to catch up, we assume, with the man and the woman as to how things had been in the garden that day. All was not as God had left it, however, and the man and the woman were not there to greet Him. They had heard Him coming and had hidden themselves for they had disobeyed His instructions and guilt had begun to swell up within them, not least because they were beginning to know more about their condition. Their innocence had begun to disappear, and they were afraid of how He might react to them in their changed condition.

As I reflected more on the account and their reaction to hearing God in the garden, it brought into my mind a memory of my teenage years and my reaction to my father. It was early morning after he had left for work. I was feeling stressed because I had four consecutive History A level lessons that morning and I was tired from completing homework the night before. My mother said something to me which I cannot exactly remember but it caused me to kick shut the door of my bedroom and I managed to make a hole in the hardboard which made the insert of the door. When I discovered what I had done my main thought was that my father would be livid when he found out. So I made a pact with my mother that I would let her tell him what I had done and make my excuses for me when he came home from work and I would hide in the bathroom until the dust had settled. Just what the first man and woman did when they heard God in the garden that evening.

Then they started making their excuses for their disobedience – all of which were true in their own way – but none of which would have been necessary if they had faced God and accepted responsibility for the choices they had made and apologised for their disobedience.

I still find it amazing that a story written so long ago is pertinent, not only to our relationship with God, but also to our relationships with our parents, friends, work colleagues and neighbours. And above all that we still haven’t really learned that acceptance of our sin and our confession of it and asking for forgiveness from the victims of it, reforms our relationships, both with God and fellow humans.

It’s not that we should deliberately sin so that we can experience the grace and forgiveness of God and others for we should learn from our mistakes, be thankful for their love and grace and try not to do it again. As a friend from my early childhood who was learning the Catechism as a Roman Catholic, said to me after I had upset her for the umpteenth time, ’It’s no good saying sorry, Sheila, if you don’t do something about it!’ We would have been about 4 or 5 at the time but ‘Out of the mouths of babes!’

In the passage we read from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians – a church which constantly failed to get it right and needed their founder’s correction – being a Christian is a Work in Progress. A Work which starts when we turn to Christ and ends when we meet Him face to face having passed through death for ‘Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.’ We are being changed into the likeness of Christ from one degree of glory to another through the work of the Holy Spirit. So, life is not without hope. In His letter to the Philippians Paul writes that ‘He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.’

So, let’s move on, accept that there will be setbacks, but that we are a work in progress, keep short accounts with God and others and not be disappointed if we don’t reach perfection this side of heaven.

Next Week
Sunday 13th June
Second Sunday after Trinity

NOTICES

Benefice Service – 27th June at Aldeburgh Church

We hope to have get together lunch after the Benefice Service on the 27th of June to celebrate Jo and James significant milestones in their ministries. Providing everything goes to plan with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, after much discussion with church members within the benefice, the general feel is that we should perhaps think about a bring and NOT share lunch and bring our own picnics, as Covid is still very much in our minds. Perhaps each church could put together two picnic pack ups for our visitors on the day? There will be more news next week as further discussions take place. Please do pass on any suggestions to Claire.

 

Chamber Music Box at Aldringham Church
this Sunday June 6th at 6pm

Some of you may remember the visit that we enjoyed from the young players of ‘Chamber Music Box’ last year. This time they bring a programme of music for flute and string trio including works by Schubert, Mozart and two leading 20th-century composers, Aaron Copland and Bohuslav Martinu. Tickets must be booked in advance – head for http://www.chambermusicbox.com/concerts for more information and the opportunity to book.

The Fitzwilliam Quartet Concerts

7th & 8th June 7pm at Aldeburgh Parish Church

We are delighted to welcome the return of music into Aldeburgh Parish Church. The Fitzwilliam Quartet will be performing two nights of music.

Monday – Haydn and Beethoven

Tuesday – Hugo Wolf, Haydn, and Schumann

Tickets at the door £10 (cash only). First come first seated, as we are limited with seating for everyone’s safety.

Weekly Benefice Newsletter

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.

 
 
 
 

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

 

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

Please check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 
 

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact Claire for the links at admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk


Date for your diary – Next Zoom Pilgrim Quiz:
Saturday 12th June from 7pm

Please contact Claire for more information admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk