Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 21st March – The Fifth Sunday of Lent/Passion Sunday

Message from The Rector

After this week’s PCC meetings, we now have a plan for all of our services in Holy Week and on Easter Day.

Palm Sunday – March 28th

Holy Communion service online from 10.00am

Palm Sunday Service in Aldringham (with donkeys!) 11.00am

Monday – March 29th 7.00pm

Meditative service based on Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross. Music played by a local string quartet, meditations written by Timothy Radcliffe.
The (Roman Catholic) Church of Our Lady & St Peter, Aldeburgh
Numbers in church are restricted – (free) tickets available here:

The service will be live-streamed here:

Tuesday March 30th 6.00pm
Meditation & Reflection Service for Holy Week from Friston on Zoom

Wednesday March 31st
From 10.00am Holy Communion service according to the Book of
Common Prayer on the Alde Sandlings YouTube channel
6.00pm Special Holy Week, Night Prayer from Friston on Zoom
(The links to the Friston services will be in next week’s pew sheet)
6.30pm Zoom Pilgrims Together worship

Thursday April 1st (Maundy Thursday) 7.00pm
Online service of Holy Communion on the benefice YouTube channel

Friday April 2nd (Good Friday)
10.00am – Good Friday Service from Friston on Zoom
Midday – 3pm Aldeburgh church open – quiet service for the
Last Three Hours

Sunday April 4th (Easter Day)
6.30am Dawn Service in Aldeburgh churchyard
9.30am Holy Communion service in Knodishall church
9.45am Holy Communion service in Friston church
10.30am Holy Communion service in Aldeburgh church
11.00am Holy Communion service in Aldringham church

And from Easter Day onwards regular Sunday services resume in all of our churches. More details next week. All are welcome at all of our services, ‘live’ and online. It may not be the Easter we all hoped for (it seems we still won’t be able to sing) but it is still Easter.

And speaking of Easter, our churches have clubbed together (a big thank-you to our generous PCCs and Treasurers) to give each of the children at Aldeburgh and Coldfair Green Primary Schools a ‘Real Easter Egg’. It’s a delicious chocolate egg, made with Fairtrade ingredients and including a 24-page booklet that tells the Easter story. We thought that as we were unable to hold any ‘Messy Church’ events, this would be a good way to spread the Easter message far and wide.

As many of you will know, this coming Tuesday (23rd) has been designated a National Day of Reflection. This is how it is explained on the Marie Curie website (Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity.)

Since the first lockdown began in 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have died. Too many lives have been cut short and millions have been bereaved.

Behind the statistics and whatever the cause, every death has been devastating for the people left behind.

Join us on 23 March, the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown, for a National Day of Reflection to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.

There are still tough times ahead, as the death toll continues to rise. This annual day will give us all time to pause and think about this unprecedented loss we’re facing and support each other through grief in the years to come.

On Tuesday there will be a one-minute silence at Midday and church bells will be tolled. In the evening, at 8pm, we are all encouraged to ‘shine a light’. Marie Curie says:

At 8pm we’ll hold a minute’s silence and come together to light up the night. Stand outside with a light – a candle, a torch, even your phone – to remember someone who’s died and show your support to people going through a bereavement. Alternatively, you can shine a light in your window for everyone to see.

We have attached a postcard to this email with a prayer to use on Tuesday. Please do feel free to share it.

Finally, some news from The Revd Nicky Winter. As many of you will know, Nicky’s health has been far from perfect in recent months. She has had to have an operation to remove a large kidney-stone and is still waiting for the follow-up operation to complete the work. All will be well, but she needs some time to recover and build up her strength. After talking to me, Archdeacon Jeanette and Bishop Mike we have decided together that she will take a year out, Easter to Easter. During that time, she won’t be taking any services but will very much still be around, happy to chat on the phone. I don’t need to tell you that Nicky is a hugely valued and much-loved member of our clergy team. I’m sure everyone wishes her well and will be ready to welcome her back with wide-open arms next year and, of course, she will be in our prayers.

With love, as ever



Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory; 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
Jeremiah 31.31-34
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. 

Second Reading
Hebrews 5.5-10
So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’; as he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’ In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Gospel Reading
John 12.20-33
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.


Sermon for 21st March – The Fifth Sunday of Lent/Passion Sunday by,
The Revd Johanna Mabey

“May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord our rock and our redeemer.”

A life of faith is many things – at times glorious, exhilarating, and life affirming, and at others difficult, confusing, and even painful.

Usually when I sit down to write a reflection or sermon the words fly out of my head and on to the screen easily, but other times the process is harder, longer, and exhausting. Despite some heartfelt prayers for assistance, the preparation of this reflection falls into the second category!

Today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, is the start of Passiontide, as we begin to focus on the cross. We feel a change of gear; the pace is hotting up and the events that we commemorate in Holy Week are almost upon us.

The cross, becomes for us a crossroads: the promise of hope and redemption while at the same time, testifying to the reality of suffering.
I think the reality of suffering has been at the heart of my struggles with our scripture readings today. The National Day of Reflection on Tuesday will bring the depth of suffering across the UK into sharp focus. So far around 146,487 lives have been lost due to the pandemic here, and an estimated 2.67 million lives globally. As I write, according to John Hopkins University, globally there are 5,500 deaths every day due to covid-19.

As we enter Passiontide, and follow the story of the betrayal, arrest, trial and execution of Christ there are recognisable human threads to the story that might find some connection with the situation that all of us are in because of the virus.

The changes to the way we’re now living are echoed in the Holy Week story. Because the central figure, Jesus of Nazareth, has up to this point in his life, been purposeful, active and public. He’s often been surrounded by crowds, interacting with people every day.

But in Holy Week, he becomes no longer the subject of the action but the object. He becomes someone to whom things are done. Not someone who is in control anymore. This is the dual meaning of the Passion of Christ; the suffering yes, that he has to face, but also that he submits to the powerful forces that overtake him.

Holy Week and Easter are incredibly challenging psychologically as well as spiritually for those who follow its events and pray through its story.

Not least because Christ’s story faces us with the human passion story; the weeks of confinement we have all endured, when thoughts of death have come uncomfortably close, when we have been, and still are at the mercy of forces beyond our control.

The horror and beauty of the passion story find echoes in the horror and beauty of the past year, filled as it has been with the distress of grief, alongside the kindness, courage, and generosity of so many.

Loss and renewal, dying and rising, is at the heart of the resurrection and also at the core of our baptism.

In our reading from Jeremiah, we hear God’s promise – “I will write my law on their hearts….and they shall all know me…from the least of them to the greatest.”  In order to know God fully we need to be prepared to say “no” to those things that spoil that relationship.

Today’s gospel is set in the context of the Passover feast – a feast that celebrates the Israelites’ liberation from bondage in Egypt. It’s about letting go, leaving behind, and moving into a new life.

Some Greeks come to Philip and say, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” When they tell Jesus about this request, he answers, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  That’s his response to those who want to see him; to the Greeks, to us, to everyone.

And that dying is about more than a physical death. We die many kinds of death throughout our lifetime. The loss of a loved one, a relationship, health, opportunities, a dream; all deaths we didn’t want or ask for.

Other times we choose our losses and deaths, giving up parts of ourselves for another. And sometimes there are things we need to let go of, things we cling to that deny us the fullness of life God offers: that may be fear, anger or resentment, regret and disappointment, guilt, the need to be right, the need for approval…

Seeing Jesus, then, is a way to be followed; a life to be lived. It’s being a grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies so that it might bear much fruit. It’s the letting go, the emptying, the leaving behind, and the dying that makes space for new life to arise. That’s when we really see Jesus.

Letting go doesn’t mean rejection or walking away. And it doesn’t mean choosing absence over presence. Instead, it makes room for new life and new ways of being present. Our letting go gives God something with which to work. Why would we want to continue to live as a self-enclosed, single grain of wheat when we can flourish and live fruitful lives?

Throughout Holy Week, this pattern of loss and renewal will be unveiled each day; but we already know it ends at Easter – the empty tomb, the dawn of a new day, and the renewal of life. The single grain becomes, for us, the Bread of Life.


Post Communion
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do also for you: give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, now and for ever.


The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 28th March
Palm Sunday



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. 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 few months 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.

You should also check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off 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


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 – just like we used to.

Please contact for links and information.

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact for links and information.

Saturday 20th March 7pm
Pilgrims Together Story Telling Ceilidh

The Pilgrims are very much looking forward to hearing all the golden nuggets of local facts and stories this Saturday (20th March).

Thank you to Sue for organising and to everyone who will be providing an offering. There will be time between the different contributions for others to add their own memories and understanding of the stories told.  Have a glass or mug of something at the ready and sit back and enjoy. ALL WELCOME.

Please contact for links and information.

Date for your diary –   Pilgrims Zoom Easter Cake Bake 
led by Chris at the Parrot

                         Saturday 3rd April from 2pm (ahead of Easter Sunday)

Ingredients to follow (Chris is working on an original recipe this weekend so it will no doubt be delicious!)

Zoom link details will be sent out with the ingredients list.

All are welcome, so please forward this to people who you think would like to join us!

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 – just like we used to.

Please contact for links and information.


✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

To join the Zoom Meeting, please use this link.

Please contact for links and information.


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.
Please send Claire your content by Thursday at 4pm if you wish for it to be included in the Saturday newsletter.


Book/TV/Film Review Club

Have you found a great escape during this lockdown in books, a tv series, or a good film? Are you re-visiting the classics, or reading them for the first time? What box sets are you binge watching? Are you watching Bloodlands, Unforgotten, Marcella, The Crown?
Please do share your reviews/recommendations with us.
Just send your review to

Art in a Bag
Are you interested in art and craft? Volunteers in connection with the East Suffolk Community Partnership have created something called  “Art in a Bag”. The idea was developed with the input of groups in the area including the good neighbour schemes, parish and town councils, libraries, Rose and Sweet William Club, churches and key group leaders. The bags are aimed particularly at people who may be socially isolated and who are unable attend their normal activities and clubs. The project covers the whole Community Partnership area from Aldeburgh and Snape up to Westleton and across to Saxmundham. The contents have been developed with an artist via The Art Station in Saxmundham who is actually based in London and in normal times runs activity groups for the British Museum. There is a great selection of quality art materials included and some guides on different things that can be made.  If you are interested, please contact and we will pass on your details.