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Easter 7 - Notices (Sunday after Ascension Day)

16/05/21

News from the Benwell & Scotswood

Ceiling of the Ascension chapel in the Shrine Church, Walsingham

 
 

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 Next week . (This will also combine the ADCMs for the individual churches).


 

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 >

 

Covid 19 Update:

Please Remember: Hands , Face , Space, We will still need to sanitise our hands on entering the church, Also Wearing a Face Covering and Staying 2 Meters Apart .


Following the change in guidance from Monday 17th May, from Next Sunday (23rd) we will be allowed to meet inside the church after the service, in socially distanced groups of 6 or less, or two households. As long as the weather is good, we will continue to go outside after the service, but this means we can shelter from the rain if necessary!


Please remember face coverings still must be worn (unless you are medically exempt or while doing a reading in the service).

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

 

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

  • All those who are Struggling at home or in hospital with Covid 19

  • Newcastle Deaf Community

Rest In Peace :

  • Thomas 'Tucker' Wilson (Funeral Next Friday)

  • All who lost their lives from Covid 19


Collect

O God the King of glory,

you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ

with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:

we beseech you, leave us not comfortless,

but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us

and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen


Post Communion

Eternal God, giver of love and power,

your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world

to preach the gospel of his kingdom:

confirm us in this mission,

and help us to live the good news we proclaim;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen


 

Readings

Acts: 1.15–17,21-26

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said, Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.’

So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’ So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.



John: 17.6 -19 I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.


 

SERMON


The Revd. Chris Minchin (Team Curate)


Thursday was Ascension Day, when we remember that, after Jesus was resurrected, he spent 40 days on earth before his disciples watched a cloud swallow him up and carry him off back to his father in heaven.

One of my favourite depictions of this event is at a place called Walsingham in Norfolk, a bizarre little village that is descended upon by thousands of pilgrims every year to go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. In one corner of the church there is the Ascension Chapel, where sticking out of the ceiling are sculpted and painted two bare feet, as if Jesus ascended but left his toes dangling in the world. It’s wonderfully literal, you can imagine that if you were to reach out and tickle his feet, he’d be giggling at his father’s table in heaven.

We aren’t always very good at remembering Ascension Day anymore, but maybe we should try better next year. In the story of Christ I think it’s just as important as Christmas. As surely as we believe the incredible story that Christ descended from heaven to be born as a baby, then we also believe that he went back in the opposite direction.

Maybe the reason we don’t treat it in the same way as Christmas is because we’re left feeling a bit saddened by it, we want to shout “no, don’t go yet!”. And once he’s gone, we are left wondering what to do now.

In our first reading, we can imagine the disciples are fretting about just that. Their leader has gone off in a cloud and their numbers are depleted because Judas betrayed them and killed himself. They discuss, they decide someone should replace Judas as one of the twelve, they put forward candidates and pray. And, essentially, they make it up as they go along.

Our world may feel very unpredictable at the moment, but it was much more unpredictable in the first century AD: disease, war, and death could raise their ugly heads at any moment, and there was no modern medicine to help. For the apostles there were no roadmaps, no government advice, no grants to apply for, no models of ministry and no mission planning days to guide them.

They pin all their hopes on one thing, with complete confidence: God will guide them in prayer. There is no doubt, prayer is the concrete basis of their decision. And when we read our Gospel, it is not hard to understand why.

We hear Jesus’ own prayer, in his ‘farewell discourse’ he talks to his father in heaven and says to his Father: “I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.”. Jesus asks his Father to protect his disciples in the world, that they may be united and also “that they may have my joy made complete in themselves”! Think about it - we are not forgotten, you are not forgotten. We belong to God. Jesus is talking with his Father in heaven now, praying for us; talking about you and praying for you.

He asks for one thing for us again and again - that we would be ‘consecrated’ or ‘sanctified’. I think, somehow, we all innately understand the idea of something being made ‘holy’ even if we can’t put it into words. We know when something is special, set aside. We ‘consecrate’ the bread in communion, we sense how a place is different when it is set aside for prayer and encountering God, and we believe it when we are signed with the cross at baptism. Consecration is a divine gift, it does not turn the thing into something completely different, rather it makes it the best and truest version of itself, imbued with the presence of God.

Jesus may have ascended into heaven, but heaven is not far away because we are connected to God in this unbreakable bond, we are consecrated so the joy and presence of Christ is with us fully and always. We would be wrong to be sad about Jesus ascending into heaven, because the story is certainly not over yet. The story that continued with the disciples deciding what to do next, now continues with us.

However, the ascension, is a reminder that it is time for us to grow up a bit, Jesus prays “as you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world”. We are no longer to just receive the joy and love of Christ who comes to us, but we have the responsibility to share the love of the ascended Christ with the world, to be the bridge between this world and heaven.

Over the next months we need to discern our next steps as a parish, what the next chapter of the story is here in Benwell and Scotswood when all four of our churches reopen. Just like the disciples we are emerging into a world that is changed, that is unpredictable, but also a world of opportunity. As our little group we need to make the most of these months to try things out, to experiment, to discern what is really important to us, to go forwards and not backwards to how things were. Most importantly we need to pray, to take the next steps with the utter confidence that we are consecrated by God and know that God is guiding us.

Maybe we should think of ourselves as set aside to be the feet of Christ, still dangling in the world. And maybe we should think of prayer as tickling the toes - when the church is woken up and stirred to action, God is stirred into action.




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