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Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 22nd November/Sunday next before Advent/Christ the King

Message from The Rector

We have reached the end of the church year and I don’t really need to say what kind of a year it’s been, do I? Suffice to say ‘not what any of us anticipated or would have wanted’. But at least nowadays the church year ends with a bang and not a whimper. The Feast of Christ the King, which we celebrate this week, is comparatively new in the church calendar and began in the Roman Catholic church in 1925, finally and permanently making it into the Church of England lectionary when Common Worship was introduced in 2000. Previously this Sunday was merely ‘The Sunday Next Before Advent’ and was colloquially called ‘Stir-up Sunday’ – the words taken from the Book of Common Prayer’s collect for the day and taken literally by many who ‘stirred-up’ their Christmas puddings this weekend. But it’s good to celebrate something that is rather than something that’s about to be – and The Feast of Christ the King has now firmly taken its place in the calendar. (Though the ‘stir-up’ collect prayer is still with us and will feature in this week’s online service.)

Christmas plans are beginning to form, though we still await government guidance as to what we can and can’t do after December 2nd. All being well, in the week before Christmas, there will be services of words and music in both Friston and Aldringham churches and there will be services of Holy Communion in some or all of our churches on Christmas Day. Sadly, the big occasions – including Christingle, the Crib Service and Midnight Eucharists are off the agenda this year but we will try to supply some online worship to compensate as best we can. It has been really difficult to try and work out what we can realistically do in these strange times – but the most important thing is that we keep safe. Covid-19 seems to be able to find ways of spreading very quickly once we relax and if we are to try to have a reasonably normal 2021, we still need to be very careful. I promise that we will do what we can.

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
Eternal Father, whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne
of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of
peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Ezekiel 34.11-16, 20-24
For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 25.31-end
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ 

 

Reflection for 22nd November – Christ the King,
by The Revd Nichola Winter

Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
rejoice, again I say, rejoice

I had so hoped that in a year in which we have been deprived of celebrating those great festivals of Easter and Pentecost in church we might just manage to mark the final Sunday of the church’s year, Christ the King, with jubilant acts of worship. Singing some of our wonderful hymns that mark the kingship of Christ – ‘O worship the King all glorious above’; ‘Rejoice the Lord is King’; ‘Alleluia, sing to Jesus’. We miss it so much.

But it cannot be. We can only sing in our hearts, join with the online offerings, and work out our faith in our individual ‘lockdown’ ways. Next week sees the beginning of Advent, the start of the church’s new year and – I think we all pray for this – new hope. It’s been hard – I don’t need to list the ways in which our worship has changed and evolved. It is, perhaps, the fellowship that we’ve missed most – those opportunities for sharing joy and sorrow, companionship and laughter, bring-and-share meals – and, of course, frequent ‘cake’ opportunities. Perhaps ‘Cake and King – Let us Sing’ might be the basis for one of our first acts of communal worship once we’re allowed!

Over the altar in Aldeburgh Church is the dramatic window depicting the crucifixion of Christ. But raise your eyes a little higher and we see Christ depicted in all his glory. Kingly, serene and majestic – ‘king eternal, earth thy footstool, heaven thy throne.’ There is scarcely a grander or more widespread image used in the Bible than that of ‘king’. The Hebrew-Aramaic word for king, ‘melek’, is one of the most commonly used words in the Old Testament, occurring approx 2700 times. In the New Testament the Greek word, ‘basileus’, occurs more than 125 times. If you add in associated words such as kingly, kingdom, the verb ‘to reign’, then the motif of kingship weaves its way through the entire fabric of the message of the Bible. Much relates to earthly kings but today we think about our divine king, Jesus Christ, redeemer, saviour, servant, healer, teacher and companion.

There have been many images over the last months of people in positions of power and authority welcoming photo opportunities that demonstrate how they are ‘at one’ with the people. ‘Coronavirus opportunities’ for the great and the good show just how much they try to be ‘on side’ with the rest of us. Commendable as these may be they are nothing compared with the way in which Jesus lived out his life engaging completely with the people – peaceably for the most part but not above criticising when necessary. The king we worship is extraordinary. Wholly human and completely divine. Sent from God to be with God’s creation. Emptying himself of kingship so that he could be as one with, and of, us. God comes to be with his people – to be with you and me, finding us wherever we are, in whatever state we find ourselves. Happy, sad, joyful, despairing, lonely, stressed – he’s right there. At the Clergy Conference last week we were reminded of the importance of allowing ourselves to be still and quiet with God. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and hassle of instant communication via electronic media. We need to guard the space – allow those times of quiet. Ours is a king who rejoices when we are still and attentive.

Paul’s words to the Ephesians come as a timely reminder – and can be a prayer for us all:

‘I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you…’

At this festival of Christ the King, may we find the eyes of our heart enlightened and our souls cheered by the hope to which he has called each one of us.

 

Deciphering words in the New Testament
(It’s all Greek to me)


METANOIA, or repentance, is a key word for Christianity.  I admit I had my own fancy idea of what I could say about it until I actually got down to working on it.  Metanoia enters the New Testament via John the Baptist. Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us that his message was a call for Repentance.  Mark (1.4) and Luke (1.3) both use identical words in the Greek: John’s baptism was “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. Baptisma, a baptism, metanoias, of repentance, eis, for, aphesin, the forgiveness, hamartion, of sins. 

Then comes a discovery. Luke (24.28) tells us right at the end of his gospel, that immediately prior to the Ascension, Jesus commissions the disciples to go out and preach to all nations “repentance and forgiveness of sins”, using exactly the same Greek words as are used about John the Baptist’s message, thus linking Jesus and his cousin John, the beginning and end of Christ’s ministry on earth.

Once I was at a clergy school where we were challenged by the speaker to recall what Jesus told his disciples to go out and preach. Not one of us could remember these words from St. Luke.  Yet they were clearly very important to the first Christians.  “Metanoia eis aphesin hamartion” must have been a well-known formula, even a mantra, for the early church. If we forget this phrase, we are forgetting words at the centre of the first Christian preaching.

So, to METANOIA. Meta, when linked to a following word, means ‘change’. Noia is a variation of ‘nous’ which means ‘mind’. So meta noia means change of mind, or in our case, repentance.

It doesn’t mean grovelling abasement, but rather a new outlook, turning our thinking inside out. Maybe it might come to mean seeing that God loves the other person and not just me. Here is the basis for the best sort of inclusivity.  Maybe on this understanding we can all go a bit woke!

Behind that is a basic humility, a realistic self-awareness before something so much greater than ourselves.  This is the humility of the tax-collector (the publican) in the Temple praying with the Pharisee (Luke 18.23) – or the Canaanite woman (Matt 15.22) – or the two blind men (Matt 9.27).   The great Christian Prayer which expresses this is the Jesus prayer of the Orthodox Christians: “Lord / Jesus Christ / Son of God / have mercy on me”.  To be repeated slowly, phrase by phrase, over and over and over again. No gold medals here, no celebrity status, but maybe peace, love, joy. Amen.

John Giles

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
29th November – 1st Sunday of Advent

 

NOTICES

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Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 15th November/Second Sunday before Advent

The week ahead online services

Sunday 15th

10.30am

Holy Communion from Friston

Monday 16th

6.30pm

The Power of Prayer

Wednesday 18th

10.00am

Holy Communion (BCP) Aldeburgh

Wednesday 18th

6.00pm

Compline from Friston

Wednesday 18th

6.30pm

Pilgrims Together

 

 

Message from The Rector

There isn’t a huge amount to say that is new this week. We continue with our online services recorded in church – this week’s Sunday morning service of Holy Communion will be recorded in Friston church. We continue to hope and pray that we will be able to return to worshipping in our churches from December 6th, but we wait and see what restrictions there may still be.

In the meantime, there will also be some special services online too. This Monday evening at 6.30pm our Pilgrims Together group has been asked to lead half-an-hour of online prayers as part of a week-long county-wide ecumenical celebration of prayer in its many forms. It’s called ‘The Power of Prayer’ and if you would like to take part you can get the Zoom link by emailing the organisers at thefarmbythewater@gmail.com

If you are unsure of the details of how to access any of these online services, please let me know and I’ll be happy to pass them on to you.

Finally, may I please say an enormous thank-you to all who helped to organise and lead our Remembrance Sunday commemorations last week. I have had lots of very positive feedback. In the middle of all of the current strangeness it was good to stop, pray and remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. We will always remember them.

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son was revealed to destroy
the works of the devil and to make us the children of God and
heirs of eternal life: grant that we, having this hope, may purify
ourselves even as he is pure; that when he shall appear in power
and great glory we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom;
where he is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Zephaniah 1.7, 12-end
Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests. 
At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm.’ Their wealth shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them. The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter, the warrior
cries aloud there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. 

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 5.1-11
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 25.14-30
‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


Second Sunday before Advent.   Notes on this Sunday’s readings, and thoughts arising by Canon John Giles

Advent Sunday is only a fortnight away. Our lessons today confront us with one of the more sombre themes of Scripture, to which we shall be returning in Advent, that of the Day of the Lord (the prophet Zephaniah); the Second Coming of Christ (Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians); and a rather worrying judgement of ourselves as to whether we have used what gifts we have effectively enough for the Lord (the Parable of the Talents). All in all, we have a general theme of Judgement. 

Let’s first get rid of the notion that Covid is a divine judgement. Covid is a natural phenomenon, a pandemic, like Spanish flu, or the Plague. Jesus specifically denied that natural disasters were sent by God to punish particularly wicked people. When the Tower of Siloam collapsed, killing eighteen people, they were, he said, no more wicked than anyone else. (Luke 13.4). That still didn’t stop the need for everyone to heed a deeper moral judgement on their actions. Similarly, with Covid, we must now look to science to help us find out how and where it started, and hopefully how to defeat it. 

Our lessons are all concerned with a deeper moral judgement, teaching that doing wrong things, or not doing right things, can lead to big trouble. The prophet Zephaniah foresees a truly 3D day of disaster, darkness and distress. Neither silver nor gold will be able to save the people from the Lord’s wrath. Zephaniah wrote in a time of national apostasy; of falling away from the true faith; and a time of idolatry, in which the worship of pagan religious gods with associated practices, some of which were highly immoral, was widespread. The international scene was full of predatory rival states. A nation, corrupt in its heart, would fall prey to one of them sooner or later. Zephaniah was right. Within fifty years, the Jews would be carried off as captives to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. Zephaniah’s prophecy of judgement was fulfilled.

Six centuries later Jesus had brought a new message of hope to the world. He had been cruelly put to death. Spiritually he had reappeared to his followers.  Physically he was no longer with them, but the belief grew in the church that he would come again and put both the world and the church to rights (see today’s Epistle). This was predicted in the gospels, especially in Mark 13 and Matthew 23 & 24. Hence the expectation of the Second Coming of Christ. The years passed and no Second Coming took place. The church’s understanding of these passages changed. Christians came to see that through the gift of the Holy Spirit the Risen Jesus had always been with the church. We celebrate that in our Communion hymns, and it remains true today: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18.20). 

So, our gospel for today, the Parable of the Talents, is a passage to challenge the church to be brave and use its gifts both on the level of personal discipleship and in the life of the church. There is indeed also a warning against doing nothing, burying talents in the ground. Maybe we all need to take that on board. The wider challenge remains as we look at the work and the witness to which we are called in the world today. Christ is always around the corner when we need Him. We can be sure of that.  He will come again – indeed He has never left us. Hurrah! Amen.

Post Communion
Gracious Lord, in this holy sacrament you give substance to
our hope: bring us at the last to that fullness of life for which
we long; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

 

Tell us your news!
Remembrance Day in lockdown 2020 by Mary Sidwell
Having learnt soon after I moved to Aldeburgh, about the Dutch Kayakers memorial (near Sizewell beach) that is where I hold the two-minute silence and I place a poppy on Remembrance Day. Today (11th) there were several crosses and poppies placed on it, and the Lest We Forget flag nearby flew well, in the stiff SE wind.

I then drove to Aldringham churchyard to see the Remembrance display. It is a very moving tribute, so well researched and presented, and I’m glad a donation was possible. Thank you to all who had installed this tribute, the young men, and their families would be very proud and humbled by it. I highly recommend a visit.

Mary Sidwell

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
22nd November – Christ the King

 

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 8th November/Remembrance Sunday

10.50am RD Service Knodishall at The War Memorial
10.50am RD Service Friston at The War Memorial
10.45am RD Service Aldeburgh at The War Memorial
10.50am RD Service Aldringham Churchyard

FOR OUR TOMORROW

THEY GAVE THEIR TODAY

Message from The Rector

A pew-sheet with a difference this week as we mark Remembrance Sunday in the context of the current restrictions. There will be shortened outdoor services in all of our parishes, in the village churchyards and at Aldeburgh’s War Memorial. Each will begin at 10.45 / 10.50, incorporate the two-minutes silence at 11.00 and include the traditional words. And for those who are unable, for whatever reason, to be present there will also be an online service too, in the usual place –
https://www.youtube.com/channel/
UCM3YVzDVIlYmnpVFSdOOTvQ

It will begin with suitable music at 10.45 and also include the Exhortation, Last Post, two-minutes silence at 11.00, Kohima Epitaph and prayers. Even in these most unusual circumstances ‘we will remember them’.

For the duration of the ‘lockdown’ there will be an online service every Sunday at 10.30 and every Wednesday at 10.00. The services remain on our YouTube channel so if you aren’t able to be with us at those times you can worship with us later too. My plan is to record these services in church – more appropriate surroundings, less dining-room curtains! And we are planning for a return to church after the lockdown ends though, of course, we do not yet know what restrictions may still be in force. But, sadly, we know we will miss being able to gather together for the feast of Christ the King (November 22nd) and Advent Sunday (November 29th). We will do our best. By the way, I have written to our member of parliament to ask if she would support a reconsideration of the policy of closing churches, pointing out the care that we have taken to make them Covid-safe. I have not received a reply (or an acknowledgment) at the time of writing this. And for those who rise early on a Sunday there will be a familiar voice on Radio Suffolk at about 6.40am, discussing remembrance and closed churches.

Last week I mentioned the wonderful work that has been going on in Aldeburgh churchyard. There is now a special page on the website, complete with some pictures. Many thanks to Sue Howcutt for the well-chosen words.

https://www.aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk/our-churchyard-revival-2020/

And finally, some really good news from Aldeburgh – we have a churchwarden! After my appeal at this year’s APCM Ken Smith has agreed to be our warden until the next APCM. We have already had an excellent meeting about what is involved. Many will already know Ken and his combination of a gentle presence with a wonderfully practical approach (he has been working hard in the churchyard – and I mean hard!). He has been a loyal member of the PCC for many years and I am so grateful to him for stepping forward. All we have to do now is to make him legal – and I’m working on that!

With love, as ever

Mark

Reflection for Remembrance Sunday by Prebendary Derek Johnson

I can remember quite clearly what I was doing on V.E. Day. One friend of mine from school Bill Burton lived with his widowed mother in her small general store a few doors down in the High Street from my grandmothers pub. Mrs Burton invited some of Bill’s friends for fish and chips in the late afternoon. I am ashamed to say I am unable to remember what I was doing on V.J. Day.

I think one of the reasons the men were called The Forgotten Army was because it did not impinge on us so much. The Japanese had not dropped bomb on us and so it was more remote. There is an element of truth in that.

The Burma campaign was horrific in every sense of the word and more. In the late 1950’s The War Office tried to prevent the film The Bridge Over the River Kwai being made. It was made, as we all know – a box office hit with seven Oscars. Brigadier Sir Phillip Toosey, who had been in the camp and worked on the railway, went to see it and said “It was a good piece of story telling but absolute fiction”. A great many who had been on the railway saw it and were upset and insulted by it. Then, with Sir Phillip, they raised their voices in protest. The idea that with British stiff upper lip they had collaborated with the Japs to show how they could build the bridge was offensive – they were always trying to sabotage it.

The real story of that appalling time is found in Ernest Gordon’s book The Miracle on The River Kwai. One sees the horror of it all, the dreadful conditions in the camp, the “every man for himself attitude” and how it was transformed by two Christian men, one a Methodist the other a Roman Catholic. The way they worked and cared for their fellow – men was an example that others began to follow. A true and wonderful example of faith in action.

Some say it is time to stop and let it all go. I cannot.
I believe we should REMEMBER.

Deciphering words in the New Testament –
(It’s all Greek to me)

In Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer(ch.6.12) “trespasses” in Greek is “opheilemata”, or strictly, debts, i.e. what we owe to God and haven’t paid. Luke (ch. 11.4), almost certainly writing later, seems to correct this to “HAMARTIA”, a word which has a basic meaning not so much of wilful wrongdoing, or owing anything, as of missing the mark, as in arrows missing the target.  This might suggest a reduction of personal responsibility for actions that our consciences tell us are wrong. “I did my best, Sir, but I missed it.” There’s a sort of hidden excuse in here which doesn’t fit the broader teaching of Jesus, who without doubt teaches us to take full responsibility for our actions.  Yet read right through the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) from end to end and you don’t get the feeling that Jesus is always banging on about sin, any more than saying that driving is all about flat tyres. He has much better things in view.

Note incidentally the crucial difference between “trespass” and “sin”: a trespass is a wrong action; sin involves a denial of God or whatever is your final authority if you happen to be an atheist.

So was Luke’s word, “Hamartia”, closer to the word, presumably Aramaic, used originally by Jesus himself? We don’t know, and I’m afraid I can’t help, for as one Old Testament professor said to me on a famous (only for me) occasion: “But then Mr. Giles, you know no Hebrew; allow me to translate”. And anyway, there is no known Hebrew or Aramaic version of the Lord’s Prayer yet somehow “hamartia” seems to me to soften the element of destructive blame to be dumped on us when we have gone off the rails. As we all do. So, Tyndale’s translation “trespasses”, which he seems to have been the first to use in this context, works well enough for me. The Lord’s Prayer is indeed one of our greatest treasures. We can give a big thank-you that it has come down to us over all these centuries, in whatever translation. Amen.

Next week we will move on to happier ground with the word for repentance, namely “Metanoia”.

John Giles

Next Sunday
15th November – Second Sunday before Advent

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

we will remember them.

We will remember them.

Remembrance ideas for 2020

The Royal British Legion have a comprehensive website with information of all Remembrance Day related points. Do take a look.

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance

Here is a snippet of ideas from their website.

As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, it may be necessary for individuals and communities to consider new ways of performing Remembrance activities, whether at Remembrancetide or any other time of the year.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a wide-range of suggested Covid safe activities that are inexpensive to create:

  • Hold a small Remembrance service in your garden.
  • Create a Remembrance space in your garden by planting plants that have a connection to Remembrance.
  • Use Zoom, Facebook or another online meeting resource to host an online Remembrance service or activity.

Aldringham Church
A Field of Remembrance will be open during all of next week.
Chris Burrell-Saward has been busy researching the histories of those brave servicemen who died in the two World Wars and those histories are now displayed outside the church in a Field of Remembrance so even if you are not able to attend the service on Sunday, a visit to the churchyard at some other time will be well worthwhile to read the astonishing stories of those men who gave their lives.

A group of people in a park

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NOTICES

To all Friston Residents
It is important that we carry out our annual parish council meeting (APCM) as soon as possible – however, due to the current circumstances, it is impossible to do this in the Church as was originally planned.  The APCM will however go ahead – on Zoom following on immediately from the Compline at 6pm to which all are also welcome.  The PCC appreciates that for some people attending online is not possible and we apologise for this.
Thank you. Carole Edwards, Churchwarden

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 1st November/All Saints’ Day

 

9.30am

Morning Prayer

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

10.30am

Service for
All Saints’ Day

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Morning Praise

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

 

Message from The Rector

Back in August I wrote about the beginnings of the Aldeburgh Churchyard Project and promised to update you – so here goes. Walking through Aldeburgh churchyard you will notice (as promised back in August) a great deal of progress and activity. Scrub and weeds have been cleared, as well as self-seeded saplings that are small enough not to need extra permissions. That work alone has transformed the space. If you walk from Victoria Road towards the footpath that heads for Northfield Court, you can now see the sea! Without disturbing the resident badgers (which would be illegal) the large spoil heaps caused by their activities have been removed – and the next phase of the project has begun. We have employed an excellent firm of tree experts to examine and tag every tree in the churchyard – and there are over 150. Each now has a recommendation for its future and a timescale for the work. Some need a small amount of reshaping, some need serious coppicing, some need felling. The maintenance of the churchyard is the responsibility of East Suffolk Council, so the next stage is to engage with its tree officer to receive approval for our proposals. The diocese is involved too (I’m going to walk round with Archdeacon Jeanette next week) but we see no reason why we will not be able to start the next phase of work very soon.

This is all very exciting and thanks are due to the energetic and dedicated team who have been overseeing (and in some cases actually doing) the work. Nigel Howcutt is the mastermind, Mike Shepherd the resident historian (who has found all sorts of interesting things as gravestones have been revealed) and Ken Smith, Derek Cook, Adrian Brown and Karen Thackeray have all played important parts. Onward!!

Next week we mark Remembrance Sunday. The big difference this year (because of the Covid restrictions) is that in Aldeburgh there will be no morning service in church – everything will be done at the War Memorial by the Moot Hall. We simply couldn’t manage the usual large congregation in the church building so, if you wish to be with us, please assemble by the War Memorial by 10.45am. There will be a quiet service of Evening Prayer in church at 6pm. In Aldringham, Friston and Knodishall there will be Acts of Remembrance in the churchyards around the 2’ silence at 11.00am. Even in these difficult circumstances ‘we will remember them.’

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion
and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and
godly living that we may come to those inexpressible joys that you
have prepared for those who truly love you; 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
Revelation 7.9-end
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,  ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’  And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, singing, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.  They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

Second Reading
1 John 3.1-3
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 5.1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

Deciphering words in the New Testament –
(It’s all Greek to me)

HUPOMONEE – Greek Words cont. . . .

It wasn’t easy to be a Christian in the early years of the Church. Nero came on the scene in 54AD. His savage persecution of the church is the key to that strange Book of Revelation.

Christians in those early years (as today) had to have “patience” – not just waiting for the bus to come along, but “patient or steadfast endurance”, enduring suffering, sharing the suffering of Christ Himself. The word for this in Greek was Hupomonee. It comes again and again in the Epistles.

Christ had already said “Bring forth fruit with patience” in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8.15). In the last days, he said, “stand firm and you will get through, you will hang on to your own souls” (Luke 21.19).  Think Dr. Zhivago while the Russian Revolution raged around him. The letter to the Hebrews (ch. 12.1) urges us: “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. We need that hupomonee, that patient endurance, today, and not just because of the pandemic.

PS Can anyone help me find Greek lettering on my computer?
John Giles

 

Sermon for All Saints’ Day by The Revd James Marston

Today’s service isn’t Book of Common Prayer matins or Holy Communion order it is instead something called Informal Worship – I don’t fully understand what it means.

I’m sure some of you might agree that when one is asked to a social event with the dress code “smart casual your heart sinks” – what does this actually mean – something between white tie and ripped jeans, neither one thing nor another.

Indeed, part of me fears that by the same token the concept of “informal worship” is something of a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron rather like, dare I say it, Sporting Personality or Police Intelligence. But if you look at it another way, with perhaps slightly less flippancy, neither one thing nor the other is also two things rolled into one.

Today we are doing that. Alongside remembering, honouring and praying for the souls of the departed of this parish and those we have known in our lives, we are here also to remember, celebrate, honour and be inspired by the saints – the great cloud of witnesses of the Christian faith.

Often those saints are men, indeed most of the saints we remember in the church are men, and many of those male saints are priests, or Italian or French. I’m not here today to point out the inequalities of the patriarchy or make some point on behalf of Germaine Greer – but in an age increasingly recognising the power and inequality of unconscious bias the saints and, the church, I’m afraid to say, have a part to play.

Nonetheless, that is not to say there aren’t women too have who played their part and are remembered for their holiness and dedication to Christ. Indeed, here in Aldeburgh I think there is a celebration of female sainthood and holiness that we can be proud of.

Donated by a school teacher, and one whom I suspect was probably somewhat ahead of her time. The chapel window has piqued my interest in recent weeks.

A group of people in front of a window

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You might be able to pick out on the front of the order of service the figure on the left – the angel Gabriel – instructing Mary – the studious young girl with the slightly more spectacular halo and the lily on her desk – that she is to bear a son and call him Emmanuel. At least it could be that, but I wonder if it might be St Anne, the mother of the virgin, teaching her daughter scripture.

Whether Gabriel or Anne the image is supported and surrounded by four saints. In the top left we have St Katherine of Alexandria, complete with Katherine wheel on which she was unsuccessfully tortured and the sword – a symbol of the beheading that killed her. Her hair, which is unbounded and thereby depicting an unmarried woman, and the crown reminds us she was a princess by birth.

Among her extensive list of patronages are students, unmarried women, as well as teachers and, perhaps more unexpectedly hat makers. St Katherine is also interesting as her story suggests she stood up to men by defying the emperor and refusing marriage.

On the top right is St Cecilia. Another who consecrated her virginity to Christ and refused to bow, in this case, to roman authority and jilted her pagan fiancé on the day of her wedding. Again, she was subjected to an unsuccessful and bizarre attempt to kill her – they tried to stifle her to death with steam and heat in her bathroom.

In the end Cecilia was killed by soldier who was sent to behead her. Here in Aldeburgh she is depicted holding a palm – a symbol of martyrdom – in her right hand and a little cherub type figure playing a lute in her left. She is famously the patron saint of musicians because, it was said, she sang of Jesus’s passion in her heart and because music would have been playing to celebrate her wedding.

Just below Cecilia we have St Margaret of Scotland, known for being a good influence on her husband – King Malcolm III – and for bringing up her children well and taking care of orphans. She is depicted here wearing a crown and holding the sceptre of royalty as well as a bible to remind us of her piety and practice of devotional reading. Margaret, a queen, exercised her power by reforming and influencing the church in Scotland. She was, by all accounts, a force to be reckoned with.

And finally St Ursula, in the bottom left. A legendary figure who was shot by an arrow along with 11,000 other virgins at Cologne in Germany. There is also a story about her too avoiding an unwanted marriage. Ursula is depicted here with an arrow and what appears to be a little girl. Ursula is the patron saint of female students.

Martyrs, virgins, queens and princesses, these four women have been carefully chosen as sources of inspiration as they overcame adversity, stood up for, suffered and even died for their faith and battled against injustice and oppression. They are saints because not only are they Holy but because they also made a difference – two characteristics rolled into one person.

They are a reminder that we too are called by God to be saints. Indeed, St Paul, one of the patron saints of this church, describes the Christian community as set apart, as God’s holy ones, with a sacred calling.

As we look at the window of our chapel and as we celebrate All Souls Day and All Saint’s Day we remember those who have played their part in the life of our community and we remember those who have lived out lives of holiness. And we are invited to consider our response to that calling to be counted amongst the saints in our own lives.

I suggest to you today that our faith means we must be seeking to be ordinary every day saints. We are, as Christians, public in our faith and therefore we are to be busy in our community making Christ known.
We are to exercise forgiveness, live out the hope and joy of the Gospel, and demonstrate Christ’s radical message of love.

We are called to be the saints in Aldeburgh, making a difference through faith in Jesus Christ and we do this with the support of one another, the inspiration and prayers of the saints who have gone before, and with the grace of God.

Amen

Post Communion
God, the source of all holiness and giver of all good things: may we
who have shared at this table as strangers and pilgrims here on earth
be welcomed with all your saints to the heavenly feast on the day of
your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
8th November – Remembrance Sunday

10.50am

RD Service

Knodishall at The War Memorial

10.50am

RD Service

Friston at The War Memorial

10.45am

RD Service

Aldeburgh at The War Memorial

10.50am

RD Service

Aldringham at The War Memorial

 

NOTICES

 

Aldringham – 11.00am Service

This Sunday (1st) being All Saints day, we have a special morning praise at Aldringham Church ‘Remembering Saints (hallows), martyrs and the faithful departed’. All welcome.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Choral Evensong at Aldeburgh Church

We will be joined by Martyn Bagnall and the Jubilate Choir for an Evensong on Sunday 15th November at 6pm
(current restrictions allowing). All welcome.

 

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 25th October/Last Sunday after Trinity/Bible Sunday

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

   

Message from The Rector

It is an extraordinary coincidence that last Sunday – when the Gospel reading told of Jesus outfoxing those trying to trap him, telling them to ‘give … to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ – the five British Anglican Archbishops (Canterbury, York, Wales, Armagh and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church), wrote to the Financial Times expressing their unhappiness with the proposed UK Internal Market Bill. This is the controversial bill that, if passed unamended, would break international law, though only in a “specific and limited way”, as the Northern Ireland secretary explained in parliament. This is not the place to discuss the details (unsurprisingly they are rather complicated) but that the Archbishops were so united in their criticism means we should at least take an interest. They wrote that ‘we are taking the rare step of writing together because the decisions implemented in this bill will profoundly affect the future of our countries and the relationships between them’. (If you have a few minutes to spare it is definitely worth a read and can be found on the Financial Times website.)

The predictable reactions followed. The FT printed letters headed ‘Archbishops should stick to their ministries’ and ‘Nobody elected clergy to parliament’. I think, though, that we should read the letter in the light of Jesus’s remark. And remember Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s ever-relevant comment – ‘When people say that the Bible and politics don’t mix, I ask them which Bible they are reading’.

Finally, many thanks to those who have already contacted me with thoughts and ideas about how we might celebrate Christmas in our churches this year. Keep them coming!

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written
for our learning: help us so to hear them, to read, mark,
learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and
the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever
hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us
in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Nehemiah 8.1-4a – 8-12
All the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel. Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. The scribe Ezra stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the purpose. So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, ‘Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.’ And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

Second Reading
Colossians 3.12-17
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 24.30-35
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. ‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that heis near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Deciphering words in the New Testament –
(It’s all Greek to me)

Don’t be afraid:  Me Phobou (spoken to a single person) or Me Phobeisthe (to several people). 

Our words for today echo earlier words from the Old Testament.

The Lord speaks to Joshua after the death of Moses in (Joshua 1.9): Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Or there is the prophet in (Isaiah 40.9), speaking to those in exile in Babylon: Be not afraid; Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God.

This word of reassurance rings out so many times in the New Testament.  What were people afraid of in Jesus’ day? Was Mary (Luke 1.30) frightened at the thought of being chosen for an impossible task, and failing? Were the shepherds in their fields abiding (Luke 2.10) terrified by the angel, fearing that some disaster was at hand? Were the disciples out on the lake afraid of a ghost when Jesus came to them over the water saying “Be of good cheer (last week’s word) It is I; be not afraid”. “Tharseite, ego eimi, me phobeisthe”?  (Matthew 14.27 and Mark 6.50). Incidentally exactly the same Greek words appear in both gospels.  The words are incredibly holy, for we hear the very words that new Christian converts up the coast from Jerusalem and in Asia Minor, Greece and eventually Rome would have heard spoken by Peter or Barnabas or Paul, when giving their accounts of Jesus.

There are too many stories in the New Testament where people are urged not to be afraid, to go through them all today. But the message is just the same for us, for we follow in their steps. Whatever the adversary, Covid, financial hardship, illness, breakdown in relationship, death itself, Christ’s words come through to us loud and clear: “Take heart; it is I; don’t be afraid.”
John Giles

Sermon for the Last Sunday after Trinity/Bible Sunday by The Revd Sheila Hart

I sometimes wonder, when the Bible is read in all our Sunday services and in others during the week, and we are encouraged to read it daily in our private devotions, why we have a particular Sunday in the year designated as Bible Sunday. If we didn’t celebrate it on the last Sunday after Trinity, we would be celebrating it on the Second Sunday of Advent.

When I was a child, worshipping with my parents and grandparents in a small Methodist Church in a village not unlike our villages, but in south Devon about 5 miles from the City of Plymouth, I remember Bible Sunday as being a day when we thought about how the bible developed throughout history from the book or scrolls written in Hebrew or Greek into the book we heard read in our services in English. How missionaries had taken the English Bible – King James version in those days – to spread the Gospel to foreign lands and then there was an appeal for donations towards translating the bible into the mother tongue of these lands, or for overseas missions. We might even have a visiting missionary to preach on that particular Sunday, but generally their sermon was about the people among whom they were working and how they were beginning to become Christians in their birth country. All very interesting to a small child, but not a lot about the Bible and what we were expected to do with it and learn from it.

I was fortunate in that I worshipped with my family and had heard the Bible read to me from a very young age and for me it was much more than the giant sized book that the minister read from on a Sunday morning in Church. But I was one of the few who, even in those days when families regularly attended church, was taught about Jesus life and teaching and heard the wonderful stories from the Old Testament at home. Many of my friends were sent to Sunday School each Sunday so their parents could have an hour of peace and quiet from the children on a Sunday morning or afternoon and came from homes where home was home and church was church and never the twain would meet.

So let’s stop reminiscing and look at the passages set for today – Bible Sunday in the 21st Century.

Paul or one of his early followers is writing to the new converts in Colossae to put them straight about a ‘philosophy’ or ‘tradition’ which had emerged among them with which he was not entirely happy. In the earlier chapters of the letter, the writer stresses the supremacy of Christ and the Fulness of life in Christ. He warns them in chapter 2 about false teachers who might lead them away from the Gospel they had originally heard and in chapter 3 He writes about what New Life in Christ really means. He encourages them to put away their former manner of life and then to begin to cultivate what we know now as the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives which is where we join the script.

Being a Christian is for the writer of this letter, being clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Being willing to forgive the members of the community whom they consider to have wronged them in some way – just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Love, as in the first letter to the Corinthian Church, is stressed as being the most important fruit of the Spirit, because it is love which binds all people together in perfect harmony. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts and be thankful.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. This is where we start thinking about the importance of the Bible. This instruction in the letter could mean one or indeed both of two things which are paramount to successful or fruitful Christian living.

Firstly, it could mean, let the Holy Scriptures – the Word of God – dwell in you. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them as our collect for Bible Sunday instructs us. Read the Scriptures regularly; meditate on what you have read; reflect on the passage; allow the written words to dwell in your inner being and permeate the way you conduct your life when you are not in church with other believers; learn, and by implication by heart, verses which touch your heart rather than your head and think about them throughout the ensuing days. Maybe meet up with other members of the community to share and discuss the Sunday readings together to encourage a wider appreciation of their meaning and implications for your spiritual growth and development in the faith.

Secondly, it could mean, let Christ, the living word of God – the word made flesh who dwells among us full of grace and truth – dwell in you richly. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest His words as recorded in the sermon on the mount and throughout the Gospels, for as Jesus says at the end of our Gospel reading today ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.’ As we allow the living Christ to rule in our hearts through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, so we will be ‘transformed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the Bible remains dead words – just like any other book – once we have read it that’s it and we can leave it on the shelf to gather dust. But if we pray for the Holy Spirit to indwell the written words and bring them to life for us then the Bible becomes a book like no other, because it will have the power to speak to us time and time again with something relevant to the situation in which we find ourselves day by day – good, bad or indifferent and as we allow God to speak to us through the living words and as we meditate on the living words of Christ so we will experience growth in spirituality, in holiness and we will begin to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit and discover that we also have spiritual gifts which we can share and use to the glory of God both in the church and in our daily lives.

Equally as we allow the Word of Christ to dwell in us, so we will want to pray more, to worship Him more, to change our behaviours and our thinking to become more Christlike even when we are not in church mode. It will permeate the whole of our life because everything we do in word or deed we will be doing it all in the name of Christ because we will no longer be able to or, indeed want to separate our life into a church compartment and a world compartment for the whole of our life will be lived for Christ alone as we grow closer to Him and deepen our experience of Him on a daily basis. Amen

Post Communion
God of all grace, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry
with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom:
renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our
weakness sustain us by your true and living bread;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
1st November – All Saints’ Day

9.30am

Morning Prayer

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

10.30am

Informal Service

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Morning Praise

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

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DAY

ALDERTON

ORFORD

ALDEBURGH

Monday

8.00 to 14.30

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 18.30

Tuesday

8.00 to 18.30

CLOSED

8.00 to 18.30

Wednesday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

Thursday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

Friday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

GP TRAINING CLOSURE DATES

The surgery will be closed on Thursday 12th November at 13.00
for GP training.

Please contact NHS 111 when the Surgery is closed.

Flu Vaccinations

The surgery is hoping to receive more flu vaccinations at the end of November. We will initially administer these to unvaccinated vulnerable patients first. Then we will vaccinate the 50-64 year old category of patients. If you fall into this category and have not received a letter from the surgery, please DO NOT contact the surgery. We will contact you individually when we have the vaccinations available.

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 18th October/Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Morning Prayer

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online Service Available

 

Message from The Rector

I have just returned from a shopping trip to Waitrose and while there couldn’t help noticing the Christmas ‘fayre’ already on sale (turkey & stuffing-flavoured tortilla chips anyone?). And as I drove home I was wondering about Christmas and how we might celebrate it this year, given all of the things that we would love to do but can’t. We won’t be able to gather in church in large numbers (and we had more than 400 people in Aldeburgh church for the Crib Service last year). We won’t be able to sing Christmas hymns and carols together in church. We won’t be able to hold our traditional, beautiful, Christingle service as we normally do. So what can we do? We’re a way off being able to make any final decisions but I float just one idea to see how you might react. Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year so in the week leading up it how about, in each Parish, a single, outdoor celebration? We will have to risk the weather (and ‘if wet’ we won’t be able to go indoors) but we are hardy British east-coast folk after all! The services would not all need to be the same and might be anything from a simple service of Christmas music and readings to a Holy Communion service – perhaps on Christmas morning. (On or by the beach?) Whatever we do there will be a lot to think about but I would very much appreciate your thoughts at this stage. There is no perfect solution but with a little imagination we ought, joyfully, to still be able to celebrate our Saviour’s birth together.

I am very aware of the difficulties of keeping in touch with those who do not yet feel able, for whatever reason, to be with us in church. I know that many of you are doing great things for friends and neighbours, but I am also aware that sometimes people would really appreciate a chat with me or one of the clergy team. We have been trying our best but, with the best will in the world, with so many people and so many other things pressing on our time it’s difficult always to get it right. But people are always welcome to contact us. If you would like a chat, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and should you get ‘the dreaded machine’ leave a message and you’ll be called back. And if you know of someone else who is in need than please do let me or one of the team know.

There is a recent Church of England initiative that is very much worth knowing about too. It’s called Daily Hope and it’s a phone line that provides all sorts of recorded resources – worship, hymns, talks, even some chair exercises. And if you ring it, the first voice you will hear is that of the Archbishop of Canterbury! 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. Spread the word!

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
O God, for as much as without you we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and
rule our hearts; 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 45.1-7
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand
I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of
their robes, to open doors before him and the gates shall not be closed: 
I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.  For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.  I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 1.1-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake.  And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 22.15-22
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

 

Deciphering words in the New Testament –
(It’s all Greek to me)

Mark writes:

It’s all too easy to forget that the bibles that most of us rely on are translations from another language.  Most of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek.  Once upon a time many clergy would have been taught New Testament Greek as part of their studies – no longer, sadly.  But the real meaning of some words in the New Testament is much more easily understood if we have at least a smattering of knowledge of Greek, and, luckily for us, Canon John Giles does.

Over to him for the first of a little series.

 

Here are a few words, one at a time, over the weeks, to hold on to as marker-buoys for a closer understanding of Christ and his message.
So please get your bibles out and look up the places where they come.

  1. THARSEI – BE OF GOOD COMFORT/ CHEER UP/ TAKE HEART/KEEP UP YOUR COURAGE

In dark days we are glad when someone who knows better than us what is going on says “Cheer up”.  Jesus said it to the disciples at the end of his farewell talk at the Last Supper (John 16.33).  He said it to the disciples exhausted by rowing against a fierce head wind out on Lake Galilee after the Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6.50).  He said it to the paralysed man brought to him on a stretcher in (Matthew 9.2), and again to the woman with an incurable haemorrhage in the same chapter, v.22. Paul, taken into safe custody in the Roman barracks to keep him from an angry crowd in Jerusalem was comforted by the Lord in prayer in the same words (Acts 23.11).  Here then is the same Greek word used in several different contexts, with a good message for us today for obvious reasons!

Next time:          Me Phobousthe – Don’t be afraid.

Canon John Giles

 

Sermon for the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity by our Rector,
The Revd Mark Lowther

Who are the most powerful individuals in the world today? And who do you think are the leaders that we can all look up to in our world today? And can you think of anyone who fits both of those categories – really powerful and who we can really look up to? It’s not easy, is it? But as Christians is it any of our business anyway? Do religion and politics have anything to do with each other? Politicians are very good at using religion when it suits them and ignoring it when it is uncomfortable. Church leaders often get it in the neck when they say things that politicians find uncomfortable. One former Prime Minister, on first arriving on the steps of 10 Downing Street, paraphrased St Francis of Assisi – ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’. And, whatever you think about that Prime Minister’s policies, for lots of people the governments of the next few years certainly didn’t bring either harmony or hope. And another Prime Minister, of a different political hue, when about to answer a journalist’s question about his religious faith was interrupted by his ‘Director of Strategy and Communication’ before he could answer. ‘We don’t do God’, the journalist was told.

There are certainly plenty of people who would like religion and politics not to have anything to do with each other, but I strongly suspect that someone who might disagree is Jesus. It takes a very special way with words to take the politics out of Jesus’s message. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “When people say that the Bible and politics don’t mix, I ask them which Bible they are reading”. Just think of something like the beatitudes in which Jesus tells the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the peacemakers and so on that they are specially blessed by God. Or think of Mary’s song of thanksgiving on hearing that she is to be the mother of God, when she recounts what God has done, scattering the proud, bringing down the powerful from their thrones and lifting up the humble.

Now there is, of course, a difference between ‘politics’ – which comes from a Greek word meaning ‘the affairs of the city’ – and ‘party politics’. If you try to work out whether Jesus would have voted Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green or UKIP than I think you’re not trying to answer the right question. (I do, however, believe that he’d have been unlikely to vote for the BNP) What we are called upon to do whenever we have the chance to vote is to see what policies are on offer from the parties standing, remember our Christian faith and what it teaches us, and vote for the party that we think is the closest to what our faith teaches us. And we need to remember, firstly, that we’re not going to find any party that we completely agree with and secondly that among us there will be a variety of opinions. The Church of England was once famously dubbed ‘The Tory party at prayer’ (by a suffragette, by the way) but there are Christian supporters of most political parties – and that’s only right and proper.

Hang on a moment, though. Why all of this political stuff today? There isn’t an election coming up. Well, of course, it’s inspired by today’s Gospel reading in which we hear of an attempt to trap Jesus with a question about paying tax. ‘Is it lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor or not?’ said the wily Pharisees. ‘We’ve got him this time’, they must have thought. If he says ‘yes’ then he’s taking the side of the occupying Romans (who pretty well everyone wanted rid of) so the crowd will lynch him. But if he say’s ‘no’ then we’ll report him to the Roman authorities, and they’ll lynch him. Get out of that one Mr Clever Rabbi. And Jesus responds with characteristic wisdom. Remember who was asking the question in the first place – a group of Pharisees, who were a strand within Judaism who considered themselves set apart (that’s what the name Pharisee means) – set apart because they took a particular approach to the application of Jewish laws in everyday life. This kind of question about taxes really mattered to them. But they were also seen by many at the time to have compromised with the Romans, to have, in some way, sold out to protect their own backs. They were far from universally popular with their fellow countrymen. Now the coin that Jesus had someone produce would have said clearly around its edge ‘Son of God – high priest’ – because that’s who Caesar thought that he was. So these Pharisees who were carrying the Roman coin really were compromised, weren’t they? They were trying to be good Jewish boys and keep Caesar happy too. And that was impossible. And what Jesus was doing was pointing out their hypocrisy to them. ‘Off you go and try and do it’, he was saying. ‘Give Caesar what’s due to him and God what’s due to him – if you can.’ When they heard this, we’re told in the story, they were amazed; and left him and went away. I wonder if they felt just a bit guilty themselves – they certainly should have done.

Perhaps we should too. How do we hold together our political opinions and our faith? How much are we influenced in our political decisions by looking after No.1 first, rather than the greater good. Some words from a rather thoughtful Welsh priest, Tristan Owain Hughes.

‘Sometimes’, he writes, ‘I think that even Christians think that Jesus himself was just a little bit naïve, impractical, or utopian. If Jesus were around now, we might quietly speculate that he’d conclude that things are actually far more complex that he first realised. Things are, in fact, far less complex than we ourselves realise. Jesus knew exactly what human nature was about. On the very night that he was tortured and murdered, he simply said: “my command is this: love each other as I have loved you”.

‘As a Christian’, Hughes continues, ‘as a person of hope, I am quite certain that change will come, that transformation will take place. But this change will not start in Westminster, or in the City, or on Fleet Street. Change starts in our hearts, and then grow outwards. If we live out compassion in our daily lives, the kingdom of God cannot fail to break through into our communities and, as a consequence, that will transform our society – bringing light to places of darkness, bringing love to those who suffer prejudice or disadvantage, bringing hope to those who think they have no future. “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you”.

Amen

Post Communion
Holy and blessed God, you have fed us with the 
body and blood of your Son and filled us with your 
Holy Spirit: may we honour you, not only with our lips
but in lives dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
25th October – Last Sunday after Trinity

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

 

 

 

NOTICES

 

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.

 

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.

 

Aldeburgh Parish Church APCM 
Will be on October 25th in church after the 10.30am service.

 

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 11th October/Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Morning Prayer

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

 

Message from The Rector

So where are we? This is my first Benefice Newsletter since returning from holiday (it was lovely – thanks for asking – and thanks to James for keeping this slot so well filled) and so it seems a good time for a bit of stocktaking. Sheila, Nicky, James and I met this week and have come up with a draft service plan for the next couple of months. Each Sunday there will be a service in Aldeburgh, Aldringham and Friston and each fortnight one in Knodishall. We will try and achieve a balance of different services in each place and each week one of the services will be recorded and appear online later in the day. There will be a reflection or sermon in each newsletter but it won’t necessarily be the same one as on the recorded service (otherwise you would get far too much of me!). We will take the Wednesday 10.00am Holy Communion service back into Aldeburgh church (Trinity Chapel), record it and make it available later in the day too. We will experiment with saying Morning Prayer at 9.00am in Aldeburgh church from Monday through to Saturday. All of these plans are, of course, dependent on what we are allowed to do. Things aren’t looking so good at the moment and we have to be ready for anything but please be assured that we will always try to do what we can.

Clergy news. Given the current pandemic, both Nicky and Jo are having to take care. Nicky is still waiting for an operation and wants to be able to have it as soon as it is offered. She also has to be particularly careful given that she regularly visits elderly parents and carries out her duties as Chaplain to Aldeburgh Hospital. She will be keeping a low profile in church for a short while though is more than happy to talk to folk on the phone and be her usual caring self. Following a period of critical illness in Ipswich hospital Jo’s father, Colin, is thankfully now stable enough to be convalescing at Aldeburgh hospital. That said, he still faces some health challenges before he is well enough to return home. He is only allowed three visitors and Jo is, of course, one of them. So Jo is being very careful too. I know that her pastoral support for parishioners has been continuing in her usual caring way but, again, she won’t be around very much on Sundays for a while. We hold Nicky and Jo in our prayers, giving thanks for all that they do. They remain hugely valued members of the clergy team.

It is Annual Parochial Church Meeting time! Normally these are held in the late spring but this year the deadline has been extended to the end of October. Aldringham’s took place this week, Knodishall’s will be in church after the service on the morning of October 18th and Aldeburgh’s similarly on the morning of October 25th. News of Friston’s will follow very soon. Listen out for notices in church and look out for notices on noticeboards. And listen out for what God might be calling you to do!

A final thought. We (clergy and elders) always try our best to keep in touch with as many of you as we can, which has, of course, been a particular issue in recent months. We know that we haven’t always got it right but please be assured that we want to hear of any ways that we might be able to support you. It is much harder to know how everyone is when we don’t have the opportunity for (for example) chats over coffee after services. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact us if you feel there is anything that we can do for you – or for someone you know.

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us your gift of faith
that, forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to that which 
is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win
the crown of everlasting 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 25.1-9
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful
and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a
ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. 
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations
will fear you.  For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to
the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade
from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter
rainstorm, the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued
the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled. 

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast
of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines, of rich food filled with
marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.  And he will destroy
on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet
that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and
the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the  Lord has spoken.  It will be said on that day, Lo,
this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might
save us. This is the  Lord for whom we have waited; let us
be glad and rejoice in his salvation.


Second Reading
Philippians 4.1-9
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.  Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 22.1-14
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.”  Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

 

Sermon for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity by
Our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

God be in our mouths ….

When Ro and I first moved to Suffolk five years ago we had a lot to learn – and we’re still learning. The difference between Suffolk and London is much bigger than the relatively short distance between them. It’s only just over a hundred miles from this church to the one where I used to be in London but what a difference! All sorts of things need thinking about all over again and one of them is the dreaded question of what to wear. I’m not talking about clerical dress – that’s a whole world of its own with its own sets of assumptions – but let’s imagine that I’m invited out for a meal ‘off duty’. Do I wear a suit? A jacket and chinos? Should I wear a tie? Slip-on or lace-up shoes? Of course everyone around here, being the good friendly people that they are, say ‘come as you are – it doesn’t matter’ – but it does, doesn’t it? Walk into a room wearing an open-necked shirt and jeans to find everyone else wearing suits and ties – or even vice-versa – and you feel very strange and know that you’re being looked at and even judged. (You’ll never guess what he turned up in – my dear he looked so out of place ….) And an invitation in Suffolk that says ‘smart casual’ means something quite different to an invitation in Belgravia that says ‘smart casual’. And, yes ladies, I’m fully aware that your problems are even trickier because you have so many more options than we chaps.

What’s it all really about? Well for most people it sits somewhere between blending in and showing off. Here it probably tends more towards the former, in London the latter, but the differences can be quite subtle, can’t they? But if you really want to be somewhere, if you want to feel at home in that situation then you feel much more comfortable if you’ve got the clothes right, don’t you? Conversely, if you’ve obviously not even bothered to find out what might be right for the occasion and you turn up completely inappropriately dressed then perhaps it’s because you didn’t really want to be there in the first place and you just can’t be bothered. That’s probably what your host is going to think. And I think that’s the point about Jesus’s at first rather strange remark in our Gospel reading about wearing a wedding robe.

This wedding banquet story is stuffed with symbolism. The king who throws the party is God, the son for whom it is thrown is Jesus and the banquet itself, as it is in other bible stories, is the glorious, much anticipated time when God’s kingdom truly comes to earth ‘as it is in heaven’ – when the Messiah himself returns. So far so sort-of obvious. But when Jesus tells the part of the story about the man who managed to be at the feast without the right clothes and then has the king telling his servants not just to chuck the poor guy out but to ‘bind him hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness’ it’s a bit harder to understand. One way to think about it, though, is to think that perhaps the fact that this man wasn’t appropriately dressed was because he didn’t really want to be there. And if you really don’t want to be part of this banquet, the climax of the whole message of God in Jesus Christ, then it’s the end for you – a not very comfortable end.

Jesus’s message, a message he very clearly intends for everyone, not just the ones who think that they are special and ‘chosen’ – he’s very clear about that – Jesus’s message is of God’s love and the coming of a kingdom of love and truth and justice and all sorts of other good things. And for that you – we – need to be prepared. If we’re true followers of Christ and try to follow what he teaches, then it’s not all sweetness and light and motherhood and apple-pie. Jesus’s message certainly isn’t that all we have to do is turn up.

An important part of many of our services, this one included, is a confession and absolution – and it usually comes quite early on in the act of worship, for a reason. We confess to God the things that we’ve done wrong ‘through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault’. And, as the introduction to confession goes, God gave his only son to the world to save us from our sins and bring us to eternal life. God wants to forgive us, there’s no doubt about that. But – and it’s a rather uncomfortable ‘but’, in the words of the absolution it quite clearly says that God only pardons those ‘who truly repent’. Translation? Those who are genuinely sorry and who really and sincerely believe the good news that Christ was born on earth to bring – and turn away from wrong-doing and towards Christ. And if we don’t then we’ve turned up to the party in the wrong clothes and don’t care. And what did Jesus say about ‘outer darkness’?

In the last few days news – and not just church news – has been full of the report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in Anglican church, specifically the Church of England and the Church in Wales. It makes very uncomfortable reading and reveals a church that has been far too keen to protect itself at the expense of vulnerable individuals. The stories of harm done, and subsequent cover-up are utterly horrifying and would disgrace any organisation – but a church? A church whose message is the good news of Christ? Lord, have mercy. And, just in case you may think that there’s nothing like that around here I would say that it’s not quite that simple. Sadly.

Repentance is called of us individually and of the church collectively. It’s not an option it’s an imperative. If we are prepared ‘with hearty repentance and true faith’ to ‘turn unto him’ (as the Book of Common Prayer has it) then we may receive forgiveness. If we don’t then outer darkness threatens. Theologian Tom Wright sums it all up perfectly.

‘The point of the [Gospel] story is that Jesus is telling the truth, the truth that political and religious leaders often like to hide: the truth that God’s kingdom is a kingdom in which love and justice and truth and mercy and holiness reign unhindered. They are the clothes you need to wear for the wedding. And if you refuse to put them on, you are saying that you don’t want to stay at the party. That is the reality. If we don’t have the courage to say so, we are deceiving ourselves and everyone who listens to us.’

Amen

 

Post Communion

We praise and thank you, O Christ, for this sacred feast:
for here we receive you, here the memory of your passion
is renewed, here our minds are filled with grace, and here a
pledge of future glory is given, when we shall feast at that
table where you reign with all your saints for ever.

NOTICES

 

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.

 

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.

 

Ride and Stride 2020
The Aldeburgh total has just come in from this year’s 
Suffolk Historic Churches ride and stride.
A wonderful total of £1,642 was raised.
Fran Smith would like to thank all those who took part and
the generous sponsors.

A huge thank you too to Fran for leading the Aldeburgh team. What an amazing total, especially this year under all the restrictions in place.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
18th October – Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Morning Prayer

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 4th October/Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

 

9.30am Knodishall Church
Holy Communion for Harvest Festival

9.45am Friston Church
Harvest Festival Service

10.30am Aldeburgh Parish Church
Harvest Festival Family Service

11.00am Aldringham Church
Harvest Festival Service

 
 
 
 

Message from Revd James Marston

We continue to adjust to a changing world. And as our service schedule begins to show some signs of stability and routine I am reminded of the importance of continuity and constancy in our lives – especially helpful as we face an uncertain winter and the challenges of the weeks and months ahead.

Living day to day, in the moment, taking each day at it comes, is, for many of us, much easier said than done – I don’t know about you, but I like to plan, not being able to do so isn’t easy. Who knows how the guidance might change, in the weeks to come – we will adapt I’m sure.

In the meantime, we can take our troubles to God every day relying on His constancy and changelessness in a changing world.

And as we rejoice and celebrate Harvest and the changing season, so obvious in the landscape that 2020 has forced us to look at afresh, and offer thanks for the gifts of the countryside, as well as the gifts of the sea, we can reflect that we have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to in our benefice.

Our church community remains as strong and as caring as ever; indeed, maybe the events of 2020 have shown us with even greater clarity how much we have to be thankful for.

And if the price to pay for that is a life and a life less planned and a little less proscribed then, perhaps, so be it.

James

 

Collect
Eternal God, you crown the year with your goodness
and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season: 
grant that we may use them to your glory, for the
relief of those in need and for our own well-being;
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
Deuteronomy 8.7-18
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid waste-land with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 9.6-end
The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, ‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.’ 
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 

Gospel Reading
Luke 12.16-30
Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

 

Sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity by
The Revd James Marston

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

He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing

I find myself in an unexpected territory, I say unexpected but deep down I knew this day would come.
For the first time since I began my journey towards ministry, for the first time amid all my placements and church contexts I experienced in the name of ministerial education, for the first time I find myself preaching on a topic on which I have preached before – Harvest.
Indeed, I am reminded of the old anecdote concerning a priest who trotted out the same harvest sermon year after year. When challenged he said he felt the same this year about harvest as he had done the previous year and the one before that and felt no need to change it.
But this prompted me to ask a number of questions: How can I say again that which I have said before? How on earth to vicars do it year after year? How do congregations sit through listening to the same stuff repeated each time this comes around? And the biggest question of all, will they notice if I use last year’s sermon anyway?
But then it struck me, it’s actually part of my job to say the same thing but in a different way – to proclaim the Gospel afresh in every generation. I naively thought that just meant once every 30 years.
However, there’s no denying that today is not the same as the first weekend of October 2019. In October 2020 we live in a totally different context and everything has changed.
That which we thought was constant about church isn’t. We can’t sing, or shake hands, indeed we have no idea if we will be able to meet at all in the coming months such is the fast pace of emerging guidelines and restrictive rules.
Harvest last year, seems more like a lifetime ago rather than just 12 months and more than ever we have been reminded that change is the only constant. Except that isn’t true is it?
Church may change, we may change, life may change but God is constant in His presence and in His love. And it is God, sure in the knowledge of his presence, to whom we turn to when the going gets tough.
Last week I met the Bishop of Norwich, I was interviewing him for the newspaper, and he said he had personally found these last few months had included some dark times. He has relied, he said, on the traditions of the church, the great storehouse of Christian writings and witness, and the practice of daily prayer to get him through.
It was, in some ways, an unexpected expression of vulnerability that I think we can probably all relate to. The Bishop went on to say that he “held on to the knowledge that God is with us and encloses us in His love.”
Harvest, as you already know, is a celebration not only of creation and the overflowing love of almighty God, but a moment in the year in which we express thanks and praise to the Lord.
For agricultural and marine regions such as ours it is an important part of the church year – one in which we traditionally thank God for our food and produce, our farmers and fishermen, our countryside and our sea.
Harvest festival also calls us to remember that we are creatures, and part of creation, not separate from it.  And Jesus himself teaches that, made in God’s image, we are given freedom to choose in order to cultivate good habits and yield a good harvest.
I wonder if a good habit we might cultivate together is one of intentionally thanking God not just in early October but doing so on most days. I think my challenge to you today, this year, would be to find time to thank God just once a day for all you have and for all you are. It doesn’t need to take long or be a complicated procedure.
In these strange days in which we are deeply and increasingly concerned with our mental and physical health. Cultivating a habit of daily prayer is a way of expressing our gratitude to God, the harvest of which is not only taking care of our spiritual health but also a strengthening and deepening of our faith for the months and years to come.

Amen

 

Post Communion
Lord of the harvest, with joy we have offered thanksgiving for
your love in creation and have shared in the bread and the
wine of the kingdom: by your grace plant within us a reverence
for all that you give us and make us generous and wise stewards
of the good things we enjoy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
11th October – Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Morning Prayer

Aldringham Church

NOTICES

 

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.

 

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.