Message from the Rector
My clergy colleagues and I had an excellent meeting this week and we have made plans for services in our churches during the next few weeks. This Sunday we have a service of Holy Communion in Knodishall church at 9.30am, an online service of Holy Communion at 10.30am, an informal outdoor service in Aldringham churchyard at 11.00am and a service of Evening Prayer in Aldeburgh church at 6.00pm. Then, all being well, August looks like this:
Aldeburgh will alternate morning (10.30am) and evening (6.00pm) services
2nd Morning Praise
9th Celtic Evening Service
16th Morning Holy Communion
23rd Evening Prayer
30th Morning Holy Communion
Aldringham will continue with informal outdoor services at 11.00am (if wet, indoors).
Friston will have a weekly service at 9.45am with Holy Communion once a month
Knodishall will have fortnightly services (beginning this week) at 9.30am, celebrating their Patronal Festival on August 9th.
We will continue with online services every week but from the beginning of August they will become available at 3.00pm rather than 10.30am. This frees me up to lead services in the churches in the mornings and also allows us the possibility of recording a church service and making that a weekly online offering. Wednesday morning online services of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer at 10.00am will continue as normal.
The beginning of September will be very exciting. On Sunday 6th James will be ordained Priest in our cathedral at 3.30pm. As the numbers able to attend will be very restricted, the service will also be streamed online. We will probably have a restricted number of services in the benefice that day so that people are able to join James, albeit virtually. Then on Sunday 13th James will celebrate Holy Communion for the first time, and we will have a benefice service at which he will preside in Aldeburgh church at 10.30am.
There are details elsewhere in this information sheet about the summer Thorpeness services which will happen each August morning at 9.30am and end with a service of Holy Communion in the garden of The Dolphin pub on August 30th. Also, on that day we hope to hold a Songs of Praise service in the afternoon on Friston green. We are hoping that we will be able to sing our heads off by then, but the service will happen, even if all we can do is to hum our favourite hymns!
All of these things are, of course, subject to any government restrictions that may be in force at the time. As anyone involved with Aldeburgh Primary School knows only too well, the virus is still with us. Hopefully, however, we will gradually be able to increase the number and variety of services that we hold in church as time goes by.
With love, as ever
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.
1 Kings 3.5-12
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52
Jesus put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’
Reflection, from Revd Sheila Hart
As I pondered on what I was to say this Sunday, I began to feel that there was one idea that continuously came to me from all three readings and that was the word ‘wisdom’ or ‘discernment’.
Certainly in the Old Testament reading this idea is very much to the fore as Solomon wonders what gift he would like God to bless him with as he becomes King of Israel in succession to his father David. Solomon, after much thought and prayer, asks God to give him the gift of wisdom or a discerning heart rather than wealth, a long life or the death of his enemies – all of which could have been justified in the light of the history of Israel up to this point. Solomon is obviously aware of the task that lies before him and is conscious of his own youthfulness and inexperience as he begins his reign.
In the reading from Romans we learn how when we are not able to decide what we need to pray or to discern the words we should use; the Holy Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.
And in our Gospel reading from Matthew we have the group of parables or sayings of Jesus known as the parables of the Kingdom, purely because they all begin with the words ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is like….’ And, as with all Jesus’ parables, their true meaning can only be discerned through the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I have to admit that I am amazed that ‘wisdom’ or ‘discernment’ is not one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is, however listed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, but only as ‘a word of wisdom’ and in the letter of James we read ‘If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all liberally, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith with no doubting.’
Wisdom is a gift which all leaders should ask God for whether they be leaders in the Church or the world, as there will always be decisions and meetings which they have to make and attend in which wisdom and discernment are vital gifts to enable them to make the most appropriate choices. Indeed one of the exercises which all potential ordinands had to do on their selection conference when I was candidating was what they called an inventory. 40 questions to be answered in 30 minutes, each requiring a one or two word answer, one of which was which is the most important gift or quality that you would like to have in your ministry? The answer I gave was actually wisdom or discernment.
In these present times, though, the gift of wisdom or discernment is one which I believe we should all be asking God to give us as we move from lockdown to more freedom of choice and movement.
We need to discern when our reticence to do things is through fear or through care and concern for ourselves or others.
We need wisdom to discern whether our desire to return to life as it was before lockdown is nostalgia and a craving for what was our norm or because we really believe that the life we were living before lockdown, with all its activities, hustle and bustle was better than the slower, more measured way of life we have been forced to live for the past 4 months.
This has been something which has come up in many Deanery and Diocesan Zoom meetings I have attended and the big question that has been asked is: What in the life of the Church do you feel should be kept and continued after lockdown ends and what should go back to what was the norm before lockdown? Many surprising answers have been given to that question but watch this space, as they say, for there will be changes in the way in which we do Church in the future but our leaders and congregations, national and local will need a great deal of wisdom and discernment over the coming months to work out where God is leading His Church and where our focus should be in the future for its mission and ministry.
Please pray for our leaders, both national and local as we discern together what God’s purpose for our Church is for the future and the wisdom to accept that discernment whether we like it or not, to enable our mission and ministry in our local communities to flourish through joining in and working with God where He is working and with what He is doing.
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;
for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.
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:
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The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
2nd August – Eighth Sunday after Trinity
9.30am Thorpeness Service 1 The Meare, Thorpeness
9.45am Morning Praise Friston Church
10.30am Morning Praise Aldeburgh Church
11.00am Informal service Aldringham Churchyard
3.00pm Online service available
✞ Wednesday Online Services ✞
✞ 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 email@example.com
✟ Songs of Praise on The Green 🎶
Do you have a favourite hymn?
Please let Carole Edwards know by email, phone or letter, your choice of hymn (see below)
Please bring your own chairs and tables for your picnic.
Reply to Carole Edwards, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
Thorpeness Summer Services 2020
Celtic Style Worship
Sunday 2nd August
ALL ARE WELCOME