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

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

   

Message from The Rector

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

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

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

With love, as ever

Mark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.30am

Morning Prayer

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

10.30am

Informal Service

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Morning Praise

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

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Description automatically generated

DAY

ALDERTON

ORFORD

ALDEBURGH

Monday

8.00 to 14.30

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 18.30

Tuesday

8.00 to 18.30

CLOSED

8.00 to 18.30

Wednesday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

Thursday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

Friday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

GP TRAINING CLOSURE DATES

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

Please contact NHS 111 when the Surgery is closed.

Flu Vaccinations

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

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

 

9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Morning Prayer

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online Service Available

 

Message from The Rector

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

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

There is a recent Church of England initiative that is very much worth knowing about too. It’s called Daily Hope and it’s a phone line that provides all sorts of recorded resources – worship, hymns, talks, even some chair exercises. And if you ring it, the first voice you will hear is that of the Archbishop of Canterbury! The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind. Spread the word!

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
O God, for as much as without you we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and
rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Isaiah 45.1-7
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand
I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of
their robes, to open doors before him and the gates shall not be closed: 
I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.  For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.  I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.

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

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

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

 

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

Mark writes:

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

Over to him for the first of a little series.

 

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

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

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

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

Canon John Giles

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen

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

 

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

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

 

 

Icon

Description automatically generated

DAY

ALDERTON

ORFORD

ALDEBURGH

Monday

8.00 to 14.30

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 18.30

Tuesday

8.00 to 18.30

CLOSED

8.00 to 18.30

Wednesday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

Thursday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

Friday

8.00 to 18.30

8.00 to 13.00

8.00 to 18.30

GP TRAINING CLOSURE DATES

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

Please contact NHS 111 when the Surgery is closed.

Flu Vaccinations

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

 

NOTICES

 

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities and have an even more vital role to play as we navigate our way through these unprecedented times.
The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed.

 

Weekly Benefice Newsletter 
If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week. Whether it be a story to tell, or tips or recipes or a notice to be added to spread the word.

 

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

 

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

9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Morning Prayer

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

 

Message from The Rector

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

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

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

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

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us your gift of faith
that, forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to that which 
is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win
the crown of everlasting joy; through Jesus Christ your
Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Isaiah 25.1-9
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful
and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a
ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. 
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations
will fear you.  For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to
the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade
from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter
rainstorm, the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued
the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled. 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

God be in our mouths ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen

 

Post Communion

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

NOTICES

 

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op 
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities and have an even more vital role to play as we navigate our way through these unprecedented times.
The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed.

 

Weekly Benefice Newsletter 

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week. Whether it be a story to tell, or tips or recipes or a notice to be added to spread the word.

 

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

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

 

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

9.30am

Holy Communion

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Morning Prayer

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Holy Communion

Aldringham Church

3.00pm

Online service available

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

 

9.30am Knodishall Church
Holy Communion for Harvest Festival

9.45am Friston Church
Harvest Festival Service

10.30am Aldeburgh Parish Church
Harvest Festival Family Service

11.00am Aldringham Church
Harvest Festival Service

 
 
 
 

Message from Revd James Marston

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

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

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

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

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

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

James

 

Collect
Eternal God, you crown the year with your goodness
and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season: 
grant that we may use them to your glory, for the
relief of those in need and for our own well-being;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 

First Reading
Deuteronomy 8.7-18
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Amen

 

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

 

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

9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Morning Prayer

Aldringham Church

NOTICES

 

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op 
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities and have an even more vital role to play as we navigate our way through these unprecedented times.
The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed.

 

Weekly Benefice Newsletter 
If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week. Whether it be a story to tell, or tips or recipes or a notice to be added to spread the word.

 

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 27th September/Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

 

9.45am

Morning Prayer

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Celebration of Michaelmas

Aldringham Churchyard

 

Message from Revd James Marston

Earlier this week Rev Nicky Winter and I met on Friston Village Green to say the office of Morning Prayer – we have been doing this since March, and it has helped us nourish the faith we share over the last few months. We also use the opportunity to pray for all the communities of the benefice as well as have a little, and sometimes long, chat about all the things that are going on.

We often end up with the observation that all our lives are in God’s hands and that trusting in Him, and not on our own understanding is sometimes the hardest calling of all, yet to trust in God is the calling that unites us all as Christians.

I think if I hear a politician say these are “unprecedented times” one more time I might walk into the rectory garden and scream. We do not need to be told any more that life is tricky at the moment, and things keep changing.

Yet while the sunlit uplands might seem some way off, nonetheless, I think here in the Alde Sandlings we have risen to the challenges of the last few months.

We may have been denied our usual way of doing things but through it all we have kept the faith and our fellowship with an extraordinary – unprecedented even – mixture of determination, enthusiasm and innovation. And I hope we can all take comfort and encouragement from this, and continue to trust in the Lord, whatever the next few weeks and months might bring.

In the meantime, we are able to encourage one another with news from each of our churches. Please keep this flow of information coming – it means so much to so many to hear that Christian witness and our church communities are not only alive and well, but indeed flourishing, here in the Alde Sandlings.

James

Collect
O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers of
your people who call upon you; and grant that they may both
perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may
have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them; 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
Ezekiel 18.1-4, 25-end
The word of the Lord came to me: What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.

Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is unfair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is unfair.’ O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

Second Reading
Philippians 2.1-13
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. 

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 21.23-32
When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?”  But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’  So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

 

 

 

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

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

‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you’.

What have estate agents, journalists and priests got in common? This is not the lead up to some awful joke but more an observation I have often made while watching Sunday afternoon episodes of Inspector Morse or Midsomer Murders.

In these programmes estate agents are usually doing some dodgy deal, journalists are intent on tripping up, or at least interfering on the investigations of the virtuous coppers and the priest is quite often the murderer in the first place.

Bizarrely, at differing times of my life, I have been all three, the estate agent, which was more of a Saturday job showing people round houses in Putney, the journalist, which you know about, and the priest which is among you now.

I can also tell you the stereotype is far removed from the reality. As an estate agent I never even came close to a dodgy deal, as a journalist I’ve never tripped up or shoved a microphone in the face of a copper in a red Jaguar, and, as a man of the cloth I’ve not murdered anyone, though I suppose Reverend Green with the candlestick in the library does, at the very least, suggests these things do happen.

Today’s gospel reading – which I can’t help thinking sounds rather like an awkward spat – is one that highlights the role of the question when it comes to faith. Who do you think you are? On what authority do you act? To which Jesus responds with yet another question reversing the trap they set for him.

With my journalist’s hat on I can’t help thinking that Jesus would not be the easiest of subjects to interview. It is one thing to try to put people on the spot and to ask the questions but quite another to have the tables turned.

But the journalist who constantly asks questions, one after the other, is just another stereotype that isn’t really accurate. The aim, when interviewing, is instead to engage the subject in conversation, to draw out something of the interviewee in a more relaxed and informal manner. And listening patiently, not asking questions, allows that to happen.

In the end, and despite the intellectual jousting, no one gets anywhere, and Jesus dodges the question and tells a story about salvation instead.

The obvious parallel with all of this is, of course, faith itself. While discovering God involves questions to be asked and answers to be given, much of our relationship with God is one in which we are trying to listen to Him.

Faith, it seems to me, is a conversation in which we form a relationship with God and by doing so discern his will for our lives. We nourish this relationship through prayer and making time for God in our lives.

Yet all too often we simply petition God for a wish list of things of we might like. In fact, this petitioning of God is again, in some ways, the stereotype we must avoid. Prayer, we would do well to remember, particularly private prayer, is really about stilling our minds and listening to God just as much, if not more than, it is about Him listening to us.

And if we listen carefully to what is going on in our gospel reading it is the message from the parable that, I think, stands out. We may not be the chief priests and elders of Jesus’ day, asking the Messiah accusing questions. But this parable may still speak strongly to us.

Through his story telling Jesus sets up the obvious question that pops into our minds: who are you? The son who listens and changes his mind and believes, or the son who listens but ignores? Are you among the tax collectors and prostitutes who understand or the chief priests and men in authority who don’t like to be challenged let alone change their minds?

Jesus’ parable is, in the end, a question. He asks us how we will respond to the truth of the gospel – will we change our mind and believe, or not? It also asks us to reflect and decide how we will live out our faith.

Are we inclined to think more about what God can do for us or do we concern ourselves with what we can do for God? Are we Christians of word only or are we Christians of word as well as deed? Do we always do the will of God or do we prefer the will of ourselves?

The answer to these questions, if we are searingly honest, might not be entirely comfortable. But we have a choice, a decision to make day after day on our journeys of faith. As Jesus prompts us to think about our faith here today the message is clear – actions speak louder than words.

And to help us let’s not forget the message of hope and encouragement of St Paul in the letter to the Philippians, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

God, in other words, is on our side.

Amen

 

Post Communion
Almighty God, you have taught us through your Son
that love is the fulfilling of the law: grant that we may 
love you with our whole heart and our neighbours as 
ourselves; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Anything to tell us?

This week Mary Sidwell has kindly written a summary of her ride and stride contribution. Thank you, Mary, and well done!

My youngest son, Nicolas, and I have cycled in former years, but having sold my ebike last year and given my other bike to my daughter to use around Teddington, this year had to be drive-walk.

Nicolas drove and I navigated, we both walked. It took five hours in total. We visited 23 churches of all denominations, seeing Suffolk countryside in all its glory, and met interesting folk along the way, having had my photo taken at each church!

I would like to thank all who sponsored me to take part. A marvellous day out. For anyone planning to do it next year, however near or far, I recommend it.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
4th October – Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

9.30am

HC for Harvest Festival

Knodishall Church

9.45am

Harvest Festival Service

Friston Church

10.30am

Harvest Festival Family Service

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Harvest Festival Service

Aldringham Church

 

NOTICES

 

Food Banks at the East of England Co-op 
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities and have an even more vital role to play as we navigate our way through these unprecedented times.

The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed.

 

Weekly Benefice Newsletter 
If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week. Whether it be a story to tell, or tips or recipes or a notice to be added to spread the word.

 
 

Online services
A reminder that there won’t be any local online services this week and that views and opinions are being sought as the benefice’s online provision evolves.

If you would like to engage online, please consider our cathedral and visit https://stedscathedral.org/ – and all the information that you need is there. If you feel like visiting churches further afield, please visit https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online/weekly-online-services to find out more.

 

Ride and Stride Sponsors
The ride and stride took place on the 12th September. It’s now time to pay that sponsor money. If you could please hand it to your parish representative (Fran Smith at Aldeburgh) or a member of clergy.

Thank you so much for your support.
Any Cheque donations be made payable to SHCT.

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 20th September/Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

  • 9.30am

Morning Prayer

Knodishall Church

  • 9.45am

Holy Communion

Friston Church

  • 11.00am

Informal Service at Aldringham Churchyard to

 

mark the 80th Anniversary of The Battle of Britain

  • 6.00pm

Evening Prayer

Aldeburgh Parish Church

 

Message from the Rector

We had such a good service in Aldeburgh church last week. The church calendar may have said that it was only yet another ‘Sunday in Ordinary Time’ but it was far from ordinary for us. We brought the congregations of our four churches together, members of the choirs of Aldeburgh and Aldringham sang (thanks Mish), the organ sounded forth (thanks Andy) and James presided at a Holy Communion service for the first time. It was simply glorious. We presented James with some gifts – an icon of St James, something alcoholic and sparkling and when I next see him I will add another small gift that didn’t arrive in time – a mug bearing the words ‘Skilled enough to become a Priest, crazy enough to love it’. (!) Over the next few weeks James will be celebrating Holy Communion in each of our churches and you will all have the chance to celebrate with him. Congratulations James – it’s wonderful to have a new priest colleague. And I’ve added a couple of pictures that I took after James’s Ordination to the Priesthood on the 6th.

One of the notices that James read of at the beginning of the service related to the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust ‘Ride and Stride’ that was held last Saturday (12th). James passed on thanks to those present, but the thanks extend to all who rode, strode or even drove and also to everyone who manned one of our churches to clock the participants in. Despite all of the current difficulties it was a great success and, I know, enjoyed by many. The charity, and each of our churches, benefits and I would like to add my personal thanks to all involved.

And so, Ro and I head off on holiday. A reminder that there won’t be ‘home-made’ online services available during this time but there are plenty of other worship options out there to explore, beginning with our cathedral –

https://stedscathedral.org/

The Church of England itself provides a weekly service here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online/weekly-online-services

You will all be very much in my prayers while I’m away.

With love, as ever

Mark

 

James’s Ordination at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on

Sunday 6th September 2020 with Bishop Mike Harrison

A person that is standing in the grass

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Many Congratulations James

A group of people standing in a grass field posing for the camera

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James with his Parents and Sister.

 

Collect
God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit upon your
Church in the burning fire of your love: grant that your people
may be fervent in the fellowship of the gospel that, always abiding
in you, they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service;
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
Jonah 3.10-end of 4
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ And the Lord said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’ Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.

The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so, Jonah was very happy about the bush. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered.8When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’

But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?’ And he said, ‘Yes, angry enough to die.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’

Second Reading
Philippians 1.21-end
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 20.1-16
‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.”  When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?”  So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’ 

 

Sermon for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
by The Revd Nichola Winter

Sometimes it seems that life simply isn’t fair. We work hard, we do what we perceive as our duty, we ‘get on with it’ – but bad things happen. All that effort but to no effect. And then we see others – ne’er-do-wells who seem to prosper, layabouts who thrive – it seems all wrong. We all expect a certain justice and it can be really irritating when it goes wrong.

The story of Jonah is one of my favourite bible stories (read the whole of the book – it’s short and it’s worth it!) – not least because at the outset Jonah doesn’t think much of the instruction from God – he sets off in completely the opposite direction. We know of his adventure with the whale – but then God gives him instructions a second time. Jonah carries them out this time – and perhaps we sense him thinking along the lines, ‘those Ninevehites – huh, they’ll get their comeuppance alright. My three-day journey round the city will be worth it.’ But Jonah has, unwittingly, accomplished God’s mission – he’s delivered his message and it has the desired effect as far as God is concerned – so God spares the people. But Jonah sulks. God again demonstrates his mercy – but also his power – to Jonah with the bush, but Jonah still really doesn’t get it. The somewhat open-ended conclusion of the story seems to hold up a mirror to our own lives – we, too, get hot under the collar on occasion – but are we really reacting in a way that demonstrates the compassion, love and mercy that God expects from us as His children?

This point is also made when Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to the vineyard, managed by a generous landowner. When we accept God’s terms, who are we to criticise when God deals with others in a way that is different to the way in which he deals with us? In some respects, it’s really none of our business. God knows what we need; if we acknowledge our own relationship and concentrate on that, then what goes on between our neighbour and God is not something we need to know about. We must not be envious because God is generous. We each live our own life – our own story. If things don’t go the way we expect them to, we don’t need to consider it a failure or disappointment. At the Greenbelt festival one year, Rob Bell spoke about this – and he said, ‘God gives us a lamp in order for us to take the next step, not a powerful torch that illuminates everything in front of us.’ So, we need to stop worrying about measuring our success or failure against that of others. It’s not up to us to ration God’s love according to our own views as to how the world should be… but it is up to us to focus on the now; our own response to God in the present – in our own life.

As Reinhold Niebuhr wrote,

“Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.”

 

Post
Keep, O Lord, your Church, with your perpetual mercy; and,
because without you our human frailty cannot but fall, keep
us ever by your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all
things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The Week Ahead – Next Sunday
27th September – Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

9.45am

Morning Praise

Friston Church

10.30am

Holy Communion

Aldeburgh Parish Church

11.00am

Informal Service

Aldringham Churchyard

Alan Bullard
You may remember that, a little while ago, we included a link to a beautiful orchestral piece written by local composer Alan Bullard inspired by the scenery around Friston – and the current threat to it.  Here he is, talking about the piece and how it relates to the
proposed Scottish Power Renewables development.

https://youtu.be/m_n8g99e4_U

A close up of a logo

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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/

Ride and Stride Sponsors 

The ride and stride took place on the 12th September. It’s now time to pay that sponsor money. If you could please hand it to your parish representative (Fran Smith at Aldeburgh) or a member of clergy.

Thank you so much for your support.
Any Cheque donations be made payable to SHCT.

 

Weekly Benefice Newsletter 

If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week. Whether it be a story to tell, or tips or recipes or a notice to be added to spread the word.

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

 

A close up of a logo

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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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