Benefice News Sheet for Trinity Sunday 7th June

Message from the Rector

Welcome to the last of our festive Sundays for quite a while. Since we have been unable to gather in our church buildings, we have marked Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day and Pentecost. On this Trinity Sunday we try our best to understand what it means to worship ‘one God in three persons’ and, traditionally, incumbents leave that task, at least in part, to the Curate. I am very pleased that James has accepted the challenge and risen to it!

I am afraid that there is still no news of when we might meet again in our church buildings. I am, however, very grateful to David Gordon from the congregation in Aldringham, for coming up with what seems to me like a very good idea indeed. He says:

‘From (last) Monday, 6 people can do various things in the churchyard. What if one of us invited 5 people to meet at the cross at a specified time armed with a folding chair and a ‘self-picnic’ (that is, not for sharing) and a glass? The ‘host’ would bring a simple service sheet, perhaps a couple of well known hymns and prayers – and a bottle of wine. The host would then conduct the service, reading a couple of lessons and reading the sermon as per the online benefice service. After the service the 6 people would have their ‘self-picnic’ and a glass of wine in the churchyard, socialising with the other 5.’

David speaks of Aldringham but I see no reason why we shouldn’t try something like this in all four of our churchyards, should there be a sufficient number of people interested. Please would you let Claire or me know if you would be interested in taking part in an informal outdoor service along these lines? We will then do some number-crunching and work out how, and how often, we might meet and worship together. And a huge thank-you to David for the idea. Over to you.

First Reading
Isaiah 40.12-17, 27-end
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust
of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the Lord,
or as his counsellor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his
enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice?

Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 
Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering.  All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’?  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 28.16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Sermon for Trinity Sunday by The Revd James Marston

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

In today’s gospel reading we hear of Jesus’ last great exhortation to his followers – amongst whom, as Christians, we count ourselves – to make disciples and baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

But what do we mean by Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

This Sunday we celebrate not an event, not a moment in history that gives us insight or helps explain our faith such as Pentecost or Christmas or even Easter, but instead we celebrate a doctrine, a teaching of the church that has come down to us through the last sixteen or seventeen centuries.

The Trinity – that one God exists in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is a theological minefield of potential heresy and misunderstanding. I shan’t go into those now, suffice to say that any ideas of shamrocks or three leaf clovers don’t get it quite right.

But, at the back of the Book of Common Prayer – the great cradle of Church of England doctrine – there are 39 articles, 39 statements of our church’s beliefs. And Number one, right at the beginning, is concerned with the Trinity, the doctrine on which our faith understands God.

This is what it says:

“There is but one living and true God, ever-lasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

And in the words of the Athanasian Creed, found again in the Book of Common Prayer gives us another insight: “we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity, neither blending their persons nor dividing their essence.”

The Athanasian Creed also reminds us that God, in essence is mystery we cannot comprehend.

“The Father is incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible; and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. And yet there are not three incomprehensibles, but one incomprehensible…”

I can live with a mystery, but God also gave us minds to understand and the doctrine of the Trinity, it seems to me, is our way of trying to explain at least something of the unknowable.

It might seem odd for the church, in today’s world of uncertainty and fear, to focus on theological nuance but the doctrine of the Trinity is important, not least because it is how God has revealed himself to us through scripture and the long history of Christian experience. But also because, today, as people seek the divine in their lives, perhaps more than ever, now is the time to understand something of the mysterious nature of God.

So how do we live out a Trinitarian faith? I think, in many ways, we do it without thinking.

When we pray, we do so naturally and often without the conscious effort that we are actually praying to God through the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And The Grace, which we often extol at the end of church meetings or bible study also gives us a clue and insight into our Trinitarian faith.

“The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore, Amen.”

It isn’t an outright expression of Trinitarian doctrine, but The Grace has been used since the earliest days of the church – maybe as early as just 15 years after the resurrection – and tells us something of how the Trinity is inseparable from our faith and part and parcel of our relationship with God and with each other. Our calling as Christians is simply to share that relationship, that love, that grace and fellowship, with others.

Of course, the Trinity is also a relationship within itself – an eternal dance between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, held together by the glue of love.

Faith too is all about relationship and I think it is these relationships of love with God and with each other that we honour and celebrate today.

We have learnt, in recent weeks, our church family, has much to offer one another and the wider community in terms of support and friendship, love and compassion. And in these difficult days, it is heartening to observe as we reach out to one another and express our faith beyond the church walls.

We might have to stretch our minds to fully comprehend the mysterious doctrine of the trinity, but we have Jesus to emulate and the Holy Spirit within us to live out our faith. Let’s today not only celebrate who we are and what we believe but pray together to renew our faith and re-pledge ourselves and our lives to God, father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, that we may evermore be defended from all adversities; 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.


We sing ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’

Eternal Father, strong to save,
whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
for those in peril on the sea!

O Saviour, whose almighty word
the winds and waves submissive heard,
who walkedst on the foaming deep,
and calm amid its rage didst sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
for those in peril on the sea!

O sacred Spirit, who didst brood
upon the chaos dark and rude,
who bad’st its angry tumult cease,
and gavest light and life and peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
for those in peril on the sea!

O trinity of love and power!
Our brethren’s shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
protect them wheresoe’er they go;
and ever let there rise to thee
glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

William Whiting (1825-1878)

The Church of England is producing lots of good material and advice at present. This includes some excellent prayers for us all to use and I commend them to you:

You can also join the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich weekly newsletter mailing list by visiting:

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
14th June – First Sunday after Trinity


 Food Banks – Message from the Community
Engagement Officer at the East of England Co-op

We support 22 independent and Trussell Trust Foodbanks through our Food Stores; the Foodbanks all collect from the stores who support them. To find the list of who we support and how to find out what their specific needs are please go on to our website

Suffolk Community Foundation are in need of donations to support the various Suffolk Charities they are involved with, to support them financially go to


✞ 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.


☏ Citizens Advice 📧
The Leiston, Saxmundham and district Citizens Advice would
like to advise that they are there and ready to help. They can provide advice for a wide range of issues from benefits and housing, employment,
and Coronavirus related issues.
Phone – 01728 832193 or Suffolk Adviceline – 0300 330 1151
(Leiston office – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10-2)
Email –
Post – 14 Colonial House, Station Road, Leiston, IP16 4JD


📖 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? Or like Mary share a recipe or a pastime idea to keep us occupied. Please do let Claire know and we will do our best to add to the weekly pew sheet.


🎶 Christina Johnston 🎶
Many of you know soprano Christina Johnston who has performed at Aldeburgh Parish Church many times. Christina (who has kindly sung and recorded the Lord’s Prayer for our Trinity Sunday service) is holding Friday night concerts from her studio at home. Next Friday (12th) at 7pm will be themed “BOND NIGHT 007”. So grab a drink a settle in for a night of wonderful music. You can find her on The Christina Johnston YouTube Channel for past and present concerts.