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Newsletter - Trinity 18

8/10/23

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 8 Oct

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Hub service at Ven Bede (Parish Eucharist)

4pm - St Margaret's Evening prayer


Thurs 12 Oct

10.30am - Ven Bede Holy Communion

 

Dates for your diary

Sun 29 Oct

11am - All Saints' Sunday team service at Ven Bede (Parish Eucharist).


Thurs 2 Oct

10.30am - All Souls' service, thanksgiving for the departed.

 

News


Welcome to Lydia!


Lydia Padfield who is training for ordination at Cranmer Hall in Durham and will be on placement with us for the next few weeks!


She'll be spending time with us on Sundays, occasionally preaching and leading services and will join us at various other activities throughout the week. Do make her feel welcome!

 

Children's table helpers needed

We are in need of more volunteers to help with children's work, especially to help with the kids table at the hub service on Sundays.


We have some fantastic kids in our community and we want them to have the best experience of church possible. Could you be the person to help with this?

Please speak to one of the clergy or churchwardens if you're interested.


(Please note any volunteering with children and vulnerable adults requires us to follow a safer recruitment procedure including carrying out a DBS check)

 

Exploring Faith group

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT OUR FAITH?

KNOW SOMEBODY WHO YOU MIGHT INVITE?


We will be starting a group later this month. Watch this space for more info, but contact the clergy if you or someone you know would like to join!




 

Mothers' Union - Autumn Social

We have the MU autumn social coming up on 14th October at the Ven Bede. Open to everyone (not just MU members or women!).


There will be bingo, food, mulled wine raffle and more!


Free, but donations welcome.


 

Lay Ministry celebration service


Lay Ministry celebration service of our community who ha ve been training for the last year to become Authorised Lay Ministers in worship and pastoral care.


Here are some of the pictires from the cathedral last week!















 

Sunday Worship

Sunday 8th October 2023

Trinity 18

Green



Intercessions


Prayers for others:

  • Maria Hawthorn

  • George Snowdon

  • Herbert Agbeko

  • Ellis Nelson

  • Pauline Nelson

  • Michell Wilson

  • Peter Wilson

  • Alan Taylor

  • Maureen Tayor

  • Irene Foskett

  • Lorraine Atkinson

  • Esther Kolie

  • Hook family

Rest in peace

  • Liz Holliman

  • Nick Hook

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.



Sermon

Revd Chris


The parable today is not a pleasant story, it is a tale of injustice done and justice served.

A landowner leases a vineyard to tenants, when the landowner sends his slaves to collect his produce, the tenants don’t just refuse, they murder the slaves and hold onto the produce for themselves. The landowner sends yet more slaves, and they do the same again. Finally he sends his own son. The son is murdered and they try to steal his inheritance. The moral of the story is directed at those who take privilege for themselves and are prepared to hurt others to keep it. Jesus is specifically telling the pharisees in no uncertain terms that they should beware: God sees what they are doing and their privileges will be given to those who have been rejected and excluded.

This is not a light and fluffy story. It is one of the stories when we remember that Jesus is not just about kindness but cares also about justice. Jesus sees when wrong is done and cares.


One of the privileges of being ordained is I get to preach - I have a voice and a platform, and I take that privilege very seriously. Ordinarily I would never use that privilege to comment on party politics, but whichever way you lean politically, I believe that in recent days there have been matters of such wrongness that it transcends party politics and strikes at what makes us human. I make no apology for commenting, but please believe that I carefully and prayerfully consider when and how to comment on these things.


In recent days we have heard our Home Secretary make statements about a ‘hurricane’ of immigrants sweeping towards our country, she has made moves to change the internationally agreed UN convention on refugees, and has specifically targeted gay people and women. She is restricting the legal right to protest, a terrifying step towards criminalising any critique of government, and has banned police from attending gay pride parades because she believes they should focus on re-building public confidence in the police. Evidently gay people do not count as valid members of society who deserve to have confidence in the police. Similarly our Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has fed conspiracy theories about meat taxes and has openly mocked trans people, and is making moves to exclude them from NHS treatment.


Make no mistake, these statements from our Prime Minister, Home Secretary, and others, represents a dangerous shift to far-right populism and they know exactly what they are doing. Out of fear of losing power and to distract from other failures of government they are intentionally targeting the most vulnerable minorities in society, those with the least voice to defend themselves. This kind of rhetoric is something that we have seen happen time and time again throughout history, it is dangerous, and it should have no place in society and especially not government, and Christians have a duty to respond.


The reason I say something today is because our gospel today reminds us that justice matters. It says:

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes”? 43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.


We follow Jesus, who chose to become human, to become like us, and not only that, he chose to be scorned, rejected, deserted by his friends, mocked, beaten, and killed. Jesus identified with the weakest, the most ostracised, the poorest, and he has chosen to put them first in his kingdom. Jesus presents a vision for the world that is not just abstract, spiritual, and internal, it is a vision for real people. Think of the beatitudes from earlier in Matthew’s Gospel: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And so on.


I believe Jesus is saying by hurting the weakest, you hurt us all, he intentionally flips everything on its head to emphasise the need to give privilege to the poorest. This is the foundation of our religion, the stone that the builders reject becomes the cornerstone.

I am not telling you how to vote, but I am saying you should follow Christ. As a Christian you do have a responsibility to stand up for the weakest, the poorest, the most marginalised. It is essential that as Christians we say this kind of populist rhetoric is not ok, it is essential that we give no oxygen to these terrifying attitudes. Refugees and asylum seekers do not have any safe and legal routes to enter the UK, they are fleeing torture and war, yet are being criminalised for seeking safety. Trans people are beaten, raped, and murdered across the world just for being themselves, most trans people have experienced hate crime and most don’t report it out of fear. Yet these are the people being blamed for governmental failures.


What can we do then? Those who use this far-right populist rhetoric intentionally try to claim that the common person, the majority, think a certain way and make a scapegoat of the most vulnerable. Yet here we are at the grass-roots and we need to loudly and proudly say no, we are the common people, and we care about those minorities. These are our neighbours and friends, our brothers and sisters, they are us, and we are them, and don't you dare try to hurt them for the sake of your own greed and power.


We must continue to welcome refugees and asylum seekers, we must actively care for those who are hurting and ostracised, and we must build the kingdom of God on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ who died for the least of us and who leads us into new life, the one who sees those who suffer injustice, and who will build a new and eternal kingdom which belongs to them. The kingdom is here and it begins with us, it is beautiful, diverse, and hopeful, and it has no room for greed, hatred, and those who cling onto their own privilege at the expense of others.



Collect

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.


or

God, our judge and saviour,

teach us to be open to your truth

and to trust in your love,

that we may live each day

with confidence in the salvation which is given

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Readings

Related:


Philippians 3.4b–14 4even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

This is the word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God.



Gospel Reading


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. All: Glory to you, O Lord.


Matthew 21.33–end 33 ‘Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch-tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ 41They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’ 42 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes”? 43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’ 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

This is the Gospel of the Lord. All: Praise to you, O Christ.



Post Communion

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.

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