Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team
Services this week
Sunday 18th Sept
9.45 at St John's - Holy Communion
11am at St James - Hub Service
4pm at St Margaret's - service on the eve of the funeral of HM The Queen
Sun 25th Sept
11am, St James
(celebration service, no other services in the team)
The death of HM The Queen
4pm at St Margaret's
Service of commemoration on the eve of the funeral.
Screening of the Funeral
11am at St James
The funeral will be shown on the big screen at St James. Please note - food from the Monday cafe will only be available after the service has finished.
Books of condolence, candles, and flowers:
It will be possible to sign a book of condolence, light a candle, and leave floral tributes at St James until the Sunday following the funeral.
Harvest thanksgiving & roast dinner - Next Sun 25th Sept
11am at St James, NE15 6RS
Join us for our Harvest thanksgiving service followed by a traditional Sunday roast dinner!
Donations - please bring donations of non-perishable food (tins, packets, and dry goods) which will be donated to a local charity.
We will place these in front of the altar during the service.
Roast Dinner - this will be coordinated by Chris and Charley Foskett - please speak to them if you would like to help in any way.
Flowers - would you like to help with the flower displays for Harvest? Please speak with Elspeth. We would also welcome cash donations to help pay for the flowers.
Congratulations to our own Brenda McCutcheon, St Margaret's churchwarden, who received her medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) at a ceremony at Newcastle Civic Centre on Tuesday.
Brenda was awarded this honour by Queen Elizabeth in 2021 in recognition of her incredible services to adult education and her and her students making PPE for NHS workers at the height of the pandemic (even while Brenda was in hospital herself!). The ceremony on Tuesday was led by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and many of her friends and family were there to celebrate.
Well done Brenda!
Welcome Kath and James and thank you to Edith!
We are delighted to announce both a new PCC Secretary AND Treasurer were appointed at our PCC meeting on Tuesday!
Kath McIntyre (Secretary) and James Garratt (Treasurer) were both unanimously elected and we are extremely glad to welcome them to their new roles in the team.
At the same time we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Edith Hutchinson who has done a stellar job as parish Treasurer for many years. But do not fear, Edith has not given up everything, she will still continue as St John's warden and looking after the accounts there.
whose only Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Jeremiah 8.18 – 9.1 18 My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick. 19 Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land: ‘Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her?’ (‘Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?’) 20 ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.’ 21 For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored? 9O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!
Luke 16.1–13 16Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” 3Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” 6He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” 7Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” 8And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. 10 ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’
By Revd Dominic
You’ve probably noticed that there’s a definite nip in the air. Autumn is here and it is starting to feel a little cold. We know what’s coming: months of chilly mornings and freezing nights; wrapping up warm, stamping our feet and generally doing whatever we can to fight the cold. And although the climate emergency means that frosts are less common than they once were, we will no doubt see ice and snow and days where facing the elements really does feel like a battle.
This year, however, there is the added challenge of the cost-of-living crisis and spiralling energy bills. For myself, though we are by no means hard up, we have been making changes to our food shopping habits as prices have climbed and we know that we are going to have to be a lot more careful with the thermostat this winter than last when, with a new baby in the house, we had the heating on for as long as we needed to keep a comfortable temperature for Isaac.
All of us will face these challenges. For some of us this will bring the stress of having to manage money more carefully, of having to think twice every time the heating comes on. Others will be wondering how to cope when the credit in the pre-payment meter runs out and there’s no money to buy more. Others will be wondering how to make the little they have stretch far enough to provide three meals a day and where they are going to get warm enough clothes and sturdy enough shoes. This morning we heard in our reading from Jeremiah words that seem prophetic for many in our nation: ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.’
Yet as winter homes into view and we begin to ponder its financial realities, we might be struck in a different way by the well-known saying of Jesus in this morning’s gospel: ‘You cannot serve God and Wealth.’ For many this phrase may seem irrelevant or even bitterly ironic: ‘I couldn’t serve wealth even if I wanted to,’ you might be thinking. As is often the case, however, Jesus words here aren’t meant to just be about how individuals should behave but how we should all live together.
In this admittedly rather confusing passage, Jesus tells the story of a manager who is about to be sacked by his master. This manager would have been a trusted person to whom this wealthy man had entrusted the management of all his money. In turn the manager relied entirely on his wealthy master, not just for the roof over his head but for the status which allowed him to participate in society. In losing his job he is losing everything, he will have nowhere to go and nowhere he can show his face.
So, with the short time he has left in post the manager uses the power that comes with his job to do his master’s debtors a big favour, cancelling part of what they owe him. In this way he places these people in his debt and ensures he will have somewhere to turn after his master has dismissed him. Surprisingly, however, instead of being angry his master commends him and keeps him on.
Why does the master do this and what is Jesus trying to tell us? Jesus says ‘the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.’ Here we see a theme common in the teaching of Jesus; that there are two ages, the age we live in now and the age to come, the age of the world’s rules and the age in which the Kingdom’s rules overturn them, the age of wealth and the age of God. The manager acted shrewdly because he knew the rules of the present age and turned them to his advantage, so much so that his master is impressed by his scheming. ‘If this manager can play the game this well,’ he thinks, ‘then perhaps I’d be better off keeping him on.’
By contrast, Jesus laments that those who live in the age to come, the ‘children of light’, don’t seem to know the rules of their new age. They seem to be caught between this age and the next, the old and the new, imagining they can serve two masters – the wealth of this age and God whose Kingdom is the next.
So he tells them: ‘make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into eternal homes.’ In other words, we all live in this current corrupt age, in which all wealth is dishonest, however little we may have. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t play by this world’s rules, you should use what you have to make connections with everyone, regardless of their social standing, and help them. That way you will already be playing by the rules of the age to come, even whilst you live in this age, and you might just make yourself a little more ready to enter the Kingdom when it comes.
Some of us may need to worry more than others about our relationship to the ‘dishonest wealth’ of this world – how much we have does make a difference. Yet we all need to be aware that what we do with what we have matters and this applies not only to us as individuals but to us as a church community.
In our parish we have much to be proud of. The work that we do to support others through the Foodbank, Cornerstone, Youth Project and Pendower, the hospitality we offer through regular events like lunchbreak and the art project, the simple acts of friendship and support we offer through our congregations – all of this is our contribution to a world which is defined by service of God, not by service of wealth.
But there are still challenges for us too. Last week the PCC met and we had a positive but challenging conversation about finances across the parish, about whether and how we can all pay the bills and meet our financial commitments, about how we can work more closely as a parish and support one another better. The fact that there isn’t all that much money to go around doesn’t change the fact that we are faced with a choice: will we serve God or will we serve wealth? I have no doubt that we all choose, in principle, to serve God, but that doesn’t change the fact that we still need to discern what that service looks like in practice.
That discernment begins in the relationships that we build with one another and with our community. Acts of service and solidarity shape us into a community that chooses mutual commitment over individual independence, giving over taking and participation over self-protection. This is a church that loves and hopes, a church that seeks to bring in the kingdom rather than delay it, a church that chooses God over wealth.
Many of us will struggle under financial pressures this winter. Let’s be sure our church offers an alternative to a world defined by money and who’s got it, the alternative of the kingdom of God in which we each forget our own private gain and work for the good of all.
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HM the Queen Elizabeth II
thanksgiving for her life and faith.
comfort for those who mourn, especially her family.
King Charles III and his reign.
Prayers for others:
Moe and Mary
Rest in Peace:
Post Communion prayer
Lord God, the source of truth and love,
keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
united in prayer and the breaking of bread,
and one in joy and simplicity of heart,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.