News Sheet for 10th May – Fifth Sunday of Easter

Message from The Rector

I suspect that for many of us this will feel like a special weekend. On Friday we marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day – a day which, I’m sure, any who lived through it will never forget. Even those of us who didn’t will remember our parents telling us stories about the dark days of the war, the feeling at one time that all was not looking good and the eventual sense of joy and relief when the guns and the bombs stopped. Thanks be to God.

Our current situation is very different, and comparisons are dangerous. But there is beginning to be a sense that the worst may be over, though we still have a long way to go and we must take care not to try to do too much too soon. We are anticipating some progress in an announcement from our Prime Minister on Sunday. Churches need to be somewhat cautious as they find their way forward – many of our regular congregations fall into one vulnerable category or another and we have a duty of care to them. Please be assured that we will do as much as we can as soon as we can. Remember that one of our senior bishops, The Rt Revd Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, was formerly England’s Chief Nursing Officer – there is real expertise at the top table. And (I know I have said this before, but it remains at the heart of everything) Easter teaches us that there is hope – there is always hope. Thanks be to God!

Almighty God, who through your only begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires, so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

First Reading

Acts 7.55-end 
But filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.

Second Reading
1 Peter 2.2-10
Like new-born infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:
‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner’, and ‘A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.

Hymn: Now the Green Blade Riseth

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love whom men had slain,
Thinking that never He would wake again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen: 
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Forth He came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Quick from the dead the risen God is seen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: 
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

John 14.1-14
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’ Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

Reflection by Revd Nichola Winter

Can it really be the fifth Sunday of Easter? Many of us probably feel rather disoriented as well as disconnected. We’re blessed with a wonderful variety of streamed services, online worship we can join, and telephone chats – however I still find myself missing hugely the spiritual connection that comes with sharing worship with congregations in our lovely church buildings. One day soon…

Inevitably, time flows on. The forty great days of Easter continue with their exhilarating stories of the risen Christ and all that means to, and for, us. Today we hear the beautiful passage, so often read at funeral services, that brings the promise of new life for us all. At a time of sorrow, we are given a hope-filled vision of the life that Jesus offers each one of us. When Jesus first utters those words, it is on the eve of his crucifixion. He has already given his followers the new, and great, commandment that they must love one another. He has washed their feet, told them that they, too, are there to serve – to wash each other’s feet. And then come those words of gentle reassurance, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled… believe in God, believe also in me… I go to prepare a place for you.’ Indeed, I often think these words belong with the other great Comfortable Words that come in the traditional communion service…

But, as usual, the disciples cannot accept the words of Jesus at face value. There’s Thomas – doubting, querying. ‘We don’t know where you’re going… how can we?’ and Philip, wanting the ‘i’s dotted and the ‘t’s crossed. ‘Show us the Father,’ he says, ‘then we’ll be satisfied…’ Perhaps it is for our sake, two thousand years later, that these fearful, questioning, doubting followers still come to us, epitomising all our doubts and fears for the future. They had been with Jesus throughout his ministry, seen the wonders he performed and yet still they find it hard to take all that he says on trust. What does that say to us in these days when we are fearful and apprehensive about the future; when we, too, perhaps find it difficult to keep faith? We need to imagine Jesus speaking directly to us. ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’ Do not be afraid. Hold on to me and the promises that I give you… I am the way, the truth and the life… If, in my name, you ask me for anything, I will do it.

It is, perhaps, at times of great trial that these words come ringing through to us. At times of bereavement they form one of the most comforting of passages – we are not alone. Jesus has walked this way before us. He has been through bereavement, pain and death; he has suffered deprivation of liberty; been deserted by friends and family. He has descended to the depths – and yet he returns, comes back to life and takes us with him. He presents us with the greatest hope that we could ever possibly wish for. Look for a moment at the reading from Acts, which describes the death of Stephen, the first martyr. Confronting the reality of death Stephen has this glorious vision of the heavens opening and the Son of Man at the right hand of God. Jesus’ promise becomes reality for him. He sees the place to which he is going. Then, Peter, in his first letter, knowing that we are faced with the most astounding teaching about Jesus – recognises that we need to take it in gentle stages. Beginning with ‘pure, spiritual milk’ we progress in our faith to the harder obstacles – but even these become the building blocks of faith. The stone rejected by the master-builder – the one who ought to know what he’s talking about – becomes something completely different. The useless, the rejected becomes the very thing that is needed to create a new foundation.

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.’ Jesus calls each one of us to him. We can find comfort in his words, in his promise and in the new life he offers each one of us. As we pass through this time of trial let us hold fast to that hope, to that promise. Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. Amen.

Post Communion
Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life:
grant us to walk in his way, to rejoice in his truth, and to share his risen life; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.


The Church of England is producing lots of good material and advice at present. This includes some excellent prayers for us all to use and I commend them to you:

You can also join the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich weekly newsletter mailing list by visiting:

The Week Ahead

Next Sunday – 17th May

Sixth Sunday of Easter


 Food Banks – Message from the Community
Engagement Officer at the East of England Co-op

We support 22 independent and Trussell Trust Foodbanks through our Food Stores; the Foodbanks all collect from the stores who support them. To find the list of who we support and how to find out what their specific needs are please go on to our website

I can confirm that we are working hard on how best we, as a Society, can best support our local communities. There have also been articles in the paper about how food banks are struggling to receive donations as many supermarket shelves are empty.

Suffolk Community Foundation are in need of donations to support the various Suffolk Charities they are involved with, to support them financially go to


Message from Suffolk Trading Standards 
Please pass this on to friends and neighbours
There have been reports in Suffolk of people pretending to be from the British Red Cross, knocking on the doors of elderly and vulnerable individuals, taking their money to do shopping – and then not returning.
There have also been reports that cards are being put through doors with the British Red Cross branding, offering help.

British Red Cross are NOT utilising a postcard system currently in connection to Covid-19 and any distribution of these cards locally needs to be reported to us via 0808 223 1133.
Please share and make sure your neighbours and any elderly/vulnerable relatives are aware.


 How about you?? 
Would you like to share your stories that you think others might like to hear about? Or like Mary share a recipe or a pastime idea to keep us occupied. Please do let Claire know and we will do our best to add to the weekly pew sheet.


✞ Wednesday Online Services ✞
Around our Benefice there are, as well as our Sunday morning 10.30am online gatherings, three acts of worship that take place on Wednesdays.  At 10.00am there is a service of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer streamed from The Vicarage at (Alde Sandlings YouTube Channel).  

At 6pm there’s the opportunity to join members of the congregation in Friston for a short quiet service of Compline.  It’s done via Zoom and if you’d like to know more please contact Martin Steadman on
Also, via Zoom, Pilgrims Together gathers online at 6.30pm for worship in the Iona tradition, including some hymns and songs.  The contact to find out more about that is 
All are welcome at any of these services.


Don’t forget Christian Aid week
Starting on 10th May Christian Aid have gone online and are hosting a fun daily quiz to join and raise funds. Do visit their website to find the resources, links along with e-fundraising envelopes.