Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 11th April – The Second Sunday after Easter

 

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

10th June 1921 – 9th April 2021

Christian cross - Wikipedia

Message from The Rector

I’d already written something for this pew-sheet when the news came through of the death of Prince Philip. As I write it is still early days, but the national church has already supplied some excellent and appropriate material for use in services over the next few days – and Sunday morning will reflect this. I have written in my sermon something about the man who just always seems to have been there, loyally (and as he used to say) ‘doing his bit’ – and sometimes being a little outrageous in the process. But if ever there was a man of whom it could be said that he lived a long and generous life then Prince Philip was he. The country owes him a huge amount and that will doubtless be reflected in the tributes already pouring in. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

The Church of England has opened an online Book of Condolence which all are invited to sign.

https://www.churchofengland.org/remembering-his-royal-highness-prince-philip

We have a mixture of services this Sunday week – in church in Aldeburgh (10.30am) Aldringham (11.00am) and online in Friston (9.45am). The Aldringham service will be recorded and be available online later in the day. Then on Wednesday, as well as our usual online Compline from Friston (6pm) and Pilgrim’s Together Service (6.30pm), we will return to Aldeburgh church for our 10.00am service of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer. All are welcome – and the service will also be recorded and appear on our YouTube channel by lunchtime.

Finally, a quick look back to last Sunday and a huge thank-you from me to everyone who made things work so beautifully. Those who prepared printed material, those who cleaned and decorated our churches, those who were sidesman and stewards, those who contributed music, those who prepared for, and came to, our Dawn Service in Aldeburgh churchyard (more than 50 people did – and the fire burned brightly, thanks Ken!) – and to my clergy colleagues who, like me, were doubtless aware of the fact that it had been a long time since they celebrated Holy Communion with a live congregation and were overjoyed to enjoy the privilege once again. Thank you all! Alleluia!

With love – and renewed Easter Greetings

Mark

Collect
Merciful Father and Lord of all life, we praise you that we are made in your image and reflect your truth and light. We thank you for the life of His Royal Highness Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, for the love he received from you and showed among us. Above all, we rejoice at your gracious promise to all your servants, living and departed, that we shall rise again at the coming of Christ. And we ask that in due time we may share with your servant Philip that clearer vision promised to us in the same Christ our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Reading
Revelation 21.1-7
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’  Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

 

Sermon for 11th April – Second Sunday of Easter,
by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

PHILIP DUKE OF EDINBURGH RIP

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.

He was the longest-lived male member of the British Royal Family. He joined it 73 years ago when he married Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and he became Prince Consort in 1952 when she became Queen – 69 years ago – the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch. He was, if you like, service personified. And that service to the British crown went back even further – he joined the Royal Navy in 1939 at the age of 18 and served with distinction in both the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets. If anyone really knew and lived loyalty it was Prince Philip. And if that implies that he surrendered his personality to his role – well, we know better, don’t we? One national newspaper tribute to him ends with some words from a former Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, to a royal biographer:

“If one of the standard English aristocrats had married the Queen it would have bored everyone out of their minds.”

And the paper’s final, and thoroughly apt words are:

‘The Duke of Edinburgh was many things, but one thing he was not was boring.’

Another thing about him, which no doubt we’ll see reflected not just in tributes but in the plans for the next few days, is that he wasn’t one for a fuss. He certainly let it be known that he didn’t want people fussing over him when he was in hospital recently and he had said that his own funeral should be a relatively simple one – at St George’s Chapel in Windsor rather than Westminster Abbey – though it will no doubt, be with full military honours, as befits a distinguished naval officer.

We will, of course, never really know the private Prince – and so we shouldn’t. Prince Philip was of an era when intrusions into royal private life were rare. But we do get something of the flavour of the man from snippets in biographies. One writer, who knew him well, says:

He was … creative, but did not advertise the fact. He planted avenues of trees, created water gardens, laid out borders and beds. He liked painting. He read poetry. He was fascinated by nature and religion. “I take an interest in comparative religion,” he admitted to me, “but I mustn’t talk about it or I’ll be labelled a religious crank.”

I’d love to learn more about that side of Prince Philip.

But to return to where I began and the idea of loyal service. Prince Philip spent the majority of his life living for others – most notably, of course, the Queen, but also countless organisations and charities for which he was happy to be a figurehead and contribute the occasional witty speech (he was proud of the fact that he knew how to make an audience laugh). He served so many who probably weren’t entirely aware of what that service meant to him and what it cost him. And the fact that the Queen has been able to serve her country in the way that she has for so long is, at least in part, because Prince Philip served her and her position so well.

In 1997, in a speech at their Golden Wedding celebrations, the Queen said this of him:

“He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments. But he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”

May Prince Philip reast in peace and rise in glory.

Amen

 

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 18th April
The Third Sunday of Easter

 

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Your GP surgery is unable to offer a certification of Covid vaccination, a vaccination passport or a letter to prove you have been vaccinated against Covid-19. You can, however find details of all your vaccinations on the NHS App: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-app/

Proof of vaccination documents have not yet been developed and, as such, cannot be provided by your GP. As soon as we have further information, we will share it with you.

 

Our Alde Sandlings Churches beautifully decorated for Easter.
A HUGE thank you to all that made it happen

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Please visit the Aldeburgh Parish Church website – Parish news, for more photos.

 

 

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 4th April – Easter Sunday

Message from The Rector

We have arrived at what is known as the ‘Paschal Triduum’ – the three days that, together, form the most holy time of the church year. Strictly speaking, the triduum spans the period from the evening of Maundy Thursday to the evening of Easter Day and during that time we journey with Christ through his time of trial, his crucifixion, the ‘empty day’ that we should really call Holy Saturday (it isn’t Easter quite yet) and then the greatest feast-day of all, Easter Day. We will mark the events as best we can during these (hopefully) final days of restriction. We aren’t allowed to gather for walks of witness on Good Friday and we aren’t allowed to gather on the beach on Easter Day but there is plenty that we still can do. Here’s a summary of what is planned.

Thursday April 1st (Maundy Thursday) 7.00pm
Online service of Holy Communion will be on the benefice YouTube channel, ending with the solemn stripping of the altar.

Friday April 2nd (Good Friday)
10.00am Zoom Good Friday Service from Friston 
Links are further down this pew sheet

Midday – 3pm Aldeburgh church open – quiet service for the Last Three Hours

Sunday April 4th (Easter Day)
6.30am Dawn Service in Aldeburgh churchyard (wrap up warm – I promise that the service won’t be too long!)

9.30am Holy Communion service in Knodishall church

9.45am Holy Communion service in Friston church
Live streaming on Zoom
Links are further down this pew sheet

10.30am Holy Communion service in Aldeburgh church
Online service of Holy Communion will be on the
benefice YouTube channel from 3pm.

11.00am Holy Communion service in Aldringham church

It is tempting to dwell on what we cannot do but if we turn the other cheek and look at what is possible, we will, I hope, still be able to journey with Jesus from the darkest of times to the most joyful. And I suspect that Easter Day in our churches will feel very special indeed this year. Even if we can’t sing, we can still celebrate – and we will!

With love – and (when it comes) Easter Greetings

Mark

Collect
Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

First Reading
Isaiah 25.6-9
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
Acts 10.34-43 
Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

 

Gospel Reading
John 20.1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Sermon for 4th April – Easter Day,
by The Revd James Marston

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

In the words of the psalmist: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” 1

Easter Sunday 2021 is, it seems to me, cause for a double celebration. Not only is it Easter – the biggest feast of the church’s year which marks the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ – but also the re-convening and re-formation of our church.

Alongside the gradual reopening of our society, we are back together again once more. It has been a long and somewhat arduous journey for us all, and one which we hope we won’t have to repeat, and today marks not only the end of that journey but something of a new beginning for us all heralded, of course, by the renewed life of spring that we cannot fail to notice around us.  Today, this morning, is one we can all be grateful for and a reason for the joy in our hearts.

In the salad days of my youth, I cannot profess to being much of a sportsman. I didn’t really understand the point of team games let alone things tortuous such as athletics or the ghastly long jump. Indeed, as a schoolboy, my sports master once took me aside to suggest that “Not everyone is a front runner, James, would like you like to fire the starting pistol instead.”

Indeed, beyond the flat season at Newmarket, sport is not something about which I often express much enthusiasm. I am built for comfort not speed.

So, I can’t help noticing that in today’s Gospel reading, and in the other accounts of the resurrection, there’s quite a bit of running isn’t there?

On the discovery of the removal of the stone, Mary Magdalene hot foots it to the disciples, I suspect as a result of her distress at the thought of the stolen body of Jesus. Peter and the beloved disciple also get running to find out what’s been going on. Indeed, they run together, and John includes the detail that the beloved disciple gets there first, perhaps he was younger and lighter on his feet.

This running around depicts something of the confusion, perhaps even panic, experienced by these witnesses as the events of the resurrection unfurl. It can also be used as a metaphor for our faith – do we run anymore about anything regarding our faith, or have we slowed way down?

We hear from the Gospel accounts, that following the death of Jesus and the unimaginable horrors of the crucifixion, that Christ appears to them, though they don’t always recognise him immediately.

Indeed, in John’s account the recognition of Jesus by Mary comes aurally not visually from the moment he mentions her name. Begging the observation, of course, that our Lord may communicate with us in ways we might not expect or which we might find surprising, or which we sometimes fail to notice.

Nonetheless, the result of the resurrection, in those early days, is that the followers of Jesus were utterly compelled to come out of hiding and risk their own lives to tell others of what they had experienced and share the joy of faith.

Whatever the resurrection was, and it often strikes me as something of a mystery that is hard to pin down in human words, it was life changing and transformative for those who believed.

And it remains the case today, the resurrection is still life changing and transformative. The resurrected Christ has not gone away. And from those first confused and unsure witnesses to the rest of the disciples to St Paul onwards, over the last 2,000 years countless numbers of people have experienced and know the presence of Jesus in their lives. And that is also what we are celebrating today, and as Christians we are no less compelled to retell the story share the faith and hold on to the hope of salvation and eternal life.

As we come together again and pray the ancient thanksgiving of the Eucharist, I am reminded that not only are we together once again, but that Jesus is here among us once more. In the bread and wine of communion, in each other, in the Body of Christ that makes up this worshipping community in this place, the resurrected Christ is present.

It seems to me that Easter Sunday, perhaps this year more than ever, is the firing pistol we may sometimes need to reenergise and reinvigorate our faith.

Not least because it is a reminder not only of our own resurrection as a worshipping community but of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that extraordinary event on which our faith is based, and for which we must thank again and again almighty God.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”2

Amen.

1 & 2 Psalm 118v24

 

Post Communion
God of Life, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son 
to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection
have delivered us from the power of our enemy:
grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore l
ive with him in the joy of his risen life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 11th April
The Second Sunday of Easter

WE WISH YOU ALL A VERY
HAPPY EASTER

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 28th March – Palm Sunday

Message from The Rector

And so we arrive at Holy Week. A reminder of the services in our benefice:

Palm Sunday (March 28th)

Zoom Morning Prayer from Friston – 9.45am

Holy Communion service online from 10.00am. You’ll need a Palm Cross for this service and if you don’t have one there is a special Palm Cross in the attachment with this pew-sheet that you can cut out!

Palm Sunday Service in Aldringham (with donkeys!) 11.00am

Monday March 29th – 7.00pm

Meditative service based on Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross.  Music played by a local string quartet, meditations written by Timothy Radcliffe.

The (Roman Catholic) Church of Our Lady & St Peter, Aldeburgh
Numbers in church are restricted – (free) tickets available here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/seven-last-words-of-christ-tickets-145545938821

The service will be live-streamed here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-GsEOvS0m19a_jvjwgLRDw/videos

Tuesday March 30th – 6.00pm

Zoom meditative service for Holy Week from Friston

Wednesday March 31st

From 10.00am Holy Communion service according to the Book of Common Prayer on the Alde Sandlings YouTube channel

6.00pm Zoom Compline for Holy Week from Friston
(The links to all of the Friston services are elsewhere in this pew-sheet)

6.30pm Zoom Pilgrims Together worship

Thursday April 1st (Maundy Thursday) – 7.00pm

Online service of Holy Communion on the benefice YouTube channel

Friday April 2nd – (Good Friday)

10.00am Zoom Good Friday Service from Friston

Midday – 3pm Aldeburgh church open – quiet service for the
Last Three Hours

Sunday April 4th – (Easter Day)

6.30am Dawn Service in Aldeburgh churchyard

9.30am Holy Communion service in Knodishall church

9.45am Holy Communion service in Friston church

10.30am Holy Communion service in Aldeburgh church

11.00am Holy Communion service in Aldringham church

All are welcome at all of our services, ‘live’ and online. It may not be the Easter we all hoped for (it seems congregations will still not be able to sing indoors) but it is still Easter.

And from Easter Day onwards regular Sunday services resume in all of our churches, fortnightly in Knodishall, weekly elsewhere – and as soon as we are able to sing together, we will!

On the day before Easter Day (Saturday April 3rd) at 2pm Chris Theobald from ‘The Parrot’ will be hosting another Zoom cooking session.  First there were ‘Jammy Dodgers’, then there were pancakes and now Chris has come up with a wonderful Easter recipe – ‘Mini-Egg Brownie’.  All the details, including the ingredients list, are further down the pew-sheet.  I’ve been lucky enough to see a picture of what the brownie should look like and I can’t wait to taste it!  Huge thanks to Chris for giving us his time and ingenuity.

At Easter we celebrate life renewed and we are surrounded by signs of it. I hope and pray that, as our church buildings reopen and we begin physically to be together for worship once again, the Easter spirit of hope, of renewal and of joy might permeate our thinking and our plans for the future. The best of the old and the new, thoughtfully and prayerfully combined, has the potential to re-energise our church life and help us to draw others to God in Christ Jesus. And I don’t know about you, but I find that a very exciting prospect!

May you have a wonderfully reflective Holy Week followed by a joyous Eastertide.

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race sent your
Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
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 50.4-9a
The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards.
I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.


Second Reading
Philippians 2.5-11
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.

Gospel Reading
Mark 11.1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” ’They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Sermon for 28th March – Palm Sunday by,
The Revd Nichola Winter

As a child I always felt that Palm Sunday was an amazingly exciting day – lots of joy and jubilation; celebration, clapping and welcoming of Jesus into the life of the church, the town and our lives. Even if we didn’t understand fully what he was about, this seemed like the beginning of a party. No solemnity, no sitting still and keeping quiet, no whispered prayers here. No social distancing. This, surely, was how life was supposed to be. And church could be part of it, too.

The journey through Holy Week, of course, soon takes a different direction. This week is a challenge to faith. It takes us on a roller coaster ride. It can be tempting to dismiss it, to brush it aside. OK, we know that Good Friday is approaching; that almost relentless focus on suffering, on death, on pain. But hey- we know that Easter Day is just around the corner. And then everything will be OK. Like the fairy tales we were told as children it all comes out right in the end and we can carry on our lives as normal…

We live in a world and society where we know that there is pain and suffering in the world, but we choose often to dwell on it as little as possible; to focus on doing whatever we can to convince ourselves that we’re having a good time. For the last year in particular we’ve been living with restrictions and limitations on our lives, our freedom of movement, our ability to meet friends and family. No-one is comfortable talking about death and pain; many of us will have seen at first hand the pain in ourselves and others caused by Covid. We’ve had our fill of the gritty, grotty bits of life. We want a break… Social media, TV and newspaper adverts would have us reset our aims and goals – recreate those dubiously-named ‘bucket lists’ that hold all our dreams and hopes. Places to go, amazing activities to experience, ways to re-invent ourselves. The solemnity of Lent and the challenges of Holy Week are just two more serious pieces of the extraordinary year we have been through. How we long to get out of lockdown, back into a world of fun – to really party again and ‘have it all.’

Was that what the crowd who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem about? Living under an oppressive regime they probably welcomed the chance of a bit of excitement – and who could blame them? Here was the latest sensation – life would be OK now.

But it goes wrong; and today, too, much as we might wish to, we cannot bypass the cross. The path this week will lead us along hard ways. We need to face the reality of life before we can truly experience the promised joy. My childish optimism about Palm Sunday soon took a reality check; we continue learning the truth about Jesus; the questions he asks of us, and all that he stands for throughout the rest of our lives. As we walk the way of Holy Week, the poet Malcolm Guite asks us these questions:

What does it mean to welcome Jesus into the city of my heart?
Who or what really occupies that city, and who is really in charge?

Here is his sonnet for Palm Sunday:

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The Saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple. Jesus, come
Break my resistance and make me your home.

Post Communion
Lord Jesus Christ, you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant
and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation:
give us the mind to follow you and to proclaim you as Lord and King,
to the glory of God the Father.

A PRAYER FOR HOLY WEEK

St. Francis, still searching for what his life’s mission should be, is praying in the ruined church of San Damiano just outside Assisi. He has already put back up an ancient painted Crucifix which was lying in the ruins.

In his prayer the Crucifix speaks to him:

“FRANCIS, REBUILD MY CHURCH WHICH IS
EVERYWHERE IN RUINS”.

Francis’ response, no doubt through several versions, has
come down to us in this “Prayer before the Cross”:

All highest, glorious God,
cast your light into the darkness of my heart.

Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity,
and profound humility,

with wisdom and perception,
O Lord, so that I may do truly what is your holy will.
Amen.

One for us in changing times?

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 4th April
Easter Day

National Day of Reflection Postcard

As many of you will know, this coming Tuesday (23rd) has been designated a National Day of Reflection.  This is how it is explained on the Marie Curie website (Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity.)

Since the first lockdown began in 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have died. Too many lives have been cut short and millions have been bereaved. Behind the statistics and whatever the cause, every death has been devastating for the people left behind. Join us on 23 March, the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown, for a National Day of Reflection to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future. There are still tough times ahead, as the death toll continues to rise. This annual day will give us all time to pause and think about this unprecedented loss we’re facing, and support each other through grief in the years to come.

On Tuesday there will be a one-minute silence at Midday and church bells will be tolled.  In the evening, at 8pm, we are all encouraged to ‘shine a light’.  Marie Curie says:

At 8pm we’ll hold a minute’s silence and come together to light up the night. Stand outside with a light – a candle, a torch, even your phone – to remember someone who’s died and show your support to people going through a bereavement.  Alternatively you can shine a light in your window for everyone to see. 

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 21st March – The Fifth Sunday of Lent/Passion Sunday

Message from The Rector

After this week’s PCC meetings, we now have a plan for all of our services in Holy Week and on Easter Day.

Palm Sunday – March 28th

Holy Communion service online from 10.00am

Palm Sunday Service in Aldringham (with donkeys!) 11.00am

Monday – March 29th 7.00pm

Meditative service based on Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross. Music played by a local string quartet, meditations written by Timothy Radcliffe.
The (Roman Catholic) Church of Our Lady & St Peter, Aldeburgh
Numbers in church are restricted – (free) tickets available here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/seven-last-words-of-christ-tickets-145545938821

The service will be live-streamed here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-GsEOvS0m19a_jvjwgLRDw/videos

Tuesday March 30th 6.00pm
Meditation & Reflection Service for Holy Week from Friston on Zoom

Wednesday March 31st
From 10.00am Holy Communion service according to the Book of
Common Prayer on the Alde Sandlings YouTube channel
6.00pm Special Holy Week, Night Prayer from Friston on Zoom
(The links to the Friston services will be in next week’s pew sheet)
6.30pm Zoom Pilgrims Together worship

Thursday April 1st (Maundy Thursday) 7.00pm
Online service of Holy Communion on the benefice YouTube channel

Friday April 2nd (Good Friday)
10.00am – Good Friday Service from Friston on Zoom
Midday – 3pm Aldeburgh church open – quiet service for the
Last Three Hours

Sunday April 4th (Easter Day)
6.30am Dawn Service in Aldeburgh churchyard
9.30am Holy Communion service in Knodishall church
9.45am Holy Communion service in Friston church
10.30am Holy Communion service in Aldeburgh church
11.00am Holy Communion service in Aldringham church

And from Easter Day onwards regular Sunday services resume in all of our churches. More details next week. All are welcome at all of our services, ‘live’ and online. It may not be the Easter we all hoped for (it seems we still won’t be able to sing) but it is still Easter.

And speaking of Easter, our churches have clubbed together (a big thank-you to our generous PCCs and Treasurers) to give each of the children at Aldeburgh and Coldfair Green Primary Schools a ‘Real Easter Egg’. It’s a delicious chocolate egg, made with Fairtrade ingredients and including a 24-page booklet that tells the Easter story. We thought that as we were unable to hold any ‘Messy Church’ events, this would be a good way to spread the Easter message far and wide.

As many of you will know, this coming Tuesday (23rd) has been designated a National Day of Reflection. This is how it is explained on the Marie Curie website (Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity.)

Since the first lockdown began in 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have died. Too many lives have been cut short and millions have been bereaved.

Behind the statistics and whatever the cause, every death has been devastating for the people left behind.

Join us on 23 March, the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown, for a National Day of Reflection to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.

There are still tough times ahead, as the death toll continues to rise. This annual day will give us all time to pause and think about this unprecedented loss we’re facing and support each other through grief in the years to come.

On Tuesday there will be a one-minute silence at Midday and church bells will be tolled. In the evening, at 8pm, we are all encouraged to ‘shine a light’. Marie Curie says:

At 8pm we’ll hold a minute’s silence and come together to light up the night. Stand outside with a light – a candle, a torch, even your phone – to remember someone who’s died and show your support to people going through a bereavement. Alternatively, you can shine a light in your window for everyone to see.

We have attached a postcard to this email with a prayer to use on Tuesday. Please do feel free to share it.

Finally, some news from The Revd Nicky Winter. As many of you will know, Nicky’s health has been far from perfect in recent months. She has had to have an operation to remove a large kidney-stone and is still waiting for the follow-up operation to complete the work. All will be well, but she needs some time to recover and build up her strength. After talking to me, Archdeacon Jeanette and Bishop Mike we have decided together that she will take a year out, Easter to Easter. During that time, she won’t be taking any services but will very much still be around, happy to chat on the phone. I don’t need to tell you that Nicky is a hugely valued and much-loved member of our clergy team. I’m sure everyone wishes her well and will be ready to welcome her back with wide-open arms next year and, of course, she will be in our prayers.

With love, as ever

Mark

 

Collect
Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory; 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
Jeremiah 31.31-34
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. 

Second Reading
Hebrews 5.5-10
So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’; as he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’ In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Gospel Reading
John 12.20-33
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

 

Sermon for 21st March – The Fifth Sunday of Lent/Passion Sunday by,
The Revd Johanna Mabey

“May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord our rock and our redeemer.”

A life of faith is many things – at times glorious, exhilarating, and life affirming, and at others difficult, confusing, and even painful.

Usually when I sit down to write a reflection or sermon the words fly out of my head and on to the screen easily, but other times the process is harder, longer, and exhausting. Despite some heartfelt prayers for assistance, the preparation of this reflection falls into the second category!

Today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, is the start of Passiontide, as we begin to focus on the cross. We feel a change of gear; the pace is hotting up and the events that we commemorate in Holy Week are almost upon us.

The cross, becomes for us a crossroads: the promise of hope and redemption while at the same time, testifying to the reality of suffering.
I think the reality of suffering has been at the heart of my struggles with our scripture readings today. The National Day of Reflection on Tuesday will bring the depth of suffering across the UK into sharp focus. So far around 146,487 lives have been lost due to the pandemic here, and an estimated 2.67 million lives globally. As I write, according to John Hopkins University, globally there are 5,500 deaths every day due to covid-19.

As we enter Passiontide, and follow the story of the betrayal, arrest, trial and execution of Christ there are recognisable human threads to the story that might find some connection with the situation that all of us are in because of the virus.

The changes to the way we’re now living are echoed in the Holy Week story. Because the central figure, Jesus of Nazareth, has up to this point in his life, been purposeful, active and public. He’s often been surrounded by crowds, interacting with people every day.

But in Holy Week, he becomes no longer the subject of the action but the object. He becomes someone to whom things are done. Not someone who is in control anymore. This is the dual meaning of the Passion of Christ; the suffering yes, that he has to face, but also that he submits to the powerful forces that overtake him.

Holy Week and Easter are incredibly challenging psychologically as well as spiritually for those who follow its events and pray through its story.

Not least because Christ’s story faces us with the human passion story; the weeks of confinement we have all endured, when thoughts of death have come uncomfortably close, when we have been, and still are at the mercy of forces beyond our control.

The horror and beauty of the passion story find echoes in the horror and beauty of the past year, filled as it has been with the distress of grief, alongside the kindness, courage, and generosity of so many.

Loss and renewal, dying and rising, is at the heart of the resurrection and also at the core of our baptism.

In our reading from Jeremiah, we hear God’s promise – “I will write my law on their hearts….and they shall all know me…from the least of them to the greatest.”  In order to know God fully we need to be prepared to say “no” to those things that spoil that relationship.

Today’s gospel is set in the context of the Passover feast – a feast that celebrates the Israelites’ liberation from bondage in Egypt. It’s about letting go, leaving behind, and moving into a new life.

Some Greeks come to Philip and say, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” When they tell Jesus about this request, he answers, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  That’s his response to those who want to see him; to the Greeks, to us, to everyone.

And that dying is about more than a physical death. We die many kinds of death throughout our lifetime. The loss of a loved one, a relationship, health, opportunities, a dream; all deaths we didn’t want or ask for.

Other times we choose our losses and deaths, giving up parts of ourselves for another. And sometimes there are things we need to let go of, things we cling to that deny us the fullness of life God offers: that may be fear, anger or resentment, regret and disappointment, guilt, the need to be right, the need for approval…

Seeing Jesus, then, is a way to be followed; a life to be lived. It’s being a grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies so that it might bear much fruit. It’s the letting go, the emptying, the leaving behind, and the dying that makes space for new life to arise. That’s when we really see Jesus.

Letting go doesn’t mean rejection or walking away. And it doesn’t mean choosing absence over presence. Instead, it makes room for new life and new ways of being present. Our letting go gives God something with which to work. Why would we want to continue to live as a self-enclosed, single grain of wheat when we can flourish and live fruitful lives?

Throughout Holy Week, this pattern of loss and renewal will be unveiled each day; but we already know it ends at Easter – the empty tomb, the dawn of a new day, and the renewal of life. The single grain becomes, for us, the Bread of Life.

Amen

Post Communion
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do also for you: give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, now and for ever.

 

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 28th March
Palm Sunday

 

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. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

The Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last few months due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

You should also check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat – just like we used to.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for links and information.

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for links and information.

Saturday 20th March 7pm
Pilgrims Together Story Telling Ceilidh

The Pilgrims are very much looking forward to hearing all the golden nuggets of local facts and stories this Saturday (20th March).

Thank you to Sue for organising and to everyone who will be providing an offering. There will be time between the different contributions for others to add their own memories and understanding of the stories told.  Have a glass or mug of something at the ready and sit back and enjoy. ALL WELCOME.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for links and information.

Date for your diary –   Pilgrims Zoom Easter Cake Bake 
led by Chris at the Parrot

                         Saturday 3rd April from 2pm (ahead of Easter Sunday)

Ingredients to follow (Chris is working on an original recipe this weekend so it will no doubt be delicious!)

Zoom link details will be sent out with the ingredients list.

All are welcome, so please forward this to people who you think would like to join us!

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends
Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat – just like we used to.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for links and information.

 

✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

To join the Zoom Meeting, please use this link.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for links and information.

 

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.
Please send Claire your content by Thursday at 4pm if you wish for it to be included in the Saturday newsletter.

 

Book/TV/Film Review Club

Have you found a great escape during this lockdown in books, a tv series, or a good film? Are you re-visiting the classics, or reading them for the first time? What box sets are you binge watching? Are you watching Bloodlands, Unforgotten, Marcella, The Crown?
Please do share your reviews/recommendations with us.
Just send your review to admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk.

Art in a Bag
Are you interested in art and craft? Volunteers in connection with the East Suffolk Community Partnership have created something called  “Art in a Bag”. The idea was developed with the input of groups in the area including the good neighbour schemes, parish and town councils, libraries, Rose and Sweet William Club, churches and key group leaders. The bags are aimed particularly at people who may be socially isolated and who are unable attend their normal activities and clubs. The project covers the whole Community Partnership area from Aldeburgh and Snape up to Westleton and across to Saxmundham. The contents have been developed with an artist via The Art Station in Saxmundham who is actually based in London and in normal times runs activity groups for the British Museum. There is a great selection of quality art materials included and some guides on different things that can be made.  If you are interested, please contact

admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk and we will pass on your details. 

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 14th March – The Fourth Sunday of Lent/Mothering Sunday

Message from The Rector

Our plans for Holy Week and Easter services aren’t quite 100% complete (PCC meetings in Friston and Knodishall this coming week will fix that) but I thought I ought to let you know about the plans that are in place.

On Palm Sunday (March 28th) there will be a service at Aldringham church at 11.00. If the weather is kind to us, we will hold at least some of it outdoors and it will be graced by the presence of two beautiful miniature donkeys.

There will be some special services online during Holy Week.

On Good Friday (April 2nd) Aldeburgh Church will be open from Midday until 3.00pm and there will be a simple quiet liturgy with bible readings, words of meditation, some recorded music – and lots of silence.

On Easter Day (April 4th) there will be a service at 6.30am in Aldeburgh churchyard. It replaces the service that we have traditionally held on the beach (this year we are not allowed to congregate anywhere other than in church or a churchyard) – but we will still be able to see the sea! Then all four churches (subject to confirmation at Friston and Knodishall’s PCC meetings) will hold services at their usual times and these will mark the ‘reopening’ of the church buildings for regular Sunday worship.

All are welcome at any of these services, at which we will be taking all of the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. As things currently stand, we will still not be allowed to sing (even outdoors) but there is a chance that this ruling might change any day now. Hope and pray!

With love, as ever

Mark

Collect
God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself: strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and in sorrow we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal; 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
Exodus 2.1-10
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.   The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

Second Reading
Luke 2.33-35
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

 

Sermon for 14th March – The Fourth Sunday of Lent/Mothering Sunday
by our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther

It’s good, isn’t it, to have a ‘day off’ every now and then. A day when, whatever your normal routine, you do something different, or do less –
or even do nothing. In this penitential season of Lent one Sunday was traditionally marked as a ‘day off’ from the solemnity, a day of celebration – and it was this one. It has lots of names. It’s the 4th Sunday in Lent. Some churches also mark it as ‘Laetare’ Sunday. ‘Laetare’ means ‘rejoice’ and it’s the first word of the traditional introit for today – ‘Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together, all that love her’ – an interesting feminine image – hold that thought. Laetare Sunday, also sometimes known as ‘Refreshment Sunday’, is a day when some of the more solemn aspects of Lent are relaxed, just for the one day. Easter is within sight now, though there is a lot of solemnity to come before we get there …. It’s the original day for Simnel cake – and in churches that wear vestments the normal Lenten purple can become a gentle rose pink – just for today. (There’s one Sunday in Advent when the same thing happens, by the way.)

And, of course, today is Mothering Sunday.

Mothering Sunday is a church festival that goes back hundreds of years and originally it had nothing to do with us all giving presents to our mothers. It was a day when, as I mentioned at the beginning of the service, people went back to the church where they were baptised – their ‘mother church’. Then, in the United States in the early years of the 20th century, the Mother’s Day tradition began – a special day for people to remember their mothers – and eventually the two – Mothering Sunday and Mother’s Day became, more or less the same thing. And today was chosen as the day at least in part because the Prayer-Book Epistle for today (from Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians) has the image of Jerusalem being ‘the mother of us all’. Another feminine image.

But the combination of Mothering Sunday and Mother’s Day is a good excuse for us to give thanks for our mothers here in church. Once, when I asked the children of Aldeburgh Primary School about what their mothers do for them, I heard back about food, bandaging up wounds, just being there – and loving. And for doing all of those things for which we give thanks for our mothers. But let me just stretch that a little. We often talk about God as our father – heavenly father, loving father – which is fine and good but not the whole story. There’s a danger that, even though we know that God isn’t a he or a she it’s a male image that comes into our minds. Bishop Richard Harries (the former Bishop of Oxford and a regular ‘Thought for the Day’-er on Radio 4) expressed the rather beautiful idea that all that we mean by ‘he’ or ‘she’ is contained within God. And given that God is beyond anything we can imagine – certainly beyond male and female – it’s perfectly OK to talk of God as our mother too. We do sometimes, but probably not enough. ‘As a mother tenderly gathers her children you embraced a people as your own’ we say in one of our Eucharistic Prayers. And Jesus, in both Matthew and Like’s gospels, says, of Jerusalem, ‘How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings’ …. A beautiful image that only works because of its feminine nature. I’ve mentioned a couple of other feminine images from the bible, and they go right back to the Old Testament – the book of Proverbs has wisdom described as feminine: ‘Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries out: ‘To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live.’

And just think of those things that the school-children told me that their mothers do. Binding up our wounds, being there for us, loving us – and feeding us. Doesn’t God do those things? God binds up our wounds – when we fall short of what God wants us to be, God forgives us, ‘binds up our wounds and revives us’ (to quote the prophet Hosea). God is always there for us – always, even when things seem at their most bleak and desolate. God loves us – always. Something so vital to hang on to at times like these.

God loves us so much that he sent his son to show us what love really is. And God feeds us – with the most special food of all – the word of life and the bread of heaven. That’s why, week by week, even when we can’t meet in our buildings, we come together to worship, isn’t it?

Amen

What have we learned from the COVID19 Pandemic and
how will it change our lives?
by Ian Henderson

Writing this on 11th March 2021 we are told that by 21st June all Covid Government restrictions on the nation will be lifted.  The negative effects of the pandemic are all too obvious leaving globally millions dead, many more left weakened by the after effects of the infection, the havoc wreaked on world trade, the long lasting impact of the cost to future generations, the unknown impact on the world’s fragile financial situation brought about by the experimental money printing activities of the world’s Central Banks and finally the disruption to the education of a whole generation.

Perhaps this is a good moment to ponder on what we have learned from the COVID 19 pandemic and assess how it may change the way we lead our lives? 

First and foremost, for those with faith we know that God has been with us every step of the way.  We know that mankind has faced similar pandemics in the past and that there is much to be learned from studying the bible and reading accounts of how God is with us through hard times and guides our way to a better life.  Indeed, have you noticed how much more considerate people have become by helping those in need, an example being the flood of volunteers offering their services to AGNES here in Aldeburgh; furthermore, have you noticed the polite way in which total strangers step back from the path and give a cheerful greeting to passers-by?  I believe that we are all now much more aware of the needs of others and are prepared to offer a helping hand.

Another positive of the “lockdown” has been time.  Being unable to pursue our work and many leisure activities that would otherwise have occupied our time, we have been able to get those things done that we had intended to do for so long and we have been able to have time to think and contemplate what is happening to the world around us.  Many of us have enjoyed long and frequent walks where we have been able to commune with nature.  Many city dwellers have moved to the countryside often where they have still managed to carry out their work.  I gain the impression from some that they will now make a permanent move from city dwelling.  Home working has become a feature of life that will remain with us.  Another impact will be on multi-national living.  So many families now are scattered around the globe and now are cut off from each other.  Could it be that the time of relatively inexpensive international travel is gone, never to return?  Certainly, the carbon footprint of those families trying to re-establish contact will be something that the individual and climate change activists will be closely monitoring.  I suspect that there will be a massive increase in taxation on travel to help pay for the costs of the pandemic.

The conclusion to these thoughts is my hope that much good will come out of the Covid disaster and that we will continue to act more thoughtfully and kindly towards our neighbours and take better care of this earth and the time that is given to us on it.      

Many thanks to Ian Henderson for his reflection on this last year.

 

 

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 21st March
Fifth Sunday of Lent

 

 

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. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

Update from the Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last few months due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated.

You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

You should also check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact

admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for the link.

**Saturday 20th March 7pm – ‘Did you know Ceilidh’**

Following the great success of our first ‘Did you know Ceilidh’, another has been planned!  Tell a story of local interest, provide an interesting fact or 2 about our community, introduce us to our local area past and present…surprise us with nuggets of information, the possibilities are endless…you might want to share a short presentation…

Come along and share, come along and just listen.  Enjoy the evening with a glass / mug of something special of your choice.  
Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more info.

 

✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞
Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning
Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for the link.

 

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends
Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat – just like we used to.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for the link.

 

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. 

 

Book/TV/Film Review Club
Have you found a great escape during this lockdown in books, a tv series, or a good film? Are you re-visiting the classics, or reading them for the first time? What box sets are you binge watching? Are you watching Bloodlands, Unforgotten, Marcella, The Crown? 

Please do share your reviews/recommendations with us.
Just send your review to admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk.
We would really love to hear your suggestions.

 

Art in a Bag
Are you interested in art and craft? Volunteers in connection with the East Suffolk Community Partnership have created something called
“Art in a Bag”. The idea was developed with the input of groups in the area including the good neighbour schemes, parish and town councils, libraries, Rose and Sweet William Club, churches and key group leaders. The bags are aimed particularly at people who may be socially isolated and who are unable attend their normal activities and clubs. The project covers the whole Community Partnership area from Aldeburgh and Snape up to Westleton and across to Saxmundham. The contents have been developed with an artist via The Art Station in Saxmundham who is actually based in London and in normal times runs activity groups for the British Museum. There is a great selection of quality art materials included and some guides on different things that can be made.

There are a number of bags ready to be distributed and more in the pipeline subject to demand. If you are interested, please contact

admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk and we will pass on your details. 

Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 7th March – The Third Sunday of Lent

Message from The Rector

Some really good news to begin with. The details still need to be finalised, but I think it is safe to announce that there will be services in our churches at Easter. We will still need to be very careful; we will use the possibility offered to us by our churchyards to hold some of them outdoors (where things are a little safer) but, all being well, I should be able to reveal some more details next week. Alleluia!

Speaking of churchyards, a word or two about Aldeburgh. We have a plan to thin out the trees in the churchyard, remove the dead and diseased ones and carry out necessary, and long overdue, maintenance on others. All of the work has to be approved by both the council and the diocese – nothing will be done improperly. But we have hit a problem. Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s a number of trees were planted that had been donated by Aldeburgh families in memory of loved ones departed. We think there was a plan, or a list, of all of these trees but it has been missing for some years. Searches were made during the vacancy before my arrival, and nothing was found, and we have tried again recently with no success. So, if anyone has any information about where that list, or a copy of it, might be we would love to know. Ideally, before we do any work on any of these trees, we would like to be able to contact families who donated them 30 years ago. All information gratefully received!

The general tidy-up of Aldeburgh churchyard continues – and you may be able to help. Recent windy weather has brought down lots of twigs and small branches and we need to collect them together. If you fancy spending a few minutes in the churchyard doing a ‘natural litter pick’ and collecting some of the debris, there are now some signposted places to leave stuff (courtesy of Nigel Howcutt and Mike Shepherd – thanks gents) and from where it can easily be collected together to be dealt with. All help most gratefully received.

For any who missed our local World Day of Prayer service on Friday (compiled by the women of Vanuatu) you can still find it online. The easiest place to go is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myy_RbdOZIg

.. and listen out for some familiar voices!

Online services and social events continue, and I would particularly draw your attention to the upcoming ones organised by our ‘Pilgrims Together’ group, beginning with a quiz on the evening of Saturday 6th (if you’re reading this email on the day it arrived, that’s tonight!) The last one was great fun and very well put together and this one promises to be too. Full details elsewhere in this document.

Finally, as part of our gentle reawakening of services in church, weekday Morning Prayer will resume in Aldeburgh church on Monday at 9.00am. Anyone is welcome at any of the services, and they last no more than 30 minutes.

With love, as ever

Mark


Collect
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

First Reading
Exodus 20.1-17
Then God spoke all these words:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.  You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.  For six days you shall labour and do all your work.  But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

 

Second Reading
John 2.13-22 
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables.  Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.  He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’  His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’  The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’  Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’  The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’  But he was speaking of the temple of his body.  After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

 

Sermon for 7th March – The Third Sunday of Lent
by The Revd James Marston – John 2.13-22

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

Over recent weeks I have been wondering about my faith. Indeed, I have been somewhat troubled and, perhaps accentuated in the quiet moments of lockdown, all sorts of questions have bubbled up into my mind.

Am I imbued with the Christian story in the way I need to be? Am I any good at being a priest? What does God want me to do anyway? What if I’ve got it all wrong? How come everyone else seems so sure?

In these times I think we all have been forced to think deeply about our lives and many have asked themselves the questions to which we don’t always have the answers.

And we all have doubts from time to time. Indeed, if we were all sure all the time about the existence of God it wouldn’t be faith at all. Faith requires doubt, it seems to me, in order to keep it energised, to keep it going and to keep it growing.

This is because doubt makes us look back time and again at why we came to faith in the first place. We retell to ourselves those moments, those markers along the way, when we did glimpse something of the light, we remember the times when we felt God alongside us.

Indeed, I suspect doubt is sometimes a healthy thing as it challenges us to reconsider and to revaluate our beliefs.

In fact, this is what Holy Lent is all about – a time to stand still, take stock, to cleanse ourselves of distractions, in order to pray, reflect and re-examine our faith – we do this in order to develop, and sometimes even redefine, our relationship with God.

Unlike Matthew, Luke and Mark, John places the cleansing of the temple by Jesus early on in his account. This might seem at first a contradiction or a problem with John’s reporting of events – yet while the other gospels use this episode to intensify the conflict between Jesus and the religious authorities, John uses this account to highlight something else.

Predominantly John informs the reader of the divinity of Jesus – who after all calls and claims the temple as his “Father’s house “– as well as offering an act of scriptural interpretation – we hear how the disciples remembered and then believed much later, in the light of the resurrection.

Understanding what it was all about later is often the case with faith – often the passage of time shows us something we hadn’t seen as we lived through it. And as one theologian puts it, the passage shows us that “expanding, deepening, maturing belief comes in a process of engaging, experiencing, and remembering.”

This is why we mark Lent, and indeed other parts of the church calendar, to engage, experience and remember.

Indeed, this passage promises us that if we “pay attention and remember then scripture and its Lord will be revealed as true and reliable however mysterious, incompressible Jesus’ words maybe in the present.” Things come together for the disciples, and indeed us, in the end.

In the meantime, all this begs the question what might this mean for us today in our moments of doubt and uncertainty.

The answer to that, I think, in Lent as much as in these troubled times, is one of holding on to trust. Trust in the revelation of Holy Scripture, but also trust in the loving God we worship and in whom we place our faith. Remembering and engaging and experiencing our faith is done through a variety of means; including worship, loving service, listening to others and, of course, prayer. However simple, however quick, however liturgical, or however silent, prayer, however executed, is at the heart of our faith in God and our relationship with Him.

And this week I encourage and challenge you to find a little time for a little more prayer – for me turning to prayer is how I restore, remember and re-energise my own faith and calling – I suspect it will do the same for you.

Let us pray:

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
Amen.

1 https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/third-sunday-in-lent-
2/commentary-on-john-213-22-2 (last accessed 04.03.21)
2https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/third-sunday-in-lent-
2/commentary-on-john-213-22-2(last accessed 04.03.21)

This Week’s Review is Chris Packham’s
Animal Einsteins on Sundays at 8pm on BBC2

Lovers of Spring/Winter Watch will most probably enjoy Chris Packham’s knowledge and captivating enthusiasm in all animals and creatures living in our world.

His new series, Animal Einsteins, really is fascinating viewing for anyone with a love of nature, and animals in all shapes and sizes. How do animals survive in the wild, how do they know what to be wary of, and know what foods are poisonous to them? Researchers, new science, and cutting-edge technology can now give us a glimpse into the animal world and understand them a little better. What are the birds that visit our gardens saying to each other with their beautiful song? Did you know that bees communicate with each other? They make a whoop noise to show recognition of a minor ‘bee collision’. How very dignified! If you want to be totally submerged for an hour, I thoroughly recommend this series.
Here is the link on the BBC website to learn more:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000slks

Claire Turner

News from The Red House February 2021

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Thank you for giving us the opportunity to update parishioners on what is happening at The Red House in Aldeburgh. Our gates may be closed but we have been busy maintaining the site and preparing for our opening season in the coming months.

Now that we are part of a larger organisation, merging with Snape Maltings in April 2020, Britten Pears Arts brings together Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears’ life and legacy. It has given us renewed energy and resources working with our colleagues and it has been especially important for a number of projects that are in progress.

We feel lucky to have been able to access the site throughout lockdown and garden manager Penny Brice has spent the winter doing the necessary pruning and cutting back of hedges, borders and trees plus planting around 1,500 snowdrop bulbs and hundreds of crocuses and daffodils. She has been supported by a wonderful team of volunteers who live locally and have been able to give up a few hours to weed, plant and cut. All of this work, and more, is in readiness for our first National Garden Scheme events which will be on 3 and 31 May and 5 September. You can find out more on the NGS website here https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/42451.

The archive building has been closed to the public and readers for nearly a year, but they have adapted to dealing with online enquiries from near and far and continued to catalogue the collection and make more information available online. Other online activities have included ‘Archive Treasure’ articles that focus on one object and its story. Subjects have ranged from Britten and Pears’ connection with Indian music, Britten’s car crash in 1937, the Channel Air Bridge and Decimalisation. All can be read at https://brittenpears.org/news/. They also share fun and interesting stories and ‘on this day’ posts on Twitter https://twitter.com/BrittenOfficial which is well worth a follow. The archive’s state-of-the-art building is also working for the parish, providing safe and secure storage for the rare Bible that belongs to the church in conditions that guard it against deterioration or theft and parishioners are welcome to view it there.

We are making some updates which we hope our visitors will enjoy too. Our entrance, which sits opposite the main house in a one level barn will be reconfigured to house a larger shop, a central welcome desk and more lockers and seating. We will also have a pop-up café in the garden which will offer tea/coffee and some light bites. We hope to incorporate produce grown in the kitchen garden and orchard into the menu in the spirit of what Britten and Pears did when they were living at The Red House.

We hope these updates have whetted your appetite and we look forward to opening the site up for you to visit. More information and booking will follow soon so visit https://snapemaltings.co.uk/whats-on or join our newsletter to https://brittenpears.org/ to be the first to receive our latest news.

Ella Roberts
Head of Red House
Britten Pears Arts

Thank you Ella, for updating us on The Red House news.

 

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 14th March
Fourth Sunday of Lent/
Mothering Sunday

 

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. So please look out for the various collection baskets.

Update from the Trussel Trust Organisation

Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last few months due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated.

You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.

You should also check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing supportercare@trusselltrust.org

 

✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞

Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
wish to join on Sunday starting at 9.45am. 
It will be a Common Worship Morning Prayer.  All are welcome!
The meetings start from 9.40am every Sunday morning

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more details

 

How About a Walk with James?

As the weather gradually gets better, our assistant curate James is offering to walk and chat for those that might like to. If you feel like getting out and meeting up with James give him a call on 01728 688451 to arrange.

✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞

The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
You are all more than welcome to join them via Zoom.  
The worship starts at 6.30pm (Zoom call opens from 6.10pm) and the call is then left open after the worship time for people to catch up.  The worship is about 30 minutes long.  We have a different worship sheet each week which goes out on a Monday ahead of the Wednesday.  
People are more than welcome to email pilgrimstogether473@gmail.com 
to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more details

Saturday 6th March 7pm- Pilgrim’s Fun Quiz

The Quiz Night will start at 7pm (we’ll open the Zoom call from 6.45pm). As before, it’s very much a fun, puzzler evening hosted by Sue and Richard. Definitely not to be taken too seriously!

As before, we’ll all mark our own answers.  There will be 8 rounds all covering different topics.  Each round will be presented by a different person.  There will be a break halfway through the evening to share a drink of whatever suits and a nibble of whatever takes your fancy.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more details

**Saturday 20th March 7pm – ‘Did you know Ceilidh’**

Following the great success of our first ‘Did you know Ceilidh’, another has been planned!  Tell a story of local interest, provide an interesting fact or 2 about our community, introduce us to our local area past and present…surprise us with nuggets of information, the possibilities are endless…you might want to share a short presentation…

Come along and share, come along and just listen.  Enjoy the evening with a glass / mug of something special of your choice.  
Please email Sue Atkinson if you have something to contribute to the evening. ALL WELCOME

Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends

Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat – just like we used to.

Please contact admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk for more details

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.
Please send Claire your content by Thursday at 4pm if you wish for it to be included in the Saturday newsletter.

 

Book/TV/Film Review Club

Have you found a great escape during this lockdown in books, a tv series, or a good film? Are you re-visiting the classics, or reading them for the first time? What box sets are you binge watching? Are you watching The Serpent, The Bay, A Perfect Planet, The Crown?
Please do share your reviews/recommendations with us.
Just send your review to admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk.
We would really love to hear your suggestions.

 

Suffolk Historic Churches Ride & Stride
Fran Smith (Team leader for Aldeburgh) has received a “Thank you and well done” letter to say that the Saxmundham area (no 19) raised £12,202 for SHCT last year, the highest of all areas.
Aldeburgh raised a big part of that total due to the generosity of the congregation, friends and families. The total for Suffolk was £175,000, including Gift Aid, which is a great total considering the pandemic.

Date for your diaries – 11th September for the 2021 Ride and Stride.

 

Mothering Sunday Newsletter
If you would like to remember someone who you hold in your thoughts particularly on this day, do let Claire know at admin@aldeburghparishchurch.org.uk
and a notice/remembrance board can be added in next week’s
Mothering Sunday newsletter. Or if you would like to share your lockdown story with us all, about things you haven’t/have been able to do with your Children/Grandchildren/Parent, just let Claire know.