Mothering Sunday - Church at Home


Worship & news from Benwell & Scotswood

Michelangelo, Pieta, 1498-99

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican

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Podcast service:

Including a version of 'Immortal Invisible' by James Lewis, using technology to create a choir at home!

Farsi translation / خطبه

< متن خطبه / read the translation


Lent, Holy Week & Easter info

Find our information page here >

We have created a page with all the information you need about Lent, Holy Week, and Easter this year. Go have a look to keep up to date.

We are very happy to say we will be worshipping together in-person this year! To help us keep things as safe as possible, we decided it would be best to stay in one location rather than going round each of our churches, so we will celebrate Holy Week at the Venerable Bede.

Free and cheap meals


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 >


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


Intro music

Gymnopédie no.1 by Erik Satie.

Opening prayer

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


Traditionally today is a time to celebrate our mother churches, those people and places which have nurtured our faith. But for many this time comes with painful associations with motherhood, feelings of inadequacy or loss. Yet in Christ, we are given both comfort and family.

We come together to give thanks to God for all those people who have nurtured us, and to offer ourselves to nurture others, with God’s help. We have also come to acknowledge the pain of a hurting world, where we have failed to nurture each other.

We come to receive again from the God of compassion and mercy.

Prayer of preparation

Loving, compassionate Father,

As a mother hen gathers her chicks,

so you draw the whole human family to yourself.

Bring us together that we may be united under your wing

in all our sorrows and joys.



The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart God will not despise.

Let us come to the Lord, who is full of compassion,

and acknowledge our transgressions in penitence and faith.

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 God of love and power

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


God of love,

passionate and strong,

tender and careful:

watch over us and hold us

all the days of our life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord



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.’

Exodus 2.1–10

This is the word of the Lord.

(Thanks be to God).


Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

The Lord is a great God,

O that today you would listen to his voice.

Harden not your hearts.

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Glory to you O Lord

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.

John 19.25–27

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ


by The Revd Chris Minchin

Families are certainly a place where God’s grace is shown, mostly because ‘grace’ is how God can bring good out of the worst imperfections.

This is the day each year when we celebrate our mums. Normally it involves handing out daffodils and cards, it’s usually all very nice and reminds us to show appreciation to our parents, which, I don’t know about you, I never do enough.

But what exactly are we celebrating about ‘mothers’ when all families look different? Is it those who bore us into the world or those who cared for us when our biological mothers didn’t? Is it ‘mother church’, or ‘mother earth’, or ‘Mary mother of God’? The danger of this day is we can end up focusing on the most basic niceties of motherhood, not appreciating the demands, pressures and complexities that family brings. Certainly, for many of us, today only highlights the painful aspects of family relationships, whether that is because we have been separated from our much-loved mothers or children by distance or death, or it highlights how difficult or damaging our family relationships have been, and how far from the ideal we fall and the guilt we all carry.

It is impossible to find something to say about motherhood that applies to everyone and I am in no way qualified to tell anyone what motherhood should look like. But I do know our parents have more influence on our identity than anything else in our lives, whether that is because we emulate them or because we try our hardest to be nothing like them. Those who raised us leave deep impressions on us that we spend our whole lives working out. And even if we do not know our biological parents we are still linked because none of us could exist without them, our bodily strengths, weaknesses, and our features come from them.

And this all makes the idea of parenthood utterly terrifying – that we could so easily change the life of a child, for good or for bad. What if we fail? What if we make a mistake? What if we don’t feel what we’re meant to feel?

Thank goodness then, that the Bible actually has lots of stories of imperfect people trying to do their best and who do not fit the mould of a typical family. We have one reading today from Exodus: in a time of oppression, slavery and poverty, Moses’ mother places him in a basket and entrusts his life to the river Nile. It is a desperate act to save her baby from being murdered by their oppressors, the shocking choice of a mother giving their child over to possible death in order to escape certain death. It is a choice no parent wants to make. What it leads to is an unusual set up where the boy is found in the reeds by Pharaoh’s wife who adopts him (Pharaoh being the person who put him in danger in the first place) while the boy’s biological mother is paid to raise him as a nursemaid.

In our Gospel reading Mary, with the enduring love of a mother, has followed her child to an end that she would never wish for. Another story of utter pain, a mother having to helplessly look on while her child is humiliated and dying with nothing that she can do. From the cross Jesus speaks to her, entrusting her to one of his disciples who will care for her as if she were his own mother and he her son.

Both stories of Moses and Jesus involve pain and suffering, but also fierce love that endures the worst of evils. And importantly both stories show that motherhood and family relationships go beyond the biological, displaying a kind of love that hopes and reaches beyond the norms of societal expectations. Sons adopt mothers and persecutors adopt the persecuted. These stories show that the bonds of love are stronger than suffering or death.

Indeed, family is a bind that goes beyond likes and dislikes, presence or distance. We Christians should not only love our immediate nuclear family. We are to adopt each other and care for each other, whether we look the same or speak the same language, whether or not we even like each other, because we are all in God’s family. It is a real kind love which always has hope when faced by pain, hatred and prejudice.

It is not a ‘nice’ love of flowers and cards; it is a love that we work hard at and give our all to. It is a love that calls us to help all whom we meet, to open our doors, to feed each other, to forgive each other, to pray for each other. Love is not to pity one other but to look for and recognise the image of God in everyone.

So this Mothering Sunday I celebrate you all. You are my family, and I am yours, and I am proud to have you all as brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children, joined in a family by God our mother who loves us for all eternity, who takes us as her own children.


Prayers of intercession


Lord in your mercy: Show us your love.

Father of mercy and God of all consolation,

turn your gaze towards us as we humbly lift our prayers to you.

We praise and glorify you for your steadfast love

and the nurture of all your children.

We thank you for the body of your Church and we pray

you will teach us how to console and cherish each other as

followers of your beloved Son.

The Church

  • Those called to lead and guide us at a difficult time.

  • Bishop Christine, Bishop Mark, Pope Francis, the leaders of the Orthodox Churches and the work of Churches Together.

  • Newcastle Cathedral and staff.

  • The work of the Mothers Union, worldwide and in our local Deanery and Diocese and the Benwell Branch.

  • Thanks for our fellowship with all worshippers throughout the world, online and able to gather for worship.

  • For all who feel cut off from the community and sacramental life of the church.

  • Those preparing for Baptism.

May the voices of all Christians be united as one voice,

proclaiming a message of love and hope.

Lord in your mercy: Show us your love.

May the circle of your love close around those whose relationships are broken and in need of your healing.

The World

  • Mothers and Carers especially those bringing up children in poverty and squalor

  • Those who make decisions that affect family life.

  • Families feeling trapped or facing uncertain futures especially victims of bullying and domestic violence

  • Medical staff and health professionals including all working in mental health. Places whose health services are most vulnerable and undeveloped.

  • A global effort to vaccinate all.

  • A more sustainable use and equitable allocation of the world’s resources and a serious effort to put an end to poverty and exploitation and to safeguard the planet for future generations.

May the light of Christ shine into the darkness of injustice and suffering.

Lord in your mercy: Show us your love.

Teach us to hold pain with the compassion and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Sick & Suffering

All who have asked for our prayers

Jill Sorley, Joyce Phillips, , the Riches family, Dee Humphrey, Claire Mozaffari, Eric Harling, Herbert Agbeko, Anastasia Mikelwright

All affected by Covid19

Lord in your mercy: Show us your love.

May the faithful departed know the fulfilment of their hope

as you receive them into your Kingdom to live with you forever and ever.

The Departed Those we have known and loved and whose examples we cherish.

All victims of Covid 19.

Reg Hambrook

May you fill our hearts with the assurance that our prayers will rise up to you as a

fragrant offering and be pleasing to you.

Lord in your mercy: Show us your love.

Lord's Prayer

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,

as our Saviour taught us, so we pray

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 >

Mary, blessed teenage mother,

With what holy joy you sing!

Humble, yet above all other,

From your womb shall healing spring.

Out of wedlock pregnant found,

Full of grace with blessing crowned.

Mother of the homeless stranger

Only outcasts recognise,

Point us to the modern manger

Not a sight for gentle eyes!

Oh the joyful news we tell:

"Even here, Immanuel!"

Now, throughout the townships ringing,

Hear the black madonna cry,

Songs of hope and freedom singing,

Poor and humble lifted high,

Here the Spirit finds a womb

For the breaker of the tomb!

Holy mother, for the nations

Bring to birth the child diving:

Israel's strength and consolation,

And the hope of Palestine!

All creation reconciled

In the crying of a child!


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

And the love of God

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all evermore.


Outro music

Puppet's Complaint by César Franck.

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