top of page

Baptism of Christ - Church at Home

10th January 2021

Worship & news from Benwell & Scotswood

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Baptism, 1982

Oil and crayon on canvas; private collection


What's in this week

We are trying an adapted layout this week with links in the contents section to help you find the right bit quickly. Let us know what you think!

Jump straight to a section here:

Listen to the service >

News >

Worship texts >



This week's service:

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

Farsi / خطبه

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

یا در خانه گوش دهید.

Translation of the sermon and readings for our Farsi speakers.

متن خطبه / read the translation >


Every Sunday 10.30am Venerable Bede, West Road, NE4 8AP

We meet for Holy Communion as the Benwell & Scotswood Team.


Join us by watching the service live online this Sunday.

And follow the service booklet here >


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.



Communal worship to continue

at the Venerable Bede on Sundays at 10.30am.

Read the full message here >

Communal worship is still permitted, but we will continue to assess the situation very carefully and meet for public worship only if we feel it is safe and if we can comply with guidance.

If you are particularly vulnerable or anxious then please do stay at home. Let us know if you are struggling in any way and we will do all we can to help.

If you do come to church please be extra vigilant and do not approach people from other households at all, especially before and after the service. And remember the social distancing guidelines.


POSTPONED - Confirmation & Baptism service, 17th Jan

Because of the logistics of the baptism and confirmation service, both ourselves and the Bishop decided it would be best to postpone this service until later in the year. We will still have a normal Sunday service. And we do hope to have a smaller baptism service at Candlemas (Sunday 31st January) depending on the situation nearer the time.



Baptism of Christ

Reflection by The Revd David Kirkwood

Service led by The Revd Dominic Coad

Intro music

Old French Song by Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Opening prayer

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


The grace of God has dawned upon the world through our Saviour Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.

Let us confess our sins.

God be gracious to us and bless us,

and make your face shine upon us:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

May your ways be known on the earth,

your saving power among the nations:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

You, Lord, have made known your salvation,

and reveal your justice in the sight of the nations:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

May the Father of all mercies

cleanse us from our sins,

and restore us in his image

to the praise and glory of his name,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lord of all time and eternity,

you opened the heavens and revealed yourself as Father

in the baptism of Jesus your beloved Son:

by the power of your Spirit

complete the heavenly work of our rebirth

through the waters of the new creation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



A reading from Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

(Ephesians 2.1–10)

This is the word of the Lord.

(Thanks be to God)


Alleluia, Alleluia.

This is my Son, the Beloved,

with whom I am well pleased.


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

(Glory to you O Lord)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

(Matthew 3.13–17)

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you, O Christ)


By The Revd David Kirkwood

Today we celebrate the baptism of Christ. Last week we remembered the visit of the wisemen, what we know as the Epiphany story, the shining out, that is what epiphany means, of Christs light to all the world. But today is also about that shining out and for many Christians the Epiphany story is the one we heard today. The Orthodox Church, the church of the East, of Greece and Russia celebrate the Baptism of Christ as Epiphany or Theophany, Christs shining out at his Baptism, with nothing less than the light of God and so bringing the promise of a new beginning to all humanity.

You may recall how at Easter we blessed the water in the font and, in 2019, had a number of baptisms in the service. In the Church of the East as in the West baptisms are also traditional at Easter, but the blessing of waters for Baptism is not part of Easter but of the Epiphany celebrations. Not just talking about water in the font either, rivers and seas are also included and given we are talking about a church which includes Russia, and this is in the middle of winter, you can appreciate it can be a little chilly. Processions can include ceremonies of breaking the ice and even immersion in the near freezing water. Don’t worry we are definitely not thinking of bringing that in here.

We had though originally planned to have baptisms today, we then changed plans when the Bishop offered to come next week to baptise and confirm. Sadly the current surge in COVID-19 infections and increased restrictions mean that can no longer happen. We do still hope to have the bishop come later in the year and are also hoping to be able to have some baptisms at the end of this month but we do need to keep inline with the regulations and make sure everything is as safe as possible.

Still today does provide a good opportunity to reflect on the meaning of Baptism, both for those who have been baptised, and for those preparing for, or thinking of, taking that step. One of the prayers from the Orthodox epiphany service for the day provides a good place to begin:

O Word all- shining, sent forth from the Father, you have come to dispel utterly the dark and evil night and the sins of mortal men and by your baptism to draw up with you, O blessed Lord, bright sons and daughters from the streams of Jordan.

Jesus baptism helps us understand what baptism is but it is important to recognise the difference between our baptism and His. Jesus is not baptised for his own benefit but for ours. Everything we see unfolded here is for us.

Firstly, the prayer reminds us that God reveals Himself in a new way. The Word is sent forth from the Father- ‘God sent his Son into the world’ but more than Father and Son is revealed. Jesus, the Son, is baptised, as he leaves the water the heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends, the Father speaks ‘This is My Son the Beloved’ Glory shines out, God reveals himself as Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Christian baptism is always done in the name of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The person being baptised (or in the case of infants the parents and godparents) are asked to affirm their faith in the Holy Trinity and only once they have done so is water poured over them ‘In the name of the Father. The Son… and the Holy Spirit’

We may not fully understand this mystery, how could we? but that is not required, rather by being baptised we show our willingness to embark on a journey into deeper understanding.

Secondly the prayer reminds us of the cosmic significance of what is happening. you have come to dispel utterly the dark and evil night and the sins of mortal men

The chaos of our world, darkness, evil, sin are all too obvious. Jesus comes to bring salvation and forgiveness, a new beginning for all humanity, all creation. Baptism is a sign of this victory over evil. You may hear the word sacrament used to describe baptism. Sacrament means sign or symbol, but these are God’s special signs, unlike a human sign, that only points to something beyond itself, these Divine signs work to bring about the reality they point to. They are effective signs, with real benefits. When we are baptised we are not just reminded that God overcomes evil or forgives sins. The web of evil thoughts and actions, that mean evil is not just about isolated, individual choices, but links all humanity in a chain of wrongdoing that limits and imprisons even the newly born, is broken. We are not just reminded that Jesus brings a generalised forgiveness, but we receive the reality of that forgiveness, Christ speaks to us the personal word ‘your sins are forgiven’ and the Father’s voice is for us ‘You are my beloved’ with you I am well pleased’

In the baptism service those being baptised must first renounce evil in all its forms, they may use the word ‘repent’ which means to turn around, turning towards Christ, and so away from evil. The water in which they are then baptised is a sign of an inner cleansing, a washing away of sin.

It is also a sign of how that forgiveness takes place. St Paul says

as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6)

It is the death and resurrection of Christ that are the means of our salvation and in baptism we are joined with him. The signing with the cross that takes place in the service is another reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and our duty to follow in his footsteps.

Thirdly the prayer we began with speaks of an intention to draw up with you, O blessed Lord, bright sons and daughters from the streams of Jordan.

Shining out like lights in the world is what the baptised are called to do, as a sign of this they are given a newly lit candle, lit from the Paschal or Easter Candle, recalling Christs Easter triumph. But that is only an outward sign, the true gift of light, is the gift of the Holy Spirit that God pours out freely through baptism. Living and growing in the Christian Faith is not easy but through this gift it becomes possible, and so long as we are ready to welcome that gift, a reality filled with light and joy. Confirmation is a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide, it is not separate from baptism but part of its full meaning. The presence of the Bishop is also a reminder how we live and grow in faith not just as individuals but together, united in the wider fellowship of the universal church spread throughout the world, across continents and across generations. The fellowship we enter into through baptism. Let us pray our bishop’s visit will not be too long delayed and meanwhile that we may come to appreciate more deeply the reality of Christ’s light at work in all our lives. Amen

Prayers of intercession

Jesus calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Washed clean by the waters of baptism,

let us pray that we may live the life to which he has called us.

Jesus calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Washed clean by the waters of baptism, let us pray that we may live the life to which he has called us.

Pray for all preparing for Baptism and Confirmation For our Bishops Christine and Mark and all called to lead and guide the Church Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, baptizing with the Spirit and with fire, strengthen us to withstand all the trials of our faith …pray for the homeless and refugees and asylum seekers those who feel trapped by the lockdown victims of violence. Those working to bring comfort and fairness work of Cornerstone, North Benwell Youth Project, West End Food bank & Pendower Good Neighbour Project. Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, bringing forgiveness to all who repent, teach your Church dependence on your grace … Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, fulfilment of the promises of old, give hope to all who suffer or are ignored …

All suffering with Covid 19 and those caring for them.

  • Joyce Phillips

  • George Snowden

  • the Riches family

  • Dee Humphrey

  • Claire Mozaffari

  • Eric Harling

  • Herbert Agbeko

  • James Garratt

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, beloved Son of the Father, anoint us with the gifts of your Holy Spirit … Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, bringer of hope, share with all the faithful the riches of eternal life …

  • Dorothy Northey

  • Erica Howell

  • Julienne Guilavogui

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ,

in you the Father makes us and all things new.

Transform the poverty of our nature

by the riches of your grace,

and in the renewal of our lives

make known your heavenly glory.


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.


Listen to the music here:

As the deer pants for the water So my soul longs after You. You alone are my hearts desire And I long to worship You.

You alone are my strength, my shield To You alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my hearts desire And I long to worship You.

I want You more than gold or silver Only You can satisfy. You alone are the real joy giver And the apple of my eye

You alone are my strength, my shield To you alone will my spirit yield You alone are my hearts desire And I long to worship you

You're my friend and You are my brother Even though You are the King I love You more than any other So much more than any thing

You alone are my Strength, My Shield To You alone will my spirit yield You alone are my heart's desire And I long to worship You

You alone are my Strength, My Shield To You alone will my spirit yield You alone are my heart's desire And I long to worship You


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

And the love of God And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, evermore. Amen.

Outro music

Mazurka by Frédéric Chopin

bottom of page