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Newsletter - 2nd before Lent

4/2/24

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 4 Feb

9.30am - St Margaret's Holy Communion

9.45am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Ven Bede hub service (Parish eucharist)


Thurs 1 Feb

10.30am Holy communion at Ven Bede


 

Dates for your Diary


Wed 7 Feb

7pm PCC at St Margaret's


Wed 14 Feb

11am Ash Wednesday eucharist with ashing - St John's


 

News


Exploring faith


A group for exploring faith and spirituality. A time to ask questions, discuss, and learn about the beliefs of Christianity. 


Who is it for?

Exploring faith is for anyone who is simply curious, anyone who wants to refresh their faith, and anyone who might want to take the next step of baptism or confirmation (and those who are just unsure!). All abilities and backgrounds are welcome.


There will be two groups running at the same time. One group for adults (16+) and one aimed at preparing young people for confirmation (10-16).


What will happen?

Revd David and Revd Chris (our clergy) and other lay leaders will guide us in listening to and reading different resources and discussing what they mean. At the end of the session there will be a short service of Evening prayer at 4pm, which you are welcome to join in or observe.


When?

Beginning Sunday 18th Feb 

at 3pm. 

Continues every Sunday 

until 17th March.


Where?

St Margaret’s Scotswood 

NE15 6AR


Contact & RSVP

RSVP if you can (it helps us to prepare!) but you’re still welcome to just turn up on the day.


If you have any other questions feel free to get in contact:

0191 273 5356


 

Interested in being baptised or confirmed?


We will be baptising adults at the Easter vigil service this year on 30th March.


Bishop Helen-Ann will then be coming to do confirmations a few weeks later on 14th April.


If you might be interested, join us for the Exploring Faith group (details above!) Or if you are a Farsi speaker, join us on Tuesdays at 4.30pm at St James, NE15 6RS.


If you'd like to talk about this with someone beforehand then just ask Revd David or Revd Chris who will be delighted to talk about this and answer your questions.


 

Ash Wednesday - 14 Feb


Join us for Holy Communion with ashing at 11am on 14th February at St John's Benwell Village, NE15 6NW.


Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, traditionally people are marked with the sign of the cross in ash - an ancient sign of penitence and the forgiveness freely given to all by Christ on the cross.


 

Candlemas


Thank you for all who joined our wonderful Candlemas service last Sunday when we celebrated all who have been christened in our churches. Here are a few photos of our procession led by Lydia!




 

Embrace - Gaza appeal


The people of Gaza are living through an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Israel’s response has led to indiscriminate civilian suffering, with residents forced to move from place to place in search of safety. Food and medical supplies have all but run out; water, electricity, and fuel have been cut off.

The people of Gaza were already on their knees with 80% of residents reliant on humanitarian aid to survive. Please, can you make a donation into help in their hour of need?

You can donate online, by clicking below, or by calling 01494 897950. Your gift will support Embrace’s Christian partners in the immediate aftermath of this humanitarian crisis and to help to heal the wounds it’s caused across Israel – Palestine.





 

Sunday Worship



Sunday 4th February 2024

2nd Sunday before Lent

Green



Collect

Almighty God,

you have created the heavens and the earth

and made us in your own image:

teach us to discern your hand in all your works

and your likeness in all your children;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things,

now and for ever.


or

Almighty God,

give us reverence for all creation

and respect for every person,

that we may mirror your likeness

in Jesus Christ our Lord.



Readings


Proverbs 8.1, 22–31

8Does not wisdom call,

   and does not understanding raise her voice?

22 The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,   the first of his acts of long ago. 23 Ages ago I was set up,   at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,   when there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains had been shaped,   before the hills, I was brought forth— 26 when he had not yet made earth and fields,   or the world’s first bits of soil. 27 When he established the heavens, I was there,   when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 when he made firm the skies above,   when he established the fountains of the deep, 29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,   so that the waters might not transgress his command,  when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 30   then I was beside him, like a master worker;  and I was daily his delight,   rejoicing before him always, 31 rejoicing in his inhabited world   and delighting in the human race.

This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.



Colossians 1.15–20

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.


This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.



Gospel Reading


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

All:  Glory to you, O Lord.


John 1.1–14

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.



Post Communion

God our creator,

by your gift

the tree of life was set at the heart of the earthly paradise,

and the bread of life at the heart of your Church:

may we who have been nourished at your table on earth

be transformed by the glory of the Saviour’s cross

and enjoy the delights of eternity;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Intercessions


Prayers for others:

  • Cecil Harlock

  • Margaret Kuzmicz

  • Pat Law

  • Maria Hawthorn

  • Herbert, Lucy, and Luke Agbeko

  • Moe and Mary

  • Hilary Dixon

  • Ellis Nelson

  • Pauline Nelson

  • Michell Wilson

  • Peter Wilson

  • Alan Taylor

  • Maureen Tayor

  • Irene Foskett

  • Lorraine Atkinson

  • Lynn Mosby

  • Diana Humphrey

  • Esther Kolie

  • David Veitch


Other

  • Those suffering after the attacks in Clapham

  • The ongoing situation in Russia, Ukraine, Gaza and all other places at war.


If you would like to add someone to the prayer list please email church@benwellscotswood.com

The name will stay on the list for 1 month unless requested to be long-term.



Sermon

by Revd Chris

 

“the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory.”

Have you ever had something so momentous happen that you are still working it out years later? Think of how, even now, we are still processing the impact of COVID on our society. Many of you will be able to pinpoint personal moments that have changed everything for you, both good and bad: falling in love, having a child, illness, death and grief, moving country, meeting God and coming to faith.


It is usually only after these events have happened that we realise how huge the impact is. At the time they may seem like the simplest, most basic human events, but their impact on who you are is immeasurable.


The weeks leading up to now have been the season of ‘Epiphany’ the time when we hear the stories of Christ being revealed to the world, this incredible life-changing figure stepping into the history of the world, to become known to real people, and performing signs and wonders.


But the passages we read today represent writings from the early church, after Christ has been made known to the world. The most momentous thing has happened and now, a few years later, they are trying to work out what it all meant. These people have had everything they know turned upside down, they knew this man, saw him die and saw him rise again, and then he disappeared from view.


If you have tried reading the Bible on your own, or reading theology, or listened to clergy waffle on in their sermons, or tried working out why things are the way they are in church, then chances are you probably felt overwhelmed by all its complexity. For millennia the church has been trying to work all this out, and still hasn’t fully done so. But the beginning of the Gospel of John represents an attempt to return to basics, it is one of those passages that is so bafflingly simple, and so full of meaning.


The passage takes a moment to step back and take it all in, it uses the simplest of metaphors to some sum it all up- the light of Christ has entered the world, a light shining in the darkness.


This is a passage that calls to mind the most primordial, original, basic elements of our existence: light, energy, creation itself, the birth of stars and the universe, something appearing from nothing.


If you attended Midnight Mass at St James at Christmas then you would have heard David preach on this text and remind us how the whole of creation fizzes with the light and life of Christ described here.


The passage from Paul’s letter to the Colossians does the same. He writes:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, … 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.


The passage is trying to make sense of how Jesus is human yet somehow God. This is a person, but more than that; a prophet maybe, but more than that; a teacher, an inspirational leader, a miracle worker, yes but definitely more than all of that that! The son of God, maybe, but not half God, not a small part of God, but the fullness of God. God stepped into the world and met us face to face.


We live in a world made complex by our selfishness, and we need to be reminded of the most basic truths from time to time. Paul’s letter even talks about how “thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him”. This is not a justification that all earthly rulers have been put there by Christ- if anything it is a rebuke of governments and nations. It is a reminder that all of this only exists because of Jesus Christ, powerful people and governments are not more special and important than anyone else to Jesus, but they do have responsibility to act with the same selfless love, and they cannot keep using the excuse that life is too complicated.


What is more, there is a double meaning here, ‘thrones, dominions, rulers and powers’ are also the names given to the top tiers of heavenly beings, or angels, in the Bible. The passage is reminding us that Christ is above and before even the highest of all things, he has come from the highest heights of heaven, to share in death with us here on earth. His presence runs throughout earth and heaven, he is within it all and more than it all. Everything we are and do must have the same integrity.


We need to remember that the reason we are here, in this place on a Sunday, the reason that we exist at all, is because Christ wanted to know you, personally. To enlighten you to who he is- you have your existence in him, everything has its existence in him. This isn’t abstract philosophy or theology. Within you and within us all Jesus Christ is here in the most real ways. It says: “He is the head of the body, the church”. We know him personally here and now because we are his body on earth. He did not enter the world just to show off, but to meet us all in this complex world of death, and to transform it. We exist, as his body here on earth, to show the same selfless love to all, if we only stopped making things complicated and remembered this is our task.


How will you let your life be changed by this knowledge? Will you stop holding onto control for yourself, holding back parts of yourself? Will you stop using the excuse life is too complicated right now? Christ has not held back any of himself from you. He has given all to know you, even to the point of death so that you might rise again in new life. Will you let yourself be transformed by the love of Christ and be part of the transformation of this world? It’s quite simple really, because Christ has done it all already, if you would just be part of it.


Amen.


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