Benefice News Sheet for 5th July/Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Message from The Rector

This last week the announcement came that we are, once again, allowed to worship in our churches. It is excellent news though, of course, it comes with restrictions. We need to work out how many we can comfortably accommodate in each of our churches, given the need to maintain social distancing (which remains at 2 metres unless we take other precautions). There is also still some working-out to be done around Holy Communion which, inevitably, poses more difficulties. And we need to bear in mind that, for some people, being in an enclosed building with other people remains difficult at present because of their age or their health. So we plan to move gently and keep an online worshipping presence.

For the next couple of weeks, we plan to continue online services at 10.30am but we will add something else to the Sunday mix. At 6pm there will be a service in the largest of our churches, Aldeburgh. This week it will be a service of Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, next week (July 12th) it will be a special service – ‘A reflective act of worship for uncertain times’. We will also continue the outdoor services in Aldringham at 11.00am and as restrictions have been relaxed (churchyards now obey the same rules as church buildings and as long as social distancing is still possible there is no restriction on numbers) there only needs to be one service. We will review the situation as we monitor the popularity of these services and will make any changes accordingly. In the very near future the PCCs of Friston and Knodishall will be making decisions about how and when to open their buildings. Friston’s Wednesday 6pm Compline will remain online for the time being and Pilgrims Together will maintain their weekly online presence too. (See further down this document for details of how to join with both of these acts of worship.)

Some of the material for this week’s online service comes from the Iona Abbey Worship Book. If you enjoy it (if it ‘speaks to your condition’ as our Quaker friends would say) then you may well find that Pilgrims Together does too – they derive much of their material from Iona. You would be very welcome to give it a try.

The other day we received news of the diocesan plans for Ordinations and James’s Ordination to the Priesthood is now planned for Sunday 6th September. Numbers at the cathedral will be restricted but the service will be streamed online. We are not sure of the time of the service yet but will adjust the timing of our benefice services if necessary – more news when we have it.

Finally – on Tuesday I received a letter from Bishop Martin which included this:

‘ …. allow me to ask one more thing of those of you who are clergy: which is that in July and August when you are not on holiday you take two days off a week. A number of diocesan bishops are asking their clergy to do this, to help restore energy after the heavy demands most clergy have been under these past months, and to prepare for the continuing challenges in the Autumn. So – two days off please every week in July and August when you are not on holiday!’

Never one to disobey my Reverend Father in God (!) I intend to do just that and add Tuesday to my normal Monday. I will, of course, always be available in an emergency and my answerphone message will reflect that.

With love, as ever




I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
weary and worn and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s Light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy days be bright.”
I looked to Jesus and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;

and in that light of life I’ll walk,

’til trav’ling days are done.

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

First Reading
Romans 7.15-25a
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Second Reading
Matthew 11.16-19, 25-end
Jesus said ‘To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.”  For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’

At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Reflection for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity
by The Revd Nichola Winter

One of the unexpected benefits of the recent lockdown has been the opportunity for more reading – both serious and light. I have always been fascinated by the Arthurian legend, so it has been a joy reading about his encounters with Merlin the enchanter, or wise man. As Merlin approaches old age, he fears that his power is leaving him and he is no longer able to guide Arthur as well as he feels he should. A crisis comes and Merlin thinks he has failed – but it is Arthur who points out that ‘god’ has not failed him – he has brought him through. Maybe not in the way that Merlin had anticipated – but he has brought him through the crisis nonetheless.

Now, you might wonder why I am referring to a mythical tale that deals with paganism and the early days of Christianity during an act of worship. But that is partly the point. Those doughty folk who brought Christianity to these shores – and to many other countries – had to deal with cultures that worshipped gods who constantly needed to be placated with offerings and sacrifice – sacrifice that might well involve human life. Bring in the Christian story and here we have a different sacrifice – Jesus, who makes that final human sacrifice after which no more human blood need be spilled. Humans no longer need believe they must sacrifice human life – he (Jesus) has done all that is needful. What is required now of his followers is sacrifice of love, joy and service. In our darkest moments (fast forward to today and the uncertain times we find ourselves in) God is still very much with us. When we feel, like Merlin, that our powers fail, when we feel at our weakest, that is when we need to take on the light yoke of Jesus and let his power enable us.

Those ‘comfortable words’ have brought strength, hope and faith itself to so many; they are worth learning and repeating in our times of quiet prayer as often as possible:

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

In an agricultural society the idea of a yoke – a device that enables a beast to haul a heavy load, would have been a familiar image. The rabbis in the synagogue would speak about the yoke of Torah, the Jewish scripture, and the yoke of the kingdom. Heavy responsibilities; strict laws; a burden indeed. But Jesus invites us to ‘learn from him’ – a lifelong lesson of learning as his disciple. He says, ‘my yoke is easy’ – and indeed, compared with the lengthy law of the Pharisees it is shorter and centred on the bare essentials – love God and love your neighbour. But those demands are inexhaustible – can we ever really say that we love God and we love our neighbour enough?

The current times have shown how neighbours can love and act for each other; how communities have been pulling together; how strangers have become friends through simple acts of help and kindness. There is a real joy in that loving; joy in service, and joy in receiving. Of course, it changes as we continue through life. Before lockdown I visited people who were saddened because they no longer felt able to do as much as they used to. ‘Well, I can’t do much these days for the church, you know…’ they’d say. But after a little discussion they discover quite a few things they could do – invite a neighbour round for a cuppa (easier now as some restrictions ease), pick up the phone to someone who’s lonely and have a chat. And one of the greatest acts of love is to pray – you don’t need to be healthy, fit or energetic to do that.

Jesus doesn’t invite us to take on some impossible task. He does invite us to hand over all those problems, dilemmas and crises to God in prayer and let him take it from there. The situation may not go away immediately but God will give the strength to deal with it.
He knows our weakness; think back to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal. As he prays, asking his disciples to accompany him, they can only sleep, worn out with fear and exhaustion. Jesus says, ‘Pray that you do not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ We all know that feeling; Paul in his rather longwinded way says the same thing in his letter to the Romans and he finally concludes:

‘Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!’

And that can be a prayer of thankfulness from each one of us.


O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that with you as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not our hold on things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.



Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bid me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings within and fears without,

O Lamb of God, I come.
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
has broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
the breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871)




✞ Wednesday Online Services ✞

Around our Benefice there are, as well as our Sunday morning 10.30am online gatherings, three acts of worship that take place on Wednesdays.  At 10.00am there is a service of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer streamed from The Vicarage at (Alde Sandlings YouTube Channel). 
At 6pm there’s the opportunity to join members of the congregation in Friston for a short quiet service of Compline.  It’s done via Zoom and if you’d like to know more please contact Martin Steadman on
Also, via Zoom, Pilgrims Together gathers online at 6.30pm for worship in the Iona tradition, including some hymns and songs.  The contact to find out more about that is 
All are welcome at any of these services.


📖 Readers ✞
Would you like to be a part of the weekly online services and read one of the lessons? This can be done reasonably simply by using a phone or a tablet. Here are the instructions for iphones and ipads and I’m sure something similar is possible with other makes. Try opening the voice recorder programme on your PC/Laptop or using a voice recording app on your smartphone or tablet.
If you’d like to have a go, then please let either Mark or Claire know.


 How about you?? 
Would you like to share your stories that you think others might like to hear about? Cooking tips, craft ideas, a really good film or book. Nice lockdown walks. Successful allotment achievements? Or like Mary & Valerie share a recipe. Please do let Claire know and we will do our best to add to the weekly pew sheet.


✞ Meet up with Revd James ✞
Our curate Rev James has been meeting some of you outside in your gardens and in his rectory garden. If you would like a trip out to Friston, or would like James to visit you do let him know on 01728 688451 or email him on

✟ Songs of Praise on The Green 
A Benefice Service at Friston – 
30th August 2020 3.00pm
The Parish of St Mary the Virgin would like to invite you to a Benefice ‘Songs of Praise on the green at Friston! This would be a socially distanced opportunity to come together to sing to the Praise of God and have a picnic afterwards. Do you have a favourite hymn?
If you would like to attend please contact Carole Edwards – or
8 Mill Road, Friston, Suffolk, IP17 1NW or call 01728 687743.

Also please let Carole know your suggestion of a hymn to be
included in this service.

Please bring your own chairs and tables for your picnic.