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Newsletter - Easter Sunday

31/3/24

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week


Sat 30 March

7.30pm - The Easter Liturgy at St John's


Sun 31 March

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Ven Bede hub service (Parish eucharist)


Thurs 4 April

11am - Ven Bede Holy Communion


 

Dates for your Diary

Sat 13 March

11am - Confirmation service rehearsal

12pm - Church clean at Ven Bede

Sun 14 April

11am - Confirmation team service at Ven Bede


 

News


Don't forget! Clocks change this Sunday


Don't forget that the clocks go forward by 1 hour on Saturday night/Sunday morning, otherwise you will be an hour late for our Easter day service!






 

Holy week sermons


We have had an incredible Holy week journeying together to the cross and into new life.


If you would like to read the sermons from all of the Holy Week liturgies then you can find them at the bottom of this newsletter, along with the sermon for this Sunday morning.





 

Confirmation team service - bring and share lunch


At 11am on Sunday 14th April there will be 15 people being confirmed Bishop Helen-Ann at the Venerable Bede.


Afterwards we will celebrate with them with a bring and share lunch, so if you can, bring a dish to share!


 

St John's Coffee morning, Sat 6th April


Join us on 6th April for our monthly coffee morning!

10am - 12pm


Why not pop in for a cuppa and a home made cake or scone?

Have a browse of our racks of new and nearly new clothes and grab a bargain.

You will get a warm welcome!

Dogs are welcome (and encouraged!)


 

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 31st March 2024

Easter Day


Collect

Lord of all life and power,

who through the mighty resurrection of your Son

overcame the old order of sin and death

to make all things new in him:

grant that we, being dead to sin

and alive to you in Jesus Christ,

may reign with him in glory;

to whom with you and the Holy Spirit

be praise and honour, glory and might,

now and in all eternity.


or

God of glory,

by the raising of your Son

you have broken the chains of death and hell:

fill your Church with faith and hope;

for a new day has dawned

and the way to life stands open

in our Saviour Jesus Christ.



Readings


Acts 10.34–43


34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’


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 16.1–8


16When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.


Post Communion

God of Life,

who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son

to the death of the cross,

and by his glorious resurrection

have delivered us from the power of our enemy:

grant us so to die daily to sin,

that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Intercessions


Prayers for others:

  • Malcolm Smith

  • Paulette Thompson

  • Gordon White

  • 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


Other

  • 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.



 

Holy Week Sermons

Below are all the sermons from Holy Week 2024.


Maundy Thursday Sermon

Revd Chris


“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

Jesus knows already what is about to happen. We know already what is about to happen.


The stories of the Gospels are about to reach their culmination, though the disciples do not know it. Or, rather, they do not accept it- Jesus has warned them enough times. This is the last time Jesus has his friends gathered together and he wants to take the opportunity to give them a final message.


When the disciples cannot fully grasp the meaning of his words, he uses symbols. Water and food. Jesus washes their feet, he eats and drink with them. He chooses to instil memories – ‘do this in remembrance of me’. As we progress through holy week, words become more and more inadequate, and we rely more and more on symbols. We just cannot sum up easily in words the immensity of the devastation in Jesus’s suffering and death, and the promise of hope in the resurrection.


The enduring message, the enduring command, that Jesus wants to show them through his actions is: “Love as I have loved you”.


One of the privileges of being a priest is that I get to be there at some of the most important moments in people’s lives. I hear the stories of birth, and marriage and death, and I get to walk with people through those moments.  In particular, I have had the bittersweet privilege of taking the funerals of some of my friends from this congregation.


Every funeral I take, the more that I become aware of how love impacts lives. There is so much variety in the length and content of lives, and there is always a mixture of good and bad, joy and pain, and many relationships are not easy. But all of them have something in common – we cannot help but be changed by love, those left behind are always changed for having known someone.


Most of us will not have our names remembered beyond a generation or two, eventually there will be no one left living to remember us, but that does not mean there is no impact.  Every single person is shaped by the love they encounter in life.

If you think of someone you have lost. What do you think their last message would be to you?


I wonder, if you knew it was the last time you would see your friends, what would you want them to know?


When faced by death, we know most things are futile. We want to impart some knowledge or leave a memory that will weather the storm of grief. Jesus wanted his disciples to know that his love for them was greater than their guilt. Jesus wanted Peter to know he was loved more than he could deny him. Jesus wanted Judas to know his love for him was greater than any betrayal.

Often, we are left with a sense of guilt after losing someone. But Jesus says “Love as I have loved you” to Judas as well. He shared the same bread and wine with Judas and washed his feet too. He commanded his disciples to love Judas too.


Maybe Judas understood Jesus better than the other disciples, maybe he had realised what was going to happen, he understood Jesus’ words about his own death. Maybe he could not accept that love would look like failure, defeat, and death. Maybe he thought that proved Jesus’ limits, proved that his love could not be infinite. Maybe this made Judas feel betrayed, so he betrayed Jesus. Who knows.


“Love as I have loved you” requires one thing first, to accept that you are loved.

Judas’ fate was tragic, but I don’t think even Judas is beyond redemption. Because God’s love is greater than Judas’ human limitations. God’s love expressed in Jesus Christ is a love stronger than sin, and guilt, and death. This love cannot run out, it cannot be rejected or turned off.


We may not think we are good enough, and indeed, none of us are. But none of the disciples were either. Yet here we are on this night sharing bread and wine together, washing one another’s feet, two thousand years later, because they carried out Jesus’ command.


Let yourself be changed by love and in turn the world will be changed. God knows our sins and weaknesses, but God is strong where we are weak, where our sin is there also is God’s forgiveness, and where there is death God promises life. God loves you and Jesus gave everything for you to know that.


Amen.

 

Good Friday sermon

Revd Chris


Today we will bring in a crucifix, and lift it up, saying:

This is the wood of the cross,

on which hung the Saviour of the world.


Apart from it’s not.


Surely it is nonsense, have we abandoned our senses?


Let me tell you about a monastery in the south of Spain. A Carthusian monastery, built of pale stone where the monks wore white robes.


The whitewashed cloisters surround a lush green courtyard. There is an opulent gilded church on one side, but if you stay out of there, then the rest is a simple place. There is a refectory with benches around the sides and a vaulted ceiling above, this is where the monks would eat in silence, and at one end hangs a simple wooden cross.

Apart from, it’s not there.


About 400 years ago a man joined the monastery who was a painter. He painted a cross on the wall at the end of the refectory. But he shadows and depth and perspective to create an illusion that the cross was there, hanging from the wall, but really it is just a flat surface. There is a story that the illusion was so real a dove once flew into the refectory and tried in vain to perch on its arms.


I was privileged to visit the monastery a few years ago. It’s now a gallery and museum showcasing the works of Juan Sanchez Cotan.


I entered the refectory through modern glass doors. And I stood looking up, contemplating in silence the beautiful simplicity of the now slightly faded cross.

It was then that the peace was interrupted by a violent crash. A pigeon slammed into the glass door, I saw it confusedly flap off, leaving the comic ghostly shape of its wings on the glass.


I wondered if that really had just happened. It wasn’t quite as elegant as the story of the dove trying to perch on the cross, but I wondered if the pigeon had its own hope of reaching its perch, only to be thwarted by the modern glass.

Some experiences can feel unreal.


Reality is harder to grasp than we sometimes think. Many of us live one or more steps removed from the reality of pain and suffering. As we see the suffering on the news of starving children in Gaza, of people shot in Ukraine, of women raped in Sudan, of refugees drowning in the English channel. It is hard to imagine the reality of it.  We find it hard to make our compassion real when we see it through a screen or hear it as statistics.


We try to call up some sense of shock and disbelief, but the reality is horror is terrifyingly ordinary. When horror truly unfolds in front of you it is just a series of events, just one thing happening after another, it is only afterwards that we feel the immensity of understanding.


We try to feel compassion for those who are suffering, to understand their human condition. What is more difficult is to swallow is that the perpetrators are just as real and just as human as us. It is one thing to feel empathy for those who are suffering, to that could be me or my loved ones. It is another thing to realise that if roles were changed ever so slightly we would be the ones causing the suffering, complicit, just doing our job, living our lives, protecting our families and our luxuries, wilfully choosing to ignore the suffering our actions cause.


The crucifixion of Jesus was a series of events, one after another, Pilate washes his hands as if it were not him putting Jesus to death. Jesus’ disciples pretend they never knew him. Soldiers get on with their jobs, someone places the cross on Jesus’ back, someone chose the spot, someone who had been taught how to use hammer and nails by their father, just as Jesus had, used that skill to slam a nail through flesh and bone and wood.


This is the wood of the cross,

on which hung the Saviour of the world.


No it’s not, the real cross is the one people like you and me crucified Jesus on.


People like us are Russian mercenaries, far right zionists, Islamist terrorists, Sudanese militants and people smugglers. They are people like us. I am the racist, I am the abuser, I am the problem, I am the betrayer. We let the events unfold in front of us, we turn a blind eye, we get on with our job. We nailed Jesus to the cross.


It is hard for us to grasp reality sometimes. But that is why God reaches into our reality. where we aren’t enough, God is. Through the cross God breaks through into the horror of our unreality and transforms suffering and sin and opens up a new way. The cross is more real than anything else. Jesus died for those who suffered, and those who cause the suffering.


This is the wood of the cross,

on which hung the Saviour of the world. 


 

Easter Vigil Sermon

Revd David

 

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen

 

This service is always special. In it we move from darkness to light. Even if here, we haven’t yet seen the first rays of the dawning day, inwardly, spiritually, they have touched and warmed us. Christ is Risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia!


When we have a baptism, as we have tonight, it is doubly special, as those being baptised are filled with Christ’s new life, so all who were already baptised, are reminded that same gift is alive and active in us, and those yet to be baptised, are encouraged to ask, what is holding me back? Why should I not receive this gift too?


When Bishop Helen Ann came to visit the local West End Deanery, a few weeks ago, she very bravely allowed people to ask any question they wanted, and was ready to answer, there and then,  as best she could. Given clergy and laity can often feel overburdened,  under resourced and generally unappreciated, this was indeed courageous, maybe even foolhardy. I have been at enough Deanery meetings to know how easily the mists of gloom and doom descend. What future do we face when numbers in church are dropping, finance is plummeting, and full-time clergy will soon be an extinct species? Bishop Helen Ann was gentle, but firm, whatever our problems, we must learn to see them all, as illumined with ‘Resurrection Light.’

 

While thinking of what the bishop had said, and what it might mean for us approaching Easter, I stumbled on these Latin words from an early morning hymn,

 

Gallo canente, spes redit

Aegris salus refunditur

Lapsis fides revertitur.

 

I had to look it up too.

 

With cock crow, hope returns

To the sick, health is renewed

To the lapsed, faith revives.


‘With cock crow, hope returns.’ 

 

Tonight, above all nights is our celebration and appreciation, of just what that means.

But, having heard the Passion story, on Sunday, and again  yesterday, don’t those words take on a deeper meaning.

 

At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept.


  The cock crows, and Peter is broken.  The night is as black as it can be.  Yet isn’t the word still a true one ? ‘With cock crow hope returns.’  The Peter who swears vehemently  ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ Is no more. He has perished, washed away in the flood of shameful tears. But a new Peter, the Peter who will indeed follow his Lord, and share his fate, is ready to be born. To the sick health is renewed, for the lapsed faith revives.

 

Having made our Lent, good, bad, or indifferent, tonight we stood together, those being baptised, those renewing our baptismal promises, acknowledging we too are the sick and the lapsed, and if our gloom and doom are ever to be lifted, we are in desperate need of ‘Resurrection Light’.  How does that light enter and become a part of us?  Isn’t that  the true miracle of Easter?  Ours has been a  journey towards that light, it is a journey that takes in our celebrations tonight, celebrations that foreshadow it’s true ending when all things are indeed made new. But it is also journey that continues beyond Easter, as, with Peter, we learn again and again, how the cock crows, and hope returns.

 

 Christ is risen He is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen 


 

Easter morning sermon

Revd Chris


“So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”


It’s a stark end to the Gospel of Mark, but one brimming with energy and excitement. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome go to anoint Jesus’ body. Spices and oils to care for the dead, as was the custom. They went with memories of this person they loved, expecting that would be all they have now. They went to a tomb expecting to find death. They went believing it was already over. And what they found was it had just begun, they found life. He is not here! He is risen?


And what do they do? They run away!


Have you ever been faced with something that you know to be right but wanted to run from it? I knew I was called to be a priest, but I tried to run from it for as long as I could, because I knew it would be a step I would take that would affect me for the rest of my life, I knew I would be changed, and I knew I would lose control and be letting God take charge. I did not know where it would take me and that was scary. And how silly I was, because it would take me here to Benwell and Scotswood, and I could not have come to a better or more wonderful place.


The unknown is always scary, and for the women in the Gospel, this is the biggest of all unknowns - the endless love of God that has brought Jesus out of hell and death and into new life. A new world is born. It begins with Christ and it’s first witnesses, it’s first leaders and evangelists are Mary, Mary, and Salome.

They were at the most immense moment that this world has ever known, where everything was changed. The entrance to the tomb had become the gateway to life. Death has been swallowed up by life. Rejoice! Mourning has turned to gladness and weeping into laughter.


Last night, out of the darkness of the night we lit our Easter fire and bore the light of Christ into the church. We anointed candidates at baptism - we anointed them into death, but through it they have come to life. Alongside them we all renewed our baptismal vows.


In the light of Easter how will all of you be changed? What then will you do with your life?


In the Gospel the angel tells the women Jesus has gone ahead of them to Galilee, you too can step into a world confident that Jesus has gone ahead of you, freed from sin and death.


It is scary stepping out into a new life, a world changed, where nothing is same. But it is a place of infinite potential because with the resurrection we now know nothing is impossible with God. Our weaknesses allow for more of God’s strength to be shown, our fears are now an opportunity for hope, and our failures show us more of God’s grace.


Where is your Galilee then? Where is God telling you to look Jesus in your life?


Whatever God is calling you to in life, do not fear for Jesus has gone ahead of you, you cannot fail because God has already done it for you. I don’t know what God has planned for you next, but I know it is something wonderful and greater than you could have ever expected.


Alleluia Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed, alleluia!

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