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Newsletter - Next before Lent


Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 4 Feb

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Ven Bede hub service (Parish eucharist)

Thurs 1 Feb

10.30am Holy communion at Ven Bede


Dates for your Diary

Wed 14 Feb

11am Ash Wednesday eucharist with ashing - St John's



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.


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.



Thank you for all who joined our wonderful Candlemas service last Sunday when we celebrated all who have been christened in our churches. Here are a few photos of our procession led by Lydia!


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 11th February 2024

Sunday next before Lent



Almighty Father,

whose Son was revealed in majesty

before he suffered death upon the cross:

give us grace to perceive his glory,

that we may be strengthened to suffer with him

and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


Holy God,

you know the disorder of our sinful lives:

set straight our crooked hearts,

and bend our wills to love your goodness and your glory

in Jesus Christ our Lord.


2 Kings 2.1–12


2Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. 3The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’

4 Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. 5The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’

6 Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. 7Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ 10He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ 11As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.


This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.


2 Corinthians 4.3–6


  3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


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 9.2–9


2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 6He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ 8Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.


This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.

Post Communion

Holy God,

we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ:

may we who are partakers at his table

reflect his life in word and deed,

that all the world may know his power to change and save.

This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayers for others:

  • Cecil Harlock

  • Margaret Kuzmicz

  • 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


  • Those suffering after the attacks in Clapham

  • 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 Revd David


Today I would like to start with a picture.


Q. What is it? A. An illustration of todays’ gospel.

The story of the Transfiguration

The Mountain Top

Glory shining all around

Moses and Elijah Heroes of the Jewish Faith alongside Jesus.

The disciples overwhelmed and dazzled by this revelation.

Light and Splendour, also a sense of peace and serenity- All in the Hands of God

‘This is my Son listen to  Him’.


Any other reactions?

By Raphael, His last painting many consider his greatest work.


What is going on?

Chaos, confusion, and argument

Any reactions ideas about what it depicts?   


A man in the crowd explains, ‘I brought my son for healing he has a spirit that causes convulsions’. (Today we might have said simply who is epileptic but back then ‘he has a demon’). ‘I asked your disciples to cast it out and they couldn’t.’

This is  the scene that awaited Jesus, and the three who had been with Him, when they came down from the mountain. If we had read on in the gospel, we would have heard all  about it. There is no serenity here. Those, are the other nine disciples pointing and gesticulating, arguing and wrangling, instead of the brightness of the mountain top all this is happening against the deepest darkness. But there is light, light shines  on the woman kneeling at the front, on the boy, on the father who holds him. Jesus will tell the father ‘Everything is possible for anyone who believes ’ He will cry out. ’I believe. Help my unbelief’. The light is the light of faith.

Another painting? Another artist?

No. In fact this is the other half of the same picture.



It is Raphel’s genius to have placed these scenes, described consecutively, as happening simultaneously. It is  a kind of double vision that recognises they are somehow deeply connected. The top of the mountain and the bottom, two sides of our Christian experience.


On Wednesday we start Lent, the forty-day season of preparation for Easter. Today’s readings are  meant to prepare us for the Lenten slog, providing not physical but spiritual sustenance for the journey. They do that by reminding us of the journey’s goal, the Glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, the mountain top,  light and peace, Easter Day, when we hear those wonderful words, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed Alleluia!

But Raphael’s double vison can help us too.  Reminding us of the reality of struggle, the need  sometimes to know disappointment and defeat, to feel what it is like to be in the dark, as well as in the light, but then to discover the light of faith shining even there.


What would make a good Lent? Giving things up, taking things on, trying harder?

 ‘I believe Help my unbelief’.

The most important thing is that it  should be a time of learning. Perhaps that will mean glimpses of God’s Glory, the mountain top, light and peace, or maybe it  will be learning in the dark, at the foot of the mountain , recognising and acknowledging our mistakes, guided only by the light of faith but growing in faith.


At the end of the story, as heard today, the heavenly voice said, ‘Listen to Him’ and ‘they looked round and saw only Jesus’. At the end of the story of the healing of the boy, the disciples ask Jesus why they couldn’t cast out the demon. He answers, ‘This kind can only be driven out by Prayer.’

Listen to Him,  Only Jesus,  Only by Prayer.If these are our watch words for the next 40 days, I am sure we will have a good Lent!




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