Message from our Curate in Charge,
The Revd James Marston
As I lit the fire the other evening and relaxed with Vera, and a small selection freshly baked sausage rolls in the spacious rectory here in Friston, I thought it myself that autumn is well and truly here and maybe it’s time for a bracing walk.
With that in mind this week I found myself on Crag path in Aldeburgh – for more of a gentle stroll than a brace – when it struck me to remind you that prayer – the bedrock of our faith – can be done out and about as well.
Praying – talking to God, and trying to listen to Him, is how we develop our relationship with Him, and that’s not just done in church on a Sunday morning but at other times too. As we see from our gospel reading this week Jesus was an itinerant preacher, Jesus walked everywhere.
The exciting news this week is the addition of retired priest Rev’d Sheila Murray to our list of priests happy to help out with occasional services across the benefice. Some of you may recognise her from when she’s visited our churches. Rev’d Sheila introduces herself this week in the newsletter.
Just so you all know I’m away for a few days next week – visiting Dorset – which I’m quite looking forward to. While I’m away Rev’d Jo is still around if there’s anything super urgent.
O God, for as much as without you
we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
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.
Amos 5.6-7, 10-15
Seek the Lord and live, or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire, and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.
Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground! They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth. Therefore, because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. Therefore, the prudent will keep silent in such a time;
for it is an evil time. Seek good and not evil, that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said.
Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’ Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’
Reflection for Harvest Festival Service with
the baptism of Evelyn Nunn, by The Revd Johanna Mabey
Preached on Sunday 3rd October 2021 Aldeburgh
Joel 2:21-27 and Matthew 6:25-33
May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Harvest is a time when we think of the fruitfulness of the land and our church is filled with produce and beautiful flowers, when we give thanks for all God’s gifts, but at the same time we’re reminded how all isn’t right with the world.
In earlier times food production was life – when crops failed, the winter could be a battle for survival.
Despite current difficulties with transportation and shameful fisty cuffs at some petrol stations, we enjoy a good measure of food security, as do many across the world.
But there are still places where the dependence on nature for food production is absolute.
Kagera, our link diocese in Tanzania is one such place, and that’s where all the money in our collection is going to today.
Around the world eco-systems are suffering and our behaviour is making the planet uninhabitable.
There’s a well know phrase that says: live simply that others may simply live.
The truth is that we need to live with less and take less from our world.
The prophet Joel paints a terrifying picture of a devastated world in the wake of a plague – in this case a plague of locusts.
The devastation is total.
There’s no pasture.
Flames have burned all the trees.
The watercourses have dried up.
Even the ground mourns.
But in the extract we heard, we suddenly hear the command
‘Do not fear’ – addressed to all creation.
‘Do not fear, O soil’, Joel says.
‘Do not fear, you animals.’
‘Be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God, O children of Zion.’
But the call not to be afraid doesn’t appear to make sense. Surely there’s rather a lot to be afraid of?
But read on and it does make sense.
‘Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and mourning’, God says.
In other words, let your heart be broken
Find compassion. Mourn what should not be.
So it’s all about a transformation of the heart.
We might say it’s our continued indifference or hardness of heart in our world, that stands between us and the restoration of God’s beautiful planet.
It’s striking that Jesus also urges us not to be afraid – in those beautiful words from Matthew’s gospel.
‘Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.’
‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.’
And yet, this isn’t a casual ‘head in the sand’ urging us not to worry, telling us to turn our back on the needs of the world.
Jesus is much more specific than that.
‘Strive first,’ He says, ‘for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’
So, it’s on this basis, striving for what God wants for all creation, that we’re encouraged not to be afraid.
But I wonder what this means for us in practice as we give thanks for God’s harvest in the full knowledge that creation is groaning.
The climate crisis won’t be averted simply by the actions of governments, new technologies, activists, and individuals – important though they are.
What I take from our bible readings is that the climate crisis will be averted when our hearts are melted.
When we mourn the loss of natural habitats.
When we feel compassion for our suffering neighbour – near or far.
And when, by God’s grace, we act in love.
Do you remember Kermit the frog from the Muppets?
Well, I think Kermit was right when he said ‘It’s not easy being green’
But we know, for the sake of Evelyn who is being baptised today, and for the sake of her young friends and family, and her whole generation, we all need to change the way we live, making less of an impact on our world, by respecting it and caring for it.
When we do this, we walk in the ways of what is right and just.
As we look to the UN climate change conference – COP26 – in Glasgow next month, when so much is at stake, join with me in praying for a rich harvest…
For a sense of urgency
For compassion and for love. Amen.
Holy and blessed God,
you have fed us with the body and blood of your Son
and filled us with your Holy Spirit:
may we honour you, not only with our lips
but in lives dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ our Lord.
NADIA LASSERSON & FRIENDS
PRESENTED BY HUMPHREY BURTON
Will include works by Bach, Scarlatti, Mozart, Rossini & Schuman
Wednesday 27th October 2021 at 4pm
at Aldeburgh Parish Church
Admission Free – A retiring collection for Save the Children
Social distancing will be administered in the church for everyone’s safety
We welcome, The Revd Sheila Murray,
who will be leading occasional services within the Alde Sandlings Benefice
When my husband Andy and I came to Aldeburgh Church a few months ago, having moved to Saxmundham just before Christmas, we immediately felt at home. Despite us all having to sit socially distanced, and wearing masks we were made welcome and we just knew this was where we wanted to worship.
We have two children, Angus who is married to Sam and they have a little boy Ethen who is just 5 and Finn who was born in August this year. Currently they live near High Wycombe. Rebecca our daughter lives near Farnborough with her partner Kevin and his two teenage children. I was brought up in North London and have four siblings – 2 older and 1 younger brother and an older sister. During my early childhood we had a house on North Parade in Southwold, then my parents moved to Framlingham (by that time I had left home), then they moved to Saxmundham and Andy and I were married in Sternfield Church in 1983. Andy was new to Suffolk, having been brought up in Edinburgh. We met in 1981 in Oslo, Norway while we were both serving in the RAF, Andy as a pilot and I was a Finance/Personnel Officer. Having moved around a lot, we settled in Taunton in Somerset in 1994. We left in 2017 when I took a House for Duty Post in N Yorks, looking after two village churches near Ripon. We returned to Taunton in late 2019 and I had a few months off then sadly we were then into Lockdown 1.
I was ordained in 2011 in Wells Cathedral having studied for a year at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. I had six years as part of the ministry team at St Mary Magdalene Church in Taunton. I enjoy painting, and music, especially singing and have done a little bit of composing too. We both enjoy gardening, walking by the sea, and watching programmes such as Vera, Strictly, Bargain Hunt, Only Connect as well as watching cricket. (We were active members of Somerset County Cricket Team).
We are thrilled to be back in this part of Suffolk and are enjoying exploring new beaches, footpaths and country lanes, and getting to meet new people who also love this area.
I feel very privileged to be able to come and help out where I can, and I am looking forward to taking services throughout your Benefice over the coming months. Andy has also agreed to help out with playing the organ at Aldeburgh church when he can (he is also playing in Framlingham some Sundays). We both feel God has brought us here at just the right time, and we very much look forward to getting to know more of you in the future.
A LETTER FROM BIZE MINERVOIS
We’re here! The journey down went very smoothly apart from some heavy traffic near Paris, and we’ve been settling-in to the house that will be our home for the next year. It’s lovely, comfortable, and very well-equipped. Coco is beginning to realise that this is home too and has been enjoying walks out, exploring and sniffing (her favourite thing).
The last week or so in Aldeburgh was very busy, preparing for Revells to pack and store our furniture and then trying our best to keep one step ahead of them when they were in The Vicarage. They work fast! (And they’re very good.) I must apologise to those who I fully intended visiting before we left and in the end wasn’t able to – time just ran away with me.
Settling in for the year means that we have quite a bit to organise. Doctors, dentists etc need sorting (work in progress) and today we will be taking Coco to meet her new vet. We have already had one or two surprises. Only a few kilometres from our village there is a pick-your-own farm, run, I think, by English people (the PYO idea is a bit of a novelty in France) and, seasonally, you can pick peaches & nectarines, figs, cherries, aubergines, tomatoes …… We visited a couple of days ago and came back with figs and … strawberries. Picking your own strawberries in October – who’d have thought it. And they’re delicious!
With love, as ever, from Mark, Ro and Coco
Mark & Coco in Minerve – the village that gives the area its name. Note the colour of the sky!
Texts from Coventry Cathedral’s Tablets of the Word
I and the Father are one
He that hath seen me
Hath seen the Father John 10.30 and 14.9
This is a difficult one. How can we come (with St. Paul) to see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”?
If we had been there, we might have seen the Father in the face of the infant Christ lying in the hay.
If we had been there, we might have seen the Father in the face of twelve-year old Jesus talking with the doctors of the law in the Temple.
If we had been there, we might have seen the Father in the face of the one standing by our side in the waters of the Jordan where, needing a fresh start in our lives, we had gone to be baptised by John.
If we had been there, we might have seen the Father in the face of Jesus, teaching the people, healing the sick, calling Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree, accepting the offering of the woman anointing his feet.
If we had been there – no, that is going too far – we cannot speculate, – we might have run away afraid. Put it again as a question, in the words of those later followers from the slave plantations of Virginia and Louisiana, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Were we? And would we have seen the Father in the face of Jesus Christ? Probably not – such discoveries take time. It took Thomas ten days. Then “My Lord and my God”.
John the Evangelist is called the Apostle of Love. He gives us today’s verses. He in old age sums up the whole Christian revelation: “God so loved the world that he gave . . .” John 3.16.
Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
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.
Church of England and Diocese Online Worship
There are many online services you can view from the Church
Church of England website
Church of England Facebook page
Church of England YouTube channel
St Edmundsbury Cathedral Facebook Page
Rainbow Tots has Moved!
We are delighted to inform you that the popular Rainbow Tots group have changed their venue to The Church Hall (Aldeburgh). This takes place every Tuesday morning (during term time) at 10am. All Mums and toddlers are welcome. Find them on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/rainbowtotsaldeburgh/
The Alde Sandlings Celebrate
Please remember that your Harvest gifts would be most welcomed at any of the food banks after the services. Of course, you may know of a group or someone that would be in need of a Harvest gift.
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/
Sacristan Training Sessions with Revd Johanna Mabey
We are calling for all volunteers at Aldeburgh Parish Church, for Sacristans (Preparing the Holy Eucharist for the celebration of the mass. This includes readying the wine, water, and bread and putting them in place for the start of mass, and then removing and cleaning after the service). If you would be able to take part and assist with this role in our Holy Communion services, please speak to a member of the clergy or our church/deputy wardens. Revd Jo has created a printed guide and is offering training to anyone willing to join the team.
Next week –