Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 9th May – The Sixth Sunday after Easter

Message from The Rector

Next Thursday is one of the great ‘red-letter days’ in the church year – Ascension Day. Because it always falls midweek it is often forgotten, but it forms a vital part of the post-Easter story and is one of the principle feast-days of the church. 40 days after Easter, the Ascension ends the risen Christ’s appearances to his disciples as he is reunited with God, beyond any specific time and place. Our Ascension Day celebrations begin at 7.00am as one or two brave souls climb to the top of Aldeburgh church tower and attempt a little co-ordinated hymn-singing with those below in the car park, before we all gather in church for a service of Holy Communion. And on Thursday evening, at 6pm, there will be a Zoom service for Ascension Day from Friston and to which everyone is invited. Details of how to join in are elsewhere on this pew-sheet.

Ascension Day marks the beginning of what has become a regular fixture in the international church calendar – Thy Kingdom Come. It’s website

Since its start in May 2016 God has grown
Thy Kingdom Come from a dream of possibility into a movement. Christians from 172 countries have taken part in praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’, so that friends and family, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Thy Kingdom Come lasts just over a week, running until Pentecost (Sunday May 23rd), when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. The website contains lots of good things and some printed material has also been put together which, thanks to Emma and Martin Steadman, is now available in all of our churches. The main thing is a ‘Prayer Journal’, of which Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, who has compiled it, says:

Each day there are a few things to read, a prayer to offer and then an invitation for you to make your own reflections on what it means to follow in the way of Christ.

Do pick up a copy if you are in church on Sunday – but if you are unable to and would like to read the ‘Prayer Journal’ it is here:


(That’s one long link!)

Finally, a reminder that the round of Annual Parochial Church Meetings begins this week in Friston. The full APCM timetable goes:


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 (for one final time!) continued Easter Greetings


God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy;
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 55.1-11
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food. 
Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David. 
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples. 
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.  Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

Second Reading
Acts 10.44-end
While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’  So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Gospel Reading
John 15.9-17
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Post Communion
God our Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life:
may we thirst for you,
the spring of life and source of goodness,
through him who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

Next Week
Sunday 16th May
The Seventh Sunday of Easter


Sermon for 9th May – Sixth Sunday of Easter,
by, The Revd Sheila Hart

May I speak to you in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

All our readings this morning have a gospel theme – theme which explains clearly the steps of coming to faith in God through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our Old Testament reading from Isaiah is a prophecy to the Israelites in exile. They have turned away from God and are suffering for it in Babylon and the prophet is declaring God’s desire that they should return to a relationship with Him. It is a very clear message and there are certain key words in the passage which highlight the steps through which God woos us and brings us to himself in faith.

The readings from Acts and the Gospel of John build on the prophecy of Isaiah and show us how we can maintain that initial response to God’s love in bringing us to Himself.

So, let’s begin with Isaiah.

The first key word is in the first verse and it is Thirst. We all know what it is to be thirsty on a hot day in midsummer and we feel that unless we have a drink soon, we will not last the day. In a sense, although we may not recognise it, in order to begin our journey of faith we need to be thirsty – thirsty for something more in our life than we have at the present time.

The prophet encourages the thirsty to Come, buy and eat. Water is essential for life to be sustained, and in our journey of faith we need to come to Jesus, who will give us living water to satisfy our thirst for it is only through Him that our thirst for something more in life will be truly satisfied.

In verse 3 we are encouraged to Listen ‘Incline your ear and listen to me, so that you may live.’ And what we hear as we listen to God is that He loves us unconditionally with an everlasting love.

There is an urgency in the prophet’s message in relation to our next key word, Seek. ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.’ God takes the initiative in the message of salvation and bringing us to faith, but we need to respond and part of that response is to seek God – to look for His activity and presence in our overall journey of life, not merely in our journey of faith.

In verse 7 the prophet gives us the next step – as Christians, we call it repentance and forgiveness, but the prophet says, ‘Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts, let them Return to the Lord, that He may have mercy on them and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.’ We cannot change the direction of our life by ourselves, but we do have to be active in turning to God who will show us His mercy and His Grace – His unconditional love and forgiveness.

In the passage we heard from Acts we have an account of the end of the story of Peter’s change of heart around the Gospel being preached to the gentiles as well as the Jews. The key here is that God wants us all to come to Him. We don’t have to be ‘special’ for we are all special to God for he made us as we are, unique and for His purpose with our own unique personality and gifts. But in order to sustain our new life in Jesus we need two more things.

The first is to be found in our Gospel reading from John in verses 9 and 10 ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.’ So, we need to be obedient to God to abide in His love. What are His commandments? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself.

But, according to verse 16, we did not choose to come to Christ, He chose us and appointed us to go and bear fruit – fruit which will last.

We cannot do this in our own strength. We will fail and so we need the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to, not only remain in relationship with God through Christ, but also to grow in faith and bear fruit so that the joy of Christ might remain in us and our joy may be complete.

If anything you have heard this morning, has unsettled you or questions have arisen for you, please speak to me afterwards. There is an Online Alpha course beginning this evening on zoom, hosted by St John’s Church, Saxmundham and it could be instrumental in enabling you to explore some of your questions. The link is on the pew sheet and I have it too.


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.


✟ Alpha Course ✟
Starting on Sunday Evening (9th May) on Zoom at 7pm to 8.30pm hosted by St John’s Church, Saxmundham.
Please contact for the links.

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


✞ 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 the links.


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 the links.

 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 – 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


✞ 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 the links.

Pilgrims – Local Storytelling Ceilidh on Zoom
Saturday 8th May from 7pm

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.

Please contact for the links.


Ascension Day – Thursday May 13th

All are invited to join in a special Zoom service at 6pm,
led by The Revd Sheila Hart. Please contact for the links.