Message from The Rector
May is here! The church calendar has a number of ‘red-letter days’ in May and we intend to celebrate them as best we can. The first one for the diary is Ascension Day on Thursday 13th and we will be marking it in the traditional way with an early- morning service in Aldeburgh. At 7am a small number of brave souls will climb to the top of the church tower and we will attempt the co-ordinated outdoor singing of some Ascension Day hymns before retiring into church for a service of Holy Communion. All are welcome to join in the singing from the car-park and then the service, which will begin at about 7.20. For those for whom that might be a little early in the day (!) there will also be a Zoom service from Friston at 6pm – more details next week. Later in the month we have the feast of Pentecost on the 23rd an Trinity Sunday on the 30th. More news of those very soon.
Sadly there will not be an Aldeburgh Festival this year, although live music begins once again at Snape Maltings on the weekend of May 21st-23rd. More details are available on the Snape Maltings website: https://snapemaltings.co.uk/season/aldeburgh-festival/
We will, however, have some chamber-music concerts in Aldeburgh church in early June. The Fitzwilliam String Quartet will be performing two concerts at 7pm on the evenings of June 7th (Haydn and Beethoven) and 8th (Hugo Wolf, Haydn and Schumann). The concerts will last an hour or so, be informally introduced ‘from the stage’ and tickets will be available on the door for £10 (cash only).
Finally, a reminder that the 2021 Annual Parochial Church Meetings will soon be upon us. Dates and times are:
Sunday May 9th at 10.45am
Sunday May 16th at 11.45am
Sunday May 23rd at 12 noon
Sunday May 30th at 10.30am
Each follows immediately after the morning’s service.
With love – and continued Easter Greetings
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our
minds good desires, so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
God tested Abraham, saying to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together.
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.’
Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.’
The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’ He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way,
the truth, and the life:
grant us to walk in his way,
to rejoice in his truth,
and to share his risen life;
who is alive and reigns,
now and for ever.
Sermon for 2nd May – Fifth Sunday of Easter,
by, The Revd James Marston
Abide in me as I abide in you.
May I speak in the name of the living God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.
This week a friend of mine paid me a visit. I hadn’t seen him for some time – what with all the restrictions – but as we got talking I asked him what was going on in his life. Rather like talking to Vicky Pollard of Little Britain fame – yeah but no but yeah but – he delivered a litany of information about people I didn’t really know. Including his neighbours who had recently split up. An event which took my friend by surprise as apparently they had just installed a new kitchen with an island.
This little detail, I must admit, amused me somewhat though I suppose with my clerical hat on I ought to have felt sympathy for the couple of which I know little beyond the quality of their worktops.
In a way of course this episode could be described as gossip – and however hard I try I must confess to rather enjoying finding out about people and what they do and what they don’t do.
Malicious gossip is something we try to avoid as Christians because it isn’t coherent with the command to love one another, but as humans we can’t help tell each other stories and share information.
Indeed, in the church we just ever so occasionally call gossip by rather misleading euphemisms – reflection in a safe space is a common one, or dare I say it gossip can occasionally creep into a PCC meeting or even a bible study or prayer group. This is because it is natural for us to tell stories – in fact telling stories about ourselves and other people is how we communicate as human beings. In church that is what we do all the time – we tell and re-tell the story of Jesus and God and salvation.
In today’s gospel reading we hear part of longer sermon and theological exposition from Jesus encouraging his disciples in their faith. Including the exhortation to prayer “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”
Elsewhere in the New Testament Jesus teaches us how to pray – the Lord’s Prayer. Often this is something so familiar to us we repeat it simply by rote. Yet in fact the Lord’s Prayer – which is found in almost every single church service we attend – teaches us not only what to say but also something of the character of God, what our faith means.
Our father – the opening words – describe the sort of relationship we are to have with God, one of a child and his parent.
Hallowed be thy name – reminds us of the holiness and sacred nature of God, and also, I think, alludes to the power of the name of Jesus, at which every knee shall bow.
Thy kingdom come – is a call not only to mission and building up the kingdom of God here on earth but also an eschatological statement – a reminder the kingdom of God is now as well as something that is yet to come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven – encourages us put self aside and submit to God’s will in our lives, and to submit to his authority.
Give us today our daily bread – is an exhortation to rely on God to provide for our needs, both spiritual and physical, and in some ways another reminder to put the power of God first rather than our own individual agency. Perhaps too it instils in us, who live in a land of plenty, a sense of gratitude and charity towards others.
Forgive us our trespasses – this statement is a reminder to us to say sorry for our failings and those moments we forget to honour God.
As we forgive those that trespass against us – calls us to love one another selflessly and without pride and ego – a very difficult task for which we need God’s grace.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil is a bidding prayer that can also be translated as deliver us from this time of trial. I think the interpretation of this is to remind us that God is with us when the tough times come, or when we are in trouble or when life seems uncertain. We are loved by God even when we feel abandoned and lost.
The final phrase – for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, though primarily points us towards the great mystery of the eternal and almighty God also points us in the direction that God is supreme in not only the world around us but also in our lives and in our hearts.
So with that in mind, my challenge to you this week is to try to say this prayer – one I know you all know well – to yourselves slowly and deliberately just once or twice a day. Bring this prayer into your daily lives, tell yourself this story, communicate with God in this way, and you will nourish your relationship with God and with each other.
As Jesus said: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”
BANK HOLIDAY & STAFF TRAINING CLOSURE DATES
The surgery will be closed for staff training on Thursday 17.06.21 from 13.00. When the surgery is closed, please call NHS 111
NHS research is essential to help shape and improve future NHS healthcare. The Peninsula Practice has been involved in cutting edge national research including a new device to replace endoscopy in some cases.
Dr Crockett is the principal investigator for all research at the practice, whereby she checks eligibility for patients to take part in relevant studies. You may therefore receive an invitation, which will be directly from The Peninsula Practice to participate in a study – we never share your personal details. You are free to choose whether to take part or not with no obligation. Taking part in clinical research may benefit you, or others like you, in the future.
For more information about the research projects we are involved in please visit our website: www.thepeninsulapractice.co.uk/research
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.
Deadline – Thursday 4pm Please
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 – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞
Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
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Next Zoom Pilgrim Ceilidh:
The first half will focus on sharing stories, memories and experiences since March 2020: What has given us hope? What have we been released from / let go of? What are we looking forward to experiencing again? What new experiences have we had that we shall carry forward?
The second half will continue our sharing of local stories.
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Sunday 9th May
The Sixth Sunday of Easter