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Newsletter - Candlemas


Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 28 Jan - Candlemas

11am - Ven Bede hub service (Team eucharist - no other services in the team)

celebration and thanksgiving for those who have been baptised and their families.

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



Candlemas - this Sunday 28th Jan

Those who have been baptised (christened) in our churches are invited every year to this special celebratory service along with their loved ones and Godparents.

Some useful info

  • This family-friendly service will last less than an hour. 

  • There will be some light refreshments after. 

  • If you still have your baptism candle then bring it with you to light them during the service (don’t worry if not, there will be some spare candles!)

  • There is no need to RSVP but if you would like to contact us for any reason: or 07968 162067

p.s. Do you have photos of baptisms in our churches? However long ago or recent, we would love to show them in the service!


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.


Beginning Sunday 18th Feb 

at 3pm. 

Continues every Sunday 

until 17th March.


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.


Arthur Knaggs

Last week was Arthur's funeral. During the service we were reminded of the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

We were sent something that Arthur wrote a few years ago about his journey of faith. We thought you might like to read it:

How Arthur Knaggs came to having a new life in Jesus Christ:

It was when I started work at the Royal Victoria Infirmary as a ward orderly and later as an operating department assistant that I met a very dear friend, Thomas Sterling, who gave me very many tracts explaining God's way of salvation.  He and many of his friends used to meet during lunchtime most days and I was interested in what they had to say about spiritual matters.  But the turning point wasn't until I read a tract explaining my need of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The tract explained how He is my own personal Saviour and Lord, how by repentance and faith I can trust Him for my salvation, and how I can be free from all my sin by His precious body and blood shed upon the cross of Calvary.  Well, I could not resist that invitation to come to the one who was willing to bear all my sins and to give me everlasting life.  It was in the month of September 1957 that I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus.

My verse of scripture then is the same now: St John 3v16.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Have you, who are reading this little testament the assurance that Jesus gave His life for you up[on the Cross?  Yea and rose again!

Put your trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord.  He will never fail you.


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.


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 28th January 2024

Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas)


Prayers for others:

  • 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

Rest in Peace

  • Arthur Knaggs


  • Those who have been baptised in our parish

  • 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

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


by Lydia Padfield


A few years ago, I stepped foot inside a church that I hadn’t been to before. I’m not a particularly adventurous person so I usually feel a bit nervous when I go somewhere new. But the notice board outside the church and the website looked friendly enough, and I’d been to churches before, so I thought there were unlikely to be any major surprises. Sure enough, there was a welcome, there was some singing, there were some readings from the Bible, nothing seemed that remarkable.


And then, at the start of the sermon, things took what I would describe as an unusual turn. The person preaching stood up, walked very slowly over to the lectern, and, for what felt like an eternity, just looked at us in total silence. And then, eventually, she took a deep breath, and announced in a loud, declamatory voice, ‘You can’t see yourself in the mirror when the light’s off.’ And then she was silent again. It was during the second of her two silences that I started to wonder if I’d come to the right place after all. She was factually accurate, of course, you can’t see yourself in the mirror when the light’s off. But I wasn’t quite sure why this needed to be said, and why it needed to be said in church.


And then, once I’d got to the point of thinking the silence would never end, and that coming to this church was a terrible mistake, she gently said, ‘in the same way, we see ourselves, and the world around us, clearly in the light of Christ.’ I grew to love that church, and I’ve never forgotten her words, or her dramatic flair.


We see ourselves, and the world around us, clearly in the light of Christ. I think this expression captures the reading we’ve heard from Luke’s Gospel today – a reading which is all about an epiphany moment, a moment of absolute clarity, a moment where, in the middle of something completely ordinary, the utterly extraordinary comes into focus. And I think it captures our Candlemas celebration today of all those who have been christened, or baptised, in the parish this year – as we think about the gift of Christ to every one of us, and the light of Christ shining in our own lives.


The story we’ve heard from the Gospel of Luke starts unremarkably. We’re told that, forty days after Jesus’ birth, he is taken to the temple by his parents ‘for their purification’ and so he can be presented to the Lord. This was part and parcel of Jewish life in the first century – one of those things that you did as a new parent. I imagine – although this has no basis in theology whatsoever – that the conversations Mary and Joseph had on the way there were quite like the ones we ask new parents now: how’s he sleeping? How are you sleeping? Can I bring anything round? And when Mary and Joseph get there and enter the temple they offer a sacrifice, as they were expecting to do. Nothing here seems out of the ordinary.


The other people at the temple that day included Simeon and Anna. There’s something quite ordinary about them, too. Simeon was presumably an older man, one who longed for a better world, who was waiting expectantly for the fulfilment of God’s promises. Anna was 84 and a widow, who worshipped faithfully at the temple day and night. These were people who knew that life can be full of pain as well as joy; they were people who over many years had seen and experienced the injustices of the world; they were people who knew how to wait and wait for things to get better. They were impressive people, devout people, but ordinary people too – not the sort of people who are usually remembered thousands of years after their deaths.


And so, to a casual observer, this is just another day at the temple. There are some young parents with their baby, doing the things that young families are expected to do, and there are some older people faithfully worshipping. But, in this seemingly unremarkable context, something extraordinary happens. Simeon, who has felt a pull from God to the temple that day sees Jesus, and immediately recognises that this is no ordinary baby. This is the Messiah he has been waiting for; the Messiah he was promised he would see in his lifetime. In his song of praise Simeon declares: ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’


Just like that, the light is switched on and everything is clear. Just like that, Simeon perceives God’s salvation, recognises the light of revelation, glimpses God’s glory in the person of Jesus Christ. His words – the Nunc Dimittis – are some of the most famous words in the New Testament, immortalised in our daily liturgy as well as in our funeral services. They represent a total clarity about who Jesus is: ‘a light’ in the darkness of the world, ‘a light’ who offers salvation, who offers freedom, who offers eternal life. Simeon’s words don’t come from a place of cheery optimism: Simeon is completely aware that Jesus is ‘a sign that will be opposed’, and there will be profound cost to Mary, his mother – ‘a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ In fact, on this day we move from looking at the cradle to the cross. But Simeon’s words do come from a place of real hope, that in Jesus each of us can know life and salvation.


And on this day, we remember not only Jesus’ presentation at the temple, but those who have been christened, or baptised, in the parish this year. We remember that, through the most ordinary of things – water – we are raised to new life in Christ, and we are invited to walk in his light all the days of our life.



Almighty and ever-living God,

clothed in majesty,

whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple,

in substance of our flesh:

grant that we may be presented to you

with pure and clean hearts,

by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.



Malachi 3.1–5

3See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

5 Then I will draw near to you for judgement; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.


This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.


Hebrews 2.14-end


 14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.


This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading

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

All:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Luke 2.22–40

22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,   according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31   which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles   and for glory to your people Israel.’

33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.


This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.

Post Communion

Lord, you fulfilled the hope of Simeon and Anna,

who lived to welcome the Messiah:

may we, who have received these gifts beyond words,

prepare to meet Christ Jesus

when he comes to bring us to eternal life;

for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.


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