Benefice Newsletter 13th September/Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

10.30am

Benefice Holy Communion Service at

Aldeburgh Parish Church

3.00pm
Online Service available

 

Message from the Rector

The fact that we can share in services over the internet really came into its own last Sunday when I know that many of you shared in the beautiful and moving service in our cathedral at which James was ordained Priest. We continue the celebrations on Sunday as James presides at a Holy Communion service for the first time and if you aren’t able to be with us in Aldeburgh church you should be able to see the service online later in the day.

Next weekend Rosemary and I go away for a couple of weeks holiday and during that time there won’t, I’m afraid, be any ‘local’ online services. There are plenty of others available, however, not least from our cathedral. Head for its website – https://stedscathedral.org/ – and all the information that you need is there. We will then review our online provision and I would appreciate your comments and thoughts. I am well aware that there are still people in our parishes who do not yet feel able to attend a service in church and their needs are important. But I am also aware that other places are much better equipped than we are to provide well-produced online services. Let me know what you think.

You will, I’m sure, have heard the news this week of new restrictions to the numbers of people able to meet socially because of the worrying increase in cases of Covid-19. The good news is that our regular services are unaffected and as long as we continue to stick to social distancing rules and keep our buildings clean we can carry on as we have been doing in recent weeks. Sadly, however, with there being no prospect of congregational singing resuming, and with the new limits on numbers for social gatherings, I fear we will have to cancel our plans to walk around our benefice and hold a Songs of Praise service for Harvest on October 4th. Instead, on that day, there will be Harvest services at the usual times in each of our churches and we will celebrate as best we can under the circumstances.

With love, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Almighty God, whose only Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence: give us pure hearts and steadfast wills to worship
you in spirit and in truth; 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
Genesis 50.15-21
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’ So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, “Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God?  Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Second Reading
Romans 14.1-12
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God. We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister?  Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister?  For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’  So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 18.21-35
Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times. ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

SERMON FOR BENEFICE SERVCE
(JAMES’S 1ST COMMUNION)

TRINITY 14 – SEPTEMBER 13TH 2020
by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

Matthew 18.21 – 35

God be in our mouths and in our speaking, God be in our ears and in our hearing, God be in our heads and in our understanding. Amen.

This is such a good day. We have a new priest in our Benefice and this morning James is able to do something that I know he’s been looking forward to for a very long time – celebrate Holy Communion. To be able to do that is one of the great privileges of ordained ministry and, certainly in my experience, the joy doesn’t ever fade.

There’s something else that James hasn’t been able to do as a Deacon that he is now able to do as a Priest. It doesn’t look as dramatic as celebrating communion but it is at least as important. At his Ordination service on Sunday the gospel reading came from John and in it Jesus said to his disciples ‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them.’ And that is a privilege that is extended to priests – they extend God’s absolution – absolving of sins – to the people. James has already done it. ‘Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent ….. pardon and deliver you from all your sins.’ The priest is the means by which God’s forgiveness comes to us. And Jesus’s command for us to forgive is, as we heard a few moments ago, at the absolute heart of his gospel message.

Today’s Gospel reading leaves us in little doubt of that – we have to forgive our brother of sister ‘from the heart’, Jesus says, or else God will never forgive us. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, ‘as our Saviour taught us’ we say ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’ – and that tiny word ‘as’ has rarely taken on more meaning. ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those sin against us.’ Or, to put it the other way round, if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us. And Jesus teaches us, in this story and in other places too, that God always wants to forgive us. In fact, just as we say God is love, we could as easily say God is forgiveness – it’s that important, that central. But, of course, for us, forgiveness can be hard – very hard indeed. How can we possibly ‘forgive’ terrorists who deliberately kill thousands by flying planes into buildings, for instance? (It was the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Friday ….)

If someone hurts us, it’s only natural to respond in kind. If I walk up to you and, for no obvious reason, punch you, the chances are that your reaction (after wondering for a second why on earth I did that …) would be to punch me back. If someone takes something that belongs to me, it’s a very tempting thought to take something of theirs in return. The slave in Jesus’s story reacted in a way we might not sympathise with but we can understand. The fact that he’d been forgiven his own debt didn’t stop him wanting to be repaid what was owed to him – he didn’t see that the two things were connected. Just because someone has done us a good turn doesn’t make us automatically want to do a good turn for someone else …. But, Jesus is saying, that’s exactly what we should do.

Forgiving doesn’t mean condoning. To forgive someone who has done something terrible doesn’t mean that we have to agree with them, or sympathise with their aims. To take another relatively recent example, Nelson Mandela didn’t ever agree with the former South African government’s apartheid laws but he was able to forgive – and his forgiveness meant that it was possible for his country to move on and he emerged with the superior moral authority.

But let’s take this a step further still. I’d like to quote you some words from a wonderfully thought-provoking book written the year after the 9/11 tragedies by Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh – the senior bishop of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. The book is called ‘On Forgiveness’ and I can’t recommend it too highly. Holloway talks of the difference between ‘conditional’ forgiveness and ‘pure’ forgiveness.

‘All versions of conditional forgiveness’ he writes, ‘no matter how just, creative or releasing, are essentially tactical, designed to limit or manage the damage we do to one another. Pure forgiveness is not an instrumental good, a prudent management technique or a damage limitation exercise; it is an intrinsic good, an end in itself, a pure gift offered with no motive of return ….. In theological language, it is a miracle of pure unmerited grace, given out of uncalculating love.’

That is the forgiveness, the uncalculating love, that God shows us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and that is the love he asks of us. It’s the forgiveness that James extended to us all when he gave us God’s absolution earlier. And we’ll soon be praying The Lord’s Prayer – ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.’ It can feel impossibly hard – but it’s what we must try to do. Richard Holloway ends his book with a chilling example of the consequences of ignoring this path. Apparently at the end of the 1st World War, in which Britain had suffered more than 900 000 dead, more than 2 million wounded and almost 200 000 missing, Winston Churchill became aware that Germany was close to starvation. He, extraordinarily, proposed rushing ships to Hamburg, loaded with provisions – but his ideas were rejected. At that same time there was a wounded German soldier in hospital who heard how bad the situation was in his homeland and, a few years later, wrote about his reaction. ‘I knew all was lost.’ he wrote. ‘Only fools, liars and criminals could hope for mercy from the enemy. In these nights hatred grew in me, hatred for those responsible for this deed …. In the days that followed, my own fate became known to me … I resolved to go into politics.’ And that soldier’s name was Adolf Hitler.

Amen

 

Post
Lord God, the source of truth and love, keep us faithful
to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, united in prayer
and the breaking of bread, and one in joy and simplicity
of heart, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
20th September – Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Morning Praise

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

11.00am

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

6.00pm

Evening Prayer

Aldeburgh Parish Church

 

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DAY

ALDERTON

ORFORD

ALDEBURGH

HOL

Monday

8.00 to 14.30

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 18.30

13.30 to 17.30

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 & STAFF MEETING CLOSURE DATES

The surgery will be closed on Wednesday 7th October at 13.00 for GP training.

The Surgery will be closed between 14.00 & 16.00 on Thursday 15th October for a staff meeting.

Please contact NHS 111 when the Surgery is closed.

Flu Vaccination Clinics 2020

Due to social distancing we are unable to host our Health and Wellbeing Event this year but we will be holding three Flu Vaccination Clinics. The clinics will be open from 09.00 until 18.00 and by appointment only.

Who is eligible for a Flu Vaccination?

Anybody over the age of 65 years old.

Anybody with a pre-existing health condition who has received a letter from the Surgery.

 

Flu Vaccination Clinic Dates & Venues

12.10.20 Hollesley Village Hall

22.10.20 Aldeburgh Community & Sports Centre

27.10.20 Orford Town Hall

Wherever you live you can attend a clinic at a venue of your choosing.

Please call the surgery to book your appointment for the Flu Clinic.

www.thepeninsulapractice.co.uk

01394 411641

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.

 
 

Online services for 20th and 27th

A reminder that there will be no online services from the Alde Sandlings Benefice on the 20th and 27th September, as Mark is on annual leave. However, please do visit the St Edmundsbury Cathedral Facebook page where online services are available.

 

https://stedscathedral.org/worship/

Benefice Newsletter 6th Sept/Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Praise

Friston Church

10.30am

Family Service

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00pm

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

3.00pm

Online Service available

5.30pm

James’s Ordination Streamed Live

 

www.facebook.com/stedscathedral/posts

https://stedscathedral.org/worship/

 


Message from the Rector

Over the summer weeks we have, as ever, held our annual Thorpeness Summer Services. Their history goes right back to the existence of St Mary’s church in Thorpeness, dedicated (but not consecrated) in 1938. The trustees of the church would appoint their own chaplain (often, but not always, the Vicar of Aldringham) and the summer services were held there for many years. After the church was closed in the 1980s the services moved first to the Working Men’s Club and then to the Country Club. This year we held the services outdoors, by The Meare, and they were a great success. Huge thanks to the members of the Pilgrim’s Together group for organising and running them and to the clergy who put together the weekly ‘thoughts’, The Reverend James Marston and Canons Bruce Gillingham and John Tipping. Last week we rounded off the summer sequence with a service of Holy Communion in the garden of The Dolphin pub and, despite cool and windy weather, the congregation numbered 45, the choir from Aldringham church sang and welcome after-service hospitality was provided by the ever-generous pub landlord, David James. Thanks to him and to all involved in making the service work.

Also, over the summer we held outdoor services at Aldringham church. These too were a great success and attracted considerably larger congregations than we had come to expect in church over the summer weeks. For the original idea, for organising the services and running them so efficiently thanks go to David Gordon and to Sheila Brechin who has led some of them too. Those services will continue for as long as the weather allows.

The success of both of these sets of services, despite the restrictions imposed on us by the Covid-19 outbreak, is something very positive and we will certainly spend some time pondering exactly what we have learned and how to put it into practice in the future. With weather such as we have enjoyed this summer the great outdoors is very attractive and in their different but complimentary ways the services have made excellent use of it. Throw into the mix a couple of very enjoyable afternoons of music-making in Friston churchyard (when the numbers attending would have been impossible to accommodate indoors) and it just goes to show what is possible with imagination, goodwill, and a bit of hard work and prayer. We certainly missed our Aldeburgh Carnival Songs of Praise and our Lifeboat Service (they will return, all being well, next year) but, in the end, the summer has been a very good one, under the circumstances.

The celebrations continue (indoors!) next week (13th) when we all gather in Aldeburgh church at 10.30am for a service of Holy Communion presided over by James – his first after his ordination to the priesthood at 5.30 this Sunday afternoon (6th). 

Please do keep James in your prayers over this weekend and be with us on the morning of the 13th.

With love, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 

First Reading
Ezekiel 33.7-11
So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked ones, you shall surely die’, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life. Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: ‘Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Second Reading
Romans 13.8-end
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 18.15-20
‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’

 

Reflection by Revd Sheila Hart

All three of our readings from Scripture today have something to do with how we who are of the household of faith should behave in our dealings with both God and our fellow human beings and especially those who are fellow believers with us.

In our Old Testament reading, Ezekiel, the prophet is told by God that he has been made a sentinel – one who looks out for the welfare of another person or group of people – for the house of Israel. He is conveying God’s message to the Israelites in exile of which he is one and who throughout the whole of their history from their wanderings in the wilderness, through the period of the Judges and throughout the rule of the Kings and during the period of the prophets, have moved between faithfulness to the covenants which had been made between the Patriarchs and their descendants including David and God on their behalf through rebellion and disobedience to repentance and restoration. It is because of their lack of faithfulness to the promises of God that the Israelites find themselves in exile at the time of Ezekiel’s prophecies and here we have God giving the responsibility to Ezekiel to be faithful in conveying God’s warnings to the rebellious Israelites. Not only does God want Ezekiel to convey His message of warning to the Israelites, God also requires the blood of the Israelites at his hand if Ezekiel refuses to convey the message to them, however hard it might be for the people to swallow. However, Ezekiel is only responsible for his own faithfulness in conveying the message, not for the people’s response to it, but God’s overriding desire is that having committed wrong, the people will recognise it, admit it and turn from their wicked ways renewing their relationship with Him in the process.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the message is somewhat similar although it is no longer related to the nation, but to the individual. This is about person to person falling out in the fellowship of believers – If another member of the church sins against you. It is a matter of procedure when individuals in the church have something against another member of the church. The procedure is very clear in this passage in Matthew’s Gospel ‘Go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone,’ In other words don’t gossip about it with other members of the church; don’t gang up on the offender; just be adult about it and speak fairly and concisely about how you feel about the offence of the other toward you. Again you are not responsible for the other’s response to you and all will be well if the offender is prepared to listen to your report of his/her offence. If they are not willing to listen, then you are required to take one or two – by implication – trusted and impartial members of the church along with you so that what you are saying can be confirmed by others. If that doesn’t work, then you should go through it all again but this time with the church and if the offender refuses to listen even then, they should be treated as someone who is outside the fellowship of the church but – again by implication – as someone whom you would like to see as part of the fellowship so you’re not going to be nasty to them, but seek to leave the door to fellowship open to them when they choose to repent of their offence and renew their relationship with the believers.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, takes the whole teaching a step further, looking at it in terms of how we, as Christians, should always behave toward one another, both to those inside the fellowship of the church and also to those who have not yet made a commitment to Christ. Warning the members of God’s wrath if they refuse to turn from their wickedness; sorting out issues between individuals in the faith community so that relationships can be restored is no longer enough. The law of Christ is to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength and our neighbour – a member of the faith community or not – as ourselves. ‘Love,’ as Paul writes to the Romans, ‘does no wrong to a neighbour, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.’

During the current crisis with lockdown and life being far from normal, one thing I and many of you, I am sure, have been aware of is how much love and care for others – the poor, the elderly, the sick, the weak – of our communities, has been in evidence. Shopping has been done for those who have been self-isolating; people have been looking out for each other; phone calls have been made to ensure that neighbours and friends have had their needs met; our neighbourhoods have become loving, caring communities again where people matter. As I have had conversations with various people about life after lockdown one of the most common observations that has been made is that they don’t want to lose the sense of community and care for others that this crisis has highlighted. But, I ask myself, why has it taken something like a pandemic to create a loving, caring community? Is that not the way we are called to live all the time and, in all situations, – even when things are going well with us and our movements are not restricted? Let’s pray then, that as we come out of lockdown and life begins to return to ‘normal’, that we don’t forget the basic things we have learned through this time and return to rushing about from place to place doing our own thing but forgetting the needs of our communities and the love which God commands us to have both for Him and for each other.

Post Communion

God our creator, you feed your children with the true manna,
the living bread from heaven: let this holy food sustain us through
our earthly pilgrimage until we come to that place where hunger
and thirst are no more; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
13th September – Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

10.30am

Benefice Holy -Communion Service

Aldeburgh Parish Church

3.00pm

Online Service available

NOTICES

Suffolk Historic Churches Ride and Stride

Saturday 12th September 9am-4pm

The 2020 Ride and Stride is going ahead but will be adapted to the current Covid 19 guidelines. The Annual Sponsored Ride and Stride is a national event, and every second Saturday in September cyclists and walkers all round the country are out making money for their local county Churches Trust.
The churches have never needed our help more than this year, so please support this free annual event.  Half your sponsor money will go to the Trust to be given in grants for church repairs, and half will go to the church of your choosing.

Our usual wonderful volunteers at Aldeburgh Parish Church will be taking part and a new addition too in the form of a certain member of the clergy.
If you would like to take part or indeed sponsor one of our team,
please either:

  1. Contact us using the Aldeburgh Parish Church contact form

https://www.aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk/contact/

  1. Or email admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk and Claire will pass on your details to Fran Smith, who is leading this event.
  2. Or see Fran after the services at Aldeburgh where she will be pleased to take your details (socially distanced).
  3. Or fill in the attached donation form and hand into Fran Smith at the services or post to –
    The Vicarage, 1 Church Walk, Aldeburgh, IP15 5DU.

    Cheque donations be made payable to SHCT please.

Our participants currently are Revd James Marston, Adrian and Jill Brown, Richard & Emily Rapior, Mary Sidwell, Ed Wilhelm, and Fran Smith (who will be sponsored for the registering of participants).

 

Benefice Newsletter 30th August/Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Thorpeness Service 5

The Dolphin, Thorpeness

9.45am

Reflective Service

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

3.00pm

Online Service available

 

Message from the Rector

This Sunday’s recorded service (available online hopefully, as ever, at 3pm) will be a rather unusual one – our outdoor service in the garden of The Dolphin in Thorpeness. As in recent years we gather there to mark the end of the Thorpeness Summer Services with a service of Holy Communion at 9.30am. If you are planning on being with us, please could you bring a chair! You will also find an Order of Service attached to this email and if you would like to print it off and bring it you would be very welcome, though the usual service-books will be available too. As I type (Friday morning) the weather-forecast doesn’t look too bad, though it may be a bit breezy. Whatever happens it promises to be an excellent gathering and our thanks go to David James for his hospitality and his co-operation.

A reminder that the next couple of weeks are very special ones for our curate James. On the evening of Sunday September 6th, he will be ordained priest in our cathedral at 5.30pm. The service will be streamed online on the cathedral’s Facebook page (details later on in this pew sheet) and we are all encouraged to ‘tune in’. Then on Sunday September 13th there will be a single service in our benefice. We celebrate Holy Communion at 10.30am in Aldeburgh church and James will preside for the first time. In just over a year James had become a hugely valued friend and colleague to many of us and will, I know, be a wonderful priest. Please do hold him in your prayers in the days to come.

With love, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear
than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of 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
Jeremiah 15.15-21
O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and bring down
retribution for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance do
not take me away; know that on your account I suffer insult. 
Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became
to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your
name, O Lord, God of hosts.  I did not sit in the company of
merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat 
alone, for you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.  Therefore, thus says the Lord:
If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall
serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who
will turn to them.  And I will make you to this people a fortified
wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the Lord. 
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from
the grasp of the ruthless.

Second Reading
Romans 12.9-end
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour.
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 16.21-end
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? ‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’

SERMON FOR HOLY COMMUNION AT THE DOLPHIN
30TH AUGUST 2020 – By Our Rector, Revd Mark Lowther

So here we are – at the end of August and the end of this year’s Thorpeness Summer Services. They’ve been a great success and I’d like to thank everyone who has been responsible for their organization – our Pilgrim’s Together group, our guest speakers, James, Bruce Gillingham and John Tipping – our host at The Meare, Glen Ogilvie and our host today, David James. The weather has been, for the most part, kind and, together with the services that David Gordon and Sheila Brechin have led so well up in Aldringham Churchyard it’s been a wonderful summer all round.

For those who haven’t been here in Thorpeness over the last few weeks the theme of the services has been ‘yes’ – God’s ‘yes’ to us and our ‘yes’ to God. We’ve taken bible readings that have told the story of individuals who have said ‘yes’ to God – Noah, Samuel, and Mary – and St Paul’s reminder to the young church in Corinth that in Jesus every one of God’s promises is a ‘yes’. And today we heard those beautiful words from the prophet Isaiah and his special ‘yes’ to God – ‘here I am, send me.’ I’ve no doubt that James will hear that reading at his ordination to the Priesthood next week – he certainly did at his Diaconal ordination last year. For obvious reasons it’s an ordination classic and if James is anything like me, he may need a Kleenex handy. It’s big stuff.

And so I turn to what may seem to be a very unlikely place – Douglas Adams’s ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. At one point in the story an enormous super-computer, called Deep Thought, is asked to come up with the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. Seven-and-a-half million years of super-computing follow, at the end of which the moment arrives. The super-computer confirms that, yes, there is an answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything ‘but’, it warns, ‘you’re not going to like it’. ‘Tell us!’ goes up the cry. And, ‘with infinite majesty and calm’, Deep Thought announces … 42. That is the answer. So then, of course, another even greater experiment has to be undertaken to find out what the question is. And, according to Douglas Adams, that’s what we’re doing now. The reason the world exists is to find out the ultimate question to which the ultimate answer is 42. Like the finest comedy there is profundity behind the fun. Douglas Adams certainly wasn’t a Christian but that doesn’t invalidate his insights.

Try this for size.

Christians know what the answer is – the answer is ‘Yes!’ The Christian story tells us that we have nothing to fear, all will be well, the love of God is at the heart of everything – God’s love is everything – is all in all. So we must have faith in that – in the ultimate ‘Yes’ – and if we do, then we have to begin to explore what the questions are. And the church is a group of explorers, trying their best to work out how to live the message of Christ here and now – how to be Christ’s body on earth in 2020.

Now, going back to those figures from the bible who said ‘yes’ – Noah, Samuel and Mary, when you think about it, what they have in common is not just their positive reply but the surprising questions that they were asked by God in the first place. Noah, a ‘righteous man, blameless in his generation’ was suddenly told by God ‘I want you to make yourself an ark of cypress wood’ – and told him its precise dimensions and what he was to do with it. Just like that. Out of the blue. And he said ‘yes’. When young Samuel heard God call him and replied ‘Here I am’ at first he thought it was old Eli who was calling. But when Eli told him that it must be the Lord and he replied ‘speak Lord, for your servant is listening’ a relationship with God began that was to last the rest of Samuel’s life and he became the kingmaker of both Saul and David. He said ‘yes’ too. And Mary – well, when that angel turned up, greeted her and told her she was favoured by God she was, quite understandably, perplexed by his words and ‘wondered what sort of greeting this might be’. But her task, to be nothing less than the Christ-bearer, elicited a great ‘yes’ and nothing was ever the same again.

So, when we, here and now, are searching for the question to which the answer is ‘yes’ for us, what these stories teach us is that the question that we are asked is probably not going to be an obvious one – not question we might expect to be asked. We, individually and collectively as the church, may well have to grapple with questions that we didn’t ever see coming. But we can’t say that we haven’t been warned. What did Jesus say to Peter and the rest of the disciples? ‘If any want to become my followers let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ ‘What?!’, you can imagine the disciples saying. ‘Deny who we are, take up a cross – that’s not what we thought we’d signed up for.’ But that’s what, in so many different and extraordinary ways, we are asked to do. That cross will be different for each of us – it will challenge us in different ways and it challenges the church too. And denial of self isn’t something we’re easily prepared for either. We live in a very self-centred world with so many calls for self-promotion. But, in the end, our egos aren’t what it’s about, we’re called to subordinate ourselves to something greater and more powerful than we can ever truly understand – the love of God. The God who asks much of us, but gives so much more in return. The God who says ‘yes’ to us if only we say ‘yes’ to God. ‘Here I am, Lord, send me.’ Yes.

Amen

 

Post Communion
God of all mercy, in this eucharist you have set aside our sins
and given us your healing: grant that we who are made whole
in Christ may bring that healing to this broken world,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
6th September – Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Praise

Friston Church

10.30am

Family Service

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00pm

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

3.00pm

Online Service available

5.30pm

James’s Ordination Streamed Live

 

www.facebook.com/stedscathedral/posts

NOTICES

Suffolk Historic Churches Ride and Stride

Saturday 12th September 9am-4pm

The 2020 Ride and Stride is going ahead but will be adapted to the current Covid 19 guidelines. The Annual Sponsored Ride and Stride is a national event, and every second Saturday in September cyclists and walkers all round the country are out making money for their local county Churches Trust.
The churches have never needed our help more than this year, so please support this free annual event.  Half your sponsor money will go to the Trust to be given in grants for church repairs, and half will go to the church of your choosing.

Our usual wonderful volunteers at Aldeburgh Parish Church will be taking part and a new addition too in the form of a certain member of the clergy.
If you would like to take part or indeed sponsor one of our team,
please either:

  1. Contact us using the Aldeburgh Parish Church contact form

https://www.aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk/contact/

  1. Or email admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk and Claire will pass on your details to Fran Smith, who is leading this event.
  2. Or see Fran after the services at Aldeburgh where she will be pleased to take your details (socially distanced).
  3. Or fill in the attached donation form and hand into Fran Smith at the services or post to –
    The Vicarage, 1 Church Walk, Aldeburgh, IP15 5DU.

Cheque donations be made payable to SHCT please.

Our participants currently are Revd James Marston, Adrian and Jill Brown, Richard & Emily Rapior, Mary Sidwell, Ed Wilhelm, and Fran Smith (who will be sponsored for the registering of participants).

 

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.

🎵 Are you missing live music? 🎶

Don’t forget that local soprano Christina Johnston, friend of Aldeburgh Parish Church is performing live streamed concerts every Friday night
at 7pm. Next week (4th) the theme will be Evita, followed by
The Phantom of the Opera on the 11th.
You can also find previous concerts on the links below.
Grab a drink and sit back and enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheChristinaJohnston

or

https://www.facebook.com/TheChristinaJohnston

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Pilgrims Together
(part of The Alde Sandlings Benefice)
invite you to
Thorpeness Summer Services 2020
Celtic Style Worship
9.30am
Sunday 30th August – Dolphin, Thorpeness

 

ALL ARE WELCOME
Please bring your own chair!

 

Benefice Newsletter for 23rd August – Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

 

  • 9.30am

Thorpeness Service 4

The Meare, Thorpeness

  • 9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

  • 9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

  • 11.00am

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

  • 3.00pm

Online Service available

  • 6.00pm

Evening Prayer

Aldeburgh Church

 

Message from the Rector

Early September is traditionally the time for a bit of very special holy exercise. All over the country folk climb on their bikes or put on their walking shoes to visit as many churches as they can in their local area – and are sponsored for doing so. The money that they raise is split between their own church and their county’s Historic Churches Trust – which make grants to churches and chapels of all denominations towards repair and restoration costs. The whole idea began in Suffolk and is widely supported, including by people from our churches. This year, of course, things have to be a little different but ‘Ride and Stride’ will still happen, on Saturday September 12th, when participants will include several doughty members of our congregations and our Curate, James.  
If you would also like to take part please do get in touch with Aldeburgh’s
co-ordinator
Fran Smith, via Claire at admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk

And, of course, if you don’t ride or stride then you can still sponsor someone who is going to. More details further down this pew-sheet.

A reminder that there will be some live music in Friston churchyard at 4pm on Sunday (23rd). Details, again, further down the pew-sheet but if last week’s short concert is anything to go by it will be thoroughly enjoyable. This time the group of ‘Kingfisher’ players will be slightly larger and will be conducted by Geoff Lavery – an old friend of our churches and one of the team of organists at Aldeburgh. Bring a chair and some money for the St Elizabeth Hospice and we will say a special prayer for the weather. Last week’s concert survived by a whisker – it began raining during the encore!

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
O God, you declare your almighty power most chiefly in showing
mercy and pity: mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments, may receive your gracious promises, and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;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 51.1-6

Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many.  For the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. 

Listen to me, my people, and give heed to me, my nation; for a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples. I will bring near my deliverance swiftly, my salvation has gone out and my arms will rule the peoples; the coastlands wait for me, and for my arm they hope. 
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment,
and those who live on it will die like gnats; but my salvation will be for ever, and my deliverance will never be ended. 


Second Reading
Romans 12.1-8
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 16.13-20
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’  Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

 

Reflection by Revd Sheila Hart
Matthew 16:13-20 and Romans 12:1-8

The gospel story opens as Jesus and his disciples arrive in the district of Caesarea Philippi, an area away from the major centres of population. Jesus has been preaching, teaching and healing in the region around Galilee and his disciples have experienced many miracles both healings and others and they have marvelled at what they have witnessed. Seeing is no proof of believing, however, and like all good teachers, Jesus wants to know how what they have seen and heard, has really affected his disciples. So, again like most good teachers, he starts with a general, non-threatening question: ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ The answer is easy because it has no real implications for the disciples, personally. John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets, in other words ‘the usual suspects.’

Having got the general out of the way, Jesus reverts to the much more specific – the question to which he really wants an answer in order to be able to assess whether what his disciples have been witnessing as they have accompanied him in his ministry, has in any way indicated to them who he might really be – But who do YOU say that I am?

Peter, in his usual knee-jerk reaction way provides the answer that Jesus is hoping for. ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ We don’t know whether Peter just beat the others to it or whether he was the only one who had seen Jesus for who he really was – this was never discussed or revealed for Jesus replies with a statement which I guess none of them was expecting, not even bold, brash Peter. ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.’

Throughout history the statement that Jesus made to Peter has been misunderstood by many in the church because they have taken it in its literal sense of the name ‘Peter’ meaning ‘rock’ and it is upon Peter – the rock that the church is to be founded, but that is not Jesus’ intention here, for the ‘rock’ that he refers to is not Peter, but the statement that Peter has made about Jesus being the Messiah, the Son of the living God, and it is upon THAT rock – the Messiah, the Son of the living God the immovable, solid rock who is the same, yesterday, today and forever, that the Church is to be built.

Jesus goes on to tell Peter that he will give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. What does this mean. I believe that Peter, the other disciples and all who follow in their footsteps can make the kingdom of heaven accessible to others by their teaching and preaching of the gospel – the good news – by the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit and by their faithfulness to the teaching of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

But he also tells them not to tell anyone. Why? Because the story is not complete. The way of salvation has not been made open. Jesus still has a bit longer to live and if we read on a little way in Matthew’s gospel when Jesus starts talking about his needing to suffer and die, Peter is the one who wants to save him from the inevitable: God forbid it Lord, that must not happen to you! And Jesus then rebukes him with the words ‘get behind me Satan, you are a stumbling block to me for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

The question that Jesus asked Peter all those years ago in the district of Caesarea Philippi is as relevant to us today as it was to the first disciples then. Who do YOU say that I am? If we truly believe like Peter of old, that Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed one of God and the Son of the living God and respond to his invitation to follow him then our lives will be changed forever. For as Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, we will no longer be conformed to this world, but we will be transformed by the renewal of our minds so the we might discern the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Many people today are happy to accept that Jesus was a good man; a person who lived a long time ago and who was probably the greatest of the biblical prophets; a healer, a teacher. They even know the story of his birth in a stable in Bethlehem and admit that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the crib service; the nativity play and a good carol service. But they are less prepared to follow him to the cross and beyond, yet without the crucifixion and resurrection there would be no salvation as the cross was the means chosen by God to bring that about.

The prophets showed people the way to Christ; the saints showed people how they could live in a Christ-like way and develop Christ-like qualities but it is ‘In Christ alone that our hope is found’ and it is on ‘Christ the solid rock we stand for all other ground is sinking sand’ as two great hymns, one ancient, one modern express it.

Commitment to Christ results in a change of heart, a change of mind, a change of lifestyle and the opportunity to set out on the most exciting journey ever. Wherever you are on that journey, be it right at the very beginning somewhere in the middle or feel as though you are nearing the end in this life at least one thing that can be guaranteed is that no day will ever be the same as the one before and you will always be moving forwards if you keep looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith and trust in the rock which is the same yesterday, today and for ever.
Amen

 

Post Communion

Lord of all mercy, we your faithful people have celebrated that one true sacrifice which takes away our sins and brings pardon and peace: by our communion keep us firm on the foundation of the gospel and preserve us from all sin; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
30th August – Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

  • 9.30am

Thorpeness Service 5

The Dolphin Thorpeness

  • 9.45am

Reflective Service

Friston Church

  • 10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

  • 3.00pm

Online Service available

NOTICES

Suffolk Historic Churches Ride and Stride

Saturday 12th September 9am-4pm

The 2020 Ride and Stride is going ahead but will be adapted to the current Covid 19 guidelines. The Annual Sponsored Ride and Stride is a national event, and every second Saturday in September cyclists and walkers all round the country are out making money for their local county Churches Trust.
The churches have never needed our help more than this year, so please support this free annual event.  Half your sponsor money will go to the Trust to be given in grants for church repairs, and half will go to the church of your choosing.

Our usual wonderful volunteers at Aldeburgh Parish Church will be taking part and a new addition too in the form of a certain member of the clergy.
If you would like to take part or indeed sponsor one of our team,
please either:

Contact us using the Aldeburgh Parish Church contact form

https://www.aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk/contact/

Or email admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk and Claire will pass on your details to Fran Smith, who is leading this event.

Or see Fran after the services at Aldeburgh where she will be pleased to take your details (socially distanced).

Or fill in the attached donation form and hand into Fran Smith at the services or post to –
The Vicarage, 1 Church Walk, Aldeburgh, IP15 5DU.

Our participants currently are Revd James Marston, Adrian and Jill Brown, Richard & Emily Rapior, Mary Sidwell and Ed Wilhelm. Fran Smith (who will be sponsored for the registering of participants).

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.

 
 

Pilgrims Together
(part of The Alde Sandlings Benefice)
invite you to
Thorpeness Summer Services 2020
Celtic Style Worship
9.30am at The Meare, Thorpeness

Sunday 23rd August
Sunday 30th August – Dolphin, Thorpeness

ALL ARE WELCOME
Please bring your own chair!

 

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Benefice Newsletter 16th August-Tenth Sunday after Trinity

Message from the Rector

An important correction to last week’s pew sheet to begin with. James’s ordination to the priesthood happens in our cathedral at 5.30pm on Sunday September 6th. And he will be presiding at Holy Communion for the first time in Aldeburgh church at 10.30am on September 13th. My apologies for the confusion which was entirely my own fault. A reminder, though, that although numbers at the cathedral service are limited by current rules anyone will be able to be with James ‘virtually’ as the service will be streamed live on the cathedral’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/stedscathedral/posts

This is also a good time to remind everyone that in addition to our own streamed or recorded services on Sundays and Wednesdays our cathedral offers daily worship online too. The link above will take you to the Facebook page which has more details.

Some news of Aldeburgh churchyard. Many of you, even those who aren’t Aldeburgh residents, will have noticed that the churchyard is in something of a mess. It has come about due to a historic lack of maintenance combined with recent difficulties caused by East Suffolk Council’s contractors having to scale back on the work that they do because of Covid-19. The good news, however, is that the churchyard has now been mowed for the first time in months and a working-party has begun to address the longer-term issues. Our plan is initially to clear scrub, brambles, saplings etc and then to commission a survey of the state of the trees. A small number are beautiful and historic (but need work), many are self-seeded sycamores that should really have been cleared before they were allowed to grow up. We very much hope that during the late summer and autumn you will see a real difference in the churchyard and our long-term aim is to make it the place of tranquillity and beauty that it should be.

Finally, may I commend James’s sermon to you? It is printed in this pew sheet, but you will be able to hear him preach it either in Friston church at 9.45 on Sunday morning or online from 3pm. Saturday 15th is the feast of St Mary – Friston’s Patron Saint – and we will be celebrating her on Sunday. Her hymn, the one we call the Magnificat, contains some of the most familiar and yet most revolutionary words in the whole of the gospels and James’s thoughts are very much to be taken to heart by us all.

With love, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, who stooped to raise fallen humanity
through the child-bearing of blessed Mary: grant that we, who have
seen your glory revealed in our human nature and your love made
perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image
and conformed to the pattern of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen

First Reading
Isaiah 61.10-end
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. 

Second Reading
Galatians 4.4-7
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1.46-55
And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.  He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

 

Sermon, from Revd James Marston

Luke 1.46-55

There have been some odd headlines this week in the news.

“Wild bear that sniffed woman’s hair is caught and castrated” apparently this incident was caught on camera in Mexico.

“Revealed: Lisa Armstrong’s new lover is a married electrician and father-of-two who split from his wife only months ago – as she tells of her ‘upset’ at seeing him cuddling Ant McPartlin’s ex” which is interesting if you know who these people are.

“Vicar uses chopsticks in Holy Communion safety measure” – she uses chunkier bread as it’s easier to grip.

And from the Eastern Daily Press “Norfolk struck by Tsunami” which sounds worrying until on closer inspection it emerges this devastating event happened 8,000 years ago.

It is, of course, August, the silly season, and despite the endless pandemic of news about the pandemic, the strangest stories are making their way into the public sphere. And sometimes it’s hard to work out what’s really going on – what is the story behind the story.

Today we have just heard Mary’s song of praise – known as the magnifcat – one of the most well-known songs in the Christian tradition, one of the ancient hymns of the faith.

Perhaps time and repetition can dull our senses and it is perhaps a bit too easy to think the mag – as it is known in churchy circles – is simply that bit we say between the readings at evening prayer. But in fact, it is an extraordinary statement and outburst of praise – often reflected in the power of its musical settings.

In this statement, Mary, gives a hint of the gospel before the gospel is written. She outlines the revolutionary message that Jesus’ life death resurrection and ascension actually mean – the lifting up of the lowly, the subjugation of pride, the feeding of the hungry; trusting in great mercy of God rather than in money and wealth.

Thus the magnificat is also a world changing statement of faith, indeed an early manifesto of Christianity that reflects and heralds the victory of the resurrection long before it actually happens.

And above all, the magnifcat sets the tone for the entire Gospel – because the child Mary bears is bringing something so different, so radical, so life changing, that she’ll be blessed by generations to come. God has looked on her with great favour, even though she’s just a lowly handmaiden.

And there’s more. The Song of Mary is also deeply imbued with Old Testament quotations, verses Mary would have known since childhood. Verses that pointed towards a saviour of the world who would be the fulfilment of ancient prophesies. Mary is not only stating what is to come but she is also stating what has been spoken about for centuries – the prophesies were true after all.

But the story behind the story, it seems to me, is perhaps something far simpler – that of a mother to be excited about the baby that is to come and sharing that delight with those around her.

And the excitement and joy that Mary experiences flows out off her in an expression of spontaneous gratitude to God. It is a response of worship. Mary is expressing her faith with such confidence her words have been repeated and cherished, set to music and remembered for centuries. Mary is also saying yes to God’s service with deep joy and willingness of heart.

And I think it is from this confidence and this joy that we can draw hope and inspiration.

It seems to me that much of the troubling times we are living through has revolved around a lack of confidence. A lack of economic confidence, a lack of confidence in our leaders, a lack of confidence in each other, a lack of confidence in ourselves.

But the Song of Mary is a confident expression of hope – that God is here and he is with us. As a Christian community, the body of Christ in this place, we are called to share the confidence of our faith with the wider community. We are also called, like Mary, to say yes to God with a willing heart and to praise and worship God in thanks and gratitude –it is no coincidence that the theology of Holy Communion service has thanksgiving at its root.

Today as we come together to pray, give thanks and encourage one another, let us be renewed in our faith, thankful for all we have and all we are, let us say yes to God once again and go out into the world to celebrate in our lives and in all we do, the extraordinary saviour Mary bore.

Amen.

 

Post Communion

God most high, whose handmaid bore the Word made flesh:
we thank you that in this sacrament of our redemption you visit
us with your Holy Spirit and overshadow us by your power;
strengthen us to walk with Mary the joyful path of obedience
and so to bring forth the fruits of holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
23rd August – Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Thorpeness Service 4

The Meare, Thorpeness

9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

11.00am

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

3.00pm

Online Service available

6.00pm

Evening Prayer

Aldeburgh Church

 

Pilgrims Together
(part of The Alde Sandlings Benefice)
invite you to
Thorpeness Summer Services 2020
Celtic Style Worship
9.30am at The Meare, Thorpeness

Sunday16th August
Sunday 23rd August
Sunday 30th August – Dolphin, Thorpeness

ALL ARE WELCOME
Please bring your own chair!

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NOTICES

 

Suffolk Historic Churches Ride and Stride

Saturday 12th September 9am-4pm

The 2020 Ride and Stride is going ahead but will be adapted to the current Covid 19 guidelines. The Annual Sponsored Ride and Stride is a national event, and every second Saturday in September cyclists and walkers all round the country are out making money for their local county Churches Trust. Our usual wonderful volunteers at Aldeburgh Parish Church will be taking part and a new addition too in the form of a certain member of the clergy.
If you would like to take part or indeed sponsor one of our team,
please either:

Contact us using the Aldeburgh Parish Church contact form

https://www.aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk/contact/

Or email admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk and Claire will pass on your details to Fran Smith, who is leading this event.

Or see Fran after the services at Aldeburgh where she will be pleased to take your details (socially distanced).

Our participants currently are Revd James Marston, Adrian and Jill Brown, Richard & Emily Rapior, and Mary Sidwell. Fran Smith (who will be sponsored for the registering of participants).

Some useful pointers:
Follow the Government guidance on COVID prevailing at the time
Some churches may not open or there is no one to welcome you, just sign the register. 
Don’t worry if there is no register, just mark your own sponsor form with churches visited

As an alternative to signing in, you could take a photo of the church sign as evidence.

  • Take your own pen
  • There is unlikely to be refreshments
  • Toilets may not be available
  • If you enter a church, touch as little as possible
  • Take hand sanitizer
  • Take your own refreshments
  • Remember the Highway Code and use lanes and minor roads where possible
    Please visit the Suffolk Historic Church Trust website for more information. https://shct.org.uk/ride-and-stride/

✟ Songs of Praise on The Green 🎶
A Benefice Service at Friston – 30th August 2020 3.00pm
POSTPONED
Another date will be advised nearer the time

 

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. Please do keep a look out at their notices as they will be putting a list of the items most needed.
They both have large donation baskets that you can add your items to.

 
 

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Benefice newsletter 9th August/Ninth Sunday after Trinity

  • Sunday 9th August
  • Ninth Sunday after Trinity
  • 9.30am Thorpeness Service 2 – The Meare, Thorpeness
  • 9.30am Patronal Festival Service _ Knodishall Church
  • 9.45am Morning Praise – Friston Church
  • 11.00am Informal Service – Aldringham Churchyard
  • 3.00pm Online Service available
  • 6.00pm Celtic Evening Service – Aldeburgh Parish Church
 

Message from the Rector

Although much that we normally look forward to at this time of year has had to be cancelled or at least postponed there are some things to look forward to in the coming weeks. Please do put the dates of the open-air music-making in Friston churchyard in your diaries (see elsewhere in this document) – I know that the musicians involved are very much looking forward to being able to make music together when so many other opportunities have been denied them. Then, for those who are happy to watch services online please do put Sunday September 13th at 5.30pm in your diaries too. That is when James will be ordained priest in our cathedral and you will be able to join the service at www.facebook.com/stedscathedral/posts

The following Sunday, at 10.30am in Aldeburgh church, James will preside at Holy Communion for the first time. You would be, of course, welcome to join us for that service but we will also attempt to record it and put it online as soon afterwards as we can.

By the way, my apologies to all of those who were hoping to be able to see the recorded service from Aldeburgh at 3pm last Sunday. For technical reasons I won’t bore you with it took me much longer to upload it to the website that I expected, and it was eventually there at about 5.15pm (and is still there). Lessons have been learned (!) and I very much hope that this week’s recorded service, from Knodishall (their Patronal Festival) will be online by 3.

I would also draw your attention to the notice later in this document about the remarkable and very powerful piece of music that Alan Bullard has composed, inspired by the beauty of Friston village and the future threat from large-scale power generation-related development. Hearing the music and seeing the images he has put together to accompany it speaks more powerfully than words ever could – do watch and listen.

Finally, we still have a date in the diary for the annual lunch for the Friends of Aldeburgh Church – Friday November 6th. We are continuing to work on the basis of this being possible but, of course, we will have to abide by whatever rules are in place at the time. But don’t delete the date yet, we are ever hopeful!

With love, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Almighty God, who sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church: open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace; 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
1 Kings 19.9-18
At that place Elijah came to a cave and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’

He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’

Second Reading
Romans 10.5-15
Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that ‘the person who does these things will live by them.’ But the righteousness that comes from faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” ’ (that is, to bring Christ down) ‘or “Who will descend into the abyss?” ’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart’
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

Gospel Reading
Matthew 14.22-33
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’

Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

 

Sermon, from Revd Nichola Winter

The Collect today speaks of the Holy Spirit being the life and light of the Church (a little like the life and soul of a party.) A bright, upbeat image full of energy, vigour and verve. Then it continues with a description of the Spirit inspiring love, joy and peace. A happy combination of the wisest of gifts for ensuring a good life. As Christians we are to proclaim this message – see Paul’s direction to the Romans: the call to proclaim the Lord who will bring salvation:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

We are the ones who are to bring the good news. We need to let God speak to us and we need to listen. No-one said it would be easy. Think of Elijah. Not knowing how to deal with the problems that beset him he heads for the hills. God tells him that he, God, will be found there. He – God – will ‘pass by’. We can almost imagine Elijah bracing himself. But God isn’t in the wind; he isn’t in the earthquake; he isn’t in the fire. What follows is sheer silence. Have you ever been in a place where the quiet is so deep that your ears almost ache as they stretch to pick up the slightest sound? Elijah is so affected he wraps his face up in his mantle. Only then is it that he hears God’s voice; he receives counsel and can now set his course of action. That ‘still small voice of calm’ is the voice that begs to be heard. In our noisy, busy, bass-beat world finding that still silence is a great gift.

Jesus, tired and wanting himself and his disciples to have a break, directs them to take a boat out onto the water whilst he takes time out to pray. But we’re not talking about a gentle evening row on the lake here, some downtime and a picnic after a tiring day. Remember, the folk of the bible held the sea in great fear and suspicion; this extended to all large expanses of water and the Sea of Galilee was no exception. The fishermen disciples would have been experienced in handling boats in all types of weather – but was handling a boat in dubious weather conditions really what they wanted at this time of the day? Water was (and is) an unpredictable element in which to work or travel. It is also a potent symbol, reassuring and reaffirming when used in our baptism services but, in its chaotic state, a metaphor for anything that prevents or disables that condition of fulness in God. The sea is always pushing against the boundaries set for it – consider the gradually eroding coastline at Aldeburgh. We can’t predict how, or when, peace will come after turbulence. We can only place ourselves in the hands of God; trusting in his strength and not our own. Each storm will resolve in a different way. The gift of God’s peace is not one to be grasped by our own choosing; as with his grace it will come in unexpected ways.

So here are the disciples, terrified, fearing the worst. When Jesus suddenly reappears he is walking on the water; no wonder they think it’s a ghost. But Jesus bids Peter step out of the boat. From one danger to another. Impetuous Peter is going to give it a try though – and he steps out. Perhaps he can’t believe he is actually doing this – and that doubt causes him to start sinking. Jesus reaches out a hand – here at last is something tangible that Peter can grasp – the fisherman in him can understand the strength of a human hand. Jesus chides their lack of faith – ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ he says. Remember, this takes place after the occasion when Jesus had been in the boat with the disciples during a storm and had calmed the wind and waves. Their reaction then was, ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ – now they are convinced. ‘Truly you are the Son of God’, they say. (Matthew 14:23-33.)

God walks with us – in turbulence and in peace. He is as close as breathing. His peace passes all understanding. It is beyond riches, too. Kahlil Gibran writes the following:

‘The hidden wellspring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea; And the treasure of your infinite depths
would be revealed to your eyes. But let there be no scales to
weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line. For self is a sea boundless and measureless.’

May we not fear the sea. May we find calm – even in the storms.
God is with us.

 

Post Communion
Holy Father, who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you reveal the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language to share in the eternal
banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Press Release – Alan Bullard’s new orchestral piece, Friston Moor

For several years composer Alan Bullard and his wife Jan have made a home in the Suffolk village of Friston, near Snape, on the Sandlings long distance footpath and the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is an area of rolling farmland, just a few miles inland from the towns of Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, with nature reserves, small villages and cliff paths – a fragile and beautiful environment much loved by the residents and tourists alike.

Friston Moor is a short orchestral piece which Alan Bullard wrote during lockdown about one of his favourite walks, though the village, past the church, and into the ever-changing landscape of the farmland beyond. Apart from the growing crops and the surrounding woodland, this area is characterised by two particular features, a grand and stately row of electricity pylons, and the village church always glimpsed through the trees. In a blog about the piece http://www.alanbullard.co.uk/pylon-power-a-new-orchestral-piece/ Alan wrote that:

‘Just as railway viaducts cross hillsides, the electricity pylons that traverse this landscape, on their way from Sizewell to Ipswich and beyond, give a sense of perspective and of hidden power which I once found rather pleasing and exciting. But things have changed, and now the pylons feel menacing and frightening.’

This is because the whole of this area is currently threatened by plans to connect electric power to wind farms in the North Sea with underground cabling which will lead to three giant substations just north of the village of Friston. The permanent substations, if built, will cover over 35 acres of land, obliterating several well-used public footpaths and completely changing the view from the village church and green. The underground cabling will involve ripping up 6 miles of beautiful countryside with trenches 60 metres wide, which will take many years to return to normal.

A local campaigning organisation www.sases.org.uk (Substation Action – Save East Suffolk) has the slogan ‘Yes to wind energy – but let’s do it right!’ – because there are other ways that wind energy can be brought ashore, notably by off-shore ring mains which link to already established substation sites – a much better way to preserve the environment, not only in Suffolk, but in Norfolk, and right the way up the East Coast. Thus, Alan Bullard feels that the drama of his piece of music will perhaps remind people of the damage that could be wrought in this part of East Anglia, and a hope that another solution may be found.

Although at present there is no orchestra available to play it, by using computer software (mainly a programme called NotePerformer) Alan has created the sound of a symphony orchestra, and combined this performance with visuals to make a short, colourful and dramatic film. You can see it here: https://youtu.be/oNppUzcFcto

About Alan Bullard

Alan Bullard is a professional composer whose music is performed and broadcast in many countries. He is particularly known for his choral music and music for education, though over the years he has written a wide range of music for most instruments. His music has been played and sung in halls ranging from London’s Festival Hall to the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas, and in places of worship ranging from St Paul’s Cathedral London, Norwich Cathedral, Kings and Selwyn Colleges Cambridge, and St Thomas Fifth Avenue, New York. For full details please visit www.alanbullard.co.uk

Alan Bullard:

Japonica Cottage, Donkey Lane, Friston, Saxmundham, IP17 1PL

alanbullardmusic@gmail.com

07748 710593

SASES:

saveeastsuffolk@outlook.com

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The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
16th August – Tenth Sunday after Trinity

  • 9.30am

Thorpeness Service 3

The Meare, Thorpeness

  • 9.45am

Morning Praise

Friston Church

  • 10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Church

  • 11.00am

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

  • 3.00pm

Online Service available

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NOTICES

 

Suffolk Historic Churches Ride and Stride

Saturday 12th September 9am-4pm

The 2020 Ride and Stride is going ahead but will be adapted to the current Covid 19 guidelines. The Annual Sponsored Ride and Stride is a national event, and every second Saturday in September cyclists and walkers all round the country are out making money for their local county Churches Trust. Our usual wonderful volunteers at Aldeburgh Parish Church will be taking part and a new addition too in the form of a certain member of the clergy.
If you would like to take part or indeed sponsor one of our team,
please either:

  1. Contact us using the Aldeburgh Parish Church contact form

https://www.aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk/contact/

  1. Or email admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk and Claire will pass on your details to Fran Smith, who is leading this event.
  2. Or see Fran after the services at Aldeburgh where she will be pleased to take your details (socially distanced).

Our participants currently are Revd James Marston, Adrian and Jill Brown, Richard & Emily Rapior, and Mary Sidwell. Fran Smith (who will be sponsored for the registering of participants).

  • Some useful pointers:
    Follow the Government guidance on COVID prevailing at the time
    Some churches may not open or there is no one to welcome you, just sign the register. 
    Don’t worry if there is no register, just mark your own sponsor form with churches visited
  • As an alternative to signing in, you could take a photo of the church sign as evidence.
  • Take your own pen
  • There is unlikely to be refreshments
  • Toilets may not be available
  • If you enter a church, touch as little as possible
  • Take hand sanitizer
  • Take your own refreshments
  • Remember the Highway Code and use lanes and minor roads where possible
    Please visit the Suffolk Historic Church Trust website for more information. https://shct.org.uk/ride-and-stride/

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. Please do keep a look out at their notices as they will be putting a list of the items most needed.
They both have large donation baskets that you can add your items to.

✟ Songs of Praise on The Green 🎶
A Benefice Service at Friston – 30th August 2020 3.00pm
POSTPONED
Another date will be advised nearer the time.

 

Pilgrims Together
(part of The Alde Sandlings Benefice)
invite you to
Thorpeness Summer Services 2020
Celtic Style Worship
9.30am at The Meare, Thorpeness

Sunday 9th August
Sunday16th August
Sunday 23rd August

ALL ARE WELCOME
Please bring your own chair!

page1image46565200

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Benefice Newsletter 2nd August/Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Sunday 2nd August

Eighth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Thorpeness Service 1

The Meare, Thorpeness

9.45am

Morning Praise

Friston Church

10.30am

Morning Praise

Aldeburgh Church

11.00am

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

3.00pm

Online Service available

 

Message from the Rector

I am writing this on Friday evening, still full of the joy of having taken a wedding in church for the first time since before lockdown. The weather was, of course, glorious, the necessarily small congregation was happy and the bride and groom happier still. It really did feel good. But today we also learned of the halting of some restrictions being lifted and that we will soon have to wear face coverings in church by law (that begins on Saturday August 8th). The church’s current guidance on face coverings is:

… we continue to strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.

It’s tough – there’s no doubt. Personally, I find wearing a face mask awkward because when I speak my spectacles steam up! But, as the guidance points out, it’s not about us, it’s about protecting others. Which, I have to say, sounds like a Christian virtue if ever there was one. We will, I’m afraid, have to get used to it.

To those who have been worshipping online at 10.30 each Sunday morning a reminder that from this week onwards the online service will be available from 3pm, giving us the chance to record a service in church in the morning. This week Aldeburgh’s Family Service will be the chosen one and, as ever, reactions and thoughts would be most welcome.

Finally, I am afraid that some people may have received spam email purporting to come from me. If you receive an email with my name but not my usual email address (mark@thelowthers.com) please just delete it. And certainly anything from the email address onlinechurch202@gmail.com is very fishy indeed. Have nothing to do with it!

With love, as ever

Mark

 

First Reading
Isaiah 55.1-5
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have
no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves
in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.  See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. 

 

Second Reading
Matthew 14.13-21
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

 

Sermon from our Rector, Revd Mark Lowther

Matthew 14: 13-21

The very opening of today’s New Testament reading begs an immediate question, doesn’t it? ‘When Jesus heard this ..’ What? What has Jesus just heard? Well the first part of the chapter tells the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. How Herodias’s daughter (who we later came to call Salome) danced for Herod at his birthday banquet, gave him so much pleasure that he said to her ‘you can have anything you like’ and, egged on by her mother, she demanded and was eventually given John’s head on a platter. It’s a shocking tale, dripping with a lurid combination of sex and violence, as anyone who has either seen Oscar Wilde’s play Salome or Richard Strauss’s opera based on it will confirm. Dance of the Seven Veils and all that. A truly decadent scene. And when Jesus heard this he withdrew to a deserted place, was followed by the crowds and fed them with a miraculous meal. The contrast with what had gone before couldn’t really be more vivid. Herod’s no doubt hugely extravagant birthday bash contrasted with this simple supper of bread and fish that had looked so meagre but yet managed to satisfy thousands. By the way, we conventionally talk of ‘the feeding of the five thousand’ but it was a lot more than that. ‘5000 men, besides women and children’ as Matthew puts it in his rather male-dominated way.

So, who gives the more satisfying meal – Herod, whose way leads to corruption and death, or Jesus who, from those unpromising ingredients, manages to satisfy the multitudes and still have so much left over. Enough to fill twelve baskets which, as many a bible-commentator has pointed out is significant because there were 12 Jewish tribes – so Jesus’s meal was enough for them, and for them all – not just a select few.

And how did he do it? How did Jesus feed thousands with five loaves and two fish? Well, he prayed. He looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves. And his father in heaven answered his prayer, the miracle happened. God fed his people, just as he had fed them with manna when they were in the wilderness all those years ago. And he fed them with bread – the bread of life – one of the very metaphors that Jesus used to describe himself in John’s gospel – ‘I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry …’

So, what is the take-home message for today – this very day – from all of this? All of the obvious things of course – God’s generosity, Jesus’s message being for all, Jesus showing that God’s way isn’t the way of the world – all good messages and important to hear. But I think today, with the church still not being able to do what it would ideally like to do, with all sorts of plans having to be changed because of the danger of the virus spreading, I’d like to go back to that moment when the miracle occurred – when the meagre offering became food for thousands. No magic spells, no shouting and screaming, no huge fuss and bother, just prayer. Just ‘looking up to heaven’, as the story has it. This is what Jesus does. He offers what he has to his Father and extraordinary things occur as a result. What we are able to offer in prayer may look pretty meagre. We may think ourselves lacking in eloquence, in beautifully constructed sentences, we may think that we can’t pray in an adequate way. But if we offer to God what we have with sincerity, God will transform it and use it in ways that can amaze us. The theologian Tom Wright says ‘It is part of genuine Christian service, as whatever level, that we look on in amazement to see what God has done with the bits and pieces we dug out of our meagre resources to offer to him’. And the place to start that offer is in prayer – simple but heartfelt prayer. And what might happen? I love the remark of former Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple who replied to his critics who regarded answered prayer as no more than coincidence, “When I pray, coincidences happen; when I don’t, they don’t.”

Amen

 

Collect
Almighty Lord and everlasting God, we beseech you to direct,
sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of
your laws and the works of your commandments;
that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever,
we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 

The Week Ahead –
Next Sunday
9th August – Ninth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

Thorpeness Service 2

The Meare, Thorpeness

9.30am

Patronal Service

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Praise

Friston Church

11.00am

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

3.00pm

Online Service available

6.00pm

Celtic Evening Service                                                    Aldeburgh 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. Please do keep a look out at their notices as they will be putting a list of the items most needed.
They both have large donation baskets that you can add your items to.

 

Songs of Praise on The Green 
A Benefice Service at Friston – 30th August 2020 3.00pm
The Parish of St Mary the Virgin would like to invite you to a Benefice ‘Songs of Praise on the green at Friston! This would be a socially distanced opportunity to come together to hopefully sing to the Praise of God (restrictions permitting) and have a picnic afterwards.
Do you have a favourite hymn?
Please let Carole Edwards know by email, phone or letter, your choice of hymn (see below)

Please bring your own chairs and tables for your picnic.

Reply to Carole Edwards, caroleedwards123369@btinernet.com or
8 Mill Road, Friston, Suffolk, IP17 1NW or call 01728 687743.

 

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. Please do keep a look out at their notices as they will be putting a list of the items most needed.
They both have large donation baskets that you can add your items to.

 
 
 

Pilgrims Together
(part of The Alde Sandlings Benefice)

invite you to

Thorpeness Summer Services 2020

Celtic Style Worship
9.30am at The Meare, Thorpeness

Sunday 2nd August
Sunday 9th August
Sunday16th August
Sunday 23rd August

ALL ARE WELCOME
Please bring your own chair!

 

Benefice Newsletter 26th July-Seventh Sunday after Trinity

Message from the Rector

My clergy colleagues and I had an excellent meeting this week and we have made plans for services in our churches during the next few weeks. This Sunday we have a service of Holy Communion in Knodishall church at 9.30am, an online service of Holy Communion at 10.30am, an informal outdoor service in Aldringham churchyard at 11.00am and a service of Evening Prayer in Aldeburgh church at 6.00pm. Then, all being well, August looks like this:

Aldeburgh will alternate morning (10.30am) and evening (6.00pm) services

2nd Morning Praise

9th Celtic Evening Service

16th Morning Holy Communion

23rd Evening Prayer

30th Morning Holy Communion

Aldringham will continue with informal outdoor services at 11.00am (if wet, indoors).

Friston will have a weekly service at 9.45am with Holy Communion once a month

Knodishall will have fortnightly services (beginning this week) at 9.30am, celebrating their Patronal Festival on August 9th.

We will continue with online services every week but from the beginning of August they will become available at 3.00pm rather than 10.30am. This frees me up to lead services in the churches in the mornings and also allows us the possibility of recording a church service and making that a weekly online offering. Wednesday morning online services of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer at 10.00am will continue as normal.

The beginning of September will be very exciting. On Sunday 6th James will be ordained Priest in our cathedral at 3.30pm. As the numbers able to attend will be very restricted, the service will also be streamed online. We will probably have a restricted number of services in the benefice that day so that people are able to join James, albeit virtually. Then on Sunday 13th James will celebrate Holy Communion for the first time, and we will have a benefice service at which he will preside in Aldeburgh church at 10.30am.

There are details elsewhere in this information sheet about the summer Thorpeness services which will happen each August morning at 9.30am and end with a service of Holy Communion in the garden of The Dolphin pub on August 30th. Also, on that day we hope to hold a Songs of Praise service in the afternoon on Friston green. We are hoping that we will be able to sing our heads off by then, but the service will happen, even if all we can do is to hum our favourite hymns!

All of these things are, of course, subject to any government restrictions that may be in force at the time. As anyone involved with Aldeburgh Primary School knows only too well, the virus is still with us. Hopefully, however, we will gradually be able to increase the number and variety of services that we hold in church as time goes by.

With love, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things:
graft in our hearts the love of your name, increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in
the same; 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
1 Kings 3.5-12
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.


Second Reading
Romans 8.26-end
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52
Jesus put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’

He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’

 

Reflection, from Revd Sheila Hart

As I pondered on what I was to say this Sunday, I began to feel that there was one idea that continuously came to me from all three readings and that was the word ‘wisdom’ or ‘discernment’.

Certainly in the Old Testament reading this idea is very much to the fore as Solomon wonders what gift he would like God to bless him with as he becomes King of Israel in succession to his father David. Solomon, after much thought and prayer, asks God to give him the gift of wisdom or a discerning heart rather than wealth, a long life or the death of his enemies – all of which could have been justified in the light of the history of Israel up to this point. Solomon is obviously aware of the task that lies before him and is conscious of his own youthfulness and inexperience as he begins his reign.

In the reading from Romans we learn how when we are not able to decide what we need to pray or to discern the words we should use; the Holy Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.

And in our Gospel reading from Matthew we have the group of parables or sayings of Jesus known as the parables of the Kingdom, purely because they all begin with the words ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is like….’ And, as with all Jesus’ parables, their true meaning can only be discerned through the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I have to admit that I am amazed that ‘wisdom’ or ‘discernment’ is not one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is, however listed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, but only as ‘a word of wisdom’ and in the letter of James we read ‘If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all liberally, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith with no doubting.’

Wisdom is a gift which all leaders should ask God for whether they be leaders in the Church or the world, as there will always be decisions and meetings which they have to make and attend in which wisdom and discernment are vital gifts to enable them to make the most appropriate choices. Indeed one of the exercises which all potential ordinands had to do on their selection conference when I was candidating was what they called an inventory. 40 questions to be answered in 30 minutes, each requiring a one or two word answer, one of which was which is the most important gift or quality that you would like to have in your ministry? The answer I gave was actually wisdom or discernment.

In these present times, though, the gift of wisdom or discernment is one which I believe we should all be asking God to give us as we move from lockdown to more freedom of choice and movement.

We need to discern when our reticence to do things is through fear or through care and concern for ourselves or others.

We need wisdom to discern whether our desire to return to life as it was before lockdown is nostalgia and a craving for what was our norm or because we really believe that the life we were living before lockdown, with all its activities, hustle and bustle was better than the slower, more measured way of life we have been forced to live for the past 4 months.

This has been something which has come up in many Deanery and Diocesan Zoom meetings I have attended and the big question that has been asked is: What in the life of the Church do you feel should be kept and continued after lockdown ends and what should go back to what was the norm before lockdown? Many surprising answers have been given to that question but watch this space, as they say, for there will be changes in the way in which we do Church in the future but our leaders and congregations, national and local will need a great deal of wisdom and discernment over the coming months to work out where God is leading His Church and where our focus should be in the future for its mission and ministry.

Please pray for our leaders, both national and local as we discern together what God’s purpose for our Church is for the future and the wisdom to accept that discernment whether we like it or not, to enable our mission and ministry in our local communities to flourish through joining in and working with God where He is working and with what He is doing.

 

Post Communion
Lord God, whose Son is the true vine and the source of life,
ever giving himself that the world may live: may we so receive within ourselves the power of his death and passion that, in his saving cup,
we may share his glory and be made perfect in his love;
for he 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:

https://www.churchofengland.org/

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

https://www.cofesuffolk.org/publications/e-news

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday

2nd August – Eighth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am      Thorpeness Service 1  The Meare, Thorpeness

9.45am      Morning Praise             Friston Church

10.30am      Morning Praise             Aldeburgh Church

11.00am      Informal service           Aldringham Churchyard

3.00pm      Online service available

NOTICES

✞ 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 martin@steadman.me.uk
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 pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
All are welcome at any of these services.

 
 

✞ Meet up with Revd James ✞

Our curate Rev James has been meeting some of you outside in your gardens and in his rectory garden. If you would like a trip out to Friston, or would like James to visit you do let him know on 01728 688451 or email him on marstonjames@hotmail.com

 

✟ Songs of Praise on The Green 🎶
A Benefice Service at Friston – 30th August 2020 3.00pm
The Parish of St Mary the Virgin would like to invite you to a Benefice ‘Songs of Praise’ on the green at Friston! This would be a socially distanced opportunity to come together to hopefully sing to the Praise of God (restrictions permitting) and have a picnic afterwards.

Do you have a favourite hymn?

Please let Carole Edwards know by email, phone or letter, your choice of hymn (see below)

Please bring your own chairs and tables for your picnic.

Reply to Carole Edwards, caroleedwards123369@btinernet.com or
8 Mill Road, Friston, Suffolk, IP17 1NW or call 01728 687743.

 
 
 

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. Please do keep a look out at their notices as they will be putting a list of the items most needed.
They both have large donation baskets that you can add your items to.

 

Pilgrims Together
(part of The Alde Sandlings Benefice)

invite you to

Thorpeness Summer Services 2020

Celtic Style Worship
9.30am at The Meare, Thorpeness

Sunday 2nd August
Sunday 9th August
Sunday16th August
Sunday 23rd August

ALL ARE WELCOME
Please bring your own chair!

page1image46565200

Benefice News Sheet 19th July-Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Message from the Rector

Our gentle process of opening our churches for worship continues and this week sees our first service of Holy Communion in a church building since March. The national church has issued some guidelines about the consecration and distribution of Holy Communion and they are worth mentioning now. The recommendation is that communion is distributed ‘in one kind only’ – in other words only the bread will be administered to the congregation. During the service the presiding priest will be at the altar alone and will consecrate bread and also a small quantity of wine which he or she will receive on behalf of the congregation. The bread to be distributed will be kept covered throughout the prayer of consecration. Then, to quote the guidelines ‘At the giving of Communion, the president receives Communion in both kinds. The words of distribution (‘The body and blood of Christ’) are spoken to the congregation, and all who intend to receive say, ‘Amen’. At the distribution, Holy Communion is administered in silence. The consecrated bread or wafer will need to be dropped into the hands of communicants.’ Members of the congregation receive the consecrated bread standing and having kept suitable social distancing as they wait. I can’t speak for my colleagues, but I intend to wear a face-covering as I distribute the bread – not for my sake but for the sake of those receiving communion. And hands will be cleaned both before and after distribution.

This all sounds rather daunting but in practice it should not be too difficult – we will all have to become used to some differences from our normal way of doing things, but I think we will soon become used to them. Obviously if rules change, we will adapt (for better or worse!) but at least we are now able to hold communion services in our churches once again.

We are moving towards a time when we should be able to establish a regular pattern of services in all of our churches. We are not quite there yet, and the pattern may mean that there isn’t a service in every church every week, but for this week and next this is what we intend to do.

Sunday 19th July

9.45am Service of Holy Communion in Friston church

10.30am Online service of Morning Prayer (Mattins)

11.00am Service in Aldringham churchyard

Sunday 26th July

9.30am Service of Holy Communion in Knodishall church

10.30am Online service of Holy Communion

11.00am Service in Aldringham churchyard

6.00pm Service of Evening Prayer in Aldeburgh church

The readings that follow cover the fact that we will be having both an online Mattins service and the service of Holy Communion in Friston – so for the Mattins ignore the second reading (Romans) and make the Gospel reading the New Testament lesson. The post-communion prayer is obviously surplus to requirements too – as is the psalm for the Holy Communion service! And if those attending Holy Communion would like to print off a copy of the readings for their own use in church then, of course, they are most welcome to do so.

With love, as ever

Mark

 

PSALM 139 Verses 1-11, 23-24

O LORD, thou hast searched me out and known me : thou knowest my down-sitting and mine up-rising, thou understandest my thoughts long before.

Thou art about my path, and about my bed : and spiest out all my ways.

For lo, there is not a word in my tongue : but thou, O Lord, knowest it altogether.

Thou hast fashioned me behind and before : and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me : I cannot attain unto it.

Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit : or whither shall I go then from thy presence?

If I climb up into heaven, thou art there : if I go down to hell, thou art there also.

If I take the wings of the morning : and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Even there also shall thy hand lead me : and thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me : then shall my night be turned to day.

Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day: the darkness and light to thee are both alike.

Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart : prove me, and examine my thoughts.

Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me : and lead me in the way everlasting.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
world without end. Amen.

First Reading
Isaiah 44.6-8
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.  Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come?
Let them tell us what is yet to be.  Do not fear, or be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one. 

Second Reading
Romans 8.12-25
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh for if you live according to the flesh, you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43

Jesus put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Collect
Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding: pour into our
hearts such love toward you that we, loving you in all things
and above all things, may obtain your promises,
which exceed all that we can desire; 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.

Sermon by our Rector, Revd Mark Lowther

Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43

I like to think that I’m something of an expert on weeds – well one particular aspect of weeds anyway – growing them. Anyone who has seen the vicarage garden lately, front or back, will know that it sports a rather spectacular collection of weeds of all sorts and one day we really will get stuck in and clear them. At the moment, though, there always seems to be something else that needs to be done first – like writing a sermon …. And I console myself with the thought that a weed is really only a plant in the wrong place. Maybe if I could convince myself that those yellow jobs whose name I don’t know were intended to be there, rather than just having sprouted up of their own accord, then it would be OK. Maybe weeds are really only in the mind.

The weeds that Jesus talks about in our NT reading are a way of illustrating a profound truth about human nature and about God’s call on us all. And those weeds are, as Jesus describes them, sown by the devil. And Jesus seems to be very clear as he explains his parable to the disciples – we are all either children of the kingdom or children of the evil one. The first will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father, the second will be thrown into the fire. It’s a binary situation – one thing or the other. But the God who knows us better than we know ourselves knows that it usually isn’t like that. All of us, at different times and in different situations, find ourselves pulled in different directions and have the potential to allow weeds to grow where God is trying to sow fine wheat. The difficulty comes when we try to name the bad stuff – because words like ‘sin’ and ‘guilt’ are so heavily loaded. They’ve come to take on associations that aren’t helpful.

When I go and see grieving relatives to plan a funeral, I need to ask them if they’d like to include one of the optional parts of the service – the Prayers of Penitence. I read that part of the service to them – it’s a confession and absolution in which the priest says all the words and it begins ‘God of mercy, we acknowledge that we are all sinners.’ And I wonder how those who aren’t regular churchgoers hear those words. We all do get things wrong, we do all fall short of what God is calling us to be – but it can all too easily sound miserable when it is, in fact, the prelude to something very hopeful. That as long as we are prepared to face up to what we get wrong and admit it to God (who knows it already, of course) then we are on the right road, we are forgiven by God, can forgive ourselves (often the most difficult bit) and move on. Let the light in. Cut the weeds down. Use whatever metaphor you find helpful.

The other important thing that Jesus’s parable teaches us is that God is patient. When the slaves ask the master if he’d like them to get rid of the weeds straight away he says ‘no – for in gathering up the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest’. Wait. See what happens. And we live in that waiting time and can uproot some of our own weeds if we really want to. We’ll never be rid of them all – we’re only human after all – but we are offered opportunities on a daily basis to do some gardening of our own.

As any gardener will tell you, some weeds are very pervasive, invasive even, and aren’t (sadly for my theory of gardening) just plants in the wrong place – they’re plants that will eventually harm the plants that we really want to see grow if we don’t do something about them. Pull them up, chuck them on the bonfire. Prepare for those angels who will do it for us if we haven’t already done it ourselves. And, yes, let anyone with ears listen!

Amen

Post Communion

God of our pilgrimage, you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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:

https://www.churchofengland.org/

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

https://www.cofesuffolk.org/publications/e-news

The Week Ahead –
Next Sunday
26th July – Seventh Sunday after Trinity

NOTICES

✞ 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 martin@steadman.me.uk
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 pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
All are welcome at any of these services.

 
 

✞ Meet up with Revd James ✞

Our curate Rev James has been meeting some of you outside in your gardens and in his rectory garden. If you would like a trip out to Friston, or would like James to visit you do let him know on 01728 688451 or email him on marstonjames@hotmail.com

 

✟ Songs of Praise on The Green 🎶
A Benefice Service at Friston – 30th August 2020 3.00pm

The Parish of St Mary the Virgin would like to invite you to a Benefice ‘Songs of Praise on the green at Friston! This would be a socially distanced opportunity to come together to hopefully sing to the Praise of God (restrictions permitting) and have a picnic afterwards.

Do you have a favourite hymn?

Please let Carole Edwards know by email, phone or letter, your choice of hymn (see below)

Please bring your own chairs and tables for your picnic.

Reply to Carole Edwards, caroleedwards123369@btinernet.com or
8 Mill Road, Friston, Suffolk, IP17 1NW or call 01728 687743.

 

Benefice News Sheet for 12th July/Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Message from The Rector

There is a great deal of talk these days about ‘the new normal’. What, in all walks of life, might ‘going back to normal’ mean post Covid-19? There is, of course, no straightforward answer. We already know that we cannot just pick up where we left off back in the early spring. The Covid-19 Alert Level is still set at 3, meaning that (to quote official guidance) ‘the virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur. You must continue to wash your hands and keep 2m distance.’ We still need to be very careful and take particular regard for the elderly and those who have what we have come to generalise as ‘underlying conditions’ – a catch-all that includes those with a heart condition, those being treated for cancer, those on high doses of steroids and a good deal else besides. We should also be acutely aware of the possibility of carrying Covid-19 without being aware of it – being asymptomatic. There is still a good deal that we don’t understand about this disease, but we do know that just because people are not aware of the fact that they have it does not prevent them from transmitting it to others.

All of this is a prelude to saying a little about my (and the clergy team’s) thinking about opening up our churches. We still need to be very careful – of ourselves and of others. We need to move steadily and not feel that we have to do as much as possible as soon as possible. And (I hope it goes without saying) no-one should feel under any pressure to attend one of our church buildings if they would feel more comfortable remaining at home. We will try our best to cater for all. The current plans for the next couple of Sundays are as follows:

Sunday 12th July

10.30am Online service of Holy Communion

11.00am Service in Aldringham Churchyard

6.00pm ‘A Reflective Act of Worship for Uncertain Times’ in Aldeburgh church

 

Sunday 19th July

9.45am Service of Holy Communion in Friston Church

10.30am Online service of Morning Prayer (Mattins)

11.00am Service in Aldringham churchyard

As we learn by experience and are guided by government and church we hope, gently, to expand what we offer, and I will issue weekly updates.

 

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the
whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in
holiness and truth to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and 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
Isaiah 55.10-13
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Second Reading
Romans 8.1-11
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set
you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what
the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned
sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be
fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according
to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their
minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to
the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the
mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is
life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh
is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it
cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the
Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the
Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you,
though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because
of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead
dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to
your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Gospel
Matthew 13.1-9, 18-23
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!’

‘Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

 

Reflection for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity
by The Revd James Marston

Parable of the sower

One of the most interesting theories about the early church is that the oft-quoted St Paul’s letter to the Romans was written to a church that was already well established. Indeed, his other letters are largely letters of encouragement to other churches that he had helped get going. But not so with Rome.

In fact when Paul wrote the letter to the Romans he sets out his theology, his plans, and highlights his credentials as an apostle because although, he was hoping to visit Rome, they probably knew little about him. He was, it seems to me, hoping for a decent welcome, the Roman equivalent of a bring and share lunch, and a place to stay when he got there.

This begs the question of how the church in Rome was founded. If it wasn’t Paul, how did it emerge? It seems it was up and running by AD50, less than twenty years after the resurrection. The Acts of the Apostles holds the clue and it is the sermon by St Peter to the crowd at Pentecost that might hold the answer. For in that crowd, of which thought the disciples were drunk, there was a contingent of visitors from Rome, and it may well have been them that took back the emerging faith to the empire’s capital city.

Today’s bible story, the parable of the sower, is a well-known one. Over the years it has been interpreted in a variety of ways. Usually the differing soils were interpreted as an allegory for the disciples themselves that Jesus, the sower, was talking to. Not so long ago it was, perhaps more fancifully, suggested that the different kinds of soils were relevant to different vocations in the church – laity, clergy, virgins, martyrs and monks.

And while there may be laity and clergy in the Alde Sandlings I suspect martyrs and monks are rather thinner on the ground.

More recently the parable has been a stock in trade of Sunday school and Sunday morning Christian teaching – often interpreted as a challenge to the churchgoer: What type of soil are you? Is it you “Who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields?”.

But I think we should be careful in equating ourselves or our community with the good soil. I think we can probably find evidence of several kinds of soil in our lives and in our church communities on any given day. Added which in this parable Jesus does not exhort us to be the good soil – though I suppose we could work towards that – instead he takes the disciples aside and gives his own interpretation of the parable, the different reasons why the word of the Kingdom is rejected. These include the power of the evil one, the lure of wealth, and trouble and persecution. And, I suspect, all of us, at varying times in our lives, are subject to temptation, materialism, and know what it is to have our faith tested.

Nonetheless, it seems to me that this parable has yet another meaning to think about and it is this; that despite the hurdles of rejection God, always wins through in the end. For when the word, the Gospel of hope and love is heard and understood then the crop is abundant. And Jesus is not so much the sower as the reaper of the harvest.

Today, we are those entrusted with Jesus’ mission, and we might consider the implications of this parable for how we engage in mission. Often we play it safe, sowing the word only where we are confident it will be well received, and only where those who receive it are likely to become contributing members of our congregations.

Often, in the name of good governance, we hold on tight to our resources, wanting to make sure that nothing is wasted. Indeed we can even resist new ideas for fear they might not work – as though mistakes or failure were to be avoided at all costs.

This parable, I suggest, is a call to confidence, a call to trust in the Holy Spirit of Pentecost, a call to scatter the word in places we might not have thought of before.

Today, as we gradually come back to reform the body of Christ in this benefice, we have an opportunity to reconsider our Christian mission to the wider communities in which we live.

It is clear to me, as we have supported and upheld one another in recent weeks that the church community has much to offer and that the energising Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit that founded the church in Rome, is among us and working in our lives. We are keen to get back to church, to reignite our faith, and to worship together once again.

We also have time to think about and discuss the things we have learnt and discovered over recent weeks. My challenge to you this week is to pray about and come up with just one idea of how our benefice, herein the Alde Sandling’s, might reach out to those we don’t know and to those we don’t usually encounter in our churches.

It is time to scatter the seed and to trust once more that God always wins through in the end. Amen.

 

Hymn

Eternal Father, strong to save,
whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
for those in peril on the sea!

O Saviour, whose almighty word
the winds and waves submissive heard,
who walkedst on the foaming deep,
and calm amid its rage didst sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
for those in peril on the sea!

O sacred Spirit, who didst brood
upon the chaos dark and rude,
who bad’st its angry tumult cease,
and gavest light and life and peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
for those in peril on the sea!

O trinity of love and power!
Our brethren’s shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
protect them wheresoe’er they go;
and ever let there rise to thee
glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

William Whiting (1825-1878)

 

Post Communion
Grant, O Lord, we beseech you,
that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by your governance, that your Church may joyfully serve you in all godly
quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Week Ahead –
Next Sunday
19th July – Sixth Sunday after Trinity

 

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:

https://www.churchofengland.org/

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

https://www.cofesuffolk.org/publications/e-news

 

NOTICES

 

✞ 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 martin@steadman.me.uk
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 pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
All are welcome at any of these services.

 
 
 

✞ Meet up with Revd James ✞

Our curate Rev James has been meeting some of you outside in your gardens and in his rectory garden. If you would like a trip out to Friston, or would like James to visit you do let him know on 01728 688451 or email him on marstonjames@hotmail.com

✟ Songs of Praise on The Green 🎶
A Benefice Service at Friston – 30th August 2020 3.00pm

The Parish of St Mary the Virgin would like to invite you to a Benefice ‘Songs of Praise on the green at Friston! This would be a socially distanced opportunity to come together to sing to the Praise of God

and have a picnic afterwards. Do you have a favourite hymn?
If you would like to attend please contact Carole Edwards – caroleedwards123369@btinernet.com or
8 Mill Road, Friston, Suffolk, IP17 1NW or call 01728 687743.

Also please let Carole know your suggestion of a hymn to be
included in this service.

Please bring your own chairs and tables for your picnic.

 

The Peninsula Practice Notice

As newsletters cannot be distributed currently, please do check the Peninsula Practice website for regular updates as they develop.

www.thepeninsulapractice.co.uk/coronaviruscovid-19