Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 24th October – Last Sunday of Trinity/Bible Sunday

Message from our Curate in Charge,
The Revd James Marston

Quite a long message this week but please read so you know what’s going on!


This week I buried the ashes of a lady called Joan Farrington. Her remains were laid to rest in our churchyard with her parents who died in the 1970s. The service only took a few moments and I’m rather sad to say was attended by just me and the undertaker. We did the service properly, I dressed up in my robes and we said the appropriate prayers and sad though it is, occasionally this happens – a burial of ashes with no mourners. I wondered, if this happens in the future, if any among you might like to spare a few moments and join me and represent our worshipping community at this simple yet important service. If you would be happy to be called upon in these circumstances, please let me know. It only takes a few minutes and I think having an extra person or two would be a kind and respectful thing to do when this happens.

Benefice Service October 31 – All Saints

I draw your attention to the Alde Sandlings Benefice Service on October 31st at 10.30am at Aldeburgh Church as we mark All Saints Day. The benefice choir, under the guidance of Mish Kelly, has been rehearsing and are planning to use the Alde Sandlings Mass setting and people from across our parishes are taking part in all aspects of the service. I’m looking forward to seeing us come together again as we celebrate our church communities.

I’ll be preaching on the saints of the benefice for which I have just begun research. So far, I have discovered that St Andrew (Aldringham) is also the patron saint of Russia, St Lawrence (Knodishall) is the patron saint of chefs, and the Virgin Mary (Friston) is among the most common parish church dedications in England. And a question I’ve always wondered about, the joint dedication of St Peter and St Paul (Aldeburgh) reflects church tradition that the two saints were martyred on the same day, though maybe not the same year.

Remembrance Day

This year there unfortunately won’t be a civic Remembrance Service in Aldeburgh church. This is because the town council have decided to decline the invitation to come up to church following the Act of Remembrance at the war memorial. I think they wish to follow last year’s precedent of an outdoor ceremony in which people can be spaced apart, in the fresh air and as covid secure as possible.

Obviously, I have to participate in the act of remembrance in the town and can’t be in two places at once, so the town council have invited our congregation to join them and the rest of the community as we remember those fallen in conflict. I would urge you, as a worshipping community, to accept this invitation and join the wider community on this occasion.

Remembrance Sunday is an important part of the civic calendar and an opportunity for God’s people of Aldeburgh church to be seen amongst and join the wider community. The town council has offered to provide some covered seating.

For those who don’t wish to take part in the town ceremonies the church will remain open with some reflective music giving those the opportunity to be still, pray and remember from about 10.45am. Elsewhere in the benefice the Act of Remembrance will be observed from 10.50am at each church followed by a service. Furthermore, in line with Church law, I will be offering a simple said communion service using liturgy according to the Book of Common Prayer at 8am at Aldeburgh church for those that wish to receive the sacrament. 



Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be
written for our learning: help us so to hear them,
to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them
that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word,
we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Isaiah 55.1-11
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.  See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.  Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

Second Reading
2 Timothy 3.14-4.5
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.

Gospel Reading
John 5.36b-end
But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. ‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’ 


Sermon by The Revd James Marston
Preached at Knodishall 17th October 2021
Mark 10.35-41

“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve”

It’s not easy being a Christian. We work hard to keep our churches open and going – yet few come. We give up our time to fundraise and be part of the community and often it seems no one really cares if we are here or not.

We are taught to turn the other cheek and love our neighbours – even when we don’t want to.

We come to church to worship and to try harder and still we don’t get it right.

And we are often thought of by the outside world in less than favourable terms.

This may sound a bit of a gloomy opener for a Sunday morning sermon.

Instead of my usual light-hearted little story about my motor car or the rectory or some amusing anecdote, I’ve filled you with the depressing notion that faith is no picnic.

I’m afraid that sometimes it isn’t.

And in today’s gospel story we hear something of the cost of discipleship, as James and John demand a reward for following Jesus. The other disciples, we hear, are angry with James and John. As one biblical commentator puts it, “not because their own attitudes were any different but because the two brothers had stolen a march on them.”

Their reward, they are all told, is to suffer as Jesus suffers and if they want a hint of greatness, they have to be a slave to all.

Hardly an uplifting story, is it? Especially as just moments before Jesus has, for the third time in Mark, told them all about his forthcoming death and resurrection and they’ve clearly just ignored all that he’s just said.

Indeed, Jesus highlights the ignorance of these sons of Zebedee: “You do not know what you are asking” he says.

Son no wonder it’s a bit depressing we have ignorant disciples who have not listened and have, as a result, totally missed the point.

But perhaps we can sympathise a little bit. For many of us faith is something that comes to us later in life – it takes a while to recognise the presence of God in our lives, a while to work out that sense of the spiritual so many of us all seem to feel is about the God they talk about in the church we never went into. It takes a while for things to slip into place and even when they do we often hold back something of ourselves – we find it difficult, as do the first disciples, to commit our lives to the divine.

And let’s not forget, we know the end of the story, we know the joy of the resurrection. Easter was yet to come for those men who had given up their lives to follow a man who is banging on again about how he’s going to die.

So as much as today’s gospel reading is a reminder of the cost of discipleship – it is also a reminder of the joy of faith and the journey of faith that we are all on.

So my message today is not to lose heart, not to give up being the people of God, not to stop caring about your church or your community – just because other people might not get it yet and might not want to know. I urge you not to worry too much about how many people even come to church – having a faith is about sharing God’s love but that isn’t always the same as growing congregation numbers and paying into the system.

Just by keeping the faith, putting God in your lives, you are showing others the way as they journey through the spiritual journey we are all on. That means simply letting those know around you that you are lucky enough to know Him in your lives.

My job, as a priest is to encourage you and the communities of our parishes, to follow Jesus. And to execute my duties as a priest I am called, primarily, to pray for people’s souls.

My challenge to you this week is to join me in that task.

To think of those outside our church communities as the Sons of Zebedee and the other disciples who slightly miss the point and don’t know the full story.

To pray, not just in church on a Sunday, but during the week, and in your moments of stillness, for those around you, for those who don’t know Jesus, for those yet to know the joy of faith.

Because from prayer comes everything else and not least the deepening of your own faith and understanding of God.

It is as simple as that and it is how we, as his 21st century followers, serve the Son of Man who came not to serve but to serve.


Post Communion
God of all grace, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry
with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom:
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

Texts from Coventry Cathedral’s Tablets of the Word
Part Six by John Giles

Whoso eateth My flesh
and drinketh My blood
hath eternal life.                      John 6.54

Right from the start these words had Jesus’ hearers worried.  Chapter 6, verse 66, in St. John’s Gospel, reports “because of this (i.e. the debate that followed Jesus’ words in the verse above), many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.” Many people today find the same difficulty with the words of Holy Communion: “This is my body” and “This is my blood”.

Yet these words are so central to the whole worshipping life of the Church, that Provost Howard dared to choose them as a key text for the rebuilt Cathedral to keep them ever in view for worshippers in the years ahead. How can we best try to understand them today?

Think of those staples of life: bread and wine. We pray for “our daily bread” in the Lord’s Prayer. Bread was given to the crowds on the hillside at the Feeding of the Five Thousand. The story is in all four gospels, so was clearly important to the first Christians. 

Wine, as we have thought before, was also a staple of Jewish life, not only as a drink, but as a pledge of God’s blessing, bringing unity and joy. Think of the wedding at Cana in Galilee.

 Then Jesus goes further: “I am the Bread of life” and after the Last Supper he says “I am the true Vine”. At that Last Supper, he had taken bread and wine, and given them to the disciples to be eaten and drunk as his very own body and blood. Why?

Love one another he said, As I have loved you. And how did He love them (and us, and the world): he loved to the bitter end, in a titanic confrontation with evil, which we call the sin of the world (our sin too). The battle ended in his death. He gave his very life. He loved to the end, nor did He seek revenge.  I know it sounds banal, but He was the genuine article. He showed he had the right to claim to be the True Bread, the True Vine.

There have been plenty of other leaders, religious or political or whatever, who have made claims for themselves that have never quite worked out. Heels of clay, and all that. But Christ was different – his bell rang true. The final victory was indeed physical. It was all to do with flesh and blood. We, receiving the Sacrament, receive the life He gave up for us, the grace that comes with it, and his living presence with us. Reinvigorated, we can go out again to “live and work to His praise and glory”.   Amen, thanks be to God!

  PS It is one of the features of Coventry Cathedral that, because of the way the nave walls are angled, as you go up to the altar for Communion you can read the words of the Tablets of the Word to right and left, while only on your return to your place can you suddenly see the stained glass windows of the nave in all their glory.       



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

Next week –
Sunday 31st October
Fourth Sunday Before Advent/All Saints’ Day


We are offering designated seating, both socially distanced and non-socially distanced for the
Benefice Holy Communion Service. 
If you wish to attend the benefice service, please contact Claire at or churchwarden Ken Smith and let us know how many will be in your party and if you wish socially distanced seating. 
We support the government and Church of England guidance and “expect and recommend” people to wear a mask during the service.

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


Bible Sunday – 24th October
The collection at the Aldeburgh 10.30am service will be donated to the Bible Society.


All Souls’/Remembering the Loved Service
An opportunity to call to mind those who we love but see no more.
Say a gentle prayer and light a candle.
Everyone will be most welcome.

Aldeburgh Parish Church
Tuesday November 2nd 6.00pm
Please do join us after the service for refreshments and reflection

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.

Message from Ken Smith – Aldeburgh
During the summer months we were able to keep the church doors open but now that the weather has changed and the leaves are falling, please keep the church doors closed. This will help with the heating cost and reduce the amount of leaves and debris collecting in the porch.


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.

Pilgrims Quiz on Zoom – Saturday 27th October (not 20th)
Please email Sue and Richard if you can provide a round:  

Our next Pilgrim Breakfast and Ramble is on 
Saturday 6th November starting at the Parrot for breakfast from
9.30am. As before, a delicious breakfast bap and coffee / tea combo for £5 is on offer…definitely not to be missed!


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 –