Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 30th May – Trinity Sunday

Message from The Rector

Our lectionary – the booklet listing the readings appropriate for each Sunday – also helps us by telling us what colour we should use for our church altar-cloth and other matching pieces of material, including the priest’s stole – purple (for penitential times – Advent and Lent), red (for solemn times such as Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Pentecost), white (for celebratory times such as Christmas and Easter) or green (for ‘Ordinary Time’). This Sunday will be white, as we mark Trinity Sunday. But thereafter we begin our long green season, right through until October. But green has its own special significance – the colour of fertility and growth. The times may seem less special than the great feast days but on each occasion that we meet to worship together we need to remember the abundance of God’s gifts to us as well as our duty to care for the earth. The green altar may become a familiar sight, but its deep meaning should not be forgotten.

This week, however, we celebrate one of the underlying truths of our Christian faith – that God is one but in ‘three persons’, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Famously it is a Sunday when incumbents find an excuse to hand the sermon over to a colleague or guest preacher – the Trinity isn’t always the easiest concept to explain. Our four parishes will each have the joy of hearing a different ‘take’ on the meaning of the Trinity – from Jo in Aldeburgh, Sheila in Aldringham, James in Friston and myself in Knodishall (and on this pew-sheet – where you may notice that I have taken avoiding action!). I’m sure that they will all be different but, I hope, also complimentary. We will compare notes afterwards!

A reminder that our final benefice Annual Parochial Church Meeting of the season, in Knodishall, will follow the 9.30 service in church. And a reminder too of our forthcoming chamber-music concerts in Aldringham and Aldeburgh. ‘Chamber Music Box’ visit Aldringham church on Sunday June 6th at 6pm and if you wish to attend you will need to book online – details further down this document. The Fitzwilliam Quartet concerts in Aldeburgh on the June 7th and 8th at 7pm are ‘pay at the door’ – cash only. Again, details further down. And another reminder of our Benefice Service on Sunday June 27th in Aldeburgh church at 10.30. Archdeacon Jeanette joins us to preside and preach and we celebrate significant turning points in the ministries of Jo and James. And it is Aldeburgh’s Patronal Festival too – lots to celebrate.

Enjoy the anticipated warmth and sunshine (rare for a Bank Holiday Weekend)!

With my love and prayers, as ever



Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given us your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
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 6.1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’  The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’ Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’

Second Reading
Romans 8.12-17
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Gospel Reading
John 3.1-17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? ‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Post Communion
Almighty and eternal God,
you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
and live and reign in the perfect unity of love:
hold us firm in this faith,
that we may know you in all your ways
and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,
who are three Persons yet one God,
now and for ever.


Sermon for 30th May – Trinity Sunday,
by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

There are times when I have to confess that I feel a bit sorry for snakes. They are truly amazing creatures, all 3 400-odd species of them and they’ve been around for something like 60 million years (humans have been around for about a quarter of a million years …). Did you know that, to accommodate their internal organs in their long thin bodies the paired ones, like kidneys, are one in front of the other rather than side-by-side? That the vast majority of them are non-venomous? They’re not such bad things, snakes – and a gloriously diverse representation of the richness of God’s creation. But the bible paints a very particular picture of snakes – serpents – doesn’t it?

When it all went wrong for Adam and Eve, he blamed her and she blamed the snake – and so God made sure that the snake (more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made, we’re told) was going to have to wriggle on its belly forever and eat dust.

When Moses was unsure of how he might have power over the Israelites to lead them to the promised land, God told Moses to throw his staff on the ground and it became a snake (something that Moses recoiled from), and then God told Moses to grab the snake by the tail and it became his staff again. God had that kind of power, to turn good into evil and back again, and that power would be with the Israelites as they journeyed. As long as they behaved themselves everything would turn out fine. Which turned out to be a long story …..

But then there’s the incident that Jesus refers to in our reading from John’s Gospel – Moses ‘lifting up the serpent in the wilderness’. It’s a story in the Book of Numbers. The Israelites, far from behaving themselves, had been complaining about Moses’ leadership, and indeed complaining about God, getting impatient to get to this land flowing with milk and honey. They hadn’t seen much evidence of it so far …. And so God ‘sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many of them died’. But then, after Moses had prayed to God, God told Moses to make an image of a serpent and put it on a pole and, said God, everyone who looks at the image will live. So Moses did exactly that, made a bronze serpent, put it on a pole and it has the desired effect – everyone who looked at it was cured. And, by the way, the image of a serpent twined around a pole is still used to symbolise healing – it’s known as the ‘Rod of Asclepius’ and actually derives from a Greek myth – but the parallels with the OT story are pretty clear. You’ll see the symbol on lots of Ambulances ….

So why does Jesus say ‘just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up’? What’s that about? Well try this. In the wilderness God had Moses show something horrible, something feared, something cruel to the people. But through God’s power that evil thing had the power to heal. Now the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus shows human beings at their most evil, their most cruel. Humans had been willing to have God in human form tortured and nailed to a cross. But God used that evil to throw goodness back at us. That image which seems in many ways to be so negative, such a symbol of hate and pain, becomes an image of God’s love for us all. Believe in the God who would go to those lengths for us and you believe in the source of love and hope. ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.’

Or, as the theologian Tom Wright puts it, ‘…. You don’t have to be condemned. You don’t have to let the snake kill you. God’s action in the crucifixion of Jesus has planted a sign in the middle of history. And the sign says: believe and live.




Chamber Music Box at Aldringham Church
Sunday June 6th at 6pm

Some of you may remember the visit that we enjoyed from the young players of ‘Chamber Music Box’ last year. This time they bring a programme of music for flute and string trio including works by Schubert, Mozart and two leading 20th-century composers, Aaron Copland and Bohuslav Martinu. Tickets must be booked in advance – head for for more information and the opportunity to book.


The Fitzwilliam Quartet Concerts

7th & 8th June 7pm at Aldeburgh Parish Church

We are delighted to welcome the return of music into Aldeburgh Parish Church. The Fitzwilliam Quartet will be performing two nights of music.

Monday – Haydn and Beethoven

Tuesday – Hugo Wolf, Haydn, and Schumann

Tickets at the door £10 (cash only). First come first seated, as we are limited with seating for everyone’s safety.

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.


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.

Please contact for more info


✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

Please contact for more info

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 – By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

Please 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


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.

Please contact for more info

Date for your diary – Next Zoom Pilgrim Quiz:
Saturday 12th June from 7pm

Please contact for more info


Next Week
Sunday 6th June
First Sunday of Trinity