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Newsletter - Sunday after Ascension


Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 12 May

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Hub service at St James (Parish Eucharist)

4pm - St Margaret's Evening worship

Thurs 16 May

10.30am - Holy Communion at Ven Bede


Dates for your Diary

Sun 19 May

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

Sat 8 June

Mothers' Union Diocesan Festival - St James. Festival begins 11.30am; Eucharist with Bishop Helen-Ann 2pm



Annual meeting (APCM) next Sunday!

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.


Mothers' Union does Something Wonderful

Diocesan Festival 2024

You are invited to join us for the Diocesan Mothers' Union festival which we have the pleasure of hosting at St James Benwell this year. There will be activities followed Bishop Helen-Ann leading us in worship with a Eucharist.

This year the festival's theme is 'The MU does Something Wonderful' in honour of the community project at St James which aims to strengthen the local community in Benwell and restore the St James Church for community use. You can read more about the project and donate here >

Festival begins at 11.30

BBQ lunch, crafts, stalls, historic graveyard tours, art exhibition, music, raffle.

Eucharist at 2pm with Bishop Helen-Ann

Followed by refreshments


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 12th May 2024

7th Sunday of Easter

Sunday after Ascension Day


O God the King of glory,

you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ

with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:

we beseech you, leave us not comfortless,

but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us

and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


Risen, ascended Lord,

as we rejoice at your triumph,

fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,

that all who are estranged by sin

may find forgiveness and know your peace,

to the glory of God the Father.


Acts 1.15–17, 21–end


 15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said, 16‘Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.’

21So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’ 23So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.


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 17.6–19


 6 ‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.

Post Communion

Eternal God, giver of love and power,

your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world

to preach the gospel of his kingdom:

confirm us in this mission,

and help us to live the good news we proclaim;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


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

  • Nelly

  • Irene Scaife

Rest in peace

  • Maria Hale


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


There is a new ‘Planet of the Apes’ movie out this week. Has anyone seen It?

Was it any good? Always the big question with a sequel, was it as good as the original? The usual answer is  no, but sometimes, though rarely, it can be even better. Making a sequel is a difficult task what do people want from it? On the one hand it must be faithful to the original, maybe the same characters, but in whatever way it must keep that sense of connection, of identity, on the other hand, it must be kept alive, new situations, new plot turns, to keep it fresh.


You may not realise it, but we have just been listening to a sequel. The Book of Acts, traditionally read in church in the  Easter season and where the first reading came from, is a sequel, a sequel to Luke’s gospel, Luke 2, if you like.  We don’t always realise this not least because in the Bible Johns gospel stands in between Luke and Acts but they really do belong together -scholars often talk of Luke/ Acts  a combined work.


Why a sequel? In the world of  movies, it is obvious, to cash in on what proved  popular and make more money. Not here, Luke has something he feels he needs to share, something vital about God’s saving work. In his own words his aim is ‘to give an orderly account of the events that have taken place among us’ so the need for a sequel is quite simple, those ‘events’, did not end with the resurrection.


There is a sense, of course, that the story did end there, indeed in John’s gospel Jesus actually says the words–‘it is finished’, the last words on the cross. Jesus perfect work of self-offering is done, as the letter to Hebrews says, ‘once and for all’, and in the Resurrection  we see the finality of His victory over sin and death. But Acts reminds us that though the work is indeed done in one way, in another it is only just begun. It needs a sequel.

Thursday was Ascension Day when we recalled Christ taken up in glory 40 days after His Resurrection. It is the scene Luke chooses to end his gospel. The work done,  curtains close, story over. But, just like a flashback in a movie, the same scene opens the book of Acts. The Ascension is the end, but the Ascension is also the beginning the start of the sequel.


What came next will unfold in the pages of the Acts of the Apostles, it really does have all the drama and excitement of a movie. Eat your heart out Indiana Jones. Some of the old characters are still around,  Peter and James and the other apostles but there are new ones too. Judas has gone, but here is Matthias, there will be others Stephen, Barnabas, Paul, Lydia and many more. There will be plenty of action, signs and wonders, a shipwreck, escapes from prison, escape in a basket, friends falling out, new friends made and plenty of twist and turns, and like a clever director Luke will switch the narrative voice from a third person, he did this, they did this, to the more immediate first person; we sailed, we met, we preached…

And then the whole thing will end in a bit of an anticlimax. I remember taking kids to see ‘Lord of the Rings’ the first movie, when it ended somebody in the theatre complained ‘is that it?’ They did not realise there was more to come. The Acts ending is a bit like that, Paul comes to Rome and instead of finishing with his martyrdom, as you might expect, we see him preaching peacefully, unhindered for two years. Like many film endings it is an end that is not and end, but it is not ambiguous, the meaning is clear, the gospel has come from Jerusalem to Rome the world centre of the  day, it will now be preached to the ends of the earth. Even as the credits roll on Luke 2, we are reminded that there are sequels yet to come.


I started with Planet of the Apes; you know the latest movie is set three hundred years after the previous one. I’m not sure about that. Everything will be different; will it have kept that sense of connection of identity? But then again what is three hundred years compared with 2,000?


Next Sunday is Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, we will read from Acts, how the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles in wind and tongues of flame, how they were empowered and sent out to carry the good news of Jesus crucified and risen. The journey began. The journey continues. Jesus promises us that connection, that identity. So that they may be one, as we are one.

The Spirit fulfils that promise, uniting us with one another, and with Him, making His story our story, so that even though our lives, our churches, may sometimes seem to lack the high excitement of the Book of Acts, nevertheless it will be a story as glorious and as meaningful, a worthy sequel that surpasses our expectations and desires. A sequel that is just waiting to be made.





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