I am glad not to be a politician! One debating chamber with so many strongly held different views must be an exhausting place to be. In August they have a break … or do they? As I write the News is saying that ministers are off touring Europe trying to ‘sell’ the Chequers Agreement. You may be wondering why I start the holiday month Rector’s letter like this! In part out of sympathy – working through difficult almost intractable issues cannot be pleasurable. Jacob Rees-Mogg, hardly a fan of the Prime Minister’s views, recognises and respects the strong sense of civic duty she displays. Listening to him made me reflect on two things – first how the word ‘duty’ now tends to be regarded. Just recently I have been pondering with others how to organise this year’s 100th anniversary of the Armistice. A sense of duty took so many young men off to fight in two world wars. Does ‘duty’ have overtones of imposition and power being exercised to make another person fall into line? The word duty has now shifted from being a ‘good’ word to one which people are suspicious of. But Jesus gives us a picture of the Son of God going through the cost of bearing his duty to love and redeem. Is that a proper use of the word duty? Duty is linked to service and still should be. But Brexit politicians do their hard duty by loving peace and justice rather than being self-interested. In fact politicians need help – this is St Paul’s view. For him Christians should pray for those in authority. I for one believe that our present politicians need our prayers as I find it hard to believe that the poorest in our society would not be affected by ‘crashing out’ of Europe. We can disagree with that – but not our duty to pray for those in authority. As they hopefully get some rest and refreshment – and as the negotiations continue let us pray that God is at work in those negotiations for the good of all
Historic Churches Bike Ride, Cycle and Walk: Sat 8th Sept at St Michael’s, a date for your diary! As it is Heritage Open Day as well, there are going to be refreshments in church 9am-3pm for all to enjoy.
A Volunteer Needed: After six years as editor of our Parish Magazine Ann Elliott would like to step down and is looking for someone to take it on. The Parish Magazine comes out twice a year now in summer and at Christmas. If you are interested, please talk to Mark or Victoria. For a full job description talk to Ann Elliott.
FOSM Lunch: Don’t forget FOSM Lunch in August. This delicious lunch is happening on Thurs 16th Aug. Everyone is welcome to come to this very sociable occasion, so do join us.
SING PRAISE! This month there seems to be an emphasis on singing. If this leaves you cold – if you have ever been told ‘you can’t sing’ don’t stop reading! A great preacher, songwriter and musician – John Bell of the Iona Community always lambasts those who accuse others of not being able to sing, it is as if they are being denied a voice, denied their part in music making. Some might question whether he is right – but I have seen on music weeks on Iona how he has managed to bring very differing talents and experience together into something which is to the glory of God. Using music in worship and helping children to do so has been one of our priorities since our meetings with Bishop Mike this time last year. We have seen children in the 1st Sunday choir, in the Confirmation choir we’d like to help them use singing to find out more about God. We are trying to link children, faith and music into ‘SING PRAISE!’ by working with Sir Robert Hitcham Primary School to provide a musician who can lead sung assemblies in school, help with some after school activities and try and link them up with worship in Church especially on First Sundays and festivals. We have managed to find some funds to which the PCC has added which allows us to test this approach for two years. We have liaised with Mills and the College as well and they can see ways it might help their young musicians as well. The hours are not long but we hope they will have an impact on music and faith in both the school and our worship. We have now got to the stage of advertising for a Director and setting up interviews in late June – please pray for this and if you know someone who might like to see the details and even apply please let me know.
Suffolk Coastal Rural Debt Centre nears launch - Volunteer sign-up meeting: Tuesday 12 June 7.00pm. St John’s Church Saxmundham, 35 Church Hill, Saxmundham IP17 1ES
The Christians Against Poverty Rural Debt Centre is now nearing launch. Funding is in place for the training of the Debt Centre Manager, Kirsty Christmas, as well as a year’s support payment to the national CAP Charity, and training commences next month. The centre, which will operate out of St John’s Church in Saxmundham, will cover a large swathe of the Suffolk Coast from Woodbridge to Southwold and as far inland as Framlingham. The team has been partnering with churches throughout the area to raise volunteers who can help by prayer and by walking alongside debt-stressed clients. The Revd Nic Stuchfield has been co-leading the Project and said “the response that we have received from funders and from church members and leaders across the area has been phenomenal. It really feels like this initiative is knocking at an open door of support, especially against the background of the rollout of Universal Credit in our region.” Kirsty Christmas added that “It’s vitally important that we have a wide geographical spread of volunteers as CAP analysis suggests that having local support is crucial to client trust and evangelistic effectiveness. The time has now come for volunteers to sign up!"
For further details, please contact Kirsty by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prices £10/ £15 centre nave reserved/ £7.50 behind the choir. Parking in Framlingham Castle car park by kind permission of English Heritage.
Sat 26th May, 7.00pm. ‘Sound the Trumpet’. Tickets £12, school age students free, available on the door or by email email@example.com and online at www.eastanglianacademy.org.uk
Sat 26th May 10am – 12noon. In aid of church funds. Delicious home-made cakes. All welcome
On Wed 16th May at 7.30pm Henry and Sam will be giving their 'Walk to Kathmandu' talk in St Michael's Church to raise funds for their charity 'Annie's Challenge' which supports brain tumour research. Tickets £5 each (including a glass of wine) from Hall Farm Butcher in Fram or email the church office firstname.lastname@example.org
As I write this Easter has happened, the amazing primrose bank leading down to the Rectory is at its very best, the daffodils are now out at last … but I am still waiting for Spring. By the time you read this, judging by the weather forecast, it should be with us, indeed with temperatures in the 20s we may feel we have had summer! Or preferably a long summer has begun.