Message from our Curate in Charge,
The Revd James Marston
With the resounding success of the benefice’s Harvest Messy church and all the other things that are going on across the Alde Sandlings, there is a real sense of energy and what the French call the “Rentreé” – that “back to school” feeling and return to life in the autumn months.
The summer is behind us, and we are looking forward to the future. The political year, the academic year, the seasons, the church year – all are interlinked and intertwined. It is no coincidence Christians celebrate the light of the coming of Christ in the depths of winter, or that Easter is in the spring. We have harvest just around the corner, Remembrance on the horizon and Christmas coming round the corner.
As I try to till the ground for the next incumbent, we all need to strike the right balance between pause and action – not easy as we come out of a long period of enforced inactivity. It is difficult to hold the space of being in the short term.
In the meantime, the Alde Sandlings Benefice waits on God and waits on His will and His time as you discern the future.
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
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.
Numbers 11.4-6, 10-16, 24-29
The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.’ Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, ‘Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favour in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, “Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child”, to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, “Give us meat to eat!” I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favour in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.’ So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you. So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again. Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, ‘My lord Moses, stop them!’ But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!’
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest. My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell., And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. ‘For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’
Sermon from the Revd James Marston
Preached at Knodishall 19th September
May I speak in the name of the living God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
In my copy of a diary of a country parson by James Woodforde, there is an entry in September 1793 which says the following. “We were very sorry to see on this day’s paper from bath that our very valuable and worthy friend the Reverend Mr Duquesne from Tuddenham was no more. It is a very great loss to us but I hope to him, gain. Pray God he may be eternally happy…Dinner today: boiled leg of mutton and a roasted rabbit.”
Mr Woodforde went on “Drank some spruce beer of Mr Taswells and liked it very much, it was in bottles.”
I have to admit this entry brought a smile to my face. Not least because of the juxtaposition of the concept of eternal life and, as we see throughout his diary, Mr Woodforde’s enjoyment of food and drink and people and all that earthly life has to offer.
Indeed, it brought Shakespeare to mind “Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’nights: yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”
It is as a Christian community our constant mission to stand out as the people of God. In order to do this we are those people in our communities who pray and think about the divine.
But is too much thinking a dangerous thing? I don’t know but I sometimes wonder if it might be. It is easy to focus our minds to such an extent on the numinous that we can forget we come together to worship God and live the faith in the here and now. And, at times, it seems to me we can all think too much about the spiritual and not enough about the present.
I may well be preaching to myself but getting the balance right between earthly things and the metaphysical is a challenge for us all.
Christians are called to be in the world but are also called to be less of the world. It is a fine distinction and we all waver between seeing the world and our place in it through the lens of faith and seeing the world through the lens of the self and our human experience. Too much of one negates the other.
And I think today’s gospel reading, a story in which those around Jesus are caught thinking too much about themselves and not enough about the faith they are being taught may be a useful reminder to us all that the self is something we need to subjugate from time to time. Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.
Furthermore, Jesus points to a child and challenges those around him by highlighting the importance, in His view, of what first century contemporary social attitudes considered unimportant. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me. Jesus is saying, I suggest, that God is interested in and values the unimportant and those often ignored and forgotten in our communities.
Perhaps our attitudes in the 21st century of what’s important and what isn’t sometimes need a shake up too. Perhaps we all get too wrapped up with the details and forget the bigger picture.
This week just as I was worrying the details of something trivial that needed to be done that afternoon a parishioner asked me my views on eternal life.
It made me stop and think and was a question to which I probably responded inadequately but, nonetheless, one which has stayed with me all week and one to which we all ought to give our attention once in a while because it reminds us that it is part and parcel of our faith and set of beliefs.
Rev Woodforde, it seems to me, gets the balance right. His matter of factness about the death of his friend can also be read as a statement of Woodforde’s hope found in his faith, his certainty of eternal life – his prayer suggests his friend is in a better place.
And that life and the here and now, and the roasting of rabbits, goes on.
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The joyful and busy return of Messy Church!
by The Revd Johanna Mabey
After an enforced break of two years, we had a marvellous return of all things messy with our Harvest Messy Church service on Saturday 18th September in Aldeburgh Church Hall.
It was attended by 31 children and 36 adults!
The Hall was full of the sound of children (and adults) having a wonderful time… the children had grown so much since we last had Messy Church – it was astonishing.
Everyone was extremely happy to be back. The relief and joy that events such as this are now possible again felt very evident.
The children were able to participate in bread roll making, apple bobbing, chocolate apple dipping (that was very messy, but excellent fun) biscuit decorating, writing prayers for our Harvest thankfulness prayer tree, harvest wreath making, pom pom hedgehog making, and many more crafts.
Fran read the Bible story from Luke’s Gospel about the rich farmer who stored up all his crops and didn’t share his wealth. We then talked with the children about what that story could teach us. That was followed by some prayers using various cereals and then we all sang ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’.
Jules and Andy kept us all supplied with endless cups of coffee, squash, hot chocolate and biscuits.
Reverend James offered the final prayer and blessing, and everyone left very happy with their bags full of the things they had made and full of the joys of harvest.
We had a retiring collection in aid of the emergency appeals for the Afghanistan Crisis launched by Unicef, The British Red Cross, and Church’s Welcome – all charities that work with children and families.
Huge and heartfelt thanks to all the helpers and supporters on Saturday – you worked so hard. This was a Benefice/Community wide effort too – with helpers from Aldringham Church, The Baptist Church and the Pilgrims Group. As I keep saying, this valuable ministry amongst children and families would not be possible without you. So, THANK-YOU!!
We also greatly appreciate the support for this ministry that we receive through your prayers – they are so important.
We gave out invitations to every child and family for our Harvest Festival Service in Aldeburgh Church on Sunday 3rd October.
Preparations now begin for Christmas Messy Church on Saturday 11th December at the Fairfield Centre: 10am till 12noon. Time to get the glitter out!
Here are a few photos from the day. There are more to view at
Afghanistan Appeals – THANK YOU!
Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
Some dates for your diary:
Saturday 2nd October
Saturday 6th November
Saturday 4th December
Our lovely Chris at the Parrot has offered the pub as the venue for our breakfasts, for £5 he is offering a breakfast bap and coffee / tea combo. Bap choices include sausage, bacon, or egg. We will gather at the pub from 9.30 am for breakfast. A big thank you to Chris! As ever people are welcome to come just for breakfast, for the breakfast and the ramble or for just the ramble. If you would like to just ramble then I would think we would be moving on in our cars, from the Parrot, at about 10.30am. The lovely Eric is planning the walk…more on that soon. All are welcome to the breakfasts / rambles.
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 Sunday Services
The last outdoor service starts at 11am, in the beautiful Aldringham churchyard. Weather permitting.
ALL VERY WELCOME
✟ 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.
The Alde Sandlings Celebrate
Please remember that your Harvest gifts would be most welcomed at any of the food banks after the services. Of course, you may know of a group or someone that would be in need of a Harvest gift.
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 – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/
01722 580 178 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Next week –
Sunday 3rd October
Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity