Benefice Newsletter 13th September/Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity


Benefice Holy Communion Service at

Aldeburgh Parish Church

Online Service available


Message from the Rector

The fact that we can share in services over the internet really came into its own last Sunday when I know that many of you shared in the beautiful and moving service in our cathedral at which James was ordained Priest. We continue the celebrations on Sunday as James presides at a Holy Communion service for the first time and if you aren’t able to be with us in Aldeburgh church you should be able to see the service online later in the day.

Next weekend Rosemary and I go away for a couple of weeks holiday and during that time there won’t, I’m afraid, be any ‘local’ online services. There are plenty of others available, however, not least from our cathedral. Head for its website – – and all the information that you need is there. We will then review our online provision and I would appreciate your comments and thoughts. I am well aware that there are still people in our parishes who do not yet feel able to attend a service in church and their needs are important. But I am also aware that other places are much better equipped than we are to provide well-produced online services. Let me know what you think.

You will, I’m sure, have heard the news this week of new restrictions to the numbers of people able to meet socially because of the worrying increase in cases of Covid-19. The good news is that our regular services are unaffected and as long as we continue to stick to social distancing rules and keep our buildings clean we can carry on as we have been doing in recent weeks. Sadly, however, with there being no prospect of congregational singing resuming, and with the new limits on numbers for social gatherings, I fear we will have to cancel our plans to walk around our benefice and hold a Songs of Praise service for Harvest on October 4th. Instead, on that day, there will be Harvest services at the usual times in each of our churches and we will celebrate as best we can under the circumstances.

With love, as ever



Almighty God, whose only Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence: give us pure hearts and steadfast wills to worship
you in spirit and in truth; 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 50.15-21
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’ So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, “Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God?  Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Second Reading
Romans 14.1-12
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God. We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister?  Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister?  For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’  So then, each of us will be accountable to God.


Gospel Reading
Matthew 18.21-35
Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times. ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’


by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

Matthew 18.21 – 35

God be in our mouths and in our speaking, God be in our ears and in our hearing, God be in our heads and in our understanding. Amen.

This is such a good day. We have a new priest in our Benefice and this morning James is able to do something that I know he’s been looking forward to for a very long time – celebrate Holy Communion. To be able to do that is one of the great privileges of ordained ministry and, certainly in my experience, the joy doesn’t ever fade.

There’s something else that James hasn’t been able to do as a Deacon that he is now able to do as a Priest. It doesn’t look as dramatic as celebrating communion but it is at least as important. At his Ordination service on Sunday the gospel reading came from John and in it Jesus said to his disciples ‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them.’ And that is a privilege that is extended to priests – they extend God’s absolution – absolving of sins – to the people. James has already done it. ‘Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent ….. pardon and deliver you from all your sins.’ The priest is the means by which God’s forgiveness comes to us. And Jesus’s command for us to forgive is, as we heard a few moments ago, at the absolute heart of his gospel message.

Today’s Gospel reading leaves us in little doubt of that – we have to forgive our brother of sister ‘from the heart’, Jesus says, or else God will never forgive us. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, ‘as our Saviour taught us’ we say ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’ – and that tiny word ‘as’ has rarely taken on more meaning. ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those sin against us.’ Or, to put it the other way round, if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us. And Jesus teaches us, in this story and in other places too, that God always wants to forgive us. In fact, just as we say God is love, we could as easily say God is forgiveness – it’s that important, that central. But, of course, for us, forgiveness can be hard – very hard indeed. How can we possibly ‘forgive’ terrorists who deliberately kill thousands by flying planes into buildings, for instance? (It was the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Friday ….)

If someone hurts us, it’s only natural to respond in kind. If I walk up to you and, for no obvious reason, punch you, the chances are that your reaction (after wondering for a second why on earth I did that …) would be to punch me back. If someone takes something that belongs to me, it’s a very tempting thought to take something of theirs in return. The slave in Jesus’s story reacted in a way we might not sympathise with but we can understand. The fact that he’d been forgiven his own debt didn’t stop him wanting to be repaid what was owed to him – he didn’t see that the two things were connected. Just because someone has done us a good turn doesn’t make us automatically want to do a good turn for someone else …. But, Jesus is saying, that’s exactly what we should do.

Forgiving doesn’t mean condoning. To forgive someone who has done something terrible doesn’t mean that we have to agree with them, or sympathise with their aims. To take another relatively recent example, Nelson Mandela didn’t ever agree with the former South African government’s apartheid laws but he was able to forgive – and his forgiveness meant that it was possible for his country to move on and he emerged with the superior moral authority.

But let’s take this a step further still. I’d like to quote you some words from a wonderfully thought-provoking book written the year after the 9/11 tragedies by Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh – the senior bishop of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. The book is called ‘On Forgiveness’ and I can’t recommend it too highly. Holloway talks of the difference between ‘conditional’ forgiveness and ‘pure’ forgiveness.

‘All versions of conditional forgiveness’ he writes, ‘no matter how just, creative or releasing, are essentially tactical, designed to limit or manage the damage we do to one another. Pure forgiveness is not an instrumental good, a prudent management technique or a damage limitation exercise; it is an intrinsic good, an end in itself, a pure gift offered with no motive of return ….. In theological language, it is a miracle of pure unmerited grace, given out of uncalculating love.’

That is the forgiveness, the uncalculating love, that God shows us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and that is the love he asks of us. It’s the forgiveness that James extended to us all when he gave us God’s absolution earlier. And we’ll soon be praying The Lord’s Prayer – ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.’ It can feel impossibly hard – but it’s what we must try to do. Richard Holloway ends his book with a chilling example of the consequences of ignoring this path. Apparently at the end of the 1st World War, in which Britain had suffered more than 900 000 dead, more than 2 million wounded and almost 200 000 missing, Winston Churchill became aware that Germany was close to starvation. He, extraordinarily, proposed rushing ships to Hamburg, loaded with provisions – but his ideas were rejected. At that same time there was a wounded German soldier in hospital who heard how bad the situation was in his homeland and, a few years later, wrote about his reaction. ‘I knew all was lost.’ he wrote. ‘Only fools, liars and criminals could hope for mercy from the enemy. In these nights hatred grew in me, hatred for those responsible for this deed …. In the days that followed, my own fate became known to me … I resolved to go into politics.’ And that soldier’s name was Adolf Hitler.



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.


The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
20th September – Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity


Morning Praise

Knodishall Church


Holy Communion

Friston Church


Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard


Evening Prayer

Aldeburgh Parish Church


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The surgery will be closed on Wednesday 7th October at 13.00 for GP training.

The Surgery will be closed between 14.00 & 16.00 on Thursday 15th October for a staff meeting.

Please contact NHS 111 when the Surgery is closed.

Flu Vaccination Clinics 2020

Due to social distancing we are unable to host our Health and Wellbeing Event this year but we will be holding three Flu Vaccination Clinics. The clinics will be open from 09.00 until 18.00 and by appointment only.

Who is eligible for a Flu Vaccination?

Anybody over the age of 65 years old.

Anybody with a pre-existing health condition who has received a letter from the Surgery.


Flu Vaccination Clinic Dates & Venues

12.10.20 Hollesley Village Hall

22.10.20 Aldeburgh Community & Sports Centre

27.10.20 Orford Town Hall

Wherever you live you can attend a clinic at a venue of your choosing.

Please call the surgery to book your appointment for the Flu Clinic.

01394 411641



 Food Banks at the East of England Co-op 

Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities and have an even more vital role to play as we navigate our way through these unprecedented times.

The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed.


Online services for 20th and 27th

A reminder that there will be no online services from the Alde Sandlings Benefice on the 20th and 27th September, as Mark is on annual leave. However, please do visit the St Edmundsbury Cathedral Facebook page where online services are available.