Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 18th October/Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

 

9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Morning Prayer

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online Service Available

 

Message from The Rector

I have just returned from a shopping trip to Waitrose and while there couldn’t help noticing the Christmas ‘fayre’ already on sale (turkey & stuffing-flavoured tortilla chips anyone?). And as I drove home I was wondering about Christmas and how we might celebrate it this year, given all of the things that we would love to do but can’t. We won’t be able to gather in church in large numbers (and we had more than 400 people in Aldeburgh church for the Crib Service last year). We won’t be able to sing Christmas hymns and carols together in church. We won’t be able to hold our traditional, beautiful, Christingle service as we normally do. So what can we do? We’re a way off being able to make any final decisions but I float just one idea to see how you might react. Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year so in the week leading up it how about, in each Parish, a single, outdoor celebration? We will have to risk the weather (and ‘if wet’ we won’t be able to go indoors) but we are hardy British east-coast folk after all! The services would not all need to be the same and might be anything from a simple service of Christmas music and readings to a Holy Communion service – perhaps on Christmas morning. (On or by the beach?) Whatever we do there will be a lot to think about but I would very much appreciate your thoughts at this stage. There is no perfect solution but with a little imagination we ought, joyfully, to still be able to celebrate our Saviour’s birth together.

I am very aware of the difficulties of keeping in touch with those who do not yet feel able, for whatever reason, to be with us in church. I know that many of you are doing great things for friends and neighbours, but I am also aware that sometimes people would really appreciate a chat with me or one of the clergy team. We have been trying our best but, with the best will in the world, with so many people and so many other things pressing on our time it’s difficult always to get it right. But people are always welcome to contact us. If you would like a chat, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and should you get ‘the dreaded machine’ leave a message and you’ll be called back. And if you know of someone else who is in need than please do let me or one of the team know.

There is a recent Church of England initiative that is very much worth knowing about too. It’s called Daily Hope and it’s a phone line that provides all sorts of recorded resources – worship, hymns, talks, even some chair exercises. And if you ring it, the first voice you will hear is that of the Archbishop of Canterbury! The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind. Spread the word!

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
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.

First Reading
Isaiah 45.1-7
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand
I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of
their robes, to open doors before him and the gates shall not be closed: 
I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.  For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.  I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 1.1-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake.  And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 22.15-22
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

 

Deciphering words in the New Testament –
(It’s all Greek to me)

Mark writes:

It’s all too easy to forget that the bibles that most of us rely on are translations from another language.  Most of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek.  Once upon a time many clergy would have been taught New Testament Greek as part of their studies – no longer, sadly.  But the real meaning of some words in the New Testament is much more easily understood if we have at least a smattering of knowledge of Greek, and, luckily for us, Canon John Giles does.

Over to him for the first of a little series.

 

Here are a few words, one at a time, over the weeks, to hold on to as marker-buoys for a closer understanding of Christ and his message.
So please get your bibles out and look up the places where they come.

  1. THARSEI – BE OF GOOD COMFORT/ CHEER UP/ TAKE HEART/KEEP UP YOUR COURAGE

In dark days we are glad when someone who knows better than us what is going on says “Cheer up”.  Jesus said it to the disciples at the end of his farewell talk at the Last Supper (John 16.33).  He said it to the disciples exhausted by rowing against a fierce head wind out on Lake Galilee after the Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6.50).  He said it to the paralysed man brought to him on a stretcher in (Matthew 9.2), and again to the woman with an incurable haemorrhage in the same chapter, v.22. Paul, taken into safe custody in the Roman barracks to keep him from an angry crowd in Jerusalem was comforted by the Lord in prayer in the same words (Acts 23.11).  Here then is the same Greek word used in several different contexts, with a good message for us today for obvious reasons!

Next time:          Me Phobousthe – Don’t be afraid.

Canon John Giles

 

Sermon for the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity by our Rector,
The Revd Mark Lowther

Who are the most powerful individuals in the world today? And who do you think are the leaders that we can all look up to in our world today? And can you think of anyone who fits both of those categories – really powerful and who we can really look up to? It’s not easy, is it? But as Christians is it any of our business anyway? Do religion and politics have anything to do with each other? Politicians are very good at using religion when it suits them and ignoring it when it is uncomfortable. Church leaders often get it in the neck when they say things that politicians find uncomfortable. One former Prime Minister, on first arriving on the steps of 10 Downing Street, paraphrased St Francis of Assisi – ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’. And, whatever you think about that Prime Minister’s policies, for lots of people the governments of the next few years certainly didn’t bring either harmony or hope. And another Prime Minister, of a different political hue, when about to answer a journalist’s question about his religious faith was interrupted by his ‘Director of Strategy and Communication’ before he could answer. ‘We don’t do God’, the journalist was told.

There are certainly plenty of people who would like religion and politics not to have anything to do with each other, but I strongly suspect that someone who might disagree is Jesus. It takes a very special way with words to take the politics out of Jesus’s message. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “When people say that the Bible and politics don’t mix, I ask them which Bible they are reading”. Just think of something like the beatitudes in which Jesus tells the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the peacemakers and so on that they are specially blessed by God. Or think of Mary’s song of thanksgiving on hearing that she is to be the mother of God, when she recounts what God has done, scattering the proud, bringing down the powerful from their thrones and lifting up the humble.

Now there is, of course, a difference between ‘politics’ – which comes from a Greek word meaning ‘the affairs of the city’ – and ‘party politics’. If you try to work out whether Jesus would have voted Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green or UKIP than I think you’re not trying to answer the right question. (I do, however, believe that he’d have been unlikely to vote for the BNP) What we are called upon to do whenever we have the chance to vote is to see what policies are on offer from the parties standing, remember our Christian faith and what it teaches us, and vote for the party that we think is the closest to what our faith teaches us. And we need to remember, firstly, that we’re not going to find any party that we completely agree with and secondly that among us there will be a variety of opinions. The Church of England was once famously dubbed ‘The Tory party at prayer’ (by a suffragette, by the way) but there are Christian supporters of most political parties – and that’s only right and proper.

Hang on a moment, though. Why all of this political stuff today? There isn’t an election coming up. Well, of course, it’s inspired by today’s Gospel reading in which we hear of an attempt to trap Jesus with a question about paying tax. ‘Is it lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor or not?’ said the wily Pharisees. ‘We’ve got him this time’, they must have thought. If he says ‘yes’ then he’s taking the side of the occupying Romans (who pretty well everyone wanted rid of) so the crowd will lynch him. But if he say’s ‘no’ then we’ll report him to the Roman authorities, and they’ll lynch him. Get out of that one Mr Clever Rabbi. And Jesus responds with characteristic wisdom. Remember who was asking the question in the first place – a group of Pharisees, who were a strand within Judaism who considered themselves set apart (that’s what the name Pharisee means) – set apart because they took a particular approach to the application of Jewish laws in everyday life. This kind of question about taxes really mattered to them. But they were also seen by many at the time to have compromised with the Romans, to have, in some way, sold out to protect their own backs. They were far from universally popular with their fellow countrymen. Now the coin that Jesus had someone produce would have said clearly around its edge ‘Son of God – high priest’ – because that’s who Caesar thought that he was. So these Pharisees who were carrying the Roman coin really were compromised, weren’t they? They were trying to be good Jewish boys and keep Caesar happy too. And that was impossible. And what Jesus was doing was pointing out their hypocrisy to them. ‘Off you go and try and do it’, he was saying. ‘Give Caesar what’s due to him and God what’s due to him – if you can.’ When they heard this, we’re told in the story, they were amazed; and left him and went away. I wonder if they felt just a bit guilty themselves – they certainly should have done.

Perhaps we should too. How do we hold together our political opinions and our faith? How much are we influenced in our political decisions by looking after No.1 first, rather than the greater good. Some words from a rather thoughtful Welsh priest, Tristan Owain Hughes.

‘Sometimes’, he writes, ‘I think that even Christians think that Jesus himself was just a little bit naïve, impractical, or utopian. If Jesus were around now, we might quietly speculate that he’d conclude that things are actually far more complex that he first realised. Things are, in fact, far less complex than we ourselves realise. Jesus knew exactly what human nature was about. On the very night that he was tortured and murdered, he simply said: “my command is this: love each other as I have loved you”.

‘As a Christian’, Hughes continues, ‘as a person of hope, I am quite certain that change will come, that transformation will take place. But this change will not start in Westminster, or in the City, or on Fleet Street. Change starts in our hearts, and then grow outwards. If we live out compassion in our daily lives, the kingdom of God cannot fail to break through into our communities and, as a consequence, that will transform our society – bringing light to places of darkness, bringing love to those who suffer prejudice or disadvantage, bringing hope to those who think they have no future. “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you”.

Amen

Post Communion
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.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
25th October – Last Sunday after Trinity

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

 

 

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DAY

ALDERTON

ORFORD

ALDEBURGH

Monday

8.00 to 14.30

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 18.30

Tuesday

8.00 to 18.30

CLOSED

8.00 to 18.30

Wednesday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

Thursday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

Friday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

GP TRAINING CLOSURE DATES

The surgery will be closed on Thursday 12th November at 13.00
for GP training.

Please contact NHS 111 when the Surgery is closed.

Flu Vaccinations

The surgery is hoping to receive more flu vaccinations at the end of November. We will initially administer these to unvaccinated vulnerable patients first. Then we will vaccinate the 50-64 year old category of patients. If you fall into this category and have not received a letter from the surgery, please DO NOT contact the surgery. We will contact you individually when we have the vaccinations available.

 

NOTICES

 

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.

 

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. Whether it be a story to tell, or tips or recipes or a notice to be added to spread the word.

 

Aldeburgh Parish Church APCM 
Will be on October 25th in church after the 10.30am service.