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Candlemas - Church at Home


Worship & news from Benwell & Scotswood

Khadija Saye, Nak Bejjen, 2017

Tintype on metal; Tate, London


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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.


Join us by watching the service live online this Sunday.

And follow the service booklet here >


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

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


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 continues

The Venerable Bede on Sundays at 10.30am.

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.


Act of prayer for the 100,000

6pm, Monday 1st February

As our nation has reached the tragic milestone of over 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, our archbishops have called on us all to pray (click here for their letter). Our Bishops, Christine and Mark, are therefore inviting us to join them for a short act of prayer and reflection on Monday. This will be live-streamed on the Diocesan Facebook page (click here). As part of this shared act of prayer, you may like to have a candle ready to light in remembrance and hope.


Congratulations to Bishop Mark Wroe

Watch the video of the Right Reverend Mark Wroe who was consecrated as our new Suffragan Bishop of Berwick on 5th January at York Minster.


Ash Wednesday and Lent on Zoom

Watch this space as we are planning for an Ash Wednesday service on 17th Feb and a weekly discussion group during Lent, all done online with Zoom. Details T.B.C!

If you are not sure about using zoom, then let us know and we can help you get connected and walk you through it step by step.




Reflection by The Revd Dominic Coad

Service led by The Revd Chris Minchin

Intro music

Theme from Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.

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.

Lord Jesus, you came to reconcile us

to one another and to the Father:

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you heal the wounds of sin and division:

Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you intercede for us with your Father:

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.


Let us pray that we may know and share the light of Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ,

light of the nations and glory of Israel:

make your home among us,

and present us pure and holy

to your heavenly Father,

your God, and our God.



A reading from the book of the prophet Malachi.

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Then I will draw near to you for judgement; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 3.1–5

This is the word of the Lord.

(Thanks be to God)


Alleluia, Alleluia.

Christ was revealed in flesh, proclaimed among the nations

and believed in throughout the world.


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

(Glory to you O Lord)

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’

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.’

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

Luke 2.22–40

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you, O Christ)


By The Revd Dominic Coad

Last Saturday, 25th January, marked 1 year since the Chinese government introduced lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province. For many of us this will have been the moment we first became aware of the Coronavirus and, although the possibility of it affecting us still seemed remote, I imagine most of us experienced that nagging, disorienting thought: what if it comes here?

A little later, I remember reading an article and then watching footage of how severe the Wuhan lockdown was and how it had only just got the virus under control. For me, that was the first time I realised the severity of this disease and what it might mean if it became established in the UK. Sure enough a daily drip-drip of worsening news (Northern Italy overwhelmed, then Spain) led, on 23rd March to what had been unthinkable just a few weeks previously, and the UK went into lockdown. Whether or not this current third lockdown will be over by March the 23rd, it is certain that we will reach the anniversary of that life changing moment with the country still under tight restrictions.

1 year of Covid-19. I won’t, in this short reflection, try to do justice to 2 million deaths worldwide, or the suffering of those infected. It’s challenge enough just to contemplate the way the past year has turned our lives upside down. A year of wondering and worrying, of educating ourselves and getting to grips with new regulations, of learning to live with freedoms curtailed, of summer respite and autumn spikes. And, of course, the isolation we’ve all felt; for some of us all encompassing and interminable. The past year has been one of waiting and watching, of false dawns and the feeling that we can’t possibly go on, only to discover that we must.

In our gospel reading we meet two people who have become experts at waiting: Simeon and Anna. Simeon has been promised that he would not die before seeing the Messiah and Anna has been fasting and praying in the temple for many decades. The faithfulness of these two elderly people of God is an example to us all. They had heard God’s promise and they trusted it even though they had to wait their entire lives to see it fulfilled.

There are moments and seasons of waiting for us each year in the church, reminding us of the waiting endured by the characters in the biblical stories. The trouble with our waiting is that we know what is going to happen. We wait in Advent for the birth of the Messiah but we already know where and when it will occur; in Lent we accompany Jesus into the desert but we already know that he will pass his trials and emerge from the arid land, on Good Friday we wait at the cross but we already know that Easter morning awaits us.

Waiting was not so easy for those who lived with that uncertainty and it can’t have been easy for Simeon and Anna. Luke’s gospel might be able to dispense with a life time of waiting in a verse or two, but Simeon and Anna had to take the slow path. In times of waiting in the church year, we use prayer and worship to help us enter into that waiting, to take it seriously even though we know it will end. As we wait for the end of this current pandemic, we don’t need any aids to help us make this waiting real. We really don’t know when or how it will end and even when it does end, we don’t yet know what permanent changes it might make to our lives. Just like Simeon and Anna, we’re stuck in the middle of it, working our way through it real time.

I speak with some of you each week and I hear the same comments over and again: we’ve just got to stick at it, keep going, we’ll get there in the end. It’s certainly true that dogged determination is an important quality to have as we wait out this virus, but perhaps Simeon and Anna can prove to be helpful examples too. What can we learn from them? What might faithful waiting look like for us, now?

First, they were persistent in prayer. Simeon is described as devout and he has heard God’s promise to him, whilst Anna prays and fast continually at the temple. Whenever we hear of biblical characters being devoted to prayer, it’s easy to feel inadequate. There’s no way any of us can live up to the example set by Anna, who never left the temple! But God accepts us as we are and accepts all our devotions to him. If you’re struggling to feel connected to God, especially whilst you can’t come to church, consider making a small commitment to him in prayer. It could simply be to acknowledge His presence with you when you got to bed and get up in the morning. God loves even the smallest gestures.

Second, they hoped not for themselves, but for others. Simeon is said to be looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and Anna speaks to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. Whilst our own struggles through the pandemic are hard, we are united with billions of others in that struggle. As Christians we are called to love our neighbours as ourselves and we are called to turn towards others in prayer and hope. None of us will be truly safe from Covid-19 until the whole world is safe. It is for this that we wait.

Finally, when Simeon and Anna met Jesus, they were filled with joy and praised God, Anna went around telling everyone she could find. We will eventually emerge from our isolation and, when we do, we must grasp the opportunity to praise God, give thanks and make the most of life. However dark things get, we know that the story of this pandemic is part of God’s larger story, a story that inevitably ends in joy.

Lockdown and isolation have taken their toll on us all. Going through this pandemic it is not easy and we will inevitably have times when we feel we can’t cope. As we wait for things to get better, Simeon and Anna show us that faithful waiting can draw us closer to God and bring us peace. At Candlemas we remember that Jesus was given to the whole world as a gift, and we often light a candle to remind us of the hope that gift brings. It may seem hard to feel hopeful at the moment but it is to hope that we have been called, and that hope reaches out to us, incarnate in the Christ child, kindling a flame even in the midst of our darkest days and shining the way to a better future.


Prayers of intercession

Let us pray to the Father through Christ who is our light and life.

As we remember Mary brought her son to the temple, we have only ourselves to bring to you: reveal our inner thoughts so we may lay down the measly offering of our weighty burdens and earnest thanks for the goodness you have given us.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

As Simeon and Anna recognised Jesus for who he truly was, we ask for your guiding light in the darkness:

Remember your church, especially Archbishops Justin and Stephen, our Bishops Christine and Mark, and all your church. May we all bring the good news of your glory to lighten all the nations.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

As you prepared salvation in the sight of all people, help us shine as beacons of your hope for all who suffer, especially for:

· Jill Sorley

· Joyce Phillips

· George Snowden

· the Riches family

· Dee Humphrey

· Claire Mozaffari

· Eric Harling

· Herbert Agbeko

· Zaher Khorasani

· All who are suffering with Covid-19,

· those suffering other illnesses that are being overlooked

· those who are grieving.

We beg you to grant them healing and comfort, using us as you see fit.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

As Simeon and Anna departed in peace having seen the face of your son, may we all be united once more with those who have died and are able to look upon your face now. We remember:

· Jimmy Smith

· Erica Howell

· the 100,000 dead in our country from covid-19, and the many more across the world.

Lord, your word has been fulfilled.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We ask you to come quickly, reveal your salvation to all nations, heal this damaged world groaning in travail, and transform it into a place of never-ending peace.


Lord's Prayer

Believing the promises of God,

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:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand. Ponder nothing earthly minded, for with blessing in his hand Christ our God to earth descending comes, our homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary, as of old on earth he stood, Lord of heaven now incarnate in the body and the blood, he will give to all the faithful his own self for heav’nly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven streams before him on the way, as the Light of light descending from the realms of endless day comes, that pow’rs of hell may vanish, as the shadows pass away.

At his feet the six-winged seraph, cherubim with sleepless eye, veil their faces to the Presence, as with ceaseless voice they cry, “Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia, Lord Most High!”

Conclusion for Candlemas

Light a candle at home.

Lord God, the springing source of everlasting light,

pour into the hearts of your faithful people

the brilliance of your eternal splendour,

that we, who by these kindling flames

light up this temple to your glory,

may have the darkness of our souls dispelled,

and so be counted worthy to stand before you

in that eternal city where you live and reign,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


The Nunc Dimittis:

A light to lighten the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:

your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people.

A light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father and to the Son

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning is now

and shall be for ever. Amen.

A light to lighten the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Father, we have sung your praise with shepherds and angels:

may Christ be born in our hearts today.

All Praise to Christ our light.

We have shared in the joy of Simeon and Anna;

help us, like them, to trust your word.

All Praise to Christ our light.

We have greeted Jesus, the light of the world;

may we be filled with the light of your love.

All Praise to Christ our light.

We stand near the place of new birth.

Let us shine with the light of your love.

We turn from the crib to the cross.

Let us shine with the light of your love.

We go to carry his light.

Let us shine with the light of your love.

Thanks be to God.

Outro music

Allegro Scherzando by Joseph Haydn.


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