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Advent Sunday - Church at Home

29th November 2020

Weekly notices & Church at Home

(Scroll down for this week's service)

J.M.W. Turner, Untitled (Jacob's Dream), 1830

Oil on canvas, Tate, London


Join us by watching the service live online this Sunday.

And follow the service booklet here >


در هنگام خطبه روز یکشنبه هدفون های خود را بگذارید و به این ترجمه گوش دهید.

یا در خانه گوش دهید.


You can submit prayer requests online. This can be done anonymously or by name and the clergy and congregation will pray for you each week.


New videos for worship with children are uploaded every week by the Diocese of Newcastle.


Your donations ensure our work keeps going and our buildings stay open.



We are open from next Sunday

As we move into tier 3 restrictions we will re-open for public worship from Sunday 6th December. And we will of course continue with online services for those still at home.

Advent & Christmas

We will have a mix of in-person and online services this year. Here's some dates for your diary, further details will follow, so watch this space:

St John's 200th, celebration carol service

Thurs 17th Dec, 6.30pm

Location: St John's & Online

Pub Quiz - St John's 200th special

Fri 18th Dec, 8pm

Location: Online


Crib Service

Thurs, 24th Dec, 4pm

Location: Online (live streamed from St Margaret's Scotswood)

Midnight Mass

Thurs 24th Dec, 11.30pm

Location: Venerable Bede West Road

Christmas Day Service

Fri 25th Dec, 10.30am

Location: St James'

New windows for St John's - Faculty

St John's are putting in new windows to improve ventilation and insulation. You can read the notice here.

Any objections may be submitted via email to

Cornerstone - takeaway cafe and hot food deliveries

Our friends at Cornerstone Benwell on Wednesdays and Thursdays are offering:

  • Take-away service for beverages and sandwiches.

  • Hot meal home delivery service from 11.30am. Main course £3.00 and/or dessert £1.00.

Phone Cornerstone before 10am on those days and Amy will take your order.

0191 2260941

Armstrong road, NE4 7TU



Advent Sunday

Reflection by The Revd Dominic Coad

Service led by Cerys Smith, Ordinand

or listen and read along here:

The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge the presence of God.

Intro music

Reflections on O come o come, Emmanuel

Opening prayer

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lighting of the Advent Wreath

(light a candle at home if you can!)

1st Sunday – the Patriarchs:

Lord Jesus, light of the world,

the mothers and fathers of our faith heard your call, help us to hear your call at Christmas

to bring justice and peace to the world

as we journey in the hope of your promise. Amen.


When the Lord comes,

He will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness,

and will disclose the purpose of the heart.

Therefore in the light of Christ let us confess our sins.

Turn to us again, O God our saviour,

and let your anger cease from us:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Show us your compassion, O Lord, and grant us your salvation:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Your salvation is near for those that fear you, that glory may dwell in our land:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

May the God of love and power

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


Almighty God,

give us grace to cast away the works of darkness

and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life,

in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;

that on the last day,

when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead,

we may rise to the life immortal;

through him who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.


A reading from prophet Isaiah

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity for ever. Now consider, we are all your people.

(Isaiah 64: 1-9)

This is the word of the Lord

(Thanks be to God).


Alleluia, alleluia. Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark. (Glory to you O Lord)

‘But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he[e] is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

(Mark 13: 24-end)

This is the gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you, O Christ)


By the Revd Dominic Coad

Before I was ordained I was in a church choir that went out carolling each year to raise funds. Being a very traditional church, the rule was that we could only sing Advent carols, never Christmas ones. This generally led to us standing for a couple of hours in the cold whilst being more or less ignored by passers-by who didn’t recognise anything we were singing.

Eventually, I became the conductor of the choir and I’m afraid I put my foot down. Ignoring the complaints of some choir members, I insisted that we sing all the Christmas favourites. It had the desired effect and we made much more than what we normally made doing our Advent busking and the naysayers, and their complaints that it was too early to start Christmas, were effectively silenced.

We are all familiar with ‘Christmas creep’ as the season of Our Lord’s birth slips ever further back into this season of preparation. I’ve never been too bothered about when people put up their decorations; plus there are good pragmatic reasons for the church to be relaxed about seasonality when carolling on the streets or welcoming in school Christmas services. Nevertheless, Advent is a season in its own right, albeit one that must coexist with Christmas music on the radio and mince pies appearing in the weekly shop.

This Advent will be very different – there will certainly be no school trips to the church – and this Christmas will be a difficult one as we are parted from many of the people we love. One gift we might recover from this sad state of affairs is the opportunity to have a renewed engagement with Advent, making it much more than a mere countdown to the 25th December.

What will that look like? Well, I think a true appreciation of Advent begins by understanding that as much as it is preparation for Christmas, so too is it preparation for the end of the world. If this comes as a surprise to you, then I might gently suggest that you may not have paid enough attention to the readings for the last three weeks, in which we have heard about the foolish bridesmaids who weren’t prepared for the arrival of the bridegroom, the lazy slave who didn’t work to grow the money with which he’d been entrusted before his master’s return and Christ’s warning about his coming again, when many will be dismayed to discover they have failed to see him in the hungry and the stranger, the naked and the prisoner.

All these passages speak of being ready for the time when God changes things, and so does this morning’s gospel: ‘And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake!’ And why do we need to keep awake? Because God’s work isn’t finished yet. The Gospel message is not that God became incarnate in Jesus Christ and now everything is fine; a finished and complete story that we celebrate each Christmas. Indeed, this would be no kind of Good News because even a cursory glance at the world around us shows us that Christ’s work of justice and peace is far from finished.

Advent looks not only towards the first coming of Christ and the beginning of this work but also to his second coming and the completion of that work. Twenty-five days from today, at Midnight Mass, we will hear (from the Gospel of John) of the light that shines in the darkness, but to truly inhabit Advent we need to be honest that that darkness is no where near completely dispelled. This darkness is already present this morning in our reading from Isaiah as the prophet cries out to God to ‘tear the heavens and come down,’ begging God not to delay any longer but to intervene in the pain and suffering of the people of Israel. Only God can fix things, so why doesn’t he come?

Honesty about how painful life can be, and how absent God can sometimes feel, are essential to keeping Advent, so I warn you this morning that we are not here for pre-Christmas jollity, there is a time and a place to face up to the hardness of life. Writing about Advent, the American priest, Fleming Rutlidge, says, ‘the meaning of Christmas is diminished to the vanishing point if we are not prepared to take a fearless inventory of the darkness.’

I have, so far in my ministry, taken the funerals of two children. At the second, the funeral of a baby a few weeks old, the mother had remained quiet, almost impassive, both at my visit to her and at the funeral itself. It was only as I was walking away from the grave that she gave a great, heart-rending cry; a wail so dreadful and so sudden that I physically jumped. I will never forget it.

‘O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence… you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.’

There have been almost sixty-seven thousand Covid related deaths in the UK this year. Mothers, Fathers, children, siblings, best friends lost to the virus, a disease none of us had heard of last Advent. This year more than ever Advent cannot be a time to look forward to the celebration of Christmas without making a proper account of the pain and suffering that threaten to overcome our happiness. So we gird our loins and ask ourselves what joy can there be for those who are in mourning, what hope for those who pierce the December air not with carolling but with anguished cries of grief? When will the darkness be dispelled?

This feeling of uncertainty, of waiting, is what Advent is all about. The cries of pain and grief that accompany any human life, and are all the louder in this year of pandemic, are Advent cries. They say, in the words of Psalm 80, ‘O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry at your people’s prayer?’

Yet God, for all he may often seem absent, knows how we feel, and Jesus acknowledges our long wait in darkness in this morning’s gospel: ‘It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come.’

This is an exhortation to be prepared but it is also a recognition that the wait can seem very long. Just like that household, whose master has gone away on a journey, we have been left to await the return of our master. By any reckoning, Jesus has been gone for an awfully long time now and we will be forgiven for wondering if he’s ever coming back. But he is coming back, he has promised us and warned us – keep awake!

Christ is coming. Not just then, in the child in the manger, but in the future, maybe soon, in his second coming, on clouds descending, with great power and glory, to gather his elect from the four winds, to bring together the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. So Jesus tells us in this morning’s gospel.

The prophets, too, are full of the promise of that day. ‘Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth, the seas and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, so the treasure of all nations shall come.’ (Hag. 2:6-7) ‘But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire,’ (Mal 3:2) ‘Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall be made level and the rough places a plain.’ (Isa 40:4)

This is the message of Advent: Jesus is coming! Why has he not come yet, when there is so much pain and suffering in our world? I can’t tell you. I don’t know why we continue to journey in darkness but I do know that when he comes again it will change everything for ever. He will shake every nation, he will refine the world like fire, he will lift up every valley, his light will not just shine in the darkness but flood the world and chase away every last shadow for ever.

‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.’


Prayer intentions

In joyful expectation of his coming to our aid we pray to Jesus.

Come to your Church as Lord and judge. We pray for our Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell, for our Bishops Christine and Mark, and Area Dean Christine. Be with them in leading us through this difficult time and help us to care and respond well for those affected by abuse in the church.

Help us to live in the light of your coming

and give us a longing for your kingdom.


Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your world as King of the nations.

We pray for our leaders at this time of national and global pandemic, for our Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for our local counsel and government, and for the decisions they have to make to keep us safe and secure during this difficult time.

Before you rulers will stand in silence.


Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to the suffering as Saviour and comforter.

We pray for the sick and suffering, and all who have asked for our prayers

  • for the Riches family

  • for Dee Humphrey

  • for Claire Mozaffari

  • for Eric Harling

  • for Herbert Agbeko

  • for James Garratt

and for all affected by Covid 19.

Break into our lives, where we struggle with sickness and distress, and set us free to serve you for ever.


Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to us as shepherd and guardian of our souls.

We remember those who have died and those who love them, we remember especially Ron Hume, Carol Wolstenholme, and all those who have died due to Covid 19.

Give us with all the faithful departed a share in your victory over evil and death.


Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come from heaven, Lord Jesus, with power and great glory.

Lift us up to meet you, that with the Venerable Bede, St James, St John, St Margaret and all your saints and angels we may live and reign with you in your new creation.


Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay; give new courage to your people, who trust in your love.

By your coming, raise us to share in the joy of your kingdom on earth as in heaven,

where you live and reign with the Father and the Spirit, one God for ever and ever.


Lord's Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.


Lo! he comes with clouds descending, once for favored sinners slain; thousand, thousand saints attending swell the triumph of his train. Alleluia! Alleluia! God appears on earth to reign.

Ev'ry eye shall now behold him, robed in dreadful majesty; those who set at naught and sold him, pierced, and nailed him to the tree, deeply wailing, deeply wailing, shall the true Messiah see.

Ev'ry island, sea, and mountain, heav'n and earth, shall flee away; all who hate him must, confounded, hear the trump proclaim the day: Come to judgment! Come to judgment! Come to judgment, come away!

Now Redemption, long expected, see in solemn pomp appear! All his saints, by man rejected, now shall meet him in the air. Alleluia! Alleluia! See the day of God appear!

Yea, amen! let all adore thee, high on thine eternal throne; Savior, take the pow'r and glory, claim the kingdom for thine own. O come quickly, O come quickly; alleluia! come, Lord, come.


Our Lord says, ‘I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Outro music

Reflections on O come o come, Emmanuel


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