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Newsletter - Advent 2


Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 10 Dec

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Hub service at Ven Bede (Parish Eucharist).

4pm - St Margaret's evening worship

Thurs 7 Dec

10.30am - Holy Communion at Ven Bede.


Dates for your diary

Mon 18th Dec

St James Christmas lunch 12-2pm

Christmas fayre 3.30-5pm

Carol service 5pm

Wed 20th Dec

6.30pm, St John’s Carols

Christmas Eve, Sun 24 Dec

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Ven Bede hub service

4pm - St Margaret’s crib service

11.30pm - Midnight Mass at St James

Christmas Day, Mon 25 Dec

10am - Ven Bede



Advent & Christmas events 2023

Carols from St John's

Wednesday 20th December, 6.30pm

Location: St John's Benwell Village, NE15 7PL

Christmas Dinner

Monday 28th December 12-2pm

Location: St James Benwell, NE15 6RS

Christmas Fayre & carols

Monday 28th December

Fayre from 3.30pm

Carol service at 5pm

Location: St James Benwell, NE15 6RS

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Sunday 24th December (Christmas Eve)

9.30am - St John's Benwell Village, NE15 7PL

11am - Venerable Bede, West Road, NE4 8AP

St Margaret's Crib service

Sunday 24th December, 4pm

Location: St Margaret Scotswood, NE15 6AR

Midnight mass

Sunday 24th December, 11.30pm

Location: St James Benwell, NE15 6RS

Christmas Day

Monday 25th December, 10am

Location: Venerable Bede, West Road, NE4 8AP


Help needed - Christmas Fayre 18th Dec

At St James' on Monday 18th December we need volunteers for the stalls, games and to serve food. If you are able to help please let Revd Chris or Kath McIntyre know!

We also need donations of tombola and raffle prizes! Bottles, homewares, hamper items etc.


Christmas flower donations

Donations are much appreciated towards church flowers for Christmas! If you would like to donate please speak to Elspeth Kirkwood, Liz, or Olwyn.


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 10th December 2023

2nd Sunday of Advent



Prayers for others:

  • Maria Hawthorn

  • Herbert, Lucy, and Luke Agbeko

  • Ellis Nelson

  • Pauline Nelson

  • Michell Wilson

  • Peter Wilson

  • Alan Taylor

  • Maureen Tayor

  • Irene Foskett

  • Lorraine Atkinson

  • Lynn Mosby

  • Diana Humphrey

  • Esther Kolie

  • David Veitch

Rest in peace

  • Mavis Agbeko

If you would like to add someone to the prayer list please email

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

Advent wreath

2nd Sunday - the Prophets

Lord Jesus, light of the world, the prophets said you would bring peace and save your people in trouble. Give peace in our hearts at Christmas and show all the world God’s love. Amen.


by Revd Chris

Sermon advent 2 - year B – 2023

The words of our Gospel reading are the first words of the Gospel of Mark, the oldest of the four gospels. It places us in the wilderness, in the desert. In the ancient middle east. In a time of despair and worry. Suddenly a voice comes from nowhere, crying out “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight!”

As we light yet another candle on the advent wreath each week we remember those who prepared the way, those who didn’t yet live in a world where the messiah had already come. Where hope was a distant unknown future that had not yet been made real. In this second week of Advent we light our candle in honour of the prophets, those who spoke God’s words of truth when no one would believe it, those who sought justice and truth when those around them thought them strange or stupid.

At this time of Advent we are invited to remind ourselves of this time before. We are hurtling towards Christmas and we will soon read those famous words from the beginning of the Gospel of John at Midnight mass – “in the beginning was the word, and the word was God… a light shining in the darkness”. These words which recall the beginning of the book of Genesis, the first words of the bible, the beginning of the world.

We do quite a bit of time travelling throughout Advent. Advent is a time when we try to place ourselves in the bigger story, we remember that our siblings in faith are from a distant time and place and we try to understand them and empathise with them across the millennia just as we would with members of the church family here today. We try to understand the story of what God has done, and has been doing for us, since the beginning of the world. We are being asked to somehow comprehend that God held each of us in his mind, at the very beginning of creation, all that we are was already known to God and God has been working for our salvation all this time. Each of us is part of a constantly unfolding story of creation, salvation, transformation, and hope.

The first words in the story of Jesus Christ that Mark gives us are not his own, but quoted from our first reading, from the prophet Isaiah. They say “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness”.

In Bible study on Tuesdays we have been working our way through the book of Isaiah. It is a book of darkness and despair, God despairing at his people, the people despairing at God. In fact most of the book is doom and gloom, to the point where it seems that there could be no way out of the endless darkness and suffering, but suddenly there are these moments of hope. Shining like lone stars in the darkness, a few words of promise that this is not the end, promises that from the stump of a dead tree a new branch will grow, from the remnant of your people will come a new society, out of weakness will come strength, out of death will come the hope of new life.

Our first reading is one of these moments of hope in the vast dark void if Isaiah. It begins “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.” It tells us of the coming of God, how the life of humankind is like the flowers or grass, we last a short time and then wither, but the word of the Lord stands forever. Our lives may seem small and unimportant, but not to God.

At Advent we are reminded that we are one small part of a huge story, but a small part that is not forgotten by God, a part that has been known to God since the creation of the world, and a small part that will not be forgotten at its end. By being reminded of the past and God’s faithfulness throughout history, we are also being asked to look to the future. We may be small, and our lives short, but we all have our part in God’s plan. We are not just observers of this story but we are called to herald God’s peace and hope in our own time, to offer comfort and peace to those who need it, to remember that the work of God is not yet complete in this world because we still have our parts to play. We are meant to prepare for Christ to come again.

God’s story and his plan for salvation is not something that happened in Biblical times and stopped with Jesus. It is ongoing and we are part of it.

Think of your own particularly story – when have you felt hope when things were difficult? Who has helped you in your story of faith? How will you be the same for others? How will you prepare the way for others to encounter God?

Some of you may feel you are in the wilderness now, in a dark and empty place, but there is hope, things are not finished. God is at work in this world still, through you. God knows who you are, he has known you since the beginning of the world and he wants you to be a sign of hope here and now, a light shining in the darkness that will not be overcome.



O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power

and come among us,

and with great might succour us;

that whereas, through our sins and wickedness

we are grievously hindered

in running the race that is set before us,

your bountiful grace and mercy

may speedily help and deliver us;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,

be honour and glory, now and for ever.


Almighty God,

purify our hearts and minds,

that when your Son Jesus Christ comes again as judge and saviour

we may be ready to receive him,

who is our Lord and our God.


Isaiah 40.1–11

40Comfort, O comfort my people,

   says your God.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,

   and cry to her

  that she has served her term,

   that her penalty is paid,

  that she has received from the Lord’s hand

   double for all her sins.

 3 A voice cries out:  ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,   make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up,   and every mountain and hill be made low;  the uneven ground shall become level,   and the rough places a plain. 5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,   and all people shall see it together,   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

 6 A voice says, ‘Cry out!’   And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’  All people are grass,   their constancy is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades,   when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;   surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades;   but the word of our God will stand for ever. 9 Get you up to a high mountain,   O Zion, herald of good tidings;  lift up your voice with strength,   O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,   lift it up, do not fear;  say to the cities of Judah,   ‘Here is your God!’ 10 See, the Lord God comes with might,   and his arm rules for him;  his reward is with him,   and his recompense before him. 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;   he will gather the lambs in his arms,  and carry them in his bosom,   and gently lead the mother sheep.


This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading

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

All:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Mark 1.1–8

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,  ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,   who will prepare your way; 3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:   “Prepare the way of the Lord,   make his paths straight” ’, 4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’


This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.

Post Communion

Father in heaven,

who sent your Son to redeem the world

and will send him again to be our judge:

give us grace so to imitate him in the humility and purity of his first coming

that, when he comes again,

we may be ready to greet him

with joyful love and firm faith;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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