Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther
The Vicarage is even more untidy than usual, with piles of things heading for charity shops, recycling, suitcases, or the dustbin. The car has gained a large roof-box. And I have a piece of paper, signed by Bishop Martin, headed ‘Alde Sandlings Benefice’, that says that I ‘resign irrevocably the said benefice from the First day of September 2021’. We’re off! Well actually, though I cease to be the incumbent from next Wednesday, Rosemary and I (and Coco the Spaniel) will be around until September 29th when, all being well, we head off for our ‘gap year’ in France.
I have a lot of people to thank and will do so at various appropriate times. This, though, is my last online pew-sheet and the person I would like to thank here is the one who has made sure that this document reaches you each Saturday morning, at 10.00 precisely, and contains all of the necessary information, readings, etc etc. Claire Turner has been one of my closest colleagues for most of the time that I have been here, and I can honestly say that I could not have done what I have done without her. She has known just the right time to badger me for ‘stuff’, been properly insistent when she needs something from me, always been available for help and advice, and done everything with the most wonderful willingness and humour – we have laughed a great deal! I know that she and James are looking forward to working together during the vacancy – they make a great team. Please do look after Claire – she plays such a vital part in what we do. Every church should have one!
I’ll try my best to record Sunday morning’s service for the Youtube channel. It will be a bit trickier than usual, and I will have to put the camera further back than is ideal but will give it a go – just in case you are unable to be with us.
It has been the most extraordinary privilege to be the incumbent of, first, Aldeburgh and The Whinlands and then the Alde Sandlings Benefice for the last six years. I will take away so many happy memories of people, places, and occasions. Our journeys in faith, and with God, continue and my prayer is that a new incumbent will be appointed who will travel with you, grow alongside you, help you to realise ambitions – and have at least as much fun as I have had! And in the meantime, I know that the churches are in safe hands with James as Curate-in-Charge. Please look after him too – he’ll need and appreciate your love and your prayers. But (as I said last week) I predict that you and he really will be able to go places together and will enjoy the journey.
With my love and prayers, as ever
Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness
that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself:
help us to proclaim the good news of your love,
that all who hear it may be drawn to you;
through him who was lifted up on the cross,
and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Deuteronomy 4.1-2, 6-9
So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you. You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!’ For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today? But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children.
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfilment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honour me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.” You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’ Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’ For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’
Sermon for 29th August – Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity,
by The Revd James Marston
May I speak in the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
I often wonder how we would react if we turned on the television, stuffed full of turkey and mince pies, to watch the gracious address by Her Majesty on Christmas day afternoon and it started with the words “What a year I’ve had.”
This year she’s lost her husband and has quite a few family troubles. Fodder, you might call it, for the commentators and column inches serving the public’s appetite for gossip and opinion passing.
In the Book of Common Prayer we pray to God to replenish her with grace, so that she may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way.
We also ask she is endued plenteously with heavenly gifts; and grant her in health and wealth long to live. It might seem odd to us with our 21st century understanding of wealth to pray for an increase in income of a fairly rich lady but back in 1662 wealth meant something a little different.
The word wealth comes from the old English ‘weal’, which means ‘wealth, welfare, and wellbeing’. Weal is in turn related to the older word ‘wel’, meaning ‘in a state of good fortune, welfare, or happiness. We aren’t praying for a new royal yacht to rule the waves and promote our nation on the global stage – though personally I’d have no problem with that – instead we are really petitioning God to look after her and keep her close. It can’t be easy being her, but she’s made no secret of her sustaining faith, her life of prayer, her trust in the almighty – we know she knows who’s minister she is. She’s also the governor and exemplar of our church, it is to her I swore my ordination oath of obedience.
But keeping our eyes on God is not always easy. The Queen has, in her well documented and long life, gone through the ups and downs of life just as we all do.
Today’s epistle reading – the exhortation to put on the armour of God – is one which Christians turn to again and again. It is St Paul’s extended metaphor on how to survive when we live through difficult times. Times when all seems hopeless and lost, times we’d rather not live through.
St Paul was writing to a small community, a minority community of believers that stood alone in a world of non-believers, a community that needed encouragement to carry on.
For the Ephesians, no matter what hostility is displayed by their fellow townfolk, they are to understand that hostility as emanating from larger, darker, spiritual forces. Such forces cannot be fought by the believers themselves, but are rather to be resisted by faith, prayer and turning together to God.
However, donning of the armour of God on our part does not create us an impenetrable community who does not hear the cries of others. It does however, encourage a boldness in our witness to Christ, a confidence in the power of prayer, a corporate resistance to forces we cannot see and therefore so often dismiss as irrelevant or non-existent.
A final thought: Christian communities like ours are, I believe the lucky ones, we have faith to guide and steer us through the fog of life, thanks to the armour of God we are girded in truth, faith, peace, the Spirit through the word and eucharist, and in prayer for our defense and strength.
God our creator, you feed your children with the true manna,
the living bread from heaven: let this holy food sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage until we come to that place where hunger and thirst are no more; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Mark’s Suffolk Summer Farewell Concert – 22nd August
We started Aldeburgh’s contribution in saying farewell to our Mark last Sunday. The concert began with Revd Jo introducing the concert team, and then handed over to the organiser Geoff Lavery who led the concert.
It was a truly wonderful concert, with Geoff Lavery on piano, Mark Pulman on piano and organ, Linda Lavery on recorder, Sarah Gallop, Soprano, and the Kingfisher quartet, Beth, Isobel, Yan Li and Chris. As Mark said when the concert finished – WOW. Wow indeed. Thank you so much to all the musicians that made the afternoon so special. It will be an afternoon that I am sure many of us will remember fondly.
We then made our way to the Church Hall for tea and cake. Thank you to all our bakers and helpers that really did put on a rather delicious selection of cakes. How lucky are we to be blessed with such talented bakers!
Pilgrims Together return on Wednesdays
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
Please contact email@example.com for the link
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 (not 29th) in the beautiful Aldringham churchyard. Weather permitting, these services will continue throughout
ALL VERY WELCOME
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
Friston Ride and Stride Information
Ian & Mary Cycle to Raise Awareness of the
Ian & Mary will be cycling 30 miles to visit churches across 16 towns and villages – a challenge but demonstrates the enormity of the energy projects. These are:-
If approved, the construction of these projects will extend over 12 years causing major disruption to residents and visitors, threatening the tourist economy, closing footpaths, and causing environmental damage. Our churches will also bear the brunt of this, with Friston Church being less than 250M from the substation site and threatening the peace and tranquillity of the Churchyard and Church itself.
The route will be a physical challenge for Mary on her “sit-up and beg” bike while Ian, despite his age, still enjoying the adrenaline of a racing bike! If you would like to support Ian & Mary, please contact email@example.com. Alternatively online donations may be made on the Just Giving website at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/St-Mary-Friston
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.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and Claire will pass on your details to the team organiser at each church.
Or see the organiser at the church you worship (Fran Smith, Aldeburgh, David Copp, Aldringham, Simon Ive, Friston) where they will be pleased to give you a sponsor form and take your details.
The Return of Our Messy Church Services
We are delighted to be re-starting our much loved Messy Church Services with Harvest Messy Church on
Children of any age, parents, and grandparents are all welcome.
A fun morning of crafts, bread making, singing, games and prayer…
If you would like to book a place, please contact
HELPERS NEEDED FOR THIS VERY VALUABLE MINISTRY.
Another date for your diary:
Christmas Messy Church on Saturday 11th December at
10am to 12 noon
AGAIN, HELPERS ARE NEEDED…
✞ Friston Compline on Zoom ✞
St Mary’s Compline online services are every Wednesday at 6pm.
All are very welcome.
Please contact email@example.com for the links
Next week –
Sunday 5th September
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity