Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team
Dates for your diary
Sun 30th Oct
11am All Saints' Day (Celebration service at Ven Bede)
Wed 2nd Nov
12pm All Souls' Commemoration of the departed
Services this week
Sun 16th Oct
9.45am - St Margaret's Holy Communion
11am - Ven Bede, Hub Service (Parish eucharist)
Thurs 20th Oct
11am - St John's Holy Communion
Creative mission planning day - thank you to everyone who joined!
Here are some photos from our session, we had a great time coming up with ideas for improving our welcome/hospitality and growing in faith. With thanks to Artep Avordno for helping us be creative in how we think.
We are very sad to announce that Den Whitten passed away this last week.
His funeral will take place at St James, 11am on Tuesday 25th October. Please keep Pat and their family in your prayers at this time.
Almighty and everlasting God,
increase in us your gift of faith
that, forsaking what lies behind
and reaching out to that which is before,
we may run the way of your commandments
and win the crown of everlasting joy;
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.
2 Timothy 3.14 – 4.5 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. 4In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
Luke 18.1–8 18Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’6And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’
‘Persist in prayer and never lose heart’. Persistence can change attitudes and outcomes.
In Jesus’ story of the woman who pestered the lazy judge – despite his lack of interest, she did not give up – she kept asking for justice until she received it. She wasn’t taking ‘No’ for an answer. I guess the judge would never forget the woman whose persistence changed his attitude towards powerless people.
\Jesus goes onto say that we need to be just as persistent in our prayer, if we really want an answer.
Jesus isn’t saying that God is like the judge who didn’t care. He is saying that our prayer needs to be persistent, not half hearted – so that God knows that we really mean what we are asking for. Then, if it is the right thing, it will be granted –in God’s way, in God’s time, and in God’s infinite wisdom.
Francis of Assisi abandoned his family wealth and took up a life of poverty in his calling to ‘Build the church’ through service to the poor. He wanted to obtain the Pope’s blessing for his small nomadic community of men who travelled with him and preached the good news in actions of compassion. At first the Pope would not entertain him. But Francis persisted, knocking on every door until the Pope eventually met him and gave Frances his blessing for his small community. Persistence paid off – because the request was right and the commitment to make it work was evident.
You don’t have to be big and powerful to make a difference – just persistent. Doris was persistent and that persistence left its mark in me ever since our chance meeting 60 years ago.
When I was a student, I joined a small group which organised holiday camps for disadvantaged children. Doris was one of those children: she was a member a refugee family of 12 living in a 2 bedroomed city flat in Wiesbaden, Germany. Doris was 15 years old and joined a group of 6 girls and 18 boys who travelled with us to the Black Forest for a two-week camping holiday. The British Army on the Rhine provided all the tents and camping equipment.
Each tent slept 8 – six young people and two students…. I shared a Zelt 4 (Tent 4) with Doris and six others. The tents were heavy canvas, high enough to stand up in. Every morning the tent walls were rolled up, the separate ground sheet was swept and folded, the sleeping bags shaken and aired. Every day we had a ‘Zeltinspektion’… (tent inspection)
Doris was in heaven. Her greatest delight and her chosen responsibility was to ensure that our tent topped the charts for smartness and welcome. This meant, in addition to sweeping and tidying everything to military precision, we had a daily foray into the woods for ‘Blumenholen’ or collecting wild flowers. The tent doorway would be encircled like a garden with attractive foliage and a carefully arranged bunch of wild flowers. The boys were no match for Doris’s home-making skills. Zelt 4 won the inspection every day.
Doris and Blumenholen have lived on in my mind ever since. She was a persistent ray of sunshine. Her delight at the smallest gifts of nature around her, her persistence in her tasks, and her joy of making a mundane practical chore into a thankful privilege, changed my way of looking at life.
She showed me how to find heaven in the ordinary. She was an angel in disguise to me at that time, without realising it.
I have no idea what happened to her when she returned home. She has no idea that her simple acts of delight have had such a profound influence in my life.
You don’t have to be big and powerful to make a difference – just persistent. Doris was persistent and I have never forgotten her life-giving touch. Nor have I forgotten the elderly lady in Chapel House who had a daily prayer of thankfulness for every household task in her bungalow. Age is not important – persistence and commitment is.
Perhaps you too remember people who have touched your days with joy and changed your way of seeing the world and thinking about life for the better. Maybe you have been that ‘angel in disguise’ to someone else who needed a smile in a dismal time, a welcome in a wilderness moment, or some flowers to bring beauty to a grey place. I could embarrass some people here with stories about how they were a unexpected blessing without even knowing it – their persistence in going the extra mile – sometime literally!
Being persistent in big projects is energy draining, but being persistent even in the little things can be life-giving to many other people, without you ever knowing. God makes connections. Every small skill makes something beautiful.
St Paul in his letter to Timothy urged – ‘Be persistent and patient in all circumstances’. ‘Persist in prayer and do not lose heart’.
Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll said in her Millennial broadcast:
“The true measure of Christ’s influence in the world is not only in the lives of the saints but also in the good works quietly done by millions of men and women, day in and day out, throughout the centuries.”
So don’t give up trying to unwrap heaven in the ordinary and don’t lose heart if your efforts don’t seem to be noticed. Be like the persistent woman in Jesus’ story.
In God’s time, your efforts will be a blessing far beyond the limits of your imagination.
If you would like to add someone to the prayer list please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The name will stay on the list for 1 month unless requested to be long-term.
Prayers for others:
Christine, David, Philip, Neil and Steven
Pat Whitten and family
Moe and Mary
Rest in Peace:
Post Communion prayer
We praise and thank you, O Christ, for this sacred feast:
for here we receive you,
here the memory of your passion is renewed,
here our minds are filled with grace,
and here a pledge of future glory is given,
when we shall feast at that table where you reign
with all your saints for ever.