A Message from our Rector Mark:
‘Bothered?’ Sharon Tate’s young person in Little Britain used this phrase a lot with a sneering, pugnacious face. This was some years ago now so today’s young people may not even know it! Why mention it? The picture of young people is that they are not bothered, not concerned, out for themselves. Some maybe, but not true of so many. Like their parents and grandparents they have plenty to concern them, lives to live and some have a real passion for a world to save. A few express their passion for life by exploring faith. The PCC have been doing an exercise for ‘Growing in God’ where we are asked to look at what we are developing and what we are challenged by. It was not a surprise to any of the PCC that we saw working with young people (11-18 or 11-25 or even 11-40) as quite a challenge. We are not alone; it is true of all the Churches in the deanery and in Framlingham Churches Together. As part of the Deanery Plan the New Vicar at Wickham Market – Leslie Siu – who begins this month (please pray for him and his family) has an allocated one day a week to help the deanery address this issue. This doesn’t mean he becomes the Deanery Youth Worker and dashes about leading youth groups – however wonderful - he doesn’t have the time. His focus will be helping young people engage and share their faith. Framlingham, Wickham and many deanery churches share the Upper School at Thomas Mills and there is a Church Upper School in Debenham and the College has its own Chaplain. All the clergy are meeting together to pray and talk to the Diocesan Youth Officer who took the harvest assemblies at Thomas Mills this year. We hope to build up the links in order to support the young disciples. We may or may not see them in St Michael’s but if we manage to help them to be bold and enquiring in their faith this will be an important piece of work
A Message from our Rector Mark:
Working in Partnerships: Harvest this year will be as special as ever. Songs of Praise at Saxtead at 6pm and in Framlingham at 11am a Family Service – in partnership with the College (who invite us to lunch afterwards) and with the Baptists. The service will include favourite hymns – old and new for all age ranges but at both services ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ will definitely be sown. Not sure about all the words but it wouldn’t be Harvest without it.
Since the hymn was written so much more about the soil, seeds, meteorology… has been discovered and understood – but will never be entirely controlled by humanity. Our task now is to work in partnership with the Creator as stewards of his creation. But with our ancestors we will sing loud and sincerely – ‘Now thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love.’ I hope that love inspires us to care for creation properly and respectfully. To give thanks for those who work on the land and for the sharing of its resources.
On a different tack there is another partnership – more local – which is worth a mention. The Town Council and the PCC are working together on the renewal of St Michael’s Rooms into a new Hall for the community. Both sides hope to work through the many issues which face such a project in order to produce a worthy building of interest and utility that will help Framlingham come together as a community.
In October – pray for good partnerships.
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