Updated: Mar 22
WHAT WE'RE UP TO
In the coming weeks, we will be developing new ways to continue as a living, active and praying community in Benwell & Scotswood.
We will be using this newsletter and our website as the primary way of keeping in contact and sharing resources. Please keep checking here for updates.
Scroll down for this week's service.
Wherever we are this Sunday 22nd March, we join in prayer for the people of this country and place a lighted candle in a window at 7pm – a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.
Are you self-isolating?
You may have to self-isolate but you don’t have to feel alone! Contact the clergy or our volunteers and we will find the best way to support you and those not currently isolating can bring you supplies.
Everyone, who is not isolating please keep social-distancing - stay 2 metres apart, but do go outside to exercise, and go to the shop for essentials.
We bought you flowers!
On Mothering Sunday we usually hand out bunches of daffodils in our churches... So, on Sunday, we'll be driving around the parish delivering a bunch to everyone we have up to date addresses for. Give them to someone who has cared for you, take them to a grave or memorable place, or put them on your mantelpiece as a gift from us.
Goodbye to Ellen
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Ellen Chambers, a faithful member of St James’ for many years. She had been ill for some time and died at home surrounded by her family. Her pragmatism, humour, and gentle kindness will be hugely missed. She will be buried on 30th March, the funeral has to have limited numbers but we will be in touch about ways you can say goodbye to her. Please keep her family and friends in your prayers.
Congratulations to Abi!
Our pastoral assistant is being officially 'received into' the Church of England. Abi was baptised and confirmed in the Roman Catholic church, she has been with us and for almost 2 years to explore her vocation. The Bishop of Newcastle gave special permission to our Rector David to conduct the service this Sunday at 10am.
Some other resources for prayer at home
Chris has written some recommendations for online resources for daily prayer at home. Including apps, radio programmes, and downloadable worship texts. Read here.
We will include resources each week from Roots to help you reflect on Bible readings with children at home. You can download and print the resources here:
Mothering Sunday 2020
Reflection by Dominic Coad
We will pray at 10am on Sunday, join us at home at if you can.
Responses are optional. If you are listening online, a pause will be left for you to say responses. Or if there is more than one person, one person can lead and the other respond.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Lord is here. The Spirit is with us.
God of our days and years,
we set this time apart for you.
Form us in the likeness of Christ
so that our lives may glorify you. Amen.
Your love gives us life but we fail to live as your children.
Lord, have mercy (Lord have mercy).
You call us to do good, but we seek our own good.
Christ, have mercy (Christ have mercy).
You hear us when we cry for help, but we ignore the cries of others.
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.
God of compassion,
whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and in sorrow
we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal;
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.
A reading from the book Exodus
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’
This is the word of the Lord.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
There are a choice of two readings set for Mothering Sunday, the reading from John and a reading from Luke chapter 2. In that Luke passage, Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the temple (the event we mark on Candlemas) and Simeon warns Mary, ‘a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
Sooner or later, in one way or another, all mothers know that feeling, of a sword piercing the soul. They know it when their baby first gets ill, or as their child encounters the terrible sadness and unfairness of the world, they know it too as their child grows up and moves on in life. And a few unfortunate mothers, just like Mary, know the profound grief of losing a child.
But it’s not just mothers who know the stab of worry or heartache that comes when things go wrong with the ones we love. This Mothering Sunday we will no doubt all face the day with heightened emotions. Many of us will be separated from our children and from our mothers, and from those who have been mothers to us, we will be worried about elderly relatives and friends, and we will be wondering how we are going to manage the many weeks stretching ahead of us in which we must all practice social distancing, some more stringently than others.
There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic is a health threat unlike anything this country has experienced in living memory. If you still doubt the scope and seriousness of what we face, I would encourage you to read a little about what is happening at the moment in Italy, to see the footage online of hospitals in crisis. The government has been keen to emphasise in recent press briefings that for those who experience them, the worst effects of the virus are very severe. For those of us in the Benwell and Scotswood team who are over 70, or in a high risk group, I can’t emphasise enough the importance of taking the government’s advice about social distancing seriously.
Nevertheless, so long as we are taking our responsibilities towards ourselves and others seriously, it is equally important that we do not succumb to panic or depression. Having spoken to many of you over the phone, I know that you are all keeping your spirits up but the coming weeks will be a test. Most especially this Mothering Sunday will be difficult for all of us who are separated from those we love.
Not everyone has been fortunate enough to have a loving relationship with their mother, many of us will have difficult relationships within our families and some of us will have little in the way of biological family. But we all do need family and a crisis like the one we’re entering brings this home to us. We all find family in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of places, not least in our church family, and we must find ways to keep all of this alive.
Mary, when the moment came and the sword pierced her soul looked up to see her beloved son dying on a cross. But even in this terrible moment, Jesus hadn’t forgotten her and he initiated a new relationship between Mary and the disciple John. ‘He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.’
Many of us will know family relationships like this, one’s that are not born but made. Those people who become so special to us and so central to our lives that they become family. Maybe this happened over a long period of time, or maybe you were thrown together unexpectedly, like Mary and John. But those relationship are part of who we are and shape our lives.
At this time, when many of us our cut off from friends and family, the churches capacity to be family is more important than ever. As I have been ringing around and speaking to some of you this week, it’s been lovely to hear how you have been supporting each other, ringing each other up and checking that each other are okay. This kind of family relationship is at the heart of what being a church community is all about. We hope that it will continue and flourish in the coming weeks. Please do feel free to ring any of us clergy at anytime if you need anything or are beginning to struggle, we will always be ready and willing to talk with you.
The other important thing we can be doing is to continue to pray and worship in our own homes. This, of course, won’t be the same as worshiping together in church but there is still much we can do to nurture our own spirituality during this time. We hope that these weekly news sheets, with a version of a Sunday service will help and we will be placing other resources on the team website as time goes on.
The most important thing to know is that you are not alone. Mary and John found a new way of being family in the face of the terrible events of Jesus’ crucifixion. This is an opportunity for us too to grow our church family. To grow in our depth of love and care for one another and, who knows, perhaps even to grow in numbers as we encounter other people who need some support and will benefit from being welcomed into our church family.
So happy Mothering Sunday to you all. Although it will be a tough one for many of us, let’s be grateful for all that we have, continue to care for one another and give thanks to God for all those who have been mothers to us and all those who will be in the coming weeks and months.
Spend some time in prayer for yourself, one another, and the world, using the following intentions:
In the power of the Spirit, and in union with Christ, Let us pray to the Father.
Ellen Chambers and her family and friends.
Abi- her reception into the Church of England and her vocation.
Those who are suffering or lonely because of Coronavirus.
The Mothers’ Union.
Thankfulness for all who have cared for us.
Healing for those who have lost parents or whose relationships with their parents have been difficult or abusive.
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.
There is a redeemer
Jesus, God's own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done
Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain
When I stand in Glory
I will see His face
And there I'll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place
There is a redeemer
Jesus, God's own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
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.