Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 7th February – The Second Sunday before Lent

Message from The Rector

These are the in-between times. In the church calendar we have two Sundays (this week and next) between the end of the Christmas season at Candlemas and the beginning of Lent – Ash Wednesday is on February 17th. One way and another these feel like ‘in-between’ days too – between the worst of the Covid outbreak and the end of lockdown – between winter and summer (the snowdrops are looking beautiful already). We will reflect a little on ‘in-between-ness’ in our online service, available, as ever, from 10.00 on Sunday morning.

Our Pilgrim’s Together group is hosting something rather special from 7pm on Saturday 6th. They call it a ‘Did You Know’ Ceilidh … stories and nuggets of golden information, past and present, about our local area.

Tell a story of local interest, provide an interesting fact or 2 about our community, introduce us to our local area past and present…surprise us with nuggets of information, the possibilities are endless…you might want to share a short presentation…

Come along and share, come along and just listen. Enjoy the evening with a glass / mug of something special of your choice. All are welcome! Details of the Zoom link are further down this pew-sheet.

Lent is normally a time for a bit of study and we usually run some kind of Lent Course in our benefice. Though things may soon begin to improve, it is impossible to plan anything that involves gathering in the same place at present. Our Diocese has come up with a variety of possibilities for online Lent courses and I would particularly commend two of them to you.

Living Faith in Suffolk Basics Course

Staring 23 February 2021 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Through Lent Bishop Mike and Barbara Hill (Deputy Warden of Readers) will lead this online course for people who are involved in, or considering, any kind of ministry, whether local (e.g. Lay Elder ministry) or national (e.g. Reader ministry or ordination), as well as those interested in looking more deeply at expressing their faith. The course consists of five sessions: Being Disciples: Being Called: Working Together: Sustaining Ministry: What now?

The courses will run on Zoom: Tuesdays (from 23 February) 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Visit: for more information and to sign up to attend the whole course.

Radical Faith: Inspirational Christians Lives for Challenging Times

St Edmundsbury Cathedral will be hosting a series of speakers during Lent looking at five inspirational Christian lives for today’s challenging times and circumstances. Speakers include The Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie author of ‘A Field Guide to English Clergy’ and Liz Dodd, journalist, and home news editor of The Tablet. Full details of the topics and speakers can be found on the cathedral website.

And Lent is, of course, preceded by Shrove Tuesday. In the last few years adults and children have enjoyed an afternoon of decorating (and eating!) pancakes at The Dolphin in Thorpeness. This year, fresh from his success at encouraging us to make ‘Jammy Dodgers’, Chris Theobald from ‘The Parrot and Punchbowl’ in Aldringham is going to be hosting an online pancake-making session at 4.30pm. Put the date in your diary, encourage all, especially children, to join in and we’ll put the Zoom details in next week’s pew-sheet.

Finally, a reminder of all that is on offer in the benefice in this coming week.

Sunday 7th Feb – 9.45am

Online (Zoom) Morning Prayer from Friston

From 10.00am

Online (YouTube) Service of the word for in-between times

Tuesday 9th Feb – 10.30am

Online (Zoom) Coffee Morning

Wednesday 10th Feb -10.00am

Online (YouTube) Service of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer


Online (Zoom) Service of Compline
(Night Prayer) from Friston


Online (Zoom) Pilgrim’s Together worship

Anyone is very welcome to be with us for any of these services and events – the necessary links are elsewhere in this pew-sheet.

With love, as ever


Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth
and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand
in all your works and your likeness in all your children;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who with you and
the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever.

First Reading
Proverbs 8.1, 22-31
Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil. When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race. 

Second Reading
John 1.1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.


Reflection for 7th February – Second Sunday before Lent
by The Revd Nichola Winter

It may feel a bit strange hearing these words from the beginning of John’s gospel quite so soon after hearing them at Christmas. But, in some ways, it feels appropriate at this time. It is still quite bleak outside – and bleak inside for many, too, as this seemingly relentless latest lock-down continues. There are welcome signs of lengthening days; the first green shoots of spring are in evidence, but winter can still have a sting in its tail. As I write, snow is in the forecast for next week. But we are reminded that ‘in the beginning was – God…’ ‘God’ that strange, brief word, so often uttered without thought, taken in vain or used as a byword – but, at its most profound level, the word that describes the fundamental origin – ‘the one in whom we live and move and have our being.’ God is there from the beginning; He is the source of life and He comes to be with His creation in all its chaos and calamity.

We’re in a kind of ‘in-between time at the moment.’ The church’s Christmas and Epiphany season has just ended with the celebration of Candlemas but that great message of Christmas still has one last shout as we read the words from John’s gospel. ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us… and we have seen his glory.’ A promise to hold on to throughout the year – that great promise of ‘Emmanuel’ – God with us.

And accompanying God, at the beginning of creation was Wisdom. Often alluded to in the Old Testament as a commanding presence who summons the people boldly, with confidence and joy, Wisdom is endowed with feminine qualities. She is an alluring presence who builds the house and invites the people to a lavish banquet – the original creative home- maker.

In both readings we are given reassurance and comfort; a reminder of God’s grace and a pointer to the wonders of creation. Take those words from Proverbs:

‘I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.’

We get a picture of a playful child, ‘rejoicing before him… delighting in the human race.’ With that sense of innocence comes the earnestness of a child at play, where the make-believe world the child inhabits takes all his or her thought, energy and imagination. Play is so crucial for children – indeed for children of all ages. That means you and me. As we grow older, we abandon it at our peril. During the periods of lock-down, we have been encouraged to discover new ways of looking at life, of exploring the world around us – even when our world may have shrunk to just the four walls that contain us. It may well be that we have slowed down the pace of our frantic lives and rediscovered a kinder, gentler pace. God does not create us for frantic, frenetic ceaseless activity. Look again at the words from Proverbs:

‘When he (God) established the heavens I (Wisdom) was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command…’ Wisdom was there – playing, delighting, rejoicing. The sea plays a crucial part in creation, but it is just one aspect of God’s plan for humankind. Chaos and unrest touch the lives of most folk; but Wisdom is there, too. We all have to undertake a journey of some kind – we’ll all encounter rough seas and life’s storms on the way. The way we respond to the signs God sends will determine the outcome of our struggle. May we all find ways to play, to delight and to rejoice.


The Saints Series (Heroes of Faith) by Canon John Giles

This week – JANANI LUWUM

Ash Wednesday, 17th February, will be the 44th Anniversary, to the day, of the death or martyrdom as it was, of JANANI LUWUM, Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, in 1977, who figures in the list of martyrs in our Common Worship prayer books.

It’s a long way from Aldeburgh, I know, but we are thinking not so much of saints, formally recognised as such, but heroes of faith, with a message for us today. I feel I can’t miss this chance to give all readers who have got this far an account of a deeply influential, first-hand encounter I once had with this courageous and faithful Christian.

When I was Rector of Kidbrooke, SE London, we used to see Jesse Hillman, the Overseas Secretary of the Church Missionary Society on Sundays when he was in England. Jesse and his wife Dorothy ran a CMS Hostel for visitors from overseas in Blackheath. One day Jesse rang and said, “Do come to our weekly Bible Study in the Hostel this week as a rather special visitor will be there”.  I duly went. The visitor was Janani Luwum, in his third year as Archbishop of Uganda. He was a big man from the north of the country and was clearly very tired. He hardly spoke but was asked to bless us at the end of the meeting. I have never ever felt a deeper sense of holiness in a person as he blessed us.

Only a few weeks later Uganda Radio announced that he and two others had been arrested. The following day it was announced the men had been killed in a motor accident. In fact, on the orders of President Idi Amin, Janani had been shot, twice through the chest and through the mouth.

Uganda had had a star-crossed history church-wise. The first missionaries, CMS Anglicans, went in 1877 and were followed by Roman Catholic White Fathers. Alexander Mackay, a Scottish engineer, combined highly practical work building a boat to go on Lake Victoria with preaching a Billy Graham Christian message calling for repentance and personal conversion to Christ. The boy pages of the Kabaka of Uganda were attracted to the new faith as both Anglicans and Catholics, but in a tragic story suffered terribly when the Kabaka, the ruler of Uganda, who had no wish to see the new faith established, had them all burned alive. They are remembered as the Ugandan Martyrs. Yet the churches established themselves and grew. Janani Luwum too, born in 1922, came under the spell of the gospel, and after serving the church as a teacher, was ordained and recognised as a leader of great potential. He was sent to London to study theology, and after two parish posts at home was made bishop of Northern Uganda in 1969, and eventually Archbishop of Uganda in 1974.

Meanwhile there was trouble afoot. Idi Amin had seized power in a coup in January 1971 and rapidly turned into a ruthless dictator. The churches stood in his way and became the only source of opposition. Luwum was arrested when he called a council of Christian leaders to protest at some of Amin’s actions. His courage was immense. His death led to a true Easter moment. 

Jesse Hillman himself, who had flown to Uganda himself to be present at the funeral in person, asked to preach to us in Kidbrooke the Palm Sunday after his return. Janani’s funeral had already been arranged on the assumption that his body would be handed over, which was not to be. The grave was dug but there was no coffin. The service in Namirembe Cathedral went ahead as planned and the huge crowd of mourners poured out to go to the graveside. Over and over the song of the Ugandan Martyrs rang out: “Daily, daily sing the praises/ of the city God hath made”. At the empty grave the mood suddenly changed to joy, for had not Jesus’ tomb been empty. The greeting “Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed” burst out. Easter Joy stayed with the church, inspiring a resurrection in its life.   The congregation that Sunday in Kidbrooke would never forget the story they heard.

We have connections with this story in Aldeburgh. Leslie Brown, Bishop of Ipswich, had himself been the first Archbishop of Uganda. He counselled Benjamin Britten when he was dying, and indeed took his funeral. Clive Young, our Suffragan here till quite recently, was married to Susan Tucker, the daughter of another Ugandan Bishop. Our recent Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who splendidly entertained all the guests at his enthronement with sandwiches in the grounds of York Minster, rather than disappearing off into a smart hotel with VIPs, had been close to Janani Luwum and was eventually sent to England for his own safety.

Janani’s favourite preaching text was Romans 12.1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” That is just what he did. Thank God for Janani Luwum.


Useful information to help during these times 

If you are finding life difficult at the moment and need someone to talk to there are always people available to listen.  You are, of course, always welcome to ring Mark or another member of the clergy team but in addition here are a few helpline numbers that are available
(thanks to Parish Nurse Ali Cherry for the information):

Silverline:  Need help? Call us ANYTIME on: 0800 4 70 80 90

The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Age UK Advice Line: 0800 678 1602

Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year.

Suffolk Mind: 0300 111 6000. Offer telephone counselling service for the over 70’s

Daily Hope:   The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 
0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.


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Other useful numbers:

For short term help with tasks such as shopping

Aldeburgh Good Neighbours scheme: 07773 031064

Aldringham Good Neighbours scheme: (covers Thorpeness also): 07521 047843


Vaccination Transport Information 

Possible suggestions for transport to Woodbridge for your Covid vaccinations.

  • Coastal Accessible Transport (CATs) – 01728 830 516
  • Aldeburgh Community Cars – 01728 831 215
  • For residents of IP15 postal district Aldeburgh Good Neighbours Scheme (AGNES) – 0777 303 1064

Taxi services willing to help with an agreed charge of between £25 and £30 for the return trip:

  • Amber Community Cars – 01728 833 621
  • Laurie Henderson Taxis Leiston – 01728 830 101
  • Bill Hamilton Limousine Service – 07985 707 023

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 14th February
Sunday next before Lent