Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 1st August – Ninth Sunday of Trinity

Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

To begin with, a thank-you to those who responded to my requests for views in last week’s online pew-sheet. Bearing those in mind, we will gradually introduce some more singing into our indoor services, and we will also re-introduce the shared cup at Holy Communion services. For those who might still feel uncomfortable about receiving wine in that way, please be assured that if you only receive the bread and leave the communion rail before the wine is distributed you will still have ‘received communion’. Guidance from the national church makes it clear that ‘Because of ongoing potential risks to health, an individual communicant may choose to receive only in the form of bread even if the consecrated wine is being distributed’. We will, of course, take all of the usual precautions, keeping the rim of the chalice clean by wiping it with a laundered ‘purificator’ and rotating it between communicants. All should thus be well.

As you will see elsewhere in this pew-sheet we have taken the decision to postpone Aldeburgh’s first ‘Friday Market’ from next Friday (6th) to the following Friday (13th).

The organising team say:

Sadly, our dear Aldeburgh Church friend John Aitken has recently died, and his funeral has been arranged for Friday 6th August. So, we have decided to postpone the first market as a mark of respect for John, his family, and friends. There will be many people wanting to attend the funeral. The hearse, the funeral cortege to the graveyard and the Council grave diggers will all be using the car park, so we feel it is the right thing to postpone the market.

Thank-you, team, for your thoughtfulness – it is very much appreciated.

A reminder that this Sunday (1st) afternoon in Aldeburgh church there will be two piano recitals, at 2pm and 4pm, across which Libby Burgess will play the second book of Bach’s 48 Preludes and Fugues. This is part of her extraordinary project to play ‘the 48’ in all 48 English counties. She is raising money for charities that support musicians who have had such a hard time during the Covid outbreak. Engagements simply dried up, there was no work to be had, and many had to make some very difficult decisions. Come to one or both recitals, hear some glorious music and help some very good causes.

Then, on Sundays August 8th and 15th there are afternoon concerts in Friston churchyard. Full details further down the pew sheet, and if last year was anything to go by there will be plenty to enjoy – and another very worthwhile charity, St Elizabeth’s Hospice, to support.

With my love and prayers, as ever


Almighty God, who sent your Holy Spirit
to be the life and light of your Church:
open our hearts to the riches of your grace,
that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit
in love and joy and peace;
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
Exodus 16.2-4, 9-15
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.

Second Reading
Ephesians 4.1-16
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’  (When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Gospel Reading
John 6.24-35
So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’  Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Sermon for 1st August – Ninth Sunday after Trinity,
by The Revd James Marston

JOHN 6.1-21

May I speak in the name of the living God, Father son and holy spirit

“Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.”
John chapter 6; The feeding of the 5,000. It is one of the most familiar stories from the ministry of Jesus. The miracle where generosity overflows and the followers of Christ begin to understand something of who he is, after eating together.

This episode’s Eucharistic themes of drawing together and feeding the community is followed by a sense of recognition and understanding. Perhaps this is why this story resonates so powerfully. Because we too often miss what is happening until after the event.

I’m afraid we all often fail to see the depths of what God is doing, because we are all too focused only on what serves our own desires and needs. We fail to realize how graciously God is acting among us, for our sake and for the sake of the whole world.

As St Paul hints of in our reading this morning we may be “rooted and grounded in love” but we still need prayer to develop and nourish our faith and our souls. We may see something of the unknowable depth of the love of Christ but we only see partially and in distorted ways.

We need the continuing word and sacrament if we are to move more deeply into the glory of God. This is what the crowds need as well, though it will take all of chapter 6 to tell the story.

As many of you I talk far too much about myself, but if you’ll indulge me today I thought I might tell you something of my experience at the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

It has been a fascinating few weeks, not because I got to flounce around in my cassock, or swing the incense or sing an evensong – I did none of those things in the end. Instead the time there was used getting to know the clergy team, observing who does what, talking to the various congregation members and volunteers who serve God in that place in such a diverse and inspiring variety of ways.

I chatted with the Dean about church leadership, I discussed worship and liturgy with the liturgist, I spent time with the pastoral team that looks after and holds in prayer those who need and require that pastoral support. These are things we do in our benefice and it took me by surprise what we might learn from there, and indeed how the cathedral might even learn from us.

Yet above all those few weeks away gave me a chance to see myself with fresh eyes, and to see our context and churches with greater clarity. As well as giving me time to think, to assess, to stand back and to reflect on, not only the last two years but the future a bit as well. My placement at the cathedral was, in the end, less about learning cathedral ministry and more about reflecting on my own and our journey of formation and faith.

Changes, even transformations, have happened to me that I hadn’t realised had been going on. And as you, this congregation and those across the benefice, have been training me alongside Mark and the other clergy and, indeed the wider community, I thought it might be interesting to update you and share with you something of what this moment up the mountain, away from the hebdomadal routine, has revealed to me.

Firstly that, as I deaconed the mass at the cathedral, I was struck how far I’d come, how much more comfortable I am now in front of a large congregation, how powerful it is to read the gospel and how fortunate I am to have this calling. From my first service here when the nerves and adrenalin made me almost wonder however I’d got into it all to today when I preside on my own with excitement and gladness as we share again the Eucharistic feast.

But perhaps most importantly, my time away has made me realise how being here among you has ultimately deepened my faith, taught me to be seen through a different lens and shaped and encouraged my vocation and formation in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Not least, and now I see it is obvious, the startling recognition that the Holy Spirit is ultimately engaging us all, in different ways and in different respects on a journey to proclaim and to live the gospel in this place. It may not always feel like it, we may not even notice it, but we are all pulling on the same rope and engaged in the same project – one of simply sharing God’s love.

To be part of the Body of Christ in this benefice is to be in a community of mutual support and of love. And we must never lose sight of that.

As our rector Mark prepares to leave us, and this will be far more painful I think than we quite yet realise, I am, at the request of the bishops, to be curate-in-charge during what the church calls the interregnum.

Practically, this means that over the coming months, I am expecting to chair PCC meetings, work closely with the churchwardens, maintain the rota with clergy colleagues who will continue to take services, administer the sacraments, conduct the occasional offices, offer pastoral care, and keep the whole thing going, crucially, with your support and encouragement.

This in-between time is not really a time for big decisions or missional initiatives or unexpected changes in direction. We aren’t quite carrying on a normal, but we are carrying on.

And I promise we’ll do our best not to upset the flower ladies.

The concept of this time without leadership is one that is very different from the world from which I and most of us come. It might feel like a time of uncertainty and for many is frankly odd, in comparison with the commercial or public sector world.

Indeed, in previous incarnations my boss would have been replaced almost before he or she left – but in the church we take a step back, we calm ourselves, we reflect, we put our trust in God as we take time to think and look at ourselves and examine who and what we are and who and what we have become.

Just like Jesus and his disciples in John chapter 6, our community will go up the mountain to get a different view of things in order to come down it again and get on with the job we are all called to do.


Post Communion
Holy Father, who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you reveal the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language to share in the eternal
banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Next week
Sunday 8th August
Tenth Sunday after Trinity


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Mark’s Retirement

As we all know, we will be saying a very sad farewell to our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther at the end of August, as he starts his retirement.  All the churches in the Benefice are arranging last services etc for Mark, which I am sure the church you worship at has informed you.  At Aldeburgh we are hoping to have a 
Summer Suffolk Farewell Concert, with Geoff Lavery, and friends performing on the 22nd August 3-4pm, followed by tea and cake in the Church Hall. 
On the 29th August, we are hoping to have a Benefice Holy Communion Service.  On how many we have depends on you really.  We need your input.  Are you happy to attend church with larger numbers, without social distancing, and happy to sing, or would you prefer to be seated socially distanced and NOT sing? Or are you happy to celebrate Mark’s retirement at your preferred church you normally worship in?  We really want this to work, but need an idea of your wishes, so we can plan.  Your safety is our priority.  So please let Claire know your thoughts at or speak to one of the clergy or churchwardens at the next service you attend.  Of course, all these celebrations can only go ahead if we are permitted to do so, and no restrictions return that could put people at risk.


Alde Sandlings Benefice Fun Days in August

UPDATE – THE FIRST FRIDAY MARKET WILL NOW BE ON THE 13TH AUGUST not the 6th as previously advertised.

As many of you know August is the month for Aldeburgh Church to host their Friday Markets. Unfortunately, last year was cancelled due to Covid. This year things are hugely better, but we still need to approach with caution. So, this August we will have two Friday markets on the 13th and 27th 10am – 2pm. The proposed stalls are as follows:

BBQ, Vegetables, Plants, Fruit and Flowers, Cakes and Savouries, Jams etc, Craft Stalls, General Bric a Brac. Tombola and Games. All the churches in the Alde Sandlings are invited to have their chosen stalls to raise much depleted funds for the churches. Please contact if any church members of the Alde Sandlings Benefice would like to have a stall.


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 Outdoor Services

The services start at 11am in the beautiful Aldringham churchyard. Weather permitting, these services will continue throughout July, August and September. August 8th will be the date for the annual Animal Service, 3pm in the churchyard.  We can’t guarantee that there will be no interruptions as the animals may have difficulty following the order of service but all animals, insects, etc. (and their owners)


Food Banks at the East of England Co-op

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 – By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing


Pilgrims Together

The Pilgrim’s will be taking an August break from the Wednesday evening Zoom gatherings. They will be returning on Wednesday 1st September. They continue to worship by The Meare at Thorpeness every Sunday in August.
See poster in this newsletter for more information.


Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat.

Please contact for the links


The 2021 Suffolk Historic Churches Ride and Stride

Saturday 11th September 9am-5pm

The Annual Sponsored Ride and Stride is a national event, and every second Saturday in September cyclists and walkers all round the country are out making money for their local county Churches Trust.
If you would like to take part, you can either walk, cycle or be a recorder on the day, or of course, you might like to
sponsor one of the team, please either:

  1. Email and Claire will pass on your details to the team organiser at each church.
  2. Or see them at the church you worship (Fran Smith, Aldeburgh, David Copp, Aldringham) where they will be pleased to give you a sponsor form and take your details.

More information from Friston and Knodishall next week.


Project 48 Concerts at Aldeburgh Church
1st August 2pm & 4pm –
We are delighted to announce that we will be joined by pianist Libby Burgess, who will be playing Bach’s Well Tempered Klavier. Tickets £10 on the door..