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Newsletter - Christ the King


Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 26 Nov

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

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

4pm - St Margaret's evening prayer

Thurs 30 Nov

10.30am - Holy Communion at Ven Bede.


Dates for your diary

Mon 18th Dec

St James Christmas event (time tbd)

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



Mavis Agbeko

It is with huge sadness that we announce the death of Mavis Agbeko, a much loved and long standing member of St James.

Her funeral will be on 5th November at St James, at 12pm, followed by a committal at the West Road crematorium.

Please keep her family and friends in your prayers at this time. May she rest in peace, and rise in glory.


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.


Bible study with translation - Tuesdays at 4.30pm

Bible study with Farsi translation has restarted on Tuesdays at 4.30pm at St James.

All are welcome whatever language you speak!

Each session finishes by 6pm. Speak to Revd Chris if you'd like more information.


Sunday Worship

Sunday 26th November 2023

Christ the King



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

Wedding banns

  • Amanda Yeowart and Dave Watlow

Rest in peace

  • Faith Omorogbe

  • Mavis Agbeko

  • Joan Bellingham

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 Revd Chris

The glorious kingdom of Christ is his church on earth, and in this part of England we are privileged to see it’s greatness all around us - the soaring spires of churches, the majestic towers of Durham Cathedral. The rich history of a place where northern saints once walked and scribes decorated spectacular manuscripts by candlelight, even now we see the greatness of our church as our Bishop has taken her place in an ancient seat of power in the House of Lords. However, all this felt very distant the other day as I did the Lord’s work of scooping up the body of a dead rat and removed an actual mushroom growing out the damp walls of St James.


The glorious idea of ‘Christ the King’, conjures up images of thrones and opulent robes, radiant golden light, cherubim and seraphim singing in praise. I guess, it is an image that is meant to fill us with awe and a sense of security in a powerful kingdom. Unfortunately, I think the idea of a king or ruler is not always a symbol that fills us with hope in the way that it is intended. Many have come to this country fleeing those who abuse their positions of power, and in this country, whatever your political leanings, I think most of us would agree that our leaders of recent times have not been symbols of greatness and wisdom. At best a world leader is someone distant, uninterested in our small lives, at worst it is someone who oppresses and actively makes our lives worse or murder us.


Nostalgic ideas of greatness and our own desire for power can cloud our perception of the reality. Power is attractive, but also corrupting, all of us gravitate towards it in the hope that we will receive some of it ourselves, that we may be noticed, that we may matter in some way. But power and greatness is an illusion, and it is always temporary.


The Kingdom of God is a different kind of power. We don’t need to worry if churches shrink, if our influence wanes, if Bishops no longer have a seat in the House of Lords, and if our great buildings crumble. Because those things were never part of the kingdom of God anyway, they are the means to administering an institution, they are not the kingdom of God in itself. Our Gospel passage tells us what the kingdom of God truly is:

34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”


The kingdom that Jesus talks about is intentionally ironic, upside down, and intentionally powerless, it is one which grows and strengthens relationships and connections from the bottom up, that seeks God in the faces of others. In the letter of the Paul to the Philippians we can read ancient hymn that says:

though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


This is how God declares his power, through giving himself over to powerlessness, his power is expressed in weakness, he becomes King through compassion, not just by noticing the least, but by becoming less than them. The throne he ascends to is the cross, and his unending rule is as a servant to others.


This is not just a romantic idea of helping the poor, small acts of kindness to make ourselves feel better, but a totally transformed way of existing in the world. The kingdom of God is not built through patronising acts that keep others below us, but through being with others in suffering, to offer love to others as our equals or betters. To treat others as the Christ the King himself, we do not question whether we think someone is deserving or not, but treat all with the dignity of Christ himself. Because, whether or not they ‘deserve’ kindness, they have been made in the image of God.


Sometimes I do worry, are we just putting a sticking plaster on things, letting governments and institutions get away with not having to do these things themselves? But I believe that if we treat all with dignity and worth, we do not tie ourselves in conceptual knots, we tie our wellbeing up together, in a community, in the kingdom of God, and we build strong communities that have the values of compassion and justice that demand the same compassion and justice from our institutions.


Jesus made the love of God real in history, he stepped into the messiness of the world and transformed it through real relationships and real actions. Christian love is not internal or spiritual, but action. We don’t do it in the hope of reaching Christ the King in heaven a distant God on a throne, but we make that kingdom real, now, beginning with us. And it’s quite basic, we do what Jesus says: if somebody is hungry, we feed them, we welcome strangers, and we care for those who need it.




Eternal Father,

whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven

that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:

keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit

and in the bond of peace,

and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


God the Father,

help us to hear the call of Christ the King

and to follow in his service,

whose kingdom has no end;

for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, one glory.


Ezekiel 34.11–16, 20–24 11 For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice. 20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, 22I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

This is the word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. All: Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew 25.31–end 31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 44Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” 45Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord. All: Praise to you, O Christ.

Post Communion

Stir up, O Lord,

the wills of your faithful people;

that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,

may by you be plenteously rewarded;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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