Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 28th March – Palm Sunday

Message from The Rector

And so we arrive at Holy Week. A reminder of the services in our benefice:

Palm Sunday (March 28th)

Zoom Morning Prayer from Friston – 9.45am

Holy Communion service online from 10.00am. You’ll need a Palm Cross for this service and if you don’t have one there is a special Palm Cross in the attachment with this pew-sheet that you can cut out!

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

Zoom meditative service for Holy Week from Friston

Wednesday March 31st

From 10.00am Holy Communion service according to the Book of Common Prayer on the Alde Sandlings YouTube channel

6.00pm Zoom Compline for Holy Week from Friston
(The links to all of the Friston services are elsewhere in this 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 Zoom Good Friday Service from Friston

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

All are welcome at all of our services, ‘live’ and online. It may not be the Easter we all hoped for (it seems congregations will still not be able to sing indoors) but it is still Easter.

And from Easter Day onwards regular Sunday services resume in all of our churches, fortnightly in Knodishall, weekly elsewhere – and as soon as we are able to sing together, we will!

On the day before Easter Day (Saturday April 3rd) at 2pm Chris Theobald from ‘The Parrot’ will be hosting another Zoom cooking session.  First there were ‘Jammy Dodgers’, then there were pancakes and now Chris has come up with a wonderful Easter recipe – ‘Mini-Egg Brownie’.  All the details, including the ingredients list, are further down the pew-sheet.  I’ve been lucky enough to see a picture of what the brownie should look like and I can’t wait to taste it!  Huge thanks to Chris for giving us his time and ingenuity.

At Easter we celebrate life renewed and we are surrounded by signs of it. I hope and pray that, as our church buildings reopen and we begin physically to be together for worship once again, the Easter spirit of hope, of renewal and of joy might permeate our thinking and our plans for the future. The best of the old and the new, thoughtfully and prayerfully combined, has the potential to re-energise our church life and help us to draw others to God in Christ Jesus. And I don’t know about you, but I find that a very exciting prospect!

May you have a wonderfully reflective Holy Week followed by a joyous Eastertide.

With love, as ever


Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race sent your
Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
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
Isaiah 50.4-9a
The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards.
I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

Second Reading
Philippians 2.5-11
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel Reading
Mark 11.1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” ’They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Sermon for 28th March – Palm Sunday by,
The Revd Nichola Winter

As a child I always felt that Palm Sunday was an amazingly exciting day – lots of joy and jubilation; celebration, clapping and welcoming of Jesus into the life of the church, the town and our lives. Even if we didn’t understand fully what he was about, this seemed like the beginning of a party. No solemnity, no sitting still and keeping quiet, no whispered prayers here. No social distancing. This, surely, was how life was supposed to be. And church could be part of it, too.

The journey through Holy Week, of course, soon takes a different direction. This week is a challenge to faith. It takes us on a roller coaster ride. It can be tempting to dismiss it, to brush it aside. OK, we know that Good Friday is approaching; that almost relentless focus on suffering, on death, on pain. But hey- we know that Easter Day is just around the corner. And then everything will be OK. Like the fairy tales we were told as children it all comes out right in the end and we can carry on our lives as normal…

We live in a world and society where we know that there is pain and suffering in the world, but we choose often to dwell on it as little as possible; to focus on doing whatever we can to convince ourselves that we’re having a good time. For the last year in particular we’ve been living with restrictions and limitations on our lives, our freedom of movement, our ability to meet friends and family. No-one is comfortable talking about death and pain; many of us will have seen at first hand the pain in ourselves and others caused by Covid. We’ve had our fill of the gritty, grotty bits of life. We want a break… Social media, TV and newspaper adverts would have us reset our aims and goals – recreate those dubiously-named ‘bucket lists’ that hold all our dreams and hopes. Places to go, amazing activities to experience, ways to re-invent ourselves. The solemnity of Lent and the challenges of Holy Week are just two more serious pieces of the extraordinary year we have been through. How we long to get out of lockdown, back into a world of fun – to really party again and ‘have it all.’

Was that what the crowd who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem about? Living under an oppressive regime they probably welcomed the chance of a bit of excitement – and who could blame them? Here was the latest sensation – life would be OK now.

But it goes wrong; and today, too, much as we might wish to, we cannot bypass the cross. The path this week will lead us along hard ways. We need to face the reality of life before we can truly experience the promised joy. My childish optimism about Palm Sunday soon took a reality check; we continue learning the truth about Jesus; the questions he asks of us, and all that he stands for throughout the rest of our lives. As we walk the way of Holy Week, the poet Malcolm Guite asks us these questions:

What does it mean to welcome Jesus into the city of my heart?
Who or what really occupies that city, and who is really in charge?

Here is his sonnet for Palm Sunday:

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The Saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple. Jesus, come
Break my resistance and make me your home.

Post Communion
Lord Jesus Christ, you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant
and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation:
give us the mind to follow you and to proclaim you as Lord and King,
to the glory of God the Father.


St. Francis, still searching for what his life’s mission should be, is praying in the ruined church of San Damiano just outside Assisi. He has already put back up an ancient painted Crucifix which was lying in the ruins.

In his prayer the Crucifix speaks to him:


Francis’ response, no doubt through several versions, has
come down to us in this “Prayer before the Cross”:

All highest, glorious God,
cast your light into the darkness of my heart.

Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity,
and profound humility,

with wisdom and perception,
O Lord, so that I may do truly what is your holy will.

One for us in changing times?

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 4th April
Easter Day