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Newsletter - Easter 4

14/4/24

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week


Sun 14 April

11am - Confirmations at Ven Bede (no other services in the team)


Thurs 18 April

11am - Ven Bede Holy Communion


Sun 21 April

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

9.45am - St Margaret's Holy Communion

11am - Hub service moves to St James (Parish Eucharist)


 

Dates for your Diary


Sun 21 April

11am - Hub service moves to St James

Thurs 2 May

7pm - PCC


Sun 19 May

11am - Pentecost Team service followed by Annual Meeting (APCM) at St James'

 

News




 

Don't forget! The Hub service moves to St James this Sunday


The 11am hub service will be at St James from Sunday 21st April and will remain there during the warmer months (until about October).






 

Congratulations and thank you!





Congratulations to all 14 people who were confirmed by Bishop Helen-Ann last Sunday!


And a huge thank you to everyone who helped prepare for the service with cleaning, cooking, music, serving, welcoming, prayer and support!


 

Notice of annual meetings (APCM)


Pentecost Sunday, 19 May 2024, 12pm

St James Benwell, NE15 6RS

(Followed by Pentecost lunch!)


The 'Annual Parochial Church Meeting' meets once a year and receives reports on changes to the electoral roll, general parish activities, and finances. It is also when we elect members of the PCC and churchwardens. This year's meeting will be held directly after our Team Pentecost service.



 

Bishop Helen-Ann becomes patron of the Foodbank


It is fitting that the week Bishop Helen-Ann is with us is also the week she became patron of our own Newcastle Foodbank!


She says about the appointment: “I hope that in my role as a patron I will be able to use this platform as Bishop of Newcastle and as a Lords Spiritual to highlight the many systemic issues of injustice that make the foodbank a necessity of daily life for so many people.

“I hope also to be able to shine a light of hope on the stories of community and kindness that I see. The foodbank itself was started by the Church and it is rightly proud of its origins, something that my invitation to become a patron connects with in a way that I find deeply inspiring. It is a great honour indeed.”


 

Dentaid Dental Bus at St James

The Dentaid dental bus was based at St James' this week offering free dental care to members of the local community who struggle to access treatment.


People have been seen for a range of procedures, from childhood consultations to full dental extractions.


The BBC were also on hand documenting the initiative, you can read about it here:


or listen here:









 

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 21st April 2024

4th Sunday of Easter

White/gold


Collect

Almighty God,

whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:

raise us, who trust in him,

from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,

that we may seek those things which are above,

where he reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


or

Risen Christ,

faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:

teach us to hear your voice

and to follow your command,

that all your people may be gathered into one flock,

to the glory of God the Father.



Readings

 

Acts 4.5-12

 5 The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’ 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is

  “the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;

   it has become the cornerstone.”

12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.’


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 10.11–18

 

 11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’


This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.



Post Communion

Merciful Father,

you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd,

and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again:

keep us always under his protection,

and give us grace to follow in his steps;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Intercessions


Prayers for others:

  • Malcolm Smith

  • Paulette Thompson

  • John Peterson

  • Cecil Harlock

  • Maria Hawthorn

  • Herbert Agbeko

  • Ellis Nelson

  • Pauline Nelson

  • Michelle Wilson

  • Peter Wilson

  • Alan Taylor

  • Maureen Taylor

  • Irene Foskett

  • Lorraine Atkinson

  • Pat Law

  • Moe and Mary

  • Hilary Dixon

  • Lynn Mosby

  • David Veitch

Rest in peace

  • Val Smith

  • Gordon White

Those being baptised

  • Sophie

  • Amy

  • Lucy

  • Taylor

Other

  • the people of Iran

  • The ongoing situation in Russia, Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan 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

 

We have two strong metaphorical images in our readings this week. In the first reading “the stone that was rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.” And in the Gospel we have “Christ the good shepherd”.


Both metaphors, in their own way, seem fitting for the week that the hub service moves from the Venerable Bede to St James for the warmer months. The stone that the builders rejected is fitting because if we look at the cold, damp, dark building there are plenty of stones here that I would consider rejecting.


The second metaphor of Christ as a shepherd is fitting because it reminds us that the beginnings of Christianity was not limited to buildings. When the bible talks of sheep and shepherds it is talking about a nomadic existence, a way of life moving from pasture to pasture. Going wherever they need to go for sustenance and for safety.


The story of the bible is one of wandering and movement: Adam and Eve cast out of the Garden of Eden; the Hebrews escaping Egypt and wandering in the wilderness; the ministry of Jesus moving from house to house, the disciples sent out in pairs to heal; and the work of Paul and the apostles forming communities and tending to them all across the ancient world.


With our history of ancient stone-built parish churches in Britain we have lost some of the sense of the fact that Christianity was always meant to be a nomadic existence. Even if we keep our feet firmly planted in one physical place we are still nomads in life, only here on earth for a short time before resting in our heavenly home. Hence why Psalm 23 has become such a famous reading or hymn for funerals:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

   He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters;

   he restores my soul…

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

   I fear no evil; for you are with me;

   your rod and your staff—   they comfort me.”


The parish churches of our land are a symbol of longevity and tradition and every part of our isles is divided up into parishes served by a church and a community of believers. But the word ‘parish’ is meant to signify something very different, literally developing from a Greek word meaning a ‘traveller, foreigner, an alien, or a temporary resident in a place’. Even the buildings that we have are, by their very nature, temporary. It may take a long time, but every stone will eventually crumble into sand.


Last week we had Bishop Helen-Ann with us as 14 people were confirmed as partakers in the mission of God’s Holy Spirit in the world. The Bishop carries a crozier, a shepherd’s crook, as a symbol of her calling to care for the flock. The crozier isn’t just a practical implement for hooking and beating you into the correct position in a procession. It is a symbol that the 14 of you are being led on a journey and being cared for, indeed all of us are travelling together and are being cared for.


Rather than as a permanent home, maybe it is better to think of our churches as sheepfolds. Places for protection, rest and recuperation as we continue wandering through our short life.

We are the sheep of God’s flock, and the thing about sheep, if you have had the pleasure of spending any time with them, is they can be quite stupid. They are very easily spooked, they wander off and fall of cliffs and into ditches, and they bleat and try to wriggle out of the arms of the shepherd who may be rescuing them. And they smell.


These are God’s people, that’s us, we are the flock. We will always be nomads in life, helpless and scared of the wolves, we will always try to put our trust in the “hired hand” - the things that offer temporary comfort, and the illusion of safety and protection. But, fortunately, we have a good shepherd who cares for us, who says: “I know my own and my own know me. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”


The good shepherd cares for this flock more than his own life, he is prepared to care for them and protect them even when they are stupid and do not do what they’re told. Exposed in the wilderness, the shepherd puts himself in danger and spends the night watching them, guarding them.  Not only that, he goes out searching for more sheep, he says: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”


We are like sheep wandering through life, searching out nourishment and water, sheltering in the sheepfolds of churches to recuperate in safety before setting out again. But it is Christ the good shepherd who leads us and travels alongside us, Christ who protects us, and Christ who cares for us even when we are stupid, Christ who is good even though we might not be. It is Christ who has already died for us and been the ‘stone’ that was rejected, and Christ who has risen again and become king and cornerstone. God has done all the work for us. It is not through our power that we achieve anything, but through God’s. We are all nomads in the wilderness of life, but we have the greatest of protectors on our journey.


Amen.

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