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Easter 6 - Notices

09/05/21

News from the Benwell & Scotswood

Tracey Emin, I Loved You More Than I Can Love

Neon, 2009

 
 

NEWS

Worship returns to St James'

Our team service has now returned to St James' Benwell. You are very welcome to join us even if you're new!

Sundays at 10.30am

Benwell Lane

NE15 6RS

 

Accessibility

10:30 at St James

LIVE STREAM

Sadly we currently don't have the capability to provide captions on our Live stream (though we hope to change this!) but you are most welcome to come in person to the 10:30am Service at St James and we will be happy to accommodate you the best we can.


IN PERSON

We would like to welcome everyone. St James can be accessed by a wheelchair and we do have a Disabled Toilet that can be used. The welcome team will be more than happy to assist you during your visit. If you would like to inform us in advance that you are interested in coming please click here. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us!

 

APCM

St James, 11.20am, Sunday 23rd May 2021

This year's 'Annual Parochial Church Meeting' will be held directly after the Sunday morning service. (This will also combine the ADCMs for the individual churches).

 

New Volunteer!

Some of you may have met Edward a couple of weeks ago and we are very happy that he will be doing some volunteering with us in the parish! (Pending the completion of the usual safer recruitment process of course!) We hope he will help us with some admin, our technology, and also advising us on how to be more hospitable to those with additional physical and mental needs. He has written a bit about himself below:

Hello my name is Edward Fraser

I am new to your church, I have attended your church at St. James on Sunday 18th April but sadly following a fall last week I couldn't attend church last week as I sadly ended up in hospital I am doing ok and all is well. I am deaf and I lip-read so when you say hello to me please remove your mask to enable me to communicate with you.

I will volunteer for the church to help keep the church running and also as a Disabled wheelchair user help the church become more accessible. I will also help with live streaming as well. So if you need any help, I am more than happy to help the best I can to make your visit to the church welcoming.

 

Free and cheap meals in the local area

Cornerstone:

Every Wednesday you can order cheap hot meals from Cornerstone. Get your orders in by Wednesday 10am for free delivery within 2 miles of Cornerstone. Call 0191 2260941 or drop them a message on Facebook. Find out more here >


Foodcycle:

From 19th April FoodCycle Benwell will dish up free, nutritious meals for the local community every Monday from 7pm - 8pm. Find out more here >

 

Deaf Awareness Sunday:

This Sunday is also Deaf Awareness Sunday - the end of Deaf Awareness Week which started on Monday (3rd ). This year's theme is "coming through it together".

So a very special welcome to those who count themselves part of the Deaf Community either online or in person, our prayers are with you at this time, may God bless you.


Clear face coverings:

To make it easier for those people who need to lip-read you can get a mask with a clear window, they are not too expensive and they are safe to use as the NHS use them!*

You can find them in many places, including from small local businesses on Etsy >

(also if you sign up to Easyfundraising here then a percentage of your purchase will be donated to us!)


*Visors count as part of the legal requirement to wear a face covering inside the church building. If you are medically exempt from wearing a face covering you do not need to wear one inside the church.

 

PRAYERS

Intercession

  • James, Christina, and baby Xavier

  • Ali Zareie and his family

  • The Riches Family

  • Jill Sorley,

  • Joyce Phillips,

  • George Snowden,

  • Claire Mozaffari,

  • Eric Harling,

  • Herbert Agbeko,

  • Anastasia Miklewright,

  • Margaret Wall

  • Edward Fraser

  • Graham Shaw (Priest)

  • all affected by Covid 19

  • Newcastle Deaf Community

Collect

God our redeemer,

you have delivered us from the power of darkness

and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:

grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,

so by his continual presence in us he may raise us

to eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen


Post Communion

God our Father,

whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life:

may we thirst for you,

the spring of life and source of goodness,

through him who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

Amen


Prayer For Deaf Awareness Sunday:


Lord, thank you for this beautiful Sign language you have given us

We thank you for the deaf community here in Newcastle and the deaf culture we have.

We thank you for all the times Sign Language has helped us remove communication barriers

We pray for those learning Sign Language, that you will encourage them in their learning

We pray for those teaching Sign Language, that you will support them in their work

We pray for those who interpret and translate, that you will help them in their processing

We pray for those who work in deaf education, and for deaf children and students ,and We pray that you give them insight and understanding as they teach, support and learn.

We pray for the greater recognition of British sign language though out the UK.

We pray for those who feel alone, with out people to communicate with especially during the current pandemic with the difficulty of lip-reading due to masks

May they know your presence and your love as well

Amen



 

Readings

Acts: 10.44–48

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.



John: 15.9 -17 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.


 

SERMON


The Revd Dominic Coad (Team Vicar)


One of my favourite TV programmes is the American drama The West Wing. It’s about a fictional president of the US and his staff in the White House. In one episode the president’s deputy chief of staff, Josh, finds himself dealing with the daily press briefing when the press secretary is taken ill. In his arrogance he thinks it’s going to be easy but he soon finds out he’s mistaken. A reporter asks him whether the president has a plan to fight inflation and Josh’s condescending response is that, with 24 PhDs on the council of economic advisors, he’s sure there’s a plan to fight inflation. ‘Is the reason that you won’t tell us about it that it’s a secret?’ asks the reporter, ‘yeah’, replies Josh sarcastically, ‘we have a secret inflation plan,’ at which point the press have got him exactly where they want him and things deteriorate rapidly. Josh has to spend the rest of the week trying to convince the public that they do have a plan to fight inflation but that it isn’t being kept a secret.


The reason that the press want to catch Josh out being secretive and untruthful, the reason that the joke works, is that our general understanding of politicians is that they are not trustworthy. Of course, the joke may well be on us since our view of the trustworthiness of politicians effects whether we believe what they are saying and ultimately how we vote. Electing the right leaders can be challenging in a context where we believe all of them are liars.


I find elections fascinating, the whys and wherefores of the way people cast their vote, how some candidates succeed and others fail. The technical term for this is psephology; the study of elections and trends in voting. Right now, I’m sure the Labour party will be grilling all of their psephologists, their strategists and gurus, trying to figure out why they have lost yet another traditional safe seat, as the result of Thursday’s byelection in Hartlepool went to the Conservatives.


Labour may have hoped that the recent negative publicity around government sleaze, and the possibly illegitimately funded £200,000 makeover of Boris Johnson’s flat in particular, might have resulted in the electorate believing they couldn’t trust the Conservatives. There was much speculation around this, however, as many suggested that these negative stories might not much affect voters who already believe that politicians are all untrustworthy anyway. Perhaps Thursday’s results show this to be true: voters in Hartlepool wanted a change and weren’t put off by concerns over the government or the prime minister’s integrity.


In our reading today, we hear Jesus tell us that things are different for his followers. ‘I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father.’ If we might suspect that politicians too often look on us as mere plebs to be lied to and let down as suits their purposes, it is the exact opposite with God, the one who is the true ruler of the world and yet calls us his friends. We are not required to be unquestioning surfs, we are not to be manipulated and lied to for our master’s ends, instead we are to be equals, invited into share in the purposes and will of God himself.


If this is the case then it must surely shape the way we are as a church. It is not only God who shares his power with us but all of us who must share power together. I’m put in mind of other words of Jesus from Luke 22.25: ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them… but not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.’


It may or may not be fair to assume that all politicians are tainted by the grubbiness of politics but imagine how different things would be if all of them lived by these words of Christ. For that matter, imagine what the church would be like if all clergy lived by those words. As problematic as our politics might be, we know that the desire for power afflicts people in the church as well. We have seen this in the way recent reports on sexual abuse and racism in the Church of England have identified the desire to protect the church’s reputation as an important factor in allowing wrongdoing to continue


The leader must become like the one who serves. It is a challenge from Jesus that I try to take seriously in my ministry, and I know my colleagues do as well, even if we don’t always succeed. Yet these aren’t just words for clergy and leaders, they are words for all of us. I have known lay people in the church who believe strongly that the power that the clergy have should be shared but, if they’re honest, think that power should mainly be shared with them, not so much with their fellow church members.


It is the job of church leaders to set the example by sharing power, planning and decision making with everyone but it is the job of everyone else to follow that example. The reason for this is that we all together need to make sure that our church and the resources we have (limited though they may seem), and all our plans for the future exist to serve those who are most disadvantaged and most excluded. Oftentimes, this means we need to be shaping the whole church to benefit those who aren’t actually members, or who have not been members for very long.


Jesus tells us that God has shared his plans with us; Jesus has passed on everything he heard from his Father. What Jesus has passed on is good news for the poor and a command to make disciples in all the earth. In other words, we are called not to look to ourselves but outside, to everyone else. In the end it is all our responsibility to work together to make our church exist for everyone who is currently not part of it.


We are not a members’ society, existing for our own interests, or for the interests of the most powerful within our organisation, and it’s up to all of us to play our part in ensuring we’re on the right track. That’s why, last week, David urged all of us to come to the annual meeting in two weeks’ time, or have your say in other ways, and get involved in discerning what the future holds for our church family as we (hopefully) emerge from the pandemic. The challenge we lay before you is not only to have your say but to have your say about what you think will be best for others, not best for yourself.


God is not a god who keeps his plans a secret, who hoards his power, who seeks to mislead and manipulate his people. We have received this wonderful invitation from him to be part of what he is doing, to further his work of drawing everyone into his love. Together we can take hold of Jesus’ promise to us this morning, that we will ‘go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.’


Amen.


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