Message from our Curate in Charge,
The Revd James Marston
Priests are called first and foremost to be a person of prayer. Indeed, all Christians nurture and develop their relationship with God by the medium of prayer.
It is through prayer that we still ourselves sufficiently in order to detach ourselves from the quotidian routine in order to see the world around us through the lens of faith and the spiritual.
The history and practice of the Christian faith inform us that prayer has many forms – immediate and urgent cries for help, intercessionary, liturgical, hymn singing, study, the Eucharist, silence…the list goes on.
Although our whole lives and how we lead them are a prayer to God, making time to join the ancient river of prayer, in whatever form, is the heartbeat of our Christian lives. Prayer is how we still ourselves in order to be able to listen to God in our own lives and ensure we direct our lives to His service.
We do meet to pray together on a Sunday morning, but church services are not really sufficient for the development of our prayer life and, in turn, the nurturing of our souls and our relationships with God. Clergy often try to inspire congregations to a prayer life alongside, yet also outside of, Sunday church.
This week one of our benefice elders Jan Chard has offered to maintain a benefice-wide prayer list for those who we hear of in our communities that might be in need. This is important work and part of our collective ministry and mission to the communities in which we live.
We are, as Christians, called to be aware of and look out for those who might be sick or unwell, in trouble or adversity. These people are prayed for at Morning Prayer at Aldeburgh church which I, and a few others, usually attend.
If you hear of anyone from your parish who is in need and asks for this public prayer ministry do let Jan know and she will update our benefice’s daily prayer list accordingly. Remember we do need people’s verbal permission to put their names on the list.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like someone added.
In other news I’d like to congratulate and thank all those involved with this year’s Ride and Stride event which raised much money for the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. As usual our benefice was well organised and well prepared as we welcomed cyclists keen to explore our churches.
A great success.
O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear
the prayers of your people who call upon you;
and grant that they may both perceive and know
what things they ought to do, and also may have
grace and power faithfully to fulfil them;
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.
It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
then you showed me their evil deeds.
But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
that they devised schemes, saying,
‘Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!’
But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
James 3.13-4.3, 7-8a
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
A Message from Revd Sheila Hart
I am writing this because I am concerned that some of you have misunderstood James’ message in the pew sheet last week in regard to my future involvement with the benefice and I would like to put a few of those right.
Firstly, I have NOT resigned from the benefice, neither have I resigned as Rural Dean BUT there are a few issues going on with my family and me which are causing me to think carefully about what is the best way for me to handle the next few months especially so that James and the ministry team have time to plan for unforeseen eventualities which may happen.
As a result, I have decided not to lead Sunday worship in any of our churches until our situation has stabilised somewhat.
As far as I am able, I shall continue to attend meetings and do pastoral visits and home communions all with the proviso that all is well with me and Mary, our daughter. I shall give you as much notice as I can for a change in my situation BUT I shall not be resigning from the benefice for the foreseeable future.
I continue to value your thoughts and prayers and do please keep in touch.
With my love to you all
St Andrews Aldringham 12 September 2021
Address by Mark Goyder
A few minutes’ walk from here is the RSPB hide. You know the one? It looks across the reedbed towards Sheep wash Crossing. It’s a good place to watch the marsh harriers. To get there you go along the boardwalk.
Early this year a firm of contractors was commissioned by the County Council to renovate the boardwalk. The old planks were ripped up and new ones put down.
When I talked to the men doing the work, I found them disillusioned.
‘This wood that we are putting is no good. It won’t last that well,’ they said.
I asked if they had pointed this out to the council. Yes, they had but they were told to go ahead anyway. Someone had an annual budget to keep to, and had found cheaper timber. They weren’t concerned with the risk that their successors would pay the price for this decision.
Someone at the council has not been behaving like a steward. Stewardship means looking after the assets with which we have been entrusted and passing them on to our successors or to the next generation in better condition.
Let me give you another local example.
When the vicarage in Westleton became redundant, local people developed a plan to enable people to stay in the village as they got older. With the blessing of the Church of England, they envisaged building 20 bungalows as sheltered accommodation, and using the redundant vicarage building itself as a social hub for future residents. In 2020 East Suffolk Council turned the proposal down. They said the proposal was unacceptable in the light of the ‘historical significance of St Peter’s Church nearby’.
I don’t know about you, but I think offering the senior citizens of tomorrow the chance to find a home and stay in the village, and using the vicarage to combat loneliness might be more in tune with the best historical traditions of the church. More so than opening the way for more executive housing.
Now just Imagine if a house builder had been on the look-out for profitable community-initiated schemes and had worked with the community groups to help realise their objective. There are such people about. I’ve just read about a company which specialises in making flats for young people more affordable by making them smaller but designing them so that they don’t feel cramped.
That’s what I would call stewardship. Thinking ahead to the needs of the next generation.
When I started talking to Rev James about future generations, he reminded me about the growing activities of the Messy Church for the under 5s in Aldeburgh…
Let’s think further about what we are doing for future generations.
I have spent my life working in and around business. I spent twelve years as a manager in engineering and paper manufacturing. I have worked with some dedicated people who cared deeply about what they did and the customers they did it for. I have also experienced all kinds of takeover and merger and management buyout, some of them with greedy, uncaring people at the helm who just wanted to extract as much profit as quickly as possible. lt made me realise that business can be a force for good but it matters who owns a company and whether they are thinking short term or long term. So I set up an organisation called Tomorrow’s Company that has spent the last 25 years mobilising the power of business and investment to make things better for people. Making a profit yes; but doing so in a way that adds value to people and the community. As that passage from Ecclesiastes puts it
‘I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s mind’.
If you ask people in different countries around the world if they think the system is working for them, only one fifth say that it is. It is all too remote. Too often people feel helpless to influence things.
To me a vital part of Christian faith – something, as well, which is shared by all major religions – is that everything is connected. And we are taught that the Kingdom of God is not some far away place that we will find out about after death. The Kingdom of God is here, all around us and we are put on this earth to nurture it. God has made everything beautiful. We are here to be good stewards of it. We all have the potential to make things better. We are all endowed by God with some capacity to contribute to the advancement of that Kingdom. We just have to look for it.
How do we in the church think about wealth creation? Do we think of it as a remote thing operated by strangers that we cannot influence?
This is where stewardship comes in. We have more influence than we might imagine. The world of business and investment is not a black box. People are influencing it in all kinds of ways.
Take fast fashion. 90% of the people who work in the garment industry are women. Many of them are badly exploited, not only in Bangladesh but here at home where companies in cities like Leicester have been exposed for exploitation. The garment industry is, after the oil industry, the second biggest polluter in the world.
When my daughter comes to stay with our granddaughter, odd packages keep being delivered. At first, I wondered why Diana was buying so much stuff. But she wasn’t buying it: she was swapping it. There is a very successful enterprise called NU that does this. Its customers are enjoying fashion while also recycling it.
We make all kinds of buying decisions that make a difference.
A confession: I love peanut butter and the like. And my favourite nut butter was a scrumptious almond one that came from Marks & Spencer. I used to buy it in threes and fours!
Then I became aware of the destruction caused by palm oil. I looked at the jar and there it was. Palm oil. That means deforestation and bad impacts on the world’s ability to absorb C02. No more almond butter.
Or think about the decisions people make when they buy a car. Last year, the International Energy Agency published research that showed that SUVs – so-called Sports Utility vehicles – were the second largest cause of the global rise in carbon dioxide emissions (second largest cause of the global rise in carbon dioxide emissions) over the past decade, eclipsing all shipping, aviation, heavy industry and even lorries.
Each year, said IEA, SUVs belch out 700 mega tonnes of CO2, about the entire output of the UK and Netherlands combined. If all SUV drivers banded together to form their own country, it would rank as the seventh largest emitter in the world.
Last weekend I was contacted by a friend whose daughter bought a flat in Basildon. The company building the flats failed to put in any firebreaks in internal walls. As a result of a review following Grenfell Tower, her fire insurance is now FIVE TIMES what it was. I hope none of my pension savings are invested in a building company which is such a poor steward.
Think about investment.
Anyone here who has a pension, or even a life insurance policy, is through those channels a shareholder. As such we have the opportunity to choose funds that have the right impact on this wonderful world, or tell our pension trustees what they can and cannot do with our money.
When I left a big company in my late thirties, I had to set up a personal pension scheme and save directly into that. It gives me a buzz to know that part of my pension is invested in an investment fund that focuses on renewables and environmental improvements, and stays away from industries like oil and tobacco and mining.
In two weeks’ time we will be celebrating Harvest Festival. The hymns we sing and most of the prayers we say are left over from the day when agriculture dominated the economy. Since then, the economy has moved on to manufacturing, services, health, housing, leisure, now digital and artificial intelligence. To me all of that, and the way we invest our money, is part of the harvest. In our church it is time to think about what a c21 version of Harvest festival would look like.
How well have we sowed? How will our grandchildren reap? How can we improve what Ecclesiastes in our reading calls ‘the business that God has given the sons of men to be busy with?’
And the daughters!
That to me is the challenge of stewardship.
you have taught us through your Son
that love is the fulfilling of the law:
grant that we may love you with our whole heart
and our neighbours as ourselves;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Afghanistan Appeals – Can you help?
Next week –
Sunday 26th September
Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity
Texts from Coventry Cathedral’s Tablets of the Word
Part Two by John Giles
I am the Vine,
Ye are the branches.
He that abideth in Me, and I in him
The same beareth much fruit
For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15.5
Six of the verses chosen for Coventry Cathedral are from St. John’s Gospel. Three, including today’s verse, come from what we know as Christ’s Last Discourses with the disciples, following the Last Supper.
Grapes, wine, and the vines from which they came, played a large part in Jewish life. Had not Noah planted the first vineyard after the Flood (Genesis 9.20)? Grapes, vines, and vineyards figure regularly throughout the Old Testament, while the vine is a symbol of the ideal Israel. To this day Jews keeping Passover take care to spill some red wine as a symbol of God’s Grace and Generosity. My Old Testament professor used to say the Jews of old had a “wine-based economy”. No puritan streak there!
So Christ invites his followers to abide in him, to come in under his roof and stay with him. He is the stock of the vine; we are to be the branches, growing grapes from the rising sap of his goodness. Oh dear, we don’t do it very well. But the grapes come in the end from Him. Our job is to abide in him. The word comes again famously in the story of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus meeting the stranger: “Abide with us, for it is toward evening” There is a lovely Taizé chant saying just that.
It is not easy to “abide”, to “dwell” in Christ in a materialistic fun-loving culture such as our own, obsessed with gold medals which are idolised, rather than the (very good) things, in sport, gardening, acting etc., they celebrate. We need to maintain our union with the stock, through church, prayer, the scriptures. If we think of Christ as the Vine Stock, then he has become a very old vine, a true Vielle Vigne, from which as we know the best wines of all are grown. Sidney Carter kept alive the thought of Christianity keeping us young and old in his
“One more step along the world I go”:
You are older than the world can be,
you are younger than the life in me;
ever old and ever new,
keep me travelling along with you:
And it’s from the old I travel to the new:
Keep me travelling along with you.
Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
Please contact email@example.com for more info
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.
Aldringham Battle of Britain Service
This Sunday (19th)
U Food Banks at the East of England Co-op U
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/
01722 580 178 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
✞ Compline on Zoom ✞
Compline online services are every Wednesday at 6pm.
All are very welcome.
Please contact email@example.com for more info
✟ Church of England and Diocese Online Worship ✟
There are many online services you can view from the Church of England and our cathedral. Here are some links below.
Church of England website
Church of England Facebook page
Church of England YouTube channel
St Edmundsbury Cathedral Facebook Page
Ride and Stride Update
The 2021 Ride and Stride took place on Saturday 11th September.
A HUGE thank you, to all that took part.
Janey Blanchflower’s (Aldringham, St Andrew’s)
The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust Sponsored Bike Ride 2021